China planning board reschedules meeting

by Mary Grow

The China Planning Board’s Jan. 8 meeting was canceled due to weather conditions.

The board is scheduled to meet Tuesday evening, Jan. 15, to finish proposed ordinance amendments to be submitted to voters at the April 6 town business meeting. A public hearing on the proposed changes is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Jan. 29.

The board normally begins meetings at 6:30 p.m.

Obituaries, Week of January 10, 2019


BENTON – Kathy Marie (Chase) Horne, 51, passed away Monday, December 24, 2018, at Maine Medical Center, in Portland. She was born August 14, 1967, in Waterville, the daughter of Kenneth L. and Vivian G. (Crowe) Chase.

She was educated in the schools of Waterville and graduated from Lawrence High School, in Fairfield, in 1985. On June 29, 1997, she married Scott Horne, in Benton. Kathy was a homemaker and self-employed owner of Wild Things Live Bait with her husband. She enjoyed NASCAR, hunting, fishing, lobstering, and being a grandmother.

Kathy is survived by her husband of 21 years, Scott R. Horne, of Benton; son, Kenneth Violette, of Benton; daughter, Dawn Pike, of Benton; granddaughter, Violet Rose Pike, of Benton; grandson, Hunter Scott Pike, of Benton; two sisters, Lisa Raymond and husband Larry, of Plymouth, Donna Chase and partner Jerry Adams, of Fairfield; two nephews, Calvin Cobb and wife Jazzmine, of Sangerville, William Halley, of Fairfield; two nieces, Reva Reynolds and partner Jamie Ferguson, of Oswago, New York, Shaina Halley and partner Dylan Kay, of Fairfield.

She was predeceased by her parents Kenneth and Vivian Chase Jr.; grandparents, Kenneth and Annette Chase, Sr, and Charles and Ida Crowe.

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.


WINSLOW – Norman Richard Nicholas, 81, passed away Monday, December 24, 2018, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta. He was born August 16, 1937, in Waterville, the son of Joseph and Bernadette (Ducas) Nicholas.

He was educated in the schools of Waterville and graduated from Lawrence High School, in Fairfield, in 1956. On February 11, 1957, he married Farolyn McLaughlin, in Hartford, Connecticut. He was a veteran who proudly served his country in the United Stated Army until his honorable discharge. He was employed by the Kennebec Water District (River Crew) from 1960 to 1965, then as a lineman for Central Maine Power Company from 1965 to 1998.

Norman was a member of the VFW, Elks, IBEW and helped establish the Winslow American Little League program and the Winslow Midget Football program. He enjoyed fishing Lake Moxie and Indian Pond, hunting at the hunting camp in Unity, playing cribbage with friends at the VFW or Elks club.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Farolyn (McLaughlin) Nicholas of Winslow; two sons, Bruce Nicholas and wife Cindy, of Auburn, Bryan Nicholas and wife Sandy, of Orlando, Florida; grandchildren, Taylor, Cody, and Noah, all of Auburn, Nolan and Taylor, both of Orlando, Florida. He was predeceased by five sisters, Marion Will, Jeanette King, Adeline Paquette, Cecile Siviski, and Regina Gall; 4 brothers, Leo, William “Hank”, Edward “Kiko,” and Robert.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, January 12, at 11 a.m., at the MacCrillis-Rousseau VFW #8835, 175 Veteran Drive, in Winslow.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Norman’s memory to the VFW, 175 Veteran Drive, Winslow, ME 04901.
Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, ME 04976.


FAIRFIELD – Phyllis A. Ames, 74, passed away Thursday, December 27, 2018, at her home. She was born October 13, 1944, in Waterville, the daughter of Earl and Zenaide (Paradis) Gilbert.

She was educated in the schools of Winslow and was employed for many years at Pleasant Hill, in Fairfield, as a cook and also worked at Scott Paper Co., in Winslow. She was a member of the VFW and St. John the Baptist Church, in Winslow, and enjoyed playing bingo, going to Foxwoods to gamble, playing cribbage, camping each year on China Lake, and the annual trip to Old Orchard Beach with her gang.

