Gaining some ground

Waterville Youth Football third and fourth grade team member Ethan Sirois breaks for a sizable gain in a game against Skow­hegan on Sep­tember 23, in Waterville. (Photo by Tawni Lively, Central Maine Photography staff)

Vassalboro selectmen postpone business due to chairman’s absence

by Mary Grow

VASSALBORO – With Chairman Lauchlin Titus unable to attend their Sept. 20 meeting, selectmen postponed the main planned business, a discussion of issues related to police and dispatching services, to their Oct. 4 meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the town office. The two board members present approved the major business item on the Sept. 20 agenda, a boundary agreement with Comprehensive Land Technologies, Inc., which owns a gravel pit adjacent to Vassalboro’s in South China. (ep)

Ben Brann of CLT explained that the CLT pit requires a state license, because it covers more than five acres. To get the license, it must be at least 50 feet from an adjoining pit or have an agreement with the owner of the adjoining pit allowing for a lesser separation. When CLT bought the pit, he said, the separation was already less than 50 feet.

The Town of China has increased the assessed value of Vassalboro’s pit, thereby raising the taxes on it from less than $200 in 2016 to more than $1,500 in 2017 and 2018. China selectmen in their role as assessors unanimously rejected Vassalboro’s appeal of the valuation earlier this month. Vassalboro selectmen did not rule out further investigation, but decided taking the issue to court immediately would not be a wise use of town funds.

Town Manager Mary Sabins reported on steps taken toward applying for grant money for a large generator to make Vassalboro Community School a potential emergency shelter.

MESSING ABOUT IN THE MAINE WOODS: Cooking on the trail with a makeshift stove

by Ron Maxwell

Eating and drinking outside are some of my favorite parts of being in the woods. I love a fire but in many places one cannot have an open fire. Without a fire, the easiest way to make water safe, to heat coffee or cocoa or to make food in the woods is to use a small camping/hiking stove. These stoves can be expensive – my favorite cost me $80 – but well made stoves can be created at home from common items and are as efficient as commercial stoves. Read on to learn how to build a stove to heat food, from the can the food was purchased in.

Last school break I commandeered the kitchen table and retested all the various stoves I have made. “Past me” thought them all clever at the time, but “present me” is finding the sheer numbers a trifle excessive. Most are made from food/drink cans, because “past me” did not want to buy an expensive store-bought model. All can be put into one of three basic categories: solid fuel burning, liquid fuel burning and wood burning.

Solid fuel burning stoves burn fuel tablets. I saw some in town in the camping aisle, and a quick internet search yielded many results, like Coghlan’s Solid Fuel Tablets (72 pack for $15.) I have some fuel tablets in a small baggie in the bottom of my pack because they are light to carry and could be put in the bottom of any empty can to be burned. I never got into the habit of using them as a primary source of heat because I was more interested in making stoves that burned liquid fuel. I carry them now for that time when the liquid fuel runs out on trail or to start a fire in extreme weather.

An example of a homemade stove, from Pinterest.

Liquid fuel stoves are an easy build and there are plans everywhere online. (The one pictured came from the Pinterest website.) They are also just plain fun to make and use. You have many options to fuel such a stove, from Everclear (an alcohol of 151 to 190 proof) to Naptha (the off-brand version of the fuel used in zippo lighters). For my stoves I use HEET, the gas line antifreeze that draws water out of your car’s fuel system. It can be bought at most gas stations, burns cleanly and is inexpensive.

It is easy to make a simple stove of your own. Remove the top of an empty aluminum drink can and use a hole punch to make holes at even intervals around the top third of the can. Fill the bottom third with liquid fuel. After setting the fuel alight, wait a couple minutes to give the stove a chance to heat up. Put your kettle on the can, making sure to cover the top of the can with the bottom of your kettle. The heat in the stove will turn the liquid fuel to gas which ignites and exits the holes just like the flame of a gas stove. If you put the kettle on your stove and it goes out, it was not warm enough and you need to let it burn longer before putting the kettle on next time. Be sure to shield the stove from the wind, and it will work great.

I have since moved from using any old can because those designs had no way to extinguish the stove other than allowing it to run out of fuel. The missing piece was a cover that would cut off the oxygen of the burner. What was needed was two cans, one slightly smaller than the other so that I could use the larger to cover the smaller. So I went to Hannaford and grabbed cans, going from aisle to aisle comparing sizes. I found that a Vienna Sausage can fits inside a small tomato sauce can nicely which makes the Vienna Sausage can the burner and the sauce can the cover that extinguishes the stove.

