LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Thanks from food pantry

To the editor:

The Palermo Food Pantry thanks the generous people of Palermo who donated food for the pantry in the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive sponsored by our post office. It was a great success again this year and is much appreciated by many families. The pantry is open every Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to noon and is located at the Community Center across from the ball field on Turner Ridge Road.

Anyone who would like to support the pantry, please contact June for more information – 993-2225.

Palermo Food Pantry

Unity College 2019 graduates: Be prepared for change

by Jeanne Marquis

The theme heard at the Unity College graduation ceremony, on May 11, 2019, was the importance of being prepared for the changing world ahead. New graduates will need to do more than survive change but lead the way for others. Those who will thrive, in the decades to come, will fearlessly embrace challenges by having a deep understanding of the world and possessing the unique skills to solve 21st Century problems.

Unity College President Melik Peter Khoury announced to the 130 graduates of Unity college and their families: “Class of 2019, you have the foundation and the pedigree needed to take the next steps into this challenging green economy on a global scale. And I speak for all of us here at Unity College when I say that we cannot wait to see what those next steps are. Please, share your stories, share your successes and share your adventures.”

Retired United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills delivered the 2019 Commencement address and was bestowed with an honorary doctorate in sustainability sciences. While on patrol in April 2012, SSG Mills was critically injured by an IED on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. He is one of only five quadruple amputees who survived from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His inspiring spirit turned his overwhelming challenges into success. After his hard road to recovery, he established the Travis Mills foundation to help other wounded veterans and wrote a New York Times best seller, Tough as They Come. Travis Mills, with a sense of humor, encouraged the graduates to embrace their own challenges – “I had one really bad at work. Then, I went on to have seven fabulous years since that day.”

The philosophy of embracing change has been deeply ingrained in Unity College since its establishment in 1967. The college founder Bert Clifford envisioned that building a college would secure their town’s future in an era when rural towns were declining nationwide. Clifford’s vision came to fruition with a college that serves the local region and attracts students nationwide.

Raymond Hall, a 2019 recipient of a master’s degree, selected Unity College Online after his own intensive search He found the academic rigor to be competitive, and the online format worked with the demands of his position as a safety specialist of environment protection at University of Texas — MD Andersen Cancer Center, in Houston, Texas. (photos by Jeannie Marquis)

In recent years, Unity College also demonstrated resilience and embraced change. The college leaders’ keen ability to forecast future global needs transformed Unity college into America’s first environmental college.

All areas of study at Unity College blend academic rigor with hands-on field work and a goal of teaching students to translate their knowledge into sustainable solutions. Among their majors are Sustainable Agriculture, Biology, Marine Biology, Captive Wildlife Care and Education, Parks and forest Resources, Environmental Writing and Media studies, Wildlife and Fisheries Management, Sustainable Energy Management and Conservation Law Enforcement.

Nolan Allen, a 2019 graduate with a degree in Conservation Law Enforcement, has accepted a position as an officer on the Fairfield Police Department. Allen chose Unity College because of the flexible law enforcement major that provides him with a variety of career options. He appreciated the low student to faculty ratio, 15 to one, which gave him the chance to get to know his professors.

Recognizing a growing need for distance education, college administrators once again embraced this change and developed Unity College Online offering bachelor’s, master’s and non-degree credits. Distance education provides the flexibility, while maintaining the same high standards to reach out to professions who seek to advance their careers. Unity College Online is fully accredited and most of the online faculty are fulltime faculty or are leading experts in their fields. The online capability provides Unity College to reach students globally and provide students with more diverse field experiences.

Raymond Hall, a 2019 recipient of a master’s degree, selected Unity College Online after his own intensive search. He found the academic rigor to be competitive, and the online format worked with the demands of his position as a safety specialist of environment protection at University of Texas—MD Andersen Cancer Center, in Houston, Texas. Hall says the emphasis on problem-solving throughout the the college course work has prepared him well for challenges that lie ahead.




