CHINA NEWS: TIF committee recommends several economic allocations; voters to decide

by Mary Grow

China’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Committee is recommending selectmen ask voters at the March 25 town business meeting to allocate up to $897,923 for specific economic development projects, as follows:

  • For the causeway project at the head of China Lake’s east basin, up to $750,000 over three years.
  • For a revolving loan fund to provide bridge funding for local businesses on request, not more than $25,000 for fiscal year 2017-18.
  • As a donation to ARI, the Alewife Restoration Initiative for China Lake, $30,000.
  • As a donation to the Thurston Park Committee to improve access to the town-owned land in northeastern China, $40,000.
  • For China’s 2017 contribution to FirstPark, the Oakland business park, $37,923. • As a donation to the China Region Lakes Alliance, $15,000 (of the $30,000 the CRLA usually requests from the town, leaving $15,000 to come from taxation if voters approve).

The money would come from the TIF account, formally called the Development Program Fund, which collects taxes Central Maine Power Company pays on its expanded power line through China.

Currently, the TIF program is set up for 20 years, running from 2015 to 2035. The committee recommends selectmen ask voters to extend it to the maximum 30 years allowed by state law.

The committee further recommends asking voters to put tax revenue from the new CMP substation off Route 3 into a TIF, the same one if possible or a separate one if state law so requires.

The power line TIF gets about $265,000 each July 1, Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux told committee members. The town does not yet have the final valuation of the substation, so he cannot tell how much it would add.

The advantage of a TIF, selectman and committee member Joann Austin reminded the other committee members, is that the valuation of TIFed projects is shielded; that is, it does not count toward the town’s valuation as calculated by the state. Without the TIF, China’s valuation would be higher. A higher valuation in comparison to other municipalities results in higher county taxes and less state revenue sharing money and state aid for education.

The causeway project is the most complex of the proposals and generated the longest discussion Jan. 17. It involves improvements to the present boat landing, including expanding parking on the north side of the causeway east of the bridge; changes along the lake shore to provide better access for fishermen, including handicapped access; rebuilding or replacing the bridge; and perhaps relocating the China Village fire station to make more parking space west of the causeway.

A new fire station would probably not qualify for TIF money under state law. Whether a new bridge would qualify appears uncertain from committee discussions. L’Heureux said the state finds the present bridge, though old – built in 1930, he said – and narrow, is safe; committee member and former state legislator David Cotta doubted the state would contribute highway funds to replace it.

Several committee members, however, see a new bridge as key to the whole project. Jim Wilkens said the narrow bridge is already a safety hazard, with fishermen, including children, too close to passing vehicles, and increasing recreational use would make the situation worse. Cotta said the town might be held liable if officials promoted increased use despite a recognized hazard.

A further unresolved issue is what to do along the lake shore, and perhaps along the back of the expanded parking lot to reduce run-off into the wetland known as the Muldoon. Committee members discussed a pervious gravel lot versus a paved lot; for the lake frontage, consulting engineer Mark McCluskey has proposed sheet piling, but at the Jan. 17 meeting committee member Dale Worster recommended using landscaping blocks to make a terraced shoreline. Committee member Stephen Nichols said if the shoreline improvements are done before the bridge is replaced, they will be ruined when the shore is dug up for the bridge work.

The revolving loan fund would be administered by Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, whose staff helped committee members plan it. Wilkens and Cotta opposed recommending it to selectmen and voters, questioning whether local businesses need bridge loans and whether, if granted, they would be repaid.

The donation to ARI is based partly on the assumption that introducing alewives back into China Lake will improve water quality. The alewives supposedly eat tiny plants and animals containing phosphorus and take the phosphorus with them when they migrate back to the ocean in the fall, leaving less food for algae. Better water quality is an economic advantage.

Alewives’ role in improving water quality is hotly debated locally, with anecdotal evidence supporting it but scientific studies inconclusive. L’Heureux stressed that ARI’s goal is to restore historic fish runs, not specifically to affect water quality.

At the March 2016 town business meeting, voters approved two TIF articles for the current fiscal year. One appropriated the same amounts as recommended this March for FirstPark ($37,923) and CRLA ($15,000) plus $6,000 for administration, $2,500 for China Community Days, $650 for Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce dues and $5,000 for a bicentennial events coordinator (who has not been hired). The last three items were not discussed at the Jan. 17 TIF Committee meeting.

