Roger Files, 13, of Palermo, caught this 19-pound, 33-inch striped bass during a July 31 vacation at Cape Cod, in Massachusetts.
Roger Files, 13, of Palermo, caught this 19-pound, 33-inch striped bass during a July 31 vacation at Cape Cod, in Massachusetts.
A couple of weeks ago, a violent clash broke out between protesters and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The violence occurred at a rally organized by white nationalists, angry at the imminent removal of a memorial for Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
I was home and watching it unfold as it happened. It was chilling to see footage of hundreds of men marching six abreast, torches held high and chanting “Blood and soil!” and “Jews will not replace us!”
Later in the day, reports came in that one of the white nationalists had rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a young woman and injuring many more. The moment was captured on video and played ad nauseum in the news media.
An observant twitter user noted the major difference between racists of the past and those marching in Charlottesville: they no longer bothered with the iconic white robes and conical hoods. Their faces were plain to see.
Instead of a few grainy pictures on the front page of the Evening Post, thousands of photos and live video got posted to the internet.
The following day a tweet popped up in my twitter feed. It was an appeal for help in identifying individuals from the photos and video that had been circulating the internet and cable news channels. Full of righteous indignation, I liked and retweeted it.
Most of us have online profiles available for public view with our real names attached to a photo, and often to a place of employment or school, or even to the names of other people we know. On sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. Also in less obvious places like school alumni pages and business websites that list employees. Even our Amazon profiles have information about us. We leave our digital fingerprints everywhere.
On Monday, reports continued to pour in. One of the white nationalists had been identified and his employer began receiving complaining calls. He was fired.
Another young man’s family, after he was outed on twitter, publicly disowned him in a letter sent to their local paper – which was then broadcast worldwide on the web. His nephew gave interviews to the press. “Our relatives were calling us in a panic earlier today,” he said, “demanding we delete all Facebook photos that connect us to them.”
This is all for the best, I thought to myself. Racism is wrong. White nationalism is destructive. Surely, the best way of dealing with such views is to shine a light on them.
The practice of publishing identifying information to the internet, called “doxing,” has grown over recent years. It appears in forms both arguably beneficial (exposure of government or corporate corruption) and utterly malicious (revenge porn).
Within days, the New York Times was reporting on one poor man in Arkansas, who had been misidentified by over-zealous internet sleuths. His inbox quickly filled with messages of vulgarity and hate. Ironically, this was in reaction to similar sentiments displayed in Charlottesville just a few days earlier.
I have always found myself coming down on the side of Benjamin Franklin, who said, “It is better 100 guilty persons should escape [justice] than that one innocent person should suffer.”
It’s a maxim Franklin applied to our criminal justice system, but I think it’s relevant here.
If you attend a neo-Nazi rally and decide not to bring your pointy hood, you risk family and friends seeing your face plastered all over the news.
But let’s not allow the internet’s version of mob mentality to dictate the rules for our society.
There is a reason John Adams insisted “we are a nation of laws, not of men.” There is a reason our Founding Fathers chose to make this nation a constitutional republic instead of one ruled only by the majority.
The internet is a powerful tool, but one better used to facilitate dialogue with others, and not as a weapon to bludgeon them. The internet may be a billion voices, but it can also wear a billion boots. Let’s not trample the innocent in our mad rush to condemn the justifiably horrific.
COOPERS MILLS – Herbert William “Sam” Birch, 84, passed away on Thursday, August 17, 2017, in Coopers Mills, following a long illness. Sam was born on December 11, 1932, in New Rochelle, New York, to Oscar LaMarr and Mary Ann Gertrude Smith Birch.
He graduated from University of Maine at Orono in 1955 with a degree in poultry husbandry. He proudly served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and elsewhere. He met his future wife, the former Mary Strickland, on a blind date and married her on June 29, 1957, at Penney Memorial United Baptist Church, in Augusta.
He began his teaching career in 1958. Over the years, he taught science at Winslow Junior High, Hodgkins Junior High, and Cony High School, in Augusta. He retired as chairman of the science department in 1991.
Sam was an accomplished gardener and won many blue ribbons for his vegetables and over 300 varieties of dry beans entered at the Union Fair, Windsor Fair, and Common Ground Country Fair. He gave lectures at the Common Ground Country Fair about growing dry beans. He was a member of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and earned the title of master gardener. He also served on the board of directors for The Town Line newspaper.
