St. Michael School undefeated conference champions

The St, Michael School boys basketball team, in Augusta, are the 2017 Sheepscot Valley Athletic Conference champions. High scorers for the team were Kaleb Stred, with a total of 317 points this season, averaging 15 points per game, Kyle Douin, 300 pts., 14 avg., Bryton Kieltyka, 99 pts., 6 avg., and Casey Gallant, 77 pts., 4 avg. The team went 22-0, completing the undefeated season. Coaches are Gary Hawkins, and member of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, and assisted by Denise Douin and Rob Flannery.

Contributed photo

Area competitors in recent karate showcase

Students from Huard’s Martial Arts collected funds for the Battle of Maine, to benefit Help Save Children’s Lives Project. Together, these young martial artists raised close to $5,000 to help support the Children’s Miracle Network.

Photo by Angela Poulin, Central Maine Photography staff

The 37th annual Huard’s Battle of Maine Martial Arts Championships were held on March 25 at Thomas College, in Waterville. Over 350 competitors from all over New England and Canada, and lots of specttors, enjoyed a full day of martial arts demonstrations, competition and friendship. The battle has raised over $75,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network and that total keeps rising each year. At left, Huard’s Sport Karate Demo team performances Mikey Stewart, left, of Fairfield, and Landon Nunn, of Skowhegan, show some Bo staff during the opening Battle of Maine Demo.

Photo by Tawni Lively, Central Maine Photography staff

SCORES & OUTDOORS: Eastern cottontail numbers affect lynx population


by Roland D. Hallee

Walking through the woods following a snowfall can show evidence of many wildlife tracks. One that I saw recently was that of the Eastern Cottontail rabbit.

The Eastern Cottontail, Salvilagus floridanus, is actually a New World cottontail rabbit, a member of the family Leporidae. It is one of the most common rabbit species in North America.

Here in Maine, its numbers has a profound affect on the Canada lynx population. The survival rate of the lynx is dependent on a healthy cottontail population.

The Eastern Cottontail is chunky red-brown or gray-brown in appearance with large hind feet, long ears and a short fluffy white tail. Its underside fur is white. There is a rusty patch on the tail.

Eastern cottontail

Its appearance differs from that of a hare in that it has a brownish-gray coloring around the head and neck. The body is lighter color with a white underside on the tail. It has large brown eyes to see and large ears to listen for danger. In the winter, its coloring is more gray than brown. The kittens develop the same coloring after a few weeks, but they also have a white blaze that goes down their forehead. This marking eventually disappears. The average adult weighs between 2-4 pounds. However, the female tends to be heavier.

They can be found in the eastern and southwestern United States, southern Canada, eastern Mexico all the way down to South America. Originally, it was not found in New England, but it has been introduced here and now competes for habitat with the native New England cottontail.

The rabbits are active at night, and do not hibernate in winter. Predators include hawks, owls, coyotes, wolves and the aforementioned lynx. On farms and in gardens, they are considered pests and are often trapped or shot to protect plants.

Mating occurs from February to September. Males will mate with more than one female. Females have 2 to 4 large litters of up to nine young in a year. After the female has given birth to her offspring, she can mate again immediately thereafter. The kittens are weaned after three weeks and leave the nest after seven weeks. The kittens then reach mating age after three months.

The Eastern cottontail is a very territorial animal. When running, it can jump from 15 feet, which can aid in avoiding predators. When chased, it runs in a zigzag pattern so the animal chasing it will lose its scent, making the rabbit harder to follow. They can run up to 18 miles per hour. The cottontail prefers an area where it can hide quickly but be out in the open. Forests, swamps, thickets, bushes or open areas where it can dig a burrow are optimal habitation sites for this species.

I had one appear in my backyard a few years ago and seemed to have settled in very well. It apparently found a buffet of clover that grows wild around my garden area. It stayed around for about a week. Unfortunately, although it seemed content where it was, the constant attempt of neighborhood kids to capture it led it to run off in a desperate escape attempt on several occasions. I found it dead one Sunday morning, apparently the victim of a road kill collision with a car.

IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of March 30, 2017


by Katie Ouilette

WALLS, o.k., no famous people today. You want to tell our faithful readers about animals. No, we won’t compete other columnists in this newspaper, because your trigger has been tripped about dogs, since our relative in Turner loaned us a best selling book entitled A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron. Yes, I know you’ve not read much of the book at this point, but you know about pets that have surprised folks when we lived in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

O.K., WALLS start with that one-room schoolhouse at the end of Dutton Road. It really did happen, that Mary had a little lamb that followed her there. In fact, the story of that lamb is that it went to school with Mary every day, The children loved it and the lamb loved the love. That was probably in the 1800s, surely not today!

