Post-harvest tour to be held at Thurston Park

This post-harvest tour of Thurston Park in China is being held as a follow-up to a June pre-harvest tour. It is co-sponsored by the Thurston Park Committee and the Two Rivers chapter of Maine Woodland Owners. The park is a 400-acre, town-owned forest with waterfalls, hiking trails and cultural and historical landmarks.

Directions: From Rte. 202 at the head of China Lake, turn onto Pleasant View Ridge Road. Travel 0.4 miles, veer right, then another 0.3 miles, and left on Dutton Road, which becomes Libby Hill Rd, one mile. Right onto York Town Rd., one mile to parking. 

For more information, contact Jeanne at

CHINA: Beauty salon gets OK from planners

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members unanimously approved the only application on their Sept. 26 agenda, giving Randy Pottle permission to open a two-chair beauty salon in part of an existing garage at 650 Route 3. Approval comes with two conditions, both of which Pottle said he will meet: the wall separating the beauty salon from the garage must meet the state fire code, and the septic system is to be upgraded.

Pottle told board members there are no residences close enough to the building for people to be disturbed by the minimal changes the project will create, like slightly increased traffic.

In other business, board members and Codes Officer Paul Mitnik briefly continued their ongoing discussions of potential ordinance amendments and board procedures, but with only three board members present, they postponed decisions.

The next planning board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Oct. 10.

Transfer station presents five year plan

by Mary Grow

China’s Transfer Station Committee presented a five-year plan for transfer station improvements to the board of selectmen at the Oct. 2 selectmen’s meeting.

Committee Chairman Frank Soares said the committee recommends one major expenditure to be proposed to voters at the March 2018 town business meeting, a request for about $32,000 for a new forklift. The forklift now in use is old – Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said the town bought it used five or six years ago – and getting decrepit, Soares said. The committee recommends buying a new, larger one. For 2019, the committee plan suggests buying a second hopper to be used primarily to compact demolition debris and large items like mattresses and a new tractor to be shared with the Public Works Department for snowblowing, mowing and sweeping. Committee members further recommend an addition on the main transfer station building to create more recycling space.

Soares said the plan will be revised annually, so after the first year or two it should be considered tentative.

The Oct. 2 selectmen’s meeting included two public hearings. The first, on three local ballot questions, drew a small audience and a few questions; the second, on amendments to the maximum amounts allowed as general assistance, brought no comments.

The Nov. 7 local ballot questions ask voters to:

  • Appropriate up to $8,500 from surplus to build a fire pond on Neck Road;
  • Approve a requirement that non-profit organizations requesting town funds provide current financial statements for the selectmen and budget committee to review; and
  • Authorize selectmen to rent out space on the town’s communications tower at the town office.

In response to questions about the fire pond, Codes Officer Paul Mitnik said it does not need approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection, and Selectman Neil Farrington said willing landowners are cooperating; the town is not using eminent domain.

The town’s tower might be competing with privately-owned towers in the area, but, Farrington said, usually location is a major consideration when companies seek to rent tower space; if the town’s provides coverage where they need coverage, it would be preferred, but not otherwise.

Selectmen have not discussed what to charge or other details, since they need voter approval to proceed.

Voters will also elect town officials on Nov. 7, selectmen and planning board and budget committee members. There are contests for three openings on the Board of Selectmen and for the District 1 Planning Board seat (northwestern quarter of town). Mitnik attended the Oct. 2 selectmen’s meeting to present three enforcement issues to the board. Selectmen accepted his recommendations on two, granting an extension of time to finish cleaning up a Route 32 North property and approving a consent agreement, with fine, concerning a garage foundation on Fire Road 4 that was put in without the required inspection. They postponed action on the third, on Dirigo Road, because it has been referred to the Board of Appeals.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Oct. 16.

Guadalupi named to the Assumption College women’s cross country team

The Assumption College Department of Athletics, in Worcester, Massachusetts, has announced that Anne Guadalupi, of Augusta, has earned a coveted spot on the 2017 Assumption College Women’s Cross Country team.

Guadalupi, Class of 2021, is competing during the Greyhounds’ fall season, which began with the Shacklette Invitational at Saint Anselm College, on September 2.

Roger Williams University announces spring dean’s list

Select students have been named to the Spring 2017 dean’s list at Roger Williams University, in Bristol, Rhode Island. Full-time students who complete 12 or more credits per semester and earn a GPA of 3.4 or higher are placed on the Dean’s List that semester.

