Unity College professor earns Fulbright Scholarship for brown bear research in Slovenia

Dr. Jack Hopkins to look into conflict behavior in bears

Dr. Jack Hopkins

Bears and humans aren’t known for always seeing eye to eye. Sure, the two species can have positive encounters, such as bear sightings at a safe distance in the northern Maine woods. Human-bear interactions, however, can turn nasty very quickly, ranging from the more benign end of the spectrum where bears commandeer human food, agricultural crops, or livestock, to more harmful incidents where people get hurt.

It’s these interactions that are the focus of Unity College Assistant Professor of Wildlife Biology, Dr. Jack Hopkins’ latest research project titled Development of a Multi-method Approach to Study Wildlife Behavior: Investigating Human-Bear Conflicts in the Contrasting Landscapes of Europe. For Dr. Hopkins’ Fulbright Scholarship, he and researchers from the University of Ljubljana will use a large collection of tissues (muscle, liver, hair, and teeth) sampled from roughly 800 bears in Slovenia and Scandinavia over the course of roughly 25 years to investigate human-bear conflict.

“It’s a really great opportunity to work with my partners,” said Dr. Hopkins, noting that Fulbright Scholarships offer only about 20 percent of applicants the chance to either teach, conduct research, or do a combination of both. For the spring semester, Dr. Hopkins earned an award to focus strictly on research, leaving Maine for Slovenia at the end of December with his wife and four children.

“I’m also really excited about the opportunity for my kids,” he said. “Having the chance to live and go to school in Europe has the potential to really change their lives. It’ll be a great family adventure.”

Slovenia has one of the highest-density bear populations in the world, which is in part due to the country’s interest in harvesting them twice a year, using supplemental corn feed to maintain their thriving population. Dr. Hopkins will work with genetic and isotopic data from bear tissues to investigate their reliance on corn, how their diets affect their reproductive success and survival, and how conflict behavior develops in the first place.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Hopkins on this incredible honor, and I can’t wait to see the results and conclusions that his research produces,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “Here at Unity College, we emphasize experiential education for our students, but it’s important to also encourage our faculty to pursue opportunities like this. In turn, they will pass down those experiences and inspire our students in the classroom and in the field.”

Although the research project focuses on Slovenia’s brown bear population, Dr. Hopkins believes the issues, in many ways, are similar here in Maine.

“Brown bears feed on corn in Slovenia like black bears feed on doughnuts and other bait in the fall in Maine,” Hopkins said. “In both places, baits are used to help control population numbers and meet the needs of hunters. Although baiting is controversial in Maine, it is the most successful method used to harvest bears. The concern is that if these artificial food sources are removed from the landscape, harvest numbers will decrease, and human-bear conflict will increase with bear density, which obviously has huge management implications in both Maine and Slovenia.”

For more on Dr. Hopkins’ research, visit jackhopkinswildlife.com.

China Masons host celebration

China Masonic Lodge’s Christmas Celebration (contributed photo)

On Sunday, December 9, 2018, the China Masonic Lodge hosted its annual Christmas Celebration and fundraiser for the Maine Children’s Home Christmas Program. Over 80 people attended the celebration and enjoyed a great meal, family games and activities, and visiting with family and friends from the community. The children (and adults) very much enjoyed the special guest that stopped by to visit. Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph. Thanks to everyone’s generous donations, the Maine Children’s Home Christmas Program received a truckload (literally) of presents to help serve over 1600 needy Maine children at holiday time.

Christmas at the Masons contributed photo)

Board not sure solar farm properly assessed

The solar farm located on Rte. 32 North, in China. (Photo by Roland Hallee)

by Mary Grow

CHINA — Almost three hours of discussion with three lawyers and one assessor left China’s Board of Assessment Review members informed about assessing the value of a community solar farm, but not ready to make a decision on whether the one in China is assessed fairly.

The community solar array is located on Three Level Farm on Route 32 North. After assessor William Van Tuinen valued it, developer ReVision Energy appealed, claiming overvaluation resulting in overtaxation.

