SCORES & OUTDOORS: With a song bird shortage, there are plenty of crows


by Roland D. Hallee

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the lack of song and migratory birds at our backyard feeders. Although there seems to be a little improvement, the numbers are still not at the levels of past years. However, there is one thing I have noticed, the abnormal number of crows that have settled in and around my property in Waterville. I have never seen so many hanging around.

Usually, in mid-November, while I’m out raking leaves and pine needles, I witness a great migration of crows when, literally, thousands of crows fly overhead and move on toward the horizon. I see that every year, except this year. Something is amiss in our environment. Not only have I not seen the crow migration, and instead, taking up residents in my yard, especially from my trees where they deposit their calling cards. Speaking of trees, I have a Norway maple near my driveway and the leaves are still clinging to the branches, and haven’t even turned color yet. They are still green! What’s with that?

Anyway, back to the crows.

Crows are common and widespread. Males tend to be larger than females. There are many species of crows but the one we most associate with is the American crow. They are large, distinctive birds with iridescent black feathers. Mature birds are usually 16 – 20 inches in length, with about 40 percent of which is tail. Their wingspan is approximately 33 – 39 inches. The life span of the American crow in the wild is 7 – 8 years, while they have been known to live up to 30 years in captivity.

Crows also resemble the much larger raven. When they are flying at a distance, they are difficult to distinguish from each other. Ravens have a larger head and a lonzenge-shaped tail.

The range of the American crow extends from the Atlantic Ocean in Canada to the Pacific Ocean, and south through the United States into Mexico.

The crow are omnivorous, which explains why they are probably hanging around in the city, especially when my neighbors put their trash out to the curb too early, and the crows gather to sample the fare in the bags by ripping them open. They not only eat all types of carrion, but also human food, seeds, eggs and nestlings, fish on the shore and various grains. They will also prey on mice, frogs, and other small animals. They will scavenge landfills, scattering garbage in the process, which makes them considered a nuisance.

Their only redeeming quality is that they eat insect pests which helps agriculture. They are also carriers of the West Nile virus. However, the direct transmission of the virus from the crows to humans is unheard of and unlikely. I have found dead crows in my backyard, which I suspect was the result of the West Nile virus. The West Nile virus was accidentally introduced in the United States in 1999, apparently by an infested air traveler who was bitten by a mosquito. Since they are susceptible to the virus, the crow population has dropped by up to 45 percent since 1999. You couldn’t prove that by me based on what I mentioned earlier. Despire this decline, the species is considered of least concern.

The American crow is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, but despite the attempt by humans to drive the birds away, BirdLife International estimates the crow population to be at 31 million birds. The large number of birds and its wide range is the reason they are not considered threatened.

Maybe that explains the large number of birds in and around my backyard. There are so many of them, they may not have any place to go.

Legal Notices, Week of November 30, 2017

18-A MRSA sec. 3-801

The following Personal Representatives have been appointed in the estates noted. The first publication date of this notice is November 30, 2017.

If you are a creditor of an estate listed below, you must present your claim within four months of the first publication date of this Notice to Creditors by filing a written statement of your claim on a proper form with the Register of Probate of this Court or by delivering or mailing to the Personal Representative listed below at the address published by his name, a written statement of the claim indicating the basis therefore, the name and address of the claimant and the amount claimed or in such other manner as the law may provide. See 18-A MRSA 3-804.

2017-309 – Estate of SHIRLEY J. HILTON, late of Norridgewock, Me deceased. Franklin C. Hilton, 940 Sandy River Road, Norridgewock, Me 04957 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-312 – Estate of HAROLD E. WILBER, late of Hartland, Me deceased. Dianne J. Whalen, PO Box 373, Canaan, Me 04924 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-314 – Estate of JONATHAN R. VINING, late of Jackman, Me deceased. Lori Vining, 82 Dana Mill Road, Woolwich, Me 04579 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-317 – Estate of MARVIN T. BRANN, late of Norridgewock, Me deceased. Trixie Brann, 204 White School House Road, Madison, Me 04950 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-319 – Estate of RICHARD E. MOORE, late of Moscow, Me deceased. Stephanie A. Moore, 279A Langdon Road, Richmond, Me 04357 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-320 – Estate of DAVID S. MILLS, SR., late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. Holly Hannon, 42 Carey Lane, Apt 1, Waterville, Me 04901 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-321 – Estate of HENRY S. DUNLAP, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. Patricia D. Knowles, 4489 NW 2nd Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50313 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-322 – Estate of ELIZABETH STOCKFORD, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. Galen L. Stockford, 214 Case Road, Winthrop,Me 04364 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-324 – Estate of MERVIN L. KERR, late of Harmony, Me deceased. David Kerr, 148 Beans Corner Road, Pittsfield, Me 04967 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-327 – Estate of LIONEL R. MARQUIS, late of Athens, Me deceased. Dolores Marquis, 44 Vernal Huff Road, Athens, Maine 04912 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-328 – Estate of MADELINE E. NANGLE, late of St. Albans, Me deceased. Ryan P. Nangle, 5 Pinewood Drive, Hudson, NH 03051 appointed Personal Representative.

