China Transfer Station coordinator: Volunteers needed for Earth Day cleanup on April 21

by Irene Belanger
China selectman

Thank you for your continued support of all the transfer station initiatives to “hold the line” on expenses! Once again April brings all of Palermo and China residents outside into warm spring days armed with rakes, large trash bags, and gloves to clean lawns and roadsides of winter debris. Volunteers are needed; April 21 is Earth Day and we will be cleaning roadsides of trash and other debris. Thank you to the Goodine Family and to the Boy Scout Troop #479 for their past years of volunteerism. Please call me to volunteer so that we can plan accordingly. If there is any confusion, please meet at the South China Community Church or China Baptist Church between 8:30 and 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 21, to be assigned roads for clean-up. We will provide trash bags and gloves and bottles of water for hydration. You may take the full bags to the China transfer station directly or call 445-3033 to have the trash bags picked up or other heavy items left on the roadsides.

Drug Take-Back Day for China and Palermo residents is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Kennebec Sheriff’s Office will again sponsor the event at the transfer station. The KSO will have an officer on site to receive the returned medications. This is a good opportunity to remove unneeded medications out of the hands of those who should not have access to them.

Palermo residents win battle over Sheepscot Lake dam opening

Sheepscot dam

by Carolyn Viens
Sheepscot Lake Assocation

The residents of Palermo have won a major battle in the opposition to LD922, the legislative bill mandating the opening of the Sheepscot Dam to alewives, and other migrating fishes which would have a negative impact on the health of the lake. Representative Jeffrey Pierce of the Maine House of Representatives, and sponsor of LD922, has agreed to withdraw the bill which is currently tabled in the Maine House upon request of Governor Paul LePage.

Following a meeting held with the governor, Mr. Pierce, Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIF&W), and Commissioner Keliher of the Maine Deparment of Marine Resources (DMR), it was determined that several expensive steps would need to be taken before such legislation should be considered. These steps include the addition of appropriate biosecurity systems deemed necessary to adequately protect the Palermo rearing station, the securing of funding from private sources to assist in installation of a system meeting the DIF&W criteria, and the determination of the appropriate timeframe to reopen the fish passage for sea run alewife once the necessary measures are in place at the Palermo rearing station. These steps would be extremely expensive and time consuming to complete, and as a result the legislation has been pulled and the removal of the fish gate will not be permitted.

This indefinite postponement is a direct result of the citizens of Palermo and the Sheepscot Lake Association showing their concern repeatedly during town meetings, as well as through communication with government representatives. It would not have been successful without the ongoing involvement of Senate President Michael Thibodeau, who continually gave support throughout this process.

Congratulations to all of you who took the time and made the effort for your voices to be heard through testifying, as well as the untold hours spent contacting legislators, writing letters and articles to the newspapers, and networking with people who could help the cause! It is a testament to the fact that our voices, collectively, were heard and that the government representatives listened! A special thank you for the Long Pond constituents who participated in both research, written articles, and testimony at the hearing, as well as everyone who invested their time and shared their voice, as well as those who listened, and cared. Sheepscot will continue to be the beautiful, pristine, and healthy lake shared by so many each year!

Coming of Age in Waldo County

Palermo Community Center (Photo by Connie Bellet)

As part of the Evolving Communities Presentation Series, the Palermo Community Center will present guest speaker Patricia Oh on Friday, March 30, following a potluck dinner at 6 p.m.

Patricia Oh, LMSW, is a liveable communities consultant with AARP Maine. She works with communities that want to adopt policies, make infrastructure changes, create social and recreational opportunities, and develop services to encourage everyone–from toddlers to centenarians–to be fully engaged in the community while enjoying good health and well-being. As part of her association with age-friendly communities in Maine, Ms. Oh works with a number of people who have formed a group called Aging Well in Waldo County, with the purpose of creating much more liveable, attractive towns that are easier to navigate without great dependence on private transportation. Waldo County is the first county that has joined the Liveable Communities Initiative.