Van Tuinen’s illness prevented his reviewing the appeal. It was therefore deemed denied. The presumptive denial brought the issue to the Board of Assessment Review at a Dec. 18 meeting.

ReVision chief counsel and director of development Steve Hinchman and attorney Kristin Collins represented ReVision. Van Tuinen spoke for himself, and attorney Amanda Meader represented the town’s interest.

After presentations and discussion, board members accepted member Sheri Wilkens’ recommendation to postpone a decision. Their next meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening, Jan. 10. Meanwhile, it was suggested both parties and any board members who so choose prepare brief summaries of main points and positions.

Discussion revealed disagreements over five issues.

The first is how to determine the initial value of the project, and the related second is the proper method of calculating ongoing value and depreciation. The third is whether property taxes should be related to income investors derive from the project. The fourth is what value, if any, remains at the end of the project’s lifetime, and a subsidiary issue is how to define the end of the lifetime.

Van Tuinen and Hinchman said there are three ways to establish value: by looking at prices for which similar projects have sold, irrelevant in this case because no one in Maine has bought or sold a community solar farm; Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model, which Van Tuinen used with modification; and construction costs.

Hinchman analyzed construction costs at length, pointing out the additions to materials and labor in the form of costs like leasing land, getting permits and organizing the solar farm’s owners’ group.

He argued that Van Tuinen had failed to depreciate the value of the solar farm fast enough, pointing out how quickly solar technology becomes obsolescent. Van Tuinen replied that the DCF method covers obsolescence.

Hinchman further argued that the tax Van Tuinen calculated amounted to more than 13 percent of income generated; the correct tax should not exceed five percent, he said. Starting with a five percent tax, Hinchman calculated an assessed value of less than $91,000; Van Tuinen’s figure is around $275,000.

Van Tuinen objected, asking for evidence of Hinchman’s claimed ceiling and saying ReVision “presented the tax they’d like to have” and tried to work backward to set it.

Hinchman also claimed Van Tuinen’s residual value is too high, because used solar equipment is worthless. After 20 years he expects the expense of removing the solar panels would equal any resale value, so the solar array should be valueless after 20 years.

ReVision’s lease runs for 30 years with the option of two five-year extensions, and Van Tuinen said the ReVision website claims 40 years of energy generation.

Erskine presents Renaissance awards 2018

Seniors of the Trimester, front row, from left to right, Kassidy Wade, Ellie Hodgkin, and Amber Holmes. Back, Peyton Houghton, Jack Jowett, Hagen Wallace and Cameron Falla. (Contributed photo)

On Friday, December 14, Erskine Academy students and staff attended a Renaissance Assembly to honor their peers with Renaissance Awards.

Recognition Awards were presented to the following students: Grace Kelso, Emma Hutchinson, Madyx Kennedy, Kelby (Austin) Young, Delaney Ireland, Jacob Sutter, and Ricky Winn.

In addition to recognition awards, Senior of the Trimester Awards were also presented to seven members of the senior class: Amber Holmes, daughter of Jacob Holmes and Naomi Caywood, of Palermo; Ellie Hodgkin, daughter of Helen Emonds and Dana Hodgkin, of Manchester; Cameron Falla, son of Karen and Michael Falla, of Palermo; Peyton Houghton, daughter of Heather and Shawn Houghton, of China; Kassidy Wade, daughter of Robert and Jamie Wade, of Vassalboro, and Storm and Bradley Kelso, of Vassalboro; Hagen Wallace, son of James Wallace, of Augusta, and Andrea Ando-Albert, of Manchester; and Jack Jowett, son of Tracey and Jeff Jowett, of Windsor. Seniors of the Trimester are recognized as individuals who have gone above and beyond in all aspects of their high school careers.

In appreciation of their dedication and service to Erskine Academy, Faculty of the Trimester awards were also presented to Megan Childs, Consumer and Family Education instructor; Sonia Stevenson, Foreign Language instructor; and Lars Jonassen, Athletic Department Assistant, Coach, and retired Math instructor.