The second March 2016 article authorized selectmen to appropriate up to $50,000 “in the 2016-2017 fiscal year and thereafter” from TIF funds for technical, administrative and legal expenses associated with proposed economic development projects.

The draft warrant for the March 25, 2017, town business meeting includes all the 2016 items, with the Chamber of Commerce dues reduced to $500, plus all the Jan. 17 TIF Committee recommendations. Selectmen have not yet reviewed the proposed expenditures.

In November 2016 voters approved two more expenditures recommended by the TIF Committee, donating $50,000 to the China Four Seasons Club for trail work and authorizing selectmen to spend up to $10,000 to buy a piece of land near the boat landing as part of the causeway project.

L’Heureux said the land purchase is almost completed. During August 2016 discussion of the Four Seasons Club request, club President and TIF Committee member Frank Soares said he planned to ask for $30,000 a year in following years. Soares was not at the January 17 meeting and the issue was not mentioned.

The draft March 25 warrant does not include TIF funds for the Four Seasons Club’s trail work. It does include the traditional request to give the club part of the snowmobile registration tax refund the state returns to the town.

The TIF Committee is scheduled to meet again Monday evening, Jan. 30.


Cracking Your Genetic Code in Palermo

Many of us have journeyed into our pasts through the study of genealogy, but now we can have the information in our DNA – all three billion chemical letters of it – read, stored, and available for analysis. What will this mean? We stand on the verge of a medical revolution that enables scientists to pinpoint and neutralize the genetic abnormalities that underlie a number of medical conditions. Who has access to this information? (Insurance companies, prospective mates, employers?) One thing is certain: the era of personalized, gene-based medicine is relevant to everyone.

Join them at 6 p.m. on Friday, January 27, at the Palermo Community Center for a delicious potluck dinner. Bring a dish to share or contribute to the Food Pantry. After dinner, they’ll show “Cracking Your Genetic Code,” in the downstairs screening room. All are welcome, and it’s free. For more information, please call Connie at 993-2294.

Obituaries, Week of January 26, 2017


WHITEFIELD––Sheila Frances (Halko) Scalzi, 73, of Whitefield, and former resident of Fairfield, Stratford and Naugatuck, Connecticut, passed away on Thursday, January 12, 2017, at her daughter’s home following a yearlong courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Sheila was born June 6, 1943, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the daughter of the late George and Dorothy (Tichy) Halko.

She graduated from Andrew Warde High School, Fairfield, Connecticut, class of 1961.

She worked as a telephone operator, a stay-at-home mom, and at RAF Electronics and General Data Comm Industries, performing office work. In 2004, she retired and moved to Maine, and worked part-time here and there: at the local Country Farms Restaurant as a hostess, at her grandsons; elementary school as a substitute teacher, and starting her own small business, “The Candy Lady” where she created holiday confections that were sold in her local community. She was always very creative and loved to bake, make candies, knit, crochet and quilt.

Sheila was also a free spirit who loved to travel to new places. Yet making memories with her loved ones came first, and she always had a camera in her hand to capture them. She especially loved spending time with her grandchildren, teaching them how to cook and bake some of her favorite recipes, creating a new craft project or playing a new game. She was a loving mother, grandmother, sister and friend and she will be dearly missed.

She is survived by her daughter, Terri (Scalzi) and husband Bob Soohey, of Whitefield; sons, Frederick Scalzi Jr. (Fritz) and wife Kristie(Lambert), of Berlin, Connecticut, Mark Scalzi and wife Stephanie (Piscitelli), of Southington, Connecticut; seven grandchildren, Robert, Stephen, Anthony, Amanda, Alexander, Annabelle and Ava; brothers Robert Halko and wife Linda, of Shelton, Connecticut, George Halko and wife Irene, of Shelton, Connecticut; sister Janice Autore and husband Frank, of Naugatuck, Connecticut, and several nieces, nephews, cousins, and aunts.

To share condolences and memories with the family, please visit

Memorial donations can be made to The Toy Closet Program, Yale New Haven Hospital, 20 York St., New Haven CT 06510.


