Two China women set to tackle strongman challenge

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Alysia Farrington training with Atlas Stones, one of the implements of the strongman competition. Contributed photo

CHINA — On April 8, two women from China will compete in the 10th annual Central Maine Strongman Competition to be held at GEvolution Gym, 9 a.m., at 16 Edison Dr., in Augusta.

Alysia Farrington, of China, mother of a 14-year-old daughter, has been a longtime member of GEvolution gym, in Augusta, where strongman training is one of the components of the gym.

Chele Fuller, is the mother of three boys, 10, 15 and 17 years old, and lives in South China.

Chele trains in what is called the “basement,” a term coined simply because they train with a fellow strongman leader in his . . . basement.

Gina LoMonaco, the owner of the gym, encouraged Alysia. As a former winner of Central Maine’s strongest woman competition, Gina influenced Alysia to take on the same challenge . However, a hip replacement surgery slowed down her plans. “I needed a hip replacement at the time, but I decided then and there I would return at some point to compete,” said Alysia. “My hip has been replaced and I am ready to go.”

A group of about 20 women, who also compete, are helped along by four coaches, meet three times a week for two hours, for 12 weeks. On Saturdays they train with the implements with which they will be competing, also for two hours.

The training is intense, involving commitment, heart, endurance and grit. They have a specific lifting schedule to build strength and stamina.

Alysia Farrington

Chele Fuller training with Atlas Stones, one of the implements of the strongman competition. Contributed photo

“The coaches give us our plans each week,” said Alysia, “and we train in small groups throughout the week. It’s exhausting but so rewarding to see your progress throughout the 12 weeks.”

“I look to the entire strongman community to support my training,” Chele said. She has been forever influenced by GEvolution co-founder Gina LoMonaco who has been with her from the start of her strength journey in August 2013.

“I sat in front of her as an obese woman who couldn’t even do one pushup on my knees,” Chele admitted. “Much has changed since then.”

This will be Alysia’s first strongman competition. “I have always been physically active.” She has done triathlons and biathlons, and has run the Boston Marathon. She has also done 500-mile treks across Iowa twice. In high school and college, she did competitive cheerleading.

She plans to train with her daughter this summer for more competitions.

Chele went to a strongman competition to support a friend, and was impressed. “I felt it was the first sport I observed where athletes were genuinely supporting each other,” Chele stressed. “I knew I wanted to compete in a strength sport, I just didn’t know which one.” It only took one time of watching the sport of Strongman and she was hooked. “The first time I almost signed up to compete right there and then.”

Good sense prevailed and she trained for eight weeks, and entered her first competition in the Central Maine Strongman 8, placing third in the novice class. In the past two years she has competed in a total of eight contests and has competed all over the country, including Oklahoma and Connecticut, culminating in competing in the Masters National Championship, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in September 2016.

Chele continued, “Until I began strongman, the only physical activity was as a high school cheerleader.“

Chele says commitment and belief in yourself, combined with consistency of training and nutrition, have to be made to succeed.

Chele has dedicated herself to the sport. “I will forever continue to show my passion for the strongman sport in our community and beyond, as an athlete, coach and its biggest cheerleader.” Her goal is to someday expand into judging, scorekeeping and other behind-the-scenes functions.

The godmother to her children, Amy Farrell, engaged in strongman competition, but Chele never saw her compete until she became a competitor herself.

Alysia Farrington

Alysia Farrington, training in the Hercules Hold.

Strongman competitions vary in the choice of implements. For this competition they will be doing Conan’s Wheel of Pain, which consists of carrying a yoke and walking in a circle as weight is added. Starting weight is 270 pounds. The Hercules Hold is holding 120 pounds in each hand for time. The Powerstairs is carrying specific amount of weight upwards on five stairs for time. Atlas Stones are cement balls of 150 pounds that need to be lifted over a bar for time and then overhead medley which is four overhead stations, consisting of the log, axle, bar and keg, each with two repetitions for elapsed time.

