South China Library looks towards the future while preserving the past

Friends of the South China Library

Friends of the South China Library. Photo by Bob Bennett

With the recent purchase of the Abel Jones house, the South China Library has taken the next step in the journey to find a new location for the library. The Abel Jones house, located on Jones Road, in South China, is the birthplace and boyhood home of Rufus M. Jones. The historic home, built in 1815, and its adjacent property, offers many possibilities for the expansion of the library and its programs for community members of all ages.

While there will not be immediate changes at the library, the library directors and volunteers are excited about planning for the future and including ideas and input from the community.

The public is invited to the South China Library annual meeting on Monday, August 1, at 6 p.m. at the library, 247 Village Street in South China. Please join us to hear highlights of current programs and continue the conversation about the future of the library. All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

South China Library is the oldest continuously operating library in Maine. Established in 1830, the library is a nonprofit organization run by dedicated volunteers. Please call 445-4188 or visit for more information.

Submitted by South China Library committee

New home for the South China Library will be at the Abel Jones house located on Jones Road, in South China

New home for the South China Library will be at the Abel Jones house located on Jones Road, in South China.
Photo by Bob Bennett

Avery Cottage selected for LakeSmart award

The Avery Cottage on China Lake has won a LakeSmart Award for the owners’ efforts to protect the lake. The Avery Cottage owners maintain a deep stand of mixed vegetation along their shore. This vegetative buffer helps to prevent phosphorus from entering the lake and turning it green. Their buffer includes ground cover, duff (leaves and pine needles), shrubs, young trees and mature trees that form a protective canopy.

Ray and Joanne Kelsey

Ray and Joanne Kelsey, owners of Avery Cottage, on China Lake. Contributed photo

They have kept the buffer as natural as possible and still maintain their view of the lake. Run off from their camp roof is directed to crush stone or vegetation. There is no exposed dirt that could end up carrying phosphorous into the lake. They pump their septic system regularly and their yard is free from signs of erosion.

The founding father, Sherman Avery, had their camp built from local timber in 1929. Ray Kelsey, one of the family members said that his great-grandfather, Solomon Coffin, had the logs to build the camp hauled across the ice on the lake to and from the Massey Mill, in Vassalboro, to build the cottage. During the depression, the family ran the camp as a boarding house of sorts and had a huge garden to help with finances. Boarders came by train to Vassalboro then by boat to arrive at the cottage. What a rich history of five generations the Avery cottage has enjoyed!

Give Us Your Best Shot! Week of July 14, 2016


SIT STILL: Pat Clark, of Palermo, finally got this tufted titmouse to sit still for a photo.



DON’T FIGHT: Emily and Russell Poulin, of China, snapped these goldfinches tussling over seed.



WALKING THE KIDS: Tina Richard, of Clinton, photographed mom and dad geese walking with their youngsters.

Gold medal winners

Abby Dudley

Huard’s Jiu-jitsu team member Abby Dudley, of Winslow, captured a gold medal at the Kids Black Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournament in Rangeley on June 26. Abby also took second place in forms at the Summer Martial Arts Spectacular. Photo by Mark Huard, owner of Central Maine Photography


Tate Jewell

Huard’s Jiu-jitsu team member Tate Jewell, 11, of Skowhegan, captured a gold medal at the Kids Black Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournament in Rangeley on June 26. Tate also captured first place in point fighting at the Summer Martial Arts Spectacular. Photo by Mark Huard, owner of Central Maine Photography


Landon Nunn

Huard’s Ju-jitsu team member Landon Nunn, 10, of Skowhegan, captured two gold medals at the Black Fly Kids Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournament in Rangeley on June 26. Photo by Mark Huard, owner of Central Maine Photography


SCORES & OUTDOORS: Why are all these trees dripping on me?

“Why are all these trees dripping on us,” was a question I was asked last week by a neighbor at camp. “It isn’t sap, just water.”

Well, the simple answer is that the tree is “sweating.”

