Pelletier named to dean’s list at Lebanon Valley

Kaitlynn Pelletier, of Waterville, was named to the dean’s list for the spring semester. Dean’s list students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.4 out of 4.0.

Pelletier, a graduate of Messalonskee High School, in Oakland, is pursuing a bachelor of science, bachelor of arts in music education and music at The Valley.

The magical bug of summer; where has it gone?


by Roland D. Hallee

It’s amazing the subjects you can come up with while sitting around. Last Sunday we were sitting by a campfire when we noticed a lightning bug. Notice I said “a,” like in one, uno, solo. It was the first lightning bug I had seen in a while. I remember when I was growing up, we used to go visit relatives in Canada, and sometimes go  to a camp where we would see hundreds of lightning bugs flying around a field. You just don’t see that anymore. And, lo and behold, on Monday morning, I received an email from a reader asking the same question.

The lightning bug (firefly) during the day

The lightning bug (firefly) during the day

Anyway, lightning bugs can make summers magical, but there is more to learn about these beauties.

First off, lightning bugs are actually fireflies. Fireflies are cute and elegant by day, but downright dazzling after darkness falls. But behind their charming facade, fireflies are fascinating little insects. Consider the following facts:

They are beetles, not flies. Fireflies are nocturnal members of Lampyridae, a family of insects within the beetle order Coleoptera, or winged beetles. Yes, they are officially beetles.

They are alchemists, poetically speaking at least. While they don’t actually turn base metals into gold, they do create light as if by magic. When a chemical called luciferin (note the same Latin root as Lucifer) inside their abdomen/tail combines with oxygen, calcium and adenosine triphosphate, a chemical reaction occurs that creates their spectacular light.

Firefly light is incredibly efficient. The light produced by the firefly is the most efficient light ever made. Almost 100 percent of the energy in the chemical reaction is emitted as light; in comparison, an incandescent light bulb only emits 10 percent of its energy as light, the other 90 percent is lost as heat.

The lightning bug (firefly) at night

The lightning bug (firefly) at night

The main reason lightning bugs flash is to attract mates. Among most but not all species of North American lightning bugs, males fly about flashing while females perch on vegetation, usually near the ground. If the female sees a flasher and she’s ready to mate she responds by flashing right after the male’s last flash. A short flash dialogue takes place as the male flies closer and closer, and then, if all goes well, they mate.

They come in a rainbow of colors. Well maybe not the whole spectrum, but they do come in yellow, light red, green and orange.

They taste awful. Not that we were planning on snacking on fireflies anytime soon, but for predators that might like a light meal, beware the lightning bug. Firefly blood contains lucibufagins, which is actually a defensive steroid that tastes really disgusting. It is similar to that found in some poisonous toads. Predators associate the bad taste with a firefly’s light and learn not to eat bugs that glow.

However, their numbers are declining. If you’re seeing fewer fireflies each summer, you’re not alone. Evidence suggests that firefly populations may be on the decline, most likely due to a combination of light pollution, pesticide use and habitat destruction. For example, according to, if a field where fireflies live is paved over, the fireflies don’t migrate to another field, they just disappear forever.

The scientific and citizen consensus is that fireflies could be facing a tough time. Malaysia even holds an international symposium dedicated to conservation of the firefly. Scientists have for years been warning that the world’s estimated 2,000 species of fireflies are dwindling.

And is it any wonder? As the man-made environment continues its march into the natural world, where are these things supposed to live? Fireflies breed and exist in the woods and forests, along lakes and streams, in dense gardens and unruly meadows. Where are they supposed to do their firefly things when those places are paved over and built upon?

All of it doesn’t bode well.

“Fireflies are indicators of the health of the environment and are declining across the world as a result of degradation and loss of suitable habitat, pollution of river systems, increased use of pesticides in agro-ecosystems and increased light pollution in areas of human habitation,” notes the Selangor Declaration, a firefly advocating document. “The decline of fireflies is a cause for concern and reflects the global trend of increasing biodiversity loss.”

Fireflies are part of our heritage; they are an iconic creature and have played a role in many, many cultures. They are the epitome of summer evenings, for many of us they served as an introduction to the wonders of nature. If we lose the fireflies, we lose an important invisible thread that connects us to the magic of the natural world. And as a species, we can’t afford to lose that right now.

