Thomas named to the spring dean’s list at USC Upstate

Tristan Thomas, of Waterville, has been named to the Spring 2016 Dean’s List at the University of South Carolina Upstate, in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Free Thanksgiving dinner at South China Community Church

An anonymous friend has given a generous donation to the South China Community Church to purchase food for a Thanksgiving dinner. Church volunteers will prepare and serve the free home cooked meal of turkey and all the “fixins” for as many as 100 people at noon on Wednesday, November 23. Take-out dinners will be available by calling 445-4111 on that day.

All are welcome, and we especially invite those who are in need, alone or unable to cook for themselves. If you know of a needy family, please ask them to join us too. And, to those of you who have enjoyed our turkey pie suppers this year, we hope to see you so that we can thank you for your friendship and support with a free meal.

We look forward to seeing each of you for this special holiday meal.

The South China Community Church, a multi-denominational congregation, is located at 246 Village Street.


Palermo: Election returns from Nov. 8

Results of the 2016 general election from the town of Palermo are:


Hillary Clinton: 308
Jill Stein: 18
Gary Johnson: 60
Donald Trump: 467


Question 1 (marijuana) Yes: 353 No: 510
Question 2 (tax for education) Yes: 377 No: 487
Question 3 (gun background checks) Yes: 258 No: 609
Question 4 (minimum wage) Yes: 392 No: 473
Question 5 (ranked choice voting) Yes: 380 No: 472
Question 6 (bond issue) Yes: 456 No: 399

CONGRESS – 2nd District

Emily Cain: 361
Bruce Poliquin: 491
State senator: District 11
Jonathan S. Fulford: 345
Michael D. Thibodeau: 512
Rep. to Legislature: District 96
R. Ryan Harmon: 544
Stanley Paige Zeigler Jr.: 292
County commissioner(District 3)
Amy Fowler: 750
Probate Judge
Susan W. Longley: 512
Susan C. Thiem: 284
Register of Probate
Sharon W. Peavey

Town of Palermo: 2016 Shoreland Zoning Ordinance

Yes: 410
No: 407
Total Ballots Cast: 890

Erskine Academy announces Mr. EA competition

The 14th annual “Mr. EA” Competition will be held on Friday, November 18th at 7:00 pm in the James V. Nelson gymnasium. Twelve senior boys will compete in the categories of talent, recreational wear, and personal interview for the coveted title of “Mr. EA”. Admission to the show is $5 and tickets can be purchased at the door. All proceeds will benefit the Class of 2017.

China: Newcomer, two incumbents elected to select board

by Mary Grow

Jeffrey LaVerdiere was the top vote-getter in a seven-way race for three seats on the China Board of Selectmen, with incumbents Joann Austin and Neil Farrington being re-elected to their seats. LaVerdiere received 1,119 votes, Austin 1,001 and Farrington 985.

Incumbent board Chairman Robert MacFarland was not re-elected, coming in fourth with 895 votes. Wayne Chadwick had 700 votes, Raymond Robert 460 and Albert Althenn 355.

All unopposed candidates on the ballot were elected or re-elected.

Eight of 12 local referendum questions were approved, as follows:

  • Expenditure of up to $12,000 to buy a piece of land adjoining the town office lot, yes 1,195, no 1,085.
  • Acceptance of the Wachusetts property off Lakeview Drive as a gift, yes 1,457, no 782.
  • Establishment of a Transfer Station Capital and Equipment Account to be funded by Palermo’s annual contribution beginning in 2017, yes 1,549, no 733.
  • Appropriation of $3,800 for a community needs assessment, yes 1,521, no 773.
  • Appropriation of an additional $5,000 for police services, yes 1,414, no 859.
  • Authorization to sell a recently acquired former portable classroom to the South China Library, yes 1,591, no 666.
  • Appropriation of $50,000 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds to the China Four Seasons Club for trail work, yes 1,404, no 879.
  • Appropriation of up to $10,000 from TIF funds to buy a piece of land across Causeway Street from the boat landing at the head of China Lake’s east basin, yes 1,249, no 1,031.

