Roger Files graduates from virtual school

Roger Files

Roger Files, of Palermo, will graduate this month, with honors, from the eighth grade at the Connections Academy, a virtual school, headquartered in Portland. Roger was one of 13 students to receive an award as “Most Improved Students.” He was invited this year to participate in a pilot program named “Ten Marks,” in language arts. He will attend high school in the fall, at the same school.

Roger enjoys swimming and karate.

He is the son of Rachel Files, and the grandson of Valerie Files, all of Palermo.

Palermo Historical Society holds open house for third graders

For the ninth year in a row Palermo Historical Society hosted an open house for local third graders on May 3. Presentations included weaving, old school classroom experience, grinding corn, how log cabins were constructed and a house tour. As usual the students voted one of their favorites was seeing the old two hole out house in the shed, cobwebs and all.

One of the students was Hayden Little, who is a fifth generation Worthing. His great-great-grandparents were Clarence and Caroline Worthing, who rebuilt the farm after it was destroyed in the Branch Mills village fire of 1915. The home was later gifted to the town to be used for Palermo Historical Society.

Hayden Little, right, watches the weaving demonstration conducted by Pam Swift of the Palermo Historical Society. Hayden is a fifth generation decendent of Clarence and Caroline Worthing. Their home was later gifted to the town for the Palermo Historical Society. (Contributed photo)

Palermo principal to retire

The Palermo School Club will be hosting a Community Retirement Gathering for Dale Haywood on Sunday, June 10, from 1 – 3 p.m., at the Palermo Consolidated School. After 28 years as a teacher and principal at Palermo Consolidated School, Dale is retiring. Please stop by the school on this day to wish her good luck.

PAGES in TIME – Palermo Christian Church: 50-year history

“Palermo Christian Church, Inc., Palermo Christian Church, Inc.” The lawyer who helped fill out the papers for incorporation emphasized the word “Inc.” every time he came to that word. As he did the legal work, we wonder what went through his mind?

Palermo Christian Church.

The early people:

As a Belfast lawyer he wouldn’t know the past history of God working in Palermo. He had never heard William Overlock, a minister from Washington, preach revival services at the old school house on the Valley Road where Grace Blanchard taught Sunday School. He didn’t know of the efforts of Annie Tibbets or Elina Turner in establishing a Sunday School at the old school house in East Palermo. If he traveled Old Route 3 he might have seen the Second Baptist Church at Greely Corner or the Branch Mills Union Church, but he may not have known what went on inside the four walls of these two churches, nor would he have known of the ministries carried on inside the First Baptist Church, the Methodist Church or the North Palermo Baptist Fellowship.

We wonder what he would have thought of the impact of student pastors such as Rev. English, Rev. Felts or Wally Bradley from Gordon College. He would not know of the support the community received from people in other communities. Rev. Talcott, a native of Connecticut, visited Lake St. George and preached in town during the summer. George Duff drove over from Morrill and Horace Moffatt from Belfast to fill vacant pulpits. He would not have known of the people who helped shape the spiritual values of people in our community; people like Harold Nutter, Carl and Eleanor Howes, Elmer Hellmout, Howard Hutchings, Barbara Rozell, George Davis, Winifred Reynolds, Eric Wiggin and others.

Another church in town?

North Palermo Church.

He may have wondered if a small community like Palermo needed another church. The attendance at the existing churches was very low and another church would not seem practical. The first twelve charter members could have answered that question for him. Their initial purpose was not to compete with the other churches, but to consolidate the believers into one church. They were not interested in starting a fourth church, but of making the three churches into one. As all the existing churches were small in number and all held similar doctrinal beliefs, it seemed prudent to work together rather than apart. It was unfortunate that in the first years of the church, there were no church buildings adequate to meet the physical needs of the growing congregation. In North Palermo, for example, about 75 Sunday School students were crowded into four classes, one of which met in the Ladies Aid House and three others which studied in separate corners of the small sanctuary. All the church buildings had an adequate sanctuary, but lacked Sunday School space, running water and modern toilet facilities. When one factors in the historical significance of the buildings and legal questions that arose at that time, it was obvious to this group of people that a new building was needed.

The Building:

One could see the hand of God working in those early years. The Rossie Construction Company leased the land that the Palermo Christian Church now sits on from Steve and Ann Childs. They brought in fill and gravel to make a parking lot for their big trucks. The vacant lot, including the ready-made parking lot, were donated to the church by the Childs in 1969. The early years were a time of great sacrifice for many. After borrowing $12,000 to start the building and another $3000 to finish it, people went to work. Herbert Dyer supervised the construction and families gave up weeknights and weekends to work on the building. The community pitched in to help. Boy Scout Troup 222 under the supervision of Kenneth Priest, Sr., used six scouts working a total of 39 hours to fiberglass the steeple. On December 6th, 1970 George Duff and Charles Cousens spoke at the dedication service for the new building.