Area students include Jordan King, of Liberty, and Michael Oliveira, of Waterville.

Colby-Sawyer welcomes students

Colby-Sawyer College, in New London, New Hampshire, welcomed two local students as the newest Chargers to campus, including first-year students and transfer students.

Included were Chelsea Perry, of Oakland, and Alex Hayes, of Waterville.

MAJEK Seafood opens new dining room

Mike and Aundrea, of MAJEK Seafood, will be welcoming patrons to come inside and enjoy great seafood no matter how windy, snowy or cold it is outside. Mike will also be updating his menu when the colder weather arrives to include some warm, homemade Mexican dishes. They have been at their present location, on Rte. 202, in South China, since 2011, and recently built an addition so customers can enjoy their seafood in a comfortable dining room, year round. Outdoor dining is still available, weather permitting.

Photo by Kathy Duhnoski

Michael Womersley to speak at SRLT meeting

What will happen to Maine’s land and ocean resources as climate changes in the 21st century? What likely climate scenarios are there for Maine? What will most likely happen to our weather and to sea level? How should we best respond? What mitigation and adaptation strategies are most likely to work? In fisheries?In forestry and agriculture?Which ones are likely to lead to yet more problems down the road?

Dr. Michael Womersley, Professor of Human Ecology/School of Environmental Citizenship at Unity College, will address these concerns. Womersley has a PhD in Environmental Policy Analysis from the University of Maryland Policy School, with a focus on U.S. cultural acceptance of cli-mate policy. His current research is in political economy and geopolitics of climate change.

Womersley’s presentation is part of the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust’s monthly speaker series, “Restoring Connections to Place,” featuring a wide variety of conservation topics. The programs are held on the second Wednesday of every month at the café, 93 Main Coffee Shop, located at 93 Main St., Unity. These monthly events are open to the public and a five dollar donation is suggested. For more information, please email or call 948-3766.

Sebasticook Regional Land Trust has a mission to recognize and conserve the rich wild and working landscape of Central Maine’s Sebasticook River watershed.

Agility: Are manners and obedience necessary?

Training Your Performance Dog

by Carolyn Fuhrer

YES, YES, YES! I can’t tell you how many times we receive a call from a frustrated pet owner who says, “My dog is out of control and has a lot of energy. I think agility would be good for him.” Wrong! In order for the dog and handler to enjoy doing agility, the dog and handler need to have a connection that they have established through basic pet training.

Dogs must understand how to work for what they want, pay attention to the handler and understand the basic commands of come, sit and wait, come along with me and know when they can go (a release).  If a dog has basic good pet manners (which all dogs should have whether they do agility or not) and understand how to get “paid” by their owners, then they are on their way to becoming excellent agility candidates. Dogs must understand how to work for what they want, pay attention to the handler and understand the basic commands of come, sit and wait, come along with me and know when they can go (a release).  If a dog has basic good pet manners (which all dogs should have whether they do agility or not) and understand how to get “paid” by their owners, then they are on their way to becoming excellent agility candidates.

Many people see agility as simply an outlet for energy when actually it is a fast-paced journey through many obstacles in which the dog is cued and instructed by the handler in how to negotiate the course.  It is a fast-paced teamwork sport that needs to done safely.

Sometimes in learning agility you may need to hold your dog by the collar for motivation, perhaps to steady him, or to define a position. Your dog should have no aversion to you taking his collar. You should be able to hold your dog by the collar without him being upset or frightened. Sometimes you might also need this for safety. This can be taught as a “touch” game with a clicker so that the dog will willingly “give” his collar to your out-stretched hand. Your dog should not be afraid of your space nor should he be attempting to control the space.

Any dog that will have the privilege of being free needs to understand and respond when his handler says “come”. Anything less than this is really unsafe. Perhaps “come” is one of the best things we can teach our dogs. Name recognition (which should be taught in puppy class) should bring your dog’s attention to you and the word “come” should physically bring the dog to you. These two skills name recognition and “come” — should be reinforced through– out your dog’s life. Someday they may even save his life.

