Students named to the University of Vermont dean’s list

The following students have been named to the dean’s list at the University of Vermont, in Burlington Vermont:

Devin Beckim and Melissa Petersen, both of Augusta; Kayla Christopher, of Oakland; and Delaney Curran, of Skowhegan.

Emmanuel College announces fall 2016 dean’s list

In honor of their outstanding academic achievement, Emmanuel College, in Boston, Massachusetts, has named more than 700 students to the dean’s list for the Fall 2016 semester. Local students on the dean’s list include:

Alexandra Gorrill, of Whitefield; Paulina Hersey and Katherine Thompson, both of Waterville.


SOLON & BEYOND, Week of January 19, 2017

by Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

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

The Solon Pine Tree 4-H Club has been busy in December and January. In December they adopted a family and gave them a Christmas dinner in December, collected items for the Somerset Animal Shelter, enjoyed a Christmas Party with an exchange of gifts and enjoyed refreshments. The members also made turkeys using wine glasses.

In January the members voted to do food trays for the elderly in February. Michaela Marden and the leaders will be doing demonstrations so the new members can see how they are done.

The club is planning to do a food sale to benefit the Solon Food Cupboard and a dinner to benefit the club on Solon Town Meeting Day on Saturday, March 4.

For a fun activity the members did a wood burning project.

The next meeting will be on Saturday, February 11, at 9:30 a.m., at the Solon Fire Station.

Maine author Lynn Plourde spent a day at Solon Elementary School on December 7. Her visit to the school was made possible by a Donors Choose grant written by Mrs. LaChance.

While at the Solon school, Mrs. Plourde read her new book, Bella’s Fall Coat, to the student body at an assembly. She also read her book Baby Bear’s’ Not Hibernating while students and Mr. Corson acted out the parts of the story. Then Ms. Plourde visited all classrooms and worked with the students on how to write stories.

Ms. Plourde grew up in Sko0whegan and now lives in Winthrop. She has written over 30 books for children since 1997. It was a great experience for the students to work with a real author whose books they have read for years.

Thanks go to Mrs. LaChance for writing the grant and to the community members who donated to this project to bring Lynn Plourde to the Solon School.

During the first two weeks of November, the Solon Kids Care Club ran their annual Thanksgiving Food Drive to collect food items for the Solon Thrift Shop Food Cupboard. They collected 200 items for needy families. The Club would like to thank students and parents for their donations to this worthy cause.

Lief’s daughter, Cynthia Fitzmaurice, from Schenectady, New York, spent this last weekend with us. While she was in Maine she visited with several other family and friends.

I read in the police log in the paper recently of someone on North Main Street, in Solon, being scammed, and my sympathy went out to them. Lief has also been targeted and it is a terrible, mind-boggling experience!

Something for you to circle on your calendar is the Solon Congregational Church will be having a baked beans and casserole supper on Saturday, January 28, at the Solon Masonic Hall off from Rt 201, from 5 to 6 p.m.

We were invited over to North Anson on Sunday for a wonderful birthday get-together dinner for Amanda’s birthday. It was a most delicious meal.
The annual Solon Budget Committee meeting will be held at the town office conference room on Saturday, January 21, at 8 a.m.

And so for Percy’s memoir called, A Touch of Love; A little beauty to pass along, A little duty to make us strong. A bit of gladness to make us whole, A little sadness to cleanse the soul. A sense of humor to make us smile… These are the things that make life worthwhile. But more important than all the above, The greatest of these… A touch of love. (words by Carmen Boitel Adams.)

I’m Just Curious: Random acts of kindness

by Debbie Walker

I want to write about what I believe is a very simple subject. I thought it was anyway. I made the mistake of looking it up on the internet. Sometimes things just go a little too far. So I will tell you tonight what I captured from something called “Coffee Cups and Crayons.” On their website it is explained as: “Any act of kindness no matter how big or small can make a difference – especially where done intentionally”.

Random Acts of Kindness is a phrase used in the school where I volunteer. It is a positive phrase that all our children understand.

