China TIF committe members discuss future plans

by Mary Grow

China’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Committee members discussed future plans, including the second phase of the causeway project, at their July 29 meeting, despite the absence of all three construction subcommittee members who have been most involved in the work at the head of China Lake’s east basin.

Town Manager Dennis Heath said Phase I, which focused on replacing a large culvert with a bridge, is all done but the final paperwork. Phase II will involve replacing the current bulky guardrails with more attractive and less obtrusive ones; repairing the boat landing east of the bridge and providing more parking; creating a walkway and water access along the shoreline between boat landing and bridge; and installing lighting.

Engineer Mark McCluskey of A. E. Hodsdon brought preliminary plans for Phase II. An early step, he said, is getting a Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

His tentative timetable, which he said might slip, calls for a preliminary design to be presented to the committee in August, a final design approved by the committee and a final DEP permit application by December, bidding out the work in the spring of 2020 and construction next summer.

The current guardrails have been criticized as “ugly,” “overkill” and unsafe rather than safe because they are so awkward to get over. McCluskey said the boulders that lined the edge of the lake for years were apparently adequate, but now that supposedly safer rails have replaced them, town officials need to be careful not to back off too much.

McCluskey’s preliminary plan shows 14 parking spaces for boaters, the largest 50 feet long. Despite earlier reports that state officials would no longer support the boat landing due to limited parking, Heath expects state funds and materials to help with repairs. McCluskey’s plan does not envision enlarging the landing.

Two other uses for TIF funds discussed July 29 were the revolving loan fund (RLF) and the list of other projects currently funded.

Amy Gartley, RLF coordinator, said information is on the town website under the TIF Committee. Now that application forms have final approval, she and Heath plan to put information and applications in a more conspicuous place on the website.

TIF money has been helping organizations like the China Lake Association, China Region Lakes Alliance and Four Seasons Club. Committee members decided their Aug. 26 meeting will be a workshop session at which any group seeking TIF funds from the 2020 town business meeting should present its request.

Heath would like to have a list of requests submitted to selectmen by October for consideration in November.

Under state rules, TIF money is to be directed toward economic development projects, including recreation, and spent in designated TIF districts in the town. Income is from taxes paid by Central Maine Power Company on its north-south power line through China and its South China substation.

China’s comprehensive planning committee to consider revising land use ordinance

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members have a request from the Comprehensive Planning Committee to consider revising China’s land use ordinance to clarify requirements for a commercial use permit. They started discussion at their July 23 meeting, but came nowhere near a decision, partly because the issues are complicated and partly because only three of the five members were present.

Three main issues were presented, the ordinance sections that require an applicant to show that:

  • “The proposed use will not have a significant detrimental effect on the use and peaceful enjoyment of abutting property as a result of noise, vibrations, fumes, odor, dust, glare or other cause;
  • “Adequate provision has been made to handle storm water runoff or other drainage problems on the site;
  • “The proposed water supply will meet the demands of the proposed use or for fire protection purposes.”

The Comprehensive Planning Committee would like ways to measure compliance – for example, when do noise and the other things listed interfere with neighbors’ enjoyment, what runoff control provisions are adequate and how much water is needed for fire protection?

Board members and Codes Officer Bill Butler agreed on the second issue: state and town site protection regulations adequately control run-off.

They also agreed that determining detrimental effects is complicated, with the possible exception of controlling lighting by requiring downward-facing shielded bulbs.

Butler talked about ways to measure individual volunteers’ sensitivity to odors and send out teams to evaluate odor complaints. There are a variety of noise standards, state and local, he said, but to use them the applicant – or some other person or entity – would first need to do a study to establish the background noise level.

Butler and board members said there are many exemptions to standards in state laws and regulations, especially for farming and construction.

Some of the questions about fire protection and water supply should be referred to the state fire marshal, Butler said. He pointed out that “the demands of the proposed use” could be highly variable, giving as an example a water bottling operation like Poland Spring’s.

