Dance group chooses new officers

The Central Maine Square Dance Club of Waterville held its annual meeting on June 24. The evening started with a shortened square dance workshop and and the meeting starting around 7:45 p.m. An election of officers for the coming year took place and the following people were elected: Al Mather, of Palermo, president; Jeff Howes, of Pittsfield, vice presi-dent; Karen Cunningham, of Pittsfield, secretary; and Claude Francke and Diane Weinstein, both of Waterville, treasurers.

The fall workshops will begin for the club on September 13 and a new beginner class will start on September 20. As usual the club will allow two free lessons for beginners on the 20th and 27th.

Central Maine Square Dance Club of Waterville

The new officers of the Central Maine Square Dance Club are, from left to right, Claude Francke, Al Mather, Jeff Howes, Karen Cunningham, and Becky Potter. Contributed photo

China school third trimester honors


Dean’s list: Kathryn Bailey, Julia Basham, Alyssha Gil, Annika Gil and Richard Winn. High honors: Alec Baker, Derek Beaulieu, Norah Davidson, Lydia Gilman, Alyssa Hale, Ashley Huntley, Eleena Lee and Hunter Praul. Honors: Vincent Emery, Jada Fredette and Serena Sepulvado.


Dean’s list: Ian Oliphant and Courtney Paine. High honors: Nicholas Barber and Aiden Pettengill. Honors: Brooke Allen, Madyx Kennedy Jonathan Martinez, Eban Pierce and Brandon Way.


Dean’s list: Emily Clark, Colby Cunningham, Cailee Elsasser, Jacob Fisher, Samantha Golden, Piper Mann, Sarah Praul and Mackenzie Roderick. High honors: Julia Barber, Emma Jefferson, Lili Lefebvre, Wes McGlew and Rebecca Morton. Honors: Isaac Baker, Clarissa Beyor, Trace Harris, Kaden McIntyre and Hannah Torrey.


Dean’s list: Reiana Gonzalez, Elizabeth Hardy, Lily Matthews and Noah Rushing. High honors: Abigail Beyor, Kayla Peaslee, Gabriel Pelletier and Alexis Rancourt. Honors: Angel Bonilla, Aiden Clark, Breckon Davidson, Nicole DeMerchant, Lilly Fredette, Alivia Gower, Beck Jorgensen, Kaiden Kelley, Alexia Leigh, Brenden Levesque, Gwen Lockhart, Kolby Maxim, Ethan Ouellette, Madeline Pacholski, Samantha Reynolds, Kaden Soto, Sammantha Stafford, Sophie Steeves, Lauren Tyler and Colby Willey.

Former restaurant new site for Grace Academy

by Mary Grow

Thanks to Norman Elvin, Grace Academy has a permanent new home in the former Norm’s Restaurant at 363 Route 3.

Executive Director Michelle Bourque got a permit from the China Planning Board on June 16 to open the school in the building, which has a varied history of commercial uses.

Norm’s Seafood and Chicken restaurant

The former Norm’s Seafood and Chicken restaurant on Rte. 3 will become the new home for Grace Academy, thanks to Norm Elvin’s donation of the property to the school. Photo by Roland D. Hallee

Bourque said she plans to start full operation in the fall, although she might offer a summer athletic program.  The private academy operates mainly mornings, catering to home-schooling families. About 20 families and more than 70 students are involved, she said, with 15 to 25 students typi-cally present at one time.

She would like to add an after-school tutoring program – the booths that served restaurant cus-tomers will make suitable private spaces – and an evening driver education program.

Planning board members found the building, which was extensively rebuilt in 2012, septic sys-tem  water supply, parking areas and landscaping met all town requirements and unanimously approved the permit.

Elvin is founder and president of G & E Roofing, in Augusta. He also owned the China Dine-ah, and after selling it briefly operated the diner on Route 3.

Bourque said Elvin donated the building to the school, along with the restaurant equipment for the school to sell or use.  She praised his extensive fire safety system, which she said favorably impressed the state fire marshal who inspected the premises.

Once located in the old Farrington’s store, the academy has recently moved from one location to another while Bourque tried to find a building to buy or rent long-term.

