Youth basketball action

Winslow third / fourth grade girls rec basketball team member Bethany Blakley gets set to shoot for the hoop during a recent game held in Winslow.

Photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography staff

Winslow rec basketball team member Brady Poulin (25) makes his way down court during a recent game against Fairfield.

Photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography staff

Waterville Youth Basketball team members Luke Quimby and Bryant Frost get into the Christmas spirit during a recent team photo shoot.

Photo by Mark Huard, owner Central Maine Photography

Santa’s reindeer really like it when it’s cold

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Christmas is here, and as everyone knows, it is the day that Santa Claus comes down the chimney bearing gifts. And, we also know, Santa arrives at your house in a sleigh powered by eight flying “reindeer.” So, what are reindeer?

The reindeer, Rangifer tarandus, also known as caribou when wild in North America, is an Arctic and Subarctic-dwelling deer, widespread and numerous in those areas.

reindeer or caribou

reindeer or caribou

The name “caribou” comes, through French, from Mi’kmaq qalipu, meaning “snow shoveler,” referring to its habit of pawing through the snow for food.

Originally, the reindeer was found in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Russia, Mongolia and northern China north of the 50th latitude. In North America, it was found in Canada, Alaska and the northern contiguous USA from Washington state to Maine. They were once found as far south as Nevada and Tennessee.

Today, wild reindeer have disappeared from many areas within this large historical range, especially from the southern parts, where it vanished almost everywhere. Large populations are still found in Norway, Siberia, Greenland, Alaska and Canada.

A few reindeer were introduced to the South Atlantic island of South Georgia in Russia in the beginning of the 20th century. Today, there are two distinct herds still thriving there, numbering no more than a few thousand.

Caribou and reindeer numbers have fluctuated historically, but many herds are in decline across this range, with the decline linked to climate change and industrial disturbance of habitat for sedentary, non-migratory herds.

The reindeer travels the furthest of any terrestrial mammal, walking up to 3,100 miles a year, although in Europe, the animal does not migrate as far. Normally traveling from 12-34 miles a day, the caribou can run at speeds of 37-50 mph.

The reindeer hooves adapt to the season: in the summer, when the tundra is soft and wet, the footpads become sponge-like and provide extra traction. In the winter, the pads shrink and tighten, exposing the rim of the hoof, which cuts into the ice and crusted snow to keep it from slipping.

The reindeer coat has two layers of fur, a dense woolly undercoat and longer-haired overcoat consisting of hollow, air-filled hairs.

Males and females grow antlers. The males lose their antlers during December while the females lose theirs during the summer. So, that punches a hole in the Santa story. If he delivers gifts in late December, does that mean all the reindeer are female since the male would have shed their antlers by then?

There are a variety of predators that prey heavily on reindeer. Golden eagles prey on calves and are the most prolific hunter on calving grounds.

Wolverines, brown bears, polar bears and gray wolves also prey on newborn calves or sickly animals. The gray wolf is the most effective natural predator of adult reindeer.

Reindeer hunting by humans has a very long history and are today the main predator in many areas. Norway and Greenland have unbroken traditions of hunting wild reindeer from the ice age until the present day.

The reindeer has had an important economic role for all circumpolar peoples. Reindeer meat is popular in the Scandinavian countries where reindeer meatballs are sold canned, and sautéed reindeer a best known dish in Lapland. In Alaska and Finland, reindeer sausage is sold in supermarkets and grocery stores. Reindeer meat is very tender and lean. Caribou have been a major source of subsistence for Canadian Inuit.

The Canadian quarter features a depiction of a caribou while it is the official provincial animal of both Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. A caribou statue was erected at the center of the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, marking the spot in France where hundreds of soldiers of Newfoundland were killed and wounded during World War I.

The first written description of reindeer is found in Julius Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico (chapter 6.26), from the first century BC: “There is an ox shaped like a stag. In the middle of its forehead a single horn grows between its ears, taller and straighter than the animal horns with which we are familiar. At the top of this horns spreads out like the palm of a hand or the branches of a tree. The females are of the same form as the males, and their horns are the same shape and size.”