Phyllis is survived by her son, Richard Willette, of Fairfield; sister, Beverly Quirion and husband James; grandson, Phillip Willette; losts of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She was predeceased by her parents Earl and Zenaide “Rose” Gilbert; husband, Eugene Ames; brothers, Clarence Gilbert, Lawrence Gilbert, Carl Gilbert.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, January 19, at 10 a.m., at the Shawmut Chapel, Shawmut.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in her memory to the Somerset Humane Society, PO Box 453, Skowhegan, ME 04976.

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


SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RHODE ISLAND – Norval Edwin Garnett, Sr., 93, formerly of East Greenwich, Rhode Island and South China, died on Saturday, December 29, 2018, at South Kingstown Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, in West Kingston, Rhode Island.

He was born on August 8, 1925, in his family home in Edgewood, Rhode Island, the son of the late Stanley I. Garnett and Ada (Willmott) Garnett.

Norval was educated in the Cranston school system graduating from Cranston High School in 1943. Enlisting in the service in 1943 he proudly served three years in the U.S. Army Infantry in England (SHAEF) and France. After his years in the service he prepped at Moses Brown School. Norval began his college studies the following fall at Colby College, in Waterville, graduating in 1951. He met his life-long partner and wife, Norma A. Bergquist, at Colby College.

He spent the last 31 years of his career in the Trust Department of the Industrial National Bank, later Fleet Bank, in Providence, Rhode Island, as a trust officer, retiring in 1989.

Norval had been active in the United Methodist Church of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, serving on various boards and committees. He was also an active summer member of the South China Community Church, in South China. Norval and his wife, Norma, enjoyed spending time with their friends and family at their summer home at Killdeer Point, on China Lake. They also enjoyed yearly trips abroad, particularly those to Spain.

He was a member and Past Master of Corinthian Lodge #27 F. & A.M., now affiliated with St. Johns Lodge #1, Providence, and was also a member of Calvary Commandery #13 Knights Templar.

He was predeceased by his wife, Norma Ann (Bergquist) Garnett; a sister, Virginia E. Garnett and brothers, Stanley A. Garnett, Allan W. “Joe” Garnett and Richard H. Garnett; nephews Bradford L. Garnett and Douglas D. Bergquist.

He is survived by four children: Norval E. Garnett, Jr. and his wife Karen, of East Greenwich, Nancy P. Garnett-Thomas, of East Greenwich, Nils A. Garnett and his wife Fawn, of Burien, Washington, and Neale V. Garnett-Turgeon, of Sun City Center, Florida; brother-in-law David Bergquist and his wife Candy; grandchildren: Christina J. Quattrucci, Amanda M. Amoroso, Justin D.A. Garnett, Nicole T. Garnett, Lauren V. Turgeon-Tejerina, Christopher E. Turgeon, Sarah Ann E. Thomas and Donald R. Thomas; great grandchildren: Calder Amoroso and William A. Quattrucci, III; nephews: Stanley I. Garnett, William A.K. Garnett, Richard E. Garnett, William S. Garnett and Clifford A. Garnett; niece, Lauren Bergquist.

A funeral service will be held at Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home & Crematory, 659 East Greenwich Avenue, West Warwick, RI on Saturday, January 26, at 11 a.m. Interment with military honors will be in Quidnessett Memorial Cemetery, North Kingstown, RI.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial gift may be sent to the South China Community Church, 246 Village Street, P. O. Box 335, South China ME 04358.

Remembrances may be shared at


BENTON – Phillip W. Carter, 94, of Benton passed away on Saturday, December 29, 2018, at Oak Grove Center, in Waterville. He was born in Fairfield on June 15, 1924, the son of Raymond and Mary Jane (Foster) Carter.

He attended the Fairfield school system. On November 8, 1942, he married the former Virginia E. Getchell. They had 65 years together. Phil was a World War II veteran. He spent most of his working career as a mechanic, opening his own garage, Phil Carter’s Garage, in 1960. The garage is still going strong today under the ownership of his son, Larry Carter.

He was a devoted member of the Shawmut Chapel since 1958. He was also a member of the Odd Fellows and constable of Benton. His favorite pastime was doing puzzles, and he enjoyed his time with family at the camp on Morrill Pond, in Hartland.