VASSALBORO – Erma P. (Leathers) Robinson, 93, of Vassalboro, died Friday, January 13, 2017, at home, following a battle with colon cancer. She was born the sixth of eight children, in Corinna, on May 23, 1923, to Ivory and Viola Leathers.

She is predeceased by all. She married the boy next door, Ervin R. Robinson, in Vassalboro on October 24, 1943. Ervin passed away in 1991. He was her one and only.

She spent the majority of her life as a homemaker, getting great satisfaction from gardening, berry picking, canning, sewing, and Do-it-yourself home remodeling projects. Active into her 90s, she continued to plant a vegetable garden, split and stack wood, feed the birds, shovel snow, and refinish furniture. She especially enjoyed decorating for the holidays, which included a Christmas tree in every room. Throughout their 48 years of marriage, she and Ervin road tripped with a camper all over the United States and in her later years she traveled to other countries, including Germany, Russia, and Latvia. She kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland at the age of 85 and zip-lined in Costa Rica at 82.

She is survived by two of her three daughters, Sherry Cennamo and her husband Ralph, and Robin Robinson, all of Vassalboro; her son-in-law of 50 years, Phil Astwood of Newberry, South Carolina; eldest daughter and Phil’s wife, Valarie Astwood, of Newberry, South Carolina, passed away in 2015.
Erma will be missed by eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; Heather Astwood and her husband Greg Kemp, of Germantown, Maryland; Owen Astwood and his wife Holly, of Irmo, South Carolina, and their daughters Isabel and Madelyn; Scott Robinson Sevigny, of Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica, and his sons Jordan and Anthony; Staci Fortunato and her husband Peter, of Augusta, and their sons Andrew and Daniel; Shelly Wilson, of Windsor, and her sons, Lukas and Isaak; and grandsons Michael Cennamo, of Portland; Anthony Cennamo, of Hallowell; and Nicholas Cennamo of Monhegan. Her Facebook fans, who have followed her escapades over the past few years and to whom she is known as the “Ermalator.”

Erma planned her own Memorial Service which will be held in the Quaker style on Saturday, January 28, at 2 p.m., at the Friends Meeting House, Stanley Hill Road, Vassalboro. To honor her, she wanted everyone in attendance to wear something in her favorite color: red. A reception will be held immediately following at the meeting house. There are no visiting hours. Graveside services will occur at a later date.

Memorial donations can be made in to the Vassalboro Community School, 1116 Webber Pond Road, Vassalboro, ME 04989.

Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, Maine 04976.


PALERMO – Mark E. Pilsbury, 67, died Sunday, January 15, 2017, at the Gosnell Hospice House, in Scarbo­ough, following a brief, yet courageous battle with leukemia. Mark was born in Augusta, on September 2, 1949, a son of the late Ralph K. and Frances F. (Farrell) Pilsbury.

He grew up in Palermo and graduated from Erskine Academy, in South China, class of 1969. Shortly after graduation, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Turkey, Colorado, and Las Vegas, Nevada, during his four-year service to our country.

In June of 1972, Mark married the former Gail Hathorne, of Gardiner, and they had two children.

A life long communicant of St. Michael Parish, in Augusta, Mark worked for the State of Maine, Wal Mart, in Augusta, and Togus VA among other places during his time with us.

Mark was an avid hunter in his younger years, and has bragging rights as a member of the “Biggest Bucks in Maine” club. He also loved to fish on Branch Pond, Sheepscot Lake, and other secret fishing holes he would never divulge. A friend of Bill W., Mark was very proud to be sober for over 30 years.

Despite facing several challenges during his life, Mark always had a positive attitude and a unique way of looking at life, even facing his disease with a practical outlook and a sense humor during his final days.

Mark was predeceased by his parents and his daughter, Rebecca Pilsbury, of Humansville, Missouri.

He is survived by his son, Christopher Pilsbury, of Augusta; a sister, Jane Hussey and husband W. Carr Hussey, of Vassalboro; four brothers: Ralph Pilsbury and wife Susan, of Damariscotta, and Land O Lakes, Florida, Peter Pilsbury and wife Natalie, of Turner, Joseph Pilsbury and companion Patsy Glidden, of South China, and Thomas Pilsbury and husband Stan York, of Palermo; two aunts, Sally Pilsbury and Mary Lou Pilsbury, both of Augusta; as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Arrangements are under the care of Plummer Funeral Home, Windsor Chapel, 983 Ridge Rd, Windsor, ME.

