by Dan Cassidy
Part Two and Conclusion
Electricity headed south
John Lamontagne, Senior Director of Communications for SunEdison, said there are three Massachusetts utilities that have contracted to receive the energy from the project, National Grid, Unitil and Eversource.
“The approximate cost of the project is about $420 million to develop and build the project,” he said. “There are a number of financial organizations who have financed the project.”
SunEdison conducts extensive environmental studies when citing a wind project, according to Lamontagne. “We conducted bird and bat studies to ensure the project is not in the migration path of any bird and bat species. We continue monitoring of the project after it is operational to ensure the impacts to wildlife are minimal. Certainly, there are some impacts to birds and bats, but we want to be sure they are kept at an absolute minimum.”
Turbines at the project are routinely maintained and inspected by an on-site crew. Turbines go through quarterly reviews and annual inspections to ensure they’re kept in good working order as much as possible. “In addition, the turbines are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at our Renewable Energy Operations Centers in California and Boston,” Lamontagne said.
The project has seen about 300 full time jobs created since the site construction started. “Once the project is completed, Bingham and surrounding communities will receive millions in tax revenues,” he said. “Although the energy goes to out-of-state utilities, the county should see a windfall in terms of revenues to pay for goods and services.”
Lamontagne said that when the Mars Hill project was built in 2007, folks saw their taxes drop 25 percent, once the project went on-line. When the project was completed in Oakfield last year, folks in that community are seeing a massive benefit in their tax bills. “Bottom line, communities see benefits in terms of jobs and economic benefits when the project is built.”
Locals chime in
Many local residents have been keeping in touch with the wind tower project. They have seen, towers, wind blades, of about 185 feet long and a lot of other pieces heavy equipment go by on the streets, headed to the job sites.
“We are totally impressed,” Steve Steward, first selectman of Bingham said. “It is quite a big project. When it’s all completed, the cost of the project will be over $400 million,” he said.
The tax savings in Bingham should be affected next year, according to Steward. There are 11 towers located in Bingham that will be about $4,000 per tower. “The other towers are located in Mayfield, an unorganized territory and Kingsbury.”
The Town of Bingham negotiated $8,000 per tower that they would pay. “There was no ceiling, $4,000 was the minimum they have to pay for tax relief, so we accepted $8,000, and I was happy with that.”
The construction is going smoothly, and most residents are comfortable with that. A note of interest is that the 56 wind towers being erected are not visible from Route 201.
Stanley Redmond, a local long time resident and a wood harvesting Land Agent has seen a lot of heavy equipment go right by his door on Route 201 over the last several months. “How great it is to see science so advanced today and to watch all the people involved in installing these wind towers and see how professional they are doing their great work,” he said.
“The operation of installing these giants is something entirely different than what we thought it would be,” he said. “Everyone involved are in great hopes these wind towers will prove to be very helpful for many reasons and will be accepted with open arms by all. It will be interesting to see the decrease cost of purchasing power from these giant wind towers once they start turning the blades. The engineer and all the associates should receive our thanks for such a remarkable job.”
Example tower sights
Lamontagne compared the Oakfield Wind towers in Piscataquis County, as an example, “that town will receive $26 million in tax benefits and community benefit payments over the next 20 years. “As a result, folks in that community have seen their tax bills dramatically reduced.”
“Full-time Oakfield residents now receive tax breaks and an annual check for about $2,000 per year, a benefit that will be in place for 20 years,” he said.
by Mary Lee Rounds
Summer…Picnics, ants, swimming at the old swimming hole, pool, lake or ocean and seeing friends who have been in warmer weather all winter. You give them back their “in case of an emergency” key and go on with your life.
