SOLON & BEYOND: Local man enjoys trip to Alaska

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

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

Was very pleased to get the following news about a wonderful trip to Alaska from our neighbor Ronald Brown. He and his friend, Jim Provost, of Skowhegan, went on a 13-day trip to Alaska recently. There were 31 of them who left Bangor for Boston on the bus, they then flew from Boston to Seattle. They went by bus from Seattle to Vancouver, then got on a boat and stopped in Juneau and Skagway, then on a train to White Horse and then by bus the rest of the way to Angoog.

They went to many different places during their stay in Alaska, like Denali Park, and going through a two and a half mile tunnel to see the glaciers and even drank some of the glacier water.

Ronnie said there were lots and lots of snow covered mountains and the weather was much the same as it is in Maine.

They also went to the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, and when the singer there learned they were from Maine he sang, “Tombstone Every Mile”.

He said it was a great experience, but…”There is nothing like Maine ” and he was glad to be home. His sister, Deanna Gilblair of Skowhegan, was taking care of Ronnie’s faithful dog, Smokey, and he said he had never left her that long. He said when she first saw him, when he went there to get her, he thought she “was going to wiggle herself to death” she was so happy to see him.

Thanks, Ronnie for sharing your wonderful trip.

My son and his wife Eleanor of Maine and Florida again hosted the 11th Annual Sticks & Stones Break Your Bones BBQ at their Camp at Flagstaff recently. We all look forward to this special event, and as usual there was lots of great food and fun. This is extra special for me because it includes my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Some were unable to attend this year, but there were 23 of us there to share love and the fun games that Mark and Karen build for our entertainment. And it was a picture perfect day on that Saturday which took place in “God’s country.”

I’m not sure how many of you who live in Solon will remember Kay Hoffman, who lived here many years ago, she was a good friend of mine. I used to subscribe to the Ideals magazine and I came across a page I had cut out years ago about her and the heading stated, “Ideals Best-Loved Poets”. There were four of her poems printed on this page, and I would love to share one of them with you, entitled Friendship.

Friendship is a handclasp,
Warm and sincere,
A smile that says plainly,
“I’m glad that you’re here!”
It’s knowing there’s someone
Who’s always true blue,
No matter what others
May say about you.
Friendship is sharing
The good and the bad,
It’s laughing together
When life’s bright and glad.
Sometimes it’s sharing our hurts and our fears,
Sharing a prayer,
And sharing our tears.
Friendship is giving our heart-gifts away.
It’s helping another and wanting no pay.
It’s giving a compliment,
Encouragement, too.
Making the sky a little more blue.
More precious than mountains
Of silver and gold,
Friendship is a gift
That brings blessings untold!

Last weeks column about our ‘critter problem’ evidently pleased some, have had responses from e-mail and comments and laughter from others, and so I’m going to tell you the latest news on that. When we got home (safely) from our trip up to The County, Lief bought a huge rat trap. He promptly wired a peanut in the shell and set the trap. And there the next morning lay a fat little mouse caught in the rat trap, he was plump as could be after consuming so much of our peanut butter! It was a sad sight, but a relief to know that we were one down, and perhaps one to go! I really believe there is some good in all bad.

And now for Percy’s memoir: A person has two legs and one sense of humor, and if you’re faced with the choice, it’s better to lose a leg. (words by Charles Lindner.) This one was used back on Feb. 9, 1989, but I think it’s worth repeating.

How to take great pictures on your cell phone

Palermo Community Center (Photo by Connie Bellet)

Your cell phone goes everywhere with you, right? It’s compact and useful for talking with people, texting, and even figuring out where you are, but it can also take surprisingly good pictures. Be sure and bring it with you to the Palermo Community Center, on Turner Ridge Rd., on Friday, August 31, at 6 p.m., when Ray Sheely will share his expertise in cell phone photography.

Sometimes the best pictures are serendipitous, but most are not. Knowing how to take these pictures will encourage anyone to notice more of the real beauty in our surroundings. So don’t just smell the roses! Capture them digitally. As an experienced photographer, Sheely can share tips on lighting, composition, and use of color, as well as capturing character and just plain seizing the moment.

Please join the potluck supper prior to the presentation. For more info, please call Connie at 993-2294.

Letters to the Editor: Thanks for China Lake water quality

Brian Audet with a recent catch on China Lake.


I have been enjoying China Lake at my family’s camp my whole life. Spending the summers fishing, boating, and just floating around on those hot summer days. I have been following the alewife initiative since they were introduced into the lake a few years ago and I just wanted to give my thanks to everyone involved. The fishing this year has been the best I have seen in my 20-plus years on the lake. The lake is super healthy and the stocked game fish have been catchable in the hot summer months for the first time ever. They also seem to be staying in the lake and growing. I will attach a picture to show the quality of the fish I have been catching.

Again, I just wanted to send a thank you out to anyone involved and show them proof of what their hard work is doing for the lake. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

Tight lines.

