Kennebec Historical Society presents “Les Magasins” for March program

In 1952 there were at least 76 grocery stores in Augusta (Mannings). In addition, there were meat markets, fruit and vegetable stores, confectioneries, bakeries, fish stores and several drug stores. Most if not all were independently owned. Sand Hill, Augusta’s Franco-American neighborhood, had a larger concentration of neighborhood grocery stores – Magasins. Depending on the source, from 18 to 27 stores operated on Sand Hill at various times.

This 48-minute documentary explores the history of small, family-owned grocery stores located on Sand Hill in the early to late 20th century. Several former Sand Hill individuals whose families owned and operated neighborhood stores were interviewed to capture a representative sense of life on The Hill. The documentary uses historical photographs from the Kennebec Historical Society’s digital archive collection, as well as photos provided by the families themselves and St. Michael’s Parish. While the documentary focuses on Sand Hill, the broader story applies to the city as a whole, describing a close-knit community made up of shopkeepers in a time before big-box stores, malls and too many cars.

Speaker, Norm Rodrigue, was born in Augusta in 1949 and raised on Sand Hill, came from a family of seven children. His father and grandfather were classic Franco-American mill workers who worked at the Bates/Edwards Mill. He attended St. Augustine School and graduated from Cony High School. He earned a BA in English and a masters in public administration from the University of Maine at Orono and an MBA from Thomas College.

After a career in business, Norm retired and pursued his longstanding interest is still photography. His photos have been exhibited locally and have won several awards and his photo cards are sold at various local businesses. Recently, Norm took up videography and is using it to explore local history, another longstanding interest. Norm has produced two other videos including: Streams in the Seasons, a video depicting the sights and sounds of streams on Kennebec Land Trust properties spanning an entire year; and A Simpler Time, a video about three contemporary downtown Augusta tradesmen, showcasing early 20th century trades, including a milliner, cobbler and vintage audio/stereo repairman.

The Kennebec Historical Society March Presentation is free to the public (donations gladly accepted) and will take place on Wednesday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m., at Le Club Calumet, located at 334 West River Road in Augusta.

Obituaries, Week of March 2, 2017


BENTON––Michael W. Littlefield, of Benton, passed away Thursday, February 16, 2017, at the Togus VA hospital, in Augusta, following a period of failing health. Michael was the fourth of nine children born to Millard (Red) and Shirley Littlefield, of Benton.
Mike spent two years in the Army. He was a member of Pete Silva’s racing team here in Maine and North Carolina. Mike worked as a painter and was a member of Local Union #1044 Window Glazers.

He was predeceased by his parents, Red and Shirley Littlefield; as well as brothers, David and Roger; and a niece Marcy Mcmanus.

He is survived by his wife Carol Littlefield, of Benton; stepchildren, Michael and Alyssa Corson, of Albion, Wendy Cutting and Gabe Perro, of Bangor; grandchildren Kaitlin and Nash Corson, of Albion, Harleigh Corson and Roman Perro, of Bangor; sisters, Steve and Rosie McManus, of Saco, Brenda Littlefield, of Irvington, Alabama, Juan and Martha Lavalle-Rivera, of Albion, Rebecca and Thelma Littlefield, of Benton; brother Richard and Eva Littlefield; many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Memorial donations may be made to Maine Special Olympics.


SOUTH CHINA––Wanda Mullin Parmenter, 96, passed away on Friday, February 17, 2017. Wanda was born on December 2, 1920, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, the daughter of the late George and Ada MacDonald Mulllin.

Wanda moved to China in November 1938 from New Jersey with her parents. She graduated from Erskine Academy, in South China, with the class of 1940. Following graduation she returned to Newark, New Jersey, to live with her sister. Wanda went to work for the American Insurance Co. and graduated from Drake Business School.

On July 10, 1942, she married Frederick Parmenter in Hattisburg, Mississipi, just prior to his deployment. Wanda then returned to New Jersey where she went to work for the Walter Kidder Co. and under the war training program they sent her to the Newark College of Engineering where she worked in their Blue Printing & Engineering Dept. for the next three years.

In the summer of 1945 Wanda and Frederick returned to China, where she remained until her death.

Wanda was active in school and community affairs, worked as substitute teacher in local schools and for several years was a secretary/receptionist for Dr. Samson Fisher, in Waterville. Wanda and Frederick owned and operated Central Maine Catering and Restaurant for many years in China.

Wanda was a member of the China Baptist Church. She was also instrumental in starting the Washburn-Brann-Ward American Legion Auxilary Post #195 and serving as the first president and was a lifetime member of this organization.