Condolences, photos and stories may be shared at


WINSLOW – George “Dewey” Clark Jr., 77, passed away on Saturday, January 14, 2017. Dewey was born on March 28, 1939, to the late George D. Sr. and Arlene (Johnson) Clark, in Waterville.

He attended Clinton grade school until moving to the vocational program in Waterville, where he graduated in 1957.

Following graduation, Dewey enlisted in the National Guard and served for four years. Along with being in the National Guard, Dewey also worked for Ski-land Woolen Mill, in Clinton, from 1957 to 1960. After the woolen mill, Dewey worked for the Maine Central Railroad from 1960 to 1986 as machinist. From 1986 to 2014, Dewey worked with his son at Clark’s Machine Shop as a machinist.

Dewey’s hobbies consisted of building airplanes, making hunting knives, and anything that had to do with metal. He was known as the guy who could make anything and fix anything, and was truly a master at his craft.

Dewey also was very proud to be a 32rd Degree Mason.

He was predeceased by his parents.

Dewey is survived by his wife Joyce, of Winslow; son George Dewey Clark III and wife Sue, of Clinton; stepson Chris Mason, of Canaan; stepdaughter Karen Lemieux and husband Keith, of Winslow; grandchildren, George Dewey Clark IV and wife Jessica, of Corpus Christi, Texas; Bo Clark and wife Elizabeth, of Clinton; Matthew Clark and wife Kellie, of Exeter, New Hampshire; and Ben Lemieux, of Winslow; great-grandchildren, Austin, Anthony, Ian, Jocelyn, Jackson, and Carter; one great-great-grandson, Hayden.

Memorial donations may be made to the Hospice Volunteers of Waterville, 304 Maine St., Waterville, ME 04901 or a charity of your choice.


FAIRFIELD – Gerald (Jerry) Dumouchel passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. He was born August 10, 1945, to Louis and Doris Dumouchel in Worcester, Mass.

Following graduation from high school, Jerry served in the United States Air Force for four years. Jerry had a long career as a respiratory therapist for hospitals in Augusta, Lewiston and Waterville.

Jerry enjoyed bowling, camping, gardening and playing cards with friends and family.

On March 20, 1971, he married the former Patricia (Pat) Huff, and they were happily married until her death in 2014. He is also predeceased by his parents; and brother-in-law Clifton (Kip) Huff.

Jerry is survived by his son Jeff Dumouchel and wife Karen, of South Carolina; his sister Joan Pratt and brother Ronald Dumouchel, of Massachusetts, sister-in-law Barbara Hart and husband Stewart, of Florida, brother-in-law Frederick Huff and wife Mary, of Augusta, sister-in-law Edna Huff, of Maryland; and many nieces and nephews. Also, two special ladies he considered daughters, Bridgette Kram and husband Shawn, of North Carolina and Ashley Jadczak and husband Michael and their son Aiden, of Vermont.

Memorial donations may be made to Maultiple Myeloma Research Foundation, 383 Main Abe., 5th Floor, Norwalk, Connecticut 06851.


FAIRFIELD – Travis Leon Greene, 37, of Fairfield, passed away on Saturday, January 14, 2017, at his home in Fairfield. Travis was the son of Sharon and Leon Greene of Fairfield., born on May 29, 1979, in Waterville.

Travis graduated from Lawrence High School in 1997.

Travis enjoyed working on stock cars with his father and lifelong friend Shawn Knox. Travis also enjoyed NASCAR races, the Raiders, and his dog Bentley. He loved his daughter, Shaylee, and her sister, Danika.

He started out doing construction with his father at the age of 12 and then went on to work at Huhtamaki, North Center Foods, and Sheridan Corp., all in Fairfield.

Travis was predeceased by his grandparents Elaine and Herman Greene, grandfather Randy Getchell Jr.; and nephew Conner John Alley.

He is survived by his parents Leon and Sharon Greene; his sister Bobbi Boothby; his daughters Shaylee Brooke and Danika Marie; many aunts, uncles; nieces, nephews; cousins.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at:

Memorial donations may be made to the Humane Society Waterville Area, 100 Webb Rd., Waterville, ME 04901.