Recently, we took a cruise to Bermuda. I had four months to prepare for it, thought I was ready, then discovered the day was upon me. Carefully throwing things into my suitcase as well as taking all the shoes I would need, my feet hurt a lot, I change shoes frequently and off we went. Standing at the ship, preparing to get on I reached for my non-existent passport. (Being one to follow instructions, I had made a photocopy of it and left the original in the copier. They won’t recognize a copy, so why bother?) The very nice lady asked me if I had my birth certificate. How many of you have your birth certificate on your person in case you forget your passport? Unfortunately, I didn’t, and she could not let me on board the ship. Three people were standing there looking at me, I told my husband to go as the money was already spent and I would go to my cousins on “The Cape.” The answer was no. Then the woman said if you had been born anywhere in Massachusetts you could go over about two blocks and get your birth certificate and I can let you on. My answer: How about 1944 Boston??? She told me where to get the taxi, called ahead to vital statistics, let me right on when I got back and walked me through all of the security lines, saying “this is the one who forgot her passport.” Imagine the surprise of my traveling group who I met on their way to the rooms at the elevator. The rest of the trip was quite uneventful and enjoyable.
Mrs. Crosby’s house between the Besse Building and Post Office has been purchased by Laura and Joe Strohman. It was becoming quite the eye sore in town. Now the lawn and field have been cut, renovations are occurring inside with as many original style wood, doors, etc., as possible. Many other improvements have been planned. Hats off to the Strohman’s. Rumor has it there are other changes on the way to Main Street, hopefully making it a more inviting place for people to recognize it as a town they might like to reside in.
Johnny’s has turned those fields on the flat into gardens. They are a wonderful business and keeping the area very clean. Roads are getting patched which makes for a much better ride. Even the state is hot topping the road to Belfast.
Hopefully, I have caught up from the last 2 weeks.
Have a wonderful rest of July.
On Sunday July 17, in the Belgrade Lakes Region, bait your hook, cast your line and you might reel in not only fish, but Cash Awards as well! In this fishing derby, each class of species offers cash prizes ranging from $75-$250 per category for a total of $2500. Derby organizers are also offering $500.00 for a grand slam catch. In the children’s section, trophies will be awarded for the first three places in each category.
Lakes included in this derby include Salmon Lake, McGrath Pond, East Pond, North Pond, Great Pond, Long Pond and Messalonskee Lake. The weigh-in station will be at Memorial Hall, on Church St., in Oakland from 10 a.m. – noon and 3 – 5 p.m. Sunday, July 17. Fishing is from 5 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Proceeds from the Derby will benefit Water Quality and Invasive Species issues in our Watershed. Additionally, Friends of Messalonskee was awarded a Maine Land Conservation Grant from the Maine Community Foundation to also help protect Messalonskee Lake. Entry forms can be found at the Oakland, Sidney and Belgrade town offices and at various local stores. You can also visit www.friendsofmessalonskee.com or www.oakfestmaine.com to register or call 207-465-8333. Derby Rules are posted on our website as well as all of our other events.
by Ursula Burke
Other than ice fishermen, most lake lovers in mid-coast Maine cheered at the short, relatively mild winter of 2016. On Sheepscot Pond in Palermo, the ice was on the lake from mid-January to mid-March, the shortest time since records started being kept by local people in the late 1800’s. So why the headline portending trouble? Can’t we just enjoy what nature has given us without worrying?
Here, in simple terms, is why what we can’t see can spell big trouble. When winter ice melts early the upper layer of lake water has a longer period of time to warm up before the fall cool down starts. A hot summer adds to this situation. Colder lake water lies in a separate layer at the bottom and doesn’t mix with the warm top layer until fall. It can become oxygen starved affecting the aquatic creatures living in the depths. The eventual lack of oxygen releases natural elements into the water, the most damaging being phosphates. These stimulate the growth of algae and can cause algae blooms and cloudy, greenish water. This seems to happen suddenly, but in actuality is part of the cycle of actions that started when the ice melted early.
The Sheepscot Lake Association (SLA) runs a number of water quality testing programs including the most recently added Dissolved Oxygen measurements which plumb the water in the deepest part of the lake on a regular basis starting in early June. The SLA does inform the community of the results.
Individual property owners can do something to help protect the health of the lake. The SLA has launched LakeSmart, a program under the auspices of the Maine Lakes Society, which offers free assessments of waterfront properties and prepares a report with comments and suggestions for land owner action to decrease lake pollution. The biggest external threat to lakes is storm water run-off which erodes the land carrying soil, pollutants, phosphates, etc. into the water. Anyone interested in becoming LakeSmart can contact Ursula Burke at 781-561-5541 or via email email@example.com.
by Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
390 South Solon Rd.,
Solon, Maine 04979
Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!
