REVIEW POTPOURRI: Performers – The Voxpoppers; Author – E. M. Forster; Singer: Esther Ofarin

The Voxpoppers: Wishing for Your Love; The Last Drag; Mercury 71282X45, seven-inch vinyl 45, recorded March 18, 1958.

A classic single.

The Voxpoppers

The Voxpoppers

This group of five who doubled as both singers and instrumentalists – saxophone, accordion, guitar, bass and drums – waxed a few singles that went nowhere until they released Wishing on the Amp – 3 label. When it started getting airplay, Mercury bought distribution rights upon which the record hit the top 20. After a few more releases, the group disappeared from public view.

I  love and own quite a batch of early rock disks but don’t particularly like this one. Wishing was played way too much during my formative and very impressionable years between five and 13.

Marianne Thornton: by E.M. Forster; Harcourt Brace, 1956, 325 pages.

E. M. Forster

E. M. Forster

Engaging memoir.

E.M. Forster (1879-1973) was an English novelist and essayist. I have  read only two of his six novels,  Where Angels Fear to Tread and Howard’s End, the latter at least three times. What I have found  most engaging about them is his sharp powers of observation, his ear for  revealing dialog and his understated humor. However, because I am very distractible, I still have not gotten to the other four novels and am probably the worse for this lack.


Even though Marianne Thornton is a memoir of a great aunt (1797-1887), she comes to life through her nephew’s talent at scouring musty family letters, journals and other such yellowed documents,  deploying the above – noted narrative gifts and re-creating the private life lived below the radar in all its vibrant, nurturing glory. She is presented as daughter, sister, aunt and great aunt in four skillfully organized units. The people, surroundings, domestic events and conversations, and finally private thoughts are seamlessly woven. This book demands focused, thoughtful attention but is proving to be one life-enhancing reading experience.

Esther Ofarim by Esther Ofarim; BASF -BB 29564, stereo vinyl LP, recorded 1973.

An exquisite LP in the pop realm.

Now 75, Esther Ofarim still projects a song with extraordinary conviction, beauty and articulation. Her listings on Amazon are in the dozens, along with YouTubes free for the hearing and sharing – good news for those who are both curious and thrifty.

I first became enamored of her in 1970 during my sophomore year, when I bought a few LPs for 33 cents each at the now long defunct Arlan’s department  store, in Portland, a mecca in its own way for LP collectors trolling for cheap, but interesting vinyl among the piles of trash. (Waterville had Center’s, Woolworth’s, Marden’s in its very early ‘70s days, and McLellan’s.)

Anyways, one of the LPs was Cinderella Rockefeller featuring Esther and her ex-husband, Abi, in a collection of miscellaneous selections of an eclectic nature, ranging from That Long Lonesome Road to the title song, itself penned by the illustrious Mason Williams of Classical Gas fame. Esther was the main attraction with the qualities mentioned above in plentiful supply. Even then, she couldn’t have made a bad record if her life depended on it.

Esther Ofarin

Esther Ofarin

In 1974, while working in a Boston record store, I received my copy of Esther Ofarim as a free promo and found out that she had developed a solo act since her divorce. This  was one of two or three LPs she had released in as many years;  it also had poor distribution, as did her other recordings, and my copy is the only one I have seen in the last 42 years.


Her program of 10 selections includes Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne and Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye, Morning Has Broken, and El Condor Pasa, all given the best renditions I have ever heard, but my favorites are Song of the French Partisan, Jerusalem and the heart-rendingly moving You’re Always Looking for the Rainbow, which is for me without question one of the five most beautiful songs I have ever heard. The album’s producer Bob Johnston wrote and arranged it, utilizing the full orchestra to wonderful effect. It can also be heard on YouTube and has stirred many positive responses.

An Amazon vendor has one copy listed for $15.

