“The Secret” to be unveiled in Palermo

Joy, health, money, relationships, love, happiness – everything you have ever wanted – are all part of “The Secret.” In this astonishing film are ALL the resources you will need to understand and live in this matrix of abundance.

For the first time in history, leading scientists, authors, and philosophers will reveal The Secret that utterly transformed the lives of all who have lived it: Plato, Newton, Carnegie, Beethoven, Shakespeare, and Einstein. Anybody who wants to change the direction of his or her life is invited to join a group of friendly neighbors on Friday, September 28, at the Palermo Community Center at 630 Turner Ridge Rd. for a potluck meal at 6 p.m., followed by the showing in the cozy screening room downstairs. For more info or directions, please contact Connie Bellet at 993-2294 or e-mail pwhitehawk@fairpoint.net.

Palermo Legion holds annual awards ceremony

From left to right, Commander Clayton York presented Boys State Award to Hagan Wallace, and Girls State Award to Elizabeth Sugg, along with Ladies Auxiliary President Deana Stearns.

Article by Legion Financial Officer, Roger Blomquist
Photos Courtesy of Carol Blomquist and Nancy York

On September 18, American Legion Malcolm Glidden Post #163, in Palermo, held its annual Boys and Girls State Achievement Awards, and presented Certificates for Length of Service to Legion members and Ladies Auxiliary.

The formal ceremony awards and certificates were presented by Post Commander Clayton York; Sergeant at Arms Tony Horak; Ladies Auxiliary President Deana Stevens; and Chaplain Norma Shorey. Guests and recipients were offered refreshments and fresh baked goodies, prepared by the Ladies Auxiliary.

Janet Potter, of the Ladies Auxiliary, was presented with a 50-year certificate.

Legionnaire Steve McPherson, and Ladies Auxiliary Barbara McPherson, both received 30-year certificates.

Legionnaire George McKennay and Ladies Auxiliary Bev McKennay both received 50-year certificates.

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Sheepscot Lake annual water quality update

teens sailing on Sheepscot Lake

David Tyndall, of Kittery, photographed these teens sailing on Sheepscot Lake, in Palermo.

by Carolyn Viens
Sheepscot Lake Association

Water quality testing on Sheepscot Lake has been done since 1977, initially by the Maine State DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) and for the past eight years by the Sheepscot Lake Association (SLA). Again this year, as with previous years, the testing has demonstrated the outstanding health of the lake we all enjoy throughout the year.

Approximately every two weeks from June through September the SLA tests for water clarity, dissolved oxygen from the surface down to the deepest part of the lake, and for phosphorous. The testing is done by a Lake Steward of Maine Certified Lake Monitor from the SLA Board of Directors. The water clarity is tested using a Secchi disk and scope. The Secchi disk is a plain black and white circular disk 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter used to measure water transpar­ency or turbidity in bodies of water. The disc is mounted on a tape measure, and lowered slowly down in the water. The depth at which the disk is no longer visible is taken as a measure of the transparency of the water. This measure is known as the Secchi depth, and is considered the standard methodology for measuring water clarity.

The SLA Monitor also tests for dissolved oxygen using a YSI Pro 20 dissolved oxygen meter, and collects standardized samples for phosphorus which are analyzed in state labs to determine the amount present. The measure of total phosphorus in Sheepscot averages 7 ppb (parts per billion). The state average for tested lakes is 12 ppb. This is good news as phosphorus is a nutrient that feeds algae and other aquatic plants, all of which can become a nuisance; even to the point of requiring physical cutting and removal to allow recreational and sport activities. Fortunately, this has not been a problem in Sheepscot Lake. When this natural element lands in the water algae thrives on it. Phosphorus comes from soil that is washed into the lake from rain and snow melt as well as from fertilizer and leaking septic systems. Human development along lake shores results in five to 10 times more phosphorous than from undeveloped land. There is also a threat of additional phosphorous from fish die-offs, such as when alewives, should they be in a lake, spawn and, during low water years, cannot leave the lake at the end of their cycle.

Meanwhile, the LakeSmart program is available to any lakefront homeowner who is interested in learning how their property impacts the lake. The program provides education on how to minimize runoff from lakefront properties as well as recommendations and certification for lakefront properties. If you are interested in having your property evaluated at no cost or obligation, please email the lake association at sheepscotlakeassoc@gmail.com. Some general guidelines for minimizing impact to the lake is to leave trees in place as they slow down rain water, create a shorefront buffer of natural leaves, pine needles, ground cover and native shrubs. Mow grass to a three-inch height minimum and leave the clippings on the ground. Or, better yet, eliminate grass and encourage native vegetation to hold the soil back from entering the lake. Make paths meander so water won’t rush straight down into the lake. Maintain camp roads to slow down erosion.