The East Madison Historical Association will be having a yard sale on Saturday, July 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Happyknits, LLC, will be celebrating its second birthday on Friday, July 1, and continuing the celebration on Saturday, July 2, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
This year’s reunion day of Solon Alumni is on July 16 at the Solon Elementary School. 9:30 a.m., starts registration and coffee hour with the business hour starting at 10:30 a.m. The auction will follow the business hour. Please remember your auction item. Last year we made $628 on the auction. Then Murry Bubar sent a check to match the auction funds so we ended up with $1,256. Thank you Murry. Dianne Oliver Poulin was the auctioneer.
Lunch will begin at 1:00 p.m., and will be catered by the Solon 4-H Club.
The class of 1966 will celebrate its 50th reunion. Members are Linda Baiko Lomastro, Terry Cahill, Glenda Foss Atmandi, Alden Mayhew, Richard Poulin, Mark Rogers, Ellery Witham and Gary Withers. So class of 1966, we would like to see you here.
Sixty-two alumni and guests attended last year. The class of ’65 celebrated their 50th with four members, Ann French Jackson, David Heald, Robert Meader and George Dube. Brenda Padham was elected as the new treasurer. Kaitlyn LaCroix received a check from the scholarship fund $1,100. Deaths reported were Harold Tewskbury, class of 1942, Freda Chase Merry, 1945, Beverly Thompson Carter, 1947, Dassie Andrews Jackson ,1947, Jean Hilton Dickey, 1949, Joyce Bubar Dillon, 1953, Paul Savage, 1957, Anne Withers Burkhart, 1959, William Tolman, 1961, Walter Jones, 1969, Mark Myers, 1973, from Carrabec and Herbert Hayden. (The above is the letter sent out to alumni from Linda French, secretary)
In my continuing efforts of getting what I want to save out of my house on Ferry Street, I keep coming across old Dirigo year books. I have quite a few, and will take them to the reunion for anyone who might want one. The oldest is 1954 and had only two graduates, Patricia McCarty and Joseph V. Dore. In this year book there was a column written by Malon P. Whipple, 1903 entitled “A Look at the Future.” Very heartwarming and inspiring. On that same page is this, 1904-1954 written by Ivan M. Dyer, “On this, the 50th anniversary of the Solon High School graduating class of 1904, may I, the only surviving member of that class, have the honor of congratulating the class of 1954 in having reached one of the most important milestones in the making of American citizens. May you go on to greater accomplishments and may each and every one of you always be proud to say, ” I am an American.”
Was given the choice of writing two columns this week or taking a vacation next week, decided I should listen to those who care about me, and say, “You should slow down!” My column won’t be in the July 7 paper.
And, my heartfelt love goes out to all of you who say you love this column, it reminds me that my goal to bring love and sometimes humor, to all that read it each week, is working!
Percy’s memoir: “You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. (words by Albert Enstein.)
The China Lake Association sponsored its fifth annual poster contest for the fifth and sixth graders at China Middle School. They learned about alewives. Until the Dams in Vassalboro were built about 100 years ago, the alewives could naturally swim up the rivers to China Lake and stay for the summer months. In the fall, they swim out of the lake taking with them the phosphorous that fosters algae blooms, to return to the ocean. Alewives were a very important fish for our lake’s balance of nature.
In May, the students went by bus to see the alewives swim up the Webber Pond fish ladder. Nate Gray, a biologist from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Frank Richards, president of the Webber Pond Association, were there to teach the students and answer their questions. After learning about alewives, they were given poster paper to illustrate a theme about alewives. Some of the topics were: Alewives life cycle, advantages to have alewives in China Lake, alewives migration from the ocean to the lake or how dams are preventing them from coming into China Lake and what we are doing to fix that barrier. They were free to draw a picture, do poetry, write a slogan or write a story on the poster paper. Completed posters were judged according to the student’s imagination and presentation.
Winner for the fifth grade were: first prize, Lauren Tyler, second prizes went to Maddie Pacholski and Alexis Rancourt, third prizes went to Alivia Gower, Angel Bonilla, Cuden Clark and Reiana Gonzalez.
Winners for the sixth grade were: first prize to Cameron Speck, second prize Madison Lully, third prizes went to Julia Barber, Emily Clark, Alonzo Michaud, Jacob William Fisher, Mackenzie Roderick and Cailee Elsasser.
