GARDEN WORKS: 10 plants you never want in your garden space

Japanese Knotweed – one of ten plants you shouldn’t plant in your garden.

Emily Catesby Emily Cates

No! Don’t do it! If you’re thinking of planting any of the plants in this article in your garden, think again before you make a mistake.

Though it’s certainly a lovely time to be outdoors working in our gardens, our toils could increase a not-so-lovely hundredfold as a consequence of just one indiscretion. This article is meant to prevent that. Read on to examine just ten blunders an unwise gardener could commit.

10. American Plum (Prunus americana). This wonderful tree with delicious fruits will oftentimes freely sucker from its roots and form thickets with occasional thorns. Who wants that in their garden? Plant plums where they can be mowed around, easily pruned, and thoroughly enjoyed.

9. Autumn Olive (and possibly other Elaeagnus spp. including Russian Olive). Shrubs in this family are oftentimes highly-touted as soil-building and edible landscaping plants. However, some of them are also known to be invasive. Mowing around them is an ineffective means of keeping them in check, as birds and other wildlife love the fruit and will spread the seeds. Some sources claim invasiveness is not a problem with this plant in our area, though from observing colonies of Russian Olive nearby in Winslow and China, I have seen first-hand how they can definitely get out of control. If you must have the fruits, then- instead of planting – make friends with someone who already grows it who doesn’t mind sharing.

Chinese Lantern

8. Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengi). These cute ornamentals can really take over. No need to plant them; if you’re looking for a few to put in floral arrangements, enough folks have them around to find a bunch someone is willing to part with.

7. Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus). Don’t. Just don’t.

6. Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica). I grew up with a colony of this intriguing bamboo-like plant in my yard. Thankfully it was contained enough in an out-of-the way spot, but other neighbors were not so fortunate. The super-villain of invasives, I have yet to see it eradicated successfully. (Please let me know if you have!) Though, I might add, knotweed is also regarded as a super-hero by those suffering from Lyme disease who claim to benefit from its medicinal properties. And though this invasive oftentimes forms monocultures and crowds out native plants, at least I can say the “bamboo forest” was a lot of fun to play in as a kid!

5. Hops (Humulus lupulus). I made the mistake of planting this vigorous vine beloved by brewmasters and herbalists in a raised garden bed one year. It took several years thereafter of meticulously digging up each rhizome fragment to get rid of it. Hops is a great plant if given its own space with something to climb on – preferably away from the garden.

4. Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). It’s one of those plants that is beloved in the kitchen, but hated in the garden. Coexistence is possible, but for best results, plant in an area you can mow around.

3. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale). First, the pros: The plants are full of soil-building nutrients and make some of the best compost tea around. Comfrey likewise makes a good companion plant for orchards. Depending on the cultivar, it is also highly esteemed by herbalists in first-aid salves used externally. However, one must be fully aware of the cons: Comfrey has a lurid reputation for being invasive. Keep it far away from the garden, keep it mowed, and keep it harvested before it goes to seed. And never till or chop the roots, lest it take over
the planet!

2. Nettle (Urtica dioica). I have a love-hate relationship with this plant. While I thoroughly enjoy highly nutritious steamed nettle greens in the springtime and making cordage with the stalk fibers, oh how it stings! No matter how hard I try (with garden gloves, mind you), I just can’t seem to get rid of it. In the meantime, I try to focus on all the good qualities of nettle, and then kick myself every time I brush up against it in the blueberry patch.

1. Blackberry (Rubus spp.). Okay, here’s Number One on my list! Go ahead. Call me a dummy. I deserve it because years ago I planted a row of blackberries in the middle of my garden. What was I thinking?! Now every year since, I have the added task of pulling out multitudes of thorny canes that refuse to go away and jab at me through sturdy work clothes. Thankfully a lot of them have worked their way over to a spot next to the garden where they are tolerated. The original plants and their progeny seem to have slowed down slightly in areas where I persistently attack them with loppers and mowers. But to this very day I regret even liking the taste of blackberries. Let this be a lesson to save others from such pain!

Thanks for reading. If you know of other plants you would like to add to the list, feel free to send a comment on our website or Facebook page. Until next time, happy gardening!

ERIC’S TECH TALK: Why we’re losing the battle for personal privacy

by Eric W. Austin

Do you think it’s a hassle when you have to cancel a lost or stolen credit card? Are you annoyed when your email gets hacked? Does it unnerve you to know your Facebook and Twitter posts are used to target you for advertising? Are you alarmed at the idea of Russian trolls and political activists using psychological-warfare techniques to wage influence campaigns against American voters?

I’m here to say: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Last week, news everywhere buzzed with reports of the Golden State Killer – also known as the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, and the Diamond Knot Killer – captured more than 20 years after the last of his crimes were committed. Connected to 12 murders and at least 50 rapes, this man terrorized Sacramento County and parts of Southern California from 1976 to 1986.

What broke the case? And why has it caused a new eruption in debates about data privacy?