Faculty of the Trimester (from left to right): Megan Childs, Lars Jonassen and Sonia Stevenson. (Contributed photo)

Obituaries, Week of January 3, 2019


EAST VASSALBORO – Howard Antworth, 74, of East Vassalboro, died Friday, December 14, 2018, at Northern Light Continuing Care – Lakewood ,in Waterville. He was born in East Vassalboro, August 14, 1944, the son of Wallace G. Antworth and Dorothy (Earle) Antworth.

He attended Vassalboro schools and graduated from Waterville High School in 1964.

Howard was employed by the Augusta Fire Department, retiring as Battalion Chief after 35 years of service. While serving with the AFD, he attended the Maine Criminal Justice Academy to become a reserve officer and served in that capacity with the Augusta Police Department as a Kennebec County Sheriff’s deputy, and as a reserve officer and constable for the town of Vassalboro.

Howard loved hunting, fishing, boating and canoeing. He loved motorcycles and took many a road trip. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends at his camp at Sebec Lake which came to be known as “Howieland.”

He was a lifetime member of IAFF, Local #1650, a member of Masonic Lodge #54 since 1972, and a long-time member of Augusta Elks Lodge #964.

Howard is survived by his wife of 54 years, Simone (Pelletier) Antworth, of East Vassalboro; a son Scott Antworth, of Augusta, a son Dana Antworth and his wife Amber, of Augusta, a daughter Jean Antworth and her husband Patrick, of East Vassalboro; a grandson Joshua Antworth and his wife Samantha, of Augusta, and grandson Jacob Antworth and friend Irina, of Augusta

Following cremation, internment will take place at a later date. Arrangements are under the care of Aable Cremation Services, LLC of Waterville.

Memorial donations may be made to the Shriners Hospital for Children, 51 Blossom St., Boston, Massachusetts 02114.


FAIRFIELD – Irene Bellows, 77, of Fairfield, died on Monday, December 17, 2018, at MaineGeneral Medical Center. She was born in Waterville, to Lorenzo and Beatrice Mathieu, on December 24, 1941.

She married Albert George Bellows on January 8, 1960, and they had six children together.

She worked for Scott Paper Co., in Winslow, for 10 years before retiring to care for her grandchildren. She loved taking them to the beach, teaching them how to do crafts, and surprising them on their birthdays and Christmas. In addition to caring for her children and grandchildren, she enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping with her husband. She was also an accomplished artist — she loved painting, knitting and doing intricate counted cross-stitch patterns. Her artwork was displayed in the Maine State House for a number of years. Her favorite day of the year was her birthday, Christmas Eve, when the family would gather to celebrate.

She was predeceased by her son, Albert Bellows; mother, Beatrice Pelletier, father, Joseph Mathieu; sister, Lorraine MacArthur, brothers, Adelbert Grondin, Billy Grondin, and JoeJoe Grondin.

She is survived by her husband of 58 years, Albert “Sonny” Bellows; son Joseph Bellows, of Fairfield; daughters Patricia Rucci and husband, Anthony Rucci, of Clarksville, Tennessee, Dawn Buzzell and husband, Brian Buzzell, of Fairfield, Pamela Connors, of Waterville, Jennifer Palow and husband Kevin Palow, of Clinton; brothers Joseph Mathieu, of Hawaii, and Edward Mathieu, of Sangerville; 11 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com

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

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Irene’s name to The Maine Home for Little Wanderers or the Salvation Army at this link: https://nne.salvationarmy.org/Capital-Region.


BENTON – Everett Oscar Rowe, 92, passed away on Thursday, December 20, 2018, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta. He was born in Clinton on September 13, 1926, the son of the late Everett C. and Leona (Giguere) Rowe.

Following his schooling, he served in the Navy during World War II aboard the USS Lejeune (AP-74). Everett was the chef responsible for feeding over 200 men, and he also helped with the ship’s cargo.

Everett was known over the years as Daddy, Grampie, and Pépère. His family and friends also knew him as Sonny. Sonny worked several jobs during his lifetime including growing up on a farm as a boy and the hard labor that it entailed. He also owned a diner with his wife, Theresa, managed the laundry department at Seton Hospital, in Waterville, and worked at Agway, in Fairfield, delivering 100-pound bags of grain to neighboring farmers. He spoke of helping build Interstate 95, worked a few years at Keyes Fibre, now Huhtamaki, in Waterville, and at a tannery.

