College programs wrap up successful year at KVCC

According to experts, within the next few years, a majority of jobs in Maine will require post-secondary education.  Yet, little more than half of the students who enroll in college end up staying long enough to earn a degree. Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) and Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) are excited about a new program aimed at trying to change that.  KVCC is one of seven colleges in Maine to offer the new JMG College Success Program; a program that provides students with the one-on-one academic and personal support needed to avoid dropping out of school.

“Having the JMG College Success Program here is great for the students”, says Karen Normandin, Vice President of KVCC. She says the school has had a TRIO program on campus since 1993, which serves students who are low-income, first-generation college students, or those with disabilities. She says, “JMG is a wonderful complement to TRIO.

What I love about these programs is that both understand the importance of connections and relationships.  This is where trust is fostered!”

JMG works with 5,500 young people, primarily middle schools and high school students, across the state, keeping them in school and providing them with the skills and guidance needed to be ready for college and careers. Two years ago, JMG leveraged its success with these students and launched the College Success Program; a comprehensive college preparation, bridging and retention program. The program serves students who were in a JMG program in middle school or high school, foster care youth, and those who dropped out of high school and eventually earned their GED.

“These students are full of potential and they need us,” says Jessica Rodrigue, JMG’s College Success Specialist at KVCC.

“One of the most important and exciting elements of the program is getting into the high school classrooms as a way to connect with students and encourage them to further their education. Once they are enrolled here at KVCC, I’m here to guide them and to offer support and encouragement every step of the way, so they can stay in school, get a degree, and go on to do the amazing things they are capable of.”

Rodrigue works closely with the school’s TRIO director, collaborating on students they have in common to make sure the students’ needs are being met, but without duplicating services.

“From freshman year in high school straight through to college graduation, JMG’s College Success Program is there for these students”, says Craig Larrabee, President  & CEO of JMG. “And, by partnering with great programs like TRIO, we are confident we can make a difference.”

China Lake Association meeting focuses on alewives, LakeSmart progress

The 2016 annual China Lake Association meeting, held on July 23, was another great meeting, attended by over 70 people.  What a fantastic turnout….

Frank Rich­ards, of Vassalboro, was the guest speaker.  Frank is a retiree who has served as the president of the Webber Pond Association

Frank Richards

Webber Pond Association president Frank Richards gives presentation on alewive restoration at China Lake Association annual meeting.

since 2001, and he has dedicated many years toward the improvement of water quality on Webber Pond.  He is a steadfast supporter of the Alewife Restoration Initiative (ARI), and has written two books: A Guide to Wilderness Canoe Fishing and An Introduction to Ice Fishing.  Frank spoke to the assembly and provided a general education on lake water quality, with specifics on Webber Pond and the introduction of alewives and improved water quality experienced by that water body.  He eloquently energized the attendees and gave encouragement about the potential positive effects of the introduction of alewives into China Lake through the Alewife Restoration Initiative (ARI).  Both Nate Gray (Maine Department of Marine Resources) and Landis Hudson (Maine Rivers) also spoke on behalf of the ARI and answered questions raised by the audience.

Marie Michaud reported on the winners of the annual poster contest; prizes were awarded.  Elaine Philbrook, the newest China Lake Association board of directors member, assisted her in the presentation of awards.

Bob O’Connor Scott Pierz

Bob O’Connor, left, was presented with a gold watch by China Lake Association President Scott Pierz for his 25 years of volunteer service to the organization.

Bob O’Connor gave his annual loon count, reporting that the loon counters observed 38 adult loons and three chicks this year.  On behalf of the association, Bob was awarded with a gold watch for over 25 years of service, involvement, and dedication as the longest-standing association member and loon count coordinator.

Maggie Shannon, Maine Lakes Society’s LakeSmart director, spoke on the benefits of LakeSmart and presented a video on the LakeSmart Program.  She also recognized and applauded our local LakeSmart program coordinator Marie Michaud for Marie’s high-energy and commitment to LakeSmart.  Marie and her LakeSmart team have had a successful summer, and she reported on specific LakeSmart awards (including Ray and Joanne Kelsey’s recent award seen in The Town Line’s edition of July 21, 2016).  For a peek at the Maine Lakes Society’s great video please go to this link:

Also, Jim Hart, president of the China Region Lakes Alliance (CRLA), spoke about the CRLA’s Courtesy Boat Inspection and Youth Conservation Programs operating here in China and in the region.