Movie of the Month in Palermo

Over the past 60 years, autism rates have risen from 150:1 to 65:1 in most of America.  Interestingly, the Amish population seems less susceptible. What is this strange syndrome, and what causes it?  How does it look and feel to be autistic?  Some say it is a different form of awareness to be embraced.  Bring a potluck dish (or a donation) to the Palermo Community Center on Turner Ridge Road on Friday, August 26th at 6 p.m.  Join friendly folks for fine food and thought-provoking discussions–for free! For directions or more information, please call Connie at 993-2294.

Jefferson Food Pantry annual meeting

The Jefferson Area Community Food Pantry recently provided food assistance at St Giles Episcopal Church.

The food was purchased from Good Shepherd Food Bank, in Auburn. Donations of fresh garden produce was received from DRA CSA Food Bank Farm, Cindy Bea and County Fair Farm. Bread was given by the USDA.

Volunteers and donations are appreciated. Volunteers may call Richard St Amand at 530-3769. Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation may send a check made out to St Giles Church with JACFP written in the memo area, PO Box 34, Jefferson, ME 04348

The annual meeting is Monday, August 22, at 9:30 a.m., and is open to all with a potluck breakfast at St Giles Episcopal Church.

Distribution days are the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, 4 – 5:30 p.m., at St Giles, 72 Gardiner Road, Jefferson.

For more information please call 315-1134.

SOLON & BEYOND, Week of August 18, 2016

Solon and Beyondby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!

After a blitz of some kind, my computer has decided to cooperate and let me start writing my column.  Hope it behaves itself long enough for me to finish.

The Lexington Historical Society will be holding a meeting in their new building on Saturday, August 20, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., or longer. Nancy McLean will be giving a presentation about Lexington, and the flooding of Dead River and Flagstaff. I’m sure it will be a very interesting meeting, and I am so sorry that I won’t be able to attend…..even after all these years of writing, I haven’t figured out how to be in two places at once.

Anson Historical Society will hold an open house Friday, August 26, at Kennebec St., Anson, from 2 – 6 p.m. On display will be articles and photos from the collection. At the same time a yard sale will be occurring out front and games for children in the back. If you have any questions you may call Emily Quint at 635-2231.

On Saturday, August 20, from 7 – 10 p.m., there will be a Barbara Demo Band dance/show at the Embden Community Center Gym.

The next Saturday, August 27, there will be a comedy show by Bob Marley from 7 to 8:30 p.m., also at Embden Community Center Gym.

Tickets available for sale at the Embden Town Office (Tues. & Wed. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Thurs. 1 – 6 p.m.,  and Fri. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and  the Embden Thrift Shop (Wed.,Fri. & Sat.) 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

As always, we had a wonderful family get-together up to Flagstaff Lake at Dave and ‘Pete’s” camp last weekend. All 27 of us ranging in age from 9 months to ? ! arrived up there on Friday. They had built another bunk house and a platform for tenting, so with the five bed rooms in the camp, a spill over room and the screened in porch there are plenty of places for a good nights sleep.

We always look forward to breakfasts at the camp prepared by Buck Saw Sherry and Cookee Peter in their large Jim Eaton Kitchen….. and we weren’t disappointed !

Mark and Karen always make T-shirts for everyone each year and this year’s games name was Star Wars. Dave and Pete always help with planning and making any of the things needed for games, etc. We are always devided  into three teams, (this year each person had been asked to bring an empty 2 liter soda bottle) and we soon found out why. Each team was presented with a large bag of materials to make an airplane with the materials given and the empty soda bottle. (Lief was in his glory!!) Some amazing looking aircraft was constructed after the given time allowed…and then the fun intensified big time! Quite a bit of effort had gone into making a launching pad for each one’s maiden flight. Each person got soaked by the rain and a big splash of water in the face when they pulled the chain to set their plane in flight. It was a glorious, fun time and each year I say it was the best one ever, but they keep coming up with great ones again the next year. Saturday night all the awards were handed out to much clapping, young and older always look forward to this yearly family occasion.