WINSLOW – Arthur Raymond Munn, 70, of Winslow, passed Monday, January 9, 2017, in Augusta. He was born on April 12, 1946, in Presque Isle, one of 11 children of Annie (Grant) Munn and Elwin Munn.

Following graduation from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in the fall of 1964 as a PVT (E1) and was honorably discharged in July 1968 as an SP5 (E5).

Art would marry the former Pauline Dionne and together they had a daughter, Elizabeth, and made their home in Winslow. Art worked as a loan officer for Keyes Fibre Federal Credit union and Taconnet Federal Credit Union.

Art is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Dionne; son-in-law, Jason Joyce, and their two sons Christopher and Benjamin Joyce; as well as a large extended family of brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.

Art was predeceased by his granddaughter, Megan Joyce.

A graveside service will be held Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at 2 p.m. at the (old) Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, 289 Civic Center Dr., Augusta.

To share condolences, memories and tributes with Art’s family, please visit:


HARRIET C. LANCASTER, 85, of Canaan, passed away on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. Locally, she is survived by her children Bruce W. Lancaster and partner Lisa Fowler, of Vassalboro, Mark A. Lancaster and wife Janet, of Oakland, and Karen Thibodeau and husband Scott, of Clinton; sister Helen Bronn, of Vassalboro.

PATRICIA A. TEWKSBURY, 60, of Crystal River, Florida, passed away on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, at the Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast ahospice House in Crystal River. Locally, she is survived by a daughter, Aimie Thomas, of China, and brother Peter Tewksbury, of Oakland.

PATRICK R. POULIN, 49, of Windham, passed awat on Friday, January 13, 2017, following a lifelong battle with diabetes. Locally, he is survived by brother, Michael Poulin and wife Janet, of Vassalboro.

DOREEN A. CRAIN, 77, of Las Vegas, Nevada, passed away on Saturday, January 14, 2017, following a long stay at Golden Villa Group Home, in Las Vegas. Locally, she is survived by sister Gloria Blanchet and husband Carl, of Waterville and Theresa Reny and husband Patrick, of North Vassalboro.

CAROLYN M. STANDRING, 49, of Waterville, passed away on Saturday, January 14, 2017, at Alfond Center for Health, in Augusta. Locally, she is survived by a daughter Kacee Standring, and son-in-law Luis Rodriques, both of Waterville.

GLORIA M. CHAREST, 66, of Augusta, passed away on Monday, January 16, 2017, following a courageous four-year battle with cancer. Locally, she is survived by a son, Craig Charest, of Windsor.

ALOHA B. HILTON, 73, of Norridgewock, passed away on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, at Cedar Ridge Center, in Skowhegan. Locally, she is survived by her husband John; daughter Katey Hilton, of Waterville.

Waterville News: PechaKucha Night program to be on global migration

PechaKucha Volume 23 will be held at Thomas College on Friday, February 3.

PechaKucha Night Waterville (PK WTVL) Volume 23 promises to be the most moving PechaKucha Night yet! Held in collaboration with the Camden Conference and Mid-Maine Global Forum, PK WTVL V23 will feature several presentations broadly associated with a refugees and global migration theme – including a presentation focused on helping others in times of helplessness, a very timely presentation indeed. This will be a night to remember, not a night to miss! PechaKucha Night Waterville is scheduled for Friday, February 3, 2017 in the Spann Student Commons at Thomas College with presentations starting at 7:20 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

The PK WTVL Volume 23 presenters are Helene Farrar, Khristopher Flack, Dwight Gagnon, Kevin James, Dean Lachance, Argy Nestor and Lindsay Pinchbeck, Rachel Prestigiacomo, and Lyn Rowden. The event will feature a wide variety of stories including our attachment to our material possessions, healing hunger, and a different sort of colony – Puffins colonies to be precise. Joan Sanzenbacher will be the emcee. PechaKucha Night Waterville volume 23 will be a fantastic night of laughter, community, storytelling, creativity, and celebration!

PK WTVL is Waterville’s connection to a global storytelling network of creative people sharing their creative muse in 20×20 (20 images showing for 20 seconds each). For more than seven years, PK WTVL has brought thousands of area residents together in celebration of passions and creativity. The PK WTVL V23 event will take place on Friday, February 3, 2017 and a reception will take place from 6:20p-7:15p in the Spann Student Commons at Thomas College, 100 West River Road in Waterville. Complimentary refreshments will be provided along with a cash bar. All are invited to this free event! A snow date is set for 2/4/17; keep up to date by visiting the PK WTVL FB page.

