SOLON & BEYOND: Another birthday passed; let’s talk about Solon school

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

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

Whewu-u-u! My birthday is finally behind me, and now I can go back to calling the number of years of my age, “Just a number!” And the occasion was celebrated on two different days. On Friday Dave and ‘Pete,’ (Eleanor) came up from Falmouth, Mary and Dave, from North Anson, and Peter and Sherry and Lief and me, from Solon, all got together for lunch and visiting at Griswold’s for lunch. Then on Sunday, Lief and I were invited to a birthday dinner at the home of my daughter, Mary and her husband David Walz, in North Anson. Others there to enjoy the scrumptious dinner were Peter, Sherry, Amanda, Mary J. and Zander. It was wonderful, with lots of special gifts and love shared, the only ones unable to attend were Mark and Karen who are still in Florida, but will be coming up to their summer home in Belgrade soon.

Now for some news from Solon Elementary School; In March the third graders participated in a coloring contest sponsored by the Elks for schools in this region. Out of about 100 students who took part in the contest, four of the six winners came from Solon Elementary School!

Second place winners were David Dixon and Riley Pelkey, who received certificates and checks for $50. Third place winners were Jillian Robinson and Elijah Katz, who received certificates and checks for $25. Congratulations to all the winners.

Third Quarter Honor Roll, All A’s are Katelyn Deleonardis, Kaitlin Dellarma, David Dixon, Gavyn Easler, Courtney Grunder,Machaon Pierce, Macie Plourde, Desmond Robinson, Jillian Robinson, William Rogers,Aaron Soosman and Ciarrah Whittemore.

All A’s & B’s: Gavin Atwood, Karen Baker, Delena Cabral, Charlie Golden, Emmy Golden, Teagan Goodwin, Riley Graham, Zackary Hemond, Veronica Hoffman, Cody James, Madyson McKenny, Aiden McLaughlin, Joseph McLaughlin, Ciara Myers-Sleeper, Abby Parent, Riley Pelkey, Allison Pinkham, Cailan Priest, Thomas Roderick, Gerald Rollins, Brooks Sousa, Fisher Tewksbury and Braden Wheeler. Congratulations.

Happy Spring, Solon Elementary School’s Maine Night, will be held on Thursday, May 16, from 6 – 7 p.m. See the giant map of Maine, participate in fun Maine activities, enjoy Maine treats, receive take-home treats, receive take-homeome bags for kids, take a chance on the door prize. Don’t miss this evening of family fun.

Had a call from another person about the East Madison Grange 141st anniversary who read about it in last week’s column. This event will be open to the public on May 12 and the right time for the supper is 6:30 p.m., and the meeting will be at 7:30 p.m.

Received an e-mail from the Somerset Woods Trustees about their most recent successful cleaning of the Kennebec Banks Rest Area that I have been putting information about the up-coming event. “Thanks to so many who came armed with rakes, chain saws, bags, gloves, shovels, and best of all, wonderful spirits to help us freshen up the Kennebec Banks Rest Area for the spring.

The property was raked clean, trash picked up from the picnic area to Coburn Park, two picnic tables repaired, a large patch of Japanese knotweed knocked down, the kiosk stained, and an invasive honeysuckle shrub removed.

Solon Town Treasurer Sharon Begin is moving and so that position will be open. For more information you may go to the town office and enquire about it.

And so for Percy’s memoir, I’m going to use a special birthday card I received called Ten Wonderful, Wacky Things to remember on Your Birthday, (Percy lived to the ripe old age of 17, old for a cat!) #10 Life is too short to wear pantyhose. #9 Pretending to be a normal person day after day is exhausting. #8 If you want rainbows, you gotta have rain. #7 Never get caught up in the thick of things. #6 Don’t play it safe; make waves…#5 Inches, ages, and sizes don’t tell you anything about the amazing woman inside. #4 Life is about how you handle Plan B. #3 Art does not have to match your sofa. #2 Always color outside the lines… And the #1, most important thing to remember: Age is nothing but a state of mind! (And so to all of you readers, who are my age or older, especially remember # 1!)

