Firefighters convince selectmen to buy new truck from co-op

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro firefighters believe they can get the new fire truck voters authorized at the June 6 town meeting for the best price by going through a cooperative, instead of through the conventional bidding process. At the June 16 selectmen’s meeting, they presented information that convinced selectmen to endorse their plan.

According to department spokesman Michael Vashon and guest Frank Roma, the Houston- Galveston Area Council (HGAC), a regional organization with a purchasing arm that accepts members  from  all  over the country, negotiates with fire truck manufacturers and gets prices for bulk orders, saving money for purchasers.

Vashon said the Vassalboro firefighters plan to buy from E- ONE, a company that has done well by them in the past. A spe- cialist from HGAC will help them work with the company to get a truck that meets department specifications, he said. Even with HGAC’s $2,000 administra- tive fee, Vashon thinks the price will be lower than the town could get for the same truck bidding on its own.

To qualify for HGAC services Vassalboro needs to sign an interlocal   agreement. Selectmen unanimously  authorized  Town Manager  Mary  Sabins  to  sign such  an  agreement, and  unanimously voted to waive the normal bidding process in this case.

Roma, a former fire chief in Texas and in Auburn, Maine, said HGAC  facilitates  purchases  of other equipment as well as fire trucks.   The council has agreements with municipalities in every state but Hawaii, including several others in Maine. Vassalboro’s buying a fire truck through HGAC does not obligate the town to continue to use the buying cooperative, he said.

In other business June 16, selectmen began the process of appointing – mostly reappointing – members of town boards and committees, in anticipation of the new fiscal year that begins July 1. Sabins said she has an unusually long list of seriously overdue taxes. She urged property-own- ers to pay within the next month, to avoid the additional charges generated when 30-day notices are sent out July 20.

The manager said Codes Officer Richard Dolby is certified to rep- resent the town in court to deal with violations of town ordinances, with selectmen’s approval, thus eliminating the need to call on the town attorney. Selectmen unanimously approved. Sabins expects Dolby will notify them in advance when a situation arises requiring court action.

The June 30 Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting will be at 2:30 p.m., instead of the usual 7 p.m., to approve bills for payment before the fiscal year ends later that day.

Bridging ceremony held for scout troop

During a Bridging ceremony recently, Girl Scouts of Troop #1557, in Waterville, seven junior Girl Scouts received their bronze awards. Also, the troop welcomes three girls into the Cadette level.

Girl Scouts of Troop #1557, in Waterville

Photo by Alex Blomerth, Central Maine Photography staff

Central Maine grade schoolers learn on field trips

(below) Messalonskee’s Williams Elementary School fourth grade students took a field trip to Acadia National Park recently. They met up at Sand Beach with park rangers. Students then hiked some of the trails near Otter Point.

Messalonskee’s Williams Elementary School students

Photo by Dan Cassidy

(below) Third grade students from Clinton Elementary School traveled to Bradbury State Park on a field trip recently. Maine Conservation Corps Hannah Colbert, center with hat, tells students of many interesting articles of nature that can be found along the hiking trails to the summit.

Third grade students from Clinton Elementary School

Photo by Dan Cassidy

Mystery claw not so mysterious

Roland Scores and Outdoorsby Roland D. Hallee

Last weekend, while we were getting ready to open camp for the summer, we did some raking of leaves along with some of our camp neighbors. While raking a section of road, our friends alerted me to something they found. It was definitely a leg from some kind of large bird. My first thought was a raptor because of the size, and the presence of a large spur on the back of the leg. But my gut feeling was turkey. It had three toes and this one rather large talon on the back of the leg. Now, I have never hunted turkey, and never really paid much attention to the species, except when it’s on a platter on the Thanksgiving dinner table. Also, the part of the leg that was found is usually removed from the holiday fowl.