The Audets – Fire Road 12

Sen. Collins visits Winslow McDonald’s in support of local schools

Maine’s U.S. Senator Susan Collins, right, speaks with Brian Allarie, an employee of McDonald’s, in Winslow, and recipient of McDonald’s student tuition reimbursement program. (Photos by Eric Austin)

by Eric W. Austin

Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins stopped by the McDonald’s restaurant in Winslow on Friday, August 24, to show support for that location’s “Back to School Supplies Drive,” which aims to help Winslow Elementary School teachers and students by collecting donations of school supplies for the upcoming fall semester.

Senator Collins showed up with a backpack filled with goodies for students and teachers, including crayons and pens, glue-sticks and stickers. She also donated a copy of the book “What is the Constitution?” by Patricia Demuth Brennan, and a bundle of paperback copies of the US Constitution.

Susan Collins displays the book, What is the Constitution?, one of the items she donated to the school supply drive.

Afterward, Senator Collins stepped outside to speak with local media. She spoke about her meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, her recent “No” vote on a proposal to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and the current feud between President Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

About Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh, she said, “I had an excellent meeting with Judge Kavanaugh. I asked him many questions covering a wide-range of topics. I started off by asking him whether he had made any commitments to any outside groups, like the Federalist Society or anyone in the White House, including the President, about how he would approach specific cases; and also did he make any commitments on how he would rule. He assured me emphatically that he had not.”

The Senator said they had then moved on to discuss a number of issues, including abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act and the question of coverage for pre-existing conditions, his views on executive authority, and whether a Special Counsel can investigate a sitting president.

“He was very clear that he believed not just in the precedent of the lower courts,” she said, “but recognized the importance of adhering to precedents that the Supreme Court has established itself.”

Although Senator Collins insisted she “had an excellent discussion with him,” she also said, “I have learned always to wait before rendering a final decision — or even preliminary decision — until the hearings before the Judiciary Committee have been held.

“I found him to be very forthcoming. I found him to be very bright, experienced, extremely knowledgeable, and a person who’s thought deeply about the issues and the constitutional roots of precedent.”

She also commented briefly on her vote against an amendment Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had proposed be added to a government spending bill which would have cut-off all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. “I was one of two Republicans” (the other being Lisa Murkowski, Republican senator from Alaska) “who voted against an amendment that would have taken away all federal funding for Planned Parenthood … and I think that demonstrates how important I view a woman’s right to choose,” she said. “What I have said is that I could not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe. I did not see that with Judge Kavanaugh.”

Susan Collins speaks to local media outside the McDonald’s in Winslow.

A reporter then asked about the current tension between President Trump and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. “I am really appalled at the President’s continued public humiliation of the Attorney General,” she said. “It is totally inappropriate.” But she added, “I recognize that he serves at the pleasure of the President.”

In reference to the investigation into Russian election meddling, she said, “It’s obviously troubling that Mr. Manafort was the chairman for the Trump campaign for a time, but I think it’s important for Congress not to get out ahead of the Special Counsel.

“My advice to [President Trump] all along has been that he would be better off not saying another word about the investigation.” She added, “That advice has not been taken.”

She emphasized that the Intelligence Committee, of which she is a member, is continuing with its own investigation. “In fact,” she said, “we’ve already issued two chapters on election security saying, without any doubt, that the Russians have an ongoing and active attempt to influence public opinion in this country.”

The questions then shifted to Senator John McCain and the news of his decision to discontinue medical treatments for brain cancer. “I am so sad for John McCain,” she said. “He is a dear friend of mine. My heart just aches for him. He can die knowing he’s been a real hero to the American people and a great friend.”

The event that precipitated Senator Collins’ visit, Winslow McDonald’s “Back to School Supplies Drive,” wrapped up on August 24, but you can still donate by contacting the Winslow Elementary School at 872-1967.

Mike Ortins, owner of the McDonald’s in Winslow and sponsor of the school supply drive, said it was a big success. “This is the first year we’ve done it,” he told me, “and we plan on expanding it because it was so successful. I hope to do it in all our locations next year!”

McDonald’s owner, Mike Ortins, says they have collected “multiple boxes” of school supplies to donate to Winslow Elementary.

Augusta’s Lincoln School benefits from Eagle Scout project

Alex Stewart’s Eagle Scout project at Lincoln Elementary, which he hopes will become an outdoor learning center. (Contributed photo)

Alex Stewart, of Troop #479, in China, used his Eagle Project to give something back to his elementary school. He collaborated with Jonathan Stonier, director of buildings and grounds for the Augusta School Department, to build a covered outdoor area in an under-utilized space near the school. He received assistance from adult leaders and older scouts as well as Custodian Brian Bolstridge the first two days of construction. He also received help from the younger scouts on the third day to spruce up the grounds around the project with mulch, landscape rocks, and several flower beds. He hopes the teachers and students will be able to use the structure as an outdoor learning station.

Selectmen answer questions about recycling

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro trash hauler Tom Richards attended the Aug. 23 Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting to ask what he should tell his customers about the future of recycling as the town waits for the new Fiberight trash facility, in Hampden, to open.