Fun learning for local students at Russian sampler

On March 26, more than 100 students from local schools took a variety of Russia-centered classes at Colby College. The Kotlas-Waterville Area Sister City Connection and the Colby Russian Program have sponsored this day of learning about Russian culture for the past 25 years. This year’s students came from Erskine Academy, Mount Merici Academy, Messalonskee Middle School, Oak Hill Middle School, St. John School, and Waterville Junior High School.

The opening assembly featured a video presentation, which introduced students to the geography, history, government, and schools of Russia. Colby Russian Professor Elena Monastireva-Ansdell taught students their first few Russian words, which often had students laughing as they manipulated their tongues around these strange sounds. Almost all students had a chance to learn the
Cyrillic alphabet, practice some Russian conversational phrases and write their names in Russian in Russian language classes.

In February at their home schools, students pre-selected three classes. Some students chose Maine-related topics, such as the work and legacy of Samantha Smith, or the hard work of establishing of a Sister City relationship with the Waterville Area Sister City, Kotlas, Russia, at the height of the Cold War. Classes on kids’ favorite cartoons, Russian fairy tales and Russian schools give students the chance to learn about Russian life and culture and compare and contrast Russian culture with American culture.

This year we were fortunate to welcome a teacher and three high school students from Archangel, Russia, Portland’s Sister City. Teacher Inga Simonova, and students Valeria Potselueva, Liza Platova and Dasha Kozlova visited several classes and answered lots of questions about their families, friends and school curriculum.

Very popular classes had students working in the kitchen, whipping up a vegetable soup recipe or a cookie recipe. It was a treat for everyone when the cooks served their recipes to everyone at lunch time.

All the volunteer presenters and teachers from the Sister City Connection and the Colby Russian Program are firm believers in the educational value of introducing young American students to a culture so different from their own. Participating students reported that Easter Eggs are “awesome,” Russian schools are “amazingly” different from American schools and Russian Sampler is “fun learning.”

If your school might be interested in attending Russian Sampler in future years, please contact the Sister City Connection at, open the About The Connection page, use the Write To Us listing. They will answer your questions promptly.

Palermo principal to retire

The Palermo School Club will be hosting a Community Retirement Gathering for Dale Haywood on Sunday, June 10, from 1 – 3 p.m., at the Palermo Consolidated School. After 28 years as a teacher and principal at Palermo Consolidated School, Dale is retiring. Please stop by the school on this day to wish her good luck.

Chelsea’s Rick Danforth named TOPS head

Rick Danforth

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds SensiblySM), the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1948, and headquarterd there, recently announced that Rick Danforth, of Chelsea, has been named president. Danforth, who replaces Barb Cady, TOPS president since 2005, has been serving as the TOPS State Coordinator for Maine since 2011.

Danforth, who will be the first male president of TOPS, joined a chapter in Maine in 2003 weighing 321 pounds. “I’ve struggled all my life with obesity and tried many programs. I came to TOPS through my wife and decided to join her at a meeting,” he said. “It took me a couple of meetings to realize this is where I needed to be. There was no phoniness in the chapter and no promises that I was going to have instant success. It was real people struggling with real life issues and I could wrap my arms around that.”

In his first year, Danforth lost more than 100 pounds, earning a place in the TOPS Century Club. “I knew I had to lose the weight for me because I wanted to live longer and enjoy time with my eight grandsons,” he said.

Earlier this year, Danforth, who received a bachelor of arts degree in microbiology in 1980 from the University of Maine at Farmington, stepped down as the Quality Assurance Officer/Laboratory Program Advisor/Bioterrorism Officer for the state of Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory, where he had worked since November of 1999. Prior to that, he worked as a microbiologist for MaineGeneral Medical Center for more than 19 years. He has also served as a selectman in the town of Chelsea for the past 25 years.

Working as a scientist assisted him in losing weight. “Specializing in microbiology, we deal in black and white. Working with the TOPS group, I used the same principles–keep it simple,” Danforth said. “Two basic principles of portion control and increasing physical activity were really what I needed.”