Development can affect supply, he added. He cited an area where the groundwater level was measured before a proposed subdivision. When trees were cut, the level dropped; when roofs and driveways created impervious surfaces, groundwater rose to a level higher than before the subdivision.

Further discussion was postponed to the board’s Aug. 6 meeting. Butler said the board hopes to have recommended changes on the Nov. 5 local ballot.

There was no action on the pending application for a medical marijuana facility on Route 3 in South China (see The Town Line, July 18). Butler said Clifford Glinko would probably present a revised application in September.

Board member Ralph Howe reported on his independent research on one of the questions raised about Glinko’s application, applicability of regulations separating marijuana facilities from schools. He said a Department of Education staffer told him Grace Academy across Route 3 is a school. The required 500-foot separation is between property lines, not between buildings, he said.

Work in progress at China school

The new additions will cost between $1.5-1.6 million and will include new locker rooms, a redone stage and music class area, and other improvements. (photo by Roland Hallee)

Construction has begun on the China Middle School addition. The work is being performed by Blane Casey, of Augusta, and although they have come across some structural issues it is expected the work will still come in within the budget that was planned, according to Carl Gartley, Superintendent of Schools for RSU #18. A few changes have been added to enhance the project that has increased some of the cost, but still within budget. The total cost of the expansion and renovations will be between $1.5 and $1.6 million. The project will include adding locker rooms, redoing the stage and music class area, adding practice rooms for music classes, adding storage for cafeteria tables, redoing the gym floor, redoing the HVAC system, repairing the roof and other fire code improvements to meet compliance of new laws.

At Full Fork Farm, it’s full circle farming, regenerating the land

Anson Biller, owner and operator of Full Fork Farm, and his trusted companion. (photo by Sandy Isaac)

by Sandy Isaac

U-pick strawberry season is well underway at Full Fork Farm. “It’s probably my favorite part of farming,” said Anson Biller, owner and operator of Full Fork Farm. “Human interaction and watching families have fun as they pick the strawberries is one of the highlights of the growing season.”

Full Fork Farm is a six-acre property located 1.5 miles from the northeast corner of China Lake and has been in operation for four years. Although smaller in size, Full Fork Farm is a great example of how farming and Biller have evolved.

After studying Alternative Education in college, Biller found himself in New York City teaching at a peace and conflict resolution after-school program. One of the skills he taught was how to grow vegetables in a city environment.

Looking for something more, Biller did a job search specifically for the east coast. However, when an opportunity showed up (twice) growing food on a larger scale at a Buddhist retreat center in California, he took it as a sign from the universe and headed west. He worked at the center for two and a half years, but despite enjoying the experience, he wanted to be back in the northeast.

“Maine has a profound sense of community unlike any other place that I have lived. Not Massachusetts, New York nor California. Neighbors support neighbors.” For example, Biller has a new, elongated greenhouse structure on the farm he calls “the tunnel.”

“The tunnel took a few months to put together. The pad had to be leveled, then I hit ledge. I had to rent a pneumatic drill, and the project had to be completed by Spring.” Then help stepped in. “I had a lot of friends and local farmers pitch in. One came with a crew of kids and helped put the plastic (covering) on in one day. We were lucky not to have any wind.”

Shortly after coming back to Maine, Biller joined Maine Organic Farmer Growers Association’s journey-persons program. This two-year program pairs new farmers with more experienced ones, similar to an apprenticeship. MOFGA enables farmers to have a good networking system they call on for advice or help. “Maine is a large state, but all the farmers are very reachable,” said Biller. “Facebook has also proven to be a good source for farmer groups.” These groups not only provide support, but also information on other farming opportunities.

In 2017, Biller wrote a grant as part of the Sustainable Agriculture Research (SAR) educational grant program. The proposal included utilizing spent brewers’ grain (the waste product from a brewery) and using it as nutrition for crops, creating more sustainable fruits and vegetables. Biller said he found the results “interesting” and his produce yield increased by over 25 percent. He writes extensively about it on his blog, found on the Full Fork Farm website. When asked about the grant process, Biller commented, “It was a lot of work, but the SAR program was very helpful. Oxbow Breweries (where Biller works part-time and where he received the byproduct used in his study) is very supportive of my work.”