He was predeceased by his wife, Virginia; his siblings, Hillman, Laura Bray, Mason, Luella Fortin, and R. Zalisco.

Phil is survived by his children, Wyonne Linnell, Glenys L. Michaud and her soul mate, Thomas Hunter Jr., and Larry P. Carter and his wife, Gladys; his grandchildren, Eric Linnell and his wife, Angie, Tammy Fuller and her husband, Rick, Patrick Linnell and his wife, Bette-Jean, Stephanie Mason and her husband, Ken, Dorothy Linnell-Richardson and her husband, Wes, Jonathan Whitcomb, Christine Oliver and her husband, Gary, Elizabeth Hubbard and her husband, Carlton, Penelope Carter, and Adam Carter and his significant other, Shantel Grenier; 20 great-grandchildren; and eight great-great-grandchildren.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers Funeral & Cremation Care, 107 Main St., Fairfield.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Memorial Fund of Shawmut Chapel, P.O. Box 222, Shawmut, ME 04975.


ALBION – Virginia Lorraine (Whynott) Dow, 96, longtime Albion resident, died on Sunday, December 30, 2018, at Maine Gene­ral Medical Center, in Augusta, following a brief hospitalization. Virginia was born on October 1, 1922, in Portland.

She settled in Albion where she attended Besse High School. She married Ervin S. Dow on November 5, 1940, and they celebrated 67 years of marriage before she was widowed in 2008. At various times Virginia held employment at the local school lunch program, and at the Albion Creamery. Virginia and Ervin established a home on the East Benton Road, in Albion, where she was mother to four children. Her love and support enabled all of her children to continue their educations beyond Besse High, and she and Ervin were so proud to attend each of their college graduations. Her neighbors during the 64 years that she lived on the East Benton Road became cherished friends. Virginia made certain that everyone in her family had a “Grammie Dow Quilt,” and these are treasured by all. She kept her fingers busy knitting and crocheting, and her biscuits and donuts were wonderful. She often sent visitors home with gifts of jams or pickles. Virginia loved her flower garden, and would often be found outside gardening. Her loving and giving nature touched everyone who knew her.

She and Ervin enjoyed traveling with family members and friends to many sites throughout Maine and the northeastern U.S., as well as to Nova Scotia, Florida, Alaska, and Arizona. Virginia had been deeply involved in her community through PTA, Albion Fire Department Auxiliary, as a member of the Albion Christian Church, Rebekah Lodge of IOOF, Grange, and as a life member of the Albion Historical Society. In her later years Virginia lived at Meadow By The Brook apartments, in Albion, then she received superlative care in the home of her daughter Pearle and son-in-law Jack Brake, in Clinton.

Virginia is survived by her four children and their families: E. Scott and Sharon Dow, of Augusta and their family (Peter and Stacey Dow, and Parker, and Sarah Dow-Shedlarski and Brian Shedlarski, and Ava and Garrett), Leonard and Donna Dow, of Albion and their family (Jody and Michael Watson and family, (Rachel Watson and Elliot Heeschen and Katherine, and Doug Medina, and Todd and Amanda Dow and family, (Kayla and Brock Lawrence and their family, Cole and Cade); Curtis Dow and Lexie Austin and their family, (Kamdyn, Owen, and Camilla); and Christopher Dow, Phillip and Janet Dow, of Albion, and their family (Phillip Jr. and Rose Dow, and their family, Phillip III, Marissa, Jacob and Brittany; Jason and Heidi Dow and their family, Gabrielle, Joshua, Kelly, and Hannah; Matthew and Amy Dow and their family, Matthew II, Delaney, Emma, and Rachel; Andrew and Mary Dow, and their family, Faith, Charity, Grace, and Andrew II; Timothy and Nicole Dow and Timothy Jr.), Pearle and Jack Brake, of Clinton, and their family (Tammy and Al Whittaker, and their family, Hannah and Leah; Marie and Dean Hirayama and Justin; Timothy and Lisa Alberts and their family, Ashley and Skylar Lindsay, and Kristen).