Sitting and waiting to be released is a necessary skill to start the course so you can give your dog proper direction and help him safely negotiate the course. Running alongside you and taking direction without tripping you, biting you or running away to visit or jump the ring boundaries because of distraction is also a necessary skill. While it is nowhere near as precise as heeling in obedience, the agility dog needs to go with you and respond to your movement without interfering with you.

Taking the time to teach basic manners and basic obedience skills will give you a dog that is ready to explore and enjoy the challenges of agility. As an added bonus, you also get a well behaved pet to live with.

Carolyn Fuhrer has earned over 90 AKC titles with her Golden Retrievers, including 2 Champion Tracker titles. Carolyn is the owner of North Star Dog Training School in Somerville, Maine. She has been teaching people to understand their dogs for over 25 years. You can contact her with questions, suggestions and ideas for her column by e-mailing

SCORES & OUTDOORS: It takes many generations of Monarchs to complete migration


by Roland D. Hallee

A little while ago, while watching the National Geographic’s channel on television, I saw an episode of a series called Great Migrations, and became very interested in the Monarch butterflies, who are among the most intriguing of the migrating species.

The monarch, Danaus plexippus, is probably the best known of all North American butterflies. Its wings feature an easily recognizable orange and black pattern, with a wingspan of 3-1/2 – 4 inches.

It takes four generations of Monarch butterflies to complete southern and northern migrations.

The monarch is most famous for its southward migration and northward return in summer in the Americas which spans the lifetime of three to four generations of the butterfly.

The upper side of the wings is tawny-orange, the veins and margins are black, and in the margins are two series of small white spots. The fore wings also have a few orange spots near the tip. The underside is similar but the tip of the fore wing and hind wing are yellow-brown instead of tawny-orange and the white spots are larger.

In North America, the monarch ranges from southern Canada to northern South America.

Monarchs are especially noted for their lengthy annual migration. In North America they make massive southward migrations starting in August until the first frost. A northward migration takes place in the spring. The monarch is the only butterfly that migrates both north and south as the birds do on a regular basis. But no single individual makes the entire round trip. Female monarchs deposit eggs for the next generation during these migrations.

By the end of October, the population east of the Rocky Mountains migrates to the sanctuaries of the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve within the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt pine-oak forests in the Mexican states of Michoacán and México. The western population overwinters in various sites in central coastal and southern California, United States, notably in Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz.

The length of these journeys exceeds the normal lifespan of most monarchs, which is less than two months for butterflies born in early summer. The last generation — also known as the super generation — of the summer enters into a non-reproductive phase and may live seven months or more. These butterflies fly to one of many overwintering sites. The generation that overwinters generally does not reproduce until it leaves the overwintering site sometime in February and March.

It is the second, third and fourth generations that return to their northern locations in the United States and Canada in the spring. How the species manages to return to the same overwintering spots over a gap of several generations is still a subject of research; the flight patterns appear to be inherited, based on a combination of the position of the sun in the sky and a time-compensated sun compass that depends upon a circadian (repeating in a 24-hour cycle) clock that is based in their antennae.

Monarch butterflies are one of the few insects capable of making trans-Atlantic crossings. They are becoming more common in Bermuda due to increased usage of milkweed as an ornamental plant in flower gardens.

Because they feed mainly on milkweed, monarch butterflies are poisonous or distasteful to birds and mammals because of the presence of cardiac glycosides that are contained in milkweed consumed by the larva. It is thought that the bright colors of larva and adults function as warning colors. During hibernation monarch butterflies sometimes suffer losses because hungry birds pick through them looking for the butterflies with the least amount of poison, but in the process killing those that they reject. Some birds, such as orioles and jays have learned to eat only the thoracic muscles and abdominal contents because they contain less poison. In Mexico, about 14 percent of the overwintering monarchs are eaten by birds and mice.

Many people like to attract monarchs by growing a butterfly garden with a specific milkweed species. Many schools also enjoy growing and attending to monarch butterflies, starting with the caterpillar form. When the butterflies reach adulthood they are released into the wild.

A problem in North America is the black swallow-wort plant. Monarchs lay their eggs on these plants since they produce stimuli similar to milkweed. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars are poisoned by the toxicity of this invasive plant.

The common name “Monarch” was first published in 1874 by Samuel H. Scudder because “it is one of the largest of our butterflies, and rules a vast domain.”

Monarchs are beautiful to watch during the summer, but the next time you see one, think of what that particular butterfly may have gone through to be with us.