He was a generous, witty, and dedicated individual who loved serving others. He was an active and dedicated member of the Whitefield Lions Club, Senior Spectrum board chairman and member, a founding board member of the Sheepscot Valley Health Center, member of the American Cancer society, Relay for Life, and MOFGA, among many other organizations. He helped start the ADAPT, an alcohol and drug prevention team, at Cony High School. He was a second-generation lifelong Scouter. Sam enjoyed hosting the Boy Scout troop from Mamaroneck, New York, each summer. He was a proud member of the “Old Boys Club” and enjoyed getting together to relive the old days of teaching with other retired teachers from Cony high school.
Sam is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Mary Birch; and his son, David Birch.
He is survived by his daughter Nancy Birch, of Augusta, son Peter Birch and wife Carol, of Windsor, and son Andrew Birch, of Augusta; his grandchildren, Jason Libby and wife Betsy, of New Gloucester, Maine, Melissa Birch, of Quincy, Massachusetts, Samuel Birch and Matthew Birch, of Windsor; and two great-grandsons, Carter and Jackson Libby, both of New Gloucester.
Memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.
George, also known as Ty, grew up on the Studley Farm, in Palermo. He graduated from Erskine Academy, in South China, in 1963, and Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute in 1965 with a degree in carpentry. He received an honorary discharge from the Maine National Guard, Bangor.
George married his high school sweetheart, the former Bonnie Bumps, in 1965, and they built their home in China. He worked for 27 years at Architectural Woodcraft, in Vassalboro, which later became Duratherm Windows where he became the plant supervisor. Being a multi-talented person with carpentry skills and a Jack-of-all trades, he became the community handyman.
He was an active member of the China Village Volunteer Fire Department for over 50 years, 37 years as the chief.
George, Ty, Dad, Geo, Beeps, Chief…was a man of few words, yet you always knew how he felt. He was hardworking, thoughtful, kind and always there for his family and friends, with his dog by his side.
He had many interests. Most important was spending time with his children and grandchildren and attending their athletic events and taking them hunting and fishing. Each summer and winter the family took fishing trips to the Allagash.
He raised white-faced Herefords, made maple syrup, cut firewood and was fascinated with digital technology. George enjoyed early mornings having coffee and visiting with friends.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years; their daughter, Wendy, and husband Tracy Bonsant, of Windsor; son, Robert, of Palermo; grandchildren, Courtney Bonsant and her partner Damien Belanger, of China; Noah Bonsant, of Windsor; and Brady Studley, of Palermo; sister Sue and husband Harold Charles, of China; and several cousins and close friends.
Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., in Belfast.
Memorial donations may be made to the China Village Volunteer Fire Dept., P.O. Box 6035, China Village, ME 04926.
PALERMO – George Horak, 62, of Palermo, passed away Sunday, August 20, 2017, at Togus VA Hospital. He was born Feb. 5, 1955, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to Anton and Pauline (Est) Horak.
In his early teens, he moved to Maine with his family. He was a U.S. Army veteran.
George was predeceased by his father.
Survivors include his mother, Pauline; his wife of 36 years, Gail; his children, Daryl Horak, Lisa Robinson and friend Todd, Mary Golden and husband Justin, and Linda Favreau and husband Andrew; his siblings, Michael Horak, Anton Horak, Lydia LeClair, and James Horak; several grandchildren; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.
A Celebration of Life will be held from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2017, at George’s residence.
Memories and condolences may be shared at: www.ripostafh.com.
Memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.
WATERVILLE – Raymond E. Culver, M.D., 89, passed away on Tuesday August 22, 2017. He was born on November 14, 1927, in Jackson, Michigan, the son of Ophelia (Kohls) and Guy Culver.
He grew up in Stockbridge, Michigan, and graduated from Hill School, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1956 with an M.D. in internal medicine. In 1957, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. After a parachuting injury he was reassigned to West Point where he was physician to the Cadets. He was discharged a captain and always remembered his time of service as a highlight in his life.
In the early ‘60s, he came to Waterville’s Thayer Hospital and became Maine’s first formally-trained gastroenterologist. A humble and unassuming man he rarely spoke of the honors he received in his specialty over the years. He retired in 2005. He was a member of AA for over 32 years and was not ashamed of being known as one, especially if it meant it could help someone. He personally knew the challenges faced by anyone making an effort and of the courage needed to recover – he knew everyone was redeemable and worthy of forgiveness. Often recognized for his kindness and gentleness and being very approachable he would quickly say, “I’m just another Bozo on the bus.” It was in his service to others that he was being true to himself.
A lifelong learner, Ray was an avid reader of mostly biographies and history. He was a classical pianist who enjoyed hunting and fishing; as well as tennis and sailing; throw in his love of cribbage and life was good. Simply put: he was the consummate officer and gentleman.