Monetary awards will be presented at the China Lake Association’s annual meeting at the China Primary School 9 a.m., Saturday, July 23.
by Mary Lee Rounds
Albion 2016 Field Day events July 28-July 30.
July 28, 2016 will be a fun filled search for a Queen or Princess of the Field Day. Girls age 7-12 (need minimum of five contestants); or girls 7-9 for Princess and 10-12 for Queen. Dressy casual clothes,( please no gowns) must have a minimum of three contestants in each category Must be Albion residents or attend Albion Elementary School. Please remember this is not a beauty contest but is based on stage presence, public speaking and talent. There will be prizes. More information can be obtained from Sue Stevens at 649-4293 or stevens129@ roadrunner.com. Deadline for participants to sign up is July 4.
Field Day begins with the Albion Lion’s Club Fun Run at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, behind the elementary school. One mile walk or run; Free T-shirts to all who register before July 10. Trophies for male and female K-8. First place for male and female – overall. Ribbons to all participants. Entry fee is $8 per runner. Checks made out to the Albion Lion’s Club need to be sent to Cindy Drake, 116 Crosby Rd., Albion, ME 04910. Please arrive early. Registration forms can be obtained from Cindy at 437-2445.
The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. on the Hussey Road and will proceed down Main Street. The field behind the Besse Building and beside the fire station will have its activities following the parade at approximately 11 a.m.
Activities will consist of: a cash raffle, chicken barbecue, hot dogs, fries ,an auction, beano, white elephant tables and whoopie pies, children’s games. There will be a white elephant table and the Lion’s Club auction.
Come see what else there is this year. If you have items for the auction and need a pick up of the items; call Hilton Drake 437 -2445, Leonard Dow 437-4151 or Gail Drake 437-4461;100 percent proceeds to charity.
No air conditioners, dehumidifiers, appliances, tires, propane tanks, TVs, computer monitors, paint, etc. If you can not get rid of it, neither can we! The auction begins at 11:30 a.m.
The Albion Highway department is doing a good job and should be commended for their work. The East Benton Road is much better than it had been and I understand other roads have also had some repairs done. Thumbs up!
There will be no column from me the week of July 4. I hope you all have a great day celebrating the independence of this country.
by Mary Grow
Vassalboro school officials, like town officials, are winding up the 2015-16 fiscal year and preparing for 2016-17, a process AOS (Alternative Organizational Structure) #92 Facilities Director Shelley Phillips described to the school board as “like two worlds colliding.”
Phillips’ tasks for Vassalboro Community School, she reported at the June 21 school board meeting, include getting the new equipment shed built, the diesel fuel tank repaired (a job that requires state permits) and roof repairs planned.
Finance Director Paula Pooler said the year is ending about as anticipated. With more bills, but no big ones, expected before the fiscal year ends June 30, she said the books ought to balance without dipping into the $78,000 allocated from the undesignated fund balance. However, she does not expect a surplus at the end of the year to add to the balance.
The undesignated balance now stands at more than $198,000, Pooler said, with $132,000 allocated for the 2016-17 budget if necessary. She commented that the figure is small, considering the total budget voters approved at the Vassalboro town meeting is almost $7.4 million.
Assistant Superintendent Peter Thiboutot reported on the new teacher evaluation plan that had just won preliminary state approval, conditional on school board endorsement. The system has been three years in development, he said; it is based on the Marzano model, which he called “a leading teacher effectiveness training model.”
The school board unanimously approved. New board member Elizabeth Mitchell commended the plan as based on stakeholder involvement, rather than dictated from the top down.
On Superintendent Eric Haley’s and Principal Dianna Gram’s recommendations, board members approved hiring three new teachers: Crystal Uleau for second grade, Traci Norwood for fifth grade and Jill Ouellette (who did her student teaching in Vassalboro, Gram said) for seventh and eighth grade social studies.
They accepted with regret the resignation of Educational Technician II Judith Whitley. They unanimously authorized Haley to issue contracts to new staff in July and August, since the board is not scheduled to meet again until Aug. 16. Without the authorization, Haley said, he might lose a good teacher to another school system while waiting for the board meeting.
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