As they like to say in the old detective novels, the case had grown cold. The suspect left copious amounts of DNA behind at the crime scenes but, although DNA analysis has improved over the years, police could not find a match.

The breakthrough in the case came about because of a combination of two recent technological innovations: the Internet, and the availability of genetic testing for average consumers.

Personal genetic decoding, something that once cost thousands of dollars and weeks of analysis, is now available for $59 and a cheek swab. The two most popular genetic testing companies today are 23andMe and AncestryDNA. Both offer services which provide a complete “autosomal DNA” profile, available for download, as well as detailing ethnic history and susceptibility to disease. They will even match you to relatives you didn’t know you had.

It’s this last ability to do genetic matching that law enforcement took advantage of to finally nab the Golden State Killer.

GEDMatch is a free online utility used to compare autosomal DNA profiles. Although they don’t do genetic testing themselves, members of the site can upload their data from any of the most popular genetic testing companies, and use the site’s powerful matching tools to compare their DNA profile to those of other members of the website. As a free service and one that combines data from multiple genetic testing companies, GEDMatch is the largest public database of its kind. Its tools are so powerful and precise, users can isolate and match specific DNA sequences in order to find relations previously unknown, or trace branches of their family tree back to its genetic origins. GEDMatch is a favorite resource for researchers and genealogists all over the world.

This is the service investigators used to finally track down the Golden State Killer. The suspect hadn’t uploaded his own genetic profile to the database, but distant relatives of his had. Once the investigation could identify individuals related – however distantly – to the suspect, it took only four months to narrow their search down to the one person responsible. Then it was a simple exercise of obtaining a DNA sample from some trash the suspect discarded and matching it to samples from the original crime scenes.

It’s a good thing, right? Another bad guy behind bars. If police had had access to this tool in 1976, they might have prevented 49 rapes and 12 murders.

Right? Not so fast.

There are two notes of warning that I would like to proffer for consideration. The first should be obvious to anyone who has lived through the last two years: any data stored online can be hacked; nothing is safe. And second: for every positive benefit gained from sharing information online, there are evil men and women waiting to use that data for their own nefarious purposes.

We have seen in the past year how Facebook information can be used by political activists, advertisers – and Russians – in ways we are not aware and would not condone. How long until those same people find ways to use our genetic code to their gain and our detriment?

Not long, actually, as they are already doing it.

In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This law, meant to make it easier for people to keep their insurance when changing jobs, also included a provision allowing medical companies to share or sell the data of their patients – as long as that data was “anonymized,” or had all identifying information removed first.

This data sharing provision in HIPAA was supposed to help medical researchers who could make use of the data for research purposes, while protecting patient confidentiality. There are two glaring problems with this idea, however. First, they didn’t account for the fact that others, with more profit-minded goals, like marketing and political entities, would also be interested in the data. Second, they also didn’t account for the ingenious ability of data analysts to combine data sets from multiple sources in order to “deanonymize” the data for marketing purposes. And hospitals and insurance companies have not been discriminating about who they sell patient data to.

That same HIPAA data sharing provision also applies to genetic testing companies. Peter Pitts, a former FDA associate commissioner and current president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, writes this in a recent guest column for Forbes magazine: “23andMe has [already] sold access to its database to at least 13 outside pharmaceutical firms. One buyer, Genentech, ponied up a cool $10 million for the genetic profiles of people suffering from Parkinson’s. AncestryDNA, another popular personal genetics company, recently announced a lucrative data-sharing partnership with the biotech company Calico.”

The availability of genetic testing for the average consumer was just a distant dream when HIPAA passed in 1996. The internet was still in its infancy. A lot has changed in the last 22 years, and our laws have not kept up.

“Customers are wrong to think their information is safely locked away,” Pitts concludes. “It’s not; it’s getting sold far and wide.”

There’s another reason to worry about data privacy when considering genetic information. Unlike our social security number or credit history, our genetic information doesn’t belong only to us. We share much of our genetic code with those we are related to. Police tracked down the Golden State Killer by looking at those parts of his DNA which he shared with others. Do we have the right to share our own genetic information when doing so means that, by necessity, we are also sharing information about family members who have not given their consent?

What happens when – not if – GEDMatch, 23andMe, Ancestry DNA or another company that stores genetic information is hacked? If my mother’s genetic code was part of the hack, is my own DNA profile also compromised because we share so much genetic history in common?

These questions need to be asked, but they should have been asked a decade ago. Part of the problem is how ignorant most members of Congress are about modern technological developments like social media or the complexities of online security.

A couple weeks back, I sat and watched Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, testify before Congress. After two days, ten hours, and 600 questions, I came away with one conclusion: our representatives in Washington don’t know the first thing about how social media works. How can they legislate something they don’t understand?

I am also afraid there is a current tendency in the United States to try and address individual incidents as they occur, instead of working in a bipartisan way to address the problem as a whole. Unfortunately, this piecemeal approach is like sailing a broken boat that springs one leak after another because its owners don’t want to take the boat out of the water to fix it properly.