The sign for Full Fork Farm on the Dutton Road in China. (photo by Sandy Isaac)

Biller says he hopes to write more grants in the future. He would like to extend his research to looking toward natural weed control or examining how carbon dioxide affects crop production. “We need to close the gaps and figure out ways that parts of the farms can interact and benefit from one another, or how different parts of the community of neighboring businesses can work together to be more productive and less wasteful.”

Biller’s philosophy is “Earth care. People care. Resource share.” He believes in “full circle farming,” meaning “seeking to emulate Earth’s natural cycles…and to foster community and regenerate the land in the process.”

One of the ways Biller is doing this is by “seed stewardship.” Seed stewardship is about saving the seeds from the best plants and using them for the next growing season. By doing so Biller hopes to encourage top self-pollinating vegetable varieties that grow best in Maine’s environment and eventually share those seeds with other farmers. Self-pollinating plants do not need the assistance of bees, other insects or the wind for pollination and fruit production. Some self-pollinating vegetables include tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and peas, all of which are being grown at Full Fork Farm. In addition, Biller is also growing cucumbers, kale, swiss chard, winter squash, salad greens and, of course, strawberries. These selections come from seed purchased locally from companies like Johnny Seeds in Winslow,.

“We also need to be conscious of weather patterns,” Biller said. “We had a very late and cold Spring. This put our growing season behind by about a month. Then there is the flooding out west. Is this the new norm?”

Cultivating native plants that are able to adapt to the local environment and yield the most fruit or vegetables are where farming is headed. This doesn’t have to involve genetic modification, just paying attention to the plants, tracking the results, saving the seeds from the best ones and repeating the process. Biller also hopes to extend the growing season by using the tunnel greenhouse and plans to introduce some winter squash to his produce line up. “Being able to produce healthy vegetables and offer them to people for longer periods of time…that would be ideal, especially for Maine.”

“Our growing season got off to a slow start with the cold, damp Spring, but we are now well underway,” said Biller. “One of the reasons we do U-pick is because there are too many strawberries for me to pick alone,” Biller joked. “The weeding also takes up a lot of time.” Biller hired a college student from Unity College that comes in part-time to help.

The U-pick strawberries are a favorite stop for many reasons. Last year, Biller purchased an ice cream machine that takes plain ice cream and mixes in the fresh strawberries that customers just picked. The result is “the best strawberry ice cream they ever had,” Biller said. “Having conversations, making the ice cream, and being part of this great family and friendly experience makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

Winners of 2019 China Lake Association post contest

The winners of the China Lake Association poster contest were, from left to right, Elaine Philbrook, contest coordinator, April Dutilly (fifth grade, fourth place), Madeline Clement (fifth grade, fourth place), Elijah Pelkey (fifth grade, third place), Elliotte Podey (fifth grade, first place), and Kayleigh Morin (sixth grade, first place). Back is China Lake Association President Scott Pierz. Not present, fifth grade winners, Ruby Pearson (second place), Bayley Nickles (fourth place), and Octavia Berto (sixth grade, second place), and Jayda Bickford (sixth grade, third place). (photo courtesy of Elaine Philbrook)

CHINA: Selectmen postpone excavator decision for fourth time

by Mary Grow

“We’ll make a decision shortly, Shawn,” China Selectboard Chairman Robert MacFarland promised Public Works Manager Shawn Reed as selectmen for the fourth time postponed action on his recommendation that they buy an excavator for the town.

Reed first made the suggestion at the June 10 selectmen’s meeting. There were follow-up discussions at the June 24 meeting and July 8 meetings; by then Reed had a specific proposal with a price, and the town had a contract to rent an excavator for 2019-2020. Selectmen asked Reed to find out how long the dealer would hold the price.