I’m Just Curious – Week of July 7, 2016

Emily CatesOpinions and columns

by Debbie Walker

My hope is as you read our columns that you sometimes find information of use in your daily life. Some of the columns are aimed at giving you a chuckle. Some columns are designed to give you information we have heard and you may not have yet, so we pass it along. Some are just as the title says, just our opinions.

Some weeks you may read an opinion and totally agree with it. You may in some way feel validated knowing someone else carries the same opinion you do. That same column may strike someone else completely different, they may absolutely disagree. And still others may read it and it gives them something to mull over as to how they feel about the subject.

Some weeks a column may give you something to laugh about. For at least a few minutes you forgot something weighing heavy on your mind and have a little chuckle and possibly something you feel was positive enough to share with others.

There are times we are very serious about subjects like politics of many levels. Again the information may be general or it may be quite detailed, all of which is presented for you to consider. (Very seldom do I tackle this subject. You would shortly find out I have a healthy disrespect for the subject!!)

Sometimes we write about health issues as I did with “Ticks and Bumps”. I re-run it once a year because it is about a little known skin cancer, that’s the “bump”, little known and yet it is cancer. If you had seen mine you probably would have thought like I did, “It’s nothing”, however I was wrong.

Some writers give you a bit of history of the area. Local history is always interesting to me. When people are new to an area they often appreciate this info. If you have your own memories of the area it may be a trip down memory lane. If you know a local story of earlier years pass it on. When I lived in Florida we had an old story about the actual county building being moved to a different area one night!!

It’s my understanding that the biggest newspapers are slowly on their way out. A friend of mine, a long time newspaper man explained to me that we now have access to the subjects we are most interested in instantly with internet and hand held devices. Newspapers are becoming obsolete as we are driven more and more into the “tech” world. He believed the small local papers would continue for quite some time. Most people like to see local folks in their papers; local kid’s sports, celebrations, honors, obituaries, police beat; all things local, good and bad. And if anyone is like me I still prefer flipping paper pages.

I believe each of the writers for any paper hopes to please the readers with information of interest to the community. You can play a role in a local paper, as well, if you know something you think should be printed, give the paper a call! See what happens.

I’m just curious if you remembered to mark this year’s calendar for the Pow-wow in Newport coming up Labor Day Weekend? It is usually a very educational as well as great time.

Contact me at, subject line: Papers   Thanks for reading!

REVIEW POTPOURRI, Week of July 7, 2016

Peter CatesREVIEW POTPOURRI: A Recording and a Movie

by  Peter Cates

Charlie Barnet – Knockin’ at the Famous Door, F.T.; Tin Roof Blues. Bluebird 10131, ten-inch shellac 78 record, recorded January 20, 1939.

Charlie Barnet

Charlie Barnet

Charlie Barnet (1913-1991) was a very gifted saxophonist who perhaps achieved greater fame for his band’s vibrant, tasteful music making, so characteristic of every record I have heard. These two selections are typical and can be heard on Youtube.

He was heavily influenced by Duke Ellington, which helps to account a bit for the quality control of his arrangements. He also hired only the best people and featured Lena Horne and trumpeter Roy Eldridge as regular attractions for several years, while commissioning arrangements from Billy May. Finally he was so successful that he could afford beautiful homes in San Diego and Palm Springs and he was married 11 times.

In closing, a quote from his auto-biography about the frequent tours  of the band- “I found life on the road very intriguing. I probably was more enthralled with the life than the music – at first.”

Cool Hand Luke – starring Paul Newman, Strother Martin, Jo Van Fleet, Morgan Woodward, George Kennedy, etc.; directed by Stuart Rosenberg; Warner Brothers, 1967, 127 minutes.

Paul Newman

Paul Newman

I remember vividly reading the novel by Donn Pearce, based on his own experiences on a chain gang, a strangely different experience from finally seeing the film two years later – ironic, since Pearce did work on the script. I think the reason may have been the lack of Strother Martin as the diabolically sadistic Captain and Morgan Woodward wearing the mirror sunglasses and never saying anything in his own role as the very formidable shotgun- carrying, walking Boss Godfrey.  (Interesting­ly, Woodward, who looked years older than Newman in the film, is still living at 90, nine months younger than Newman would have been.).

