Obituaries for Thursday, June 27, 2019


GIBSONTON, FLORIDA – Frederick W. Saucier, 88, passed away on Saturday, March 16, 2019, at his residence in Gibsonton, Florida. He was born on November 30, 1930, in Waterville, the son of Lionel and Leatha (Mann) Saucier.

He grew up in Vassalboro, the older brother to three sisters, Norma, Anne “Bobbi”, and Paulette. He graduated from Waterville High School in 1947 and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 17. Fred married his high school sweetheart Sybil (Fitch) on September 4, 1948.

Fred proudly served 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps in active and reserve service and was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines earning multiple decorations and commendations including the Bronze Star Medal “V”, and the combat action ribbon.

Sybil was the love of his life. They married at St. Bridget’s Church, in Vassalboro, and started their incredible adventure together. For 69 years they shared the love of a lifetime, a marriage filled with integrity, unwavering devotion, great joy and accomplishment.

Fred retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a lieutenant colonel in 1971 and accepted a position at Billerica High School, in Billerica, Massachusetts, serving as senior military educator and infantry officer for JROTC Leadership program. He taught for 13 years, earning a bachelor of science at New Hampshire College along the way.

In 1977, Fred and Sybil bought Green Valley Campground, on Webber Pond, in Vassalboro. He loved the outdoors and wanted to share his love of camping with others to provide the best family camping experience. He and Sybil made friends ot of strangers over the years they owned the campground and created lifelong memories for so many.

After his retirement from teaching in 1984, he and Sybil spent the summers at Green Valley and in the fall, Fred would drive their motorhome to Florida for the winter. They would stay at the FamCamp on MacDill Air Force Base where they reunited with other snow birds. They enjoyed golfing, visiting with friends, going to the local concerts and shows, and relaxing by the beach. Every May they would make the trip back to Maine to open the campground for another season.

In 2002, after 25 years, Fred and Sybil sold Green Valley to their granddaughter, Tiffany, who owns and operates it today. Fred and Sybil continued to spend the summers on Webber Pond.

Fred contributed to many charities anonymously, including PBS and the Red Cross. Fred loved life! He loved music, singing and dancing, sailing and skiing, horseshoes and horses. He was a natural athlete and worthy competitor on the tennis and racquetball court, golf course, or playing kickball in the yard. He loved playing bridge, and poker with the guys, as well as cribbage and chess.

Fred was predeceased by his wife, Sybil; his infant son, Frederick and son-in-law, David.

He is survived by his four children: Crystal, Thomas, Alecia and Jamie; his son-in-law, Jed; eight grandchildren: Jason, Tiffany, Evan, Alivia, Matthew, Phoebe, Ryan and Michael; six great-grandchildren: Samantha, Cameron, Hunter, Hailie, KC, Evan, and Sebastian; his sister, Norma and brother-in-law, Roland; sisters, Anne “Bobbi”, and Paulette; many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service for Fred and Sybil will be held June 21 at 1300 (1 pm) at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 163 Mt. Vernon Road in Augusta. Reception immediately following at The Old Mill Place, 934 Main St, Vassalboro.

Memorial donations in memory of Fred can be made to: UNICEF USA, 125 Maiden Lane, New York NYE 10038; Website:


UNITY – Kay Frances Fernald Tozier, 87, passed away in Raymond, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. Born May 21, 1932, in Troy, the daughter of Clyde and Marion Bragg Fernald, she lived in Troy for her early years including several years with her grandparents Medwin and Dora Fernald.

She also enjoyed time with her grandparents Oscar and Katie Bragg, her auntie Eula Bragg Knowlton, , and the Judson family. She graduated from Unity High School in 1949 and from Farmington State Teachers College in 1953.

Kay and Kenneth Elwood Tozier, Jr., were married June 26, 1954, and lived nearly all their married life in Unity. Kay was a teacher in Rockland, Scarborough, and for many years at Troy School where the library at the new school was dedicated to her.