When possible, a small fire is my favorite pastime in the woods, and my cooking method of choice. However, careless use of fire and a need to protect our common land has changed the public opinion of open fires. The result is that sometimes you cannot have a fire. Those times are why I always carry what is called a wood gas stove.

A wood gas stove has a center that is very efficient with fuel so its only fuel is twigs and sticks. It burns in a way that forces the fire’s smoke to be recirculated in the stove, meaning the stove burns without smoke once it comes to operational temperature. Since it is a stove, it can be used where an open fire is illegal. And since it burns small sticks one does not need to carry large amounts of firewood or worse yet, harvest large amounts of any wood. I pick up pencil sized sticks along the way and those, plus an occasional small branch, are enough fuel to run the unit. My stove is a Toaks titanium 750 ml pot and wood stove combo set which I bought because pot and stove nestle together, taking up small space in pack.

You do not have to buy such a stove, because a simple wood gas stove can be made with two cans, one smaller than the other. The smaller is the burn chamber: punch holes in the bottom of the can and a ring of holes around its top rim. The larger can only needs its top removed, a ring of holes punched around its top rim and a hole the size of the smaller can cut in its bottom. Put the larger can upside down on the table, and put the smaller can, bottom first, in the hole in the larger can’s bottom. Fill the small can with twigs and set it alight. After a minute of burning you should see the smoke no longer leaving the stove, but rather being pulled back in to be burnt again. If that last paragraph was too much, you can get a great tutorial on YouTube in a minute of searching.

All three types of stove mentioned above are easy to use, to make and to fuel. The first time you fire up one of your stoves, it needs to be done in the open air. Burning reused cans releases a noxious gas the first time burned. After the first burn the can is safe and you can enjoy the use of your homemade stove. Making and using a stove you have made will satisfy that need to be self sufficient and have a cost effective way to replace broken equipment in the field. And being self sufficient while saving money and looking clever is a great way of messing about in the Maine woods.

Gordon graduates at the University of Minnesota Crookston

The Office of the Registrar at the University of Minnesota Crookston, in Crookston, Minnesota, recently announced its list of spring semester 2018 graduates. Summer session graduates include Cailyn Marie Gordon, of Rome, graduating with a bachelor of science in animal science.

Fall 2018 Erskine Academy Parent/Teacher Conferences

(photo credit: Erskine Academy)

All parents of Erskine Academy students are invited to attend fall Parent/Teacher Conferences on October 3rd & 4th from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Progress reports will be emailed to parents by October 2. For those parents who have not yet submitted a primary email address, please stop by the Guidance Office for a printed copy of your student’s progress report. No appointments are necessary as teachers will be available to speak with parents in their respective classrooms. However, to avoid long waiting lines, two separate evenings have been scheduled: Wednesday, October 3 for students whose last names begin with A through I; and Thursday, October 4 for students whose last names begin with J through Z. The Sports Boosters will also have items available to purchase on both evenings.

Please feel free to contact the Guidance Office at 445-2964 with any questions or concerns regarding this information.

“The Secret” to be unveiled in Palermo

Joy, health, money, relationships, love, happiness – everything you have ever wanted – are all part of “The Secret.” In this astonishing film are ALL the resources you will need to understand and live in this matrix of abundance.

For the first time in history, leading scientists, authors, and philosophers will reveal The Secret that utterly transformed the lives of all who have lived it: Plato, Newton, Carnegie, Beethoven, Shakespeare, and Einstein. Anybody who wants to change the direction of his or her life is invited to join a group of friendly neighbors on Friday, September 28, at the Palermo Community Center at 630 Turner Ridge Rd. for a potluck meal at 6 p.m., followed by the showing in the cozy screening room downstairs. For more info or directions, please contact Connie Bellet at 993-2294 or e-mail

Cony graduate completes basic training

Lilianne Nichols

Liliane Nichols, a 2018 graduate of Cony High School, in Augusta, recently graduated in the top 10 percent from B Battery, 1st Battalion, Third Platoon, U. S. Army Training Center, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

She is the daughter of Sara and Seth Nichols of Augusta and Dawn and Jason Bryant, of Fairfield.

On family day, Seth Nichols was invited to promote Soldier Nichols to Private Second Class (PV2) Nichols as Sharon Nichols, her grandmother, of Palermo, joined other families honoring the 20 soldiers receiving this honor. PV2 Nichols is the granddaughter of Gary Nichols, of South China.

PV2 Nichols is assigned to Sam Houston Joint Base, San Antonio, Texas, studying to be a combat medic.