As his weight-loss journey requires constant perseverance, the support of the group has kept Danforth involved in the organization. “I stay with TOPS because I’ve learned over the years that when I’ve gained back some weight that I cannot do it alone,” he said. “Life sometimes wears you down and the best thing that can pick you up is the support of a friend. I’ve learned it is OK to take time for yourself by being more active and help others, so they can help you. I’m not afraid to ask for the help I need or to reach out to others in TOPS. We’re here to support each other.”

Marti Stevens’ dream come true: a gem in our community

by Katie Ouilette

Marti Stevens

People do have dreams that come true.

My dad, a shoe-cutter, had dreams of owning his own hardware store, and finally opened Henry’s Hardware, on Chestnut St., in Skowhegan. The late Herb Paradis dreamed of having a television program, and that became a reality on a local broadcasting station.

Now, I thought I knew Marti Stevens well. She had a dream that so many made fun of, but thank heaven she made her dream come true.

Marti loved the theater and became part owner of Lakewood after the Denis ownership. Her other love was education. And with those two attributes, she founded the Marti Stevens Learning Center, on the Norridgewock Road, across from MSAD #54 administrative office.

Marti is gone now, but she left us with a jewel.

A phone call to Barry Sites, the director of the Marti Stevens Learning Center for 30 years, initially about his new membership to the Skowhegan Heritage Council, opened the dialogue about the center.

Marti, who lived on Cornville Road, in Skowhegan, at the time, started the learning center in the kitchen of her home when she realized that young girls who became pregnant were not allowed in the local school systems. They earned their GED in Marti’s kitchen, and now these girls are leaders in a number of area towns. They run businesses or have learned the art of administration.

The Marti Stevens Learning Center has done so much for students that have had a “bump in the road” while growing up. Years ago, people laughed at her and her dream, but she made life “good” for so many of them.

One of only two schools of its kind in Maine, the Marti Stevens Learning Center personnel are in touch with and collaborate with guidance counselors in area schools, and by so doing, find the students who “do not fit well with the present public school system.” The learning center and MSAD #74 collaborate in scheduling graduations, so parents don’t have to miss such an important event in their child’s life.

The Marti Stevens Learning Center is being awarded a grant by Somerset Public Health. The theater will be used over a two-year period to develop an interactive improvisational theater program to create awareness surrounding health problems related to adverse childhood experiences. Sometimes children can illustrate an adverse event they experienced in childhood through acting, rather than talking. Because the same can sometimes be exhibited by a child with drawing, and that is why Mrs. Choiniere will soon be joining the Marti Stevens Learning Center and art will be an important part of the curriculum.

Graduates (about 12 a year) are introduced to professionals and trade folk to help them choose a work path for the future. Actually, like all education opportunities, a thought about the future is introduced through a guidance counselor.

The Marti Stevens Learning Center is funded through MSAD #54.

From South Chicago to Cornville, Maine

Marti Stevens, 1939-1993, was an American educator and theater director. Born in South Side Chicago, Illinois, she spent 10 years as a professional director and actress on off-Broadway stages in New York City before relocating to the rural community of Cornville. Both her parents were musicians. She earned a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and a masters degree at City College of New York.

In 1959, she moved to New York City, where she studied acting with professional coaches Uta Hagen and Gene Frankel. Her efforts to pursue a career in the “avant-garde theater of the 1960s” were disappointing. After ten years of work as an off-Broadway director, occasional acting gigs, and work as a teacher and secretary, she gave up big-city life and moved to Cornville.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Understanding Crohn’s Disease And Ulcerative Colitis

(NAPSI) — If you or someone you care about is among the 1.6 million Americans with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, there are a few facts you may find it helpful to know.

The conditions are collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBD. They affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the area of the body where digestion takes place. The diseases cause inflammation of the intestine and can lead to ongoing symptoms and complications. Although there is no known cause or cure for IBD, there are many effective treatments to help control it.

Anyone can be diagnosed with IBD, but adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35 are the most susceptible. Ten percent of those afflicted develop symptoms before age 18.