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

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at

The family suggests that memorial donations be offered to Loaves and Fishes, Albion Food Pantry, 123 Benton Road, Albion, ME 04910 or to Albion Public Library, 18 Main St, Albion, ME 04910.


SOUTH CHINA – Edward “Eddie” Devito, 54, passed away Tuesday, January 1, 2019, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta, following a brief but fierce fight with cancer. He was born February 3, 1964, in Manhattan, New York, the son of Vito E. And Marion (Linerello) Devito.

His friends were his family, and are too numerous to mention, you know who you are. All his women friends he call “Ma,” his guy friends were “Brother.” Those near and dear had their own special term. One special person should be mentioned, his girlfriend, Dawn Cook.

Golf was a true passion for Ed, a long-time member of Natanis Golf Club, in Vassalboro, and many of his closest friends were his golf buddies.

Ed was a career letter carrier whose career began in Brighton Beach, New York, then he transferred to Waterville and developed a close postal family. His eclectic taste in music, from Metallica to Lyle Lovett, endeared him to everyone who attended the many shows with him. He also enjoyed muscle cars, St. Bernards, cigars and watching sports.

A “larger than life” character in every sense of the word, his humor brought tears of laughter. He was one of those rare individuals who touched lives so deeply he could never be forgotten.

A celebration of his life in true Ed fashion will be held in the spring with a date and time to be announced at a later date.
Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, ME 04976.


RICHARD E. ALBAIR, 69, of Augusta, passed away on Friday, December 7, 2018, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta. Locally, he is survived by a son, Shannon Albair ad his fiancé Sheresa Stover, of Windsor.


A spring graveside service for DONALD C. POTTLE, of Fort Pierce, Florida, formerly of Benton, who passed away on December 7, 2018, will take place at Brown Cemetery, in Benton. It was a typographical error.

WGN no longer available on Spectrum cable

Charter Communications, locally known as Spectrum, has been in discussions with Tribune Broadcasting, the owner of WGN America to renew our carriage agreement. At 5 p.m., Eastern Time, on Wednesday, January 2, 2019, Spectrum’s agreement to carry Tribune’s channels expired. As a result, WGN America and all associated Video On Demand content are no longer available to Spectrum customers.

According to Shelley Winchenbach, director of government affairs Charter Communications, “Tribune asked for a dramatic increase in fees (200 percent) which we believe is completely unjustified. We regret the impact of Tribune’s decision, and we remain optimistic that this matter will be resolved quickly so our customers can again receive Tribune programming.”

For more information please visit

VETERAN’S CORNER: PTSD is common; does not carry a stigma

Left photo, local service organization leaders pose at the veterans memorial in South China. From left to right, Mike Vashon, Jeff Zimmerman and Neil Farrington. (Contritured photo)

Gary Kennedyby Gary Kennedy

I have received many replies to recent articles regarding VA and VA benefits. Some inquires relate to the specific disabilities and their compensability. The most common inquiries are related to such problems as hearing loss and what is referred to as ringing in the ears (Tinnitus). These are very common occurrences in the military as well as all soldiers learning to use weapons of one sort or another, or work around loud noises such as jobs requiring being near aircraft and testing areas.

The other possible disabling condition that I hear a lot about either from the veteran or someone who is close to him/her, is PTSD. This sort of disorder is usually associated with being in close proximity to conflict. Some veterans don’t want to address this disorder as they feel it carries with it a negative connotation. For those who feel this way I would suggest it is not necessary to use that term because nervous disorder carries the same degree of compensable ability as PTSD does. PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, today is more apt to be associated with combat stressors; where as plain nervous disorder could apply to many traumatic issues other than ones relating to combat.

Both are given the same degree of award and compensation. Neither should carry a stigma with them. They are both human responses to different kinds of stress. There are several very good service organizations located at Togus VA. Also, if you have had a bad experience then you can discuss it with a totally impartial veterans advocate located in building 200 at Togus VA Medical Center. If this doesn’t work for you take it directly to Veteran’s Affairs in building 248 on the second floor.