She was a long-time member of Unity Union Church and the Noel Club, of Unity. She was a life-long learner and enjoyed reading, gardening, and travel. She traveled with the Farmington Alumni group for many years visiting some 30 countries. She was known for her compassion, generosity, patience, and subtle wit.

She was predeceased by her husband, Kenneth “Babe” Tozier, Jr.

She is survived by her three children, Susan Tozier, of Raymond, New Hampshire. Joel Tozier and wife Nancy, of Sidney, and Deirdre Nash and husband Daniel, of Auburn, New Hampshire; and grandchildren Shelby Tozier, Ben Tozier, Amelia Nash and significant other Michael Gross and Meredith Nash Laliberte and husband Nick; brothers, James Fernald and wife Sally, nd Stephen Fernald and wife Barrie; sister-in-law Marilyn Tozier Owen and long-time companion Kenneth Phelps, of Largo, Florida; and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at Unity United Methodist Church on Saturday, June 29, 2019, at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow at the Unity College Performing Arts Center, in Unity.

Donations in memory of Kay may be made to: Unity United Methodist Church, 13 Depot Street, Unity ME 04988.


OAKLAND – MaryEllen Jenney, 69, of Oakland, passed away following a courageous battle with cancer on Sunday, June 9, 2019, at Oak Grove Center in Waterville. She was born in Biddeford on April 17, 1950, the daughter of the late Joseph C. and Florence A. (McKay) Michaud.

MaryEllen attended the University of Maine and obtained a degree in history. She enjoyed traveling, baking cakes, and spending time with her family.

Besides her parents, she was predeceased by her son, Christopher John Couture.

MaryEllen will be sadly missed by her husband, Lawrence Chase Jenney; her son, Joseph William Couture and his wife, Virginia; her three grandchildren, Joseph Couture II, Barbie Lynn Couture, and Tobby Bragdon; her brother, John Michaud; and two nieces and one nephew.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at

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

In lieu of flowers, donations in MaryEllen’s memory may be made to: Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, Office of Philanthropy, P.O. Box 828, Waterville ME 04903.


WINDSOR – Frances N. Brann, 78, passed away on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the Alfond Center for Health. She was born on February 11, 1941, the daughter of the late Leland and Doris James, of Chelsea. She was one of 16 siblings, with only five now surviving.

Mrs. Brann was a graduate of Erskine Academy and was a homemaker for most of her life.

She was predeceased by a son, Mark E. Brann, Sr.

Frances will be remembered by her husband of 51 years, Clarence Brann; a son, Roland Dyer Jr. his wife, Tracy, and family of Wiscasset; her daughter, Joyce Gilbert and husband, Ralph and sons, of Chelsea; and son, Pat Brann and his wife, Kim and family, of Vassalboro; siblings Janice Sirois, of Connecticut, Donald James, Sr. and Jean Cunningham and husband, Ronald, of Pittston, David James and companion, Hope Plummer, of Windsor, 13 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

At her request, there will be a private family graveside service at a later date.

Arrangements are under the care of Plummer Funeral Home, Windsor Chapel, 983 Ridge Road, Route 32, Windsor ME 04363.

Condolences, stories and photos may be shared through the funeral home website at


FAIRFIELD – Tammy R. Jones, 48, passed away Saturday, June 8, 2019, at Central Maine Medical Center, in Lewiston. She was born January 8, 1971, in Lewiston, the daughter of Elizabeth R. Jones.

She graduated from Lawrence High School, in Fairfield, in 1990. She was a member of the Loving Caring Hands food Pantry. She started at the food pantry when it first opened in 2008. Tammy liked going to the powwow and dancing with her Native American family and had been going for 13 years. She liked making Native American jewelry, cooking, working with her computer, watching TV, going for walks and spending time with family and friends.