Wanda was predeceased by her husband, Frederick; her parents, George and Ada Mullin; her sister Pauline Nagel, her son-in-law, Danny Hotham, and granddaughter, Tracy Uzzell.

Wanda is survived by her two daughters, Judy Hotham and Freda (Paul) Bailey, both of China. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren, Tami (Dean) Eastup, Fred (Cathy), Charles (Heide), Ted (Danette), Noel, and Heath (Taryn) Hotham, Edwin (Tammy), Tina, and Chad (Katie) Bailey, and Bette Jean (Patrick) Linnell. She also leaves 21 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. Wanda also is survived by her brother Donald Mullin, of Waterville; one niece and two nephews, and several cousins.

Memorial donations may be made to the Washburn-Brann-Ward Post #195 American Legion Auxilary, c/o Sandra Young, 17 Danforth Road, Albion Me 04910, or the China Baptist Church, PO Box 6095, China Village ME 04926.


WINSLOW––Mary Morissette, 88, died on Saturday, February 18, 2017. Mary was born on August 9, 1927, in Portland, the only daughter of the late Stephen and Mary (McDonagh) Joyce.

Mary’s parents immigrated from Carraroe, County Galway, Ireland.

Mary attended schools in Portland and Boston, before meeting her first husband, Lionel. They were married in 1947 and settled in the Winslow area, where they raised their family. As blessed as Mary and her husband were with their own children, Mary’s heart was also open to providing a loving home to children in need. Mary and her family opened their home and hearts to many foster children.

Mary worked for many years at Colby College as a switchboard operator. She was also involved with the Business and Professional Women’s Association. Mary loved animals and had many beloved pets throughout her life. Mary was a gifted seamstress, making toys, clothes, and nightshirts for her children and grandchildren. Mary also supported many charitable causes throughout her life, including sponsoring young women in third-world countries so they could receive an education and medical treatment.

Mary was predeceased by both her parents; her only brother, Walter Joyce, who died in a tragic drowning accident in 1939; her eldest son, James Patrick Cassidy; her first husband of 38 years, Lionel A.Cassidy; her second husband, Robert Titcomb; her third husband, Clifford Morissette; and daughters-in-law Lisa (Shuckrow) Cassidy and Gayla Lynn Cassidy.

Mary is survived by her seven children, daughter Margaret (Peggy) Cassidy, sons John Cassidy and wife Cheryle, Daniel Cassidy, Michael Cassidy, Brian Cassidy and wife Ann, Thomas Cassidy and wife Kathleen, and Scott Cassidy and wife Cindy; and a foster daughter, Priscilla (Pam) Myers. She was blessed and is survived by many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whom she adored.

A Memorial Mass celebrating Mary’s life will be held Saturday, March 4, at 10 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Monument St., Winslow. A reception will follow immediately after the Mass and will be held in the Robbins Room, Roberts Union Building, Colby College, Waterville.

Memorial donations may be made to any of the following organizations: Corpus Christi Parish, 70 Pleasant Street, Waterville ME 04901, or St. John Catholic School, 15 S. Garand Street, Winslow ME 04901, or Maine Alzheimer’s Association, 383 U.S. Route One #2C, Scarborough ME 04074, or American Heart Association, Maine Chapter, c/o 7272 Greenville Avenue, Dallas TX 75231.


CHINA––Robert C. Dowe, 77, passed away on Thursday, February 23, 2017, following a courageous battle with brain cancer. He was born on Dec­em­­ber 22, 1939, to Edmond and Alice Dowe, of China.

After graduating from Erskine Academy, South China, he served in the US Air Force.

On August 28, 1960, he married the former Madeline Bailey. Together they had six children.

He operated a garage in South China Village briefly until he took on a new endeavor as a self-employed logger. In 1976, he and Madeline built, owned and operated Dowe’s Variety Store until 1996. He was a long time member of the South China Volunteer Fire Department, Dirigo Masonic Lodge #104 and Boynton Webber American Legion Post#179.

He was predeceased by his parents; three brothers, Richard, Roger and Ronald Dowe, and sister Ruth Hussey; infant child Deborah; and grandson Justin Hatch.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Madeline Bailey Dowe; son Robert C. Dowe II and wife Jennifer; daughter Julie Finley and husband John; daughter Kelley Warren and fiance Jon Thornhill, son Glenn Dowe and partner Jackie Fincher, son Donald Dowe and wife Melissa; 12 Grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; four sisters, Marilyn Bragg, Barbara Poulin, Dorothy Burke, and Gloria Pinette; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial donations may be made to: South China Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 325, China ME 04358 or The Boynton Webber American Legion Post #179, PO Box 401, China ME 04358.


