Letters to the editor: Hunting times need change

To the editor:

According to Maine law, except for night hunting of coyotes from December 7 – August 31, hunting is prohibited from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise. In other words, although night hunting is prohibited, it is allowed because of the 30 minute deadline with no consideration for how dark it is on any given day. For all practical purposes, nightfall can and does occur less than 30 minutes after sunset.

On Halloween night, I had just gotten into my truck in the Hannaford parking lot when I heard a gunshot from what appeared to be the woods behind the store. It was cloudy and dark outside, the vehicles on the road had their headlights on, and there was no way anyone could see well enough to accurately fire a weapon, at least not without night vision equipment, the use of which is illegal. I checked the clock on my phone and sure enough, there were two minutes of legal shooting time left.

Why should it be legal to fire a weapon, in the woods, near buildings and roads when it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle without its headlights on and when it is impossible to see clearly? This double standard was imposed at the urging of a small number of consumptive use extremists and was approved by the Maine legislature with little thought of the practicality or the consequences. Perhaps a small group of Maine drivers should lobby the legislature to allow driving without headlights until 1/2 hour after sunset? That would make just about as much sense.

When will the first person be mistaken for a deer and get shot in the darkness? Hunter orange rapidly loses its visibility as the amount of light decreases. How many animals have been shot and wounded and lost in the darkness? It’s time to repeal this ill-advised law and bring back some common sense.

John M. Glowa, Sr.
South China

CFAL to hold public meeting in November

by Eric W. Austin

The China for a Lifetime Committee will host a public meeting about local volunteering needs and opportunities at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 17, at the China Lake Camp and Conference Center (255 Neck Road).

For the past several months, using feedback received from last year’s community survey, the China for a Lifetime Committee has been discussing the best way to organize local volunteers to help our most vulnerable residents. This public meeting is a culmination of those months of effort and is an opportunity for the committee to present their ideas to the broader community.

The committee will present the 17 areas of need that they hope to organize volunteers to address. These areas include things like: a senior citizen check-in team to keep an eye on our older residents, a litter clean-up crew to address the trash on our roadways, a substance abuse team to help those in our community combating addiction, and many more.

Working with The Town Line newspaper, the committee has also created a “Friends of China” Facebook group to help residents better communicate with one another, especially in times of emergency. Anyone is welcome to join or post in the group, and the committee will be using it to keep everyone updated on issues of interest to the citizens of China.

There will be coffee and light refreshments available for attendees. Any questions, please email the committee at chinaforalifetime@gmail.com.

LaVerdiere, Breton, Mills-Stevens win seats on board of selectmen

by Mary Grow

In local elections Nov. 6, China voters re-elected incumbent Selectmen Jeffrey LaVerdiere and Donna Mills-Stevens and chose former Selectmen Ronald Breton over Wayne Chadwick to fill the seat vacated by Neil Farrington.

According to Town Clerk Rebecca Hapgood, LaVerdiere got 1,142 votes, Breton 966, Mills-Stevens 960 and Chadwick 945. Farrington was elected without opposition to the Regional School Unit #18 Board of Directors. Unopposed for re-election were Planning Board Chairman Tom Miragliuolo and member Toni Wall and Budget Committee members Tom Rumpf, Tim Basham and Jean Conway. The winners of write-in contests for at-large seats on the planning board and the budget committee remained to be determined as of Tuesday night.

Voters approved three of five local referendum questions. They refused to abolish the quorum requirement for town meetings, by a vote of 505 yes to 1,241 no; and they refused to authorize selectmen to approve requests for Tax Increment Finance funds between town meetings, by a vote of 788 yes to 1,102 no.

The three questions that voters approved:

  • Direct selectmen to petition the legislature to let China stop collecting personal property taxes (yes, 1,003; no, 804);
  • Authorize spending up to $5,000 for a preliminary study of town-owned land on Lakeview Drive to see if it is suitable for a new emergency services building and a community center (yes, 1,240; no, 657); and
  • Authorize use of money from the sale of tax-acquired properties to fund pay increases at the transfer station this year, as two employees add enough hours to entitle them to benefits (yes, 1,173; no, 743).

Hapgood said a total of 2,058 ballots were cast, not a town record but a good turn-out for a non-presidential-election year.

Farrington given recognition plaque for years of service on board of selectmen

by Mary Grow

Neil Farrington

At the Oct. 29 China selectmen’s meeting, Town Manager Dennis Heath presented retiring Selectman Neil Farrington a plaque recognizing his 14 years of service on the board and proclaiming Oct. 29, 2018, as Neil Lawrence Farrington Day in China.