There are some very knowledgeable people there that can help you find your way and show you how to put your case together. The records that you already have should accompany you. It is always wise to have your case together when you go there. If you don’t have a primary care provider then you need to apply for one. When you have acquired a PCP then you will explain all the things that are bothering you and he/she will refer you to the appropriate department for an examination. When this is done you will have what you need to file a case with the Bureau of Veterans Affairs (BVA).

I should add if you have seen doctors outside of the VA system you should get copies of those documents. Then you are ready to go and file a well-grounded claim. These are only a couple of issue we have heard you speak about and we are aware there are many more. Veterans have given us so much and all of us who can contribute to their well-being should do so in any way possible. If you have any questions please feel free to share them with us here at The Town Line email address, If it’s a personal nature you can speak with Gary at 458-2832. One way or the other we will give you the answers.

If you have an article you would like to have published, please feel free to send it to The Town Line for review. All writing must be proper in content. I would like to wish all a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. God Bless us all.

Erskine Academy parent/teacher conferences Winter 2019

(photo credit: Erskine Academy)

Erskine Academy has scheduled Parent/Teacher Conferences on Wednesday, January 16, from 3 to 7p.m., (snow date will be Thursday, January 17). Progress reports will be emailed to parents by January 15.

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. Refreshments will be available in the library.

In addition, a representative from the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) will be at the school to present information about paying for college. The FAME presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m., in the cafeteria, and will end at approximately 6:20 p.m. In addition to financial aid information, the Guidance Department will provide information about course offerings and dual enrollment opportunities.

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

Manager meets with four committee chairmen

None see expenses increase over next year

by Mary Grow

As part of the planning process for China’s 2019-2020 budget, Town Manager Dennis Heath met briefly the evening of Jan. 2 with four of 17 committee chairs.

Heads of the planning board, cemetery committee, China for a Lifetime committee and Emergency Preparedness committee were present. Heath said three others sent regrets.

His goal was to find out whether any committee chairman anticipated unusual or special expenditures during the next fiscal year. None did.

Heath suggested, for example, that the Cemetery Committee might want to acquire software to computerize cemetery records. They are currently only in paper form, he said.

He said the proposed administration budget includes $4,000 for a new system to notify interested parties of pending events. The Emergency Preparedness Committee might find the system useful, he suggested, but since it is multi-purpose it will not be part of the committee’s budget.

Heath recommends changing the Thurston Park Committee to the Parks Committee and extending its jurisdiction to include the town forest behind China Primary School.

The manager plans to convene a joint meeting of the board of selectmen and the budget committee to begin review of the draft budget by mid-January. He expressed the hope that committee heads would attend.

China voters will make final decisions on 2019-2020 expenditures at the annual town business meeting, likely to be held late in March.

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Know The Facts: Five Biggest Myths About Diabetes

(NAPSI)—For 30 million Americans, diabetes is an everyday reality. Diabetes can affect every decision, including what they eat, wear and do. Yet the 24/7 management of diabetes is often misunderstood, carrying a social burden, as too many Americans wrongfully assume the disease is the result of poor choices.

The American Diabetes Association is setting the record straight. Here’s what’s real and what’s not when it comes to diabetes:

Myth: Being overweight causes diabetes.
Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes but it’s not the only one. Family history, ethnicity and age also play a significant role. In fact, people with type 2 diabetes are often at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.

Myth: Diabetes is caused by eating sugar.
Fact: Type 1 diabetes is a disease, in which the immune system attacks insulin-producing beta cells. Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to use the insulin it produces and progresses so that less insulin is produced over time. Eating sugar doesn’t cause either type, though a diet high in calories can contribute to weight gain, which increases one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Myth: Taking insulin means you have failed to manage your diabetes properly.
Fact: Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. Over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin to keep blood glucose levels in a healthy range, so insulin is needed. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin to survive.

Myth: People with diabetes need to eat special foods and can’t eat sweets.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy eating plan for anyone: low in saturated fat and moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit. People with diabetes can eat sweets and desserts. The key to sweets for everyone is small portions.

Myth: Diabetes isn’t that serious.
Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined, and nearly doubles your chance of having a heart attack. The good news is that managing diabetes can reduce your risk of such complications.