INside the OUTside: Sugarloaf, Sunday River making plans for early snow season

It won’t be long before the snow guns come alive and cover the slopes of Sugarloaf, Sunday River and other ski trails in Maine. (File photo by Dan Cassidy)

by Dan Cassidy

It’s been quite a warm summer overall and I was just reading a couple articles from our local ski areas in western Maine. Now I’m sure you remember how really hot and humid it has been over the past couple of months … but you may have forgotten the winter we endured last season. Let me remind you … it wasn’t only “cold” … it was downright freezing, along with more snow than we’ve had over the past couple years … beginning in early December, right into mid-May! Kind of forgot that didn’t you!

Well, as mentioned, a couple of the reports from our ski resorts are calling for an early beginning, hopefully the making of another great season!

While Sugarloaf and Sunday River had a great summer of golfing, fat biking, hiking Appalachian trails or visiting the Maine Huts and Trails, canoeing and riding some of the zip line runs, vacation days are coming to an end. I recently heard that the two Maine resorts are aiming to begin snowmaking in less than 100 days, give or take!? WoW!

Sunday River is one of Maine’s largest and most visited ski slopes in the east. The mountain is spread across 870 accessible acres that spreads across eight interconnected trails. We’ll keep you posted on new equipment, trails and events as snow season gets closer.

Maine Ski Hall of Fame Induction ceremony scheduled

The Maine Ski Hall of Fame is planning their 16th annual induction dinner Saturday, October 27th at the Grand Summit Hotel at Sunday River Resort beginning at 4:30 p.m.

The induction ceremony includes seven members to the Class of 2018. They are Karen Colburn, Leon Akers, Anne Dowling, Norman Libby, David Stonebraker, Kristina Sabasteanski and Warren Cook.

Reservations can be made by contacting Ski Maine Association at (207) 699-3121, or visit Dinner tickets are $65.00 per person. Special lodging rates are also available.

Get ready and get going!

For now, there are several things you can do to be ready for opening day. First, get moving and get into shape, get your skis out of storage, get them tuned and waxed, get those boots out and clean them up.

Some weather reports are indicating that we’re due for an early start to the winter, with ample snow before the Christmas holidays. It’s closer than you think!

Obituaries, Week of September 27, 2018


CHINA – Pamela L. Stickney, 60, passed away Friday, August 24, 2018, at MaineGeneral Medical Center following a brief and courageous battle against cancer. Pam was born on July 10, 1958, to Helen Cromwell Stickney, and Ervin W. Stickney in Skowhegan.

She grew up in Norridgewock and the surrounding area, then later lived and established her family in Winslow with her former husband James Goodwin, where together they raised their children.

Pam’s family was the most important thing to her and she always put them first. Pam’s giving nature and concern for others was often shown in her good morning texts, silly emojis and pictures that she’d send to her loved ones just to say hi, or to check in on them. These messages brought joy to those receiving them and certainly will be missed, but will continue to bring a smile when needed. For many, she was their “Prayer Warrior.” She sent many prayers up and also would find scriptures to lift their spirits and bring peace. One of the greatest things she loved to do with her partner, George, was to go shopping at Goodwill and lawn sale-ing on Saturday mornings. This had been a lifelong passion of hers. Her gifts will now be cherished memories of her thoughtfulness to those she loved.

Pam worked in various occupations in her life beginning at a young age. She was particularly proud of her time spent working in nursing homes as a CNA, not surprising because she had compassion and respect for anyone in need.

Pam was content with a simple life. She felt no need for extravagant things. She was happy to end her day with a cup of tea and a chocolate. She enjoyed silly hats, word puzzles, spending time with family, collecting strawberries, socializing through Facebook, and making other people happy. Her day could easily be made when someone would bring her favorite drink: an “Extra Large Half-calf coffee, just cream” from Dunkin’ Donuts. One would think they had given her the world, and they may have, because she thoroughly enjoyed the company that came with the gesture. You never had to try to impress her. Just be yourself and show kindness; she was quick to know who was sincere.

Pam didn’t consider herself to be a courageous person, anyone who was fortunate enough to spend time with her following her diagnosis would have never known. She had overcome many hardships in her life but often downplayed those victories.

Pam was predeceased by her parents; her brother Mark Stickney; infant brother Jeffery Stickney.

She is survived by her daughter Jamie Goodwin, of China; her son James Goodwin and his wife Randi, of China; her grandsons Jimmy, Eli and Gabriel, her partner George Clemmer Jr.; sister Barbara Bell, of Skowhegan; brothers Bernard Stickney and his partner Diane Glidden, of Mars Hill, Gordon (Tom) Stickney and his wife Debbie, of Chelsea; and Galen Trask Jr. and his wife Lisa, of Akron, Michigan; several nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and many cousins.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at

Arrangements are by Wheeler Funeral Home & Cremation Care, 26 Church St., Oakland.