Approximately 20 percent of patients have another family member with IBD, and families frequently share a similar pattern of disease.

IBD can vary from one person to the next, but often has a significant effect on quality of life. People often experience ongoing symptoms, reduced ability to work, social stigma and difficulty with physical activities.

Symptoms And Complications

Ulcerative colitis involves the inner lining of the colon, while Crohn’s disease involves all layers of the intestine and can occur in both the small intestine and colon. Here are four things to consider:

  1. Symptoms range from mild to severe and can include any or all of the following: Persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain or cramps, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss, fatigue, joint, skin or eye irritations and delayed growth in children.
  2. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are unpredictable. Some people have no active symptoms for some time (also known as remission). Others require frequent hospitalizations and surgery. Symptoms may vary in nature, frequency and intensity.
  3. Taking medications as prescribed by a doctor can help control symptoms, inflammation and any complications that may arise, such as malnutrition or anemia.
  4. Regular colonoscopies are recommended in IBD patients to monitor inflammation and any growths that can potentially be removed, or changes happening within the colon.


There are medications currently available to help control disease symptoms and inflammation. The most commonly prescribed are aminosalicylates (5-ASA), corticosteroids, immunomodulators, biologic therapies, and antibiotics.

Surgery is sometimes recommended when medications can no longer control symptoms, when there are intestinal obstructions or when other complications arise.

Emotional Factors

IBD does not only affect the body physically. There can also be effects on mental health. Feelings of anxiety and depression can be very common in IBD, as patients learn to cope with everyday living. It is important not to ignore these invisible symptoms and to seek support or to talk to your doctor about any emotional concerns.


There may be times when modifying a patient’s diet can be helpful, particularly when symptoms are active, but there’s no evidence that certain foods cause IBD. No single diet or eating plan works for everyone with IBD. Diets are tailored to each patient.

What’s Being Done

There is critical research in areas of genetics, microbiome and environmental triggers that will help improve quality of life for patients, advance toward precision medicine and, ultimately, lead to new treatment and cures.

Learn More

You can get information, guidance, support, and the latest clinical and research news from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation at You can also join a nearby chapter, connect with others living with these diseases, and get involved. Call the IBD Help Center at 888-MY-GUT-PAIN (888-694-8872) or e-mail

Waterville to host U12 baseball World Series in 2020

Photo by Tawni Lively, Central Maine Photography staff

Cal Ripken Commissioners Barry Jordan and Reg Hatfield have announced that Maine will host the first U12 baseball World Series at Purnell Wrigley Field, in Waterville, in 2020.

Photo by Tawni Lively, Central Maine Photography staff

Benton sixth grader accomplished boxer

Braden Littlefield, 12, of Benton, boxing with Marion Rodriguez. Littlefield was the winner of amateur fight, 101 pound weight class at pro-am night on April 28. (Photo by Central Maine Photography)

Submitted by Mark Huard

Braden Littlefield is a sixth grader at Benton Elementary School and has always played many sports including football and baseball. A year ago Braden started boxing and hasn’t stopped since. He had 12 boxing matches on the amateur circuit where he traveled as far as Virginia with his teammate Cain Shatzer, from Bethel. Littlefield won a bout at this national tournament.

Recently he and his three other teammates featured in the photo (Cain Shatzer, Braden Littlefield, Emma Jones and Quinton Hernandez) traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts, this past Saturday. All four captured Jr. Olympic titles.

Braden Littlefield, right, and Gracien Giroux, of Benton. Photo by Mark Huard)

This group of youth traveled to Canada this year as part of a USA team that competed internationally. Littlefield has captured a New England Silver Gloves championship, along with his teamate Quinton Hernandez, from Old Town, who both moved on to a Regional Championship bout in Herkimer, New York. Littlefield lost a controversial decision to a more experienced New York fighter, and Hernandez won the Regional Silver Gloves Title, but was unable to compete in the nationals due to fracturing his shoulder in the title bout.