According to their website, Willie Wessels, president of United States Strongman, Inc., states they use old school tradition with a new blood attitude. United States Strongman, Inc. is dedicated to the growth of strongman through the education and development of athletes and promoters. Their mission is to work with veteran promoters and provide high quality contests. They guide new promoters through their mentorship programs at the state and national levels. Their high quality contests and performance seminars help develop amateur strongman competitors by providing opportunity and instruction. They attract fans by hosting entertaining, well run events; these events offer affordable marketing opportunities with measurable return on investment for sponsors.

Winners of Mustang basketball tournament

The Winslow sixth grade boys basketball team recently won the Mustang March Madness Tournament, held in Thorndike. The team went 4-0, including a 34-30 victory over Newport in the championship game. Team members include Braden Laramee, Andrew Poulin, Lucas Boucher, Jason Reynolds, Dylan Bouchard, Tim Lessa, Michael McCullough and Caleb Marquis. The team is coached by Kris Reynolds, Bruce Poulin and Kyle Marquis.

Contributed photo

Youth hockey honors top scorers at banquet

The Central Maine Youth Hockey U-10 Tier 4 Hornets honored their top scorers at a banquet on March 5. From left to right, Katlyn Bourque, of Benton, led the team with 32 goals, while Sophia Sullivan, of Winslow, and Ethan Gillis, of Belgrade, tied for the team lead with seven assists.

Contributed photo

SCORES & OUTDOORS: Redpoll comes calling to feeders


by Roland D. Hallee

Like I do every Saturday morning during the winter, I stand at my kitchen window, while I’m waiting for the Keurig to brew my first cup of coffee, and watch the bird feeders. The usual cast of characters come and go. However, last Saturday, I caught a glimpse of what looked like a redpoll.

I’ve seen them at the feeders before, but it’s been a while. That, in itself, is not unusual because redpolls are Arctic birds and are members of a group known as northern finches. They are denizens of the taiga and tundra, but will move south every couple of years in what is called irruptions. Irruptions occur when these birds, who normally reside in high latitudes, move south in large numbers. It is generally agreed these irruptions are triggered by shortages of food in their normal ranges.

In North America, irruptions among seed eaters include Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill and Redpolls. The Red-breasted Nuthatch will also come south during invasion years.

male redpoll

male redpoll

Redpolls, Carduelis flammea, are about 5 – 5-1/2 inches long with a wingspan of around 8-1/2 inches. They have a red cap, black chin, reddish wash on the breast, pink rump, somewhat forked tail, whitish under parts and overall brownish stripes. What is unusual about these birds is that they are relatively tame and show little or no fear for humans. It is believed that is because they live so far north away from human habitations. They can be confused with the house finch to the casual observer. I know I was when I first saw one.

Your next question would be, how do these little birds survive the winters of the tundra? Around the Arctic regions, winters last up to six months and temperatures plunge well below freezing. Research has shown that redpolls are able to survive temperatures down to -89 degrees F.

They have built-in heating systems. One of the most important anatomical adaptations is what is called their esophageal diverticulum, a partially bi-lobed pocket situated in the neck. They use the pocket to store seeds, especially before nightfall or before a storm. The extra seeds allow them to feed while sheltering from the cold. They also do like other species, by fluffing their feathers to trap layers of air to insulate their body to greatly reduce heat loss.

Redpolls will sometimes burrow into the snow to escape the cold weather. Under the snow, temperatures will remain at about -24° F even when air temperatures drop to -49° F.

Redpolls are attracted to backyard feeders, especially thistle seeds. In fact, the genus name Carduelis comes from the Latin Carduus, which means Thistle. Well-stocked feeders that attract finches will most likely attract Redpolls. One of our feeders is a fully stuffed sock of thistle seeds. Although I have not seen another redpoll to this date, I’m sure that is what attracted that one.

But, with redpolls, where there is one, there are many more. Outside the breeding season, they can form large flocks, which sometimes includes mixing with other finches. We have an unusually large number of American goldfinch at our feeders, so I’m wondering if the redpolls have intermingled.

Their main habitat consists of thickets and birches. In winter, they prefer semi-open country, including woodland edges and brushy or weedy fields. During the breeding season, they hang out in clearings of birch or spruce forest, thickets of willow, alder, or dwarf birch, bush areas on the tundra.