The other item on the June 16 planning board agenda was a public hearing and final action on George and Pamela Jackson’s application to amend the Arrowhead Subdivision on Amelias Way, off Pleasant View Ridge Road, by dividing one lot into two.  No one attended the hearing; surveyor David Wendell presented test pit results for the new lot; Codes Officer Paul Mitnik said no other issues remained from the board’s May 24 discussion; and the application was approved unanimously.

The board has scheduled a public hearing on proposed shore-land zoning amendments for Tuesday evening, July 26. Mitnik said the proposed amendments are on the town’s web site, with explanations.

Changes are also under consideration to the sign ordinance and the conditional use criteria, but with only three board members present, discussion was postponed.

Mitnik added another possible ordinance change to a future agenda: selectmen, he said, are discussing a boardwalk and other improvements at the causeway at the head of China Lake’s east basin, where people launch boats and fish from the shore.  Mitnik doubts the legality of a board-walk so close to the water, but he suggested fishing platforms might be permissible if the local shoreland ordinance were amended.

The next regular Planning Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, June 28.

Erskine presents Renaissance Awards at final assembly

Erskine presents Renaissance Awards at final assembly

Seniors of the Trimester, front row, from left to right, Luke Peabody, Joshua Reed and Lilja Bernheim. Back row, Julia Fasano, Kayla Goggin, Alainie Sawtelle and Sarah Pleau

On Friday, June 10, Erskine Academy students and staff attended a Renaissance assembly to honor their peers with Renaissance Awards.

Recognition Awards were presented to the following students: Alana York, Chantelle Roddy, Hunter Mahon, Wynn Libby, Mikayla Brochu, Renee Beaudoin, Cassandra Ray, Jerold Winslow, and Emma McCormac.

In addition to recognition awards, Senior of the Trimester Awards were also presented to seven members of the senior class:  Lilja Bernheim, daughter of Patricia and Robert Bernheim, of China; Sarah Pleau, daughter of Barbara and Robert Pleau, of Vassalboro; Luke Peabody, son of Sharon and Dale Peabody, of China; Alainie Sawtelle, daughter of April and Dana Sawtelle, of Vassalboro; Julia Fasano, daughter of Cheryle and Peter Fasano, of Jefferson; Kayla Goggin, daughter of Shirley and Jeffrey Goggin, of China; and Joshua Reed, son of Jessica and Robert Reed, of Vassalboro.  Seniors of the Trimester are recognized as individuals who have gone above and beyond in all aspects of their high school careers.

In appreciation of their dedica-tion and service to Erskine Academy, Faculty of the Trimester awards were also pre-sented to David Currier, history instructor; and John Nored, president of the board of trustees.

Vassalboro seeks its oldest citizen

by Stewart Corson

The Vassalboro Historical Society is currently seeking the oldest resident of Vassalboro. This resident will be presented with a certificate and a token showing that he or she is the sym-bolic owner of Vassalboro’s Boston Post cane, which is now on display at the society’s muse-um in East Vassalboro.

The tradition of the cane began in 1909, when the Boston Post newspaper distributed 431 of the canes to towns throughout New England with instructions that each should be presented to the oldest living citizen of the town.Vassalboro seeks its oldest citizen

The cane is a fine piece of work, made from Gabon ebony which was shipped from the Congo in seven-foot lengths. These were then cut into cane lengths, seasoned and dried, then hand polished with French var-nish and oil. The cane’s head is finished with 14-carat gold and is elaborately sculpted. The entire process of making each cane took about a full year.

Vassalboro’s cane is perhaps more traveled than most, having been missing in action for some time before it turned up in Monterey, California, where it was purchased by an antique dealer at a yard sale in 1988. Initially intending to melt the head down for the value of the gold, the dealer become curious after reading the inscription on the cane. He contacted the town office and offered to sell the cane back to the town for the sum of$500, the price that he had paid, even though he had gotten a valu-ation of $1,200 from an appraiser.

The offer was taken up by Betty Taylor, who purchased the cane and had it shipped back to Vassalboro. She then left it to the Historical Society as part of a bequest on her death in 2010.

Nobody seems to know how the cane got to California or who was the last Vassalboro resident to be presented with the cane. If anyone can help them find Vassalboro’s oldest resident or has any information on who was the last holder of the cane (or how it got to the west coast), please contact the Historical Society by calling 207-923-3505 or by email at If the oldest resident can be located, the society hopes to present the cane to him or her as part of the Vassalboro Days celebration in September. Let the search begin!

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