OAKLAND – Leon William Loucks, 75, passed away on Monday, August 27, 2018, at the Country Manor Nursing Home, in Whitefield, following a brief illness. He was born December 3, 1942, in Oakland, the son of William C. and Doris V. (Lewis) Loucks.

Leon worked his school summer years doing yard work and haying fields in Smithfield. After graduating from Williams High School, in Oakland, he worked for Diamond National, in Oakland, and for Fuller Brush sales until he worked for the Waterville Morning Sentinel for over 17 years. He became interested in the mental health field a few years later and began working as a mental health counselor. He also attended the University of Maine in Augusta to earn his BS degree in social sciences until early retirement in 1999.

Leon enjoyed sports. While his children were in school, he did parent voluntary coaching for the school sports program.

Leon worked with his dad in 1968 and 1969 designing and building the family home in Sidney where his family lived until he became ill in 1999. Upon retirement, Leon and Sheila lived in Waterville until they bought their retirement home in Oakland.

Leon is survived by his wife, Sheila York Loucks, of Oakland, and by his children, Laurie and husband, Gregory Roberts, of Baxter, Tennessee, Boyd Loucks, of Waterville, Brian Loucks and wife Bridgette, of Oakland, and Trena and husband, George Cousins, of Smithfield; six grandchildren, Anthony Loucks, of Winslow, Dameon Loucks, of Augusta, Kody Loucks, of Skowhegan, Dustin Loucks and Drake Loucks, both of Oakland, and Kylee Loucks, of Fairfield; one great-grandson, Connor Loucks, and one great-granddaughter, Natalee Loucks, both of Augusta; two sisters, Gloria (Richard) Luce, of Cape Elizabeth and Charlotte (Edward) Tardiff, of Sidney, and one brother, Christopher (Wendy) Loucks, of Hancock.

He was predeceased by his parents, William C. and Doris V. (Lewis) Loucks, one brother, William Loucks and one sister, Helen (Joseph) Dubois as well as his son, David Earl Loucks (Dee Dee).

Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, Maine 04976.


PALERMO – Keith C. Nelson, 84, passed away Wednesday, September 5, 2018, at Inland Hospital, in Waterville. He was born June 20, 1934, in Palermo, the son of Jasper C. and Edith (Brown) Nelson.

He graduated from Erskine Academy, in South China, class of 1952. He was a veteran who proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War until his honorable discharge. Keith worked for many years as a self-employed farmer/lumberman and was a former Branch Mills Grange member.

Keith is survived by his brother, Royce B. Nelson and wife Jeannine, of Palermo; sister, Jackie Nelson, of Palermo; three nephews, Todd Nelson and wife Tina, of Palermo, Troy Nelson and wife Angela, of Palermo, Allen Warren and wife Denise, of Connecticut; niece, Joy (Nelson) Baig and husband Babar, of Massachusetts; numerous grandnieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family.

Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, ME 04976.


CHINA – Steven Lee Cole, 64, passed away Saturday, September 8, 2018, at his home following a courageous battle with cancer. He was born August 18, 1954, in Albion, the son of Roger Sherman Sr. and Louise Lee (Barker) Cole.

He attended schools in Albion and on April 18, 1972, he married Susan Cole. They were married 37 years and had eight children. They had always remained close friends. He was employed for many years at Ace Tire, in Waterville, Dan’s Auto Parts, in Benton, was a self-employed mechanic and did woodworking with his son. Steve was a member of the United Bikers of Maine and belonged to a bowling league. He enjoyed auto racing, drag racing, automotive mechanics, building motors with his sons, riding his motorcycle and snowmobiling with family and friends, fishing, and loved spending time with his family.

Steve was predeceased by his son Steven Cole Jr.

He is survived by five sons, Seth Cole and wife Sarah, of Pittsfield, Shane Cole and wife Paula, of Winslow, Saul Cole and wife Ashley, of Waterville, Scott Cole and wife Tysha, of Albion, Stuart Cole and wife Valerie, of China; two daughters, Shelley Marcoux and husband Lee, of Sidney, Sonya Cole and fiance Dan Parsons, of Winslow, Susan Cole, of Shawmut; two brothers, Roger Cole Jr. and wife Patricia, of Canaan, Timothy Cole and wife Stacey, of Virginia; four sisters, Natalie Labbe and husband Steve, of Shawmut, Sally Funk and husband James, of Connecticut, Marlena Funk and family, of Pittsfield, Martha Rowe and family, of Newport; 20 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family.