They are widespread and abundant, and are not listed as a bird of concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Between 1955 and 2000, 342,158 Common Redpolls were banded. Of these, 698 were encountered at locations away from where they were banded. Studies show redpolls live up to eight years in the wild.

If you have thistle in your feeders, be on the lookout for them.

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.

SOLON & BEYOND, Week of March 23, 2017

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

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

Was so pleased when I sat down at my computer to find some e-mails to share. This one is from Jennifer Hebert: We are planning our annual Spring Inside Sale for April 29 this year. Hoping that you will write about us in your column and also that you will want to book a space at it as well. Thank you as always for helping us get the word out! Jen. I’ll be writing more about this event as it draws near.

Also received an e-mail from Marsha Lagasse, a volunteer at the new thrift shop in Bingham. It is called St. Peter’s Thrift Store & Food Pantry and it is located in the old Jimmy’s Market on Main Street. The thrift shop is open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The food pantry is open on this March 22, then every first Wednesday and third Wednesday of every month. The thrift store accepts donations of housewares and clean and unstained clothing on the days they are open. No electronics accepted! The money they make at the thrift store pays the rent of the space and keeps the food pantry going.

Monetary donations are welcome as well. If you need to get in touch with Marsha you may call 672-4026 or email:

The Anson/North Anson Snowmobile Club will be having their annual Maine Maple Syrup breakfast on Sunday, March 26, at the Garrett Schenk School from 6:30 to 10 a.m.

Last Saturday, March 18, we celebrated Clarence Jones 98th birthday with a lunch at Thompson’s Restaurant. There were 26 of us in attendance to help him celebrate a long and good life. His son Tom was also there and he was born on his father’s birthday, so birthday cards were given out to him, also. There were guests from far and near, four of Clarence’s grandchildren were there, Chistael, Kenny, Peter and Mary.

Clarence is my step-father; he and my mother moved down to Bingham from Eustis years ago. My brother Steve Jones and his wife Liz moved to Bingham to be with his father a few years after my mother died, they were the ones who hosted the party at Thompson’s and then we went to Clarence’s home for cake and ice cream. It was a good day.

A District K-8 Talent Show will be held at Carrabec Community School on Wednesday, March 29, at 6 p.m.

Earlier this winter, three fifth grade students at Solon Elementary School organized a penny drive to raise money for school activities. They collected $100 in their drive. When Alyssa Schinzel, Summer Lindbloom, and Hailey Wyman found out that fourth grader Braden Wheeler needed a medical procedure that would be very expensive, the students decided to donate the money from their penny drive to him.

This week Percy’s memoirs are about love:

Kindness in words creates confidence, Kindness in thinking creates profoundness, Kindness in giving creates love. – Lao- Tse.

I would not live without the love of my friends, John Keats. A friend is a present you give yourself. – Robert Louis Stevenson.

It is the nature of love to work in a thousand different ways. – St. Teresa.

Old wives tales and motherhood

I’m Just Curious

by Debbie Walker

Spring is heading our way (despite our latest storm) and coats will be coming off. It isn’t unusual to see pregnant bellies spring forth! The old wives tales will once again come to life!

I took a trip back to the Almanac for some more inspiration. That magazine has so many interesting little tidbits if you like “old tales” and I do! I got caught up with Tales for Predicting a Baby’s Gender. It was written by Judy Kneiszel. She did all the work and I plan on having some fun with it.

Today we can know what the sex of a baby is with ultrasounds and sonograms. If the parents have chosen to they can know the sex of the child. Then some couples choose to share that information with others maybe by cutting the baby shower cake to see what color is inside, pink or blue.

There are some of us who over the years were subjected to some of the “Old Wives Tale Gender” theories. These have been passed down from generation to generation and I really hope they are always entertaining!

To continue:

Carrying the baby high or low: a high, big round belly is said to be a girl. A low smaller belly is supposed to be a boy. In the middle it must be a puppy!

The wedding ring or needle swing starts with tying a string to the mother’s wedding band or a needle: swaying back and forth is a boy and in a circular motion it’s a girl.