Accessibility is an issue that is certain to arise during this discussion, as is isolation of many of our homebound and disabled citizens who do not drive. Bring your ideas, questions, and a dish to share! This round table of neighbors is sure to get you out of hibernation. The driveway off Turner Ridge Road is marked by a lit sign, and is right across from the ball field.

For more information, please call Connie Bellet at 993-2294, or e-mail

It’s Spring; time for Vidalia Onions!

By ryan griffis – originally posted to Flickr as Vidalia Onions, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Versatile Vidalia onions are coming into season and will arrive in Palermo on May 17. They’re big, sweet, and juicy, and you can order a 25-pound box of them for only $27. In a cool, dark place, Vidalia onions can keep for up to six months, especially if they do not touch one another. That gives you lots of time to bake them caveman-style in the embers, grill them wrapped in bacon and topped with cheesy crumbs, or caramelized and baked into rich quiches.

As long as your imagination is ignited, why not order some? Call Connie Bellet at 993-2294, or e-mail Be sure to include your phone number in your message, as we will call you as soon as we unload the onions off the truck. Payment needs to be received by April 27, and may be sent to: Living Communities Fdn., P.O. Box 151, Palermo, ME 04354.

If you go in with your neighbors (or plan to do some serious canning), you can get four boxes for $100. Proceeds from this sale go to the Palermo Community Center and the Palermo Food Pantry. Your community support is highly appreciated!

OPINION: Proponents of LD922 uninformed, not concerned

Alewives by John Burrows (source:


by Ursula Burke
Certified Water Monitor, Sheepscot Pond

It is alarming that those who favor passing bill LD922 are either uninformed or not concerned with the consequences of opening the fishway at the Sheepscot Pond dam to allow alewife herrings, American eels and sea lamprey eels access to the lake during spring spawning season.

Even the conservationists and environmentalists who tout restoring the historic spawning ground of native fish ignore history which will be repeated if this bill passes. During the 1970’s-80’s the fishway was opened and during seasons of low water levels sea lamprey eels became landlocked. They “wintered over” causing them to feed on the sport fish populations resulting in diminished catches and emaciated togue, landlocked salmon and bass.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife recognized the problem and closed the fishway during the spring spawning season. Now 30 some years later the lamprey population has diminished so that game fish are caught without lamprey wounds. They are healthier and of normal weight. The lake now hosts several fishing derbies every year.

If the supporters of LD922 were not distracted by the profit motive of alewife harvesting to supply bait for the lobster industry, they would take notice of the turnaround Sheepscot Pond has made and recognize the value of such a healthy and prolific lake to the community and all who now enjoy its recreational attributes not to mention supporting the tax base for Palermo.

LD922 offers us, the true stakeholders of Palermo and Sheepscot Pond, nothing but risk. It tramples on the rights of the “little guy” and feels downright un-American and wrong.

Have an opinion about something? You could be featured in our Community Commentary section! Send us an email at or visit our contact page.

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Slippery facts on Sheepscot Pond re-introduction of species

Alewives by John Burrows (source:

by Buck O’Herin
Montville resident

Feelings are running high in some communities about the potential re-introduction of sea-run fish species into Sheepscot Pond and the potential for these species to impact the fresh water fishery through disease and predation. The front page article in The Town Line newspaper on January 25 quoted several reasons why a couple of community groups oppose the re-introduction of these species. Many of the points listed were misleading and did not give appropriate context, and some were outright false.

It is crucial to remember that both alewives and sea lampreys are native to Maine and our rivers, lakes, and ponds. They both spend time at sea and migrate back to lakes and rivers to spawn. Sheepscot Pond represents 40 percent of the historic alewife habitat above Head Tide in the Sheepscot River. Many Maine lakes have healthy runs of alewives and other sea-run species and also maintain healthy populations of freshwater game fish. Alamoosook Lake, in Orland, has had an alewife migration for years, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a hatchery there. The lake has a healthy fresh water fishery that includes salmon, brook trout, brown trout, bass, and eel.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service tested alewives from the St. Croix River from 2014 to 2016 for seven different diseases. None were found to be carrying any diseases. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has been offered assistance to ensure there is proper filtration and disinfection of water at the Palermo facility. Even though most other IF&W hatcheries have this equipment, the Department has so far chosen not to accept the help.