Selectmen said tell them steady as you go until everyone figures out what’s going to happen. That means, board member John Melrose amplified, continue to separate and flatten cardboard and continue with single-stream recycling.

Town Manager Mary Sabins and Selectboard Chairman Lauchlin Titus were among municipal officials who took advantage of Fiberight’s invitation to visit the new plant. They agreed it’s big.

Opening date is still in question. So are recycling plans, especially since the international recycling market has tanked now that the People’s Republic of China has practically stopped taking recyclables.

Fiberight has not set final tipping fees for solid waste or for recyclables. Titus expects Fiberight will charge lower fees for recyclables, but because Vassalboro does not compact them, trucking will be less efficient and more expensive than for solid waste.

  • Some years ago, Sabins remembered, selectmen commissioned an engineering study on adding a second compactor for recyclable materials. They learned providing space would require an expensive redesign of the facility.

“We’re all in transition,” Titus told Richards, promising to share information his customers can use when the selectmen have any.

Audience member Melissa Olson suggested adding recycling instructions to the Vassalboro website. Transfer station Manager George Hamar thought it a good idea once Fiberight supplies information.

Hamar raised another transfer station issue, asking for and getting permission to sell two no-longer-used metal containers for $400 each. The income, he said, would cover the increase in the price of the new roll-off container voters authorized at the June town meeting.

In other business Aug. 23, Melrose had done research on the East Vassalboro park and adjacent lot with the former schoolhouse, in response to resident Steve Jones’ offer to donate Fieldstone Garden trees. He said the land once housed the First Baptist Church and the park had been a cemetery; the graves were supposedly moved years ago, but he recommended “some sensitivity about digging there.”

In consultation with the Vassalboro Conservation Commission, the China Region Lakes Alliance and the China head of the LakeSmart Program, Melrose came up with recommendations: remove the fence between the two lots, but not the fence along Outlet Stream; remove dead and dying trees; plant the donated trees between the two lots perpendicular to the road and shore, choosing canopy trees that won’t block the view of the water; and clean up the shoreline consistent with water quality protection rules.

No public money will be spent on the work, Melrose said. All three selectmen approved the project.

Olson and William Pullen are concerned about vehicles driving onto the town land. Selectmen doubted a fence would be an effective deterrent; Melrose suggested a curb and Pullen said trucks would drive over it. Olson also asked for road signs designating South Stanley Hill Road and Stanley Hill Road, to minimize confusion at the four-way intersection with those two roads, Priest Hill Road and Lombard Dam Road. Selectmen asked Sabins to ask Road Foreman Eugene Field to look into the issue. The Aug. 23 meeting was scheduled to begin with a public hearing on a dangerous building situation, because two of the mobile homes in Brock’s Mobile Home Park lacked adequate septic systems. Selectmen accepted Codes Officer Richard Dolby’s recommendation to cancel the hearing, because a new septic system had been designed and was being installed. (ep)

Selectmen expect a progress report at their next meeting, which is set for Thursday evening, Sept. 6.

Obituaries, Week of August 30, 2018


WINSLOW – Roland C. Lessard, 91, of Winslow, passed away on Sunday, August 5, 2018, at Oak Grove Center, Waterville, following a brief illness. He was born in Waterville on December 11, 1926, the son of Odilon and Alexina (Doyon) Lessard and lived in the Waterville-Winslow area all of his life.

Roland graduated from Winslow High School, class of 1944. He was employed at Scott Paper Company for 15 years and then employed by Central Maine Power Company for over 30 years, retiring in 1989.

Roland served in the U. S. Navy during World War II as a Radioman 3rd class, serving in the Pacific Area. He was a member of Bourque-Lannigan Post#5, American Legion, Waterville and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post #8835, Winslow.

He was predeceased by his father, Odilon; mother, Alexina; sister, Olivette; and a son,l Jeffrey.

Roland is survived by two daughters, Cynthia Lessard, of New Jersey, and Carol A. Gaedtke and husband, Larry, of New Hampshire; two grandchildren, Christopher D. Biron and wife, Melissa, and Jamison D. Biron of New Hampshire; great-grandson, Maddox; and best friend and companion, Rose Manzo, of Winslow.

An online guestbook may be signed, memories shared and condolences expressed at


WINDSOR – Denise M. Pelletier, 59, of Windsor, passed away at her home on Friday, August 10, 2018. Denise was born February 8, 1959, to parents Armand and Bertha Pelletier.

She grew up in Gardiner with eight siblings. She often spoke of helping her mom cook delicious donuts and helping her dad with his horses. She attended Gardiner High School and worked for the State of Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicle. Denise loved her “girls” from work and her close friends who did so much for her while she battled breast cancer for nine years. Denise loved taking trips with her family and significant other. She enjoyed sewing quilts, doing crafts, woodworking, and her flower garden.

She was predeceased by her sister, Sheila Jackson; her parents, Bertha and Armand Pelletier; and her grandmother, Alice Cote.