Now, WALLS, tell our faithful readers about the Denis’ Brittany Spaniel, Jock. Oh, he was a wonderful pet and the Denis children could do almost anything with him, such as his wearing a football helmet and riding up the turnpike to Maine with his head sticking out of the car window! People in the cars which we passed surely laughed at the site and Jock was happy that his head was out the window. Oh, and speaking of Jock, I went into a store in Sudbury and, because Jock always jumped into the driver’s seat when we were stopped, a woman ran into the store and announced, “that dog is driving the car!” Well, you know better, faithful readers, but that was Jock’s moment, for sure!

Yes, I do have to refer to a recent article on skunks. That reminded you of the Denis next door neighbor’s experience with one. The neighbors had a garbage can next to the house and that garbage can had a cover on it, since it was a buried can (a lot of them in Massachusetts). Well, the ‘lady of the house’ was wearing a new suit, but also fixing dinner for her family. When she went outside and lifted that cover to deposit the potato peels….you, faithful readers, guessed. She was sprayed by the skunk! Of course, she screamed and I ran to help her. O.K., dinner was late there, our next-door neighbor had to throw away her new suit and she had a bath with tomato juice and water!

Well, WALLS, there is another purpose for dogs that is not laughable, but heartwarming. When the Denis family moved to New Jersey, we lived a short distance from Morristown, where the Seeing Eye Institute was located. You faithful readers surely know that WALLS is about to tell you of ‘seeing dogs’ being trained to accompany their owners throughout downtown. Yes, those dogs are truly faithful, whether the blind owner is crossing a street or shopping in a store. Thosedogs know their purpose. In closing, WALLS will tell you about Ted Glazier. Ted was blind since 10 years old and he attended the Seeing Eye Institute as a teacher of veterans and also was a student at Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire. When Seeing Eye Institute was featured at Colby Sawyer College, in New London, New Hampshire, Ted attended and asked a question. Immediately, the blind speaker asked: “Is that you Ted Glazier?” Ted’s seeing eye dog was the first to respond and guided Ted to the stage and blind speaker. Quite a moment for sure!

I’m Just Curious: Fern and the New Flower

I’m Just Curious

by Debbie Walker

I have had a few requests for another Fairy Story, so here it is. Enjoy!

Fern, the youngest of the Bailey fairy family spent most of her time with the wild flowers. Since Momma named her Fern and dressed her as a fern plant she blended in with the wild flowers quite well and loved her time with them.

She didn’t usually go near the house behind Apple Tree Notch, the one the people had bought recently. Her sister Daisy and brother Twig had already had some encounters with the people’s children. She had seen one, the girl, Tristin, but thankfully that day Tristin was only interested in Hoppy Toad and didn’t see her.

Fern just loved the flowers and she had a nose for finding them. There was a new flower smell that she kept sniffing and decided today was the day to check it out. It was in the direction of the house.

She slowly approached the house, hiding in the grass. Since she was the same color she blended in well. So she crept a little closer and there, right there, was where that beautiful smell was coming from. Up along the house someone had added a new flower. It was beautiful.

Fern tried to talk to the flower but she was not friendly. Fern finally asked her why she was so unfriendly. She told Fern that she was a special flower. “Well, of course,” Fern told her “I understand that because all flowers are special.” With that comment the new flower got all puffed up and threw out some more of her scent. She told Fern she was special because she was a Rose and needed a lot of special care. She was not a common wild flower. She even pointed out her thorns growing on her stalk explaining they were to protect her from animals or people who might harm her.

Fern just looked up at the rose and said “I’ll bet you’re lonely without friends.” Rose replied “I don’t need friends, I’m special.” So with that Fern walked away feeling sad for the Rose. Fern thought to herself, ‘everyone needs friends sometime.’

So Fern went back and visited her friends the wild flowers and Hoppy Toad even came by for a visit. That child, Tristin, was trying to find him again!

When Fern went home that afternoon she was still thinking about the Rose and started talking about the visit with her mother. Her mother knew what a Rose was, she had seen them before. Her mother told her not to hold it against the Rose because these were things she had been taught. She had never learned that we all are special in our own way. Momma said she might wait a few days and try again.