Farrington was still on the Nov. 6 local ballot, as an unopposed candidate for election to the Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 Board of Directors.

Public works to get new tractor and attachments

by Mary Grow

China selectmen voted unanimously to buy the public works department a new Ventrac tractor with equipment for bush hogging, sweeping and plowing South China’s sidewalks.

The negotiated price of $44,000 will come from the reserve fund voters created to buy capital equipment. Before acting at their Oct. 29 meeting, selectmen carefully reviewed proposed savings of over $12,000 a year that Public Works Foreman Gary Cummings and crew member Shawn Reed said should pay for the machine in about three and a half years.

Almost three-quarters of the anticipated savings come from not contracting to have South China sidewalks plowed. Reed and Cummings have worn out a residential-grade John Deere tractor on the task; they expect the commercial-grade Ventrac to handle it better and longer; and the lower of two quotes they got for contracting the job was $9,000.

Questioned about maintenance, Reed estimated the tractor would use up to $400 worth of fluids and other consumables a year. The town crew will do the maintenance work.

Yes, Cummings told Selectman Donna Mills-Stevens, the crew has time to do the jobs assigned to the Ventrac. Bush hogging, for example, does not need to be done weekly or on a fixed schedule.

Other business at the Oct. 29 selectmen’s meeting focused more on reports than on decision-making, although board members did make one more unanimous decision.

Disposing of used tires has become a problem for China and other towns. Transfer Station Manager Tim Grotton said the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company (PERC) will take tires, plus ash and demolition debris if needed to fill up a load, at the lowest price he has found. Selectmen unanimously authorized Town Manager Dennis Heath to make an agreement with PERC, unless Selectman Jeff LaVerdiere, who has also been researching possibilities, finds a cheaper alternative.

Cummings and Heath reported the redesigned fire pond on Neck Road is completed. The manager reported that the new culvert replacing the Causeway bridge at the head of China Lake’s east basin was set in place that day.

After a low turnout at the annual household hazardous waste disposal day in Winslow, Grotton recommended China officials consider not participating for a year or two. China pays Winslow to allow China residents to bring in hazardous waste.

At Heath’s invitation, representatives from Spectrum Generations and the Family Violence Project, two organizations likely to request town funds at the March 2019 town business meeting, made short presentations about their organizations’ services.

Since Nov. 12 is a holiday, Heath proposes scheduling the next regular selectmen’s meeting for Tuesday evening, Nov. 13. When the meeting date is set, it will be listed on the calendar on the town’s web page.

Fire prevention week at St. John school

Pictured are poster winners, from left to right, Adelle Robbins, Olivia Cutten, Anya Poirier, Ethan Larrabee and William Watkin. (Contributed photo)

Students at St. John Catholic school in Winslow recently participated in a Fire Prevention Program with the Winslow Fire Department. Students in grades kindergarten through grade five took part in a Fire Prevention poster contest. Each winner was given a ride to school on a firetruck.

Peace poster contest winners announced in Whitefield

Winners of the Peace Poster Contest with their respective art teachers, from left to right, Rachel Richmond and Abby St. Cyr, Jefferson; Amanda Martin and Lineo Kelley, Whitefield; Lion Calvin Prescott, Alyvia Colfer and Sandy Dunn, Chelsea; Nathan Hall and Genevieve Keller, Windsor; Lion Barry Tibbetts. (Contributed photo)

Winners of the Peace Poster Contest were honored with their art teachers by the Whitefield Lions Club on October 25.

For over 30 years Lions clubs around the world have sponsored the Lions International Peace Poster Contest.

The theme of the 2018-2019 contest is “Kindness Matters.”

Winners listed by school:

Whitefield: Art teacher Amanda Martin.

1st place – Lineo Kelley; 2nd place – Olivia Brann; 3rd place – Kat Thorton.

Jefferson: Art teacher Rachel Richmond.

1st plac – Abby St Cyr; 2nd place – Eliza Wood-Orff; 3rd place – Lillian Brooks.

Chelsea: Art teacher Sandy Dunn.

1st place – Alyvia Colfer; 2nd place – Jac Crochere; 3rd plac e- Brooke Michaud.

Windsor: Art teacher Genevieve Keller.

1st place – Nathan Hall; 2nd place – Mackenzie Kutniewski; 3rd place – Eva Carlezon.