The baking soda test! Oh good Lord, they never would have talked me into that one. First thing in the morning the mother puts a spoonful of baking soda in a paper cup then adds some of her urine. If it fizzes it’s a boy. If it simply stays flat they say it’s a girl. This one is a two part test – if you don’t like the first version, try this one: if the pee is bright yellow it’s a boy. If it’s dull yellow it is a girl. (or she’s drinking too much water!)

Okay if that one didn’t gross you out completely we will go on.

Cravings: I wanted Italian sandwiches and bubble gum! According to those cravings I should have had twins! The sweet and/or citrus would mean a girl. Salty foods would indicate a boy. I had both cravings; no we did not have twins!

Morning sickness: I proved this one right. I swear I had morning sickness from the moment of conception! Supposedly morning sickness in the first 12 weeks and it’s a girl, otherwise it’s a boy. I had a girl.

Cold feet: Some people get cold feet before a wedding and others during pregnancy. Actual cold feet might be a sign of a boy. If Mom’s feet don’t feel any different then it’s probably a girl.

I had never heard this one: Some say if the father gains weight at the same rate as the mother it’s said to be a boy. Other thoughts are Dad’s weight gain indicates a girl. Really what it means is dad is really hungry!

As usual I am still just curious. Thank you so much for reading, hope it gave you some giggles! Contact me at I love hearing from you!

Recording artist: Duke Ellington; Composer: Johann S. Bach; Marching Band: The Band of His Majesty’s Irish Guards


by  Peter Cates

Duke Ellington
                    Blue Light

Columbia CL 663, 12- inch vinyl mono LP, released 1955. From nine Brunswick 78 sides recorded between 1934-1939.

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

Blue Light gathers several lovely disks of the quieter jazz of which the Duke was a master. One number, Reminiscing in Tempo, not only stood out for several years after its composition and first recording in 1935 as having the longest performance time, but also as a moving commemoration of his mother who had died the same year.

The personnel during these years stood out for their musicianship, discipline, compatibility and relaxed teamwork. They included Cootie Williams, Juan Tizol, Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, etc., and included a few who would stay for two or three decades.

The LP is available with another one, Ellington Uptown, on a single cd and can be ordered through Bull Moose and various Internet sources.

Two Concertos for Three Harpsichords and Harpsichord Concerto No. 8

Gustav Leonhardt, harpsichordist, and conducting the Leonhardt Consort; Das Alte Werk SAWT 9458, twelve inch vinyl lp, recorded October, 1963.

Johann Bach

Johann Bach

Along with sheer beauty, J.S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concertos are a source of melody, fascinating harmonies and very stately but alive rhythms. And this LP, with the late Gustav Leonhardt’s exceptional playing and conducting, is reasonably priced, in both vinyl and CD formats, and available through the Amazon vendors and local Bull Moose and Barnes and Noble outlets for special ordering.

The Band of His Majesty’s Irish Guards
On Parade

London LPB 16, 10- inch vinyl LP, recorded 1949.

As a rule, marching band concerts and recordings bore me, but this ancient LP may be an exception to the rule. Its players display an unusual flair for nuance while performing in a captivating manner.

There are a couple of Sousa marches; Fucik’s Entry of the Gladiators – better known in its heyday as the theme for Bozo the Clown; Colonel Bogey – a late ‘50s hit for Mitch Miller, the movie theme for Bridge Over the River Kwai, and a most well timed inclusion in the 1961 Disney edition of The Parent Trap; and other less well known musical chestnuts from the British Isles. For interested parties, it is worth the search!

The Band of His Majestry’s Irish Guards

The Band of His Majestry’s Irish Guards

Understanding the importance of town meeting


by H David Cotta
China resident and former state legislator

In just a short couple of days the town of China will be conducting the China town meeting. This meeting is held each year and at times I wonder if the citizens of China fully appreciate the form of government that the town meeting represents.

The town meeting form of government is the most democratic form of governance. Some not familiar with this form of governance and may believe that the town manager is the executive of the town of China and the town is governed by the select board, but neither is true. The governing body in China is the town meeting where the citizens cast a vote to direct the actions of the select board. At the start of the meeting the citizens in attendance elect a moderator who must conduct the meeting according to Roberts Rules of Order. Proposals, which are referred to as Articles, are presented for the people to approve or disapprove. The articles can also be amended.