It didn’t take much research to confirm my suspicion. It was the leg of a turkey, pretty well picked clean of all meat. The only thing that confused me was the color of the feathers remaining on the leg. They were reddish in color. But, it was definitely turkey.Turkey leg photo small

The next question in my mind was what could have taken down a bird of that size. More investigation showed the foot print of the bird to be three inches. A mature male tom turkey would have a footprint of about six inches, while an adult female would be about four inches. So, this fowl was probably a poult, or young turkey, a more manageable target for a predator.

From the time an egg is laid, there is a predator looking for a ready-made omelet. Snakes of all descriptions, skunks, crows and ravens, opossums, raccoons, rodents, dogs and coyotes, even domestic cats, to name a few, are on the lookout for a nest and an easy lunch. If the eggs survive to hatching, things don’t get any easier. Hawks, owls, foxes and other large predators like cougars and eagles in some parts of the country love to find a brood from which they can grab a young, unsuspecting poult.

But the list goes on. Predators on poults can include bald eagles, barred owls, red-tailed hawks and broad-winged hawks, all of which exist around our camp. Mortality of poults is greatest in the first 14 days of life, especially of those roosting on the ground. Add to that list of predators coyotes, gray wolf, bobcats, cougars and even black bears, and the turkey population could take a considerable hit.

As noted earlier, the large spur on the talon was something I had never seen before, and didn’t think existed on a turkey. Occasionally, if cornered, adult turkeys may try to fight off predators, and large male toms can be especially aggressive in self-defense. When fighting off predators, turkeys may kick with their legs, using the spurs on the back of their legs as a weapon.

The turkey was Benjamin Franklin’s choice for the United States’ national bird. It was a favored food of Native Americans. Yet, by the early 20th century, wild turkeys no longer roamed over much of their traditional range. They had been wiped out by hunting and the disappearace of their favored woodland habitat.

Historically, in Maine, wild turkeys existed in significant numbers in southern counties. From the time of settlement, until 1880 agricultural practices intensified, farmland comprised about 90 percent of York and Cumberland counties. The reduction in forest land and unrestricted hunting are believed to be the two most important factors leading to the extirpation of native wild turkeys in Maine in the early 1800s.

Attempts to reintroduce turkeys in Maine began in 1942, but several attempts to restock the bird failed. Over the years, farms became abandoned and land was reverted back to forest.

In 1977 and 1978, 41 wild turkeys were obtained from Vermont and released in York and Cumberland counties. In 1984, 19 birds were captured in York County and released in Hancock County. To make a long story short, the population continued to grow. Today, in the 2000s, the wild turkey population is high in Maine. The flock in Maine is now estimated at more than 60,000 birds and growing. They now exists in all 16 Maine counties.

In the end, the restocking of wild turkeys – nearly wiped off the American landscape – has been a conservation success story. But, has it been too successful. Like mentioned earlier, the flock is continually growing – good news for the Thanksgiving table – but bad news for those who have seen the turkeys destroy their crops. Turkeys are now present in 49 states – only Alaska is void of them.

Farmers, especially in Maine, don’t like the birds. A flock of 20 turkeys can go down a row in the orchard and peck an apple here and there, and destroy $10,000 in apples in an hour. Not only that, but turkeys also compete for the same foods as the white-tailed deer.

We’re still not sure what killed and consumed that particular turkey. A close look at the bones didn’t show any evidence of claw or teeth marks – maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of the TV series Bones, but we do know it lurks in the campground. And it has a taste for turkey.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

In the 13 years between 1957 and 1969, what of significance happened during the NBA playoffs?

Every day is Mothers Day

GardenWorksHow you made it through bringing the four of us kids and dad up with any sanity left is amazing to me. I know each one of us with our own little unique personalities made for a lot of challenging events for your life. You weathered us well.

And yes, I included dad as another child because as most women realize men stay children much longer than women. If anyone disagrees with me they only have to try talking on a phone (they think their needs come first just as kids do) or have their husband become ill (so much for the stronger sex theory!).
Most of us women don’t even realize the strength of our mothers until we become mothers ourselves. Then that respect only gets stronger the older we get.