VETERANS CORNER: Questioning the reasoning behind location of temporary housing at VA

Fisher House, under construction, located near wetlands. (photo by Gary Kennedy)

Gary Kennedyby Gary Kennedy

Hello my fellow vets. It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve communicated via media. Most of what we have talked about via blog and phone had political overtones so I haven’t been able to address those issues in the paper. Most of what veterans are going through at this time have deep political overtones. So, I will just try to address other issues that affect we veterans by using a different venue.

One issue that seems to be bothering some of you is the new congestion at the Togus VA facility due to the advent of the construction of a new building in front of building #200. Building #200 houses most medical specialties such as ENT, Orthopedics, Cardiology, Spinal Cord, Physical Therapy, Gastro and much more as well as the Emergency Department. All this being said, this is a critical and very busy area.

Handicapped veterans are dropped off here and ambulances arrive here. Of all the buildings housed on the VA facility this is by far the busiest. Veterans have made complaints about what they consider an already congested area. This has turned out to become an even more serious problem with Regional Director Ryan Lilly’s decision to allow the building of the Fisher House directly across the street from this main entrance.

As I understand it, the Fisher House will accommodate families of inpatient veterans, on a temporary basis. I have been told that the Fisher House is being built through some sort of grant/trust fund. The problem here is where the new regional director, Ryan Lilly, decided to place this very big unit. Grants are wonderful but should not have stipulations of placement. VA has 500 acres and supplied transportation, if needed; location shouldn’t make a difference regarding placement.

The two most important issues regarding the placement of this massive undertaking is putting it in an already congested area and also allowing the building to be built in an area always considered to be protected by the Wetland Mandates. Within a few feet of where this building is being placed is a pond teaming with shiners (small fish), reeds containing frogs and cricket; who have always permeated the evening air with their well known and very soothing songs. Also, it has always been a sanctuary for ducks and geese. It has been a safe haven and feeding source for the migrating ducks and Canada geese for as long as I can remember. I have been going there for nearly 50 years.

Perhaps federally-controlled land falls under different rules and regulations than does domestic lands. I will have to research that more. If you have knowledge or feelings about this issue please let me know. I have contacted the department of wetlands but haven’t had a return call as of yet.

As you might recall, the previous VA Director, Ryan Lilly, initiated the Veteran Homeless Housing issue which met with some resistance as the housing was placed on federal land which has always been reserved for the VA medical facility and its future growth. At that time Mr. Lilly stated he might even consider expanding that housing idea. My question would be, does he have that kind of authority? The idea is good but the location is very poorly thought out. Our homeless vets need shelter but not next door to the hospital. There have been problems with other homeless facilities but that information wasn’t shared with our state officials. I and others feel that more oversight should be given in the future to avoid invidious overtones, of which there seems to be some. Since Mr. Lilly has been promoted to regional director it seems that the local directorship has been given to someone sharing a nepotic or at least close relationship with Mr. Lilly, Ms. Tracye Davis. The Peter Principle, which stated something regarding being promoted to the height of incompetence, might apply here. The Epiphany here should be obvious; VA problems most likely remain the same, under the same leadership principle. Ms. Davis will oversee 43,000 Maine veterans using a budget of $370 million. We will just have to watch.

God bless.

Obituaries for Thursday, May 30, 2019


WINSLOW – Donald B. Clark, 58, of Winslow, died Saturday,  March 30, 2019, at his home in Winslow. He was born in Key West, Florida, on December 9, 1960, the son of Beatrice and Alfred Clark.

He attended and graduated from Southern Aroostook High School before attending the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

After a couple of years, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served as a military policeman. Upon discharge, he attended the University of Vermont where he obtained his nursing degree and worked at Maine Medical Center, in Portland, and later at Civista Medical Center, in Maryland.

Don was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling. He also enjoyed vegetable gardening and had a love of animals, especially dogs. He always had a special place in his heart for his long-term companions Heidi, the St. Bernard and Hutch, the hound dog. By far, Don’s greatest pleasure and the light and love of his life was always his daughter, Michelle. Although adversity with his mental health robbed of much of the joy life had to offer, Don will be remembered for his generosity, empathy, and his readiness to help anyone in need.