Denise is survived by her four children: Amy French and husband, Chris with granddaughters, Ryleigh and Norah: Michelle Haskell and husband, Rodney, with granddaughter, Christina, and grandson, Codey; Penny Wilson with granddaughter, Elizabeth Dugas, and grandson Teddy Walen; a son Scot Wilson and wife, Deidra, with granddaughter, Mayla and grandson, Matthew; her significant other, Paul Temple; two sisters, Sandra Lambert, Brenda Owens; five brothers, Norman, Dana, Larry and David Pelletier and Ricky Hume;

Memories, condolences, photos and videos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the website at


FAIRFIELD – Terri L. Boynton, 54, died on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, at her home. She was born April 7, 1964, in Belfast, the second daughter of Peter R. Perry and Rowena Young Perry.

The family resided in Massachusetts until the late 1970s.

She was educated in Massachusetts and Maine, graduating from Erskine Academy, in South China, in 1982, and Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) in 2002, with a bachelor’s degree in ITT-Tech. She worked for the China school system several years and was employed by Summit Natural Gas Co. for the last five years.

Terri met Ralph Frank Boynton at KVCC. They were married July 7, 2014. Terri and Ralph loved travel, camping, crafting, music and the arts, good food, and good friends and family.

She was predeceased by her father, and grandparents, Arthur and Hope Walsh and Maurice and Charline Bumps Young.

She is survived by her husband Ralph; mother Rowena Y. Perry; daughter Elissa Rowe Wynne and husband Chad and their child Stella Grace; son James Rowe and wife Meghan Belanger and children Madison and Sophia; step-daughter Jaime Fagan and husband Chris and her daughter Lorelai Rice, and step-daughter Jesse Turner, her sons Daniel Turner and Anthony Peace; sister Caroline Morgan, and her daughter Erin Leighton and husband Corey and son Alex; sister Robin Maraggio and husband Tom, and her daughter Abby Obin; father-in-law Frank “Bud” M. Boynton.

According to Terri’s wishes, there will be no services.

Memorial donations may be made to the Harold Alfond Cancer Center, in Augusta.


WATERVILLE – Therese Estelle Frost, 88, of Waterville, passed on Thursday August 16, 2018, at Mount Saint Joseph. She was born in Winslow on June 16, 1930, one of eight children of Emma (Roy) and Edras Pomerleau.

She was educated in local schools and retired from C.F. Hathaway, in Waterville, in 1990 following 30 years of service.

Therese belonged to the Ladies of Ste. Anne at Sales Francis Catholic Church, in Waterville. She enjoyed playing cribbage with her husband and friends. Therese loved to travel and was known for being active and always on the go until her health began to change. She was a kind and generous woman who wore a smile where ever she went.

Therese is survived by her husband, Harold D. Frost; eight stepdaughters: Camilla Corson, Geraldine Maheu, Estelle Quimby, Anne Frost Rehner, Judith Frost Gillis, Barbara Frost, Marjorie Frost, Susan Frost, one stepson, Richard Frost; many step-grandchildren; niece and nephews.

She was predeceased by her first husband, George Cahill in 1974, and her second husband, Aurele Guerette in 1996; as well as all of her siblings.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday Aug. 25, 2018 at 11 a.m. at Notre Dame Catholic Church, 112 Silver Street, Waterville with burial following in St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, 78 Grove Street, Waterville.

Please visit to share condolences, memories and tributes with her family.

Memorial donations may be made to Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, 19 Colby Street, Waterville, ME 04901.


WINSLOW – Jacqueline (Lamy) Gosselin, 89, passed away on Wednesday, August 15, 15, 2018. Jackie was born and raised in Forge Village, Massachusetts, the daughter of immigrant Franco-American parents Hormidas and Helena (Isabelle) Lamy.

She was a member of the National Honor Society and worked at the local woolen mill prior to starting her family. In 1950, she married the love of her life and embarked on the full-time job of raising three children, later relocating with her husband to Winslow where she put down roots for the next 53 years. She worked at Waterville Adult Education for a time and engaged in community service through the Daughters of Isabella, working to provide help for those in need.

Jackie’s family grew to span four generations of which she remained the matriarch and hub, a job from which she never retired. Even through her last days she continued to care for her brood, telling them to eat and go to bed. She was the organizer of family holidays and instilled a love of celebration, laying her artistic touch on every birthday, holiday, and special event over the course of 68 years. She embraced her strong Catholic faith and spent endless hours praying for others, especially her family who provided her with ample opportunity. She was also the owner and operator of “Memere’s Motel” where her grandchildren checked in for countless sleepovers, often arriving in groups after colluding with each other through the cousin phone tree. Their Memere welcomed each and every encounter with open arms and loving heart.

Jackie exuded a gentle spirit that belied a fierce independence and iron will, which those who knew her intimately understood could not be broken.
Her innate toughness allowed her to remain living independently in her home where she most wanted to be, surrounded by her large, noisy, often chaotic tribe ranging in ages from one through 66. The antics of her great-grandchildren provided her with the gift of many laughs and so much joy through her last months. In her final days she glowed with love, joy and peace amidst the fruit of her life’s work, content with a life well lived.