Percy’s memoir: If the soul works with nature and God as the trees work together with the soil and the sun, He will ripen all those beautiful fruits named happiness and the blessedness that come from hope and faith and love. (words by Newell Dwight Hills.)

CHINA News – TIF committee eyeing two major projects for consideration

by Mary Grow

Members of China’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Committee are discussing two major projects on China Lake, one near China Village and the other involving a good part of South China Village.  They are also debating whether to set aside part of the TIF income for a revolving loan fund for small businesses in town.

The project that committee members call the causeway project, referring to the boat landing at the head of China Lake and nearby areas, is more advanced.  At the committee’s Aug. 15 meeting, Mark McCluskey, of A. E. Hodsdon Engineers, presented detailed plans for additional parking on the north side of Causeway Street and fishing platforms extending over the water west of the bridge.  His preliminary cost estimate for the work is $517,500.

The South China project is the brainchild of committee member Dale Worster, and so far is only a concept, not approved for serious committee review and lacking detailed planning or cost estimates.  It involves improving the current South China boat landing for lake access and buying most of the properties in the village east of Old Windsor Road and creating a village center running uphill from the former Farrington’s store to the south end of Lakeview Drive, with fancy stores, eateries and other attractions.

Worster would also like to see China partner with a development company to build a retirement community either on the east side of Lakeview Drive or south of Route 3 close to the Hannaford supermarket.

At the Aug. 15 meeting there was preliminary talk of time frames needed to get the causeway project on the Nov. 8 ballot for town voters’ action.   Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux suggested inviting local residents to the committee’s first September meeting to give them information on the plans.

Since the South China project is still in an early stage, there was no discussion of involving South China residents.  Committee member Frank Soares, who also chairs the planning board, predicted many would object.

Worster responded, “Some people might just have to learn to live with progress.” The causeway project requires at least two preliminary steps, amending China’s land use ordinance and buying a piece of land opposite the boat landing.

Codes Officer Paul Mitnik explained a simple ordinance amendment that would exempt “functionally water-dependent uses” from setback requirements from the lake.  State law allows such provisions, he said.  Local ordinance amendments require voter approval.

The land committee members want to recommend buying is owned by Susan Bailey and is currently used as unofficial parking for the boat landing.  L’Heureux said Bailey is willing to sell the town that lot, which is mostly wetland, plus another lot across Lakeview Drive.

Committee members considered Bailey’s asking price too high and agreed they do not favor buying the other lot at any price.  L’Heureux suggested it might provide a new site for the China Village volunteer fire department, whose members would like more room for a larger building; committee members did not want to combine two separate projects.

In one of two substantive votes Aug. 15, committee members unanimously asked L’Heureux to ask Bailey whether she would sell only the lake lot and if so for what price.  New committee member Tom Michaud, whose wife Marie heads China’s LakeSmart program, and China Lake Association President Scott Pierz urged adding measures to protect China Lake water quality.  McCluskey said his plan includes a swale to absorb run-off from part of the proposed parking area.  Committee member and Selectman Joann Austin recommended additional measures, like pervious paving that would absorb water; McCluskey is willing to consider such steps.

Another suggestion discussed inconclusively was to replace the bridge over the China Lake inlet with a box culvert like the one under Routes 202 and 9 a short distance north.  L’Heureux and Robert MacFarland, chairman of the board of selectmen, said the bridge is deteriorating.

In their second substantive vote, committee members unanimously asked L’Heureux to get cost estimates from the contractor who installed the box culvert, so they will have an idea of additional expenditures for bridge replacement (which do not need to come from TIF funds, MacFarland said) and to seek a cost estimate for additional stormwater run-off controls.