All four of these young boxers train together several times a week at Cugno Boxing Gym, in Lewiston. All of the fighters travel quite a distance to train at this gym. Emma Jones is the only local youth coming out of Auburn. They find various meeting spots, but travel and remain a team. They all spire to go as far as they can in the sport which includes fighting as many bouts as they can to gain ring experience.

These young boxers have many older and more experienced boxers in the gym that they look up to, including Breanna Ingalls, who recently joined the U.S. Coast Guard. They all fight under the name Cugno Boxing, for Glenn Cugno, who is a professional boxer that trained with Joe Gamache Sr. at the Lewiston Armory for over 30 years. Cugno took over the gym but remains coaching with Joe Gamache Sr. Coaches Dan Escobar and Scott Frost making up the rest of the coaching staff. Cugno and the rest of the coaches donate any time they have outside of their full time jobs to help these kids stay on a positive path and reach their dreams.

I’m Just Curious: Myths!

by Debbie Walker

Some weeks I could probably get into trouble if it wasn’t for the full crew of “Keepers” in my world. I’ll admit some of the things I have an interest in others just shake their heads; I enjoy living in a continued childhood even if it is only in my head. Books for children can be very interesting and I have found things in their books that I did not know. It’s all fun.

This week I was looking at the National Geographic KIDS Almanac 2014. There was a caption on the front, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Everything!”

Animal Myths Busted:

Adult opossums do not hang by their tails. (I haven’t seen any up here but I did in Florida.)

Porcupines do not shoot their quills. (but they sure can put a hurt on a dog!)

How about “Elephants are afraid of mice.” Myth!

I read that the elephant’s eyesight is so bad they would never even see a mouse!

Another myth, one I hadn’t heard was that goldfish only have a three second memory. (imagine that test!!) I can tell you from experience they can remember who will feed them and when they expect it. I saw it in person as grandson’s fish knows son-in-law is the feeder. The fish swims to whichever direction son-in-law is walking in the kitchen.

And yet another myth:

“Bulls charge when they see red.” (They prefer VISA!) Sorry, I couldn’t resist! It was never the color of the bull fighter’s cape, it was actually the motion.

How about the myth “eating carrots improves your eyesight.” That was a hoax in World War II. British soldiers claimed to have excellent night vision because they consumed carrots. The carrot bit was used to confuse Germans. It was to take their attention away from British radar.

Okay, so much for all that stuff.

Last week I printed “A TEST for OLD KIDS” and I promised the answers would be here this week. I am sure you are anxiously awaiting the answers! (If you missed The Test you can find it online here.) For all others the answers follow:


01. The Lone Ranger left behind a silver bullet.
02. The Ed Sullivan Show
03. On Route 66
04. To protect the innocent.
05. The Lion Sleeps Tonight
06. The limbo
07. Chocolate
08. Louis Armstrong
09. The Timex watch
10. Freddy, The Freeloader and ‘Good Night and God Bless.’
11. Draft cards (Bras were also burned. Not flags, as some have guessed)
12. Beetle or Bug
13 Buddy Holly
14. Sputnik
15. Hoola-hoop

I am, as usual, just curious! I would love to hear how you made out!! Contact me with questions or comments at Thanks for taking the time out of your day to look over The Town Line.

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Rimsky-Korsakov, Janacek, Tom Petty, and Little Jimmy Dickens

Peter Catesby Peter Cates


Seiji Ozawa conducting the Boston Symphony; Stravinsky: Firebird Suite-Lorin Maazel conducting the Berlin Radio Symphony; Khachaturian: Gayne Ballet Suite excerpts- Gennady Rozhdestvensky conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic; Deutsche Grammophon- 413 155-4, 88 minute cassette, from 1960 and 1978 original tapes.

The exotic, very listenable and ever popular Scheherazade has received a deluge of recordings since the beginning of records; conductor Andre Previn once commented on its popularity among musicians as the reason for the high quality of most recordings, as opposed to other frequently recorded pieces.