Mothers have so many hats to wear in one day; the hats have to be stacked one on top of the other. Gees, where do you start? Let’s see: cooks, cleaners, laundry woman (I want my pink top, why didn’t you wash it? Answer: Would it be because it’s on the bottom of your closet instead of the laundry hamper?), taxi, doctor, nurse, maid, organizer, counselor (I love him so much, mom, I’ll never get over him!), teacher for everything from eating, talking, shoe tying, etc. Oh yeah, and more than likely all of this while you’re responsible for another full time job outside the home.

When the kids grow up and leave home (if you’re lucky) the teaching doesn’t end there. Yes, we learned a lot growing up but even then you are still teaching us through our questions (See now we realize how smart you are!) about our own homes, spouses and children (your precious, over-active grandchildren!). Then, when we become grandparents’ there are still times when we look to you for guidance.

Of course all these years you were teaching us about life (Life 101) by your example. We (hopefully) learned how to multi-task (sick kid on the hip and still doing laundry and cooking dinner!). Tough times you showed us by example how to suck-it-up and keep putting one foot in front of the other and work our way through them.

Naturally we don’t realize until we have children of our own, how much pain a mother can endure. See, we never realized how every time we were hurt physically or emotionally you were hurting right along with us. It’s not until we are much older we realize that never does change.

There is no way to put on paper all the things we have to be grateful for in our lives with you. One day of attention a year (courtesy of another Hallmark holiday) just is not enough to show you that we really have learned and we do finally, really appreciate you.

Still every day, even now mom you are teaching me how to breeze through growing older. The difference is hopefully I’m smarter now and I pay attention to every little detail! I guess once you become a mom, you are always a mom is really true.

I’m so glad you are my mom and I know I speak for Blake, Lyn, Pete, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

You are so loved and appreciated.

I’m just curious if you all believe like I do that Mothers Day and Fathers Day should be much more than a Hallmark Holiday once a year. Contact me at


PlatterPerspectiveby Peter Cates

Some more non-classical examples of recorded sound:

Harry James: I Wish I Knew; The More I See You; Columbia- 36794, ten-inch 78, recorded 1-3-1945.

The great trumpeter Harry James (1916-1983) had already considerable experience performing, when he was hired by Benny Goodman at the very young age of 20, and his mostly extroverted playing of both highly virtuosic and Harry-Jameswide-ranging musical dimension reinforced the previously surging appeal of the BG band. He enjoyed working with Goodman, stayed almost three years, even when other key players such as Gene Krupa were leaving to start their own bands and, a year after, left, with Benny’s blessing and some financial backing, to find his own group.

The band was a smashing success until just after World War II, when the young audiences became more singer-oriented while the death knell sounded for so many of the top bands.

However, during its heyday, James made a large number of fine 78s with singers Frank Sinatra, Connie Haynes, Dick Haymes, Helen Forrest, etc. The 1945 record features two very good vocalists who came towards the end of the war. Kitty Kallen, who died this past January at 94, sings, very nicely, the otherwise average I Wish I Knew while Buddy Di Vito does a superb The More I See You – I have been a big admirer of Kallen for years and own numerous recordings but am not at all familiar with Di Vito. The strings added wonderfully to James’s records despite the endless carping of jazz purists.

Finally, he was quite famous for his 22 year marriage to actress Betty Grable.

Muggsy_SpanierMuggsy Spanier and his Ragtimers: Snag It: Angry; Commodore 616, ten-inch 78, recorded April, 1944.

Spanier (1901-1966) was noted for his mastery of the cornet as well as the trumpet. He assembled a half dozen of the finest instrumentalists then alive, including clarinettist Pee Wee Russell, trombonist Miff Mole, guitarist Eddie Condon, pianist Dick Cary and two others, to cut these two roaring examples of Dixieland at its best, the A side Snag It being an original composition by King Oliver, one of Dixieland’s founding fathers.

The 1947 Plymouth Deluxe

by Roland D. Hallee

I’m going to begin this new series by taking a look at the 1947 Plymouth Deluxe.

Why, you ask?