In addition to the lake quality testing regularly performed and the LakeSmart program, SLA also manages an invasive plant patrol. This courtesy boat inspection (CBI) program is funded mostly by grants from the town of Palermo, Maine DEP and SLA member dues. The CBI program regularly inspects boats entering and exiting Sheepscot via the boat launch. The goals are to identify any invasive species plant parts hitchhiking into the lake by accident prior to a boat being launched and to emphasize boat self-inspection. Fortunately, Sheepscot Lake does not have any known invasive plants at this time. Lakes with this problem often spend thousands of dollars each year to control their infestation. The Sheepscot Lake Association can help you understand the threats and the solutions. You do not need to be an association member to receive these benefits.

Sheepscot Lake continues to be a wonderful resource for all Palermo residents and visitors to enjoy. With the continued attention on the health of the lake by us all, we will help it thrive for many, many years to come. To learn more about how you can help protect Sheepscot, please contact the lake association at sheepscotlakeassoc@gmail.com.

Enjoy the remainder of the summer!

Local couple takes trip to Alaska

up close with an Alaskan grizzly bear

by Pat Clark


As fellow travelers, Pat and Clair Clark, of Palermo, certainly enjoyed the Alaska trip along with Ron Brown and Jim Proctor, in Marilyn Rogers’ recent article (Solon and Beyond, August 30, 2018 issue of The Town Line) from Skowhegan. In addition to things Ron described, they were fortunate to see visit Native Alaskan historical sites, the AlCan highway, the Alyeska pipeline, a gold dredge, the Iditarod museum and several racing huskies.

Denali Park was good to them with many wildlife sightings and Denali the mountain appeared briefly but enough for a picture. It is apparently visible only 25-30 percent of the time.

(all photos by Pat Clark)

the peak of Mt. Denali, which is usually covered with clouds 75 percent of the time and not visible

Alaska’s glaciers

Browne named to dean’s list at Coastal Carolina University

More than 2,000 Coastal Carolina University students were named to the dean’s list for the Spring 2018 semester, in Conway, South Carolina.

Among those named to the dean’s list: Andrew Browne, a Communication major from Vassalboro.

Palermo’s Branch Mills Grange hosts annual awards dinner

Grange Master Ann Bako presents the Spirit of America Award to Ephraim Staples.

Palermo’s Branch Mills Grange #336 hosted its annual awards dinner on August 9. The grange presents two awards annually. Above, the Spirit of America award which is to honor a person for their commendable community service. The recipient of the 2018 Spirit of America Award was Ephraim Staples. Right, the second is the Grange Award to express gratitude for the time, effort and donations that a non-member contributes to the grange. This year’s recipient is Nancy Beekley. Grange Master Ann Bako made both presentations.

Photos by Mary Haskell

Grange Master Ann Bako presents the Grange Award to Nancy Beekley.

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Where is SLA getting their information?

by Frank Richards
President, Webber Pond Assn.

Recently, representatives of the Sheepscot Lake Association have referred to Webber Pond in articles about alewives submitted to The Town Line. I am writing to respond. I am the president of the Webber Pond Association.

I think it’s important for the public to know that in the last 20 years, sea run alewives have been restored to Webber, Sebasticook, Three Mile, and Togus ponds. People living on those lakes are generally happy with the result.

Sea run alewives are anadromous. The adults live in the ocean and, like salmon, spawn in fresh water. They need passage to get to their spawning grounds.

Afterwards, the adults go back to the ocean, get eaten, or die. The juveniles live in the lake during the summer and then egress back to the ocean in the fall. It’s not unusual to see them leave Webber Pond in August. It’s not unusual to see them leave Webber Pond in November.

Again, they need passage to make the journey. It is possible (but rare) for them to become entrapped and die – if egress is obstructed or insufficient.

There is another species of alewife, the landlocked alewife, which is common in New York. However, sea run alewives do not become “landlocked” in the sense of ever adapting to living in a pond year round.

Sea run alewives are the way nature exchanges nutrients between the marine and inland ecosystems. They were substantially extirpated by the building of dams during the 1800s. Twenty years ago, the Maine Department of Marine Resources began to restore these useful fish.

Additional spawning areas mean that more adult alewives are in the ocean to support the marine fishery; by serving as forage for haddock, cod, stripers, and other ocean fish.