At the July 22 meeting, Reed and Town Manager Dennis Heath reported Chadwick-BaRoss will hold the price on the Volvo machine Reed favors until Dec.1, but will not promise to hold the machine if someone else wants it. Two of the three selectmen present were initially willing to approve the purchase, but eventually all three voted to postpone a decision until a full board is present.

They were more decisive on another public works issue, approving Heath’s recommendation to spend almost $10,000 of the 2019-2020 maintenance budget for tools so that new employee Josh Crommett can take over much of the work that’s been done by private garages.

Heath also recommends buying a software program to track maintenance records. He is looking for the program most suited to China’s needs.

He said Crommett has already done five jobs on town vehicles and estimated a $1,500 savings, counting Crommett’s pay as part of the cost.

Reed reported he rented a second excavator for one day’s ditching work, a large machine with a two-ton hammer for breaking up ledge. China’s crew used to blast ledge, which he said was much more expensive.

The public works department continues to deal with beavers, Reed said. The current major problem is that they have blocked the new six-foot culvert on Bog Brook Road.

Replying to a question from MacFarland, Reed said China is buying road salt but no sand for next winter, expecting the current sandpile to last another two or three years. The state Department of Transportation (MDOT) offers annual training on salting roads with minimum risk of contaminating groundwater or surface water. Selectman Irene Belanger asked if China has salt contamination insurance; Heath will investigate.

In another related matter, Heath reported on negotiations with the MDOT about turning over the Weeks Mills Road to the town. The current proposal is that the state will pay for this year’s resurfacing before the transfer.

In other business July 22, board members unanimously chose Belanger as one of China’s representatives to the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments. Belanger invites anyone interested in serving as the second representative to get in touch with her to discuss the position.

Town Clerk Rebecca Hapgood commended staff member Kelly Grotton for her work organizing the annual China Community Days celebration, scheduled for Aug. 2, 3 and 4. The Community Days schedule is on the town website and on paper at the town office and other public places.

Hapgood praised summer intern Hannah Kutschinski for her skills and attitude.

Heath said the revolving loan fund to provide bridge loans for China business owners from the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) fund is in operation. The TIF Committee will meet Monday evening, July 29. Its duties include reviewing loan applications.

TIF Committee member Tom Michaud complained that the guardrails along the head of China Lake east of the new causeway bridge were not removed as he recommended so that participants in the Community Days fishing derby could reach the water. The guardrails are part of the first phase of a TIF project to build the new bridge and improve access to the lake for recreation.

Heath said the project engineer recommended against removal because of potential liability; instead, openings were made. Michaud fears the openings might present new hazards.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Aug. 5.

Easton camp property receives China LakeSmart award

Marie Michaud, left, China’s LakeSmart coordinator, presents Bonnie Easton McGann, with a LakeSmart award at the China Lake Association annual meeting on July 20. (photo courtesy of Elaine Philbrook)

Family-owned camp since 1937

Glen H Easton purchased this property on Killdeer Point in 1937. He was the supervising naval officer assigned at Bath Iron works in those days. The camp was well built boasting a lovely cathedral ceiling. Bonnie Easton McGann, oldest of the 9 grandchildren, continues to shares family ownership of the camp.

Of particular lake friendly buffers on the Easton Camp property are the deep natural canopy of tall trees at the lake front and the 40-foot deep stand of hemlock trees that are kept trimmed to ensure that the Easton family can enjoy a nice view of the lake.

Effective water front buffers protect our lake from harmful runoff and can allow a nice view of the lake!

LakeSmart Volunteers are available to provide suggestions to lake front property owner to help protect the lake. If you are interested in having a LakeSmart Volunteer visit your property or would like more information about a visit, please contact Marie Michaud at ChinaLakeSmart@gmail.com.