He and his wife, Theresa, enjoyed bowling in a league in Waterville. He was a great cook and his family will greatly miss his cooking and the wonderful Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving meals they shared together. He enjoyed doing all his own lawncare, gardening, plowing, and household chores right up to his last year.

Sonny was independent and strong, never asking anyone for a thing. He was a strong and caring father and grandfather. His love for his family was strong and he always wanted to protect them and help if he could. He had a sense of humor and was always “sharp as a tack!”

Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his wife of 32 years, Theresa Rowe; his son David Rowe; his sister Earlene Rowe Bolduc, his brother Edmund Rowe, many half brothers and sisters; and his companion of 26 years, Hilma Meader.

Everett will be sadly missed by his loving daughter, Rose Rowe, of Benton; his granddaughter, Jennifer Davis and her husband Kurt, of Benton; seven great-grandchildren; and two great-great-granddaughters.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com.

Memorial donations may be made to the Togus VA Hospital, in Augusta.


OAKLAND – Robert Karl Bartlett, 87, passed away on Saturday, December 22, 2018, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta, following a short illness. He was born on November 28, 1931, in Rockport, son of Ruth Packard and William Arnold Bartlett.

As a young boy, one would find him playing in fields and streams, around the farm and getting into mischief with friends throughout the area. He spent a great deal of time with his grandmother, Bertha Bartlett. He told many stories of a childhood filled with exploration, freedom, and simplicity. He graduated from Rockport High School in 1950. He served four years in the U.S. Navy as a Machinist Mate First Class on the USS Power DD 839, from 1951 to 1955. He attended Northeastern University and graduated from Wentworth Institute, in Boston, with a degree in mechanical engineering.

He married his childhood neighbor and sweetheart, the former Betty Ann Lawton on June 12, 1955, who passed away February 2014. In 1963, he designed and built the family home, in Oakland, and it was there that he and Betty raised their four children. He was employed by Keyes Fibre, in Waterville, as a project mechanical engineer from 1961 to 1988. He took great but quiet gratification in his engineering designs, some of which are still being used today due to the fact they were so well engineered. His career allowed him the privilege to travel many places including Holland, Norway, Australia, Germany, France and all over the United States. Between his Navy and work travels, he visited over 31 countries. After his early retirement from Keyes Fibre, he co-founded Wrabacon, Inc., in Oakland, a company that is currently owned and managed by his son. He retired from Wrabacon, Inc. in 1996. For many years, he and his wife also owned and operated Bartlett Christmas Tree Farms, in several locations. This was a family effort and memories from those special times are ever present. He was also a member of the Rockport Masonic Lodge.

Bob was a jack of all trades, an avid hunter, a furniture maker creating something special for everyone in the family. He was an expert gardener competing with family and neighbors on whose tomato was the biggest. He enjoyed fishing with several special friends to whom he regaled many a story. He enjoyed reading and crossword puzzles. He was never one to sit idle; always on the move doing something productive. He took special pride in his ancestry, documenting a direct line to the Mayflower.

He was predeceased by his parents, sister, daughter and wife.

He is survived by three children, Marlene and Steven Grenier, of Albion, Jennifer and Roland Normandeau, of Oakland, and Robert Jr. and Cindi Bartlett, of Oakland; grandchildren, Katie and husband Cory Gilbert, Daniel and wife Bethanie Grenier, Hannah and husband Josh LaVerdiere, Alaina and husband Joseph Church, Rachel and husband Matt McLean, and Lucas Bartlett; great-grandchildren, Oliva, Sage, Isabel, Wyatt, Vera, Emersyn, step great-grandson, Keegan; his sister, Norma (Bartlett) Philbrook, of Owls Head; along with many nieces and nephews.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com

Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers-Wheeler Funeral & Cremation Care, 26 Church St., Oakland.


BENTON – Doris Diane Gardner, 86, passed away on Sunday, December 23, 2018. Doris was born on November 24, 1932, in Manchester, New Hamp­shire, the daughter of Napoleon and Helen Dupont Daigle.