In the late 1970s the youth groups had grown to include between 70 and 80 young people. Palermo had no recreational facilities at that time, so the church voted to build a gymnasium and expand the sanctuary at the same time. Royce Dyer supervised the many workers and on July 20th, 1980, Lt. Col. Jack McGuckin spoke at the dedication of the gym.

In 1996 the church started work on an addition, which includes wood storage, nursery space, a kitchen, bathrooms and space for extra classrooms. The nursery space was finished, dedicated and put to use in September of 1997 providing much improved conditions for the small children who utilize this space. The new kitchen was put to use in the spring of 1998, becoming a well-used tool for times of fellowship and reaching family and friends for Christ. The bathrooms were completed in 1999. The “Upper Room” was completed in 2001 and the Senior High Youth Group promptly took ownership of the space, which is large enough for a good crowd of teens.

2001 was also the year for Palermo Christian Church to receive a new steeple. This project was directed by Neal Pottle who had the vision of a service project for the fifth- and sixth-grade Sunday School class. From July through November the class under Neal’s direction and with many parent volunteers provided the necessary time and effort to see the project to completion. On November 17 the steeple was raised with students and adults working side by side. The physical result of almost 200 hours of prayer, labor and sacrifice is seen atop the church building, pointing to the One who brought it all together.

In 2008 an addition to the gym was begun, adding an improved handicap entrance, three offices, a large classroom as well as more storage. In 2017 construction began on the addition to the front entrance allowing for ease of entrance to the sanctuary, a larger foyer area and improved space for the sound room.


The church has been blessed with Godly leadership over the years. Dale Flynn was the first pastor. He served from May 19, 1968, until August 24, 1968, when he left to teach school in Jacksonville, Florida. The second pastor was Fred Williams. Soon after Dale Flynn left, Fred was asked to serve as interim pastor and fill in when they could not find a pulpit supply. On July 9, 1969, he became the full-time pastor and served until November 22, 1981. Two assistants helped during this time. Dave Jones served as assistant pastor from April 1,1970, until January 14, 1976. Marilyn Spearin, now Marilyn Kibbe, served as music director for several years. Dave Kibbe assisted from September 1978 until November 22, 1981. He then served as interim pastor until the present pastor, Ed Hatch, was inducted on June 20, 1982. He is a graduate of Glen Cove Bible College and has served the church since 1982. In 1995 the church established a board of elders, which presently includes Ed Hatch, Dennis Keller, Ralph Littlefield, Neal Pottle, Buddy Spaulding, Gerald Stillman and Dan Sprague.  In 1997 the church voted to hire an administrative assistant and welcomed Susan Williams to the position. Her qualifications and commitment to the church brought a measure of organization to the church office which benefit the whole ministry of the church. In 2001 Sandy Keller was hired to the position following Susan’s resignation. In 2003 the church voted to hire a part-time Youth Pastor. Phil Hubbard came as a graduate of Northland Baptist Bible College in 1995 since serving as Youth Pastor at two other churches. Under his leadership the Youth Ministry has grown using different avenues to attract and challenge the youth while being committed to the presentation of the Gospel and a challenge to grow in Christ.

“INC” is defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary as “united in one body.” Fifty years ago, a few separate groups of believers united to become one body, to form Palermo Christian Church, Inc. What may have seemed on the outside to be only a legal transaction, has become when viewed from the inside, the building of a spiritual body with eternal benefits.

Palermo Christian Church has been blessed and grown over the years. More people each year become involved in the ministries of the church (leading, serving and being served) and more lives are changed as a result.  Our goal continues to focus on giving glory to God through worshiping Him, sharing our faith in Christ with others and helping others grow spiritually. May this continue to be our focus until Christ comes again.

The 50th anniversary celebration takes place on Sunday, May 20. They will begin during a special worship service at 9 a.m. with guests speakers and special music. Following the service there will be a chicken BBQ/potluck lunch. There will be photos on display, tours for those who don’t know the building and time to visit and reminisce with people who have had a part in the life of the church, both past and present. There will be a memory book available to take away and hope that all who come will make even more memories to take away in their hearts.

This article originally appeared on Palermo Christian Church’s website.

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.

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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.