China Lake Association holds annual meeting

Members listen to Matthew Scott, director of the Maine Lakes Society, at the China Lake Association annual meeting on July 20. (photo by Eric W. Austin)

Members hear about lake restoration from director of Maine Lakes Society

by Eric W. Austin

“We’re part of the problem,” Matthew Scott, the keynote speaker at this year’s China Lake Association annual meeting, told an audience of about 40 people on Saturday, July 20. “We’re also part of the solution.”

Matthew Scott, a director at Maine Lakes Society, was the keynote speaker at this years China Lake Associations annual meeting. (photo by Eric Austin)

His talk was entitled, “All Maine Lakes Are Vulnerable, Some More than Others.” Matthew Scott is the founder and past president of the North American Lake Management Society, and former chairman of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection. Currently, he serves as a Director for the Maine Lakes Society. He has been studying the health of Maine’s lakes since 1959.

Prior to 1970, China Lake was a clear, blue-water lake teeming with salmon and trout. Over the next decade, however, the China area experienced a population explosion and, along with it, a period of high — and mostly unregulated — rural development. Pollution from new construction, poor septic standards and runoff from agricultural production resulted in a change in the chemical make-up of China Lake. Phosphorous levels rose and dissolved oxygen levels fell.

As a result, in 1982 China Lake experienced its first algae bloom. An algae bloom is a rapid explosion in the growth of algae as a result of high levels of nutrients in the water.

Other lakes around the state would later experience similar changes for similar reasons, but China Lake was the first, and it gave its name to the new phenomenon, which came to be called “the China Lake Syndrome.”

Beyond the unsightly appearance, high levels of algae in the lake have other consequences. As the algae dies, it sinks to the bottom and starts to decay. The bacteria that aid in the process of decomposition suck oxygen out of the water. This impacts the populations of fish living in the lake, especially those species which prefer the high oxygen content of the dark, cool depths in the deepest parts of the lake, like trout and salmon. These species, once so common, began to disappear from the lake.

Dying algae can cause another problem as well – poisonous water. “What happens is that the algae die,” says Scott, “and when they die they release an endotoxin [called microcystin].” While toxin levels in China Lake have not risen above acceptable amounts laid out by the DEP, Scott thinks we can expect to see a greater need for microcystin testing in the future.

Part of these problems are also the result of Climate Change, says Scott. “We’ve recorded temperature changes since 1895,” he says, “and [average temperatures in Maine have] increased about three degrees Fahrenheit. That’s raw data. That’s real data. It’s a scientific fact.” Scott insists, whether or not you agree that Climate Change is the result of human activity, the world is growing warmer and we need to adapt.

“Maine is getting warmer and wetter,” Scott says. His data suggests we will see an increase in future snowfall in Maine by 40 percent along the coast, 20-40 percent in central Maine, and up to 20 percent for inland Maine.

Warmer weather results in warmer water, which is ideal for algae growth, and greater snowfall means more runoff into the lake when the snow melts, which puts greater importance on constructing vegetative buffers along the lake to help filter the runoff.

Scott sees the primary drivers of lake water quality as: Landscape fragmentation from development; seepage from faulty septic tanks; agricultural runoff from the use of fertilizers and certain pesticides; pollution and runoff from roads, driveways and nonpoint sources; and, finally, Climate Change.

Although Climate Change is certainly a factor, Scott says, it is these other sources with which we should be most concerned. “We all talk about Climate Change,” he says, “and people try to hang their hat on Climate Change and what it’s doing, but we are the problem, okay? We are the ones causing the problem.”

He’s talking about population growth, but concedes that growth is inevitable. “We’re not going to see that change,” he says. “[But] we’re going to have to control people’s activities through regulations, ordinances, laws and rules.”

Scott doesn’t think there are any silver bullets when dealing with lake water quality, but there are some promising options. One popular choice is “alum treatment,” which is the process of introducing a mix of aluminum sulfate and sodium aluminate into the lake. The aluminum sulfate chemically binds with the phosphates in the water, which then settle to the bottom and are no longer available to provide nutrients for algae growth. The sodium aluminate is used to control pH levels during the treatment. This sort of treatment has shown success in other lakes, but it is expensive, and Scott emphasizes that it should not be considered until the phosphate sources feeding into the lake have first been identified and eliminated.