Tammy is survived by her significant other of 30 years, Alan Sabins, of Fairfield; sister-in-law Barbara Meservie, of Fairfield; brother-in-law Jim Sabins, of Skowhegan; sister Nikki Cahill, of Madison; brother Tommy Jones, of Madison; five nieces, Barbara Berry, Star Sabins and Jayme Sabins, all of Skowhegan, Ashley Corossan, of Madison, Tricia Corossan; two nephews, Walter Meservie, Aaron Corossan; five great-nieces; seven great-nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, July 5, 2019, at 10 a.m., at the Shawmut Chapel, 57 Bray Avenue, Shawmut.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Tammy’s memory to CMH Development Office, 300 Main Street, Lewiston, ME 04240 or email

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

Vassalboro board puzzles over lunch program finances

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro School Board members puzzled over lunch program finances at their June 18 meeting, after Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer recommended they reallocate $30,000 to start covering the program’s debt even though it doesn’t owe any money to anybody.

Pfeiffer explained that the “debt,” about $130,000, is on the books because the program spends more than the state reimbursement. Having red ink on the books displeases the auditor, and the board should deal with it.

However, in the real world the school department pays what it owes from other accounts and grants.

The main reason for the debt, Curriculum Coordinator Mary Boyle said, is that students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals do not apply to use the program. Therefore the state does not reimburse the school department.

Re-elected Board Chairman Kevin Levasseur said less than $2,000 of the debt is due to families who owe lunch money to the school – “a drop in the bucket.” He said 53 percent of Vassalboro Community School (VCS) students don’t eat school meals, bringing their own.

Board members talked about making the meal program more inviting and about the need for more information about the free and reduced-price program. Pfeiffer said parents can apply at any time, not just when the application form comes home as school opens in the fall. Board member Jessica Clark suggested putting the application form on the website.

No decisions were made; the meal program will be on a future agenda.

The decision that was made, after continued discussion from the May meeting (see The Town Line, May 30), was to expand the VCS Title I program from a small group of students identified as falling behind academically to the entire school.

Boyle said the current program, staffed by three educational technicians and a literacy specialist, targets students with difficulty in English. A school-wide program would continue to assist these students; add students on the borderline of falling behind the rest of their class, who get no service under the targeted Title I; let Title I staff work in the regular classrooms; and perhaps allow adding help in math.

Board members unanimously approved the change. Levasseur commented that he expects it will “benefit more kids and not have to jump through so many [bureaucratic] hoops.”

Pfeiffer and Levasseur expect two new buses to arrive later in the year. Transportation coordinator Lisa Gadway explained that she will analyze needs, talk with drivers about their preferences, consider quality and longevity and seek price quotes before ordering buses tailored for Vassalboro.

“It’s not just, ‘Hey, send me a bus.’” You have to know what you want,” she said. Boyle and Gadway work out of the former office of AOS (Alternative Organizational Structure) #92 in Waterville, serving one or more of the three ex-AOS member towns (Vassalboro, Waterville and Winslow) under contract.

In other business June 18, board members unanimously hired Tabitha Sagner as full-time social worker at VCS. She previously was a half-time contract worker at the school; Pfeiffer said she had a good record and both she and personnel with whom she has worked are pleased to have her as a full-time staff member.

Board members accepted the resignations of special education teacher Deborah Spiller and third-grade teacher Lynn Wells, both of whom have moved to other jobs, Pfeiffer said. The positions are being advertised.

Board members gave preliminary approval to a minor change in the 2019-2020 school calendar: changing the name of the October 14 holiday from Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, following new state legislation.

They discussed scheduling a strategic planning workshop, probably in August, to look ahead for the next five years. Continuing their policy of taking a July break, they scheduled the next regular board meeting for Tuesday evening, Aug. 20.

CHINA: Decisions on new excavator, Saturday hours postponed

by Mary Grow

China selectmen made several decisions at their June 24 meeting, the last in the current fiscal year, but postponed action on the two longest-discussed questions, whether to buy an excavator and whether to eliminate Saturday town office hours.