Getting back to Christmas, Santa’s reindeer were first named in the anonymously-written 1823 poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” (“Twas the Night Before Christmas,” later credited to Clement Clarke Moore), and were called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem. Dunder was later changed to Donder, and still again to Donner (German for “thunder.”). Blixem was later changed to Bliksem, then Blitzen (German for “lightning”). Some consider Rudolph as part of the group as well, though he was not part of the original work. Rudolph was added by Robert L. May in 1939 as “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.”

So, if you leave cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas eve, don’t forget some lichens, and leaves of willows and birches, for the reindeer.

Legal Notices, Week of December 22, 2016




Notice is hereby given by the respective petitioners that they have filed petitions for appointment of personal representatives in the following estates. These matters will be heard at 10 a.m. or as soon thereafter as they may be, on January 11, 2017. The requested appointments may be made on or after the hearing date if no sufficient objection be heard. This notice complies with the requirements of 18-A MRSA §3-403 and Probate Rule 4.

2016-325 – Estate of MARISSA ROSE LIBBY, minor of Skowhegan, Me 04976. Petition for Change of Name (Minor) filed by petitioner Joseph L. Magee, 11 Main Street, #3, Skowhegan, Me 04976 and petitioner Jessica Libby, requesting that minor’s name be changed to MARISSA ROSE MAGEE for reasons set forth therein.

2016-236 – Estate of DAVIS ELDON HARVEY, minor of Cambridge, Me. Petition for Appointment of Guardian of Minor filed by petitioners Michael Bailey and Jodi Waterhouse of 112 A Ham Hill Road, Cambridge, Me 04923 requesting their appointment as guardians of minor.

2016-337 – Estate of KELLY BALDIC, adult of Fairfield, Me. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Kelly Baldic, 18 Robinson Street, Fairfield, Me 04937 requesting her name be changed to Kelly Buck for reasons set forth therein.

Dated: December 19, 2016 /s/ Victoria Hatch, Register of Probate


Town of Norridgewock


Intent to file

The Town of Norridgewock intends to file an application for federal funding from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development for the purposes of financing wastewater treatment facility and pump station upgrades. Any interested party may attend an informational meeting at the Norridgewock Town Office (16 Perkins St.) on Wednesday, January 4, 2017, at 6:00 p.m.


I’m Just Curious: Let it Snow, let it snow!

by Debbie Walker

Let It Snow!! NOT!! I’m writing this column Saturday afternoon with the snow coming down. It does make for a pretty picture (but who’s taking pictures!).

My days of rushing outside to go sledding or build a snowman are over. Do kids still do all that? We were lucky to have our own hill to slide on. Mom didn’t worry about us because at that time she had a clear view of the hill. The other day I noticed the clear hill of years ago is trees and shrubs now. (Seemed a lot bigger back then.)

Sadly, I imagine kids now are spending their sliding time on various computer games or applications. I remember coming in from outside to hot homemade cocoa (not a mix) and curling up with a blanket and good book, while our outside clothes dried out. Then it would be “to the outside again.”

Dad wasn’t much of a carpenter but occasionally he’d make an effort. Someone gave me a pair of skis. However I have never done well on skis. So dad took some wood to build the body (seat) and the ski would be the “runners.” Well the “sled” and I went down the hill and promptly ran into a tree. I wasn’t hurt but one ski broke off. The end of that sled!

Let It Snow!! Okay we have snow on the ground so I guess people who wanted a “White Christmas” will be happy. It made for tough shopping the weekend before Christmas but on the news it looked like plenty of people were still out there shopping. Bless their hearts!

I have about 30 Florida Christmas’s behind me. No, I was never upset about the lack of snow for Christmas. People tend to go nuts with lights down there. Really neat. They are so pretty every evening. My neighbor added a few new things every year. I’d hate to see his electric bill! He LOVES all things Christmas.

Let It Snow and it is still snowing. I hope you’ll all have a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful, Happy, Healthy New Year.

Contact me at , sub line: Let it snow. I would love to hear some of your thoughts, favorite Christmas stories, or Snow stories.