We need to step back and take a broader look at the privacy concerns that face us in this new data-landscape we find ourselves in post-Internet. Our representatives in Washington should educate themselves on the technical challenges of storing data online and bring in unbiased experts who will present a consumer-centric perspective on the best way to approach the problem.

We could learn a lot from what the European Union has done with the recently passed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is set to go into effect later this month. The law sets up standards that apply to user data across the board. It builds-in accountability and responsibility for proper data usage with the establishment of independent supervisory authorities which investigate complaints of data abuses. The new law also clearly stipulates that users maintain ownership of their personal information no matter who is storing that data and it confirms a user’s right to have his data erased at any time. Finally, the GDPR sets forth requirements that companies notify users in a timely manner if their personal information is ever breached or hacked.

The United States, as home to the three biggest data content platforms on the planet – Google, Facebook, and Twitter – should be at the forefront of these discussions about personal privacy. Technology moves too quickly for us to take a “wait and see” approach to consumer data protection. A few weeks ago, we were talking about Facebook data and it was already ten years too late; today it’s our genetic information. It’s time for our representatives in Washington to put our right to personal privacy ahead of corporate profits and partisan bickering.

Where is Ralph Nader when you need him?

Eric Austin lives in China, Maine and writes about technology and community issues. He can be contacted by email at

SOLON & BEYOND: News from 4-H’ers; RSU #74 students participate in Bikes for Books program

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

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

Received the following “Thank You” from the Somerset County 4-H Leaders’ Association, about the Somerset County Annual 4-H Auction: On behalf of all Somerset County 4-H Clubs, we would like to thank you for the great generosity you showed with your donation to our “Luck of the Draw” auction fundraiser.

When you support the 4-H Somerset County Leaders’ Association, you help support these 4-H youth programs: 4-H camperships to Tanglewood, Blueberry Cove, and Bryant Pond; Eastern States Exposition; Citizenship Washington Focus; National 4-H Conference and Congress; 4-H Fun Day @ UMaine Connecting Kids to Campus Weekend at University of Maine; Demonstration Day awards: Achievement Night awards; and the purchase of 4-H curriculum for members projects including new curriculum in Science: : 4-H AgriScience, 4-H Robotics: Engineering, and Entomology.

Our ability to have Somerset County 4-H members participate in these valuable programs would not be possible without the support of local businesses like you.

This spring Solon students are participating in the Bikes for Books program. The Solon Masons are sponsoring this program at the school for the third year.

In this program, students read books and fill out a form on each book they read. In early June there will be an assembly with a drawing from the book forms that have been submitted. A girl and a boy from each class will win a new bike donated by the Masons. We will also award a prize to the student who reads the most books in each class.

Your child’s teacher has book forms for this program. Students are encouraged to read books at school and at home.

RSU #74 will be holding three Career Days for K-5 students in May. Each Career Day will be held at the Garret Schenck School for students from all three elementary schools. Each student will hear three speakers talk about their jobs so that students begin to learn about career options when they’re young.

The Career Days will be May 10 for grades K-1, May 17 for grades 2-3, and May 24 for grades 4-5. The time frame will be 8:30-10:30 a.m., each day. Parents are welcome.

The next Embden Historical Society meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 14, at 7 p.m. The business meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. and the program will be at 7 p.m. Amanda Taylor will be talking about Maine Historic Bridges (including local ones). Refreshments will follow. All are welcome.

The Embden Community Center members will be having their monthly supper, on Saturday, May 12.

The East Madison Historical Association is holding its annual yard and bake sale on June 2 and 3, at 1108 East Madison Road, in Madison. In preparation for this fundraiser, we are looking for donations. If you are interested in donating something to the sale, please contact Gary Malbon at 474-6444 or Eric Lahti at 474-5961 before May 30th. We can arrange for pick up. Thank you. My many thanks to these kind people who keep us informed.

Now for Percy’s Memoir: Faith is Like Magic Glasses: Faith is like a pair of glasses I bring here and there with me, The thrilling thing about them is the wondrous things I see; When life grows dark and dismal and my sight is near decline I don my magic glasses; the perspective soon grows fine. If I slip on this treasure I can toil with greater ease Troubles and afflictions at length begin to please, The world becomes all rosy and as cheery as can be, I surely feel most grateful for the faith God gave to me. Perhaps, you once had glasses, but by faith no longer live. Friend ask God for His pardon, He is kind and will forgive; O cherish this dear tresure till you meet God up above Then present faith as an off’ring with the gifts of hope and love. (words by Sister Mary Gemma Brunke.)

Obituaries, Week of May 10, 2018


WINDSOR––Alice J. Maheux, 87, of the Bean road, died Sunday, April 15, 2018, at Country Manor Nursing Home, in Whitefield, following an extended illness. She was born in Sidney on June 4, 1930, the daughter of William Hughes and Margaret (Sawtelle) Hughes.