Don is survived by his daughter, Michelle Roy, of Caribou.

A committal service will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 32, at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery Committal Shelter, 289 Civic Center Drive, Augusta ME 04330. Please visit www.veilleuxfuneralhome.com to share condolences, memories and tributes with his family.

For those who wish, memorial donations can be made to the University of Maine at Fort Kent, a place near to Don’s heart.


WINSLOW – Therese Rossignol, 89, a long-time resident of Winslow, died Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at Oak Grove Center, in Waterville. She was born to the late Edward and Feleine Roy on November 19, 1929, in Winslow.

On her journey she joined a sister, Jeanne Labonte, and a brother, Laurier.

Therese graduated from Winslow High School. She worked at Lockwood Cotton Mill, in Waterville, which later became C.F. Hathaway Shirt Factory, was a seamstress and a cake baker and decorator.

She was a homemaker, enjoyed cooking, having a camp, gardening, and carpentry. She camped over 28 years at Happy Horse Shoe, organized the senior cards on Wednesday nights and day trips and mostly enjoyed planning family gatherings.

Therese was married to Raymond over 70 years. On October 2, 1948, they were married at Saint John the Baptist Church, in Winslow.

She is survived by her husband Raymond; six children, Elaine Ron and husband Romiro, of Spain, Christine Nihtegale, of New Mexico, Claudette Nithsdale, of Winslow, Arthur and wife Deborah, of Skowhegan, George and wife Barbara, of Cornville, Anthony and wife Donna, of Winslow; 11 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Estelle Duquette, of New Jersey and Jacqueline Bourque, of Jefferson; and many nieces and nephews.

The celebration of life for Therese will be Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m. at Saint John’s Church, Winslow. Her burial will be at Togus.

Any donations may be made to: Veterans and families, Travis Mills Foundations, 89 Water St., Hallowell ME 04347.


OAKLAND – George “Podgie” Leighton, 84, passed away unexpectedly at EMMC in Bangor on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. He was born in Waterville, on February 21, 1935, to George “Barney” and Gladys (Rushton) Leighton.

Podgie graduated from Williams High School, in Oakland, and served in the Naval Reserves and later enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany.

He worked as an iron worker for Local #496 for 33 years. He was a mail carrier and a local bus driver for a short time following his retirement.

Podgie had a lifelong love of airplanes and flying and was a licensed pilot for many years. In 1960, he married the former Ann Collier, they were together for 56 years.

He was predeceased by his parents; his wife, and his sister, Barbara.

He is survived by his children, Jody and husband Steve Knox, Todd and wife Dodie Leighton, Kathy LaPlante, and Toby and wife Melissa Leighton; grandchildren, Steve, Ashley and Cale Knox, Tara Roderigue and husband Jon, Dusty Leighton, Colby and Halee LaPlante, and Emily and Allison Leighton; great-grandchildren, Jocelyn and Cameron Roderigue; his brother, David and wife Jeannette Leighton; and many nieces and nephews.

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

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

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the: Oakland Food Pantry, 20 W. School St, Oakland ME 04963.


FAIRFIELD – Patricia (Ryan-Alkas) Smith, 83, of Fairfield and formerly of Bristol, Connecticut, passed away Monday, May 13, 2019, at Mount Saint Joseph, in Waterville following a courageous battle with cancer. She was born August 31, 1935, in Bristol, Connecticut, the daughter of the late Edward and Victoria (Lozefski) Ryan.

She graduated from Terryville High School and then became a telephone switchboard operator. She also worked at Humason Manufacturing, Industrial Comp., Stanley Works, and eventually the Credit Union. Patricia then moved to Maine where she worked at Taconnet Federal Credit Union, in Winslow, and met and married Roger Smith. In her spare time, she enjoyed bird watching, traveling, baking and cooking, and especially fishing. She loved shopping for clothes, jewelry and shoes and wore her outfits with dignity and regality.