PALERMO – Harold M. Brundage Jr., 88, died Friday, February 24, 2017, at the Maine Veterans Home, in Augusta, following a long illness. He was born on Staten Island, New York, on September 6, 1928, a son of the late Harold M. and Veronica R. (Jones) Brundage.

Mr. Brundage was a 1946 graduate of Port Richard High School and a 1953 graduate of Wagner College, on Staten Island.

He was a US Army veteran, serving as part of the Occupation Forces in Japan during World War II.

Mr. Brundage had been employed for 32 years at Nynex as a comptroller.

He was predeceased by his wife, Doris A. (Voelpel) Brundage and his sister, Virginia Salvesen.

Mr. Brundage is survived by two sons: Harold M. Brundage III and his wife Holly, of Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania, and Mark C. Brundage and his wife Angelina, of Palermo; a brother, G. David Brundage, of Lakewood, Florida; three grandchildren, Nicole, Gregory and Kaitlyn; four great-grandchildren; Jackson, Beckett, Gabriella and Aria; two step-grandchildren, Jessica and Matthew, and as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Condolences, photos and memories may be shared at

Memorial donations may be made to the Maine Veterans Home, 310 Cony Road, Augusta, ME 04330 Attn: Melody Bridges.


BELDON H. SCHAFFER, 92, of Augusta, passed away on Saturday, February 4, 2017, at the Maine Veteras Home, in Augusta. Locally, he is survived by daughters Peggy Schaffer and husband Clough Toppan, of Vassalboro, Ginny Brackett, of Vassalboro, and grandchildren Galen and Amanda Brackett, both of Vassalboro.

FRANK O. SHIELDS, 71, of Bangor, passed away on Thursday, February 9, 2017, at the Bangor Nursing and Rehab Center. He was educated in Fairfield and graduated from Lawrence High School. Locally, he is survived by two sisters, Hazel Langley, of Fairfield, and Alice White and husband Robert, of Clinton.

MARGUERITE M. CLOWES, 92, of Waterville, passed away on Friday, February 10, 2017, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta. Locally, she is survived by children Barry H. Clowes, of South China, and Brenda Duplessie, of Waterville; and grandchilderen Drace Clowes, of Sidney, and Bernie C. Clowes and wife Jen, of Waterville.

RONALD J. POMERLEAU, 63, of Waterville, passed away on Saturday, February 11, 2017, following a brief illness. Locally, he is survived by twin brother Donald Pomerleau, and brother Joseph Pomerleau, both of Winslow, and sister Ann, of Waterville.

MILDRED I. BURNS, 92, of Skowhegan, passed away on Monday, February 13, 2017, at Redington-Fairview General Hospital, in Skowhegan. Locally, she is survived by children John Burns and partner Carolin, of Skowhegan, and Barbara Hight and husband Vernal Jr., of Oakland.

STEPHEN W. GRACIE, 61, of Bremen, passed awat on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at his home. Locally, he is survived by siblings Sylvia Luce and husband Dennis, of Sidney, and Jeff Gracie and wife Becky, of Washington; and sister-in-law, Flame Gracie, of Jefferson.

RICHARD S. LORD JR., 62, of Skowhegan, passed away on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at his home. Locally, he is survived by a brother, Jeff Lord, of Vassalboro.

MARY A. GRONDIN, 80, of Augusta, passed away on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta. Locally, she is survived by her children Elizabeth M. Burnham, of Winslow, Patricia A. Pelletier, of Waterville, William J. Grondin, of Augusta, Michael A. Grondin and wife Diana, of Chelsea, and Thomas P. Grondin, of Waterville; and brother Charles R. Kittredge, of Augusta.

ALFRED M. JOSEPH, 83, of Waterville, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, February 19, 2017, at his home. Locally, he is survived by his wife Ruth, of Waterville; a son, Jonathan Joseph, of Waterville, and sister-in-law Leone Donovan, of Waterville.

JACQUELINE MARTIN, 78, of Skowhegan, passed away on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, following a four-month battle with cancer. Locally, she is survived by a niece Tanya Pomerlow and husband Todd, of Fairfield.

NANCY CROSBY, 75, of Burnham, passed away on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, in Burnha. Locally, she is survived by a sister, Sarah Crosby, of Whitefield.