At their June 10 meeting, Board members re-reviewed bids for equipment for summer road work and voted to rent an excavator, as needed, from local contractor Wayne Chadwick. Public Works Manager Shawn Reed encouraged them to consider buying an excavator instead, saying it would save money and make scheduling jobs easier. (See The Town Line, June 6 and June 13.)

Reed and Board members discussed the topic again June 24. Reed said he had done “a ton of negotiating” with seven dealers and recommended a 119-horsepower Volvo from Chadwick-BaRoss, a dealer with offices in Westbrook, Bangor and Caribou.

Town Manager Dennis Heath calculated savings at $85,000, counting paying for the machine, over 10 years and more than $300,000 over 20 years. Reed said several of the town crew are qualified to run an excavator, though probably not as skillfully as Chadwick or Robin Tobey, another local contractor.

Selectmen again postponed action.

They also postponed a decision on whether and if so how to change town office hours, specifically by eliminating the three hours on Saturday and extending hours one or more other days.

Heath shared results of the survey run from May 31 through June 21 asking people questions like whether they used the town office on Saturday and if so, why; and if office hours were to be extended to 6 p.m. at least one day a week, which day would be most convenient.

The manager said as far as he knows, China’s 45.5 hours a week are the longest in the area, and no other nearby office is open Saturdays.

Staff member Kelly Grotton said she and three of her four colleagues take turns working Saturday mornings; Town Clerk Becky Hapgood is not included in the rotation. No one minds swapping a week-day for a Saturday, she said, but there are two disadvantages. When someone is off on a week-day, the office may be short-staffed, so that everyone is at the counter or on the telephone and putting off other work, like Grotton’s assessing assignments; and on Saturdays state offices, necessary for many tasks from motor vehicle registrations to various license renewals, are closed.

Reed said if a town office staff member is working with him on an ongoing issue, he has to remember which day she’ll not be available.

Almost everything except registering a new vehicle can be done on line, Grotton said. Survey results showed about 30 percent of respondents were not aware of that option.

Chadwick, arguing from the audience for keeping Saturday hours, said some older residents neither used a computer nor drove a car, perhaps leaving Saturday morning when someone was free to offer a ride as their only chance to do town office business.

Decisions selectmen did make included:

  • Authorizing Heath to spend $2,950 to buy and install the previously-approved generator at the transfer station, including a propane tank, necessary piping and other auxiliary items.
  • Voting to give money for safety vests to the Roadside Team, the group originally started by Richard Dillenbeck to pick up roadside litter. Funds will come from returnable bottles donated to the transfer station. Selectmen were also willing to let the transfer station crew pick up bags of collected litter if necessary; Board member Irene Belanger said the team has nine volunteers and she has offered the use of her truck, so maybe they can do the pick-up themselves.
  • Approving Chadwick’s $24,300 bid for about half a mile of trail work for the China Four Seasons Club. Heath said Chadwick was the only bidder. Bids for work on another trail section are due July 8, he said. In other business, Transfer Station Manager Tim Grotton said the town received a $10,500 state grant for an electronic pass system (called RFID, radio-frequency identification). Grotton said China did not receive a larger grant to locate four recycling trailers around town (see The Town Line, April 25).

Later in the meeting, Selectman Ronald Breton said “the public generally” does not like having the transfer station close at 3 p.m. four of the five days it’s open and does not care that it opens at 7 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and 6:30 a.m. Saturdays. He proposed returning to the 5 p.m. closing.

Tim Grotton said he has a lot of business early in the morning, including people waiting at 6 a.m. on Saturdays and people in their office clothes dropping off trash weekdays. Comparatively few people come in between 3 and 5 p.m. Thursdays. He expects the RFID system will provide useful information for the selectmen and the Transfer Station Committee.

Reed reported the newly-hired public works driver/mechanic won’t start until July 1, but has already looked over the garage and equipment and suggested things he can do.

Belanger said volunteers are needed for the Aug. 2-4 China Community Days celebration; those interested should call Kelly Grotton at the town office.