2017-329 – Estate of GEORGE O. COONEY, late of St. Albans, Me deceased. George M. Cooney, 36 Rand Hill Road, St. Albans, Me 04971 appointed Personal Representative.

To be published on November 30 & December 7, 2017
Dated: November 27, 2017 /s/ Victoria Hatch,
Register of Probate



Notice is hereby given by the respective petitioners that they have filed petitions for appointment of personal representatives in the following estates. These matters will be heard at 10 a.m. or as soon thereafter as they may be, on December 13, 2017. The requested appointments may be made on or after the hearing date if no sufficient objection be heard. This notice complies with the requirements of 18-A MRSA §3-403 and Probate Rule 4.

2017-326 – Estate of PARKER JAMES SEWALL. Petition for Change of Name (Minor) filed by Joshua Paul St. Clair, 258 Birchwood Terrace, Pittsfield, Me 04967 requesting minor’s name be changed to Parker James St. Clair for reasons set forth therein.

[Note: Item removed at owner’s request. August 24, 2018.]

Dated: November 27, 2017 /s/ Victoria Hatch,
Register of Probate

I’m Just Curious: The story of Humpfree

by Debbie Walker

I apologize, I goofed last week. I thought I had sent in my column. OOOppps, in checking my computer for “last sent to Townline,” a big OOPS, I had not sent one after the “Mother’s Sayings”.

It’s not something I really want to think much about. Today is the day after Thanksgiving and I believe in years past it has been the biggest shopping day of the year. All I really want to say about the whole subject is: CHRISTMAS IS COMING! No, I am NOT ready!

I have to tell you a little story about my pocketbook. His name is Humpfree and he is a Maine moose. Patsy found my moose at our favorite thrift store, the little one in Unity village. In our classroom we have a theme of Maine animals so I was thrilled with what I thought was a stuffed moose. Guess what! The moose was a bag; it was possibly just a kid’s overnight bag. It is now my pocketbook. He is rather large (so am I!), and he is quite noticeable. The kids at school just love Humpfree and so does my niece, Haliegh. Well, you know we have a hunting season here in Maine, we had to protect Humpfree from the hunters. He had to wear some orange, so we put a pair of orange gloves on his antlers! He was safe. I say “was” because today we removed the “orange” and put little LED blue lights on his antlers. The lights are beautiful! So if we wind up in Waterville shopping and you see us be sure to stop us and say “Hi”.

I have to tell you the neatest thing about carrying Humpfree, it’s people’s reaction to him. Some people will smile, some will laugh out loud and others will stop to laugh and chat. Carrying Humpfree has been a wonderful experience.

Coming soon will be a Santa pocketbook and after that I think it will be the pig, for a pocketbook! Santa and the pig both had to be adapted. I told you before that I have just too much fun. Oh, I have to tell you what Mom said. I think she was embarrassed about some of my actions, but then said that her saving grace was she was able to tell people that I work with first and second grade kids (like that makes it ok).

As usual I am just curious what makes you smile. Please, any questions, comments, or thoughts, send to Don’t forget to check us out online!! Thanks for reading!

REVIEWS – Musicians: Gene Krupa & Anita O’day; Album: Christmas with the Lennon Sisters


by Peter Cates

How I Started Collecting Records, Part 6.

A chance encounter during the summer of 1962 led to a consuming fascination with classical music that still prevails today. I came into the living room late one warm August afternoon where I found Mom in conversation with a door-to-door salesman. Somehow the talk turned to books, which still didn’t grab my attention – my interest in collecting and intensive reading was sparked later in eighth grade, but then he commented on having some nice records as well. By 11, I was interested in records in general and enjoyed pawing through people’s collections, when given permission.