Ray is survived by his wife of 15 years Jean Culver; his sons, Christopher Culver and his wife Catherine, Jonathan Culver and their mother Suzanne Culver, his stepchildren, Lori Ward and her husband Capt. Ronald Ward, Doris Vermette and her husband David, Shawn Newton and his wife LeeAnne; his 13 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren.
Ray was predeceased by his twin sister Ruth, his brother Guy, his stepdaughter Natalie; and his beloved mother-in-law Doris Bemis.
Please visit www.veilleuxfuneralhome.com to view a video collage of Ray’s life and to share condolences, memories and tributes with his family.
Memorial donations may be made to the Travis Mill Foundation, 89 Water St., Hallowell ME 04347.
VASSALBORO – Paul E. Duplessie, 81, of Vassalboro, passed away on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, in Vassalboro. He was born in East Vassalboro on May 17, 1936, the son of Christine (Patenaude) and Emile Duplessie.
He graduated from Winslow High where he was active in the school band and became a lifelong supporter of Winslow football.
Paul proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was honorably discharged as a corporal. He went on to study electrical installation in Illinois and became a nationally-qualified electrician. He returned to Maine and for the next 38 years was an electrician for Scott Paper Co. and then Kimberly-Clark.
Over the years Paul was an organist at St. Bridget’s Church, was a photographer for the Vassalboro community calendar, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, a life member of Bourque-Lanigan American Legion Post #5, in Waterville, a life member of Vassalboro Historical Society and Vassalboro Public Library. He faithfully enjoyed lunch at The Villager Restaurant, in Waterville, “where everybody knows your name.”
A highlight for Paul was a month long cross country trip he and Myrna took shortly after his retirement. They crossed over the northern states and returned the mid-states. Paul was a well-read man, with a wide range of interests – you name it – but cars were about as close to a passion as anything.
Paul is survived by his wife of 27 years, Myrna (McLean) Duplessie; his daughter Cindy Davis, his son Steven Duplessie and his wife Laurie, his daughter Pat Manning and her husband Bill, his stepchildren, Bob Beideman, Karen Beideman, Jeff Beideman and his wife Illyona; his eight grandchildren; three great-granddaughters; his two brothers, Thomas Duplessie, of Belfast, and Don Duplessie and his wife Rita, of Portland, Oregon; his favorite in-laws, John McLean, Everett McLean and his wife Marie, Neil McLean, Deanna Malloy and her husband Pat; as well as many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his son-in-law Jim Davis and his sister-in-law Celeste McLean.
There will be a committal service with Marine Corps Honors at 11 a.m., on Saturday Septembere 2, in Village Cemetery, Cemetery Street, in Vassalboro. Please visit www.veilleuxfuneralhome.com to share condolences, memories and tributes with Paul’s family.
Memorial donations may be made to the Vassalboro Historical Society, PO Box 43, East Vassalboro, ME 04935 or Vassalboro Public Library, 930 Bog Road, Vassalboro, ME 04989.
BRUCE H. POOLER, 69, of Rome, passed away on Monday, August 7, 2017, at his home. Locally, he is survived by daughters Tracy L. Knox and husband Craig, of Sidney, Michele L. Martin and husband Steve, of Winslow; brother Rodney B. Pooler, of Waterville; and grandchildren Cody C. Knox, of sidney, Sydnie Martin and Stephanie Martin, both of Clinton, Trevor Willoughby, of Benton, Justin Martin, Kaylee Willoughby, Nathan Martin and Sophie Martin, all of Winslow.
VERDIE E. LEIGHTON, 83, of Burnham, passed awayt on Wednesday, August 9, 2017, at Eastern Maine Medical Center, in Bangor. Locally, he is survived by brothers Fred Leighton and Bobby Shorey, of Unity; sister LeeAnn Vance, of Augusta.
IRENE B. OUELLETTE, 96, of Waterville, passed away on Friday, August 11, 2017, at Mount St. Joseph Nursing Home, in Waterville, following a long illness. Locally, she is survived by a daughter, Carol Chick, of Winslow.
DORIS J. BEARCE, 85, of Waterville, passed away on Sunday, August 13, 2017, at Oak Grove Center, in Waterville. Locally, she is survived by sons Daniel Bearce and wife Kate, of Windsor, Jeffrey Bearce and wife Joanna, of Waterville, and John Bearce and wife Patricia, of Winslow.