Prior to her retirement, Mrs.. Maheux was employed by Bates Manufacturing Co. for 40 years.

She was predeceased by her parents; three brothers: Robert, Myron and Phillip Hughes; and sister Phyllis Tremblay.

Surviving are four daughters: Elaine M. Chase and Betty Bowden, both of Vassalboro, Rita Dyer, of Waterboro, and Barbara A. Maheux, of Springvale; 13 grandchildren, one great-granddaughter; several nieces and nephews; one sister, Arlene Fossett, of Augusta.

Arrangements were entrusted to Plummer Funeral Home, 983 Ridge Road, Windsor. Condolences, photos and memories may be shared at

Memorial donations may be made to Alzheimer’s Association Maine Chapter, 383 U.S. Route 1, Suite 2C, Scarborough ME 04074.


FAIRFIELD––Randolph Von Pamphrey, 51, passed away on Thursday, April 19, 2018, following a brief illness. Randy was born in Waterville, on December 7, 1966, to Pamela (Libby) and Larry Pamphrey.

He attended school in Leeds, Clinton, and Fairfield; graduated from Lawrence High School in 1985 and attended the University Southern Maine for one year. While at Lawrence, Randy was well-known for his athletic achievements in football, basketball, baseball and track.

Randy worked in many trades over the years, such as landscaping, dock building, and photography. Widely known for his ability to catch a beautiful moment or emotion on film, Randy used his skill in photography to bring joy to so many. It’s what kept him connected to the community, his friends, family and the spirit of LHS. Randy’s creative nature was also found in his interest in collections, gardening and cooking. He had a keen eye for antiques, unusual trinkets and rocks, and had his father’s skill in gardening which led to an interest in cooking.

Friendships came easy to Randy. Everyone who knew him considered him a friend; he was generous, kind-hearted, and honest. Never one to say a negative thing about another person, Randy was easy to trust and confide in. Randy earned his black belt in karate from Huard’s in Winslow.

Randy is survived by his mother, Pamela (Libby) Pamphrey; father, Larry Pamphrey; son, Derek Pamphrey, of Fairfield; sister, Libbi Pamphrey, of South Portland; sister, Heather Wilson and husband Dan, of Fairfield; brother, Kenneth Pamphrey, of Fairfield; nephew, Jake Wilson and wife, Jessica, of Benton; nieces, Samantha and Summer, of Fairfield; many cousins, aunts, and uncles.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at


FAIRFIELD––Fred J. Hewes, 85, of Horn Hill Road, died Monday, February 26, 2018, at the Alfond Center for Health, in Augusta. He was born in Bangor on January 29, 1933, the son of Bert and Pauline (Jordan) Hewes.

Fred attended Skills in Pittsfield and had many friends at DHHS. He resided with Joann Morin and her husband Arthur Withee, and their family for over 20 years.


SOMERVILLE––Pastor John Calvin Dancer, 70, of Somerville, passed away Monday, April 2, 2018, at his home. Born March 8, 1948, in Gardiner, he was the son of John L. and Helen Brawn Dancer.

John attended Glen Cove Christian Academy, graduating in 1967. Following high school, John married his long-time sweetheart, Donna Roberts, May 15, 1970, in Carmel, New York. Attending Northeastern Bible College in Essex Fells, New Jersey, John Earned a bachelor of arts in Bible and later a theology degree.

For many years, Pastor Dancer filled pulpits along the East Coast and for over 32 years served at South Somerville Baptist Church.

John’s greatest joy in life was his family. He loved nothing more than spending time with them, especially camping trips and working around the house. He enjoyed gardening and was an avid reader.

He was predeceased by his father; and sister, Janey Dancer.

John is survived by mother, Helen Dancer, of Whitefield; wife, Donna; sons, Johnathan Dancer and Joshua Dancer, all of Somerville; daughter, Susan Batty and husband Bill, of Spruce Head; sister, Lois Bourque and husband Steve, of Whitefield; grandchildren, Julia, Nathaniel and Matthew Batty, and Grace, Hannah and Benjamin Dancer; many nieces and nephews; and two great-nieces and great-nephews.

Those who wish may make memorial donations to South Somerville Baptist Church, 8 Hewett Road, Somerville ME 04348.


UNITY––Private First Class William “Chip” E. Dowd, 72, passed away in the Syracuse VA Community Living Center on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

PFC Dowd was a decorated Airborne Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star for his heroic service during combat.

Chip was born on January 16, 1947, to Elaine and Thomas Dowd, of Newport, Rhode Island. He enlisted in the United States Army on October 1966 and became an 11B, airborne infantry mortar man. PFC Dowd was deployed to Vietnam during 1966 to 1969.

During his combat tour, PFC Dowd fought courageously during the Battle of LZ Bird and was wounded on multiple occasions throughout his time in Vietnam. Throughout his Army career he was awarded the Vietnam Service medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Parachute Wings, Combat Infantry Badge, National Defense Service Badge and the Bronze Star for his heroic service. PFC Dowd was honorably discharged in February of 1972.