Heath added that the China Village volunteer fire department holds its annual chicken barbecue Saturday, July 6, starting at 11:30 a.m. at the fire station.

The next regular selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, July 8.

China receives DEP second round of grants for recycling and organics management initiatives

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection recently announced the second round of grant award recipients for recycling and organics management projects. These projects are targeted to divert waste from disposal by expanding composting and recycling opportunities across Maine. DEP received 14 proposals requesting $347,486 and will award $212,790 to fund 13 of these projects. Maine DEP is providing these grants to help businesses, institutions and municipalities address solid waste management challenges.

Reducing the amount of materials consumers buy and use, reusing items, and recycling products and packaging are all actions that significantly reduce our environmental impacts and help to enhance sustainability, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut costs.

Among other communities, China was awarded $10,500 for recycling and composting. China proposes to establish a radio frequency identification (RFID) system to gather data on the use of the various components of waste management services (swap shop, recycling stations, disposal) by town of origin. This data will be used to assess expansion of recycling operations to serve residents of neighboring towns, to design operational efficiencies, and to improve education and outreach on recycling.

Allowing community voice to define school success


The front entrance at Messalonskee High School (photo source:

by Mandi Favreau

How we measure the success of a school can have a profound impact on a community. Potential residents and businesses alike tend to use online school information to make decisions about which communities they choose. But are current measures giving the public the full picture of what a school can offer students, families, and communities?

Many state and national school assessment systems rely heavily on standardized test scores to make their determinations about the success of schools.  The federal government also attaches millions of dollars in funding to the process by using state assessments to identify schools that need support. This reliance on limited data points does a disservice to schools and students.

“Standardized tests can help us design interventions for individual students and help us examine our overall programming, but one test does not paint the entire picture of our schools or our students,” said Superintendent Carl Gartley.

“Our students learn differently, and they demonstrate success differently.  Any teacher you ask could name several students for whom a standardized test is not going to show their strengths. These students deserve to be represented when we talk about our schools.”

Current measures of success do not highlight a school’s strong arts or media program. They give no acknowledgment to the special education and intervention programs that the school provides beyond the performance of students with disabilities on assessments.

The Maine Department of Education is currently working to develop a more well-rounded system. “The first step is to get the conversation going statewide with students, teachers, parents – all of the stakeholders,” said Mary Paine, Director of the Commissioner of Education’s Office of School Success. “We need to develop a more complete set of indicators of success by identifying common values, asking the public what matters beyond the indicators that are being used currently.”

To that end, a team from the DOE, lead by Paine, came to RSU #18 in mid-May to meet with small groups of students and educators across several grade levels. They spoke with about 10 students per grade level and a group of educators from across the district and from a variety of content areas. The conversation was focused on what is working in the district – what makes our schools successful.

Even given the small number of participants in this first round of conversations, common values emerged in RSU #18, such as the importance of relationships. Students spoke of strong connections with their teachers, and teachers spoke of good working relationships with their administration. Safety was also mentioned, particularly by the students. They said they felt safe both within our buildings and walking to school. Teachers mentioned the importance of collaborative time. Healthy social settings were also valued.

These conversations, along with a community dialogue in RSU #38, will be used to inform the development of a flexible framework that can be used locally and by the state to portray authentic, relevant indicators of success based on the statewide and local conversations.

“It needs to be authentic and we want it to ensure that the indicators are backed by evidence,” said Paine. She believes that it does not necessarily need to come down to numbers, or at least not the usual numbers. “One goal of the statewide conversation is to gather ideas about what the framework might look like. How do we capture and provide evidence for qualitative measures such as strong relationships, community involvement, unique programs and opportunities that are provided to students, or strong career and technical skills programs?” Paine says that even in the early stages of the conversation, these are the kinds of things that matter and that we need to find a way to communicate.

“The questions really focus on what people look for in a successful school and whether those features exist in their district,” said Paine. The resulting data would not only provide a more complete picture of a school for state and national reports but would also provide school districts with valuable information about what is working and what they might work to improve.

