Fishy Photo

Nice early season bass: Russell Poulin, of South China, displays a largemouth bass he caught while fishing off his dock on China Lake on May 22. The bass weighed 3.15 pounds. Russell released the fish back into the lake.

Striking a pose

Sean Walsh, 9, of Vassalboro, strikes a pose of catching a potential home run during a photo session recently held at the new Purnell / Wrigley Field, in Waterville.
Photo by Tawni Lively, Central Maine Photogrphy staff

SCORES & OUTDOORS: Fox sightings raise concerns


by Roland D. Hallee

One of my neighbors at camp reported recently seeing a red fox trotting down the side of the Cross Hill Road, in Vassalboro, with a chicken in its jaws. That prompted many questions about the animal and its place among humans. There have been increased sightings of red foxes during the last few weeks and the diminutive canine is worth discussing.

You’ve probably read stories about the cunning fox trying to outwit his animal brothers and sisters. Foxes no doubt got their crafty reputation from the way they look, with their long, thin faces and yellow eyes that have narrow slits for pupils. But in real life, foxes are more concerned with finding food than with playing tricks on anyone.

red fox

red fox

The red fox, Vulpes vulpes, is a lean, mean hunting machine that’s built for speed. About 3-1/2 feet in length, slinky and long-legged, they only weigh about 10 pounds full grown. But red foxes look a lot bigger because of their thick fur, which can range from deep brownish red to sandy blonde with black legs, feet, and backs of the ears and white underparts. Sometimes red foxes can even be all black or black with white tips, or have a dark brown “cross” across their backs.

Foxes are great hunters, and not only because they’re fast. Their large, upright ears allow them to locate a rustling sound within one degree of its true location, a trait that is not possible in humans. A fox can also hear a mouse squeal from 150 feet away.

Red foxes are solitary hunters that slowly approach their prey, creeping low to the ground and stretching their head high to spot the target. They pounce on the mouse, rabbit or other prey with their forefeet.

Mice, especially meadow voles, are a popular food for red foxes, but their favorite dish is rabbit. They aren’t picky eaters either, and will eat berries and insects in the spring and summer, along with squirrels, songbirds, ducks and pheasants. In the north, they will also eat snowshoe rabbits, and they’ll even clean up after humans by eating garbage. So, if foxes have been spotted in your area, it’s a good idea to secure garbage so as not to encourage it to continue to show up at your location.

Nighttime is when red foxes are most active. They do most of their hunting from two hours before sunset to about four hours after sunrise, and travel up to nine miles a night. When they aren’t hunting, foxes like to rest in forests, ravines or woodlots, curling their long bushy tails around themselves to keep warm. The tail is also used for balance or as a signal flag to communicate with other foxes.

Fox families each have their own clearly marked home ranges that they defend from intruders, but they don’t usually fight. Foxes are territorial animals. A group chase or a “threat display” – charging, growling, etc. – will generally do the trick. A fox family has a hunting range of about 150-400 acres, but in less diverse habitats, like farmland, one family might need up to 2-3 square miles.

Red fox don’t live in dens most of the year, but do set up nurseries in abandoned woodchuck burrows when it’s time to have pups. Foxes breed in mid-January and have five or six pups in mid-March. They will hunt with their parents when they’re three months old and are ready to strike out on their own at eight months.

Red foxes can be found along fence rows, gravel roads, paths or treelines, especially after a light snowfall. Their tracks are very similar to that of a small dog. On spring or summer evenings, search along hillsides with binoculars. If you see a mound of fresh dirt in front of a dark hole, it could be a den entrance.

The question most asked was whether they are a threat to humans.

Many humans think foxes are dangerous animals. The most concerns raised are do they pose a threat to pets, small children, and also look sick or rabid. Humans are intimidated by foxes. They will become aggressive if cornered, so never try to catch one with your bare hands. Generally, foxes are not especially dangerous to humans or pets. Attacks on humans are extremely rare. And that is only when the fox may be defending its den.

They do not regard humans or dogs and cats as prey. They will, however, take poultry and rabbits. If an attack is initiated towards dogs or cats, they usually end when the barking starts, and the cat extends its claws. Remember, foxes are not fighters. As a rule, once they have been discovered in an area, they might pack up and move.

Foxes, however, can be carriers of diseases, including rabies. They can spread other diseases through their feces, so it’s important to clean it up if you discover one. Although it will not affect humans, the diseases that foxes carry can affect your pets, especially dogs. If mange is suspected, see your veterinarian immediately. That can be treated.