About PechaKucha Night Waterville

PK WTVL is presented by a volunteer Team PK, Waterville Creates!, and the Waterville Public Library. Four events are held per year.

CHINA NEWS: Selectmen begin review of budget

by Mary Grow

China selectmen began review of the 2017-18 municipal budget request at their Jan. 23 meeting, but ran out of time to finish it. They plan to continue discussion at a workshop at the town office Saturday morning, Jan. 28, immediately after the special town meeting.
Voters at the Jan. 28 special town meeting will consider a moratorium on retail recreational marijuana businesses in town. The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. at China Primary School, behind the Middle School on Lakeview Drive. A quorum of 126 voters is needed to open the meeting.
The municipal budget will be presented to voters at the annual town business meeting, scheduled for Saturday morning, March 25, at China Middle School.

Jan. 23 budget issues featured a discussion with China Rescue Unit members about whether stipends would help the group get more members.

Selectmen also appointed a planning board member and approved a Dirigo Road junkyard permit.

Neil Farrington, chairman of the board of selectmen, invited China Rescue representatives to share their opinions on the value of stipends. David Herard and Thomas Alfieri said payment in some form might help, but would not necessarily solve the problem.

Rescue now has eight members, Herard said. Most of them have full-time jobs out of town. Despite the lack of available members, the unit responded to 305 calls in 2016, covering between 80 and 90 percent of call-outs, he said.

The men cited two main reasons for the shortage of members. Herard said unlike portrayals on television, rescue is “not an easy job” and can be “very unpleasant.” Both said young people are not interested in unpleasant service rewarded only by gratitude. “The kids today don’t have that ethic,” Alfieri said bluntly.

The job can be time-consuming. A local rescue member responding to a medical emergency might end up assisting Delta Ambulance personnel on the way to the hospital, and need to find a ride home; stand-by can take hours at a house fire, days at a search for a snowmobiler missing in China Lake.
Farrington suggested allocating funds to pay $100 per day for a Rescue Unit member to be on call for 24 hours. Selectmen made no decision.
There are two vacancies on the planning board, the alternate position from which Fred Montgomery resigned in December and the at-large position from which Frank Soares resigned this month. Selectmen considered four candidates for the alternate position and appointed Ralph Howe of Dirigo Road.
Howe described himself as a businessman who is “pro-business if it doesn’t affect neighbors.” He advocated loosening regulations on business in rural areas. With reference to the shoreland ordinance changes voters rejected in November, Howe said if a building is to be converted from a seasonal residence to year-round use it must have a septic system that will protect the nearby lake.

Selectmen voted unanimously not to appoint a replacement for Soares, but instead to add a special election to the warrant for the March 25 town business meeting. They asked Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux to advertise again for candidates.

The junkyard permit was granted to Timothy Coston in succession to Russell Coston for property at 281 Dirigo Road. Coston said he needs it primarily to finish cleaning up a section of the property. Selectmen approved a June 30 deadline to complete planned work.

Letters to the editor, Week of January 26, 2017

Hold reps accountable

To the editor:

In 2016, I ran for State Representative for House District #79 which contains China, Albion, Unity Plantation and most of Benton. The voters re-elected Representative Timothy Theriault. During my campaign, I told many voters that as a state employee of nearly 30 years, I know that government is broken. It is broken, in part, because of the public’s failure to hold elected and appointed officials accountable for their actions and inactions. As a citizen, taxpayer and voter, I believe it is time to hold our State Representative accountable.

During his campaign, Representative Theriault cited jobs, taxes, advocating for seniors and veterans, and protecting the Second Amendment as priorities. During this legislative session, he is sponsoring just five bills. They involve tree specialists, left hand turns at red traffic lights, game confiscated by IF&W, municipal accountability of funding for volunteer fire departments, and proposing funding for the “restoration” of China Lake. None of his five bills has much, if anything, to do with his campaign priorities.