Jackie was predeceased by her husband of 62 years Gerald Gosselin; her parents; her sister Dorry Melancon; and her infant granddaughter Courtney.

She is survived by her son Gerald Gosselin, Jr. and wife Gen; daughters Priscilla Rice and husband Michael, and Celeste LaPointe and husband Stan; grandchildren Kirsten Pomeroy and husband Cory, Stephanie Grondin and husband Travis, Rachel Reynolds and husband Andy, Lyndsey Giles and husband Doug, Jessica Poulin and husband Jared, Josh LaPointe, and Amanda LaPointe and partner Jimmy Page; great-grandchildren Cassidy, Courtney, Colby, Cooper, Cody, Chase, Chloe, Kaitlyn, Caleb, Jace, Joslyn, and Jude; nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9 a.m. on Saturday Aug. 25, 2018, at St. John the Baptist Church, Monument Street in Winslow, followed by internment at St. Francis Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction and care of Gallant Funeral Home, 10 Elm Street, Waterville. An online guestbook may signed, memories and condolences shared at

Memorial donations may be made to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and MaineGeneral Hospice,


FAIRFIELD – Bertrand “Bert” Bard, 73, of Fairfield, died unexpectedly on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. He was born in Fort Kent on November 15, 1944, the son of the late Alcide O. and Cecile (Robichaud) Bard.

He attended school in Fort Kent, and graduated Waterville Night School after being drafted to the United States Army. He served from September 1969 to January 8, 1971. Bertrand received the (National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Service Stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge and Expert Rifleman.

He married Jill (Steeves) Bard on October 16,1971, and moved to Fairfield. He owned and operated Bert’s Auto Body, in Winslow, until his retirement.

He was predeceased by a grandson, Jordan Bard, and a brother, Rosaire “Shoe” Bard.

Survivors include his wife Jill (Steeves) Bard, of Fairfield; his two sons Jason Bard, of Albion, and his significant other Tina Dumais, of Waterville, James Millett and his significant other Margaret Bergeron, both of Waterville, two daughters Julie Bard, of Gardiner, and Jodi Handley and her husband Charles Handley, of Bangor; his grandchildren, Zack Bickford, Jamie Millett, Garielle Bickford, Jayley Handley, Makenzie Handley, Brody Richards, James Millett, Isla Bard; and great-grandson, Raiden Sidelinger; his siblings, Leland and Fern Bard, of Waterville, Ronald and Rita Bard, of Monmouth, Wilmer and Verna Bard, of Fairfield, Maurice and Barbara Bard, of Fairfield, Valier and Janet Bard, of Fairfield, Rosalind Bard Joseph, of Waterville, Bernette Bard Harvey and husband James, of Tennessee, Claudette Bard Rancourt and husband George, of Winslow, Elaine Bard Lachance and husband James, of East Vassalboro, Loraine Bard Belliveau and husband Chuck, of Waterville; and several nieces and nephews.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at:

Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers Funeral Home and Cremation Care of Fairfield.


FAIRFIELD – Dorothy Alice (Gwazdosky) Belanger passed away Wednesday August 15, 2018, at her home in Fairfield. She was born in Winslow on either January 30 or January 31, 1926. The ongoing debate over which day stems from the desire to have a different birthday than her twin, Doris. (Neither of whom ‘came over on the boat’ regardless of what they told you.) They were two of the 10 children born to Russian and Polish immigrants, Stephen and Olga (Kachnovich) Gwazdosky.

Dorothy graduated from Winslow High School in 1945, where her yearbook recognizes she and Doris’ penchant for confusing their teachers by trading places. Dorothy and Doris moved to Washington, DC, later that year to work as clerks for the federal government. Together they stood in front of the White House with thousands of others following the announcement that Japan had surrendered.

Dorothy moved back to Maine, met, fell in love with, and married Harold Belanger in 1951. The Winslow Black Raider had fallen for a Lawrence Bulldog who would not stray far from home. Dorothy and Harold raised five children and two businesses in Fairfield. They trademarked “Belanger’s Famous Tortiere Pies” in 1951. The pies were originally sold at Belanger’s Market which was run by Harold and his brother, Fred. Dorothy and Harold ran Belanger’s Drive-In and Dairy Bar from 1974 until their retirement in 1986. Not content to retire, Dorothy worked for several more years at Sounds Easy Video where she was once recognized as Employee of the Year. Dorothy also enjoyed participating in her Monday night bowling league winning several titles in the early 1990s.

Dorothy was predeceased her husband, Harold; her parents; six brothers, Nicolas, Alec, Joseph, William, Julius and John Gwazdosky, and three sisters, Doris Gwazdosky DeAngelis, Nellie McMahon and Luba Gwazdosky.