For more information, go to

Kennebec Historical Society Holds Annual Victorian Tea

On Sunday, December 9, the Kennebec Historical Society’s Augusta headquarters was filled with holiday cheer as dozens of people enjoyed tea, baked goods, and live piano music. A dedicated team of volunteers spent hours planning, decorating, and baking for the event, which was open to the public.

Winslow grades 4-6 cheering squad 2018

Front row, from left to right, Cassy, Emma, Dinah, Emmie, Hayden, Emma and Delana. Back, Coach Meg, Tayia, Abby, Jamie, Kalia, Mary, Grace, Makayla and Kaylee. (Photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography staff)

The Winslow Youth Football cheering squad, grades 4-6.

SCORES & OUTDOORS – Why are skunks out this time of year: Are they true hibernators?

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

While driving to work one morning before Christmas – one of those balmy days we had back then – I could smell the unmistakable odor of a nearby skunk. As a matter of fact, I smelled it two days in a row.

Strange time of year for skunks to be out and about. They usually go deep into their dens when the winter temperatures head south.

A skunk preparing to spray.

While growing up, I was told, by my grandfather, about the “seven sleepers.” Animals that “sleep” during the winter. Skunks were one of them. There are several animals that hibernate: skunks, bees, snakes, groundhogs and chipmunks. However, bears and bats are the most well-known.

There are several ways that animals respond to winter: they migrate, adapt or hibernate. But hibernation isn’t as simple as going to sleep for a couple of months. Although there are various degrees and duration hibernation always involves certain changes for animals. Their body temperature decreases, their breathing slows, and their metabolic rate drops.

It can be a lot of work, getting ready to hibernate. Many animals have to find or create that perfect, safe spot to bed down for months at a time, whether in a cave, a hollow tree, or a den dug into the ground. Usually, before hibernation, the animal has to increase its body fat to survive, which means eating much more than usual in the months leading up to winter. Although hibernation always happens in winter, many different things can act as the actual trigger for animals to start, including temperature drops, decrease in food availability, changes in day length and hormone changes.

Bears enter their dens for hibernation based on changes in the weather. They generally begin hibernating in September or October and emerge six to seven months later around April. During hibernation, bears don’t decrease their body temperature as much as some other hibernating species. This gives them the ability to warm up more quickly in response to danger.

Chipmunks hibernate in their burrows, their heart rate declines and their body temperature lowers until it becomes as cold as the temperature in the burrow. They have to raise their body temperature periodically, slowly raising it when it becomes time to eat from caches they established during the previous year.

But recently, animals’ hibernation patterns themselves may be at risk. New studies have found that as the winter temperatures heat up due to climate change, chipmunks in these warmer areas are less likely to hibernate. This raises the question about how climate change is affecting hibernation, migration and other ways animals cope with the changing seasons.

Spending a few months asleep may be a good way to get through the winter, but it’s not without its risks. If an animal isn’t able to store up enough fat, or find enough food after it awakens, it may not survive. And if a hibernating creature wakes up too early, they can burn through their fat reserves far too quickly, and die.

So, back to skunks.

Skunks are not true hibernators in the winter, but do den up for extended periods of time. However, they remain generally inactive and feed rarely, going through a dormant stage. Over winter, multiple females (as many as a dozen) huddle together, males often den alone. Often, they use the same den repeatedly from year to year.

Skunks are solitary animals when not breeding, though in the colder parts of their range, they may gather in communal dens for warmth. During the day, they shelter in burrows which they can dig with their powerful front claws. Males and females occupy overlapping home ranges through the greater part of the year, typically about 1.5 square miles for females and 7.7 square miles for males.

Although they have excellent senses of smell and hearing, skunks have poor vision, being unable to see objects more than about 10 feet away, making them vulnerable to death from collisions with automobiles.

So, even though we are now in January and heading into the teeth of winter, beware of that skunk who may just be attempting to cross the road at night. Skunks are nocturnal creatures.

Roland’s trivia questions of the week:

The Green Bay Packers won Super Bowls I and II, and the New York Jets won Super Bowl III. Which team won Super Bowl IV?

Answer on can be found here.