Patricia is survived by her husband Roger, of Fairfield; daughter Victoria Alkas and husband Henry Kozuch, of Enfield, Connecticut; sons Sam Alkas III, of Hudson, Florida, and Daniel Alkas and wife Debbie, of Granby, Connecticut; stepdaughter Valerie Elsworth and husband William, of Brewer; stepson, Timothy Smith and wife Sarah, of Bangor; grandchildren, Sabrina Badal, Samantha Hemmerich, Nate Elsworth, George Elsworth, Emma Smith, and Tana Smith; two great-grandchildren, James and Alex Hemmerich; brother, Donald Ryan and wife Geraldine; several nieces, and nephews.

She was predeceased by her parents; two brothers, Edward Ryan Jr. and James Ryan.

Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, ME 05976.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Patricia’s memory to a charity of choice.


WINSLOW – Rogelio Puente, 93, passed away on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

He served proudly in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was a talented craftsman and home builder in central New Jersey. He served diligently as the president of the Spanish Club, in Carteret, New Jersey, for many years.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Josephine.

He was the father of Valentina Dorgai and Roger Puente; grandfather of Jessica Dorgai and , Stephanie Minnich, Meredith Puente; and the great-grandfather of Joshua Paulo Minnich.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Gallant Funeral Home, 10 Elm Street, Waterville.

An online guestbook may be signed and condolences and memories shared at gallantfh.com.


WINDSOR – John Turner Fish passed away at home, in Windsor on Friday, May 17, 2019. John had a long four-year battle with small cell cancer. He was born on June 25, 1948, in Damariscotta, the first born of twins. John was the son of Miles Amos Fish Jr. and Melissa (Turner) Fish.

He was raised in Jefferson and graduated from Lincoln Academy in 1966.

John joined the Air Force shortly after graduation and did two tours in Vietnam. After discharge, he worked for the Maine Department of Education, John began working for the U.S. Postal Service in 1987, first in Winthrop and then in Gardiner. He delivered mail in Gardiner, Randolph and Farmingdale for 27 years, until retiring in 2014.

John loved friendly competition, particularly when playing cribbage. He was still playing until a week before his death. John also enjoyed rummy, bridge, and golf.

He loved the yearly golf trip south with the guys, playing 36 holes daily. He was an avid music lover, especially Bob Dylan. John was also very proud to have more than 33 years of sobriety.

He was predeceased by his parents; his brother, Robert Fish; and his son, Brandon Fish.

John is survived by his wife, Nancy (Walker) Fish and their children, Jason Walker, of Portland, Troy Fish, of Portland and Heather Wasik and her husband, Paul, of Washington, D.C.; four sisters, Catherine Walker, of Jefferson, Marjorie Baldwin and husband Bob, of Nobleboro; his twin, Joan Jackson, of Jefferson, and Nancy Pierce and husband Lynn, of Jefferson; and many nieces and nephews; brother-in-law, Fred Jackson, of Brooks.

Condolences, photos and stories may be shared at www.plummerfh.com.

In liew of flowers, the family asks you make a donation to the charity of your choice.

2019 Summer hours at South China library

photo courtesy of South China Library

Beginning on Monday, June 3, the South China Library will be observing new summer hours. The library will be open Mondays, 10 a.m. – noon, through the end of August. Wednesday and Saturday hours will stay the same – Wednesday, 10 a.m. – noon, and 3 – 7 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The Children’s Summer Program starts on Wednesdays, June 26, at 10:30 a.m.

The library is free and open to all. For more information, call 445-2956.

School board decides to reluctantly raise school lunch prices by 10 cents

Vassalboro Community School. (source: jmg.org)

by Mary Grow

At their May 21 meeting, Vassalboro School Board members reluctantly voted to raise the bill for a full-price school lunch from $2.75 this year to $2.85 for the 2019-2020 school year.

A food service memo requested the increase, explaining that it is required by the federal government, whose officials found almost a decade ago that schools were undercharging for paid meals.

Federal money reimburses Vassalboro $3.31 for each free lunch and 31 cents for each paid lunch. Vassalboro should charge the $3 difference, so that reimbursement for free meals no longer subsidizes paid meals. A federal calculator sets 10 cents a meal as the maximum annual increase until the $3.00 figure is reached. Failure to comply could lead to loss of federal funds.