ELSIE LADD, 83, of Freedom, passed away on Monday, August 14, 2017. Locally, she is survived by a son, Ronald Ladd and wife Kathy, of Albion.
ANDRE D. CHABOT, 64, of Augusta, passed away on Tuesday, August 14, 2017, at his home following a courageous battle with cancer. Locally, he is survived by a son, Todd Chabot and wife Jessica, of Windsor, brother Gaetan Chabot and wife Deborah, of South China, and a sister, Roxane Zibura and huband Francis, of Windsor.
PHILIP A. HUFF JR., 82, of Augusta, passed away on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at Togus Springs. Locally, he is survived by a daughter Dawn Coons and husband David, of Windsor.
KATHLEEN J, CONWAY, 86, of Waterville, and former English teacher at Waterville High School, passed away on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at the Maine Veterans Home, in Augusta. Locally, she is survived by a daughter, Martha Cobb and husband Bill, and granddaughter, Katie Cobb, all of Fairfield.
GLENWOOD ELLIOTT, 90, of Augusta, passed away on Sunday, August 20, 2017, at the Maine Veterans Home, in Augusta. Locally, he is survived by a daughter Carol Churchill, of Windsor.
ROBERT F. CREIGHTON, 80, of Etna, passed away on Thursday, August 24, 2017, at a Bangor hospital following a long period of failing health. Locally, he is survived by a stepson, Sheldon Lane, and step-grandson, Ryan Lane, both of Benton.
Melissa Petersen of Augusta, graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology during commencement ceremonies on May 21, 2017, at the University of Vermont, in Burlington, Vermont.
The following local students have been named to the University of Vermont dean’s list, in Burlington, Vermont:
Delaney Curran; of Skowhegan; Kaitlyn Sutter, of Palermo; and Kayla Christopher, of Oakland.
Vassalboro Days is adding a Scavenger Hunt this year to the events planned for Saturday, September 9. Gather together a group of family and friends to make your Scavenger Team. The use of a cell phone to capture pictures is encouraged to record that your team members have scavenged and found all of the places and things that the organizers have placed on the list.
There is no cost to play! Teams will report to the Vassalboro Business Association booth Saturday morning, from 10-11 a.m., to obtain the Scavenger Hunt list. Teams will have until 5 p.m. Saturday to report back with their completed list of 20 sites or objects that they have scavenged in Vassalboro over the course of the day.
The point system will be moderately complicated (in a fun way!). Points will be given for the number of people in your team. Judges will award points for both style, and a demonstration of having fun which contestants will convey with their pictures. A bus will be available at 2 p.m. to take team members (children must be accompanied by an adult) to sites that are outside of the village areas. Prizes will be three $25 awards and a Ducky Derby Hat for all team members. Call Lauchlin Titus, 207 314-2655 with questions or for more details.
Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association, visited UniTel this month to formally present the Unity-based telecommunications company with its Smart Rural Community award. Bloomfield, joined by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and U.S. Senator Angus King, presented the award in front of an audience at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, before a listening session on improving broadband infrastructure.
“Historically enjoying Maine’s quality of life has come at a price,” said Laurie Osgood, CEO of UniTel. “Now technology has changed so much that it is possible to do the work traditionally performed in the big city from the most rural parts of Maine. Our role is to make sure that our infrastructure can support anyone who wants to live and work here. The leadership of Senator King and FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel has been vital in realizing the goals of closing the digital divide. The Smart Rural Community designation is a direct reflection of our team’s hard work. We live and work in these rural communities, so this award means a lot to us.”
UniTel received word nearly a year ago that it had earned the designation as a Smart Rural Community. Such a designation put the Maine-based company in an elite class with other broadband providers in rural areas. The Smart Rural Community designation was only awarded to eleven other companies nationally, and UniTel is the first Maine-based company to receive the award.
The 2016 Smart Rural Community award follows UniTel’s construction of nearly 100 miles of its Bluestreak fiber to the home (FTTH) network in its service area and beginning late last year in downtown Belfast. Other selection criterial of note included UniTel’s lead role in promoting and sponsoring free digital literacy training in the areas it serves. This is the second national award received by UniTel in as many years for its efforts to expand access to broadband in rural Maine.
“A broadband connection is more than a technology – it’s a platform for opportunity,” said Commissioner Rosenworcel. “No matter who you are or where you live, you need access to modern communications to have a fair shot at 21st century success.”
“Reliable rural broadband access is essential to strengthen and diversify Maine’s economy,” said Senator King. “Rural broadband can help entrepreneurs grow their business, enable farmers to practice precision agriculture and access new markets, and help students learn in an expanding digital world.”