I guess the best way to describe the town meeting form or governance is the people hold all the power to govern. The select board can only do what the people authorize the board to do (of course, the people can not direct the board to take illegal actions). It is at the town meeting where the people, by their vote, guide the course of their town and the actions of their elected town officials. The town manager is hired by the select board and works for the select board within statutory guidelines the town meeting is the most direct and equal form of governance. This form of governing is only as good as the level of participation by the citizenry, and there in lays the proverbial “fly in the ointment.”

Apathy is a stern heartless master and can only survive by inaction of the good people of our town. We all have our lives to lead and life has a habit of getting in the way of what we planned or intended to do.

Several (30+/-) years ago the level of participation at the town meeting had declined to the point that the people established a quorum which was a percentage of the number of voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election which must be present to open the meeting and conduct business. The quorum for this upcoming meeting is 126 voters which when you think, represents 126 of over 2000 voters who voted in China during 2014.

So what happens when there is minimal turnout at the town meeting? Each vote on the floor of the meeting represents many who did not attend the meeting. The citizens that chose not to attend will have no voice in the process, so the town governance will be by a small minority. Additionally, the result of low voter participation could take a couple of forms.

First, the direction given to the select board (municipal officials) may not be representative of the town as a whole. Second, would be to consolidate power which can be a matter streamlining the conduct of business but at the cost of the checks and balances that we as citizens are afforded. Granting an expanded range of powers to the administrators is not good governance. Some indicators of the “Flying by the seat of your pants” are reflected by comments by the auditor clearly stated in the 2015 report – (China 11-10-15) addressing the lack of internal controls. Further, the select board meetings are not recorded which can and has lead to a discussion of what was stated in a motion during previous meeting. Clarity, transparency and accountability is lost.

In closing I would encourage all citizens of China to attend the town meeting. Please provide your officials the insight and guidance of the citizenry. If you have questions do not hesitate to ask because your select board and others are there to answer questions. I hope I will see you there. Thank you.

Speaking for China Lake: the lake’s perspective


by Scott Pierz
President, China Lake Association

At the China Lake Association (CLA) mid-winter meeting held February 16, 2017, CLA board members voiced concern over the town’s placement of several warrant articles at the upcoming open March town meeting. These particular warrant articles are designed to seek approval of a series of proposed revisions to the China Land Development Code and its Land Use Ordinance. These proposed changes were just defeated less than six months ago at the November 2016 election. Some CLA board members believe the proposed changes “severely relax” the local Shoreland Zoning Ordinance and diminish the town of China’s Home Rule Authority on several issues that have been in-place for decades.

Included in our meeting’s discussion was why the selectmen would deviate from the town’s long-standing tradition of placing ordinance revisions before the voters at an annual November (or June) ballot election where the voter-turnout is significantly higher than the open March town meeting. The open March town meeting is customarily a discussion for approval of financial appropriations to operate the town’s budget, and most people will not recall a time when the open March town meeting sought approval of ordinance “changes” at this forum over the last 25 years. These proposed changes came as “recommendations” from the planning board, but it is still the selectmen’s warrant and the selectmen can move forward with their warrant articles as proposed, it is their prerogative. But it is unprecedented, and it seems to many that this circumvents tradition, relying on an extremely limited number of quorum voters (126 by number) rather than the numbers of voters who turn out in a November (or June) ballot election vote (often more than 1,000). Also, the articles appear at the tail end of the warrant and people know that the crowd thins out to even less than the quorum requirement as most of our open March town meetings go on for hours.

This could mean that it is likely that even less people will have voting power on the warrant at that time, substantially less than the number of people who defeated the same proposed changes at that November 2016 election. Of course, someone could move to advance the articles to an earlier portion of the meeting so that at least a majority of the voters present can decide on these important changes. The town’s strategy to gain approval for these proposed changes leaves many folks wondering why this avenue was taken if not to “push through” the proposed ordinance changes without much resistance (if any at all). If true, this is just very disappointing given that the changes are complicated, and probably not too many voters at the open March town meeting will have a thorough knowledge of or completely understand the nature of the changes and their ramifications on China Lake and its water quality.