The gentleman was Leslie Davis; he invited me to his house that night, which is still located directly across the street from the East Vassalboro Grange Hall; he had recently moved there from North Carolina with his wife, Annette, who was a native of here and whose parents had owned and lived in the house several years earlier before they both passed away; and he then owned about 125 classical LPs, to my mind a humongous collection. We began a friendship of 20 years, ending with his death in 1982, at 66.

He opened my ears and heart to many beautiful symphonies and concertos, via his Motorola monaural console, but disliked opera because it contained, in his own words, “too much screeching.” I used to put his records in order very often and for free because I loved the covers, titles and labels- red seal Victors, Angels, Capitols, Columbia Masterworks, etc.

Even though I went away for periods of a few years, I always gravitated to the Davis home for spirited talk about books, records and other subjects, and a few shared meals. Annette died in 2005 and willed the records to Vassalboro Historical Society, who, in turn, made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Thus the coming full circle!

Gene Krupa – How High the Moon; Tea for Two

with singer Anita O’Day; Columbia, 38345, ten-inch shellac 78, recorded 1945.

Gene Krupa

Drummer Gene Krupa (1909-1973) gave the instrument new depths of musical expression with his extended solo in Benny Goodman’s megahit Sing Sing Sing! during a big band era tenure with the clarinettist. By the early ‘40s, he had his own orchestra and hooked up with Anita O’Day (1919-2006), with whom he would record 44 sides.

Her rendition of Tea for Two is intelligently sung, nuanced but still swinging, a true classic which straddles the fence between big band and post-World War II bop. The purely instrumental How High the Moon is one pulsating beauty.

Anita O’Day

Although both Krupa and O’Day were musically very accomplished and popular with their fan base, they had their own individually private struggles with alcohol and drugs. Coincidentally on separate occasions, they were each arrested for marijuana possession and sentenced to 90 days in the lockup.

Christmas with the Lennon Sisters

Dot DLP 25343, 12-inch vinyl stereo LP, recorded 1961.

The Lennon Sisters were talented, whatever one’s individual opinion might be, and their performances of the 14 carols contained herein are consistent in quality with the girls’ records elsewhere. Although I am not their biggest fan, I do enjoy them in small doses, and find their singing here of Adestes Fideles beautifully arranged and nuanced, thanks to the conductor, Milt Rogers.

Unfortunately, I was only able to hear six songs complete, two abridged but missed out on the other six due to a large piece of the record missing.

For Your Health: Older People Improve Life For Others And Themselves

For Your Health

(NAPSI)—Many older Americans have discovered that sharing their accumulated wisdom with others who need help can be a big win all around.
Here’s a look at two ways you can stretch your mind and show your heart:

Experience Corps

AARP Foundation Experience Corps unites teachers, schools and older adults to improve children’s academic and social outcomes. This benefits the children, the schools and the volunteers.
The program has been proven to help children who aren’t reading at grade level become better readers by the end of third grade. Last school year, 76 percent of students who were below grade level at the beginning of the year raised their reading and literacy performance by one or more proficiency levels with the help of Experience Corps volunteers.
The goal is to improve children’s literacy, strengthen communities, develop cultures of inspiration in schools and support hardworking teachers. It’s already changed the lives of thousands of children in schools across America.
Volunteers should be age 50 or older; have at least a high school diploma or GED; pass a criminal background check; pass a basic literacy screening; attend 25 hours of annual training; and have five to 15 hours a week to offer during the school year.


AARP Foundation also runs Tax-Aide, the nation’s largest free tax assistance and preparation service, giving special attention to those 50 and older. It offers free tax-filing help to those who need it most. You do not need to be a member of AARP or even a retiree to use this free service.
IRS tax-certified volunteer preparers in libraries, malls, banks, community centers and senior centers answer questions and prepare tax returns. In addition to earned and retirement income reporting, they can also help with investment income (interest, dividends, and capital gains for Schedule D), Schedule C for individuals with small businesses that have less than $25,000 in annual expenses, and various health care, education, child and earned income credits.
Compassionate and friendly individuals can volunteer for the upcoming tax season. Volunteers receive training and continued support in a welcoming environment.

Learn More

For facts about Tax-Aide, including requirements for volunteers, go to For facts on Experience Corps, visit For information about AARP Foundation, visit

Glowa announces run for state Senate seat

John Glow (image credit: ballotpedia)

John M. Glowa, Sr., a 31-year resident of China, has filed to run as a Maine Clean Election candidate for the District #15 Senate seat which includes Augusta, Sidney, Oakland, Vassalboro and China. Glowa retired from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in 2016 after more than 29 years of state service and ran in 2016 for the District #79 seat in the Maine House of Representatives.