Fern went back to visiting the wild flowers and laughed because she saw Hoppy Toad just in time to get away from Tristin.

Fern was bothered because she smelled an odd odor and she knew it had something to do with the Rose. So she went to see. The smell was definitely from Rose and she was not happy.

When Fern asked her what the problem was the Rose told her that the people had sprayed her with something she didn’t like. They said she had some kind of bugs on her, trying to eat her leaves and it was painful.

Fern told Rose she could help her. Fern figured out how to use the thorns to help her climb up higher and she found the bugs and sprinkled them with fairy dust and they all flew away.

Rose was so grateful for Fern’s help. She said “how did you do that?” Fern just reminded her that everyone has something special about them and if we share all the special things it makes everyone happy.

From that day on Rose was never selfish with her beautiful smell. She was always pleased to see Fern and looked forward to meeting the others.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed. I love writing my Fairy stories and sharing with you and the kids. Contact me at

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Film: Cover Up; Singer: Henry Allen; Composer: Rachmaninoff

Cover Up

starring Dennis O’Keefe, William Bendix, Barbara Britton, etc.; directed by Alfred E. Green; released by United Artists, 1949, 83 minutes.

William Bendix

As obvious from the title, Cover Up is from the film noir tradition of ‘40s and ‘50s black and white movies, imbued with suspense, evil, violence, etc. I have been wanting to see the film for over 15 years since reading about it in one of the Scheuer movie guides and trying unsuccessfully to order the videocassette, now out of print.

Dennis O’Keefe

Then I forgot about it during subsequent years until I spotted it on YouTube recently. It stars Dennis O’Keefe (1908-1968), William Bendix (1906-1964), and Barbara Britton (1919-1980), three stalwarts from this cinematic era with the most well known being Bendix.

An insurance investigator (O’Keefe) is investigating a suicide in a small midwestern town. Clues increasingly point towards murder, which would mean a huge double indemnity payout. However, what is even more disturbing is the lack of cooperation and hostility of the townspeople, including the sheriff, very powerfully portrayed by Bendix. There is also a most attractive single woman (Britton) who distracts the agent for reasons unrelated to the case until she, too, becomes a person of interest there.

Barbara Britton

The otherwise compelling plot is unfortunately marred by the tepid love story, but, all in all, is a good 83 minutes of entertainment.

Henry “Red” Allen

Ride, Red, Ride in Hi-Fi; RCA Victor EPA 2-1509, seven inch vinyl 45, recorded 1957.

Red Allen

Like Satchmo, Henry “Red” Allen (1908-1967) was born in New Orleans. He was praised by many as technically and musically Satch’s equal; some professional competition may have resulted, including a few tacky moments on the part of either of the two. They did work together and, more often, with the same sidemen.

The EP contains only two selections – Sweet Lorraine and Love Is Just Around the Corner — and features a few extraordinary sidemen — trombonist J.C. Higgin­botham, tenor saxist Coleman Hawkins, drummer Cozy Cole, pianist Marty Napoleon, and clarinettist Buster Bailey – delivering rambunctious, swinging renditions. Worth seeking out.

Red Allen died in 1967, at 59, of pancreatic cancer.


Concerto No. 2; Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1

Felicja Blumental, pianist; Michael Gielen conducting the Vienna Musikgesellschaft Orchestra- Allegro ACS 8020, cassette, 1980 reissue based on a 1959 release.


The 2nd Piano Concerto of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) and the 1st Piano Concerto of Petr Ilyich Tchaikovsky are, arguably, the two most popular Piano Concertos of the last 150 years, each having generated enough recordings to fill a good-sized room – As I have stated in past columns, I love duplicates and own several of each, representing pianists of different styles.

Felicja Blumenthal (1908-1991), was a highly accomplished virtuoso with a spontaneous, sometimes splashly style of playing that suited both pieces, while Michael Gielen led his Vien­nese musicians in very enthusiastic orchestral accompaniments. For those beginning to know these Concertos, this cassette is a good starter and always cheap at most music outlets and thrift stores – it is also available in CD and priced similarly.

Helped raise funds at Battle of Maine

Carlie Brook, left, of Freedom, was among the group that raised funds for the  Children’s Miracle Network Foundation. Pictured with Carlie is Caitlin Brooke, foundation specialist at Eastern Maine Health Services. Photo courtesy of Mark Huard

Letters to the editor, Week of March 30, 2017

Some hurting is good

To the editor:

Recently I have received some criticism for a letter to the editor I wrote some time ago in reaction to another letter-writer calling America a “Christian Nation” and founded on “Christian values.” In my response, I pointed out that not only is this claim historically incorrect, it is also unnecessarily exclusive and antithetical to the original vision of the very founding fathers people use to bolster this fallacious claim.