After his military career he owned and operated Dowd Quality Paining in Carver, Massachusetts, and eventually retired in Unity.

After a series of health problems, Chip was lovingly “dadnapped” from Maine, by his son, Marc E. Dowd and brought to Fort Drum, New York, to be cared for. In New York, Chip enjoyed his beer, barbeques, relaxing on the front porch, watching football games, and vacations with his son, grandson, and daughter-in-law.

He was predeceased by his parents, Elaine and Thomas; and his brother, Tom.

PFC William E. Dowd is survived by his sister, Edith “Cookie” Donnelly, of Newport, Rhode Island; his son, Marc E. Dowd; and his grandson, Marc E. Dowd Jr.


RIVERSIDE, RHODE ISLAND––Sylvia J. (Stewart) Siket, 67, of Bullocks Point Avenue, Riverside, Rhode Island, died Thursday, April 19, 2018, at the Rhode Island Hospital, in Providence, Rhode Island, following an inspirational fight with colon cancer.

She grew up in Hinckley, the youngest child and only daughter of the late Preston and Delma (Bessey) Stewart. She lived in Riverside for the past 4 1/2 years, previously residing in Yarmouth.

She was the wife of her high school sweetheart, Stephen J. Siket, whom she married on January 2, 1972. A graduate of Thomas College, she worked as a hearings officer for the State of Maine Department of Motor Vehicles for 38 years before retiring in 2013.

Besides her husband of 46 years, she is survived by a son, Matthew S. Siket ad his wife, Meghan, of Barrington, Rhode Island; two grandchildren, Avery and Arne Siket, both of Barrington, Rhode Island; a brother, Keith Stewart and his wife, Ann, of Benton,; and two sisters-in-law, Ellen Rice and her husband, William, of Fairfield, and Sheryl Siket, of Asheville, North Carolina. She was the sister of the late Dean Stewart and sister-in-law of the late Andrew Siket.

Sylvia’s greatest joys came from being with family, and being an active member of her neighborhood and community. Her beautiful singing voice, bright smile, caring nature and uplifting spirit will forever be remembered by her family and friends.

To share your memories, stories, and sign her online guestbook, please visit:

In lieu of flowers, family has asked that donations be made to he American Cancer Society.


UNITY––Marion Louise (Spaulding) Thomas, 76, passed away, Saturday, April 21, 201. She was born on February 2, 1942, the daughter of Phillip and Phyllis Spaulding.

She graduated from Freedom Academy. Marion married Claude Thomas on September 16, 1961.

Marion enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren, swimming, doing ceramics, and knitting. Knitting continued to be a passion for Marion even after losing her vision. She loved to make mittens which she donated to her grandchildren’s schools as well as making blankets for each new addition to the family.

She was predeceased by her parents; a brother, Albert (Sonny) Spaulding; a sister Muriel Bryant; and a very special brother-in-law Dale Thomas.

Marion is survived by her husband, Claude, of 45 years; five children and families: Darrell and Heather, Shirley and Gregg (Ingraham), Janet, Robert and Debbie, and Kirk and Julie; she will greatly be missed by her “little angels” Vanessa Thomas, Isaac Ingraham and Emma Thomas; her brother, Philip Spaulding and wife Brenda; sisters-in-law, Bea Thomas, Nancy Spaulding, and Frances Paradis and husband Irvin; cousin Lauretta Merrill; and many nieces and nephews.

An online guestbook may be signed at


VASSALBORO––Priscilla May (Rogers) Munster, 90, of Cross Hill Road, passed away Sunday, April 22, 2018. She was born in Waterville on November 13, 1027, to Robert and Alma (Pelletier) Rogers.

Mrs. Munster was a high school graduate. She married Joseph G. A. Munster St. in 1949 and followed him around the United States for 17 years while he served in the United States Air Force. After he retired from the military, they settled into their home in Vassalboro. Soon after, she found employment with what was the Waterville Savings Bank, in Waterville, where she worked for many years before becoming a stay at home mother and homemaker.

One of her favorite things to do was spend time at their camp in Rockwood. She very much enjoyed bird hunting, deer hunting and fishing with her husband. She also loved berry picking, tending her flower garden, and especially loved spending time with her family. She was lifetime member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars.

She was predeceased by her parents; her husband of 52 years; five of her brothers, Robert, Charles, Wilson, David, and Richard; all five of her sisters, Anita Lavasseur, Patricia Julia, Laura Hensbee, Lorraine Overlook, and Marjorie Penney; and her daughter-in-law Phyllis Munster.

She is survived by her three sons, Matthew Munster, Joseph G. A. Munster II and his wife Lisa, and Philip Munster; two brothers, Paul and wife Beverly Rogers, and James and wife Pauline Rogers; seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; many cousins, nieces and nephews.