Of the other local questions:

  • Amendments to the Solid Waste Flow Control Ordinance were rejected with 930 in favor and 1,223 opposed.
  • Amendments to the Solid Waste Disposal Ordinance were rejected, 928 in favor and 1,214 opposed.
  • Amendments to the Land Development Code were rejected, 817 in favor to 1,248 opposed.
  • Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux’s request to create a $100,000 capital and equipment reserve account was rejected, 911 in favor to 1,354 opposed.

The three local ordinances will remain as they were. Neither transfer station hours nor land use regulations will change.

Town Clerk Rebecca Hapgood reported a total of 2,511 ballots cast. With an unusually high election-day registration of 187 new voters, she estimated China must have more than 3,000 registered voters.

China: Role of China forest committee discussed

by Mary Grow

China selectmen discussed two broad procedural questions at their Nov. 2 meeting (moved to Wednesday morning instead of the usual Monday evening because of Oct. 31 Halloween activities), leaving both to be rediscussed in the future.

The first was the role of the China Forestry Committee in relation to other committees and groups that deal with forests in town.

Forester Tim Basham, who asked for the meeting and serves on the forestry committee, sees it as having overarching responsibility for the school forest, Thurston Park, the forested area behind the transfer station and even, he said, cemeteries, since many of them have trees.

China school responsibilities are mostly separate from the town’s. The town has a Thurston Park Committee and a Cemetery Committee.

Selectman Joann Austin thinks the forestry committee is to “fill gaps” between the other committees and to educate and advise them if necessary.

One of Basham’s goals is to harvest in town forests to benefit the forests and to train aspiring harvesters. Whether the town or the trainee woodsmen would benefit financially was left unclear.

Retired teachers Anita Smith and Elaine Philbrook, who are also forestry committee members, focus on the school forest as a site for educational activities for students.

Austin sees educating students and training foresters as different goals, not necessarily compatible (or incompatible).

The school forest was cut heavily after the 1998 ice storm, Smith told selectmen. Forester Morton Moesswilde toured the property a couple years ago and recommended thinning some areas, a project she and Philbrook plan to pursue as an educational venture.

Next year, they said, is the 20th anniversary of the Maine Tree Farm award to the China school forest, which is used as an example for other school units.

Philbrook said she and Smith plan a more comprehensive presentation on school forest activities at a later date. Selectman Neil Farrington recommended continuing the discussion of committee roles at that meeting.

Selectman Ronald Breton raised the second procedural issue, when and why the town of China should seek bids for work done by outside contractors. The immediate issue is the new paving at the transfer station; Breton wants to go out for bid and was dissatisfied with Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux’s getting a cost estimate from the company that had China’s 2016 road paving bid.

The new paving is related to the relocated free-for-the-taking building, also known as the swap shop. Farrington pointed out another area that should be repaved to eliminate a puddle that freezes in the winter and, he said, creates a safety issue.

During the discussion that followed, selectmen established that China currently has no policy stating that work valued at over a certain amount must be bid out. Selectman Irene Belanger questioned the need for a policy, calling L’Heureux “a good, frugal manager.”

Board Chairman Robert MacFarland said since asphalt plants will be closing in two weeks, seeking paving bids this late in the season might not be practical. L’Heureux pointed out that selectmen put him in a difficult position when they tell him to fix things but not to increase the tax rate to do it.

The manager said he was aware of the icy place, but had applied only temporary remedies because there was no consensus on a permanent solution. Normally, he said, he takes care of minor problems as needed, even if they are not specifically listed in the year’s budget.

Selectmen voted unanimously to direct L’Heureux to address the safety issue. Their motion did not include the paving by the swap shop; it does allow the manager to have the same company’s representative do a cost estimate.

Selectmen agreed on a future discussion of whether there should be a town policy requiring bidding out work over a certain amount. The discussion might be at a regular meeting or at the selectmen’s annual post-election visioning meeting, which is also open to the public.

As the transfer station discussion began, Selectman Belanger alleged that the swap shop could have been a two-story building, providing additional storage space, at a lower cost; but, she said, “someone” told the town crew not to build it that way without board approval, and now it is too late.