Thanks go to all those who contributed to the annual newsletter, including Nate Gray (Maine Department of Marine Resources), Landis Hudson (Maine Rivers), Jennifer Irving (Sebasticook Regional Land Trust), Marie Michaud and Maggie Shannon (LakeSmart), Jim Hart (China Region Lakes Alliance), Matt Zetterman (Kennebec Water District), Bob O’Connor (Loon Count Coordinator), and especially Frank Richards (Webber Pond Association).  Appreciation also goes to Tim Axelson for his financial report and to Jamie Pitney for conducting the election of directors and the association’s officers.  Special thanks to Tom Michaud for all his help along the way….

China Lake Association

Approximately 70 lake association members attended the China Lake Association annual meeting on June 23.
Photos courtesy of Scott Pierz

The China Lake Association will continue to advocate for the Alewife Restoration Initiative; promote environmental education in our school system; and seek an increase to the association’s membership through awareness and involvement of the community and our constituents.  For additional info go to our website ( and check out our Facebook by typing: China Lake Association Facebook into your favorite browser.

Finally thanks also to the board of directors, RSU #18 for the venue at the China Primary School, the Green Bean Cafe for refreshments, the town of China for its support, along with all who attended and our general membership.

Have a great summer and I hope to see you next year….

Submitted by Scott Pierz,  President China Lake Association

Dry conditions continue to plague central Maine lakes

by Roland D. Hallee

Dry conditions throughout the state have brought on low water levels in central Maine lakes.

Webber Pond, in Vassalboro, has experienced water levels twice as low as is normal for this time of year. The water remains four inches below the spillway at the dam off the Webber Pond Road, when normally, it is kept at two inches during summer months.

Similar conditions exist on China Lake, according to lake association president Scott Pierz. He deferred to Matt Zetterman, of the Kennebec Water District, which monitors water quality on China Lake and maintains the water levels based on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s lake level order. It is all part of KWD’s mission of improving water quality for China Lake.

Zetterman said that China Lake is experiencing a similar situation as Webber Pond.

“We started the year with a low amount of snowfall which led to a low volume of spring runoff,” he said. Continuing, Zetterman emphasized, “we had planned for it so we actually started the summer with a surplus of water in the lake.

“Fast forward to today, and we’re now an inch or so below our summer target, and without rain, the lake will continue to drop.”

Zetterman went on to point out the lake experienced a similar situation last summer and ended up six inches below the target by Labor Day.

Zetterman concluded with, “As much as rain ruins plans for the summer time, we desperately could use the rain to help build up the lake level.”

Poster contest winners announced

winners of the 2016 China Lake Association’s annual poster contest

The winners of the 2016 China Lake Association’s annual poster contest were announced at the membership meeting on July 23. They are, from left to right, Lauren Tyler, Alexis Rancourt, Reiana Gonzalez, Madison Lully, Emily Clark, Alonzo Michaud and Cameron Speck.
Photo courtesy of Scott Pierz

Bingham, Mayfield and Kingsbury become wind power sites

page6pict3by 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.”page6pict1

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.


One of the towers on its side so electronics can be placed inside. The tower stands approximately 100 meters, (330 feet). Photos by Dan Cassidy

“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.

Albion Neighborhood News, Week of July 21, 2016

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.

Fishing derby scheduled in Belgrade

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 or to register or call 207-465-8333. Derby Rules are posted on our website as well as all of our other events.

Sheepscot boat inspections begin

Sheepscot boat inspections begin

The Sheepscot Lake Association, in Palermo, has kicked off courtesy boat inspections for the 2016 summer season. From left to right, Sam Falla, Alli Callahan and Jon Boynton, will conduct the inspections which are free and voluntary to all boaters. Invasive plants are found in lakes all around mid coast Maine and the objective of the Courtesy Boat Inspections is not only to watch for particles of plants on boats and trailers but to keep the need for self-inspection in the forefront of every boater’s routine when launching and pulling their boat. Contributed photo

Wacky winter threatens our lakes

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

SOLON & BEYOND, Week of June 30, 2016

Solon and Beyond


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.)