She married Robert Gardner on November 23, 1950. They were married for 64 years.They had four children. Doris spent her life devoted to her husband, children and grandchildren. She stayed home to raise her children until she joined her husband at Waldo Shoe, in Belfast. From there, Doris and Robert bought Nancy’s Dairy Bar, in Pittsfield, which they owned until 1990. At that time, they built the Benton Family Fun-Park, so they would have more time to spend with family. There were many days that you would find Doris either in the ice cream parlor scooping ice-cream with her granddaughters or riding bumper cars with her grandsons.

Doris loved being with her family. She would make sure that their bellies were full from feeding them in her house that was above the fun-park. She would sit near the open window and listen to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren playing on the golf course or riding the go-karts. Doris loved the holidays and spending time with “her girls” as she started her annual shopping weekend, that has become a family tradition.

Doris and her family were snowmobile enthusiast and you could always find them on the mountains, or racing in the fields with her children and grandchildren. They spent a vast amount of time riding the trails in Quebec with family and friends. She was also a French interpreter for her family on many occasions. She enjoyed shopping, relaxing, watching plays with her family, and most of all, date nights with Robert. She always made sure that there wasn’t an empty chair at any holiday dinner, birthday party or just a get together.

Doris was predeceased by her husband, Robert Gardner; her parents, Napoleon and Helen; her brother, Raymond; her sister, Yvette (Daigle) Demers; and her son in-law, Dennis Moody.

Doris is survived by her brother, Paul Daigle; her son, Ernest; her daughters, Marilyn Coldwell and husband Dennis, Elaine Higgins and husband Wayne, and Janet Moody; 16 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.

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

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to American Breast Cancer Foundation, 10400 Little Patuxent Parkway Suite 480, Columbia, Maryland 21044.


AUGUSTA – Christy (Karen) Caron, 67, of Oakland, passed away on Tuesday, December 25, 2018, at MaineGeneral, in Augusta. She was born on August 18, 1951, in Linneus, to Earl D. Little and Opal J. (Little) Fletcher.

She was predeceased by her parents, step-father, Carl Fletcher; brother, Terry Little; and son, John S. Myron.

Christy was loved by so many. She was a truly special person with a big heart and fantastic sense of humor. She will be missed dearly.

Her survivors include her husband, Thomas M. Caron, of Oakland; her son and daughter-in-law, Tavis and Nikki Caron, of Oakland, daughter and son-in-law, Tammi and Kevin Galbraith, of Skowhegan; granddaughter, and her husband, Misty and Coby Couture, of Oakland, grandson, Cody Myron, of Oakland, grandson, Samuel Galbraith, of Skowhegan; great-grandson, Johnny Couture; sister and brother-in-law, Belinda and Ray Winn, of Gardiner, sister-in-law, Cheryl Dubois, of Waterville, sister-in-law and husband, Roxy, and Peter Ames; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of the Smart & Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan.


PALERMO – James W. Grady, 89, passed away on Thursday, December 27, 2018. He was born in Augusta on June 24, 1929, the son of Harry and Ruth Grady.

He graduated from Erskine Academy, in South China, where he participated in every sport offered. He married his high school sweetheart and absolute love of his life, Marie Bruso in 1950. They settled in Palermo, where he ran the family dairy farm, managed several blueberry fields, raised four children and arguably some of the best sweet corn in the state.

Around 1962, Jim started selling and repairing snowmobiles. He began with Polaris, and later moved to Motoski and Skidoo. He continued repairing snowmobiles into his early 80s. Jim could fix almost anything and loved tinkering.

Jim had a great love of the outdoors. He was a Maine Guide and enjoyed hunting and fishing with his family and friends. He was a member of the Sheepscot Fish and Game and Palermo Historical Society. He enjoyed many an adventure up North, attended every Erskine Academy ballgame he could, and was quite a talented roller-skater in his younger years.

Jim was predeceased by his parents, wife, grandson, Jeffrey James Grady, and granddaughter, Allison Grady.

