REVIEWS: Composer: Prokofiev; Film: Baby’s Day Out


by Peter Cates

How I Started Collecting Records- Part 2!

With respect to the Burl Ives 78s discussed in last week’s column, I had the privilege of interviewing the head producer for Columbia’s popular records division and later tv sing along personality, Mitch Miller (1911-2010) in 1992 at Houston’s Lancaster Hotel. When I inquired about the records, he replied that he was present during the 1949-1950 recording sessions and commissioned many of the songs from songwriters. Also the men’s chorus supporting Ives were later members of Mitch’s tv sing along gang ! (Part 3 next week.)


Romeo and Juliet
Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting the New York Philharmonic; Columbia MS 6023, 12-inch vinyl stereo LP, recorded 1958.

Dimitri Mitropoulos

Dimitri Mitropoulos (1896-1960) was yet another of several gifted conductors, alive and dead, who are on my list of favorites. He spent nine years, 1949-1958, as music director of the New York Philharmonic. Here he encountered much disrespect, back biting and other forms of nastiness from players, critics, board members and, most of all, from his successor, the far more well known Leonard Bernstein, who routinely undercut him any way he could while publicly proclaiming the older man as a beloved mentor and the closest of friends.

Meanwhile, despite this cesspool, he conducted many fine performances of a repertoire ranging from Mozart to 20th century composers such as Copland, Shostakovich, etc. The Prokofiev record of excerpts from his great and very popular ballet is a very exciting one. For those who don’t recognize the title beyond its connection to Shakespeare, certain melodies have used on tv and in movies as background.

In private life, he was a very kind, caring man. In order to help others in need, he lived in a second rate hotel and ate in cheap cafeterias and greasy spoons.; thus his earnings assisted with the basic needs of food, lodging, etc., for those unfortunates who came to his attention. He routinely emptied his pockets for the panhandlers.

Finally, he was a lifelong chain smoker, thus suffering from high blood pressure throughout most of his New York Philharmonic years. Both ironically and sadly, after leaving New York in 1958, he encountered greater respect and opportunities conducting in Europe, but his health problems worsened. On November 1st, 1960, in Milan, Italy, he suffered a fatal heart attack on the podium while rehearsing for an eagerly awaited performance of the Mahler 3rd Symphony.

Baby’s Day Out

starring Lara Flynn Boyle, Joe Mantegna, Joe Panteliano, Brian Haley, Cynthia Nixon, Fred Dalton Thompson, etc.; directed by Patrick Read Johnson; 20th Century Fox, released 1994, 99 minutes.

The plot line of this piece of very light entertainment centers on a most lovable crawler of a baby boy, whose parents are beyond super-rich, and his abduction by three hoodlums, posing as baby photographers. It is quite fun from when the baby crawls off to wander around the city and the three kidnappers unleash a Pandora’s Box of grueling pain trying to get him back.

Two such situations :

A. A gorilla protecting the baby brings his fist down on the kidnapper’s hand when the latter tries to snatch the child .
B. The leader of the gang hides little guy inside his coat when two cops walk over to question him. The baby starts a lighter inside the pants, waving it back and forth in front of the hood’s zippered area.

Great fun, despite the movie itself being a box office failure in the US!

Complex renovation would improve ADA access

Community Commentary

During the Friday night football game at Messalonskee, you can find Carlton (Sonny) Mitchell, age 80, and a resident of a seniors’ home in Sidney, sitting in his favorite spot just inside the bleachers to the left, as he cheers on the home team repeating “GO EAGLES!”

Jon Dubois, also of Sidney, drives his brother-in-law Sonny to the games with his family and indicates that Sonny is one of the Eagles’ biggest fans.

Sonny uses a walker and Dubois’s wife also walks with a cane, so they are very eager to see plans move forward to renovate the Messalonskee High School facilities that will give those with limited mobility better access. Dubois states “We need bleachers with a handicap accessible ramp and platform where you can walk right out, and there is a separated space up high just for those who need it with good views of the field.”

RSU#18 has proposed a $13.9 million bond investment to address a number of safety and access related issues which will be on a ballot during the November 7th town voting in Oakland, Sidney, Rome, Belgrade, and China. The Athletic Complex portion of the bond is $3.9 million.