The primary objection to my pointing out the inaccuracy of this assertion is that I “hurt people” by doing so. If it is “hurtful” to correctly point out the inaccurate and injurious views of others, then it is the best kind of pain and we should all feel it more often.

For those still feeling injured, ask yourselves how you would feel should I make the claim, “America is a Muslim Nation founded on Muslim values!”

“Foul,” you cry! “Inaccurate,” you scream. “This is my America!” you insist.

Yes, and that is exactly how non-Christian Americans feel when they hear you making this claim.

But it is the historical inaccuracy that bothers me the most. And I think it warrants a brief lesson in basic Western History:

Hopefully you already know that America declared independence in 1776, but perhaps you are not aware of the broader context of this historical period. The ideas and vision of the men and women responsible for the birth of America were a product of their times and those ideas did not suddenly spring into being in that summer of revolution.

So what was this context? You may remember from sophomore history class something called “The Age of Enlightenment,” or “The Age of Reason.” According to Wikipedia, The Age of Enlightment was “an intellectual movement which dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century,” and included “a range of ideas centered on reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy, and came to advance ideals like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state.” Does that sound like the Christian religion at the end of the 16th Century? No.

Our founding fathers were children of this intellectual movement.

The entire drive of this cultural revolution was in reaction to the previous one thousand years of Christian autocracy in Western Europe. It began with the Reformation of the 16th Century and culminated in the French Revolution in 1790. Our Founding Fathers were born at the peak of this anti-religious fervor.

If you had asked a person in the 18th Century what the values of a Christian society were, they would not mention freedom of speech, equality or individual freedoms. These were new ideas put forth by our Founding Fathers and others like them, in contrast to existing Christian ideas about government, such as the Divine Right of Kings (which was a Christian idea adopted from the Romans).

Twenty-first century Christianity has changed to conform to the ideas put forth during the Enlightenment — not the other way around. Those that put forth the idea I’m objecting to are projecting their current values back in time rather than looking at the actual historical record.

If our Founding Fathers had truly created a “Christian Nation” or based it on the “Christian Values” of their time, we would not have a free democracy but an autocratic theocracy, just as we had for over a thousand years during the time when the universal Christian church was the dominant force in the Western world.

It is a very good thing that Christians now include “freedom of speech” and “individual liberties” as a part of their value system, but that is a recent adoption as the result of our enlightened Founding Fathers creating a nation in spite of established religion, not because of it. Thank God our founders had the foresight to create a nation absent the controlling effects of organized religion! And so thankful that the institution of Christianity has, for the most part, finally seen the light!

Eric Austin

Eric is an atheist living in a predominantly Christian society and he thinks this is his America, too!

Clever move to wait on price hike

To the editor:

Dear readers, try to vision this scenario: You drive into a place with a large building with flags out and the building has large windows fronting where you are driving in. Inside sits a little man at a desk with a comfortable pillow for his behind. This man feels his duty is to scan, stare and whatever, to see if people/citizens who, in his opinion, need to be watched are up to something, Suddenly, he sees his quarry and quickly sends out his troops to check on a person or persons who have invaded his domain. Albeit not stealthy, his troops slowly approach and not saying “papers please,” although implied by their demeanor but not saying anything, just looking as does the man in the tower.

Got the picture? No, it’s not 1930s Germany and the little man is not you know who. And his troops are not SS men. All these people work for the infamous Tri-County Solid Waste Transfer Station, located in Union.

Now, understandably, realize they have to be aware of “innocent violators” who make mistakes and don’t realize some things do not belong in some containers, but more and much larger signs need to be posted to eliminate this terrible misunderstanding between Tri-county and its customers. Concerning keeping bags and money inside the building I have a good suggestion. Let the little man who has way too much time on his hands, to have people come into his office and let him collect the money for bags. One problem solved and should let Tri-county know that you have to make money, but, as taxpayers and consumers of your bags, we be treated with a little more respect. I will close with, according to what I have heard, you were very clever in waiting for my town to sign a contract with you before raising the bag price by 50-cents.