These acts of kindness have been used for something funny. We had the Candy Cane Swoop just before Christmas. Mrs. C’s first-grade class snuck out of the building into the teacher’s parking lot. Each child had a hand-made tag and a candy cane to place on a teacher’s car. Needless to say there were smiles that day as the teachers drove out of the parking lot.

Acts of kindness can be as simple as holding a door open for someone. Because I have a problem with my knee I walk slower than a group of first graders. Every walk we take one of the children come to me to walk with me. It’s a kindness indeed.

As teachers we are trying to notice and acknowledge each act of kindness the children do. They share things, they help each other, and they willingly help others in school. Needless to say we are hoping that it continues once they leave the school.

I was sitting here tonight dreaming up some more activities we could promote from within the classroom for the students to be involved in. I do have a few ideas and if you are interested I will pass on the activities as they happen over the months to come.

I would like to pass on this thought to you all. I worked in a convenience store for a short time and I noticed something that was a little sad. You know there are some people who complain and can be rather nasty to others. Yup, right in front of their children. The same people wondered the next day, “How did my child become so rude?” I could tell them.

Just because we don’t have a child attached to us at the hip does not mean we are not teaching children. They are like some of our video cameras. The kids are recording us even though we are not aware of it happening. They are recording both good and not so good deeds. Truthfully we are ALL teachers.

This “Random Acts of Kindness” is catching. Try some of your own ideas and see if it doesn’t give YOU a better day. Please be sure to do it with heart!

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Band leader: Ralph Marterie; TV series: Blue Bloods

Peter Catesby  Peter Cates

Ralph Marterie

Dancing on the Down Beat
Mercury- MG 25171, ten inch vinyl lp, recorded 1953.

Born in Italy, Ralph Marterie came to America at a very early age with his parents, where they settled in Chicago and his father landed a job with the Lyric Opera Orchestra. He was playing trumpet in high school and was hired by NBC Radio during the pre- World War II years, working with Percy Faith and Andre Kostelanetz. After the war, his experience with ABC Radio would lead to a contract with the Chicago-based Mercury Records, itself just newly established and a story for another week.

Ralph Marterie

Dancing on the Down Beat contains selections that cater to both dancing and careful listening; its extroverted, skillfully crafted arrangements, similar to such ‘50s groups as Les Brown, Les Elgart, Les Baxter and Ralph Flanagan, gave temporary new blood to the big band style of the ‘40s that had dominated jazz and pop music. (The same first names of bandleaders are strictly coincidental!) The provided dance tunes – Down Beat, Pretend – one of two Marterie singles to win a gold record, the Russian gypsy folk song Dark Eyes, La Rosita, After Midnight, Everything I Have Is Yours, Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King and Thru for the Night add up to a very well-planned, solid LP.

Marterie and his band toured on and off for over 20 years until October 10, 1978, when he died at 63 after a one-nighter.

Blue Bloods

starring Tom Selleck, Len Cariou, Donnie Wahlberg, etc.

Blue Bloods is a TV show, now in its seventh season, that is seen weekly on CBS and the first six seasons on Netflix. It presents four generations of an Irish Catholic family, the Reagans, who serve, or have served, in law enforcement in New York City. Pop Henry Reagan, the 70thish patriarch, and portrayed brilliantly by Len Cariou, started as a cop back in the ‘60s and worked his way up to police commissioner before he retired; son Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) is now police commissioner and dealing with post 9/11 challenges his father never faced; one grandson, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is a successful detective who is frequently the character of interest due to his righteously dramatic personality and frequent loose cannonish approach to catching very bad people. Another son and daughter are involved as well and bring so much to the story line, which usually has at least two or three plots taking turns holding one’s attention very skillfully.


Tom Selleck


The crimes take up a share of each episode but politics and human relationships are given the most intelligent and entertaining treatment, while every good or bad character compels interest. The show promotes integrity of the most scrupulous nature, family, loyalty, hard work and matters of faith while the weekly family Sunday dinner gatherings of all members at the homestead of Pop and Frank, both widowers, are priceless for conversation, sheer fun and humor, while being often equal to the suspenseful plots.