An online guestbook may be signed and condolences expressed at

Donations may be made in her name to any organizations supporting Alzheimer’s


JULIAN J. VEILLEUX, 83, of Waterville, passed away on Saturday, April 14, 2018, at his home. He was born June 16, 1934, in Fairfield, the son of Aurele and Victorine (Denis) Veilleux. Locally, he is survived by his wife Joan Veilleux, of Waterville; daughters Sue McMullen and husband Jamie, of Oakland, and Jennifer Roderigue and husband Danny, of Fairfield; granddaughter Cassandra Shepperd and husband Isaac, of Waterville; and grandson Adam Roderigue, of Firfield.

PAUL D. CLOUTIER, 62, of Belgrade Lakes, passed away on Monday, April 16, 2018. Locally, he is survived by a son, Jordan P. Cloutier and fiancée Leanna Thibeau, of China.

JED E. COLBY, 70, of Edgecomb, passed away on Monday, April 16, 2018. Locally, he is survived by a sister, Dawn Cates, of Vassalboro.

EDWIN EMERSON, 76, of Augusta, passed away on Friday, April 20, 2018, at the Alfond Center for Health, following an extended illness. Locally, he is survived by a son, Peter Leach and wife Joanne, of Vassalboro.

SARAH L. COOK, 89, of Gardiner, passed away on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Locally, she is survived by a granddaughter. Sarah J. Tovey and husband Jay, of Vassalboro.

PAUL L. LABBE, 88, of Augusta, passed away on Monday, April 23, 2018, at the MaineGeneral Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center at Glenridge, following a long illness. Locally, he is survived by a daughter, Paula Dube and husband Bert, of Vassalboro.

DOROTHY BOLDUC MUZEROLLE, 83, of Waterville, passed away on Saturday, April 28, 2018, following a short illness. Locally, she is survived by sons Scott Bolduc and wife Lauren, of Rome, Michael Bolduc and wife Lynette, of Winslow, and Christopher Bolcud and wife Sue, of Waterville; daughters Cheryl Bolduc Wade, and Cynthia Jacques and husband David, all of Winslow, and Lorilee Dumont and husband Michael, of Vassalboro.


JULIUS B. LEVINE, 79, of Brookline, Massachusetts, passed away on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. He was the son of Lewis L. and Celia (Gurewitz) Levine. He was a graduate of Waterville High School, Harvard College (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), Harvard Law School (cum laude) and Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar, D. Phil.)

RACHAEL A. LADD, 76, of Waterville, passed away on Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was born in Waterville to the late Luciene and Omer Pellerin. Rachael graduated from Waterville High School and was a manager at Rachael’s, in Augusta, as well as The Wharf, in Hallowell. She was also a receptionist at Ladd Paper Co.

Vassalboro selectmen appoint Conservation Commission member; award bulk waste contract


by Mary Grow

In addition to approving the warrant for the June 4 and 12 town meeting, Vassalboro selectmen dealt with two other issues at their May 1 meeting.

They appointed Laura Jones as a new member of the Vassalboro Conservation Commission for three years.

On Town Manager Mary Sabins’ recommendation, they awarded the bid for hauling bulky waste – mattresses, furniture and similar items – to low bidder Central Maine Disposal, also for three years.

Sabins is not optimistic about trash disposal in the near future. With the opening of the new Fiberight facility postponed from April to at least September, many communities are landfilling trash; and prices for most recyclables have dropped dramatically, she said.

All three Vassalboro selectmen are philosophically opposed to landfilling on environmental grounds, but they accepted it as a temporary measure.

They agreed that they will not abandon Vassalboro’s single-sort recycling program, regardless of current financial effects. They hope they or larger recyclers can store materials until prices rebound.

Sabins said Public Works Department head Eugene Field reported the town’s cemeteries and lawns have been cleared of winter debris and are ready to be mowed.

The next regular Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17.

Vegetable stand gets site approval in Vassalboro; still needs shoreland zoning permit


by Mary Grow

Vassalboro Planning Board members were able to give Parker Denico one of the two permits he needs for a seasonal vegetable stand in North Vassalboro. For the other, he needs to go first to the Board of Appeals.

Denico said he would like to build his stand on Ray Breton’s Main Street lot, near the gazebo. Planning Board members found he needed a site review permit for the business. They went through the site review criteria and unanimously approved that permit, finding the new business would have no adverse impacts on the neighborhood.

Denico also needs a shoreland zoning permit to put the temporary building less than 250 feet from Outlet Stream. He estimated the distance to the stream at 50 feet or maybe a little more, well within the 100 feet where no new building is allowed without a variance from the setback requirement.

Board members told Denico only the bard of appeals can grant variances. The variance, if approved, would go with the land, not with Denico’s business, Board Chairman Virginia Brackett said, so Breton would benefit as well.