Another option that generated discussion is the reintroduction of alewives into the lake. Alewives are a migratory fish which feed on the phosphate-rich plankton in the lake. The fish spend most of their lives in the ocean, but return to fresh water to spawn. After spawning, when they return to the ocean, they take the phosphates they’ve consumed with them. The problem is that there are so many dams constructed along the rivers between the lake and the ocean that these migratory fish have had trouble returning to the sea after spawning. If they are unable to return to the ocean, they become trapped, eventually dying and returning those phosphates back to the lake instead.

Landis Hudson, executive director of the nonprofit Maine Rivers, spoke about the work they are doing to clear a path along Maine’s rivers for migratory fish like alewives. “Lakes are connected to rivers, rivers are connected to the ocean,” she tells the audience, “and my work with Maine Rivers is to restore connections between lakes and the ocean, and to make the habitat more accessible and healthier for native creatures, including alewives. What we’re aiming to do is restore a self-sustaining population of up to a million adult alewives that should be returning [to the lake].”

Matt Streeter, a project manager with Maine Rivers, spoke about the progress they are making. “There were six dams on Outlet Stream,” he says. “There are now four dams remaining. This year, 2019, we’re working on a fishway at Ladd Dam. Next year, 2020, we’re going to be working on a fishway at Box Mill Dam. Those are the first and second dams on the river. The next year, 2021, [we’ll be installing a fishway at] Outlet Dam. The final piece will be Morneau Dam, probably in 2022 — although we haven’t decided yet if that will be a fishway or a dam removal. We fully expect that by 2023 there will be a returning round of alewives into China Lake, with full outgoing fish passage as well.”

Robbie Bickford, from the Kennebec Water District, spoke about their work with China Lake. (photo by Elaine Philbrook)

Robbie Bickford, the Director of Water Quality for the Kennebec Water District, then stepped forward to speak about how KWD is working with local communities to improve water quality. (He recently took over the position, as of July 1, from Matt Zetterman, who was also present.) “The Kennebec Water District monitors transparency data, and dissolved oxygen and phosphorous levels in all three basins of China Lake,” Bickford says. “Over the last six years, there’s been a pretty good trend of transparency data getting better.” Transparency is a gauge of how clear the water is based on how far below the surface an object can be seen. “July 3 actually marked the best transparency data that we’ve seen in the west basin since 1971, at 8.3 meters (26-1/2 feet),” he reported. “The best [data] we’ve ever seen since 1971 in any basin was 8.4 meters, so that’s awesome. The average that we’ve seen in July this year is still well above the ten-year average. That’s fantastic.” Bickford noted that phosphorous levels in the lake have improved as well.

The Kennebec Water District has operated the Outlet Dam, which controls lake levels, for the last ten years. However, this year they were unable to renew their contract with Vassalboro because of a dispute over certain cost increases they were requesting. As a result, the Vassalboro Public Works Department is now operating the dam. Everyone agreed that the current lake levels are unusually high for this time of year, but Bickford and Zetterman confirmed that water levels are within the guidelines set by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Scott Pierz, president of the China Lake Association, suggested the town of China could purchase the dam in order to operate it themselves, but such a move would need to be voted on at the town business meeting next year. This was confirmed by China Town Manager Dennis Heath, who was in the audience.

Bob OConnor reports on the loon count for China Lake. (photo by Elaine Philbrook)

Richard Dillenbeck spoke briefly about the litter initiative he has been organizing with the China for a Lifetime Committee. “We’ve started this year an official approach to picking up litter along our highways,” he said. “We’ve gotten partial success so far. We’ve got it covered from Erskine Academy [in South China] to portions down the Neck Road [at the north end of China Lake]. We have about 30 volunteers who have stepped forward, but we need more. There are some portions that are still not covered. If you’d like to play a role, or know someone, please have them contact me.” This was greeted with raucous applause, but no volunteers. Dillenbeck can be contacted at 445-8074 or rvdillenbeck@knology.net.