Now, for the more scientific explanation.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the process is actually called transpiration, and it is the process of water movement through a plant and its evaporation from aerial parts, such as from leaves but also from stems and flowers. Leaf surfaces are dotted with page12pict1pores, similar to our skin, which are called stomata, and in most plants they are more numerous on the undersides of the foliage. The stomata are bordered by guard cells and their accessory cells that open and close the pore. Transpiration occurs through the stomatal apertures, and can be thought of as a necessary cost associated with the opening of the stomata to allow the diffusion of carbon dioxide gas from the air for photosynthesis. Transpiration also cools plants – again similar to our sweating – changes the pressure of cells, and enables mass flow of mineral nutrients and water from roots to shoots.

Mass flow of liquid water from the roots to the leaves is driven in part by capillary action, but primarily driven by water potential differences. In taller plants and trees, the force of gravity can only be overcome by the decrease in water pressure in the upper parts of the plants due to the diffusion of water out of stomata into the atmosphere. Water is absorbed at the roots by osmosis, and any dissolved mineral nutrients travel with it through the xylem (the woody portion of the plant).

Plant transpiration is pretty much an invisible process, since the water is evaporating from the leaf surfaces, you don’t just go out and see the leaves “sweating.” Just because you can’t see the water doesn’t mean it is not being put into the air, though. During a growing season, a leaf will transpire many times more water than its own weight. An acre of corn gives off about 3,000-4,000 gallons of water each day, and a large oak tree can transpire 40,000 gallons per year.

The rate of transpiration is also influenced by the evaporative demand of the atmosphere surrounding the leaf such as humidity, change in temperature, wind and incident sunlight.

page12pict2Soil water supply and soil temperature can influence stomatal opening, and thus transpiration rate. The amount of water lost by a plant also depends on its size and the amount of water absorbed at the roots. Transpiration accounts for most of the water loss by a plant, but some direct evaporation also takes place through the cuticle of the leaves and young stems. Transpiration serves to evaporatively cool plants as the escaping water vapor carries away heat energy.

Transpiration rates go up as the temperature goes up, especially during the growing season, when the air is warmer due to stronger sunlight and warmer air masses. Higher temperatures cause the plant cells which control the openings (stoma) where water is released to the atmosphere to open, whereas colder temperatures cause the openings to close.

As the relative humidity of the air surrounding the plant rises the transpiration rate falls. It is easier for water to evaporate into dryer air than into more saturated air.

Increased movement of the air around a plant will result in a higher transpiration rate. This is somewhat related to the relative humidity of the air, in that as water transpires from a leaf, the water saturates the air surrounding the leaf. If there is no wind, the air around the leaf may not move very much, raising the humidity of the air around the leaf. Wind will move the air around, with the result that the more saturated air close to the leaf is replaced by drier air.

When moisture is lacking, plants can begin premature aging, which can result in leaf loss,  and transpire less water.

So, if anyone asks you why the trees are dripping, you can go into the long, scientific explanation, or you just simply say, “the tree is sweating,” and watch for the looks you will get.

Local Students to attend Clarkson University

The following students will begin studying at Clarkson University this fall, in Pottsdam, New York, as members of the Class of 2020:

Dakota Bragg, of Oakland,  a graduate of Messalonskee High School, is majoring in environmental engineering.

Brooke Davis, of Oakland, a graduate of Messalonskee High School, is majoring in civil engineering.

IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of July 14, 2016

Katie Ouilette

by Katie Ouilette

Faithful readers, WALLS hope you are having a wonderful summer.  Especially, since I just met some folks from Oklahoma and we talked briefly about the terrible weather they have experienced so far this summer.  I guess what we believe and what we have heard on TV is absolutely right……..Maine…….the way life should be!  WALLS is sure of that fact, too!!

Problem is, we wonder where all the tourists are.  A pontoon-boat ride around Lake Wesserunsett yesterday proved that folks were either watching television or having their daily nap.  For sure, very few folks were outside, whether paddling a kayak or swimming or riding in their power boat!