Dorothy is survived by her five children, Diane Veilleux, of Fairfield, Beckie Seeley and her husband Calvin, of Winslow, Linda Brown and her husband Gordon, of Rome, Russell Belanger and his wife Tina, of Fairfield, and Ruth Leigh and her husband Randy, of Fairfield; six grandchildren, Jenny Boyden and her husband Matt, of Clinton, Amy Foss and her husband Gerald, of Winslow, Tracy Leigh, of Windsor, Chelsea Brown, of Rochester, New York, Chace Belanger, of Portland, and Paige Belanger, of Fairfield; three great-grandchildren, Storer and Jillian Boyden, of Clinton and Cassidy Foss, of Winslow; and many nieces and nephews.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at

Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers Funeral & Cremation Care, 107 Main St., Fairfield.


WINDSOR – Denise M. Pelletier, 59, of Windsor, passed away on Friday, August 10, 2018. Denise was born February 8, 1959, to parents Armand and Bertha Pelletier.

She grew up in Gardiner with eight siblings. She often spoke of helping her mom cook delicious homemade donuts and helping her dad with his horses. She attended Gardiner High School and worked for the State of Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicle. Denise loved dearly her “girls” from work and her close friends who did so much for her while she battled breast cancer for nine years. Denise loved taking trips with her family and significant other. She enjoyed sewing quilts, doing crafts, woodworking, her flower garden, and could do anything she set her mind to.

Denise is described by so many as the strongest woman they will ever know. She was a great mother but also a best friend and confidant to her children. Her most precious love was her eight “grandbabies.”

She was predeceased by her sister, Sheila Jackson; her parents, Bertha and Armand Pelletier; and her grandmother, Alice Cote.

Denise is survived by her four children; Amy French and husband, Chris, with granddaughters, Ryleigh and Norah; Michelle Haskell and husband, Rodney, with granddaughter, Christina, and grandson, Codey; Penny Wilson with granddaughter, Elizabeth Dugas, and grandson, Teddy Walen; a son, Scott Wilson and wife, Deidra, with granddaughter, Mayla, and grandson, Matthew; her significant other, Paul Temple; two sisters, Sandra Lambert, Brenda Owens; five brothers, Norman, Dana, Larry and David Pelletier and Ricky Hume; along with many sisters- and brothers in-law, nieces and nephews.

Flowers, memories, condolences, photos and videos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of our website at

TIF committee continues discussion on purchase of Bailey property

by Mary Grow

Members of China’s Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Committee spent half their Aug. 27 meeting discussing again whether to recommend the town buy Susan Bailey’s land at the head of China Lake’s east basin.

They agreed they lacked information to make a decision and set themselves a deadline for getting the information and deciding: their October meeting, which was moved from the usual last Monday of the month to Oct. 22 to avoid conflicting with the China selectmen’s meeting.

The Bailey property consists of a small parcel on the north side of the causeway, opposite the boat landing, used unofficially by boaters, and a larger lot with a house on the east side of Routes 202 and 9. In November 2016, China voters approved buying the small piece for boat landing parking for up to $10,000; but Bailey’s mortgage prohibits dividing the land.

Voters have not been asked to appropriate the $120,000 she is asking for the entire acreage.

Meanwhile, state officials responsible for boat landings have told town officials land across the busy highway from the landing is not suitable for parking, for safety reasons. Without more parking, the state will not make improvements to the landing.

At the Aug. 27 meeting, attorney Joann Austin volunteered the information that if someone were willing to pay for a survey, an appraisal and perhaps other requirements, the Bailey lots might be separable. Committee members are also discussing with China Baptist Church officials use of the church parking lot.

The other decision committee members made Aug. 27 was that if selectmen ask voters on Nov. 6 to authorize them to make appropriations from the TIF fund without town meeting approval, but with TIF Committee endorsement, the committee will not support the idea. (See related story, p. 3 )

Committee members might later support such a plan, but for now they would like time to think about it, more specific information and a standardized application form, among other things.

Their unanimous vote was to recommend postponing a vote to the March 2019 town business meeting. Robert MacFarland, chairman of the Selectboard, said he would prefer a vote in November or June when more voters are likely to participate than in March.

Three selectmen attend workshop with town manager

by Mary Grow

China Town Manager Dennis Heath and the three selectmen who attended the Aug. 24 workshop meeting came up with five local referendum questions the board might put to voters on Nov. 6.

No decisions were made at the meeting, except that Heath is to draft possible ballot questions. Selectmen will decide whether to ask them at their next regular meeting, scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4 (because the usual Monday evening meeting would have fallen on Labor Day).

The potential questions are:

  • Whether voters approve in principle building a new emergency services building;
  • Whether voters approve in principle building – or buying, Selectman Irene Belanger suggested – a new community building;
  • Whether voters want to repeal China’s quorum ordinance, which requires a minimum number of registered voters in order to conduct a town meeting;
  • Whether voters will authorize selectmen to spend part of the annual Tax Increment Finance (TIF) income each year without specific town meeting authorization, on recommendation from the TIF Committee; and
  • Whether voters support sending a resolution to the state legislature requesting exemption from the requirement to collect personal property taxes (taxes charged on business equipment, from computers used in a home office to farm and construction equipment).