Dubois, who decades ago was part of parent group that put the first lights on the field, states “This investment will eliminate the mud bowls we have had and make the upkeep of the field much easier. There’s a lot of history there of people in the community that would like to see everything updated around this field. I think if it was there, more kids would want to utilize it.”

Along the hill there are always a row of community members placed strategically closest to the parking spaces which sit high above the field to watch the game. Included among them are students and their families that use wheelchairs. Paula Nadeau’s husband has limited mobility and his son graduated from Messalonskee in 2017 playing three sports – football, lacrosse and track. She states “A Dad with mobility issues cannot get to the sidelines to congratulate his son after a victory or console him after a loss. Instead he has to stand on top of the hill watching the other parents while he waits for his son to come to him.”

Donna and Stacy McCurdy have a son who is now a sophomore and uses a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy. They have another child who will be in high school next year. McCurdy states, “Getting there is always a challenge for our family.

According to the Messalonskee Middle and High School All Sports Boosters, the athletic complex renovations will address existing safety and ADA access issues as well as install a competition legal track, 4 sport synthetic turf field and update the existing lights, scoreboard and sound system. The project will quadruple the number of practice/playing hours of this facility opening it up to wider community recreational use. For more information visit

Letters to the Editor, Week of November 2, 2017

Vote Yes on local Question 1

To the editor:

A YES Vote, November 7, on Winslow local Question 1, School Construction Bond, is a vote for:

1) Consolidated, more efficient schools, closing the Junior High.
2) Renovations and additions to the Elementary School and High School to accommodate the Junior High student body.
3) Additions to gymnasium space to accommodate all student P.E. and sports program schedules, and even community rec programs.
4) Renovations to arts space due to addition of Junior High art, band, and chorus students.
5) Renovations to the library to house books and other resources for 7th and 8th grade students.
6) Construction of a theatre large enough to host programming for High School, Junior High, and Elementary School students.
7) Expansion of the High School’s refrigerator and freezer units to handle the increased storage for junior high meal programs.
8) Redesign of cafeteria service lines and seating to speed up food service, allow students time to eat, and increase healthy nutrition participation.
9) Reallocation of Elementary School wings to separate students into appropriate age groups.
10) Parking lot and traffic flow changes at both Elementary and High School to provide safer, more efficient vehicle access.
11) A precautionary fund for the demolition of the old Junior High building, if not sold.
12) A reasonable, steady, 20-year bond payoff schedule.
13) Quality school facilities more likely to attract students from China and Vassalboro and reduce the number of students leaving for charter schools.
14) Schools that attract employment applications from the best teachers in Maine.
15) Investment in local infrastructure that will serve our residents for many decades.
16) School facilities that recognize generations of social change, learning science, and student needs, and comply with modern building codes and educational requirements.
17) A stable community with a promising future, instead of a community of declining significance, declining investment, and declining services.
18) A community desirable to new and returning residents with families; these residents are likely to purchase, renovate, and build homes, increasing the tax base and thus reducing future mil rates.
19) Well-educated, well-rounded students with the best opportunities for success in the world.

This is not just an investment in buildings, but in our children, our community, and our future. I hope you will join me November 7 in voting YES on the Winslow school construction bond.

Thomas McCown

Tom McCowan is a Winslow resident, father, real estate lawyer, and the only non-committee member to attend all of the school construction committee meetings. Visit for essays in support of this referendum.

China voters to decide RSU #18 bond issue

by Mary Grow

Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 officials are presenting voters in the five member towns – Belgrade, China, Oakland, Rome and Sidney – with a $13.9 million bond issue that they hope will be approved at the polls Nov. 7.

Voters in China also have local elections and three local referendum questions, including one asking approval to spend money.

At the first of a series of hearings on the bond issue, on Oct. 23 at China Primary School, RSU #18 Superintendent (and former China principal) Carl Gartley explained what the bond money would be used for. About $10 million will be spent to repair and update school buildings; $3.9 million will help build a new athletic complex at Messalonskee High School in Oakland.

A Facilities Committee composed of community members, RSU staff and the state Fire Marshal recommended funding priorities, Gartley said. The two China schools are slated to get almost $2.4 million worth of work, mostly at the older China Middle School.