Well, to begin with, that was the year I was born. It is also the first car I remember being owned by my dad – he bought it used. I can still see it, with its splashing gray color, sitting in the garage.

The Plymouth Deluxe was a full-sized automobile – my dad would have nothing else – produced by Plymouth from 1946-1950. It came in two trim levels, the Deluxe and the top-of-the-line Special Deluxe. As the war in Europe wound down, the U.S. government slowly began allowing the automobile industry to return to the car-making business. It had been four years since any new cars had been built, and those cars still on the road were beginning to show their age. “The more you know about the new Plymouth… the more convinced you are that not all the beauty is on the surface. You can’t see them all, but you can feel them in action,” was the advertising push.

Plymouth’s new models for 1946 were once again offered in two series, the P15S Deluxe and P15C Special Deluxe. Deluxe body styles included a four-door sedan, two-door sedan, club coupe, and business coupe. Special Deluxes added a convertible coupe and wood-body station wagon to the line-up. Waiting lists were common at dealerships. Those wanting a new car placed their name, and often a cash deposit, with the dealer. Customers hoped that as new cars became available, they would move up the list until it was their turn to take delivery. Car buyers with their name on every dealer’s list in town were not uncommon; reports of money paid under the table were common, as were scalpers who would put their new car on the market at a price considerably higher than they had paid for it.

The first post-war Plymouth, a P15S Deluxe, came off the line October 22, 1945 (Ironically, October 22 is also my birthday). Special Deluxes would follow four days later. Bodies for the P15 Plymouths were virtually unchanged from 1942, with only minor trim differences. “Engineering magic greets you right from the start. You don’t grope for a starter button or pedal. You don’t pull on a choke. You simply turn the ignition key – and the engine starts,” said the advertising brochure.

Plymouth literature claimed 50 improvements over the pre-war cars; many were of little significance but were changes nonetheless. Mechanically there were few changes. The 217 cubic inch engine stayed the same and was still rated at 95 horsepower, attained at 3,600 rpm instead of 3,400 rpm. An economy engine package using a smaller intake manifold and carburetor with one-inch bore returned to the option list. Aluminum pistons replaced the cast iron ones that had been mandated during the war. Like many vendors, Carter couldn’t supply enough of their model D6G 1 carburetors to meet Plymouth’s production demands; Stromberg, which normally supplied Ford, provided its model 3-84 carburetor. Replacing the disposable oil filter was a new cleanable canister that contained a replacement cartridge. “Outside and in, it’s a completely new Plymouth. Compare it feature for feature. Sit in it.

Ride in it. Drive it. Then you’ll surely agree,” continued their sales pitch.

I don’t quite remember how long my dad had that Plymouth, but his track record was three years. I do remember though that his next car, for whatever reason, was a 1950 Mercury. From that point on, my dad went strictly General Motors.

Bradstreet estate to be sold at auction

On Saturday, May 7, DownEast Auctions will sell the longtime collection of Joseph A. Bradstreet. As a young man, he and partner Walter White started White & Bradstreet, in Augusta. In 1953, they began selling used auto parts and doing towing work. They later expanded to used and rebuilt truck parts. Today, White & Bradstreet is one of the largest truck salvage yards in the state of Maine.

In 1988 Bradstreet started the Betty & Joe Bradstreet Transportation Museum, in Palermo. He collected and restored antique cars and trucks. He also collected and displayed an impressive collection of automobile related signs and automobilia. Anyone entering the 60-foot x 100-foot museum building will be amazed at the number and quality of the signs and vehicles displayed. One of the highlights of the auction will be a fully-restored 1937 Cadillac, 4-door sedan. Joe loved trucks; and his favorite was the 1960 Mack B-70. Other impressive trucks are the 1931 International and the 1942 International; both with handcrafted oak stake bodies.

The property consists of 29 acres with four buildings; large two-family home built in 1985. The home has three fireplaces with an impressive library and woodwork, with attached two-car garage. The museum building is 60-feet x 100-feet with nine bays. There is also a two bedroom house with custom woodwork with a heated two-car detached garage. This home would make a great caretaker’s home or office.