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Film: The Reader; Singer: Jo Stafford

Peter Catesby  Peter Cates

The Reader

starring Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross, etc.; directed by Stephen Daldry; the Weinstein Company, 2008, 124 minutes, DVD.

Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet

Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes

Based on the 1995 novel by Bernhard Schlink – which I have on my shelves but haven’t read, The Rea­der is a depiction of two people, Hanna and Michael, whose lives intersect at very crucial points during the 50 years, after World War II, in Germany. From the 1950s, when the two have an intense romance (there is an R rating here; thus a resulting advisory similar to that of Schindler’s List), to the ‘60s and ‘80s, when a very tragic legal situation results from the cowardice of one and the stubborn pride of the other, the story is a gripping one that is impossible to summarize in two paragraphs.

Kate Winslet as Hannah and David Kross and Ralph Fiennes as, respectively, the younger and older David, give exceptional performances. My copy of the DVD will bear repeated viewings and is very fairly labelled a masterpiece by a long time favorite critic of mine, the very colorful and delightfully opinionated Rex Reed.

David Kross

David Kross

Jo Stafford

Happy Holiday
Columbia CL 691, 12-inch LP, recorded 1955.

Jo Stafford (1917-2008) was one of the most accomplished singers in history, earning the admiration of Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Judy Collins for her phrasing, breathing – she could sing 18 or more bars without exhaling, and all around musicality. I own many of her records and have derived hours of listening pleasure. She was also married to the phenomenally gifted arranger and composer Paul Weston (1913-1996), with whom she collaborated on most of her records, live concerts and TV and radio appearances.

Jo Stafford

Jo Stafford

The 1955 Happy Holiday featured the usual high quality vibrant singing and instrumentation of the Stafford/Weston team, with the voice of the couple’s then three-year-old son, Timothy, and the exquisite backup harmonies of the Starlighters. They provided a varied selection of the well known — Silent Night, Toyland, Let It Snow, O Little Town of Bethlehem, etc.; a musical recitation by Jo of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas with Timothy’s help; and, finally, the unfamiliar Winter Weather. This was not the usual boring Christmas platter but one of newly minted freshness.

It is available as a CD reissue on Amazon but watch out for Stafford’s 1968 Xmas collection, with the title adding an S on Holiday. Scroll on each entry for info on recording date. Finally the CD has several extra tracks!

Obituaries, Week of December 22, 2016


DIANE P. THEBERGE, 75, of Madison, passed away on Thursday, December 8, 2016, at Eastern Maine Medical Center, in Bangor. Locally, she is survived by a daughter, Natalie, of Winslow.

RUTH E. BALLARD, 92, of Waterville, passed away on Friday, December 9, 2016, at Mount St. Joseph’s, in Waterville. Locally, she is survived by a son, Gary Ballard, of Waterville.

CECILE B. COUTURE, 85, of Waterville, passed away on Sasturday, December 10, 2016, at Lakewood Nursing Home, in Waterville. Locally, she is survived by her husband, Edward, daughters Joanne Jordan and husband Dana, of Vassalboro, Sylvia Hallee and husband Claude, of Waterville, and son Peter Couture and wife Shelly, of Augusta; and grandchildren Nicholas Couture and wife Lacey, of Oakland, TJ Cusick, of Augusta, and Ryan Hallee and wife Lauren, of Oakland.

BRUCE A. LEE JR., 47, of Skowhegan, passed away on Saturday, December 10, 2016, at his home. Locally, he is survived by brothers Brent Lee and wife Audrey, of Benton, and niece Ashley Day, of Fairfield, and nephews Matthew Lee, of Clinton, Hayden and Hunter Lee, both of Clinton.

MARY J. EGELER, 84, of Cornville, passed away on Monday, December 12, 2016, at her home. Locally, she is survived by a daughter Wendy Sylvain and husband Shawn Sherman, of Benton.

KEVIN A. JOHNSON, 46, of Monmouth, passed away suddenly on Thursday, December 15, 2016. Locally, he is survived by his fiancée Janet Patterson, of Oakland; and brother David D. Johnson Sr. and wife Cherry, of Waterville.

IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of December 22, 2016

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

Christmas Trees were decorated in each room! Well, unless the people who frequented Redington Home, in Skowhegan, were ‘The Elves of Christmas,’ there were some busy members of various organizations at work! Yes, the beautiful Redington Home was decorated for Christmas and the Christmas Carols that rang out, thanks to Barbie Demo’s magnificent singing and playing her guitar, were from enthusiastic people who reside there. Wow, those men and women sure knew the words and lifted everyone’s spirits.

Yes, Redington Home and its director and staff have rolled out the Christmas Carpet for Ch.11’s Keeping Pace for many years. It is a tradition for those of Keeping Pace, though we missed Darla Pickett, who didn’t feel up to the task, and Alan Foxwell, who was very busy at Alan’s Cut Above Barber Shop. Chris Perkins and Donna Finley kept the pace for all of us. Katie encouraged everyone to sing the carols that they knew and, for sure, those Redington Home residents didn’t disappoint, as they sure did know every word of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Barbie’s renditions all the way to We Wish You a Merry Christmas, at the end! Yes, John Harlow was our videographer. John is the manager of CATV-11 and you faithful readers and residents of Redington will be treated throughout the holiday season to the wonderful evening of Christmas Carols and music by Barbie Demo that Keeping Pace did for you all on December 15.

Now, for you faithful readers who prefer a bit of talk to go with the singing, Chris Perkins and Donna Finley did give tribute to Keeping Pace’s early days and Katie reminded everyone that Keeping Pace is now 18 years old.

Yes, these folks have kept the pace for Herb Paradis, Keeping Pace founder, with Katie… and Alan Foxwell was one of those early panelists. Donna mentioned missing Herb, Betty Withee, Alice Corson and Maitland Richardson, and many who have shared so much with us. As a matter of fact,

Residents shared the Christmases that gave them special memories. Actually, most everyone there lived through the Great Depression, when no one had any money. and wonderful memories of ‘making do’ was an education for the younger folks.

So, until the next issue, may you enjoy our Christmas Season in Maine.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and for those of you who remember Melissa Gaspar, who used to be librarian in Skowhegan, Katie read a piece entitled Happiness, sent to her by Melissa. “Happiness lives inside our hearts and shines like a shimmering star. It lights our way on a dreary day and finds us wherever we are.”

SOLON & BEYOND, Week of December 22, 2016

by Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

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

Nomination papers are available at the Solon Town Office for those who might want to run for an office. Those who have already taken out papers at this time are Sarah Davis for selectman, Mike Foster for road commissioner and Leslie Giroux for Town Clerk and Tax Collector. At this time no one has taken out papers for RSU #74 School Board Director. Qualifying signatures must come from registered voters in the town of Solon. All nomination papers must be returned to the Town Clerk by the end of business day, January 13, 2017. Please see the clerk to obtain a nomination paper during business hours; Monday, Wednesday, Friday…8 a.m. – noon, 11 – 4 p.m., and Wednesday evening 6 – 7:45 p.m.

The annual town meeting will be held on March 4, 2017, and the budget meeting will be held on January 21, 2017.

The 5th Annual Gingerbread Competitions, sponsored by All/Points/Weber Insurance, in Madison, was held recently. This year’s them was “Your Favorite Holiday.”

Winners were: Adult Group: Decorator’s and People’s Choice – Maplecrest Nursing Home, Madison; Group Children: Decorator’s and People’s Choice – BryAnna and Bryleigh Hagopian, of Madison. Individual Child age 5-8: Decorators Choice – Finn Donoghue, of Madison.

People’s Choice: Kaylee Hayes, of Anson.
Individual Child age 9-12: Decorator’s Choice – Elle Donoghue, of Madison. People’s Choice: Jacob Hayes, of Anson. Individual Adult: Decorator’s Choice and People’s Choice – Caroline A. Prevost, of North Anson.
Other entries were by: Sydney Steward and Lizz Manzer, of Anson, Trevor Russell, of North Anson, Ivy Wess, of Madison, Haley McFadyen, of North Anson, Laura Holden, of Madison, Trinity Shaw, of North Anson, and Ryan Donoghue, of Madison.