STEPHEN A. MASSEY, 65, of Sarasota, Florida, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, February 13, 2017. He was born in Waterville to John “Steve” and Bernadette Massey. He graduated with the Waterville High School class of 1969 and helped manage and run Steve’s Restaurant, in Waterville, for many years.

PEARL J. PRESCOTT JR., 87, of Augusta, passed away on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. He was born in Whitefield on May 25, 1929, to Pearl J. Prescott Sr. and Maude E. Pullen. Pearl attended Erskine Academy, in South China. Locally, he is survived by a daughter, Carol Theriault and husband Mike, of Augusta.


BARBARA J. LYPSCON, 78, of Windham, passed away on Saturday, February 18, 2017, at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, in Scarborough. She graduated from Williams High School, in Oakland, with the class of 1956. Locally, she is survived by a sister, Merlene Dow and husband Norman, of Albion.

Erskine Academy to hold 8th annual 5K run/walk

The class of 2017 at Erskine Academy, in South China, will host the 8th annual Fly Like an Eagle 5K Race/Walk on Saturday, April 29, at 9 a.m. The 5K race will begin at Erskine Academy and will proceed onto the Kidder Road and back to the Arnold Road. The race will feature free race T-shirts, snacks for all race participants, and awards for race winners. The non-refundable registration fee is $20 for adults, $10 for Erskine students, and $15 for all other students if registered by April 21.

Registrations received after that date or on race day will be at the rate of $25 and race day T-shirts are not guaranteed. Race registration forms are available at,, or interested participants may contact Betsy Benner at The class of 2017 is also seeking business sponsorships to help defray costs associated with the race. All business sponsors will be featured on the official race T-shirt. If you are interested in participating as a sponsor, please contact Betsy Benner at 445- 2964 or prior to April 21.

China school to hold eighth forest day

by Anita Smith

On May 29, the entire student body, staff members of China Primary and Middle schools took to the woods for Forest Day 2015. They were joined by many parents and community members for a fun-filled day of activities and lessons by over 30 volunteer presenters. Volunteers represented many different groups including the Maine Forest Service, Project Learning Tree, The Society of American Foresters, Maine Master Naturalists and other friends of the school forest.

The day began around 6:30 a.m., as presenters began arriving at school for the big day. After the various presenters were shown to their activity locations, the students, staff and parent helpers ventured outside to begin the day. Each group of students participated in 5-7 different activities throughout the day. Most activity sessions lasted about 30 minutes, allowing students and staff to participate in a wide variety of lessons. Students returned to the schools for lunch and recess and then headed back into the forest for additional activities before their final dismissal at the end of the day.

Activities at the primary level included learning about the functions of various tree parts by making “edible trees” and identifying wild flowers including lady slippers near the primary school pavilion. Students listened to a story about fairy houses and then tried their hand at building their own fairy houses using small branches, rocks, pinecones and other natural items from the forest. Other activity sessions focused on recycling and worm farming, eating healthy snacks and living an active lifestyle, and discovering plants and animals in the forest near the school. Smokey Bear made an appearance to teach the students about preventing forest fires and caring for our forest lands.

For students in grades 3-6, several groups learned about tick safety and how to protect oneself from tick-borne illness. Another session taught about adaptations as students used various household items to simulate bird beaks while trying to catch different types of “food” items. They learned it’s not easy being a bird!

Students got down on the ground to create “mini-kingdom” sketches of the forest floor and learned to identify some of the plants found in the forest. Students were able to observe some safe tree cutting techniques and climb onto a skidder. Catching pond life with dip nets was a popular station. The kids found dragonfly nymphs, leeches, salamanders and water beetles. Painted turtles watched from a distance while sunning themselves on a floating log and frogs also kept a safe distance from the nets. Other sessions focused on basic camping survival skills, learning about the life of a tree by counting its tree rings and doing comparative field studies of several habitats within the school forest.

Activities for the older students included studying soil samples, searching for soil contamination from the “Acme Lemonade Factory” and practicing their map and compass skills. Several active games had students role play birds searching for “worms” in a camouflage game and others role playing the challenges faced by Atlantic Salmon as they migrate upstream. Students were able to learn about the new alewive initiative for China Lake as well as hear stories about the old logging days as part of Maine’s history. Other sessions included role playing forest management strategies, measuring tree heights and diameters, learning how to do a forest inventory and discuss the benefits and challenges of various types of forest management.

China Schools can be proud of their school forest. It is a model for school forests around our state. In the past, visitors have participated in the forest day activities and have then implemented their own forest days using China school as a model in Litchfield, Belfast, Portland, Gorham and others. Visitors this year from western Maine and Wayne want to start their own forest field days.