They are harvested during the spawning run and have already created a multi-million dollar lobster bait industry.

Alewives also benefit inland lakes. As the juveniles grow during the summer, they sequester phosphorus in their tissues. Because there are tons of little alewives, there is less phosphorus in the water to fuel algae blooms. They take it away in the fall when they leave.

Locally, Webber Pond, Sheepscot Lake, Three Mile, and Togus Pond all substantially cleared following the restoration of sea run alewives. However, the little fish are not magic. All those lakes still experience blooms from time to time.

Twenty years ago, alewife restoration was controversial. The Webber Pond Association assented to it somewhat reluctantly.

Because of successful restorations on a number of lakes, alewives are more positively received today – except in Palermo, where the Sheepscot Lake Association is engaged in a political campaign to block returning them to Sheepscot Lake.

I have been following a recent series of articles from representatives of SLA and 2 critical responses, by people I do not know. In my opinion, the objections to “slippery facts” are justified.

For example, [in the September 14, 2017], issue of The Town Line, an article by Roland Hallee is cited to promote the idea that alewives are adding to the nutrient load of Webber Pond. Roland is the editor of The Town Line and also a member of the Webber Pond Association.

This was not a science article. It was a summary of last year’s meeting of the Webber Pond Association, where a discussion occurred about a complex, mathematical, nutrient import/export model.

The officers and directors of the Webber Pond Association have questions about how many is too many. At a minimum, we believe we have way more than we need and support increasing the harvest.

Last year, our vice president made comments about the run increasing so much that we might be getting to the point where spawning adults were bringing in more nutrients than the juveniles were taking out. He spoke in good faith and used appropriate caveats.

It’s a fact that he raised the issue. It’s not a fact that a nutrient imbalance actually occurred. For that you would need measurements and an assessment by a qualified person.

Our vice president also attended the recent Sheepscot Lake Association meeting. He was the one who asked, “If you don’t mind my asking where did you hear something like that?’ when someone referred to mass die offs on Webber and problems with the fishery.

He advised that he’d lived on the pond for 30 years and there had been no mass die offs. Similarly fishing was good. Funny, nobody thanked him for setting the record straight.

It isn’t clear where the Sheepscot Lake Association is getting its information. They haven’t reached out to any of the nearby lake associations.

Similarly, it isn’t clear who they are using as their science advisor, or even if any specific person with appropriate credentials is working with them. I know that they have not consulted with the Department of Marine Resource, which with 20 years of restorations behind it now, is one of the leading agencies in the country with respect to alewife restoration.

I can confidently assert that it would be difficult to find an appropriately credentialed person who would back up many of the claims SLA is making in The Town Line. If there is one, maybe SLA can get them to step forward and write an article. I am all but certain that Roland will print it.

Community Commentary is a forum The Town Line makes available for citizens to express their opinions on subjects of interest to our readers. The Town Line welcomes, and encourages, differing opinions, counterpoints or opposing views. Keep the rebuttals positive, and informative, as submissions containing personal attacks will be rejected.

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Sheepscot Lake Association continues scientific monitoring of water quality

Alewives by John Burrows (source: mainerivers.org)

by Carolyn Viens
Sheepscot Lake Association

In response to a recent editorial by John Glowa I felt compelled to reinforce to our community the fact-based research and data that support the concern by the Sheepscot Lake Association as well as many local residents regarding the opening of Sheepscot Dam and the waterway. This discussion and the presence of alewives and other migratory fish is not new to Sheepscot Lake. As many will recall, alewives and sea lampreys were present in the past due to IF&W opening the dam. As a result of the detrimental effect of these anadromous visitors becoming land locked due to low water levels, similar to the levels still experienced, the fishway was later closed in an effort to restore sport fishing and eliminate the phosphorous loading from dying fish. The local residents’ concern is not over anadromous fish restoration but rather the implications when those fish become landlocked, as was the case in the 60’s until the dam was closed.

I reference an article in The Town Line from September 2017 regarding Webber Pond and the impact of alewives. It was stated the trapped alewife added to the nutrient load at Webber and the pond “reached a saturation point” for which the alewives were as much a deficit as a benefit. According to this article, “alewife presence in the lake may have exceeded the tipping point in the lake. Specifically, the alewife count in 2010 was 83,905, and 2016 was estimated at 353,470. Charles Backenstose, Webber Pond Association Vice President, questioned how many alewives were too many. “Over population could affect water quality,” he suggested. It is believed that with the number of alewives entering the pond, they may be bringing in more nutrients to contribute to algae blooms than they are taking out in the fall.”