Of course, I loved Paul Newman’s sly Luke  Jackson and his incorrigibly rebellious stoicism that brings on beatings and other punishments from the guards and inmates but his finest moment is, having escaped yet again, being cornered in the church when he experiences a true spiritual epiphany with God. Jo Van Fleet does a heart-breaking moment as Luke’s dying mother clutching the cigarette as though it were a true lifeline, unlike her terrifying performance as James Dean’s mother in 1953’s East of Eden. George Kennedy, Luke Askew, Ralph Waite, J.D. Cannon and several others more than held their own.

The film was shot in the San Joaquin Valley in California and a crew thoroughly researched actual prison camp buildings in Florida before constructing the movie sets.

The most famous line, “What we have here is failure to communicate!,” was voted one of the 100 most famous movie quotes by the American Film Institute. Finally, fans of the film should check out a Youtube audio of the late Tim Wilson’s spoof of Strother Martin’s Captain.

Caruso on dean’s list at Lehigh University

Dean’s List status, which is awarded to students who earned a scholastic average of 3.6 or better while carrying at least 12 hours of regularly graded courses, has been granted to Zachary Caruso, of Waterville, in the Fall 2016 semester, at Lehigh Univeristy, in Bethlehem Pennsylvania.

Colby College students named to dean’s list

Area students were named to the dean’s list at Colby College, in Waterville, for their outstanding academic achievement during the spring semester of the 2015-16 year. Twenty-four percent of the student body — 452 students – qualified for Colby’s dean’s list this semester by earning a semester grade point average of 3.75 or higher.

Caitlin R. Farrington, of South China,  a member of the class of 2018, attended Erskine Academy. She is the daughter of Neil and Doreen Farrington, of South China.

C. William Qualey IV, of Norridgewock,  a member of the class of 2016, attended Skowhegan Area High School. He is the son of Charles and Patricia Qualey, of Norridgewock.

Elderflower fritters: Make this decadent delight today!


by  Emily Cates

As the heat of summer settles in, the elder shrubs display their lacy flowers and fill the air with a heady scent. The wise chef makes the most of this opportunity and gathers elderflowers to make some of the most delicious fritters this world has ever indulged. Since elderflowers are common in our area, why not try them for yourself? One munch of these fritters, and you’ll be hooked! In this article, we’ll look at how to identify and cultivate this highly-esteemed shrub, how its different parts are used, and a basic recipe for elderflower fritters.

Sambucus, as this genus is called, is generally found in three different species in our area. Several species are cultivated for their fruit and also ornamental value. Ones we’ll likelySambucusencounter in the wild- S. canadensis- will be multi-stemmed, shrub-like, rarely exceeding 12ft. They’re hard to miss if you know what to look for. They are found in abundance on roadsides, in hedgerows, at the edges of woods, and in rich soils. Their pinnate leaves sport 5 to 9 sharply-toothed leaflets. Flat, umbrella-like clusters of fragrant flowers adorn the shrub starting in June, followed by clusters of small black berries. Many folks enjoy their fruits in pies, wines, jellies, jams, and medicinal extracts. S. nigra, native to Europe, have black, shiny berries that are highly regarded medicinally and made into syrups, cordials, elixirs, and other treats for the immune system. S. nigra, as well as S. canadensis and others, are commonly found as seedlings and named cultivars in various tree catalogs such as Fedco Trees.

Other species- which also can be found in catalogs- boast beautiful golden or powder-blue berries, while still others have lime green or black lacy ornamental leaves. A red-berried elder, which is native and flowers and fruits much earlier than the black-berried species, is not commonly used by people (but oh, the birds love it!) and is considered poisonous at least if consumed raw.

In fact, all elder shrubs have toxic parts and it would be unwise to ingest leaves, bark, roots, and unripe berries. The flowers, however, are cherished historically as a remedy for colds and flu. They also are used in baths to help break a sweat, and in skin products- particularly facial creams. Beneficial insects find a safe haven full of nourishment in elder flowers. Not only are these flowers beneficial, they are gorgeous- especially those on the dark-leaved ornamental cultivars.