Gartley said the committee’s tasks included catching up on work postponed after the 2008 financial downturn, emphasizing safety and looking toward future needs. Since 2010, he said, state funding has decreased and voters continue to resist local tax increases. As a result, in the last eight years China’s school budget has gone up by 6.61 percent, or an average of 0.83 percent per year, not enough to keep up with rising prices. Building maintenance has suffered, despite the RSU applying for and receiving loans from the state’s revolving loan fund.

Proposed improvements at China Middle School include a reorganization and expansion of the gymnasium, a new boiler, a new Americans with Disabilities Act compliant back entrance, paving and interior and exterior lighting upgrades.

China Primary School is slated to get roof repairs to stop leaks, a generator for the boiler room and paving and lighting. Modern lights should reduce costs, Gartley added.

Gartley calculated the cost of the bond in terms of additional taxes on a China house valued at $100,000: $49.10 a year, or $4.09 a month, averaged over the life of the bond.

The Messalonskee athletic complex is needed, Gartley said, because the current facility lacks handicapped access and other amenities. He emphasized that the complex would be for youth sports, gym and health classes and community use, not just for high-school sports teams.

China’s three local ballot questions ask voters if they approve:

  • Spending up to $8,500 from surplus to build a fire pond off Neck Road;
  • Requiring nonprofit organizations seeking town funds to provide a current financial statement in order to have their requests considered by selectmen and the budget committee; and
  • Authorizing selectmen to rent out space on the town’s communications tower behind the town office.

The proposed fire pond would be an enlargement of an existing pond just south of the intersection of Neck and Stanley Hill roads, with permission of the two landowners involved. The project would include an area for fire trucks to load water.

During selectmen’s discussions of the questions, Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said many of the nonprofit groups who seek town support already provide the information that would be required if voters approve the second question.

The town’s tower might be competing with privately-owned area towers. People said, however, that companies seeking to rent tower space look primarily for a location that meets their needs; so the town tower would be requested when no other was as suitable. Selectmen have not talked about criteria for choosing tower users or fees to charge.

Selectmen and the budget committee recommend voters approve all three questions. China polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 7 in the former portable classroom behind the town office.

Obituaries, Week of November 2, 2017


PAHRUMP, NEVADA – Madolyn V. Taber 95, passed away Sunday, October 8, 2017, at her home in Pahrump, Nevada. She was born April 28, 1922, in Augusta.

Madolyn was a member of the Order of Eastern Star for 77 years. She was a Past Matron of Lily of the Valley Chapter #157, in Weeks Mills, and Stardust Chapter #32, in Pahrump, Nevada. She was also a member of Daughters of the Nile, El Giza Temple No. 139, of Las Vegas, Nevada. Madolyn was preceded in death by her husband Kenneth of 57 years, son Fredrick Pierce, father and mother Orrin & Mildred True, sister Barbara Tabb and brother Philip True. Madolyn leaves behind a son, Scott (Debra) Taber, daughters Debby (Thomas) Moore and Barbara (Shawn) Carter; six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. An Eastern Star funeral service was held on October 21, 2017, at the Pahrump Masonic Lodge. Services will also be held in South China at a later date.


WINSLOW – Leroy G. Adams, 87, of Winslow, passed away Tuesday October 24, 2017, at his home. Leroy and his twin sister, Evelyn, were born to Gardner Leroy and Anna Lenard Adams February 15, 1930, in Hartland.

He started his lifelong baking career at Harris Bakery, in Waterville, at 15. For 35 years he worked at and eventually owned McDonald’s Bakery, in Gardiner.

In 1949 he met Lorraine Giroux. They married in 1951, had five children and enjoyed over 66 years of their lives together.

Leroy was a serious gardener, in fact “Gardner” was his middle name. He had lots of interests including camping and fishing but was happiest whenever surrounded by his family. Forever an optimist, one of his famous quotes was “if I was doing any better I’d be worried.”

He was a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in Hallowell, for over 50 years and later a member of the Corpus Christi Parish, in Waterville, and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Leroy is survived by his wife Lorraine; his sons David and his wife Leisa, of Avon, John and his wife Aimee, of Norridgewock, daughters Barbara and husband Alfred, of Litchfield, Susan and her companion Vaughan, of Northport; 15 grandchildren; and a growing number of great-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by his daughter Catherine.