Breton tore down a house that had been even closer to Outlet Stream, and local ordinances say such a non-conforming building can be replaced within one year, board members said. However, they and Codes Officer Richard Dolby found the house was torn down more than a year ago and Breton’s application to replace it had expired. Denico plans a stand that would be a maximum of 10 by 20 feet, he said. He would like to open in June and plans to close no later than the end of October. He grows cucumbers himself and intends to sell produce from other area growers, starting with strawberries from Benton if he can get the stand approved and open early enough.

The board of appeals already had a May 8 meeting scheduled. Dolby said he would ask members how soon they could meet again to hear Denico’s variance request.

Vassalboro proposed budget shows 0.90 mil rate increase


by Mary Grow

After hours of meetings, Vassalboro school and town officials have come up with a budget to present to voters on June 4 that pleases few if any of them.

The major problem is that if voters approve the expenditures proposed by the school board and selectmen, they will increase their tax rate by 0.90 mils (90 cents for each $1,000 of valuation), from the current 14.55 mils to a projected 15.45 mils. According to figures Town Manager Mary Sabins prepared for the May 2 selectmen’s meeting at which the town meeting warrant articles were approved:

  • The proposed $2.061 million municipal budget for 2018-19 has gone up a little more than two percent over the current year, but because non-tax revenues are expected to increase, the municipal budget will require over $27,000 less in taxes.
  • The $335,327 Kennebec County tax, which the town is obligated to pay, is up four percent, adding close to $13,000 due from taxes.
  • The $7.731 million school budget, by far the largest of the three, will require well over $328,000 in additional tax revenue, by Sabins’ calculations.

The town meeting warrant consists of 56 articles to be decided June 4 and two more that voters will act on at the polls on June 12, ratifying or rejecting the school budget approved June 4 and electing local officials (one selectman and one school board member).

The June 4 open meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Vassalboro Community School. In addition to budget issues, voters will elect budget committee members, set various policies and approve or reject amendments to Vassalboro’s Building Permit Ordinance. There are currently two vacancies on the budget committee, and Elizabeth Reuthe said she does not intend to serve again.

After long discussions, the budget committee voted to differ with selectmen on one expenditure article and with school board members on another.

The selectmen propose setting aside $37,500 from taxes for two reserve funds, $25,000 to go toward a new plow truck and $12,500 as half the estimated cost of a new metal roof on the Riverside fire station. The budget committee recommends the same amounts, but advocates taking the $37,500 from the town’s surplus (also known as unassigned or undesignated fund balance) instead of from taxes.

In the school budget, the school board recommends for Vassalboro Community School administration $329,119.48, a 14 percent increase from the current year, primarily because the incoming principal will command a higher salary than the outgoing one. The budget committee recommends $279,119.48, or $50,000 less.

Several budget committee members said their goal is to make sure there is a debate over school spending on June 4. In recent years, voters impatient to end the meeting have approved voting on all the school budget articles as a group, an action that has had the effect of limiting discussion.

The school board approved its budget recommendations at a special meeting on April 25, after earlier discussions in March and April. The vote was not unanimous; Susan Tuthill was absent and Jessica Clark voted against the budget request, explaining afterward that she believes the resulting tax increase is “too much for the town.”

School board members have repeatedly revised the budget downward. At the April 25 meeting, AOS (Alternative Organizational Structure) #92 Superintendent Eric Haley and Finance Director Paula Pooler presented what they consider the final cuts and rearrangements they can safely recommend.

They hope for state approval for two new buses this year. They could ask for one, Haley said – and risk student safety. Similarly, they could assume one fewer home-schooler will enter high school at town expense in 2018-19 – and risk a major hole in the budget.

School Board Chairman Kevin Levasseur and retiring Principal Dianna Gram urged support of the budget request. Gram said Vassalboro Community School is dealing with the difficult task of accommodating special-needs students without shortchanging regular students. The number of very expensive out-of-district placements has declined during her tenure, she said, especially since the school’s student support center opened.

Gram said 29 percent of VCS students need some kind of special help. School board member Jolene Clark Gamage expects the number will increase, primarily due to Maine’s drug problem.

If voters reject the budget, Pooler said the only way to get a meaningful decrease would be to cut personnel, a move Haley said “would decimate the school.”

Budget committee members are distressed at the tax increase, and also unhappy with the school board’s decision to sign a three-year contract to continue using Waterville’s central office services despite the dissolution of the AOS. Several committee members suggested school board members had accepted Haley’s advice to stay with Waterville without adequately researching alternatives.

Budget committee members pointed out repeatedly that school choice – allowing Vassalboro high school students to go wherever they want – is a costly option. Eliminating choice and requiring town-supported students to attend only one high school would need voters’ approval, and they are aware that school choice has wide support among residents.

Co-founder of wildlife rehab center remembered

Carleen Cote with one of her “babies.”

A tribute to a special “mother”

by Lea Davis

One definition of “mother” is “nurturer.” A good mother puts her children’s needs before her own to insure their health and welfare.