He is survived by his children; Jeff and wife, Lauretta Grady, Eileen Grady, Bill and wife, Diana Grady, and Jason and wife, Kathey Grady; grandchildren Bobbie Jo and husband, Scott Evans, Shawna Grady, Andrew, Samuel, Loralie, and Levi Grady; great-grandchildren, Cole and James Evans, Jacob, Kay, and Clara Grady; great, great-grandchildren Ava and Anna Evans, and many other nieces, nephews, and cousins. A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, January 5, 2019, at 1 p.m., at the Palermo Christian Church.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing may donate to the Erskine Academy Boosters Club. Please send checks to 309 Windsor Road, South China, ME, 04358.

Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home Belfast, Me. Memories and condolences may be offered to the family at www.ripostafh.com


LINDA A. KNOWLES, 68, of Manchester, passed away on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, in Boston, following a short illness. Locally, she is survived by a nephew Bruce Salsbury and wife Julie, of Fairfield.

ANGELA BUKER, 73, of Waterville, passed away on Thursday, December 20, 2018, following a long fight with heart disease. Locally, she is survived by a two daughters, Tina King and husband Greg, of Clinton, and Tammy Harmon and her fiancé Hubert Clair, of South China; siblings Linda Fortin and husband Dick, of Oakland.


JOHN J. BOLES, 97, of Scottsdale, Arizona, passed away on Friday, November 9, 2018, in Scottsdale. He was born in Waterville on June 3, 1921, the son of Thomas and Mary (Saad) Boles.

Selectmen need more info on emergency dispatching

source: http://www.vassalboro.net/

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen spent the first third of their Dec. 20 meeting again discussing options and future costs for dispatching services for the town’s policeman, fire departments and first responders. They concluded they still lack enough information about county and state intentions to make a decision.

“We’ve all been at meetings all week long,” Town Manager Mary Sabins said, summarizing efforts to get more information from county commissioners, other town managers at an area meeting and the Regional Communications Center in Augusta.

Board Chairman Lauchlin Titus repeated that Vassalboro is looking at a significant increase in dispatch fees with the current proposed changes. First Responders are concerned about life-threatening delays if connecting different parts of the system is not simplified.

The other major topic Dec. 20 was whether to convert to LED (light-emitting diode) streetlights. Selectmen have considered a proposal from one of several companies offering LED lights; Central Maine Power Company recently joined the list, and Sabins likes their plan because it does not transfer maintenance responsibility to the town.

Selectmen authorized her to sign an agreement with CMP, after an inventory to find out how many lights Vassalboro has, whether all are necessary and whether any more are needed.

Vassalboro is supposed to have 113 streetlights, Titus said. However, board member John Melrose said, CMP’s lists have been found not to be entirely accurate in other towns. He and Titus suggested a GIS map showing the lights and creation of a small committee to locate them and advise on additions or subtractions.

In other business, Sabins said the Vassalboro Historical Society’s representative signed the proposed lease with the town for the former East Vassalboro schoolhouse. Selectmen also signed.

Selectmen unanimously reappointed Catherine Coyne as registrar of voters for another two-year term.

The next regular Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening, Jan. 10, 2019.

Codes apprentice position to be re-advertised

by Mary Grow

At a brief Dec. 21 meeting, China selectmen agreed unanimously to re-advertise the position of codes enforcement apprentice, offering more hours, to try to attract more candidates.

Town Manager Dennis Heath told board members the original search for a person to work limited hours at a comparatively low rate brought four applications. The two people he considered best qualified declined the position; Heath concluded the town was proposing “too many constraints to get quality.”

He recommended, and selectmen approved, offering a 24-hour-a-week position, which would qualify the new person for benefits, with hours likely to increase with the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019. Selectmen agreed to let Heath negotiate a pay rate.

Heath said current codes officer Paul Mitnik intends to retire at the end of calendar year 2019. The new person is expected to acquire the necessary certifications to succeed him.

In the only other business Dec. 21, selectmen decided not to buy an extended warranty on the town’s new Ventrac tractor.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is currently scheduled for Monday evening, Jan. 7, 2019. Heath said he intends to have a draft 2019-2020 budget ready for review.