The entire property will be offered at the May 7 auction; if not under contract before sale day. The contents of all buildings will be sold: including antique vehicles, work vehicles, unrestored Cadillacs, many unrestored heavy duty trucks, porcelain signs, automobilia, tools, equipment, and Moosehead furniture. Come out for a full day of selling and buying a piece of history. There are so many items to sell, two auctioneers may sell simultaneously. Sale will be catered. Please bring a chair, a limited supply will be available.

For more information on the real estate or to arrange a showing, call Chris Vallee at Vallee Real Estate, 207-622-2220. For more information, visit for photos and terms, or call DownEast Auctions at 207-548-2393.

New Kennebec County Sheriff sworn in

On April 5, Sheriff Ryan Reardon, right, was officially sworn in as Kennebec County Sheriff, having been appointed Ryan Reardon sworn inby Governor Paul LePage. Reardon had been serving as acting sheriff since September 28, 2015, following the departure of former Sheriff Randall Liberty, who became Warden of the Maine State Prison. Administering the oath is former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Libby Mitchell, of Vassalboro, a dedimus judge. Reardon has been a law enforcement officer for 23 years serving with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office and the Waterville Police Department.

He resides in Oakland with his wife Kathy, and children Grady, Liam and Laney.


IfWallsCouldTalkWALLS, do you truly believe we can write about everything that transpired last week with our intent of bringing present, past and future happenings for our faithful readers within the last week? It’s your choice where we start. With my busy calendar?

O.K. let’s do it.

Yes, since the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce had a Business After Hours at Somerset Public Health on April 21, let’s tell faithful readers about that evening. Yes, it was a real surprise but worth every minute and every mouth-full (the food was marvelous!) and “Bill” McPeck’s presentation that concerned worksite wellness was definitely enlightening. We of CATV-11 will have Bill on Now You Know soon and that presentation with Chris Perkins as host will be for each of us.

On Now You Know on April 20, we all received education by way of Jeff Johnson who is the executive director of Child Care Options. For sure, Jeff gave us insight into children’s behaviors. What’s more, Child Care Options on Bigelow Hill, in Skowhegan, is a subject that expectant parents, young parents and grandparents can benefit from. Jeff told everyone that the organization has offices in Augusta and in Skowhegan, and pertain to children from newborn to seven years of age.

Oh, and since Earth Day was on April 22, WALLS want you to know that East Madison, known as the first Madison, and that once had seven industries, which included a large woolen mill, until the paper industry learned the power of water-for-the-mill, and

East Madison was also the location of the first Earth Day in the USA. How come? Well, the late Joe Denis and I had organized the East Madison students of all ages and we did ask for use of a Madison Highway Department dump truck, but the, then-Madison Highway Commissioner simply could not have the dump truck available for Earth Day. Well, there was a solution. Do the Earth Day pickup the day before! The East Madison young people would walk with Joe Denis and Katie would drive the dump truck! It was a truly fun day, and the youngsters wondered what the ‘old still’ that was found in long grass along the way could possibly be used for.

The Denises remembered Prohibition days, but didn’t have time for explanations, as East Madison store owner (the late) Donald Perkins had a lunch waiting for all who were doing so much for this little town.

Well, faithful readers, WALLS would be remiss if you didn’t read about the home that Lew and Katie owned in Little Falls, New York. That area was absolutely full of interesting U.S. history, but little did we know that, when Lew removed a board in the basement of our nearly 200-year-old house that, surely, the place we called ‘home’ had housed slaves who traveled The Underground Railroad. Yes, when the news of Harriet Tubman’s photo replacing Andrew Jackson on our $20 bill, will be a part of our ‘history of today,’ we read Harriet Tubman’s story and learned she was born a slave who took pride in being an active abolitionist who helped slave friends escape via the Underground Railroad of which our house in Little Falls had, obviously, been a part. Yes, WALLS, we are proud.
Yes, we are very proud to be home in Maine.