Carleen Cote, of Vassalboro, alongside her husband Donald, has, for 53-plus years, rescued thousands of Maine’s abandoned and starving wild animal babies, nurturing them back to health and eventual freedom, all at the couple’s own expense. She wrote a popular monthly column about her “children” for The Town Line and Turner Publishing newspapers, always crediting the help received from faithful volunteers, local veterinarians, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wardens and staff, other rehabbers and the caring people who donated money, food and supplies for the wildlife. Carleen Cote passed away on April 27. Her story is best told through her own words gleaned from 240+ “Critter Chatter” articles, which she wrote over 20 years’ time. Here are a few excerpts:

“The month of April arrives and so do the babies. The raccoons appeared in droves. Containers for them started to fill the living room, formulas were made, the babies would be fed four times a day, the last feeding at midnight. Hundreds of used towels needed to be washed, dried and folded for the next change (after every feeding!). One night in May, Donald decided to count the raccoons as we had lost track – he counted 150! In addition, skunks, mink, weasels, opossums, fawns, foxes, porcupines and woodchucks were arriving. We were overwhelmed and exhausted. However, our dedicated volunteers saved us. God bless them!

“Though raccoons are in the majority, they don’t usually present the challenges that we face with the fawns. One year we received 20 fawns, requiring several trips to the veterinarian with broken bones, open sores and coccidiosis infections. Seven fawns died from their wounds, received either by vehicle hits or predator attacks. Some won’t nurse from the bottle, making it necessary to use a syringe to administer the milk. We carry on.

“Over the spring and summers months the animals, eventually moved to outside pens, grew and got fat. Many were released in late August to their natural habitats. September is the release time for the raccoons. Could we find enough spots to release 150 of them? We did it, at last! The raccoons react differently when taken to the chosen release sites. Some left the carrier, happy to roam, others hesitated, terror showing in their eyes, but, eventually, decided to explore their new surroundings. We are asked, “Are you sad to see them go after spending so much time caring for them?” Yes and no – we do wonder how they are faring, but know they are where they belong, enjoying the things they naturally do in the wild.

“We are frequently asked how we got involved in wildlife rehabilitation. It began when Donald expressed the desire to raise waterfowl. We were fortunate to find land in Vassalboro with a small area of water that could be enlarged. Then, an article about a wildlife rehab facility in Litchfield caught our attention. Would we be interested in doing this also? You guessed it! Our first critter to arrive, even before we had any permits, was a baby black duck. We applied for our state and federal permits and became licensed rehabbers. The rest is history. We gradually expanded our efforts and facilities way beyond the needs of one baby black duck in 1964, to now caring for hundreds of wildlife a year.”

Carleen was fond of a writing she’d come across entitled “I Am An Animal Rescuer,” author unknown. In part, it reads:

“My job is to assist God’s creatures, I was born with the drive to fulfill their needs
I take in helpless, unwanted, homeless creatures without planning or selection
I have bought cat food with my last dime. I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand
I have hugged someone vicious and afraid. I have fallen in love a thousand times
And I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body too many times to count
I am an Animal Rescuer. My work is never done. My home is never quiet.
My wallet is always empty, but my heart is always full.”

Goodbye old friend.

Memorial donations may be made to Kennebec Valley Humane Society, 10 Pet Haven Lane, Augusta, ME 04330.

Winslow band performs at State House

Contributed photo

The Winslow Junior High School concert band performed at the State House, in Augusta, on April 13.

The tragic story of Father Rasle at Kennebec Historical Society

“Go and set the world on fire,” was St. Ignatius of Loyola’s famous call to the Jesuits to preach the gospel to the far corners of the world. Fr. Sebastian Rasle followed the call of his order’s founder and left France in 1689 to give his life to caring for the souls of native Americans. This he did for 30 years in a small mission village amidst the Abenaki people far up the Kennebec River. The village was called Narantsouack (i.e. Norridgewock.)

Death of Father Sebastian Rale of the Society of Jesus, an 1856 lithograph

But this peaceful mission was not to last. In those few decades, Fr. Rasle’s little village got caught in a blaze of controversy that ended in the mission being burned by a Massachusetts militia and its pastor being shot. Joseph Moreshead, a seminarian for the Roman Catholic diocese of Portland, will discuss the origins of this conflict between Fr. Rasle, the New England colonists, and the Abenaki people and how competing interests among the three parties led to such a tragic end.

Joseph Moreshead is a native of South Portland, and a current student at the Catholic University of America, studying to be a Catholic priest in Maine. A graduate of Cheverus High School and Fordham University, Moreshead was educated for eight years by Jesuits like Fr. Rasle. After extensive research on the Jesuit Relations, he led a pilgrimage to Fr. Rasle’s grave last August. He holds a bachelor of arts in philosophy and classical language.

The Kennebec Historical Society’s May Presentation is free to the public (donations gladly accepted) and will take place on Wednesday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m., at St. Mary’s Church located at 41 Western Avenue in Augusta.