L’Heureux said the new building is under budget.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting will be Monday evening, Nov. 14.

Vassalboro voters reject both local questions

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro voters rejected both local referendum questions at the polls Nov. 8. (ep)

The revised Shoreland Zoning Ordinance on which planning board members worked for a year was defeated by a vote of 981 yes to 1,186 no, leaving the current ordinance in place.

A request for an appropriation from surplus of not more than $58,600 as the town’s contribution toward installing sidewalks in East Vassalboro lost with 969 votes in favor and 1,360 against. Had voters approved the project, it would have been incorporated into the state’s planned rebuilding of Route 32 through Vassalboro, scheduled for 2017 or 2018.

In the other local ballot question, Frank Richards was elected to represent Vassalboro on the Kennebec Water District Board of Trustees with 2,135 votes.

Town Clerk Cathy Coyne, reporting results shortly after 2 a.m. Nov. 9, said 2,480 ballots were cast, what she called a record turnout. Vassalboro has 3,165 registered voters.

Vassalboro: Action postponed on marijuana application

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro Planning Board members postponed action on Leo Barnett’s application for a new building on Old Meadow Road, off Riverside Drive, in which tenants will grow marijuana for medical purposes, because the application he submitted at their Nov. 1 meeting was not complete.

Barnett said he plans a building about 28-by-140 feet just east of his subdivision on the same road. The map he submitted showed the subdivision and the remaining lot where the building is planned, but it was not specific enough about the location and size of the building and access driveway, proposed lighting or landscaping to let board members make a decision on the project.

Board Chairman Virginia Brackett told Barnett the map submitted with a commercial application “becomes the largest piece of the record for the town showing what’s supposed to be where.” Therefore, she said, an accurate map is essential.

In addition, board members could not tell whether the area that would be developed, including roadways, would exceed 5,000 square feet. If it did, the project would be a major rather than a minor development, with somewhat different requirements under town ordinances.

Barnett said he will have a better map prepared for the board’s Dec. 6 meeting.

Five neighbors from Riverside Drive, Lewis Road and Holman Day Road attended the Nov. 1 meeting to voice concerns about the project, questioning its suitability in a residential area.

Barnett said licensed caregivers running the business will rent the new building from him and live close by in an existing building. He said he owns a similar property in Farmingdale and there have been no problems with his tenants or with neighbors.

Vassalboro: Board denies appeal

by Mary Grow

Acting on the town attorney’s advice, the Vassalboro Board of Appeals refused on procedural grounds to hear Jonathan Blumberg’s appeal of a permit granted to Bernard Welch for his South Stanley Hill Road property.
Codes Enforcement Officer Richard Dolby had granted Welch building and plumbing permits needed for a food-processing and storage building on the site of a burned-down chicken house on the property. Blumberg filed an appeal of the decision with the codes officer, but he did not supply the “appropriate appeal fee” of $100 required by the town ordinance, instead, he said, putting the money in an escrow account. Vassalboro’s ordinance does not allow for an escrow account, acting Board of Appeals Chairman John Reuthe said. Town Attorney Alton Stevens advised the board to find that without the fee, the appeal was not filed in the timely manner required by the ordinance, and to refuse to address the merits of the appeal.

The four board members present at its Oct. 27 meeting unanimously did so. Reuthe cut off Blumberg’s protests by adjourning the meeting.

“Mad Scientist” at Clinton Elementary School


Clinton Elementary students recently participated in a special assembly conducted by the Mad Science Group, of South Portland. This assembly was sponsored by the Clinton Lions Club and was a reward for meeting their positive behavior goals for the month of October. The school is implementing a positive behavior support program this year in which students earn “BARK” points for behavior that is accountable, respectful, kind and safe. The goal as a school for the month was 1,900 points and the students went above and beyond, achieving 2,264. Pictured, from left to right, the Mad Scientist, Aaliyah Eastland, Layla Gagnon, Skylah Reid, Cooper Beaulieu and Jake Begin.

Contributed photo