The proposed revolving loan fund, as L’Heureux explained it, would be used to provide funding, in small amounts at low interest rates, to supplement bank loans to help local businesses start or expand.  Committee members are undecided whether they should prepare a detailed plan before they ask voter approval, or whether the concept should go on a Nov. 8 ballot with details, like interest rates and maximum amounts per business, to be worked out if voters approve.

The question of lake access was also on the Aug. 15 committee agenda, separate from the China Village and South China projects, but committee Chairman Amber McAllister said she didn’t have the energy to deal with it.

The next TIF Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Aug. 29, in the town office.

Obituaries, Week of August 18, 2016


JEFFERSON––Daniel S. Hlovac Sr., 57, of Jefferson, passed away on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, at the local veterans hospital following a long battle with cancer. He was born on March 8, 1959, in Ohio and raised there.

He was a man who enjoyed being outdoors doing many different activities such as hunting and fishing. He also enjoyed spending time with his family. He was a thoughtful man and he could always make a good joke.

He is survived by wife Marcia (Sinerius) Hlovac, of 27 years; daughter,, Rachel (Hlovac) Allen and husband Nathaniel, and their children Charlotte and Cole; son, Daniel S. Hlovac Jr. and wife Melissa (Harney) Hlovac; as well as several sisters; one brother; and many nieces and nephews.

Memories and condolences may be shared at


JEFFERSON––Clara Isabel Brown, 85, of Jefferson, passed away on Thursday, August 4, 2016. She was born in Somerville on April 17, 1931, the daughter of Robert and Flossie Jones.

Clara attended Somervillle schools.

Growing up, she had a pair of oxen and yarded wood with them.

Clara married Wendell E. Brown on April 27, 1949, and the couple made their home in Jefferson.

She worked at GTE Sylvania for 35 years.

She was predeceased by her parents; her husband; son, Lloyd; brothers, Carroll and Clarence Jones; and sisters, Celia Hayes and Christine Barnett.

Clara is survived by guardian, Sarah Jones, of Jefferson; daughter, Linda Brown, of Augusta; brother-in-law, Nelson Brown and wife Louise, of Jefferson; sister-in-law, Hilda Benner; several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at


OAKLAND––Mildred (Millie) B. Worthley, 77, died on Saturday, August 6, 2016, at Glenridge Nursing Home, Augusta, following a three-year battle with Alzheimers Disease. She was born in Waterville on April 11, 1939, the daughter of Emanuel and Geraldine (Fournier) Joler.

Mildred graduated from Willliams High School, in Oakland. She was first employed by Diamond Internation where she met her future husband, and after a few years went to work for Keyes Fibre and Chinet Company and worked for 39 years. She married Kendall Worthley Sr. who still lives in Oakland, in November, 1957, and would have celebrated their 59th anniversary this year.

Mildred was a hard worker her entire live and even after retirement in 2002, spent her time volunteering many hours at the Sandwich Program and Soup Kitchen, in Waterville. She was a long time member of the Winslow Baptist Church and was willing to help out with various projects at the church donating her time wherever possible.

Besides her parents, she was predeceased by a brother Wayne Joler and a sister Claudia Holl.

Surviving are her husband of 58 years, Kendall Worthley Sr., of Oakland; two sons, Peter Worthley and wife Nancy, of Vassalboro, David Worthley, of Oakland; daughter, Lisa Champion and husband Doug, of Bowling Green, Kentucky; stepson, Kendall Worthley Jr. and wife Barbara, of Oakland; two sisters, Cynthia Peavey and husband Gordon,l of Clinton and Florida, and Bonnie Joler, of Kennebunk and husband Larry St. Peter, of Fort Kent; three grandchildren, Clark N. Champion, Molly T. Worthley and Samuel B. Worthley; as well as several nieces and nephews; and step-grandchildren.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at

Those who wish may make memorial donations to the Winslow Baptist Church.


OAKLAND––Nadine I. Johnston, 88, died Saturday, August 6, 2016, at Oak Grove Nursing Home, in Waterville. She was born in Oakland on February 18, 1928, the daughter of Roland and Viola (Ireland) Williams.