Seiji Ozawa conducted a nice performance with the Boston Symphony back in 1978 that is part of the above tape, along with 2 other items, from different conductors and orchestras- namely the Stravinsky Firebird Suite and Khachaturian Gayne Suite. This cassette of 88 minutes of great Russian orchestral music may be deleted but it often shows up at used record stores and thrift shops and on Amazon.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Reprise-523971-2, CD, recorded 2010.

Tom Petty (1950-2017) was, I confess, one artist I had little familiarity with before hearing this CD. And it is one great collection of 15 songs that are most definitely rock, but exciting, musically satisfying rock that will withstand repeat hearings, unlike most other albums of the genre.

One powerful, moving track is the last one, Good Enough, about the narrator’s past love for a woman who had the kind of allure that would consume one’s soul – hence the reason to finally cut her loose or be destroyed:

“God bless this land/God bless this whiskey/I can’t trust love/It’s far too risky/If she marries into money/She’s still gonna miss me/And that’s good enough/Gonna have to be good enough.”


Slavonic Mass
Bretislav Bakala conducting the Brno Radio Symphony Orchestra, chorus, and soloists; Urania URLP 7072, 12- inch LP, recorded early ‘50s.

Leos Janacek (1854-1928) was to 20th century Czech classical music what Antonin Dvorak was in the 19th century – two composers who carved a unique importance in their country’s cultural life that prevails to this day.

During his early years, Janacek displayed talent in playing piano and organ and conducting choirs. For a while, he was a music critic but got into trouble with some powerful institutions because of his very severe, outspoken opinions. Thus he practically starved for a few years. Eventually, he found work as a conductor and established a music conservatory in the Czech city of Brno, where he spent upwards of 40 years teaching, researching and composing.

His compositions began flowing in 1904 with the opera, Jenufa, when he was already 50. But it was another 12 years before it became an international success and brought fame to its composer. Other works followed, firmly establishing Janacek as a major figure of his time.

The main reason for the popularity of his music was its wild, very exciting use of irregular, complicated rhythms and exotic half-melodies. Many listeners, including myself, were grabbed by these works when hearing them for the first time, without knowing or even caring what was happening. His Sinfonietta is an excellent introduction and can be heard on youtube in a number of different performances.

The above Slavonic Mass is similarly characterful, far from being the typical solemn affair that Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven, and Verdi wrote, just to name a few great examples. But it too has a beauty of its own, even though eerie, weird, haunting and startling are adjectives that come to mind.

Its world premiere wasn’t until shortly after Janacek’s death in 1928, while the first US performance in 1930 in New York City utilized singers and musicians from the Metropolitan Opera. This week’s record features the extraordinarily gifted conductor, Bretislav Bakala (1897-1958), delivering an interpretation of exceptional drama, atmosphere, poetry and sheer power and setting a standard for later recordings, several of which are very fine. I own a few of them featuring such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Kempe, Karel Ancerl, Antoni Wit, etc.

An addendum: Unfortunately, Bakala left the tiniest handful of recordings, but a CD often cheaply priced, is floating around on a few sites such as Berkshire Record Outlet, and Amazon; it features mid-’50s Iron Curtain radio broadcasts of him and the great Russian pianist, Sviatoslav Richter, collaborating in two very exciting and satisfying performances of the Beethoven First and Third Piano Concertos. Very highly recommended!

Little Jimmy Dickens

Country Boy; I’m Fading Fast with the Time
Columbia-20585, ten-inch 78, recorded 1949.

Standing 4 feet, 11 inches tall, Jimmy Dickens (1920-2015) nicknamed himself “Little” after he began scoring hits. He was singing on a Saginaw, Michigan, radio station where he was heard by Roy Acuff, who then brought him to the attention of both Columbia records and the Grand Ole Opry. Country Boy hit #7 on the charts along with numerous others during his 17-year association with the label before leaving in 1965 to record for Decca and, in 1971, United Artists.

This record contains two songs imbued with a pleasant, down home, endearing charm that was uniquely his own. In 1951, he would be instrumental in paying Roy Acuff’s good deed forward by discovering Marty Robbins and bringing him to the attention of Columbia.