Caleb Richardson, right, 17, a junior at Cony High School, in Augusta, and parents Stephen and Toni Richardson along with many friends, dedicated his eagle scout project to the late Taylor Harmon, on August 27. Harmon was a dedicated Cony High School cross country and track coach for many years. Caleb said, “He was a man who helped athletes use running as a bridge to reach their future goals.” The ribbon cutting ceremony was done by Harmon’s widow, Ms. Rebecca Harmon, above, for whom the bridge is dedicated, and also received a bouquet of roses from Caleb. Boy Scout Troop #603 is proudly sponsored by American Legion Post #205, of Augusta. Right photo, Caleb’s Eagle Scout project.
At their Aug. 22 meeting, China Planning Board members unanimously approved Troy Bulmer’s application to turn a large garage on his property at 151 Dirigo Road into a storage facility for motorcycles, jet-skis, boats and similar seasonal motorized items.
His plan, Bulmer told board members, is that people will bring in their equipment in the fall, remove batteries and go away until spring. He plans no additional outside lighting, new construction or other external changes.
Board members voted unanimously that no public hearing was needed, given the distance from neighbors’ property, lack of external changes and minimal impact on traffic on Dirigo Road. They found Bulmer’s plan met all ordinance criteria.
The only reservation was about fire protection for the apartment on the second floor, which Bulmer said is occupied. Board members considered requiring changes, like additional insulation above the garage. Ultimately, they left it to Codes Officer Paul Mitnik to determine what, if anything, Bulmer needs to do.
Mitnik said under the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code (MUBEC), he must issue a certificate of occupancy, for which he needs to inspect the property.
Bulmer said if he is required to do extensive rebuilding he’ll abandon the project. After the discussion of Bulmer’s project, board members turned again to review of town land use ordinances, in which Mitnik has discovered inconsistencies and gaps. Board Chairman James Wilkens’ offer to draft clarifications of the first few definitions, as needed, and bring them to the Sept. 12 board meeting was accepted.
Mitnik expects at least two applications will be on the Sept. 12 agenda.
I would like to bring you back to what will be our future if lamprey become reestablished in Sheepscot Lake. I began fishing in Sheepscot in 1981, primarily for landlocked salmon and togue. In 1986, after five years of fishing, I began to keep a Personal Fishing Record which was submitted to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife each year. On February 16, 1986, I made the following entry in the booklet after catching an 18-inch togue: “The togue did not have any lamprey marks which is uncommon in this lake. It had no fins clipped that I noticed and was in excellent health and very lively.”
During my previous five years of fishing, the majority of the landlocked salmon and togue that I caught were scarred by lamprey, often multiple times. Most of these wounds did not seem to be completely healed. Often, the wounds seemed fresh. Sometimes the lamprey was still attached to the fish when brought to the boat.
On that February day in 1986, the togue was unmarked. This fact was so unusual that I made a special entry in the diary. Of equal importance is my statement that the fish was in excellent health and very lively. This differs from the lamprey marked fish which typically were not as lively. The wounds on the fish were not a pretty sight. Imagine a 6-inch long lamprey attached to a 12-14 inch salmon.
In the late 1980s, my next door neighbor complained of being bitten while swimming. At first, I did not believe her. Over the years, I have been swimming in about 10 lakes throughout Maine and have never been attacked by a fish. However, a couple of days later I was bitten while swimming in the evening. I swished off the fish. After leaving the water, I inspected the mark on my body which was oblong-shaped and about 1.0 – 1.5 inches long. It looked like the wounds that I saw on countless occasions on the salmon and togue that I caught. I looked at the wound on my neighbor. Her wound was similar but appeared deeper, possibly even breaking the skin. At that point, I was a believer. Lampreys do bite people.
The re-introduction of lamprey into Sheepscot Pond will result in a major environmental change. This re-introduction would again destroy the ecological balance and severely injure the existing fish population.
The Lake Report for Sheepscot Lake issued by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Game published in 1970 states, “The Department has recently initiated a program to prevent lamprey eels from entering Sheepscot Lake by closing the fishway each year in the outlet dam during the period of lamprey spawning migrations.” Twenty-two years later in 1992, the Department wrote, “A long term Department program to prevent lamprey eels from entering the lake by closing the fishway during their spawning migrations has met with some success.” In other words, this program was unsuccessful. Based upon my memory of a conversation with Dave Banton, of Palermo (now deceased), I believe that the migration of both lampreys and alewives was stopped downstream from Sheepscot Dam in order to control the lampreys.