At a young age, Nadine was adopted and raised by her grandparents, Clydelia and Hosea Ireland.

Nadine graduated from Williams High School, in Oakland, class of 1946. Following graduation she went to work at Diamond Match and later for J.E. McCormack, in Waterville. When she finished at McCormack, she sold Tupperware from her home for many years.

Nadine was an active member of the Cascade Grange, played with the RB Hall Band for many years, and was a member of the Oakland United Baptist Church. She enjoyed sewing and participated in many sewing circle groups. She enjoyed attending the activities of her children and grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her husband, Clinton Johnston.

Surviving are her sons, Garnett Johnston and wife Susan, of Windham, and Olan Johnston and wife Christine, of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts; 10 grandchildren, Casey McCotter, Adam Johnston, Allison Johnston, Alex Johnston, Matthew Johnston, Nicholas Johnston, Ryder Johnston, Adler Johnston, Elijah Cormier, and Eleanor Johnston; great-granddaughter Lillian Johnston; sister Millideen King and husband Phil, of Oakland; three half-sisters, Maxine Johnson and husband Larry, of Norridgewock, Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Williams Bechard and husband Emile, of Bar Harbor, and Linda Alderson, of Waterville.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at

Memorial donations may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children, 2900 Rocky Point Dr., Tampa FL 33607.


BENTON––Stella Katherine (Zimba) Brown, 94, passed away on Tuesday, August 9, 2016, at her home in Benton. Stella was born in Waterville on November 12, 1921, the daughter of Lawrence and Joanne Zimba.

She was raised in Oakland where she attended Milton Laforest Williams High School.

After graduating from high school Stella went on to work as a spinner at the Cascade Woolen Mill, in Oakland, for many years until retiring to be at home to care for the family.

Stella enjoyed cooking, baking, gardening, knitting, and crocheting. Her true passion was spending time with family and friends. Many of the activities she enjoyed were passed onto family and friends. Her granddaughter, Amanda, cherished many of these activities, specifically being taught how to knit at the age of nine. Not only were Stella’s activities passed down but also her baked goods, as Amanda’s children referred to Stella as “The Cookie Queen.”

Stella was predeceased by her husband Arthur; her parents; five brothers, two sisters; and many nieces and nephews.

She is survived by her son Arthur (Chip) Brown Jr. and his wife Sandy; many nieces and nephews.

Stella is also survived by Sandy’s sister Cheryl Van Wagner and her daughter Amanda McCaslin. Cheryl spent a lot of time with Stella, going shopping, out to dinner, and when they did not go out, Cheryl would bring meals to Stella and visit for hours.

Memorial donations may be made to The Waterville Area Humane Society, 100 Webb Road, Waterville ME 04901. Stella donated many hats, gloves, mittens and scarfs to Central Maine Power’s mitten drive, the Waterville Area Humane Society, and the Salvation Army.


PALERMO- David Victor Shorey Sr., 69,  passed away on Saturday, August 13, 2016, at his home following a long illness. David was born in Palermo on February 12, 1947, the son of the late George F. Shorey and Josephine ( Grant) Shorey.

David married Dorothy-Ann Shannon-Shorey on September 24, 1994, in Waterville. David was a kind, gentle loving husband, father, grandfather and friend.DAVID V. SHOREY, SR

David attended Palermo Consolidated Elementary School. He played on the Palermo Pirates little league baseball team as a first baseman. David also attended Erskine Academy, in South China, and went on to graduate from Husson College, in Bangor,  with a bachelor’s degree in business

He lived most of his life in Palermo, but lived in Oakland for several years.

Earlier jobs prior to Camp Keyes included Bangor Savings Bank for three years, Walter Banton Lumber Mill for Harry Fridman, Bates Manufacturing, Laverdiere’s Drug Stores,  as assistant manager, he worked for a chicken/egg farmer thorugh high school; David also picked strawberries, raked blue berries, and raked bailed hay.