A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 2 p.m., at 4 Stanley Hill Road, China. Refreshments will be potluck. Interment will be at a later date at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Steve’s memory to the Vesper Hill Children’s Chapel, PO Box 263, Rockport, ME (contact # 207-236-6139).

Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, Maine 04976.


WINSLOW – Alta L. (Heald) Lambert, 83, passed away Monday, September 10, 2018, at her home, in Winslow. She was born October 7, 1934, in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of John Foster and Doris Mary (Leonard) Heald.

She was employed for many years as an office manager at American Glass Company, in Waterville. She was a devoted member and former president of the American Legion Auxiliary, Post #5, in Waterville, and a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Alta always enjoyed making whoopie pies and Lambert spaghetti dinners. She had a funny sense of humor and loved to make people laugh. She had a wonderful personality and was loved by many.

Alta is survived by four daughters, Linda Gormly of Rhode Island, Darlene Golodetz, of Waterville, Lisa Lambert, of Winslow, and Lori Peterson, of Fairfield; her son Chuck Lambert and wife Linda, of Winslow; granddaughters, Alaina Lambert, of Winslow, Taylor Rodriguez, of Winslow, Meghan Caromile and husband Bruce, of Rhode Island, Krysten Gormly, of Washington, D.C., Jennifer Willette, of Vassalboro, and Cassandra Conary, of Waterville; grandsons, Josh Gormly of Rhode Island, and Derek Harris, of Waterville; seven great-granddaughters and five great-grandsons; and her sister Germaine Gooldrup, of Waterville; many nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by daughters, Karen Golodetz and Norma Willette.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Alta’s memory to a charity of one’s choice or the hospice company Amedisys, Inc. (Attn: Amedisys Foundation, 3854 American Way, Suite A, Baton Rouge, LA 70816).

Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, Maine 04976.


DOROTHY P. HARMON, 75, of Jackman, passed away on Monday, September 3, 2018, at her home. Locally, she is survived by a daughter, Denise Kolreg, of Fairfield; grandchildren Keith Kolreg and partner Kortnie Williams, of Oakland; and great-grandson Benjamin Kolreg, of Oakland.

TIMOTHY S. TOMAN, 63, of Augusta, passed away on Thursday, September 6, 2018, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta, following a long illness. Locally, he is survived by his stepmother, Joyce Toman, of Winslow.

LOISETTE J. BILODEAU, 81, of Augusta, passed away on Thursday, September 20, 2018, at her home following a brief illness. Locally, she is survived by a son, Michael P. Bilodeau and wife Muriel, of Windsor.

Five questions, candidates on China’s November ballot

by Mary Grow

China voters have on their Nov. 6 ballots five referendum questions and in annual local elections one contest and two vacancies.

The candidate list provided by Town Clerk Becky Hapgood shows four candidates for three positions on the Board of Selectmen. Incumbents Jeffrey LaVerdiere and Donna Mills-Stevens each seek another two-year term; Ronald Breton and Wayne Chadwick would also like to be selectmen. Incumbent Neil Farrington is not seeking re-election. Instead, he is running unopposed for China’s seat on the Regional School Unit #18 Board of Directors currently held by Charles Clark. Dawn Castner is the town’s other representative.

For the planning board, incumbents Thomas Miragliuolo (District 4) and Toni Wall (District 2) seek re-election without opposition. There is no candidate on the ballot for the at-large position, elected from anywhere in town, currently held by Breton. For the budget committee, incumbents Timothy Basham (District 4), Jean Conway (secretary) and Thomas Rumpf (District 2) are unopposed for re-election. There is no candidate for the at-large position currently held by Valerie Baker.

The local referendum questions ask if voters want to:

  • Repeal China’s quorum ordinance;
  • Ask the Maine legislature for an exemption from the requirement that all municipalities collect personal property taxes on business equipment;
  • Appropriate up to $5,000 from Tax Increment Finance (TIF) funds to explore building an emergency services building and perhaps a community center on the former Candlewood subdivision, almost 40 acres of town-owned land off the north end of Lakeview Drive;
  • Appropriate up to $26,000 from current-year sale of tax-acquired properties for additional salaries and benefits for transfer station staff; and
  • Authorize selectmen, on the recommendation of the TIF Committee, to spend up to $100,000 in TIF funds on projects not presented to voters at the annual town business meeting.

On Nov. 6, China polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the former portable classroom behind the town office on Lakeview Drive.