On another topic, Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer said the board can choose to extend Title I services to all students, instead of only to those identified as needing extra academic support. The federal Title I program is intended to help disadvantaged students, those at risk of not doing well in school for any of a variety of social or individual reasons.

In the plan is approved, Curriculum Coordinator Mary Boyle said, Title I staff can work with students before they fall behind. She and Principal Megan Allen agreed staff would be working differently, not more, so there would be no cost increase.

Boyle is under contract with Vassalboro as a holdover from former AOS (Alternative Educational Structure) #92. School board members intend to review the three-year contract with the former AOS at a future meeting –probably not at the June 18 board meeting, Pfeiffer said, as shared personnel will be very busy with end-of-school work.

In other business May 21, board members accepted with regret resignations of Educational Technician Ellen Goodrich and bus driver Rosalie Woods and hired bus driver Clayton Rice.

They approved moving five first-year probationary teachers to second year; four second-year probationary teachers to third year; nine more from third-year probation to continuing contracts; and three from continuing to annual contracts.

They approved a 2019-2020 school calendar and a school board meeting schedule.

This year, school will end with a half day of classes on June 18, later than originally expected because of five snow days.

Before school is out, voters will have acted on the 2019-2020 budget twice, at the open town meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 3, at the school and again at the June 11 budget validation written-ballot vote.

The June 11 ballot includes local elections, with School Board members Jessica Clark and Kevin Levasseur unopposed for re-election. Voting will be at the town office, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A dozen residents attend public hearing on two ballot questions

by Mary Grow

About a dozen China residents attended the selectmen’s May 13 public hearing on two June 11 ballot questions, focusing most of their attention on the first and more expensive one.

The first question asks if voters want to authorize selectmen to spend up to $150,000 for the Hall property across Lakeview Drive from the town office and abutting the Four Seasons Club. The approximately four acres for sale include lake frontage that would provide a beach and boat landing. Funds would come from China’s lake access fund ($125,000) and TIF (Tax Increment Finance) fund ($25,000). The budget committee recommended approval on a 4-2 vote on April 9.

The second question asks if voters want to authorize selectmen to spend up to $25,000 from the town’s Undesignated Fund Balance (surplus) “to contract for the engineering and costing of a consolidated emergency services building and a community building,” based on designs for which voters appropriated up to $5,000 in November 2018. The emergency services building would house the China Village Volunteer Fire Department, China Rescue, a police office and perhaps a Delta ambulance; combining China’s three volunteer fire departments is not part of the plan. Plans for both buildings are on the town website under “News.” The budget committee unanimously recommended voters not approve the appropriation.

With Town Manager Dennis Heath absent, there was a lack of answers to many of the questions raised at the hearing. Selectboard Chairman Robert MacFarland said town officials are waiting for voter approval before making detailed plans, and if voters do approve they won’t necessarily buy the property; they just want to be able to.

Two members of the former Lake Access Committee, which proposed buying the former Candlewood property and was turned down by voters, said China still needs a place for residents who don’t own waterfront property to access the lake.

If voters approve, the current undetailed plan is to develop a beach and a boat landing, with at least one parking area partway up the hill toward Lakeview Drive.

Audience and selectboard members talked about safe separation between swimmers and boaters, or maybe having a carry-in launch area only, or having a landing that would accommodate the overflow from the state landing at the head of the lake outside China Village. The last proposal sparked another inconclusive discussion about the future of the present landing.

People asked how the town benefited from bass tournaments and about the risk of importing the invasive plant milfoil when a lot of out-of-town boats use China Lake.

Location and size of the access road were unknown; MacFarland said it would “probably” be two lanes. The number of parking spaces was not determined.

Two men said the proposed $150,000 would be “a drop in the bucket” compared to the cost of developing the area for public use. Even if state funding were obtained, Wayne Chadwick pointed out that state dollars are still tax money.

At the selectmen’s meeting that followed the hearing, China Planning Board Chairman Tom Miragliuolo said the Land for Maine’s Future program where he is a Ssenior planner would be likely to approve a China application for up to half the appraised value of the property. Also, he said, the Bureau of Public Lands has a program that might contribute development funds for a boat landing.