Adult sea lamprey cannot survive in freshwater and die after spawning. As young adults, they are primarily trying to get to sea, not feed when they do attach to fresh water fish. It is very common to install small notches in a dam to make sure young adult lampreys can get to sea with a trickle of water, even if water is not flowing over the dam. Sea lamprey are probably already in Sheepscot Pond. They can get through the open fish ladder at the Coopers Mills Dam, into Long Pond, and over the Sheepscot Pond dam as long as water is flowing.

The proposal in front of the legislature would open the Sheepscot Pond fish ladder year-round, that IF&W currently blocks for two months of the year. Water already flows over the dam, especially in the spring. U.S. Geological Survey records show the Sheepscot River flows at an average of 734 cubic feet per second in April. The fish ladder at Sheepscot Pond is designed to use about 6 cubic feet per second. Allowing the fish ladder to be open increases flow to the river by only 0.82 percent. The lake level would not be significantly affected.

We should be thoughtful about how we make this decision and depend on the science. There is abundant evidence that restoring fish passage to the entire Sheepscot River is beneficial for all native fish species and the Sheepscot Pond ecosystem.

Dodgeball, basketball tourneys to benefit Jacob Seigars

Jacob Seigars

The Whitefield Elementary School’s National Junior Honor Society will host its 2nd annual Dodgeball Tournament on Friday, March 2, in the gym, beginning at 2:45 p.m. All proceeds from the tourney will help defray medical expenses for Jacob Seigars, a 13-year-old eighth graders who attends Palermo Consolidated School. He is an honor roll student and a multi-sport athlete, who is currently being treated for leukemia at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, in Portland.

Divisions will be grade 2-5 (2:45 – 4 p.m.; grades 6-8 (4 – 6 p.m.; adult and high school (7-9 p.m.)

Students in grades 6-8 can also join the adult bracket for an additional fee if they wish. The adult bracket includes all high school students and adults.

The cost to participate is $5 per person. Suggested spectator donations are $3 for adults and $2 students.

Registrations are accepted in advance or may be made at the door. Concessions will be available.

Also, a three-on-three basketball tournament will be held to benefit Jacob, on Sunday, March 4. Four member teams will also be accepted. Registration is $50 per team.The tournament will be open to middle school, high school and adult teams.

To simplify the registration process, they are now accepting registration donations at the door. Teams must be registered no later than February 25. If you email, they will send you a simple registration form that you can complete and email right back. This form will allow them to get you added to the teams list as quickly as possible. There will prizes for teams with more donations raised, most creative uniforms, half court point competition. Each team is guaranteed three 15-minute games. Raffle, bake sale and concessions will also be available.

Palermo residents speak up about Sheepscot fishway

Submitted by Lynda Pound, member of the Sheepscot Lake Association.


Although a major snow storm was bearing down on Palermo, over a hundred town residents assembled in Augusta for a hearing on the bill L.D. 922 on February 7, before the Marine Resources Committee, in Augusta. This bill proposed that Marine Resources would take control of the dam on Sheepscot Lake from the Maine Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife in order to open the fishway to migratory fishes during the spawning season from April 15 to June 30. The fishes that would come up through the fishway would be alewives (to be used as bait fish for the lobster industry), Sea Lamprey, and American Eels. According the Andy Goode, of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, there would be no Salmon.

Testifying before the Marine Resources Committee were members of the Sheepscot Lake Association, a representative from the Palermo Select Board, many concerned citizens of Palermo, legislators and residents of Long Pond, and other concerned Maine citizens….most all in opposition to this bill.