An on-line guestbook may be signed and condolences expressed at

Memorial donations may be made to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, 361 Belgrade Rd., Augusta, ME 04330.


CHINA – Kim Starr Main, 54, died on Thursday, October 26, 2017, at Maine Medical Center, in Portland. She was born November 29, 1962, the daughter of Barbara Maschino and Everett Main Sr.

Kim’s was a good friend to all and was very loving and accepting of others. She had a deep faith in God. Kim was an excellent cook and loved cooking for her kids and grandkids (especially the family recipe of spaghetti and meatballs).

Over the years Kim enjoyed playing bingo with her mother, family and friends. Kim was a shining star, sharing her light and love generously with all who crossed her path. She was particularly fond of Tobey Keith and his music. Kim worked as a CRMA for many years. She genuinely loved and cared for everyone she worked with. Patients often asked for her specifically to care for them.

Kim was predeceased by her father Everett P. Main Sr.

She is survived by her children, Brandy Dickens and finance Stephen Lewis, of Belgrade, Alex Soucy and wife Christina Soucy, of China, Justin Main and finance Carissa Bergeron, of Kennebunkport; her mother, Barbara Maschino, and stepfather Richard Maschino, of Pittston; siblings, Everett (Butch) Main, Jr., of Bath, Cindy Lyford, of Augusta, Auta Main and wife Marianne Roth, of Gardiner, Randall Main and wife Louise Lamarque Main, of Pittston, Melody Main and wife Brenda Greczkowski Adler, of Hallowell, Kevin Main and wife Judy Wilson Main, of Topsham, Tina Dewsnap and husband Arthur (Rusty) Dewsnap III, of Dresden and Kim Abbott and husband David Abbott, of Gardiner. Kim is also, survived by seven grandchildren.

The family has designated the American Cancer Society for memorial contributions.

China town officials honor retiring selectboard member Joann Austin

Joann Clark Austin

Joann Clark Austin

Joann Clark Austin has devoted a significant part of her adult life to public service, approximating 25 years of serving, volunteering or in an elected public office position. Her last day in public office will be on November 1, 2017. Joann’s “getting involved” has had a fundamental meaning to her; a genuine concern for her local community expressed in working for its betterment and caring for those in need within it and having the consciousness of a concerned citizen; the consciousness of a town mother or town father.

This idea of hers, being a town mother, incorporates a sense of understanding how one’s interests are reliant upon the community as a whole. Traditionally the town mother or town father concerned themselves with the investment each had made in the community, whether in public office, business or family. Their (town mothers and town fathers) time and energy were tied to a community in some way.

Joann believes the investment of oneself in community requires an individual to see how her/his personal interests relate directly to community and its members and also to have information on the community and how its needs fit into larger political contexts such as the state of Maine or the nation. To have such information about one’s community in these contexts, Joann believes it requires civil practices that allow for shared conversations on what is the common good. This motivation of Ms. Austin, to perform public service, is driven within a moral context to make the world a better place. Indeed, Joan Clark Austin has made this local community a better place over a long and rewarding life of information gathering on community, many conversations, and service to others. Joann, on behalf of all the citizens in the Town of China, we are GRATEFUL.

/s/ Dan L’Heureux, China Town Manager
/s/ Select Board members Chairman Neil Farrington, Irene Belanger, Ronald Breton, Jeffrey LaVerdiere

China has two soccer champs

China Middle School girls’ soccer team

The China Middle School girls and the China Middle school boys won their respective 2017 Sheepscot Valley Athletic conference championship games played on October 23. Above, the China Clippers girls soccer team, coached by Carl Peterson, defeated Palermo in a very close game, 3-2. The China Clipper boys soccer team, below, coached by Colby Foster, won with a 3-0 shutout against St. Michaels School, of Augusta. Schools that participate in the SVAC are China, Windsor, St. Michael’s, Vassalboro, Palermo, Chelsea, Temple Academy, of Waterville, and Whitefield. Contributed photos

China Middle School boys’ soccer team