The first three bills only have the titles available so their contents are not yet public. The fire department bill would repeal current statutory language about municipal funding of volunteer fire departments but would not provide any funding for them. The China Lake bill would “charge a fee to customers of the Kennebec Water District to be used to restore the quality of China Lake.” The bill contains no details about how he defines “restore”, how the lake would be “restored”, how much it would cost, how long the fee would be assessed, who would collect and spend it, why it would be paid by the customers of KWD, how long it would take to “restore” the lake, who would “restore” it and who would be held responsible for its “restoration.”
I’ve asked several questions about this bill to Representative Theriault and have yet to receive a reply. The public hearing on the bill (L.D. 55 “An Act To Provide Funding for the Restoration of China Lake”) will be heard by the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, in Room 211 of the Cross Office Building. Perhaps Representative Theriault will provide the answers to these questions when he presents the bill at the hearing.

I encourage all voters to hold their elected representatives accountable. I recommend that you communicate with them via email or letter and insist that they also respond in writing. The public can rely on few politicians to provide us with a complete picture of their actions and inactions. Most tell and show us what they want us to believe. To track the status of these and all other bills, go to the Maine legislature website at

John Glowa
South China

Response to KWD regarding alewives

To the editor:

Thank you to the Kennebec Water District (KWD) for their thoughtful Community Commentary. We agree that care should be taken not to overstate the case for water quality improvement resulting from alewife reintroduction. KWD’s phrasing strikes us as most appropriate: “it is hoped that the alewife reintroduction will be a contributor to water quality improvements in China Lake.” Scientific evidence does not yet prove conclusively that reintroduction of alewives into China Lake will improve water quality, and certainly we know that alewife reintroduction on its own will not be enough. But we feel it is reasonable to hope that alewives, over time, will contribute to improved water quality, as long as other significant actions continue to be taken. Such actions include continued annual flushing, reduction of sediment runoff, and reduction of fertilizer, septic and animal waste runoff into the lake. We encourage people concerned about China Lake and Outlet Stream to move forward with a clear-eyed view of what is needed to restore ecosystems that have become so far out of balance. Alewife restoration is just one of many ways that we can improve these ecosystems. All agree, as KWD says, that alewives will help to improve the ecosystem in China Lake, including a more robust food chain. We expect these improvements to help sport fish in the lake, as well as birds and animals that make their homes on the shore. We look forward to the restoration of alewives to China Lake, and to the many ecological benefits that we know for certain will result. We hope that water quality improvements will, over time, prove to be among them.

Matt Streeter
Project Manager
Alewife Restoration Initiative

Financial Fitness Fair held at Messalonskee High School: New Dimensions FCU hosts mission to provide financial education

Financial Fitness Fair 2017

Messalonskee High School Gym – Financial Fitness Fair 2017. Contributed photo

On January 17, New Dimensions Federal Credit Union arrived at Messalonskee High School, in Oakland, and set up and put on a Financial Fitness Fair for around 720 students. The mission was to provide education on financial security and basic real-life budgeting concepts. The students chose a profession and were assigned an annual salary and credit score. They then visited several booths such as housing, furnishings, credit cards, autos, student loan debt, and more. The students rounded the booths complete with little twists such as the “Reality Wheel of life” that threw in real-life “curveballs” such as speeding tickets and cell phone repairs. The test was that they had to come back with a balanced budget at the end of the exercise which needed to include a savings plan.

New Dimensions FCU President/CEO, Ryan Poulin, met with Messalonskee High School to discuss the idea and ability to host a Financial Fitness Fair for the students. This was a huge undertaking. “The importance of educating our young people about financial stability and sustainability needs to be a priority. Not enough education is provided in this area and they are not always ready for the real world,” Poulin said.

Contributed photo

A moment with coach (dad)

Waterville Pee Wee basketball team coach Matthew Vaughan, left, with his son Tatum during a team photo shoot at the Alfond Youth Center, in Waterville.      Photo by Mark Huard, owner Central Maine Photography

Heading up court

Waterville rec basketball team member Becket Gray, 9, runs down the court during a recent game at the Alfond Youth Center, in Waterville.                    Photo by Mark Huard, owner Central Maine Photography

Bald eagles back in the news

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Bald eagles are in the news again. It seems they have made such a historic recovery from near extinction, that they once again are becoming a nuisance in rural areas, especially among chicken farmers. Unfortunately, that has led to the killing of many bald eagles, illegally of course, but still, a recurring problem. Eagles are still protected despite the fact they have been removed from the endangered wildlife list. Farmers hands are literally tied when it comes to dealing with the problem of poaching bald eagles. Federal law protects them, unlike foxes, coyotes, and the like.