Cultivation of elderberries can be mysterious- in my experience, anyways. They definitely like rich, fertile soil and full sun. Grow the mother of all elderberries on a compost heap! The shrubs that grow wild in the woods behind my house get huge and loaded with berries, but tend to die out abruptly in the next year or two. But then new seedlings take their places and round it goes again. When I dug some of these up and moved them when they were young, however, and planted them in a spot in full sun in my garden, they grew strong and stayed consistently healthy. Also, I haven’t observed this tendency in my cultivated varieties to grow as rapidly and fruit as prodigiously and then die out as the wild ones seem to- though they do appear to grow slower and fruit later in life. (What does this all mean? I’m not really sure. Any ideas?) Elderberries are pruned while the plant is dormant. Some folks cut out only dead, damaged, or diseased canes, while others cut them to the ground like perennials. I tend to apply the first option, though the fruits of the second option will be larger, but fewer.

I’ve found that bugs will not cause enough damage to destroy an elder shrub, but watch out for birds! The berries are a tasty treat for feathered foes who will strip a shrub of all ripe berries before we even know the berries are ripe. (I try to console myself with the thought that these marauding birds will be a healthy and important part of the ecosystem. Who am I to keep the beloved berries all to myself?) At any rate, the problem can be minimized with netting thrown over the shrub, or nonexistent when using the flowers. The birds and other pests leave the blooms alone. Of course, the more flowers that are harvested, the less berries there will be. But if the birds will be eating all the berries anyways, why not just use the flowers? They can be picked and dried for later use, or employed in the kitchen in pancakes and fritters.page4pict1

Fritters! I promised you a basic recipe. While my ultimate goal is to eventually whip one up from locally-produced ingredients (and obviously not all of them here are), feel free to use any equivalent of these ingredients found in your kitchen if you wish. It’s really quite easy: I like to use fresh eggs, tapioca flour, sucanat, and coconut oil from Uncle Dean’s or another source of natural foods. Simply take a cut cluster of flowers that has been gently rinsed and pat dry, hold it by the stem, dip in beaten egg, again in a bowl of a mix of flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt, and fry in fat on medium heat until golden and delightfully crisp. Do this to as many clusters as you desire. Set on a plate with a paper towel to drain off excess oil, and sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Discard large pieces of stem, and enjoy. Delicious! However you make them and whatever recipe you use, they will certainly become a seasonal favorite.

Obituaries, Week of July 7, 2016


SPRING, TEXAS – Carole Joan Wood Bosma, 78, of Spring, Texas passed away September 22, 2015. Carole was born in Waterville, Maine on April 9, 1937. Although she lived in Texas she always considered Maine her Home. Carole was your typical “down Maine girl”.

Carole was preceded in death by her parents Lillian Moore Wood and Clarence T. Wood of Waterville, Maine; mother and father -in-law Edward and Rosalie Hagen of China, Maine; and brother-in-law Kenneth Hagen of China, Maine.

She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Jerry Bosma, Daughter Lizbeth Carole Metzler and husband Harvey; son  Mark Edward Bosma and wife Kathy; grandchildren Patsy Holmes and husband Dakota, and William Kennedy and wife Skye; great grandchildren Carli, Kelby, William (Shooter), Korden, and Tyler Rose, all of Texas; sister-Bette Pooler and husband John, of Fairfield; sister-in-law Rosalie (Dolly) Batteese and husband Robert (Bob), of China; niece and nephews Keith, Jeff, Chad, Tyler (Ty) and Sarah and many more loving family members and friends. And not to forget her “special daughter” Dawn Muirhead of Boone North Carolina.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 10:00am, Veilleux Funeral Home, 8 Elm Street, Waterville, Maine, 04401 to celebrate Carole’s life.

Memorial donations may be made to the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition, 499 Broadway, PMB 362, Bangor, Maine 04401 or at


Joseph Richards Jr. and wife Susan, of Winslow, lost his sister, LUCY M. GRAY, 65, of Madison, on Friday, June 17, 2016 at Maplecrest Living Center, in Madison. Also, Jim Gray, of Vassalboro, lost his daughter-in-law.

Lydia Chase, and Maj. (USAF-Ret.) Ronald Atwood, both of Whitefield, both lost their brother, RICHARD E. ATWOOD, 75, of Palm Bay, Florida, formerly of Whitefield, on Sunday, June 12, 2016, at the Holmes Regional Medical Center.