I am working my way through all of the back episodes on Netflix one to three episodes a night and finished the first five seasons last night!

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: KWD explains position on Alewives Restoration Initiative

by Jeff LaCasse
Kennebec Water District

Information and communications – ARI project, KWD, and China Lake

As third party observers, KWD staff sees some facets of the ARI project on Outlet Stream from a different perspective than many ARI members. We feel we have information and access to some resources that we can share that could aid in facilitating some planning and avoiding some potential issues – either structural or financial – in the project’s scope and implementation. We have, especially recently with the appointment of Matt Streeter, relatively good communications with ARI on ongoing project issues. We do feel, however, that there has been some misinformation being presented in discussions related to the project that is not fact based.

One issue that we have been having is that we have noticed on more and more frequent occasions that information is being disseminated in various forums that is incorrect. Some assertions have been repeated enough that they are frequently being considered factual. We feel it is a disservice to the public to put this information out there as it may lead to expectations that are unfounded and criticisms of some, including KWD, that are unwarranted. We feel we have information that can correct some of the miscommunications, increase trust, and keep all parties working cooperatively together. We also feel the information may help keep unexpected situations to a minimum.

KWD has been using China Lake as its water source since 1905 (currently serving 30,000+ people) and has collected data on the lake from 1903 to present. That data includes lake levels, water quality measurements, Outlet Dam specifications, and personal observations. We have been operating the Outlet Dam for the Town of Vassalboro since 2009. Operations are required to meet the regulatory guidelines of the China Lake water level and streamflow order of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

7 frequently repeated, but incorrect assertions with corrected information from KWD:

1. KWD opposes the reintroduction of alewives in China Lake.

We are actually neutral on the project, which we consider a fish restoration project. We were early proponents of trying to determine whether or not alewives would help the lake’s water quality. We lead early efforts to investigate what would be required for passage and the potential impacts of alewife restoration on the water quality of the lake. We worked through CRLA on the Seward Mills project to allow migration into Three Mile with the intent to use that as a pilot project. We reviewed impacts on both Webber and Three Mile in an attempt to extrapolate whether or not any impacts might be projected to China Lake. Our position is that we do not oppose the fish restoration and we will assist the project with technical knowledge and data sharing as appropriate, but we will not support the project financially. As a public water utility we have a massive infrastructure that needs maintenance and replacement and we do not have discretionary funds to support a project that we do not believe will provide our ratepayers with a tangible benefit. Our bottom line is we feel this is a fish restoration project, not a water quality improvement project.

2. The alewife project will result in noticeable water quality improvement in China Lake.

We have written documentation of past statements by the Department of Environmental Protection, the prior director of Maine Rivers, and several others that have brought forth the same message that alewife “most probably will not affect water quality”. This contention is also backed by many scientific publications.

The anecdotal reports of improved water quality on Webber and Three Mile Ponds are encouraging, but we feel there are other factors influencing the improved water quality in those lakes. There has been no scientific study evaluating the individual measurable impacts of alewives, annual drawdown flushing, and other nutrient control practices on the water quality in those water bodies. Many other Maine lakes with long term alewife migrations have seen no water quality improvement.

We did extensive literature review of the impacts of restoration projects on water quality in other water bodies and commissioned a study of our own to determine the potential impacts on China Lake – based on its individual characteristics. The basic conclusion of the study was “alewife does not cause water quality problems in lakes and ponds in Maine” and “there is little evidence that restoring alewife is a panacea for accelerating the recovery of eutrophic lakes.” The report did emphasize that alewife restoration will contribute to an improved ecosystem (which does not equal improved water quality), and we feel that is important.

There are multiple factors that impact water quality in lakes and multiple factors that can contribute to improving that quality. China Lake is different from other lakes. The most limiting factor in water quality improvement in China is its configuration and resultant slow flushing rate. Much of the phosphorus impacting water quality in China Lake is phosphorus that is linked to an internal recycling process within the lake. This internal phosphorus is in addition to phosphorus that comes from sources within the watershed. The fact that it takes over two years to flush the lake makes quickly removing large quantities of phosphorus from the lake impossible.