Heath proposed the first two questions, about the new buildings. He emphasized that they do not include a specific location, design, cost or other details for either building. If voters approve either or both in principle, then selectmen or an appropriate town committee can develop details; if voters reject either or both ideas, planning would be a waste of time.

Belanger reminded those present that the quorum ordinance was approved in response to complaints that before its adoption, the few people who came to town meetings made decisions for the whole town. The suggestion to ask voters to repeal the ordinance came from town office staff, Heath said, because of the effort required to collect a quorum (currently 120 voters) so the March business meeting can be held.

If China residents do not want to attend town meetings, Heath said, perhaps it is time to ask another advisory question: would they prefer a town council form of government? Selectman Neil Farrington thought selectboard members should give the idea more consideration before perhaps presenting it to voters.

Under China’s current regulations for TIF spending, voters at the March business meeting authorize using the funds, collected as property taxes on Central Maine Power Company’s transmission line and South China substation, for purposes related to economic development. If during the following 12 months someone presents another project, it cannot be funded until voters approve it at the next town meeting.

Again, selectmen see the question as asking for a yes or no reaction. If voters approve, board members will work out details, like whether they can allocate a certain dollar figure or a certain percentage of the TIF fund, and seek more specific authorization in March 2019.

Farrington asked whether the town can grant exemptions from personal property taxes, about which he says he receives complaints. Heath and board Chairman Robert MacFarland said state law requires towns to collect them, although they agreed some towns do not and are not penalized – except, MacFarland said, real estate taxes are slightly higher to make up for the uncollected personal property taxes.

Heath said if China collected all personal property taxes owed, it would take in about $316,000 a year. He pointed out that if people with taxable equipment fill out the proper reporting form, they are entitled to exemptions on most newer items, and the state reimburses the town for half the exempted revenue.

Selectmen need to decide which questions will be submitted and how they will be worded at the Sept. 4 meeting, because the deadline for the ballot, including referendum questions and candidates’ names for local office, is Friday, Sept. 7.

In other business at the workshop, Farrington asked about ongoing plans to add three-phase power or otherwise update the transfer station’s antiquated electrical service. Heath said the Transfer Station Committee considered options at its Aug. 21 meeting.

One possibility is using part of the transfer station reserve fund to bring in three-phase power. Heath said a Central Maine Power Company site advisor estimated running a three-phase line from Route 3 could cost up to $60,000. Converting equipment, hooking up the new compactor and similar services could cost at least $20,000, maybe twice that. At the March 2018 business meeting voters authorized up to $200,000 for the reserve fund.

Heath does not expect to have a recommendation ready for the Sept. 4 selectmen’s meeting.

The manager shared personnel and staffing issues he had discussed with town staff. He is considering seeking two new employees, one to be assistant to Codes Officer Paul Mitnik and take over when Mitnik is ready to retire and one for the road crew to work as a mechanic, maintenance person and driver.

MacFarland, referring to the Aug. 20 meeting he missed at which the rest of the board approved Mitnik’s revised permit fee schedule, said his intention was to end up with lower fees, not higher. Mitnik proposed and selectmen approved lower fees for a few permits, but higher fees for many, to allow for inflation since the schedule was last reviewed.

Getting to know the China town manager

China Town Manager Dennis Heath, left, and wife Mary, at their new home on the Cross Road, in China. (Photos by Eric Austin)

An exclusive interview

by Eric W. Austin

“God and country” is a phrase that neatly sums up Dennis Heath, China’s new town manager. In an extensive three-hour interview on Friday, August 3, he told me of his life before Maine, including his family, a storied military career spanning nearly three decades, a 14-year stint as the full-time pastor of a small Baptist church, and his previous position as part-time city administrator for the town of Stonewall, Oklahoma.

“I come from a military family,” Heath explained. “My father was a career Air Force guy. My uncle was a career Air Force guy. My entire family has a military background going all the way back to the Civil War.”

Heath’s own military service began at age 17. It was 1978. The Vietnam War had ended only a few years before. At the time, he’d just finished high school where he was part of the school’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and was working as the manager for two Dino’s Pizza joints in Sky Lake and Oak Ridge, an area of Florida just south of Orlando.

Shortly after enlisting, young Dennis was sent to Keesler Air Force Base, in Biloxi, Mississippi, for technical training.

It was here that he met his future wife, Mary, who had just finished basic training herself, and was working as an administrative specialist for the Air National Guard.

Heath described their first encounter, in the airbase day-room: “I walk in the door. I notice the head of a girl, watching the television. All I can see is the top of her head. There’s this glow around her, and I hear an inaudible voice that says, ‘That’s your wife.’”

By the end of that night’s shift, Mary had asked him out for a date. She took him bowling. And she paid. Young Dennis knew the voice was right: he had found his partner for life.

After six weeks of dating, Heath popped the question. They were eating dinner. “She spit out her salad,” Heath told me with a chuckle. A month later they were married. Heath was 18. Mary had just turned 21.

“Our first assignment was out of the country, to Germany. And to this day, she’ll tell you it was the greatest thing to have occurred, because it got us both away from our families. We couldn’t run, and we had to get along. We had to grow up. And we did.”