They are strong fliers, and can reach speeds of 35-43 mph when gliding and flapping, and about 30 mph while carrying fish. Its dive speed is between 75-99 mph.

Sightings of bald eagle are happening more frequently now because of the efforts produced by the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966.
Accounts suggest at least 50,000 breeding pairs of eagles lived in the lower 48 states before European settlement. Historic numbers are unknown in Maine, but eagles were widespread in the state and locally in some coastal regions. Eagles were fed to hogs by Casco Bay settlers in the 1700s. In 1806, there was a bounty on eagles in a Knox County town. Nesting colonies were reported along the Maine coast from Swan Island to Roque Island. Swan Island was named after “sowangan,” which is an Abenaki word meaning “bald eagle.”

The bird itself gets its species name from bald, in English derived from the word piebald, and refers to the white head and tail feathers in contrast with the darker body. The scientific name is derived from Haliaeetus, a Latin word for sea eagle.

In 1967, a comparative study of eagle nesting in five states, including Maine, revealed relatively low numbers and chronically poor reproduction, especially in Maine’s remnant population. In 1962, two biologists with the National Audubon Society, Charlie Brookfield and Frank Ligas, began annual monitoring of bald eagles in Maine. Early efforts were limited, but their counts could only document 21-33 pairs of nesting eagles and only 4-15 eaglets fledged each year between 1962 and 1970. Average productivity among Maine eagles during the 1960s was only 0.34 eaglets per nesting pair.

By 1978, the bald eagle was listed as an endangered species in 43 of the lower 48 states. It was listed as threatened in the remaining five states, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

Bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, continued to decline in western Maine through the 1970s. By 1979, only two pairs remained in the western half of the state’s vast coastline. None were in northern most Maine. Only easternmost coastal regions of Washington County supported viable eagle numbers and productivity.

The defining moment came at a time when various agencies anguished over a $1 billion oil refinery proposal in this last stronghold in the northeast. That would have been the worst case scenario, from potential oil spills, and likely jeopardy for Maine’s endangered bald eagles. The project was never developed, and eagle numbers began to rebound in Maine from that point forward.

Meanwhile, bald eagles were absent from all other New England states; New York could only account for a single nesting pair, and New Brunswick, was the only Canadian province to recognize bald eagles as endangered.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, biologists in Maine worked to increase eagle productivity and survival. Egg transplants attempted to bolster productivity at nests with chronic failure, especially in western Maine where the population was nearly extirpated. Public outreach, educational initiatives, and intensified law enforcement sought to reduce human-caused mortality: illegal shooting was the leading cause of documented eagle mortality in this era. Trappings, poisonings and electrocutions also took a toll.

The diminished use of DDT is broadly correlated with the comeback of the bald eagles. Extensive use of the toxin during the 1970s and 1980s has been linked with the decline of the bald eagle population. The insecticide would soften the eagle egg shells, causing them to crush when the adult eagles attempted to incubate them.

By 2006, in Maine, the breeding population had rebounded to 414 eagle pairs. Bald eagles now breed in all 16 counties.

The average life expectancy of a bald eagle is 20 years, with the oldest living up to 30 years. One in captivity in New York lived to be 50 years old.
Contaminants, dioxins, mercury and lead appear in Maine bald eagles. Breeding populations in the northeast, as of 2006, is tied intimately to the fate of Maine’s population.

As of 2006, 74 percent of the northeast population of bald eagles was located in Maine.

Eagles are a magnificent bird to watch in their environ. I seem to have this knack for seeing rare occurrences in nature during my travels. Recently, while on my way home from work, I was approaching the Carter Memorial Bridge from the Winslow side when I noticed a bald eagle flying very low over the bridge. Once I reached the spot where I had seen the eagle, I looked north up the river to see if I could spot where it was going. To my surprise, it was now below the deck of the bridge and flying directly upriver. What a sight to actually observe a bald eagle in flight, from above. It was gliding majestically, obviously looking for prey.