He was employed at the Maine Army National Guard Headquarters at Camp Keyes for 26 years, and served in the National Guard for 29 years. David worked in finance as a payroll disbursement specialist, and then in the computer department working with classified computer communications, responsible for receiving and sending highly classified information. David received numerous awards; Certificate of Achievements, Outstanding Performance, Certificate of Appreciation of Armed Forces Carrier, Commendation for 20 years of service, and a Certificate Appreciation Award for service during the Ice Storm of 1998.

David was a member of the American Legion, Malcolm Glidden Post #163, in Palermo, holding position of commander twice. This unit is very involved in community and active in Palermo Days.

He was a member of the Branch Mills Grange, where he joined at 14 attaining seven degrees. He held offices of past master twice, gate keeper and overseer, steward and assistant steward. David also was a member of Pomona and held offices there as well. David attended many annual conventions all over the US.

David attended the Palermo Christian Church until his illness prevented him from attending.

He was predeceased by a daughter Sandra Jean Pare; his sister Carol Adams; and his parents.

David is survived by his wife, Dorothy-Ann Shannon-Shorey ( Dottie); his stepchildren who he considered his own, Roger Gamblin and grandchildren Tyler and Caitlin, of Limington, Catherine Gamblin, of Fairfield, Elizabeth Stanley and her husband Rodney and grandson Garrett, of Standish; his son David Shorey Jr. and wife Ruby and grandchildren, Alana, Wade and Dominic, of Dery, New Hampshire; daughter Jennifer Collins and husband Charles, of West Gardiner; grandchildren, Josh Pare, of Vassalboro, Cassidy Smith, of Vassalboro; great-grandchildren Rachael and Chelsea, of Vassalboro; sister Jane Hamiliton, of Augusta; nephew Shawn Hamilton, of San Tan Valley, Arizona; niece Shannon Hamilton, of Augusta; two great-nephews, Kyle and Dylan; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Jack and Beverly Shannon, of Westfield.

Donations may be made to Elizabeth Gamblin, P.O. Box 389, Standish, ME 04084, in care of Dorothy Shannon-Shorey, to help defray funeral expenses.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at


CHINA – Alan Stuart Bailey, 69, of China, passed away on Sunday morning, August 14, 2016.  He was the son of Donald and Florence Bailey of Johnston, Rhode Island, and resided there until 1976.

In 1976, he met and married his “sweet Caroline,” formerly Caroline Scheel, and together they started their life in Jamestown, Rhode Island, where they raised their three children, Lisa, Susan and James.

Alan started in the printing industry right after high school and sometimes worked 60 hours per week, perfecting his trade as a lithographer. Because of the quality of his work and dedication to perfection, Alan became known as “Ace Bailey” through the trade and his talent was often requested by the most demanding national publications.

In 1982, he took his wife and children on their first adventure to Maine. They fell in love with Maine and summered there every year; they bought their first camp there in 2000. When Alan and his wife both retired in 2006, they moved permanently to a little four-season cottage on China Lake.

He is survived by his wife Caroline; his children, Lisa King and her husband Boyd, Susan Bailey, James Bailey and his wife Rachel; his grandchildren, Michael, Kristy, and Stephanie; and his brother Kenneth Bailey, his sister Linda Bailey, and his very special brother Steven Bailey.

Memorial donations may be made to the China Baptist Church, P.O. Box 6095, China Village ME 04926, or the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria VA 22312.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Plummer Funeral Home, 983 Ridge Road, Rte. 32, Windsor, ME.  Condolences, photos and stories may be shared at


WILLIAM J. SHIBLEY, 73, of Waterville, passed away on Friday, July 22, 2016, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta. Locally, he is survived by a son, Christopher Shibley and partner Jessica Heath, of Albion. William ejoyed spending time at his cottage on Unity Pond.