The Sheepscot Lake Association and Palermo residents wanted legislators to know that they are profoundly against this opening for multiple reasons. These include threatened biosecurity of the fish rearing station from alewives entering the lake during spawning season, damage to the valuable self sustaining wild togue (lake trout) population, parasitic sea lamprey entering the lake during spawning season, and potential negative impact on the tax base of Palermo from fluctuating water levels.

Vehement opposition to this controversial bill was in clear evidence. Proponents of L.D. 922 made it clear that they did not think that there would be any problems with opening the fishway during spawning season. During testimony, it emerged that there have been no recent environmental impact studies done for Sheepscot Lake. Thus, it is not known how damaging this proposed opening would be, to either the lake or the fish rearing station. After hearing the lengthy testimony presented to them, the Marine Resources Committee members adjourned, having set a date for an upcoming workshop to vote on the bill.

On February 14, the committee reconvened to discuss L.D. 922. Much written testimony had been given to each legislator and a lively debate ensued. Proponents of the bill felt that opening the fishway during spawning season would not pose a significant risk to the fish rearing station, nor would it negatively impact the deep water fishery or the recreational use of the lake. Written testimony from the opposing side, the citizens of Palermo, contained specific information about past history with the fishway having been opened during spawning season in the era of the late ‘60s, and ‘70s. A proliferation of sea lamprey, who were unable to get out of the lake after spawning, attacked both salmon and togue. According to a written document from Inland Fish and Wildlife, deep water fish caught during this time were scarred with multiple wounds from sea lamprey. More information from Inland Fish and Wildlife outlined the high cost of equipment that would have to be installed in order to protect the rearing station from potential viruses and pathogens, if the alewives and sea lamprey were allowed to enter the lake. After much deliberation, the committee voted 8 – 4, ought to pass. At this point, the bill will be forwarded to the legislature for more debate and a vote.

It should be noted that the Maine Governor, Paul LePage, has written a letter to the Commissioners of Marine Resources and Inland Fish and Game asking them to keep the fishway as it is now, requesting that other bodies of water could be used for raising and harvesting alewives.

Two area boys meet “Gronk” at Barbara Bush Hospital

by Mark Huard

Thirteen-year-old Jacob Seigars, of Palermo, attended China schools until October 2017 when he transferred to Palermo Consolidated School. He continues to attend Palermo Consolidated via robot generously provided by

Jacob’s mother is Heather Seigars, his father is Joseph (Joe) Seigars and his bonus mother is Natasha Seigars. Jacob has a 15-year-old brother named Shawn, as well as three younger siblings, Achiva (10), Joe joe (7) and Isabella (3). He also has two pets: a yellow lab named Honey and a cat named Shade.

Jacob Seigars, of Palermo, with New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, in Portland. Photos courtesy of Mark Huard

As many know Jacob has a fantastic sense of humor. He can take any situation and find humor, even when it’s a situation that is as debilitating as being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After being sick with numerous illnesses for about six consecutive weeks, including colds and pneumonia, Jacob was diagnosed with AML on January 15, 2018, and admitted to Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, in Portland, that same day. He has remained an inpatient at Barbara Bush since then and will remain in the hospital for at least a few more months. Jacob completed his second round of chemo­therapy on Feb­ruary 18. He continues to fight Leukemia and is determined to beat the disease.

Jacob is a phenomenal athlete and whatever sport he plays he puts his whole heart into it! He stands out by his skill and his positive nature. Jacob started playing soccer at the age of three, and started playing basketball at the age of four. Jacob started baseball at five years of age with tee-ball and played up through Little League through sixth grade. Jacob joined track and field in sixth grade and continued to compete in seventh grade, also. His best events are discus and hurdles.