Children were not far behind. Their oldest son, Joshua, was born in Germany in 1980. Four years later, James was born in Italy. “Matter of fact,” Heath recalled, “he was born in the same hospital as [famous Italian actress] Sophia Loren.”

The couple’s only daughter, Linda — short for Lindita – was born nine months before James, but her inclusion in the Heath family was a bit more complicated.

Born to Albanian parents in Kosovo, Linda’s birth-family fled the country for Germany in the early 1990s, during the Bosnian genocide, committed by Serbian forces against the ethnic Muslims of the region.

The Heaths got to know the then six-year-old Linda and her family during their second assignment to Germany. Fearing for her safety if they ever returned to Kosovo, Linda’s parents asked the Heaths to adopt her. Initially, the Heaths declined, as they were nearing the end of their time in Germany.

However, the Heaths stayed in touch with the girl and her family, and when they returned to Germany in 1999, Linda’s parents approached them again about adopting the girl, who was now 15. This time the Heaths accepted.

Even then, the adoption almost didn’t happen. According to U.S. law, a child adopted overseas by American parents must be under 16 to be eligible for immigration to the United States. By the time the adoption process was completed, it was two months after Linda’s sixteenth birthday, and she was no longer eligible for immigration. It would take a four-star general, pulling strings, and a U.S. Senator, who got a law passed allowing a special exception in her case, before they could bring her back to the States.

With Linda’s adoption, the Heath family was now complete.

After 25 years of military service, with assignments in Germany, Italy, Central America, as well as stints in states like Virginia and Florida, Dennis Heath retired from the service in 2003 and settled his growing family in Oklahoma. But even in retirement, Heath stayed busy, serving as a full-time pastor for a small Baptist church and, at the request of the city’s mayor, also taking a part-time position as city administrator for Stonewall, Oklahoma, while also doing consulting work at the local municipal airport.

So, what pulled Dennis and Mary Heath out of the southern Midwest and up to a small town in central Maine? Like many people at their stage in life, it involved grandchildren.

Two years ago, both of the Heath’s sons, together with their wives and five children, decided to move to Maine. They jointly purchased a large house just south of Farmington.

After that, Heath explained, “Mary said to me, ‘We’ve got to move to Maine!’”

Dennis Heath was sworn-in as China’s town manager on May 11, and spent the month of June co-managing with his predecessor, Dan L’Heureux.

What has kept the new town manager busy in the two months since? “I’ve spent a lot of time on money,” he told me. “Becoming familiar with the finances, getting my arms around the budget; making sure we’re ready for the tax commitment that’s coming up.”

He’s also been getting to know the residents of China. “I’ve been doing a lot of meeting people. Listening to people.” And he wants you to know he can take criticism. “I’ve developed thick skin because of [my time in the military],” he said. “People can chew me out on the phone and that’s okay.”

He also seems pleased with the town office staff. “I adore the staff,” he said. “The staff here is great!”

This next year will be a testing period for the new town manager. The first phase of the causeway project at the north end of China Lake is to be completed next month, and phase 2 of the project, which involves replacing the boat ramp, adding additional parking, lighting and new sidewalks along Causeway Road, still has a number of hurdles to navigate before it can move forward.

The other major projects he’s looking at include the building of a new community center for the residents of China, and possibly constructing a new consolidated emergency services building that would house the Volunteer Fire Department, and serve as a station house for local police and ambulance services.

Dennis and Mary Heath in front of their new home in China.

All in all, the Heaths seem to be settling in comfortably. They closed on a new house, just north of the town office, a few weeks ago, and are currently searching for a new church to call home. So far, they’ve visited the Church of the Nazarene on Route 3, the Manchester Community Church, and China Baptist.

Although Heath is not interested in taking up the mantle of pastor right now, he’s not planning to “church-hop” forever either.

“I’m not one of those people who enjoys church-hopping,” he said. “I’ve consistently said, you need to find a place where you fit in, and stay. We’re going to find a group of people that I think we fit well with and that’s where we’re going to go. And we’re going to stay there for the time we’re here, for however long we’re here.”

In response to a critical article that appeared recently in the Central Maine newspapers, Heath emphasized that he has no interest in being part of a group like the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church, which is known nationally for its use of incendiary speech against the LGBT community, the religion of Islam, and other minority groups. “That is one of the things I am particularly sensitive to,” he said. “I do not want to be part of a group that is out embarrassing the Church by its activities.”

He added, “Emily [Higginbotham, of Central Maine newspapers], was pretty clear in what she wrote that she wanted to paint the picture that I was anti-Muslim, that I was anti-gay, that I was anti-this, that, and the other. I think the point I was trying to make with her is that I have these biblical views about conduct, but I don’t take those views about conduct into the way that I deal with people.”

Whether they will fit in with the rest of us crazy Mainers, only time will tell, but the Heaths are determined to make a new home here in China, Maine.

Eric W. Austin writes about technology and community issues. He can be reached by email at