Even if there is a “net export” of phosphorus by exiting juvenile alewives as promised by some, the amount of P that needs to be removed to result in noticeable water quality improvements within the lake is substantially more than would be expected via alewife outmigration.

Although we feel the odds are very small, we certainly hope that we are wrong about the lack of positive impact on water quality from alewives which will result in a noticeable improvement in water quality. Many in the public have been convinced by ARI proponents that the restoration will reverse the eutrophication of China Lake, but we feel that to guarantee that there will be noticeable water quality improvements via the reintroduction is disingenuous. At best, we feel that a message that “it is hoped that the alewife reintroduction will be a contributor to water quality improvements in China Lake” would be more appropriate and temper public expectations.

3. The report that KWD commissioned to project impacts on China Lake’s water quality from alewife reintroduction states that the alewives will improve water quality.

This is a specific point that has been made in some forums and we feel it should be addressed separately from #2 above. The specific point of the study was to project if there would be any positive or negative impacts to the water quality of China Lake as a result of the reintroduction. As noted in #2, the study concludes “alewife does not cause water quality problems in lakes and ponds in Maine” and “there is little evidence that restoring alewife is a panacea for accelerating the recovery of eutrophic lakes.”

An “improved ecosystem” is not the same as water quality. The report concluded alewife restoration should contribute to an improved ecosystem, which relates more to a more robust top-to-bottom food chain.

4. This year’s exceptional water quality in China Lake is due to alewife introduction.

A statewide phenomenon, one that has been examined by several in the scientific community this year and in the past is that lack of precipitation is responsible for the improved water quality in almost all Maine lakes in 2016 (“Drought years led to increase in Secchi depths”). China Lake has had better water quality than in any year since 1999 (via measurable water quality parameters). Other lakes are reporting their best water quality since the 1970’s. The simple fact is that the much lower than normal amount of precipitation provided much less opportunity for runoff and movement of nutrients into China Lake. Alewives were not even exiting China Lake until early September, so any “net export” of phosphorus by out-migrating alewives in 2016 would certainly not have impacted the spring/summer/fall water quality in the lake.

5. The fall drawdown of China Lake was instituted to allow out-migration of alewives.

Alewife reintroduction played no part at all in the annual drawdown proposal. In fact, KWD was the applicant to DEP to institute the annual drawdown process. That application followed a report commissioned by KWD to determine if an annual drawdown would contribute to reducing the in-lake phosphorus level. The report detailed the expected outflow of phosphorus in kilograms and the optimal timeframe in which to conduct the drawdown. Alewives were not a consideration in this process to any degree. The drawdown was intended to be a tool to help improve water quality within the lake while not negatively impacting any of the criteria listed as essential in the Maine DEP’s Regulation of Water Levels and Minimum Flows,

(Those criteria are: a. water levels necessary to maintain public rights of access to and use of the water for navigation, fishing, fowling, recreation and other lawful public uses, b. levels necessary to protect the safety of littoral or riparian proprietors and the public, c. water levels and minimum flow requirements necessary for the maintenance of fish and wildlife habitats and water quality, d. water levels necessary to prevent excessive erosion of shorelines, e. water levels necessary to accommodate precipitation and run off of waters, f. water levels necessary to maintain public and private water supplies, g. the water levels and flows necessary for any ongoing use of the dam to generate or to enhance downstream generation of hydroelectric or hydromechanical power and h. water levels necessary to provide flows from any dam on the body of water to maintain public use and access and use, fish propagation and fish passage facilities, fish and wildlife habitat and water quality downstream of the body of water.)

6. The contention during a recent public meeting that alewife passage in and out of China Lake will supersede the DEP’s water level and streamflow order currently in place.