Marie Michaud, coordinator for the LakeSmart program on China Lake, got up to present awards and speak about the progress they’ve made. She spoke about the importance of the program in educating lake residents on how to construct vegetative buffers to prevent phosphorous run-off into the lake. They are also beginning a LakeSmart ambassador program to help spread the word.

Finally, Bob O’Connor reported on the loon count for China Lake. This is his 30th year running the program. “We have 48 loons,” he reported. “We haven’t had that many loons since 2003. So, that’s really great. And there were four chicks!”

Contact the author at ericwaustin@gmail.com.

Bar Harbor Bank to acquire 8 bank branches in central Maine

Bar Harbor Bankshares (NYSE American: BHB) announced that its banking subsidiary, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust (“BHBT”), has signed a definitive agreement to acquire eight branches located in central Maine with approximately $287 million of deposits, $111 million of loans and $284 million of assets under management (as of March 31, 2019) from People’s United Bank, National Association (“People’s”.

Both banks will be working closely to ensure a seamless transition for customer accounts and associates transferring to BHBT. The Company intends to offer continued employment to the professionals associated with People’s central Maine region, which is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2019. This acquisition is subject to regulatory approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the State of Maine and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. The eight branches will increase BHBT’s total branch count to 56 in its footprint, and 22 in the State of Maine. The Company is well positioned to integrate the new branches into its existing operations and deliver the product depth and local responsiveness that it has become known for.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Curtis C. Simard stated, “We are pleased to welcome our new colleagues, customers and communities to our already deep Maine roots. We look forward to servicing their banking and Wealth Management needs, and to providing our full suite of personal and commercial deposit and loan products. We believe this acquisition provides our existing and new customers enhanced convenience and underscores our commitment to Maine while expanding into contiguous markets in a sensible way. These branches stretch across the central Maine I-95 corridor with four branches in the greater Bangor market and includes all deposits from People’s central Maine territory.”

Mr. Simard stated “This transaction contributes to our financial and long term strategic goals with manageable risk based on our experienced team’s history of successful acquisitions and system integrations. We plan to use the acquired deposits to replace certain existing higher cost of borrowings which will result in an immediate accretion to earnings and will support future growth with additional core funding. Incremental earnings will allow for an estimated earn-back of tangible book value per share less than a period of five years. At closing the Company will pay a 6.3% premium on average total deposits plus a premium of 1.2 times annualized wealth management revenue and approximately $4.4 million for the fair value of premises and equipment acquired.”

Griffin Financial Group, LLC served as financial advisor to Bar Harbor Bankshares and K&L Gates served as outside legal counsel. A presentation with additional information regarding the branch acquisition is attached as an exhibit and can be found on their website.

Misha Littlefield earns Eagle Scout status

Newly initiated Eagle Scout Misha Littlefield. (Photo by Ron Emery)

Photos and text by Ron Emery, Assistant Scoutmaster

On Saturday, June 29, Troop #479 honored an Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor held for China resident Misha Littlefield, at the China Baptist Church. Family, friends and Scouts attended the ceremony marking the advancement of this young man to the highest rank in Boy Scouts.

Misha joins a group of Eagle Scouts who have completed community service projects with the help of fellow Scouts and other volunteers. Each Eagle candidate must plan and supervise an Eagle service project to demonstrate his capacity and willingness to exert his leadership ability in activities that are constructive and worthwhile in his community.

Misha’s project benefited the community by building shelves at the China Food Pantry for the monthly delivery of USDA Federal goods. They did not have room to store the monthly delivery in a convenient location to stock food boxes. This Eagle Service project led by Misha Littlefield was greatly needed, according to Ann Austin, at the China Food Pantry.

Misha recognized all those who helped him to reach the Eagle Rank. Misha is the son of Rodney and Julie, of China, and is working at Lowe’s, in Augusta, and running his own business while working toward becoming an EMT.