“One of Maine’s biggest problems is our poorly functioning state government. We need to identify what is broken and fix it. Our system of checks and balances between the branches of government is virtually non-existent. Our legislature passes laws and establishes programs with little or no accountability for how those laws and programs are administered. We need an effective system of auditing all government programs and for holding our government accountable. The legislature and the governor overturn citizen’s initiatives and defy the will of the people by holding public monies hostage. We can no longer afford just window dressing when it comes to writing and passing legislation. Unless we identify and fix what is broken with the system, we will never have a government that is truly representative of the people and it will continue to be run largely by and for the special interests.

“We need a government that promotes opportunities for our young people and is capable of solving a myriad of problems including, but not limited to education, mental health, substance abuse, the environment, the economy, the needs of our growing elderly population, gun safety and taxes. We cannot afford a government that is inefficient, ineffective and wasteful. Maine doesn’t need career politicians.

“We need qualified, capable people in government who know what is wrong, how to fix it and who have the political courage to do so.

“Having served the people of Maine for some three decades, like thousands of State employees, I have been subject to the political whims of numerous legislatures and governors. We must recognize our employees’ hard work and dedication to public service. We must stop treating them as second-class citizens. We must encourage them to speak up for what is right, not punish them or prevent them from doing so. We must attract and retain the best and brightest because our government is only as good as the people in it.”

Glowa is a lifelong sportsman, environmentalist, and animal and wildlife advocate. He has attempted for more than a two decades to reform Maine’s broken system of fish and wildlife management. He is a strong advocate for Maine’s environment and ecosystem and for educating the public about the ecological and economic importance of restoring Maine’s natural predator/prey relationships including wolves. He is also a strong advocate for Maine’s economy and, in particular, its wildlife watching industry which generates $1.3 billion in annual economic activity, supports nearly 18,000 jobs, pays nearly $500 million in annual salaries and wages, and generates nearly $200 million in annual tax revenue.

SOLON & BEYOND, Week of November 30, 2017

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

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

This week I’m going to start out with some great news….we have a few birds coming back to our bird feeders! It is mostly blue jays, who tend to scare off the smaller birds, but we have seen a pair of cardinals a few times. There are a few brave little chickadees who show up after the blue jays get filled up, and it seems so good to have them all back at last.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with family and friends, it is so much fun to see and visit with those who live so far away, and those near-by as well.

Peter and Sherry hosted my family’s Thanksgiving at their home on the River Road, in Solon, as they have done for years. There were over 30 in attendance but as always, there was an abundance of wonderful food, much laughter and love to share. To show how popular this is every year, Mark and Karen drive up from Florida, then after the luscious dinner, fun and game they head back to warmer weather that night. I am always happy when I receive the call saying they reached home safely.

Every year Peter and Sherry dream up and decorate their home for the festivities, this year the theme was poker and the decorations were spectacular! For several years now the event has been held in their garage because of the many family members attending. When they built the garage they put a good heating system out there and so it was cozy and warm with two long tables set for the dinner. Around the room there were sections set up for the games later, they try to arrange it so there aren’t any two from the same household on each of the four teams, (I think they thought there was some hanky panky because Lief and I wound up on the same team, but we didn’t tell.) The last game was when a member of each team sat down to play a game of poker. The members of the team I was on practically dragged me to the table where the game was to be played, with me protesting all the way. I had played a little poker in my younger days, but had forgotten it, until I drew a card which even I could see was a really bad one, and was about to throw my cards down, when I looked up at my advisor (Ben, and he is good at bluffing, and we won the game!)

A festive evening with the Liberty String Band, hosted by the Solon Congregational Church, will be held on Saturday, December 9, at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Admission by donation.

Next Sunday, December 3, at 4 p.m., the 7th annual Christmas Program; this includes a Christmas pageant by the Sunday School, skits and readings, special music and carol singing. There will also be light refreshments after the program. Hope you can attend and let your friends, family and neighbors know about this opportunity to capture the Christmas spirit. (I know I shouldn’t brag, but my daughter, Mary Walz, puts a lot of love and time into this annual event, and I really think the Christmas spirit should be able to be caught there.)

Over night guests of ours recently were Lief’s son and daughter-in-law, Dean and Cheryl Bull, from Georgia. We really enjoyed their visit and wish we lived nearer together.

My apologies for the fact that I was really long winded when writing about the annual Thanksgiving family get-together at Peter and Sherry’s. There will be more Thanksgiving news to share with you next week. Hope more of you will want to share your family Thanksgiving also. Thanks.