Water level orders are set through an extensive regulatory process that considers the potential impacts on the seven criteria listed in #5 above and the level is set to minimize the impacts Water level hearings typically receive testimony from lake and stream abutters, abutting municipalities, associated regulatory bodies, public water systems (if applicable), with input from outside expert witnesses. No one issue is valued over others. In fact, fish passage was not considered in prior lake level hearings for China Lake because it did not exist. If proponents want to get consideration for fish passage into the water level order with the intent to change the order to allow specific changes in the current regime, they will have to make its case to the DEP to hold a rehearing on the current order. Our assumption is that a specific fish passage will have to be proposed that will not greatly impact current protections in place for the other considered criteria in the order. Without going through a water level review process, the water level/streamflow order will not be adjusted.

7. The Outlet Stream dam has been dramatically modified in the past in order to raise the level of China Lake four feet (specifically in the 1960’s).

KWD actually has documentation that indicates there was a dam on the site prior to 1800, with a new dam built in 1817. Since then there have been several ownership changes. We have drawings of the dam made in 1921 by Metcalf and Eddy engineers that depict the dam and gate house structure with associated dimensions and elevations. The dam, spillway, gates and gate house have all received maintenance and rebuilds in the intervening years, but the elevations of the spillway and gates have remained the same in 2016 and they were in 1921. In addition, KWD has collected lake levels readings throughout the period from 1905-2016. Although the lake varies in elevation over the course of each year due to seasonal fluctuations, there has been no change in the structural elevations or the average lake level during that period, much less a 4 foot difference. All rebuilding processes were extremely careful to keep the spillway elevation to within a close tolerance to the original.

Jeff LaCasse
Kennebec Water District

Local students achieve dean’s list at UMF

The following area students have achieved dean’s list status at the University of Maine at Farmington, in Farmington.

Chelsea: Kassidy Frost and Tricia Tzikas; Fairfield: Katlyn Champagne, Holden Cookson, Katie LeBlanc, Hannah Tompkins and Lauren Wadleigh. Freedom: Christina Hall; Jefferson: Allison Fortin and Bridget Humphrey; Liberty: David Mallow; Madison: Alexis Lanctot and Rebekah Powell; Oakland: Mara Balboni, Natalie Corrigan, Tyler Creasy, Harley Davis, Derek Guerette and Christopher Knight; Palermo: Nicole Glidden; Sidney: Spencer DeWitt, Chelsey Oliver and Shawna Oliver; South China: Tyler Belanger, Marissa Chamberlain, Gage Currie, Simon Rollins and Rebecca-Ann Severy; Unity: Donna Chason; Vassalboro: Brianna Benevento, Nathan Bowring, Sean Cabaniss, Benjamin Cloutier, Alicia Stafford and Abbe Waceken; Washington: Olivia Vanner; Waterville: Molly Brown, Avery Isbell, Christa Jordan, Mattie Lajoie, Jacob Montgomery, Kara Patenaude, Sarah Ringer, Lydia Roy and Jinni-Mae Workman; Whitefield: Jordan Bailey, Katherine Newcombe and Emily Russell; Windsor: Victoria Condon; Winslow: Morgan Clark, Kayla Davis, Megan Denis, Mariah Greatorex, Sara Jackson, Stephanie Michaud and Christina Taylor.

TECH TALK: Saving your old photos for the next generation

by Eric Austin
Computer Technical Advisor

Phew! Christmas and New Year’s are finally over. If you’re like me, you probably took a lot of pictures. Hopefully, you’ve joined the 21st century and graduated to a digital camera. But what about all those pictures from previous years before the advent of digital technology?

HP Envy 4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer. Available from Amazon for $69

HP Envy 4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer. Available from Amazon for $69

When my father passed away earlier this year, we dug out all our old albums looking for pictures for his memorial service. It’s not something we do often, and we realized that a great number of the pictures – especially those from albums handed down from my grandparents – had begun to seriously degrade. (Hint: Use dental floss to get your pictures off those “sticky” album pages without damaging them!)

We realized that if we wanted to save them for the next generation, we would have to do something to preserve them. I suspect that a few of you, dear readers, may be in the same position. So what can one do? What are the options and how much does it cost?