Erron Jean Dionee-Jacques, and husband Anthony, of Vassalboro, lost her grandfather, DONALD J. DIONNE, 79, of Waterville, on Saturday, June 18, 2016, at Maine General Medical Center, in Waterville, from a massive heart attack.

Daniel Joseph, of North Whitefield, lost his mother, CAROLE A. BODMER, 76, of Westport Island, on Sunday, June 19, 2016, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta.


CHRISTINE E. BILODEAU, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, formerly of Vassalboro, died on Sunday, April 24, 2016, following a brief battle with cancer. She graduated from Winslow High School, class of 1969. Locally, she is survived by a daughter, April L. Bilodeau, of Albion.

MARJORIE F. COUTURE, 81, of St. Augustine, Florida, died on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, at the Bailey Family Center for Caring. She was born in Winslow to Oscar and Sadie Reny. Marjorie graduated from Winslow High School. Locally, she is survived by a sister, Muriel Grenier and husband Robert.

Sheepscot health welcomes new provider

Christine LaVerdiere, FNP, will be joining the medical team at Sheepscot Valley Health Center this summer to provide healthcare to the community. Sheepscot patients may recognize Christine as she participated in her final student rotation at the health center this winter while completing the Family Nurse Practitioner program at University of Southern Maine. Christine brings over 10 years of experience as a critical care registered nurse in hospital settings. In 2004, she obtained a bachelor of nursing degree from St. Joseph’s College, in Standish. Her areas of clinical interest include family health promotion and disease prevention.

Christine LaVerdiere

Christine LaVerdiere

Christine will be joining physicians Roy Miller and Kathryn Wistar, family nurse practitioners Amber Shepherd and Ashley Hamilton-Ellis, and physician assistant Shannon DeLong. The health center offers primary care to 4,000 people of all ages from Coopers Mills, Jefferson, Somerville, Washington, Whitefield, Windsor and surrounding communities. In addition, established patients obtain podiatry, behavioral health, and adult psychiatric medication management services on site at the health center.

Sheepscot Valley Health Center is part of HealthReach Community Health Centers, a group of eleven Federally Qualified Health Centers in Central and Western Maine. Dedicated providers deliver high quality medical and behavioral health care to citizens in over 80 rural communities. To ensure access for everyone, HealthReach accepts Medicare, MaineCare and major insurances. In addition, an Affordable Care Program is available to uninsured and underinsured residents as well as assistance with applications for programs that help with the cost of healthcare and medications including the Health Insurance Marketplace. A private, non-profit with a 41-year history, HealthReach is funded by patient fees, grants and individual donations.

Planners approve permit for solar farm

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members unanimously approved a revised permit for the community solar farm on Route 32 North (Vassalboro Road), allowing it to be four times as large as originally planned.

At the board’s June 28 meeting, Hans Albee of ReVision Energy, engineer who will oversee the project on land leased from Christopher Hahn of Three Level Farm, said since the original permit was approved in August 2015 the community solar farm has attracted potential owners who use more electricity than expected.

The new application is for up to 200 kilowatts of capacity, requiring up to 800 solar panels covering an area of about 42,000 square feet, 12,000 square feet of panels with aisles between them.

The array will be owned and managed by an association of not more than nine Central Maine Power Company customers, who will use the electricity generated and sell the surplus to CMP.  Although the project will be larger, it will still connect to the same already-existing CMP line.

The panels will be about 10 feet high, angled at 35 degrees so snow will usually slide off, with non-reflective glass to minimize glare and maximize solar intake.  Once the panels are in place and the owners’ association formed, mowing and other maintenance become the association’s responsibility, Albee said.

Planning board members found the revised project meets all criteria in China’s ordinances.  They decided no public hearing was needed.

Albee said the project should be built this summer and in operation by fall.

After acting on the solar farm, board members, Selectmen Ronald Breton and Joann Austin and Codes Officer Paul Mitnik reviewed some of the proposed ordinance changes that will be subjects of a July 26 public hearing.

Mitnik said the proposed changes are on the town website.  Board members asked Austin to submit her suggestions for additional changes in writing before the hearing, at which they intend to solicit residents’ input.

The July 26 hearing will be held at China Middle School to accommodate the expected crowd and will probably begin around 6:30 p.m.  It will be preceded by a 6 p.m. public presentation by Colin Clark, shoreland zoning expert with the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The planning board will not meet July 12, there being no pending applications.