The judging for Decorator’s Choice was provided by Mike Hunt, owner/decorator from the Bankery, in Skowhegan. They had 115 come into the office to vote for People’s Choice. Next year’s theme is “Nursery Rhymes.” The above information was from Sharon Mellows.

Through a gracious donor. the Embden Community Center has over 50 hard cover books in excellent shape; some are even autographed. (There are a few paperbacks.) Many of the books are on the New York Times Best Seller List. You could purchase them for yourself, but there’s a good possibility that you could give them as a Christmas gift. They are for sale at the Embden Community Center Thrift Shop for $2 each.

The Thrift Shop is open Wed., Fri., & Sat. from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Lending Library is open the same days and hours. Books are a weakness of mine, I love all kinds.Would like to share a great rather new author with those of you who love a good mystery. His name is Paul Doiron, and a good friend let me borrow some of them, and I also took a couple of them out of the Coolidge Library here in town. I would recommend that you read them in order, from first one written to last. the first one is The Poacher’s Son, Trespasser, Bad Little Falls, Massacre Pond, Bone Orchard, The Precipice and Widowmaker. I couldn’t put them down when I was reading them, surely do hope he will write some more, Happy reading!

Must leave room for Percy’s memoir, it is a thought for the New Year: “New Beginnings: Each chapter that is ending Leads us to a new beginning: The past that we are leaving Means a future we are winning. Each change that fills the present Sets the stage for our tomorrow, And how we meet each challenge Helps determine joy or sorrow. In every new beginning Spirit plays a vital part; We must approach tomorrow With a strong and steady heart. So as we turn the corner Let’s all apprehension shed And fill our hearts with confidence As we proceed ahead.” (words by Bruce B. Wilmer.)

May you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Letters to the editor, Week of December 22, 2016

Tip of hat to China and Palermo officials

To the editor:

Palermo has entered into a relationship with the town of China, effective January 1st, to use China’s transfer station. This change will bring a more convenient way for Palermo residents to process their recycling and trash. A more detailed flyer about these new services will be coming out soon, but here’s a quick summary of what to expect.

You’ll need to get a transfer station sticker from the Palermo town office. There is no charge for this sticker. During the transition you will be able to use your driver’s license, to show residency in Palermo, until you’ve had time to get your sticker. Bags will be available at the town office and Tobey’s and will come in either 5 – 30 gallon or 8 – 15 gallon bundles for $10 per bundle. China’s transfer station is located at 191 Alder Park Road in China and is open from 7AM to 5PM Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Rather than accumulating recycling and trash for that long trip to Union, start thinking about taking advantage of the convenient location and deposit recycling and trash as trips are made to Augusta and Waterville.

A tip of the hat to the Palermo and China select boards for making this possible.

Bob Kurek

Area News: Central Maine Squares donate to children’s home

Again this year the Central Maine Square (CMS) Dance Club was able to collect almost $1,000 in toys and clothing for the Home For Little Wanderers of Waterville. Each year the home puts on a drive for children across the area for the holidays. And as in the past the Central Maine Squares was eager and very willing to come to their aid.

Central Maine Squares dancers, from left to right, Colleen Howes, Claude Francke and Becky Potter are pictured with just a few of the gifts they collected. Contributed photo

Beginning with two club workshops in November and a dance on December 4, they were able to make this donation. The club thanks all who were able to donate, both club members and visiting dancers, and some of the spectators who came to the dance just for this purpose.

The Central Maine Square Dance Club invite any interested people to their new beginner lessons starting on Tuesday, January 3, and Tuesday, January 10, 2017. These will be free nights for anyone new to square dancing. All are welcome, no age requirements, and space is limited. Lessons start at 6:30 p.m., at the Waterville Junior High School on Route 104 (West River Road), in Waterville. To pre-register or for more info call Bob at 447-0094 or Cindy at 631-8816.