The only real option is to transfer them from a physical medium which degrades, to a digital version which will never degrade. For photos, this is easy. Just use a decent scanner, and scan your photos into your computer to create a digital copy. Don’t have a scanner? You can buy one fairly inexpensively, and there are even some designed specifically for scanning photos. But I would recommend instead a decent all-in-one inkjet printer, which includes a scanner, copier, and printer in the same unit. You can pick one of these up for under $100, and you can use it as a printer, copier and to scan your photos. (Hint: To save time, scan multiple photos on a single page and then use a simple graphics program like MS Paint to separate them into individual photos after the fact!)

But what about other forms of physical media like old 8mm films, slides and 35mm film negatives? For that, you’ll need a more specialized device. These are smaller devices that handle movie and photo negatives, or slides, and convert them into digital photos. has a number of these devices ranging in price from $49 to $149, or more for higher resolution scanners.

Wolverine F2D Mighty 20MP 7-in-1 Film to Digital Converter available from Amazon for $149

Wolverine F2D Mighty 20MP 7-in-1 Film to Digital Converter available from Amazon for $149

Don’t want two de­vices? If you don’t mind spending a bit more, you can pick up a specialty scanner that handles photos as well as film negatives and slides. Epson makes one that is listed on Amazon for $209. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find an all-in-one printer that could also handle negatives and slides.

If you don’t want to mess with it yourself, there are a number of companies that do the work of scanning and converting your photos to a digital format for you. They’re not cheap, with prices ranging from $0.22 to $1.19 per image, but if you have a lot of old photos to preserve, and don’t want to mess with it yourself, this might be your best option. As a bonus, these services often apply color-correction or other enhancements for you, and if you are not familiar with such tools, that can be a lifesaver.

Do you have a lot of photos, but you’re not very computer savvy and you don’t want to pay for an expensive conversion service? That’s why God created grandchildren!

Have a comment on this column? Visit the story on our website,, to leave your thoughts or ask a question! Have an idea for a future column? Send me an email at with the subject “Tech Talk”!

Eric W. Austin lives in China. He is a marketing and technical consultant, and designer of the website.

Two local students on URI dean’s list

The University of Rhode Island, in Kingston, Rhode Island, has announced the Fall 2016 dean’s list. The following students were named to the dean’s list within their area of study: Alexandria M. Jarvais, of Madison, majoring in Pharm D, and Rachel Cambridge Pratt, of Cornville, majoring in Kinesiology.

Vassalboro News: Selectmen to look into addressing speeding through East Vassalboro

by Mary Grow

With the local marijuana referendum behind them – voters on Jan. 9 approved banning commercial non-medical marijuana businesses in town – and 2017-18 budget work not beginning until February, Vassalboro selectmen had a short and routine meeting Jan. 12.

Town Manager Mary Sabins has not forgotten the discussion of speeding through East Vassalboro on Route 32. She showed selectmen a solar assisted battery light borrowed from the state Department of Transportation and proposed buying two to go atop new warning signs at each end of the village.

Total cost for two lights and two signs would be less than $500, and, Sabins said, if the lights proved ineffective or annoying to neighbors, the town public works crew could use them to warn of construction work, downed trees and other temporary issues.

Selectmen unanimously approved. Because of Dig Safe requirements and frozen ground, the new warnings might not be installed until spring.

Board members renewed the agreement with Kennebec Water District for management of the China Lake Outlet Dam and approved a slightly revised contract with the town assessors and a minor revision to the town personnel policy.

They approved reports from Sabins on town finances; Road Commissioner Eugene Field, listing a lot of overtime plowing and sanding; new Police Chief Mark Brown; and the Vassalboro First Responders.

The First Responders’ report included concern about the high price of EpiPens, a tool members like to carry with them for immediate treatment of allergic reactions and similar conditions. They fear they will have to limit themselves to keeping an EpiPen in each Vassalboro fire station.

The next regular selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening, Jan. 26. Board members adjusted their February schedule to avoid meeting during school vacation week; at this point, they plan a meeting Thursday evening, Feb. 9; a budget workshop Monday afternoon, Feb. 13; and a meeting Thursday afternoon, March 2.