Jacob has received a lot of recognition over the years because of his athletic ability and been an integral part of many teams. His middle school soccer team has won the SVAC championship the last two years. His middle school basketball team last season, China Clippers, placed second in the 2017 SVAC championship. Last season Jacob placed first in hurdles at the invitational meet. Jacob recently earned a spot to the Dirigo U14 Premier soccer team and is hoping to get back on the field soon! This season Jacob played for the Palermo varsity basketball team. He was struggling health wise this season but still managed to dominate the court and end each game with “double-doubles” while he was still able to play.

Not only does Jacob love playing sports but he loves watching them as well! Jacob loves watching the New England Patriots play football. His favorite players are Chris Hogan, Deion Lewis, and Gronk. Jacob got a surprise on February 13, when Rob Gronkowski along with his father and two brothers visited the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital to deliver a $25,000 donation to the hospital from Gronk Nation! Jacob’s counts were so low he was unable to attend the gathering and the ball spiking lesson with Gronk, so Gronk and his dad were kind enough to stop by and visit in Jacob’s room!

For more updates on Jacob’s fight and upcoming events please follow

A dodgeball tournament has been scheduled by Whitefield Elementary for March 2 and 3v3 basketball tournament for March 4 has been scheduled by Mike Roderick and Becky and Chris Young to be held at Erskine Academy. A donation account has been established at Bar Harbor Bank and Trust. The family’s address is: The Seigars Family, 888 Route 3, Palermo, ME 04354.

William Alger, of Winslow, is pictured with New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, in Portland. Photos courtesy of Mark Huard

William Alger, 12, of Winslow has Cystic Fibrosis. CF is a genetic disorder that causes complications in the respiratory and digestive systems. He typically visits the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, in Portland, for a “clean-out,” which is a 14-day course of antibiotics administered through an IV, once every year or two.

William has been in the hospital since January 31 and recently returned home on February 20. The goals of this admission were to improve his lung function and to gain weight. Healthy weight has a direct correlation to higher lung function in CF patients. William has been busy working through his treatments, with his tutor, keeping caught up on his academics. He has been working hard in physical therapy also – getting lots of exercise to stay strong. He also gets to have some fun with the Playroom staff and other kiddos.

William’s mom Esther Bullard is quoted as saying, “Our time here is filled with sleepless nights, busy days, and an enormous effort to improve William’s overall health outcomes. One of the blessings here at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital is that special guests come and meet with the kids, providing much needed encouragement. Today William got to meet New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski! It was an incredible, unforgettable surprise.”

Gronk was so kind and humble. He took time to talk with William. They chatted about the Super Bowl game, and he asked, “so what’s your favorite sport?” William responded, “well it’s lacrosse,” which was so funny! Gronk wasn’t expecting that answer (obviously), and he said, “that’s cool, I’ve never played lacrosse!” And, of course, William said Gronk was his favorite football player, and that the Patriots are his favorite team.

William got two autographs and some amazing photos. It was a wonderful day for William that will be forever remembered.

William Alger, of Winslow, gets an autograph from New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, in Portland. Photos courtesy of Mark Huard

Start seeds at the Palermo Community Center

Photo courtesy of Emily Cates

Whether you are a patio container gardener or have a vast vegetable garden, getting those seeds going indoors is a fun and productive way to kickstart your growing season. Grab some seeds and growing trays on Friday, February 23, and we’ll get down and dirty with a hands-on sowing session following a delicious Pot Luck Supper at 6 p.m.

Master Gardener Connie Bellet and friends will help you choose what to plant, when to plant it, where to locate plants and their friends, how long you can keep seeds, needs of specific plants, how and what to feed your plants, and how much to water. Hint: the focus will be on cold-weather crops like parsley, kale, onions, and cabbage. If you have other areas of interest or specific gardening questions, Bellet can either answer them or direct you to appropriate experts in the field.

The supper is free, but a donation of $5 or more is requested to cover the expense of planting supplies, sample mediums, and organic plant foods and fertilizers. Bring a winter dish to share, or donate to the Food Pantry. For information or directions, please contact Connie Bellet at 993-2294 or