Well, WALLS decided that Waves From Wesserunset, the summer lake newsletter, had to be written to excite everyone a bit.  Yes, we did hear that the Lake Wesserunsett Association’s ‘welcome everyone’ cocktail party at the Lakewood Inn was great for seeing folks after so long and WALLS will admit that the weather hasn’t been perfect so far for ‘fun on the Lake.’  Maybe, faithful readers, WALLS will talk about better times next week.

Actually, faithful readers, there’s no time like the present for WALLS to tell you that, today, David Richards, executive director of Margaret Chase Smith Library on Norridgewock Avenue, in Skowhegan, and the Skowhegan Heritage Council set the date for Last Rose of Summer Day, which the council has hosted for six years.  Invitations will be sent to all historical societies and associations in Somerset County and other locations in Maine for Wednesday, September 11, at 1 p.m. at the MCS Library.  We will let all the groups know where there is lunch being served in Skowhegan and the Last Rose of Summer events will be at the senator’s library this year.

By the way, do you know why the Heritage Council has chosen that name for celebrating our beloved Senator Smith?

She always wore a red rose when attending Congressional meetings in Washington, D.C., and, though the red rose will forever be a reminder of this woman who loved her Skowhegan and Maine, we know there will probably never be another ‘Margaret’ for us who knew her.

By the way, if you are not a member of an historical group but would like to attend, please tell our administrative secretary, Cynthia Kirk, at 474-6904.

WALLS say again:  “have a safe and happy summer,” faithful readers.  Don’t forget that Historian Earle Shettleworth will be speaking at the Fairfield Center Grange on July 15, at 7 p.m., and Barb Bailey told me via e-mail today that the event will begin with a BBQ before.  Bon Appetit, too!

I’m Just Curious: Bless your heart!

by Debbie Walker

You might have already guessed that I enjoy words. I have the big dictionary, the thesaurus and the Internet with no end of words!! I love it!

I decided to have some fun tonight. I get curious about “sayings.” I am going to share some southern sayings. When I moved to Florida one of my treats was hearing the sayings!

How about:

My favorite is: In the south you can say anything about anybody as long as you follow it with “bless his heart.” “That is the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen, bless his heart.” “She needs to do something with that hair, bless her heart.” Following an elder on the highway driving 30 miles an hour you can cuss and then just cover it with, “Bless his/her heart.”

“Do you know the difference between a conniption fit and a hissy fit?” None. Just pray you are not the one who caused it!

“I brought you into this world and I can take you out and  make another one just like you!”

“Over yonder a piece” is not very far but “Way over yonder is a far piece.”

“A truth comes naked, a lie has to wear its pants.”

Southern babies know that “Gimme some sugar” is not a request for the white granulated sweet substance on the table.

A southerner knows that “fixin” is used instead of “getting ready to” any particular thing. A southerner is “fixin” to do something.

When a southern mama says, “Don’t ugly your sister,” it has nothing to do with physical appearance.

Southern mamas are good at “slap” threatening. “I’ll slap your face off.” Or “I’ll slap you so far down in your shoes you can’t see daylight,” or “I’ll slap a knot on your head.”

One southern elder I met referred to all the small children as “Chaps,” girls, boys, no matter.

If his lips movin,’ he’s lyin! One lady I know used to say about her brother, “if he has a choice between standing flat footed on the ground or climbing that big pine tree and lying, he’ll climb that tree every time!!”

If that boy had an idea, it would die of loneliness.

He’s so dumb; he could throw himself on the ground and miss!

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!

Keep it up and I’ll cancel your birth certificate!

He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

I’m so hungry my belly thinks my throats been cut.

Well, aren’t you precious.

Oh yeah, this is a favorite of mine. I found out when I moved south that the south was still fighting the civil war! I had never heard the term Yankee as much as when I moved down there. They let me know that there was a Yankee and a damn Yankee. A Yankee was a northerner visiting the south. I was a Damn Yankee because I moved there!!!

Hope you enjoyed! Contact me at   and “Bless your heart” for reading once again!