And so for Percy’s memoir: “Do something today to bring gladness To someone whose pleasures are few. Do something to drive off sadness – Or cause someone’s dream to come true. Find time for a neighborly greeting And time to delight an old friend; Remember, – the years are fleeting And it’s latest day will soon end! Do something today that tomorrow Will prove to be really worth while; Help someone to conquer sorrow And greet the new dawn with a smile – For only through kindness and giving Of service and friendship and cheer, We learn the pure joy of living And find heaven’s happiness here.”

GARDEN WORKS: It’s Tree Time! – Autumn tree planting = Success


by Emily Cates

Many folks are surprised to learn that autumn is a good time for planting trees. Once a good frost has arrived and trees drop their leaves, it’s a sign that “Tree Time” has begun! To make this event a success, let’s keep a few things in mind. The following suggestions apply not only to trees, but also to shrubs, vines, and other hardy plants.

Good planting candidates should be dormant, young, and small enough to move without too much bother. (A larger-sized plant will be easier to move if it was root-pruned last season by a sharp spade plunged into the radius of soil around it.) Try to get as many roots as reasonably possible. If the roots must be pruned, cut away areas that are damaged in the process, and remember to proportionately trim branches from the top of the tree.

All right, now it’s time to plant, preferably into an already-prepared, rock-free, planting hole which was dug with more than enough room for the roots. Special emphasis should be placed on the width of the planting hole, with enough vertical depth to accommodate an equal depth to which the plant resided previously. Be sure to work loose any compacted areas in the hole. Grafted specimens can be planted with the graft at or under soil level if it is desirable for the scion to form its own roots.

Many folks are surprised to learn that autumn is a good time for planting trees. Internet photo

Careful placement of the tree and back-filling of the soil is done best when the roots are evenly spread out. If a root does not fit, do not bend it back towards the tree. Either proportionately prune the root and top, or widen the planting hole. A huge success factor is the amount of water added at this time. Don’t be afraid to make a soupy mess, the tree will love you for it! As the soil is back-filled, water adequately to the point of saturation. Gently wiggle the tree back and forth to get rid of air bubbles. Pack the soil down gently when finished back-filling, and add a nice, thick layer of mulch to keep weeds at bay and to conserve moisture. Old rotted hay or aged sawdust are good choices. Whatever is used, it should be pulled away from the base of the tree. Hold off on fertilizers at this time, but be sure to keep the soil around the tree well-watered, to the point of saturation. Check every day or two by poking around the soil, adding enough moisture, doing so until the ground freezes. This is perhaps the most important aspect of fall planting. After all, this is the moisture that will carry the plant through from freeze to thaw.

To help prevent sun scald from the winter sun, apply a coat of interior latex paint applied from the base to several inches above the snow-line. Wrapping smaller trees, shrubs, and vines with a collar of tin foil (removed in Springtime) will accomplish this and also deter uninvited four-footed, furry guests from munching away all our hard work. While we’re at it, let’s make sure to mark our plants so that the snow plow driver or Aunt Maybelle sees them.

Now it’s tea time! What better way to plant a tree than with a spot of tea?

SEARCH annual dinner

SEARCH’s annual fall dinner celebrating seniors and their volunteers was held in October. The SEARCH (Seeking Elderly Alone, Renew Courage and Hope) program of Catholic Charities provides volunteers for seniors so they can live more independently in their home. For more information about how you can make a difference in a senior’s life right here in the Kennebec Valley please contact Lynn at 530-0137 or

Contributed photo

Annual Christmas tree sales from St. Denis Knights of Columbus

St. Denis Knights of Columbus Council #1423 of North Whitefield will be selling Christmas Trees starting Friday, November 24, through Friday December 22, at these locations:

  1. End Zone Pizza & Deli – 315 Eastern Ave., in Augusta, Friday Nov. 24 thru Sunday Nov. 26, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thereafter Thursdays thru Sundays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The last day is Friday Dec. 22.
  2. Sheepscot General Store – Sunday Nov. 26 thru Friday Dec. 22.
  3. St. Denis Church – Sundays after the 11 a.m. Mass, behind the church.

The trees are from Pleasant View Tree Farm in Searsmont, freshly cut, custom groomed and wrapped for easy loading,  Trees are $25 each. Proceeds to benefit local charities.  For more information or to order your tree in advance please call Bob Lamothe 207-845-2320 or Pete Taylor 207-542-0820.