Treat red foxes with respect, keep your distance, and they could be a source of entertainment for you for quite some time.

Legal Notices, Week of June 1, 2017


Pursuant to the Order of Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale docketed in Waterville District Court on 17 January 2017, Docket Number WATDC-RE-2016-00046, in an action brought by Robert W. Palmer, Jr., and Robert W. Palmer, III, against Jason York and Amy York, Defendants, for the foreclosure of the Mortgage recorded in the Kennebec County Registry of Deeds in Book 12117, Page 15, the statutory ninety (90) day period having elapsed without redemption on 17 April 2017, notice is hereby given that there will be sold at public sale on 30 June 2017 at 1:00 pm, at the offices of O’Donnell, Lee, P.A., 112 Silver Street, Waterville, Maine, all and singular the Premises described in said Mortgage.

The property to be sold is located at 965 Main Street, Vassalboro, Maine. Tax Map 23, Lots 9 and 9A. For a more particular description please refer to the Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale recorded in the Kennebec County Registry of Deeds in Book 12546, Page 169, which description is incorporated herein.

Terms of Sale: The Premises will be sold to the highest bidder. The purchase price is payable as follows: Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) in certified funds payable to O’Donnell Lee, P.A., as a non-refundable, earnest money deposit; the balance in certified funds within thirty (30) days thereafter. The property is being sold by QUITCLAIM DEED, AS IS, WHERE IS, WITHOUT RECOURSE and no representations are made as to the condition of the property. Seller expressly reserves the right to modify the terms of the sale set forth above and to add additional terms as it so wishes. Other terms and conditions of sale, including any modifications or additions of the terms set forth above will be announced at the time of the public sale.
Robert W. Palmer, Jr., by attorneys O’DONNELL LEE, P.A., Bryan B Ward, Esq., 112 Silver Street, Waterville, Maine 04901, (207) 872-0112.

SLRT schedules talk on Avian Haven Rehab Center

On Wednesday, June 14, 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 local birds.  They’ll discuss the facilities and recent cases at Avian Haven.  Admissions since 2016 have included orphaned and injured eagles, owls, hawks, water birds, including gannets, loons, guillemots, petrels, and ducks, and many species of songbirds.

Laura Suomi-Lecker is the education and outreach coordinator and long-time volunteer with Avian Haven and also the technical director at Somerset County Soil and Water Conservation District, where she does a variety of bird-related education and outreach.

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 held at 6:30 p.m., on the second Wednesday of every month at 93 Main, a coffee shop located at 93 Main St., in Unity. A $5 donation is suggested. For more information, please email or call 948-3766.

About Sebasticook Regional Land Trust

Sebasticook Regional Land Trust has a mission to recognize and conserve the rich wild and working landscape of Central Maine’s Sebasticook River watershed. They work with willing landowners to conserve the lands they love and the resources our community relies upon—clean water, family farms that provide local food and jobs, well-managed working forests, places to hunt, fish and play with children.

I’m Just Curious: Finger nail polish uses

by Debbie Walker

A monster has been created! I have some great books about “Amazing Uses” and I was not going to go with that info for another week. I was going to give you a break but… then I came across uses for Nail Polish.

First I have to tell you I have been introduced to “glow in the dark” nail polish. I have had nail polish that changed color in the sun and that was fun for a while, however it was a little limited in its uses.
One of the first things I came across in my “Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things” (Published by Reader’s Digest). “Nail Polish Around the House.” In this chapter I was introduced to a new (to me) concept.

I did not know there was such a thing and I have always loved nail polish. How did I miss it! Oh yeah I’m excited now! I got on the computer to start my search. I do like Amazon (it’s where I get most of my books) and it didn’t let me down. I found it! As yet I have not received it but when I do I will let you know if it was worth the hunt!

Now let me tell you some of the uses for it:

Paint your remote volume button or any button you hit wrong in the dark.
Polish a mark on your keys and keyholes to find in the dark.
Polish a difficult to find in the dark light switch.