DONALD J. EMMERT, 57, of Burnham, passed away on Tuesday, August 2, 2016, in EAgle River, Alaska. Locally, he is survived by step-daughter Faye Wheeler-Dodge and husband Larry, of Unity.

SR. NORMANDE FORTIN, formerly known as Sister Leona, 86, of Biddeford, on Sunday, August 7, 2016, at St. Joseph Convent, in Biddeford. Locally, she is survived by three brothers, Robert Fortin and George Fortin, both of Winslow.

DOROTHY L. ADAMS, 86, of Skowhegan, passed away on Tuesday, August 9, 2016, at Cedar Ridge Nursing Home, in Skowhegan. Locally, she is survived by children Brenda Turner and husband Frank, of Fairfield, and Barry Adams, of Solon.

FREDERICK F. WHITE, 73, of Clinton, passed away on Wednesday, August 10, 2016, at Eastern Maine Medical Center, in Bangor. Locally, he is survived by a daughter, Bettina Cota, of China.


CAROL ANN (YORK) FORTIER, 78, of Auburn, passed away on Friday, August 5, 2016. Carol graduated from Waterville High School, class of 1956, where she was a cheerleader, and participated on the debate and drama teams. She also attended Colby College, in Waterville, where she was chosen as homecoming queen, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in English Literature in 1960. Locally, she is survived by a brother Tom York and wife June, of Waterville, and sister Connie Huard and husband Randy, of Winslow.

Nomination papers available in China

by Mary Grow

Nomination papers are now available for China’s Nov. 8 local elections.  According to Town Clerk Rebecca Hapgood, the following people’s terms end this year:

• On the Board of Selectmen, Joann Austin, Neil Farrington and Chairman Robert MacFarland.
• On the Planning Board, Toni Wall (District 2) and Thomas Miragliuolo (District 4), and the currently vacant alternate position elected from anywhere in town.
• On the Budget Committee, Thomas Rumpf (District 2), Timothy Basham (District 4), Al Althenn (secretary, elected from anywhere in town) and Jonathan Vogel (at-large position).
• Robert Bennett’s position as one of China’s two representatives on the RSU (Regional School Unit) 18 board.  Hapgood said Bennett will not be a candidate for re-election.

Hapgood said signed nomination papers must be returned to the town office by 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, for candidates’ names to appear on the ballot.

Letters to the editor, Week of August 18, 2016

Not seeking re-election

To the editor:

I am writing this letter to notify the residents and voters of the Town of China that I have chosen not to run for re-election for a position as one of our two representatives on the RSU #18 School Board. I hope that one or more interested and committed China citizens will seek the post.

I ran for and was elected to this position three years ago with the intent of trying to ensure that China’s students from pre-K to eighth grade level are receiving the best education available to them. As a retired teacher and concerned citizen, I believed I was qualified to make this decision. I found the attempt to be both extremely rewarding and definitely challenging. I got to meet and interact with great people on the RSU board and in the schools’ staff and administration. In addition, I had many opportunities to interact with and observe a large number of our town’s students and see their excellent achievements, both in and outside of the classroom.

The position also brought with it some factors that I did not anticipate and that were most certainly daunting in some respects. This was especially true during budget season and I pass on to you my absolute belief that while the quality of education cannot be measured in dollars and cents, our childrens’ learning must be supported by our tax dollars. I am totally convinced that the RSU #18 administrators do their utmost to provide the best educational results at the lowest feasible cost.

And so, I leave this position with very mixed feelings. I believe that I have done my job in validating our kids’ learning at the lowest possible price. While the time spent has at times been frustrating, I enjoyed it in almost all respects. My fervent hope is that another individual with a passion for young people, and their education, will come forward to follow in my footsteps.

Bob Bennett

Vassalboro tax rate set at 14.05 mil

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen have set the 2016-17 tax rate at 14.05 mils ($14.05 for each $1,000 of valuation), Town Manager Mary Sabins reported after the board’s Aug. 8 meeting.