If the waterfront were developed, people asked whether it could or would be limited to China residents; whether it would be considered public or private; whether there would be lifeguards, people to check residency or other supervisors and whether they would have to be paid. There were no answers.

Selectman Jeffrey LaVerdiere cited public beaches in nearby towns that have been closed due to unwelcome clientele, vandalism and other problems.

Whether the state Department of Environmental Protection would approve the development is unknown – Selectman Irene Belanger said they are “involved.”

“You’re asking the people to make a decision without information,” Bill Van Wickler summarized as the discussion drew to a close.

The much shorter discussion of the second question ignored the community center and focused on the proposed emergency services building. Months ago, the concept was that the China Village Volunteer Fire Department would move into a new building on the town-owned property on the east side of Lakeview Drive opposite the former Candlewood Camps. Its present building would be demolished and China Baptist Church would create a new parking lot on the site, freeing the present church parking lot for boaters’ use.

Now it appears that state officials will not continue to support the boat landing, because of lack of adjacent parking and its location, exposed to debris blown from the entire east basin. Therefore, all three China fire chiefs said at the hearing, no more parking is needed, so the China Village station doesn’t need to move, so there is no reason to waste more money planning for a new building.

China voters will decide both questions by written ballot on June 11. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the former portable classroom behind the town office.

Pfeiffer: School budget no impact on local taxes

by Mary Grow

The good news about Vassalboro’s 2019-2020 school budget, which totals more than $7.7 million, is that it is more than $26,000 lower than the current year’s budget. It will have no impact on the local tax rate, and no adverse effect on local education.

Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer said the major reason for the lower budget is the tuition account, which is lower because more Vassalboro students are graduating from high school than are entering.

Within the budget is a request for state approval for two new school buses, instead of the usual one a year, justified by the age and condition of Vassalboro’s fleet. Pfeiffer said bus repair costs are rising steadily.

Many other budget lines are flat or nearly so, Pfeiffer said. The only planned staff increase is a change from a half-time contracted social worker to a full-time employee.

The 2019-2020 school budget is in Articles 49 through 63 of the warrant for the June 3 town meeting. On June 11, voters will accept or reject the June 3 decision. The June 3 meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Vassalboro Community School (VCS); June 11 written-ballot voting will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the town office.

The good news about Vassalboro students is that they are welcome in the high schools they choose to attend after finishing eighth grade at VCS.

At the request of The Town Line, Pfeiffer queried officials at Winslow and Waterville high schools and Erskine Academy, in South China, about former VCS students. He got positive information from all three schools. Among Winslow High School’s graduating seniors from Vassalboro, several will be going on to college and will receive scholarships, to be announced on Class Night, according to Guidance Counselor Tom McNeil. Another senior earned her Emergency Medical Technician license through Mid-Maine Technical Center and the state; and another has a long-term internship at Vassalboro’s Duratherm Window Corporation.

“We truly value our relationship with VCS and relish the involvement of all 40 plus Vassalboro residents who attend WHS,” McNeil added.

From Waterville Senior High School, Principal Brian Laramee reported that two of the top ten students in the graduating class, including the valedictorian, attended VCS. They and five other Vassalboro students are heading for college in the fall.

Erskine Academy Headmaster Mike McQuarrie reported that four of the 32 Erskine students in a graduating class of 144 are in the top ten academically. Vassalboro students have a 100 percent graduation rate, with 30 of the 32 going on to some type of higher education and the other two enlisted in the military.

“A great contingent of young people from Vassalboro!” McQuarrie commented.

The school has received other commendations from outside its walls. In April, the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce honored Jobs for Maine Graduates head Victor Esposito as Outstanding Professional at its annual awards ceremony recognizing businesses and individuals for community service.

The good news about the Vassalboro School Board is that members are not resting on these successes, but continue looking for ways to help students even more. At their May 21 board meeting, they discussed tentative plans for a strategic planning workshop to look at goals for the next five years.