By way of example, here’s one of the comments from a CLA board member: “The Town (and others) have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to improve water quality in China Lake by reducing the phosphorus loading to the lake. The proposed amendments will increase the phosphorus loading and thus will undo work that has already been accomplished and will make future efforts both more expensive and difficult. The town is voting to spend 3/4 million to improve access to the lake; along with that should be a commitment to improve water quality, not degrade it. As a lake that does not comply with water quality standards, the town which derives substantial economic benefit from [China] lake should not be allowed to pass ordinances that allow more phosphorus into the lake to mirror DEP’s relaxed shoreland zoning guidelines.”

The comment is directed at the town and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and a set of “relaxed guidelines” the DEP is proposing for local communities to consider. Please know that these are “proposed” guidelines, and towns can always chose a stronger set of rules and regulations to manage their shoreland zoning codes. Over the last few decades the town of China has had a set of shoreland zoning standards stronger than any community in the region, and one reason for these stricter standards being in-place for so long is to protect our environment, and especially China Lake.

A close examination of the proposed changes shows a serious digression from the current shoreland zoning regulations that have been in place for decades, so much so that they represent a potential negative impact to the water quality of China Lake.

Here are some of the downsides to the proposed changes the voters are being asked to consider:

  • The elimination of volume in determining expansion for shoreland principal structures (causing structures to increase their impervious surfaces and creating more storm water runoff and phosphorus into the lake). The town’s current practice requires the review of both footprint and volume thresholds (along with detailed record keeping the town has maintained for the last 25 years). This would be a significant reversal in policy and would allow shoreland properties that have already maxed out their expansion limits based on volume to continue to expand using only the footprint of a residential building(s) on a property.
  • The allowance to combine the footprint of existing non-conforming shoreland accessory structures with existing principal residential structures. This would allow even more expansion of a principal residential structure. In some cases this could be in very close proximity to the lake (again, more expansion, more runoff, and more non-point source pollution into China Lake without any plan to mitigate phosphorus from entering the lake);
  • A revision to the current timber harvesting standards that have been in-place for decades and have been integral to the local enforcement that the town has maintained over the years. It is vital that timber harvesting activities have a local steward since sound timber harvesting practices are essential to immediately prevent water quality impacts from timber harvesting activities in China Lake’s watershed;
  • The relaxation of seasonal conversion standards, allowing more year-round conversions, more activity in shoreland districts, more impact on local services, and with the potential of restricting property owners to only occupy their properties during certain months of the year.  Questions include: What is the rationale for this proposed change? How many properties would be affected?
  • The allowance of additional exemptions to the clearing and vegetation removal standards, thereby reducing areas required to be buffered. Vegetative buffering is essential to water quality as the CLA is promoting through its LakeSmart Program; and
  • A new proposed change that was not on the November 2016 ballot concerns the conditional use requirements reviewed by the planning board for commercial development. The proposed change seem to remove the planning board’s responsibility to make “findings of fact” as it reviews each criteria for conditional use applicants. If this is the case this may not be quite legal as Superior Court cases have rested upon the mandate that the findings-of-fact are critical to the review of a development proposal. The court’s position has respect to the rights of the abutters to know and understand the ramifications of development proposals in their neighborhood and the potential impact on their “peaceful use and enjoyment” of their personal homesteads and local environment.

There’s no “sugar coating” the proposed changes; overall the proposed changes do not seem to be in the best interest for China Lake’s water quality. The China Lake Association’s Mission is to protect China Lake. It is not enough to say that the DEP provided these “relaxed guideline changes” to the towns and so the town of China should (or must) adopt such drastic changes. As citizens we would leave behind our town’s well-maintained existing rules and regulations, along with our long-standing Home Rule Authority that has existed for decades.

As president of the China Lake Association it is an obligation to represent my constituency and inform the public on these matters. Although represented here are the thoughts of many of those present at our mid-winter meeting, they may not represent everyone’s opinion. As for me, I can only speak for myself. It may be that the proposed changes are adopted by the minimal number of voters who turn out at the open March town meeting, but this could represent a big step backwards. I will only repeat what I was quoted as saying in The Town Line newspaper last year: “I can’t tell anyone how to vote, I just know I’m voting “NO.”

Scott A. Pierz, President
China Lake Association