You can mark other things with regular polish:

I am going to mark my shower dial instead of using the trial and error for water temp.
Decorate and/or seal an envelope with nail polish. It doesn’t even melt with steam from boiling water!!
Turn rocks into pretty paper weights. My brother would have loved this!
You can tarnish proof costume jewelry with clear nail polish. I’ve been doing this for years because I love my junk jewelry!
Dip ends of shoe laces in polish to prevent fraying. Let dry overnight.
Oh yeah, fix the run in panty hose to keep it from traveling.
Get rid of warts. Cover with polish. Keep doing it until there is no more wart. I have seen this one work.
Polish thread on buttons to prevent fraying.
Mend holes in window screens.

All of these odd uses I have printed for three weeks don’t even put a dent in the other Amazing Uses. Are you tired of this info? Let me know please. It will help me to keep you reading!

I would like to be better late than never with my feelings of honoring veterans that have passed. They gave us the freedoms we have today. I also try to honor all veterans. If I can tell someone is a veteran I like to shake their hands and thank them for their service. I am always amazed when they say they would do it all again. I do feel bad that it is not easy to know who the female veterans are but I want you to know I honor you.

I’m just curious what subject I will find interesting next. Do you have any thoughts on what you might be interested in reading? Contact me at sub: Help.

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Dick Kuhn and his Orchestra; Death of a Salesman; Handel


by  Peter Cates

Dick Kuhn and his Orchestra

Wild Flower; Bambalina- Decca -3723, ten inch blue label 78 disc, recorded March 25, 1941.

Dick Kuhn

Dick Kuhn

There is very little information to be gleaned anywhere on bandleader Dick Kuhn, he starting his own band while in high school being about the only morsel uncovered.

It would perform in the tradition of such dance bands as those of Guy Lombardo, Sammy Kaye, Griff Williams and Lawrence Welk, but with more animation, intelligence and nuance. Kuhn was also quite gifted as a saxist.

The orchestra could be seen during the late ‘30 New York City’s Times Square and heard regularly on the very popular radio station, WOR; it recorded a batch of 78s for Decca, Mercury and a couple of lesser known labels in its ‘30s and ‘40s heyday.

The Decca blue label 78 series was spearheaded by company manager Jack Kapp around 1936 or ’37 as a catalog of 35 cent records, as opposed to the dollar records of the major competitors, Victor and Columbia; it soared in sales when the dads all across the country would send their kids to the record shop every week with a dollar for the latest three releases (Within at least two years, Victor would respond by launching its own 35 center, Bluebird, and Columbia, Okeh).

A quartet of popular song lyricists/composers are credited with the above two selections, Wild Flower and Bambalina — Otto Harbach (1873-1963), Herbert Stothart (1885-1949), Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960), and Vincent Youmans (1898-1946) . As to why so many talents were assembled for these two songs, anyone’s guess is as good as mine, but this record is quite pleasant to listen to, with an added vocal trio.

When Herbert Stothart visited Scotland in 1947, he suffered a heart attack and later wrote a symphonic piece for orchestra- Heart Attack: A Symphonic Poem, about his tribulations. He started another piece, Voice of Liberation, when he died of cancer at the age of 63, in 1949.

Death of a Salesman

by Arthur Miller; written in 1949. Arthur Miller (1916-2005) wrote such classics of the theater as The Crucible,which dealt with the evil of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials; and All My Sons, which confronted the profiteering of the munitions industry.

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller

The main character, Willy Loman, threw himself into being a salesman who was liked; the problem was that this goal was the only one that truly mattered. Then, when his company started squeezing him out gradually because his sales had gone down, he fell to pieces.

Reading this play, one not only feels the injustice, the anger, the terrors at the heart of our lives that bring us down when bad things happen, but also the flaws in our character, that contribute to it. Finally,

Miller leads us to care for Willy as a fellow human being and to feel his suffering as though he were a long time friend! And it holds up so well with re-reading!

Handel – Semele

Anthony Lewis conducting the English Chamber Orchestra and Saint Anthony Singers with various soloists; L’Oiseau-Lyre OLS- 111-3, three 12-inch stereo vinyl LPs, recorded 1955.

George Handel

George Handel

George Frederick Handel wrote one big beautiful opera here with arias, more choruses than normal in an opera and bracing orchestration; it was premiered in 1744 during Lent and was received with very mixed feelings. After several performances during the remaining 15 years of the composer’s lifetime, it would not be heard again until an English revival in 1925; since then, it has slowly made its way to a significant repertory status.

Its story line features an illicit attraction between the betrothed Semele and the god Jupiter, with tragic consequences.