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Yakov Kreizberg and Tops Records


by  Peter Cates

Mahler: Symphony No. 5 – Yakov Kreizberg conducting the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic; OPMC Classics 006, cd, recorded September 28, 2010.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), whose July 7 birthday anniversary is being celebrated as I write, was one of the truly great composers, on a scale with Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, Shostakovich, Vaughan Williams and a handful of others. He wrote ten Symphonies and several vocal works – maybe song cycles would be a better word! Recordings of this music abound on my shelves in 78, LP, cassette, CD, and download formats.

He aimed to evoke the world in all of its joy, triumph, misery and sadness, utilizing  the entire range of sonorities from the tiniest gentle whisper to the loudest eardrum- shattering climax, and thoroughly mined  the orchestra as the main instrument of communication.

Yakov Kreizberg

Yakov Kreizberg

The 5th Symphony is one very exciting work with a funeral march opening, three blistering movements testing every instrument in the orchestra and an Adagietto for strings of such eloquent beauty that it alone is often played to memorialize the passing of public figures. Leonard Bernstein conducted it at services for Bobby Kennedy.

Yakov Kreizberg, who died in 2011, delivered a very good performance less than a year before his passing at 52. There are also a sizable number of other great recordings of this music – Georg Solti, Jascha Horenstein, Gunther Neuhold, Bernard Haitink, Maurice Abravanel, Vaclav Neumann, to name just a few.

Tops – two seven-inch 45 vinyl records, Tops S41 and S42.

The reason I didn’t provide any titles or performers will be apparent as I explain this label’s  modus operandi. Tops started in 1947 as a record label founded by two New York City friends who were tired of their work-a-day, underpaid routines and left the jobs seeking a new life of success in the golden city of Los Angeles.

One thing led to another as they embarked on the production of 78s and 45s  selling for 40 cents a record, 10-inch LPs for 69 cents and the 12-inch ones for $1.50, all approximate figures. Needless to say, it was a cash cow.

Tops Records

The label would draw upon hit songs from the current top 100 to ones going back about 10 years and hire performers who sounded similar to the original stars. The records were then put on a consignment basis much of the time in mostly department stores, supermarkets and other similar venues.

The names on the label were pseudonymous but such performers as singer Mel Torme and pianist Andre Previn are believed to have been involved. If the two disks noted above are typical, each release contained five selections, thus running at least five to seven minutes – then considered good value.

A listing of some examples, along with the fake names, include the following:

Beyond the Sea, Marty Holmes; Baby (You Got What It Takes), Joni Cole and Bob Mitchell; Harbor Lights, Roy Jacobs and the Toppers; Where or When, again, The Toppers; Let It Be Me, The Charles Brothers; Country Boy, Slim Atkins.

Sometimes the performances were superior to the originals, though not on these vinyls, but they were good on their own terms.

The biggest challenge with Tops records is finding them in playable condition but these ones were a most welcome exception.

Sezak candidate for Somerset County Commissioner

Robert Sezak of Fairfield has announced his  candidacy for Somerset County Commissioner for the District 1 towns of Fairfield and Norridgewock.

Robert Sezak

Robert Sezak

“I am running for county commissioner because  I believe a person working very hard can make a difference in finding solutions to the problems facing our towns and county,”  Sezak said in his announcement.

“The communities of Somerset County offer a diversity that is envied by many.  We have the best of hunting and fishing, large and small businesses, hospitals, educational facilities, and economic opportunity.  It is important that we can continue to enjoy the resources and vital services Somerset County has to offer without losing those qualities we have come to know and appreciate.  This will be more difficult with the closure of the Madison mill and the devaluation of the Skowhegan mill, making the shrinking tax base  the most important issue in Somerset County.  I will work to find means of increasing County revenue, outside of taxation, by attracting and expanding craft-industries and other businesses in Somerset County, ”  Sezak said.  “The county also needs to lower the costs of jail indebtedness through legislation in order to ensure that payment for the debt on the jail will come mainly from boarding out-of-county inmates, as was originally intended. “

“Our county government can play a greater role in alleviating the legislative and economic pressures imposed upon the people and municipalities of Somerset County. “

Robert Sezak, 63, currently chairs the Somerset County Budget Committee and the Fairfield Town Council, and has been a small business owner for over 22 years.