Frank Slason

Learn about new trails in Unity

UNITY —  The 47-mile Hills-to-Sea Trail is complete with an expected opening this spring. Join Buck O’Herin and Tom Mullin of the Waldo County Trails Coalition on Wednesday, April 12 to learn about this new footpath from Unity to Belfast.  Find out about the history and building of this inspiring project and how you can get involved to support this community resource.

The talk is part of the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust’s monthly speaker series, “Restoring Connections to Place,” featuring a wide variety of conservation topics of interest to Maine. The programs are free and open to the public at 6:30 p.m., the second Wednesday of every month at the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust office, 93 Main St., Unity.

Other speakers in the monthly “Restoring Connections to Place” speaker series:

Wednesday, May 10. Ecologist Aleta McKeage, of Belfast, will present on invasive plants, one of the primary threats to environmental health that we face today. Invasive plants take over natural areas, crowding out native species and changing wildlife habitats.

On Wednesday, June 14, Lessons from Avian Haven Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center: A Citizen’s Guide to Helping the Birds of Maine. Laura Suomi-Lecker, education and outreach coordinator, will discuss common reasons why birds are admitted to Avian Haven Wild Bird REhabilitation Center, in Freedom, and what citizens can do to help our local birds.

FMI: 948-3766.

SOLON & BEYOND, Week of March 30, 2017

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

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

The piano concert at the Solon Congregational Church with Alexander Walz playing the piano was held on Saturday night. There was lots of clapping going on after each song. There was an intermission, and wonderful food was provided, and then more songs were enjoyed, it was a most enjoyable evening.

On Saturday, April 1, there will be a Whist Card Party at the North Anson Congregational Church at 4:30 p.m. These parties are a lot of fun, and it is always a mystery waiting to be solved, as to who wins the big prize! If you don’t know how to play whist come and learn, it’s really easy. This event is held in the Fellowship Hall.

On Sunday, April 16, at 6 a.m., there will be a Sunrise Service and Breakfast at the North Anson Congregational Church. Everyone is invited.

The North Anson Congregational Church’s Senior Companion Program has a new contact person, Rose Hendrix. If you would like to know more about the benefits of this important service contact Rose at 628-3322 or Gail Watson at 474-9622 for more information.

There will be a community dinner for Jim Tindall and family at the Embden Community Center from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Jim is the owner of Timdall’s Store and the Dam Diner, in North New Portland. He has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Will you join us to help relieve a portion of the monetary stress to his family. The menu for this event is very varied for this meal, so you will have lots to chouse from. There will be a Silent Auction starting at 6:15 p.m., and again, many different items. It is truly a worthy cause.

Lief and I have eaten at the Dam Diner on many occasions and we really like the good food we have partaken of there and the wonderful, friendly atmosphere in this place. We always stop there on our way up to camp, but for some reason on a stormy drizzling day last week, we decided to go to the Dam Diner for lunch. We hadn’t heard of Jim’s illness, but Annette told us about it and we were so sorry. Hope everything works out for them.

Since the above is the only real news I have this week, I turned to my old Old Farmer’s Almanac Sampler which has some words about the seasons. It says, “Our poet remembers spring and sings of it when his hot summers are on him or frosts and winter– and then he does so by true remembrance and in contrast to the world about him in other seasons at that time he finds the true meaning of cloud and clod and bud and freshet and just what the bird had sung to him. 1931 March is a boisterous fellow, And undetered by fear, With many pranks proclaims himself The tomboy of the year! (That has surely been true this March of 2017, wouldn’t you say?) Now we have April coming up… ‘Tis April still, but April wrapt in cloud – Month of sweet promise and of Nature’s bliss, When earth leaps up at heaven’s reviving kiss, And flouts at Winter lingering in her shroud. (It is dark and freezing rain and snow outside my window as I write these pleasing and happy thoughts of Spring, hope it cheered you up!)

And now for Percy’s memoir: Life without purpose is barren indeed – There can’t be a harvest unless you plant a seed, There can’t be attainment unless there is a goal, And man’s but a robot unless there’s a soul…. If we send no ships out, no ships will come in, And unless there’s a contest, nobody can win… For games can’t be won unless they are played, And prayers can’t be answered unless they are prayed… So what ever is wrong with your life today, You’ll find a solution if you kneel down and pray Not just for pleasure, enjoyment and health, Not just for honors and prestige and wealth… But pray for a purpose to make worth living.And pray for the joy of unselfish giving, For great is your gladness and rich your reward When you make your life’s purpose the choice of your Lord. (words by Helen Steiner Rice.)