The above set was its first recording and, to my mind, is very good. I would especially cite two women who gave master lessons in expression, articulation, and breathing – soprano Jennifer Vyvyan (1925-1974) and alto Helen Watts (1927-2009).

Only the LP set is available through Amazon vendors, no CD transfer having ever been made.

Vassalboro library to hold summer reading festival

The Vassalboro Community School, the Vassalboro Public Library and the East Vassalboro Grange are hosting a Summer Reading Festival on Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities will be at the East Vassalboro Grange and the Vassalboro Public Library.

The schedule is as follows:

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Scholastic Buy One-Get One Free book sale (Grange)
10 a.m.: Sheriff’s Dept. fingerprinting talk & demonstration. (Library)
11 a.m.: Craft featuring Home Depot Kid Kits (Grange) & Story Time with Guest Reader, Sarah Sugden, Director Waterville Public Library (Library)
11:30 a.m.: VCS Chamber Band (Grange)

Noon: Lunch: Hot dogs, chips, milk & ice cream (Grange)

1 p.m.: African Drums (Grange)
2 p.m.: Laurie Graves, author presentation on her book, “Maya & the Book of Everything” Book Signing & 3 free give-aways of her book. Book also available to purchase. (Library)
3 p.m.: Craft: Duct tape wallets and bookmarks with Donna Martin of Maine Savings. (Library)

There are also free books for children at the library. All activities are free, including lunch. We hope you can join us! FMI contact the Vassalboro Community School Library at 923-4348 or the Vassalboro Public Library at 923-3233.

China residents doing good job with recyclables, reuseables


by Irene Belanger

Boy things are getting busy: A gentle reminder: We’re all doing spring cleaning and yard cleanup, etc. There are times of day that are especially busy, such as Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Please plan your day so that we don’t get a bottle neck to the hopper. We all have very busy lives and want things done ASAP, but some folks take more time to drop bags in. We will soon have the new Free for Taking building with it’s own parking area for you to go get the “good” stuff and we encourage you to take a look and to take what you want as you drop off your reusables. Also there are boxes near the recycling area (express lane) where you can drop in two or three trash bags and not even need to go to the hopper.

Thank you all for the great work to bring in the recyclables; it saves your tax dollars. Also be generous in bringing reusables for others to use. Please no moldy, dirty clothes. We are hoping for a use for textiles so watch The Town Line for the big announcement.

There is going to be a public tour of China’s Thurston Park on Saturday, June 17, all are welcome. Lots of history from days of yore and good walking trails. We will have maps of the park available. There is still a lot of new work and maintainance ongoing so if anyone has some energy and time to volunteer please call 445-2349 or 445-2014 and leave your name and phone number and the organizer will be intouch. Thank you.

Remember to keep your truck loads of trash from blowing off as you drive from home to the transfer station.There is a state law that says you must have a secure load.

Thank you to Boy Scout Troop #479 for taking care of road side clean up after Earth Days. Please be thinking of volunteering on your road for April 2018.

Letters to the editor, Week of June 1, 2017

Don’t get hood winked again

To the editor:

On June the 13 the voters of China will be presented a three issue town ballot and vote to support or reject each issue. Two of the issues involve the expenditure of town funds for a questionable causes. I urge the voters to reject both proposals.

First, the request to expend $25,000 on a former temporary classroom referred to as the Emergency Preparedness Shelter, a classification I am not familiar with and I thought one of the expansions of the town office and purchase of the generator was for emergencies. This including the building of the communications tower located behind the town office. The selectboard with the town manager have squandered money on this substandard building since we received it from the school district. Any further investment in this building would be foolhardy and a waste of taxpayer money.

Second, the town of China should not be in the land acquisition business. When the town purchased the lot at the corner of Alder Park Road and Lakeview Drive, members of the selectboard advocated for the purchase of the parcel, “before a business purchases the lot. ” That same logic that asks that China buy the adjoining lot for $12,000 would be equally non nonsensical.

These two requests are to be funded by the “Surplus/Unrestricted/Unassigned Fund Balance” which infers that these funds are excess and implies that they have diminished value when in fact this fund is the collection of excess taxation.

China maintains a very high balance in the“Surplus/Unrestricted/Unassigned Fund Balance” well beyond recommendations (by a factor of 4) which is often used as free money but represents the practice of the allocation of monies on one hand and the collection of excess taxation to replenish the fund on the other.

I ask the voters to reject these requests and not to get “hood winked” again.

H. David Cotta