Possible topics include programs, textbooks, keeping up with technology and physical plant needs – Pfeiffer often praises building maintenance, but points out that VCS is now 27 years old.

Poverty and trauma make demands on every school, Pfeiffer observed, and “Money will always be a problem.”

Gladys Benner presented with Boston Post Cane in Fairfield

Ms. Gladys E. Benner, 97, recently received the Town of Fairfield’s Boston Cane for the oldest resident. (contributed photo)

The Town of Fairfield has presented its Boston Post Cane to Ms. Gladys E. Benner, who recently reached the age of 97 years. The Town of Fairfield continues the time-honored tradition of presenting the Boston Post Cane to its eldest permanent resident. The tradition of the Boston Post Cane dates to 1909 for the oldest living man, and in 1930 the tradition was expanded to include both men and women. The previous holder of the town’s Boston Post Cane was Ms. Vivian R. Field, who recently passed at the age of 99. State Senator Scott Cyrway, left, additionally bestowed legislative sentiments.

Vassalboro senior fair provided much-needed information

Lynn Kidd, left, from Search, reviews literature with an attendee at the Vassalboro Senior Fair. (photo by Jeanne Marquis)

by Jeanne Marquis

As the caregiver for my 94-year old father, it didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t have all the answers. I did manage to stay one step ahead of his needs by purchasing a walker well in advance and stowing it away in the hall closet. Yet, there have been issues that haven’t had such obvious answers. On May 22, the FAVOR (Friends Advocating for Vassalboro’s Older Residents) committee hosted a Senior Fair at the St. Bridget’s Center, 864 Main Street, Vassalboro, bringing area agencies together to provide information to seniors and their families.

Spectrum Generations provides services for elders and adults with disabilities to stay in their homes. Bridges homes services, a division of Spectrum Generations, offers adult day services and outings into the community. The family caregiver support program at Spectrum Generations offers educational opportunities. Spectrum Generations makes it clear that’s it ok for caregivers to ask for help by providing a helpline, 1-800-639-8703. More information can be found at spectrumgenerations.org.

Maine-ly Elder Care provides senior care on a fee basis including in-home care, home modification and seasonal property clean up. More information is available on Maine-lyeldercare.com .

Debbie Johnson-Nixon, chairman of the Friends Advocating for Vassalboro’s Older Residents (FAVOR). (photo by Jeanne Marquis)

Direct Community Care partners with the Veterans Administration providing case management and in-home support services. Their mission is to increase independence and integration into the community. Direct Community Care can be reached at 207-512-2424.

SEARCH is a free support service sponsored by Catholic Charities. Lynn Kidd, from SEARCH, explained that she carefully matches trained volunteers with the needs of seniors, from all faiths. The success of their program comes from the supportive relationship that grows between volunteers and the seniors. Their goal is to enable vulnerable seniors to remain in their homes with services that range from an hour of conversation to weekly running errands. More information can be found at ccmain.org/SEARCH .

Vassalboro Food Station Pantry provides food for 101 local seniors who are faced with the harsh reality of rising costs of medications and utility costs. The pantry is located at 679 Main Street in Vassalboro, open Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon.

Vassalboro’s Senior Fair also included organizations who feed the minds and artistic souls of seniors and their families. Common Street Arts of Waterville held a painting workshop providing a sampling of the many classes they offer the public of all ages. A calendar of events for Common Street Arts can be found at Watervillecreates.org .

Vassalboro Historical Society provided a display of what their organization offered and a listing of their bi-monthly programs. The Schoolhouse Museum, 327 Main Street, will be open with regular hours from June through Oct., 2nd and 4th Sundays, 1-4 pm.

The Senior College offered by the University Maine at Augusta was represented at the Senior Fair. Fair attendee, Priscilla Doel said these courses are “the best kept secret” and spoke highly of the art she has taken through this program. For more information, check out UMASC.org.

As a caregiver, I left the Vassalboro Senior Fair with a folder full of much-needed information to help me care for my father, but more surprisingly I found plenty of inspiration for myself, as a recently turned senior who wishes to stay active.