In all, over 450 students, plus staff and community members participated in the day. Over 35 people volunteered their time to bring hands-on learning to the students. It was a glorious, sunny day with a mild breeze to keep the bugs away. Based on feedback from the kids, they had a few requests. More of them wanted to build fairy houses and participate in the pond studies. They loved the active games and activities. They wanted more time outside. Many of them commented that they didn’t want to go inside at the end of the day. Staff even commented on how much they learned about our forest. One of the most frequent comments from students was that they wished we held Forest Day every year. Based on the abundant smiles, it was a very good day to take to the woods!

To learn more about summer day camps, family and community walks, maintenance work days and other school forest events, visit our facebook page: China School’s Forest-China, Maine or contact Anita Smith at

CHINA NEWS: TIF discussion on head of lake proposal draws nearly three dozen residents

by Mary Grow

The China Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Committee’s public hearing on the largest proposed TIF expenditure on the March 25 town meeting warrant drew close to 20 interested residents Feb. 27.

The issue is the committee’s recommendation that voters appropriate up to $750,000 over the next three fiscal years for improvements to the causeway at the head of China Lake’s east basin. Improvements would be intended to improve environmental conditions, further pedestrian and vehicular traffic safety, improve recreation and promote economic development.

Discussion focused on priorities, in two different ways.

Many audience members wanted to know specifically what the committee intended to do and in what order, so they would know exactly what they were voting on March 25. The project includes improving parking for people using the boat landing, improving the landing itself, rebuilding the 1930 bridge across the inlet to the lake and adding a pedestrian walkway and fishing platforms. The walkway and platforms depend on remaking the shore of the lake by installing some kind of vertical facing instead of the present slope dotted with boulders.

Committee members have already spent some money on engineering to get preliminary ideas and cost estimates. Answering many of the questions raised will require more engineering work; committee Chairman Amber McAllister said the group did not want to be faulted for spending too much money on preliminary work before voters decided whether to approve the project.

If voters approve the money, priority questions still loom. Boat landing parking is likely to happen first, because Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said the town has almost completed buying the additional land voters approved last November. However, whether the bridge, the pedestrian ways or the fishing areas should come next, or whether all need to be done more or less simultaneously, remains to be decided.

McAllister said if voters approve funding on March 25, the committee will begin setting priorities, with input from residents. When Justin Gaudet interpreted her words as promising more public hearings, McAllister accepted his interpretation.

No one who spoke at the hearing opposed the idea of expanded recreational facilities at the boat landing and causeway.

Gaudet urged committee members to consider possible long-term impacts of the project, like what increased boat traffic could do to water quality and shoreline erosion.

China Lake belongs to the state, not the town, committee member and Selectman Irene Belanger said, so town residents cannot control what happens on it. She added that a major bass tournament, larger than any held so far, is scheduled for this summer.

The TIF Committee is charged with recommending to selectmen economic development projects that can be funded with tax money from the expanded Central Maine Power Company power line that runs through the town. A separate article in the March 25 town meeting warrant asks voters to add the new CMP substation off Route 3 as another TIF revenue source. Voters will also act on other proposed expenditures of TIF funds.

The next TIF Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, March 13. Interested residents are welcome at all committee meetings.

Winslow students help elderly dig out from snowstorm

by staff at Central Maine Photography

The entire Winslow Junior High School group that participated in a day aiding the elderly to dig out following the blizzard of February 12-13.
Photo courtesy Central Maine Photography

The day before the beginning of February vacation is known for snow sculptures, skiing, skating, snowshoeing and hot cocoa at Winslow Junior High School, and all of the recent snowstorms gave students plenty of snow to play in this year. But there was something different about this year. Marybeth Bourgoin, eighth grade social studies teacher, wanted to use part of the day to help out in the community. So with the planning and help from many school administrators, Parks and Rec Director Amanda McCaslin, Jack Nivison and about 100 students, that’s just what they did. Connections within the community were made, and the logistics planned. The students went to a housing complex in Winslow, by bus, and shoveled in shifts. Each shift lasted 1-1/2 hours, starting at 9 a.m., and 10:30 a.m. The citizens were very receptive, and pleasantly surprised to have some help moving what was in some cases, feet of snow from their walkways, porches and even clearing out dryer vents.

These students showed their community what being a part of something bigger than themselves was all about on that particular Friday. They should all be very proud of their great spirit and hard work. Many thanks to all who helped plan, transport, organize and carry out such a very important and giving project.