Sabins said the new rate is 0.35 mils (35 cents per thousand dollars) higher than the 2015-16 rate.    Tax bills should go out this month; by town meeting vote, the first quarterly payment is due Monday, Sept. 26.

Because the state has increased the homestead exemption, the increase will have more effect on owners of businesses and seasonal homes than on people whose Vassalboro home is their primary residence.          In other business Aug. 8, Sabins said selectmen decided to put two local questions on a Nov. 8 ballot.  One will ask voters to approve or reject changes to the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance developed by the planning board; the other, not yet worded, will deal with proposed sidewalks in East Vassalboro.

Public hearings on both questions are scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, before that evening’s selectmen’s meeting, with the shoreland ordinance hearing first, Sabins said.

Selectmen accepted with regret the resignation of Police Chief Richard Phippen and expressed appreciation for his service, Sabins said.  She will be advertising for a new police chief.

Tom Richards was reappointed to the cemetery committee.

Sabins reported that the recently formed senior citizens’ working group is focusing on transportation, seen as a major need in Vassalboro.  At the group’s next meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, in the town office meeting room, a representative of the Neighbors Driving Neighbors program will explain it and a representative of the medical office in North Vassalboro will talk about programs for the elderly offered there.

Planners find comments worthy of action

by Mary Grow

As promised, at their Aug. 9 meeting China Planning Board members reviewed in detail written comments on proposed ordinance amendments received after their July 26 public hearing.  They also discussed other amendments that are likely to be presented at a future hearing on their way to a November ballot.

Three residents submitted written material repeating their July testimony, expressing concerns about various proposed ordinance changes and related issues.  The changes the board recommends mostly incorporate revised state shoreland guidelines.      Board members found three comments worthy of action.  They corrected the numbering on a set of articles after a resident pointed out cross-references to non-existent sections; they deleted a reference to 30 days for approval of a sign permit after Codes Officer Paul Mitnik said most sign permits are approved or denied within a week; and they corrected a discrepancy in requirements between discontinued signs and discontinued structures by redefining a sign as not a structure.

If the third change remains, the owner of a discontinued structure that does not meet land use requirements will have up to five years to reuse it or give up; the owner of a discontinued sign will have two years to reuse or remove it.

Otherwise, board members decided their draft is satisfactory.  Board member Milton Dudley said that he did not believe one person’s comments were a valid reason to change state guidelines.

One proposal the board rejected would require lighted signs to be turned off when a business closes for the day.  The draft ordinance would require lighted signs be turned off at 10 p.m.  Mitnik said he did not intend to be on China roads to enforce either deadline, though he would respond to a complaint of an ordinance violation.

A majority of the board approves of “grandfathering” signs that do not meet current or new ordinance requirements, allowing them to stand.  Mitnik said asking business owners to remove all non-conforming signs would be difficult because there are many in town.

In addition to shoreland and related issues covered at the July 26 hearing, board members discussed amended conditional use criteria and endorsed a draft approved by an earlier board.

They discussed what requirements for converting a seasonal residence to year-round are useful in protecting lake water quality.  A legal septic system is essential, they agreed; other requirements, like lot size and setback from the lake, seemed less important.

Mitnik said China’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Committee and selectmen want fishing docks and perhaps a trail at the causeway at the head of the China Lake, between The Landing restaurant and Church Park.  The current ordinance would not allow them, so Mitnik suggested adding language exempting water-dependent facilities and uses from setback requirements, as allowed by state law.

Planning Board members intend to continue work on draft ordinance revisions at their Aug. 23 meeting.  Board Chairman Frank Soares proposes another public hearing, perhaps in conjunction with the selectmen, at a date not yet set.  He said a final draft needs to be ready by Oct. 19 for inclusion on a Nov. 8 local ballot.