Over several years in the ‘60s, as mentioned earlier, Sheepscot suffered the effects of anadromous fishes in the lake. The resulting reduction of sport fishing catch and health of the fish caught during those times was noted by residents. One of the reasons thought to be have caused this was the increased presence of Thiamonase, which destroys Vitamin B-1 in fishes such as lake trout and salmon. It has been shown in studies by the USGS to affect the health of the offspring of lake trout and salmon feeding on large numbers of land locked and anadromous alewives who carry this toxic enzyme. The result is the death of those offspring soon after hatching. This may have contributed to the reduced catches experienced before the fishway was closed, however definitive research simply has not been done. The remedial action of closing the fishway during the spawning migrations took decades to show results but did slowly reduce the incidence of sickly fish and lamprey wounding to today’s healthy level.

The Sheepscot Lake Association regularly monitors lake water quality with world class equipment and certified data collectors in cooperation with the Maine Lake Stewards organization. The purpose of this activity is to establish a database by which we can detect early fluctuations before any situation escalates. This will help ensure any necessary action is identified through direct observation and implemented on a timely basis to protect the lake. Sheepscot Lake has excellent water quality and good sport fishing, and we are all working hard to protect the health of Sheepscot and everything that lives in and around the lake for future generations.

Community Commentary is a forum The Town Line makes available for citizens to express their opinions on subjects of interest to our readers. The Town Line welcomes, and encourages, differing opinions, counterpoints or opposing views. Keep the rebuttals positive, and informative, as submissions containing personal attacks will be rejected.

Nelsons celebrate long family history with reunions

In the Spring of 1862 church bells rang out over the land, as President Lincoln called for volunteers. In Palermo, Maine, Erastus Foote Nelson was hoeing potatoes. He stuck his hoe in the row he was hoeing and walked to the Branch. When he returned home he told his wife, “Eliza, war has been declared. I have enlisted and am to go to Augusta tomorrow.”

Eliza was left with a farm and four children to care for. Wesley was seven years old, Prince was five, Oville was three, Harriet was two and a new baby on the way. As Eliza recounted to her granddaughter, “I put my wool on my shoulders and carried it to the Branch, had it carded and went to work spinning and knitting. We got along real good. The boys helped real good. When I wrote Erastus that I had a baby boy the day after Christmas, he wrote back on a piece of brown paper, “Name the boy Yeaton Dutton for my two tentmates who have been shot besides me.”

Erastus served with the 19th Maine Infantry from 1862 to 1865. He returned to Palermo and the farm on the hill that is currently the home of Keith Nelson and his sister Jacqueline. The family of Erastus and Eliza grew to include nine children, all of whom were born in Palermo. Erastus Nelson died of pneumonia in 1885. His wife Eliza died in 1921.

The first organized Nelson Family Reunion was held at the home of Erastus son, Frank, on the Western Ridge Rd., in Palermo. This reunion has been held every year since then. Some years it has been held in New Hampshire or Vermont where some of the family settled. This year, the 93rd annual Nelson reunion will be held on Saturday, August 11, at the home of Bob and Marion Foster, in Albion. Marion is the great-great-granddaughter of Erastus and Eliza.

The family of Erastus and Eliza Nelson, circa 1814.

Sheepscot Lake Association holds annual meeting

Members of the Sheepscot Lake Association listen to guest speaker Dennis Brown (below), of the Highland Lake Association, located outside Falmouth. (Contributed photos)

Dennis Brown, of the Highland Lake Association

The Sheepscot Lake Association held its annual meeting on Wednesday, July 25th to a packed audience at the Palermo Library. Our guest speaker was Dennis Brown of the Highland Lake Association, located outside Falmouth. He spoke of their efforts to protect the water quality of their lake and to research the cause for its recent decline, thought to be associated with excess landlocked alewives. He also provided guidance to the lake association in our efforts to protect our lake from fish that have become landlocked in the past, and their impact to the fishing and recreational benefits as well as general health of the lake.

The Association welcomed three new members to the board; Slater Claudel, Harry Webster, and Maria O’Rourke, as well as celebrated the contribution of three founding members who have retired; Eileen Kirby, Jean Ristaino, and Roger Blomquist.

If you were unable to attend, you can join or renew your membership to the Lake Association via mail. Dues are unchanged at $20/ individual, $30 per household and $50 to become a patron. Please mail your check to Sheepscot Lake Association, Inc., P.O. Box 300, Palermo, ME 04354.