School rating websites are already making an effort to change their assessment models. Paine hopes that if the state can supply them with more accurate and complete information, it gives them something relevant that they can use., considered to be one of the better school ranking sites, lists Maine as one of the states that does not “have sufficient information to generate a Summary Rating.” In those cases, the site defaults to test scores as their overall rating. This makes this project doubly important for Maine schools to be able to provide an accurate reflection of what our schools’ offer. But Paine cautions, “We in no way wish to generate another system of rating and ranking. That is the antithesis of public school.” The added benefit to the new approach is that it also moves the dialogue away from ranking and comparison which can create false impressions.

“When it comes to bringing people to our state, cities, and towns and encouraging them to stay, we couldn’t do anything more important than to make sure that the real value to be found in our schools is seen and heard,” said Paine in recent material focusing on the project.

The DOE plans to come back to RSU #18 in the fall and to open the conversation up to community members. “We also want to talk with more students,” said Paine, “their voices are incredibly important.”

China School’s Forest day camps and family forest activities (Summer 2019)

Local educator and Maine Master Naturalist, Anita Smith, will be offering several day camps and family forest activities at the China School Forest. All programs start at the China Primary School bus circle, 763 Lakeview Drive, China. Limited scholarships are available, upon request. For more information or registration form, contact Anita Smith at 968-2255 or

For updates and to RSVP for Family Forest Events, see


Day camps are for children entering grades 2-6. Space is reserved once your registration form and fee are received and you receive a confirmation email. Each day camp is limited to 10 students and run rain or shine. Cost is $30, per child, per camp. We would also love to have a few students grades 7-12 join us as Jr. counselors. If interested, please email us.

July 8-10 Pond Explorers Day Camp: We will use dip nets and learn about pond plants and animals, play games, do crafts and meet some fascinating pond critters. Prepare to get wet! 12:00-3:00 pm

July 24 – 26 Things with Wings Day Camp: Have fun learning about bugs, birds and bats! We will play games, catch bugs, dissect owl pellets and do some fun crafts at this wing-themed camp. 12:00-3:00 pm.

August 5 – 7 Happy Camper Day Camp: Build your own nature forts, explore real animal pelts and skulls, make your own hiking stick and more during this camping-themed session. 12:00-3:00 pm.


Naturalist Anita Smith at 2017’s Pirate Camp. (Photo courtesy of China School’s Forest)

Family Activities are for all ages, even our littlest friends! An adult must accompany the child for the activity. Please RSVP on our Facebook page or by email so we have enough materials for all participants. Family Forest Activities are free, but donations are gratefully accepted to help cover the cost of materials. If we have to cancel, it will be posted on our Facebook page the day before the event.

July 6 Family Forest Fun: Pond Explorers. Come explore the pond using dip nets and see discover lives under the water. Can you croak like a frog or fly like a dragonfly? Suggested donation $5. 9:30-11am.

July 27 Family Forest Fun: Nature Walk, Fairy Houses and Toad Homes Gather natural forest materials and build fairy houses and toad homes in our school forest. Suggested donation $5. 9:30-11am. For all ages. You can even wear your wings and learn to croak like a frog!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: What is an apron?

by Debbie Walker

‘What is an apron?’ may sound like a foolish question to some but I assure you there are people who do not know what it is or its purpose. I admit that I did not realize how many styles there were and their purpose. I am again sharing with you.

The apron most of us older folks probably think of is our grandmother’s. However, I am not sure we all appreciated the many jobs it assisted grandmother with. The original purpose was to protect the dress underneath. It was cheaper to make than new dresses, easier to wash. There were times they even used it as a potholder. It helped grandmother to dry a child’s tears and maybe even wipe a nose or two (sorry if you have a weak stomach).

Those aprons were known to carry eggs from the coop possibly even a baby chick or two to warm up in the kitchen. Did you ever hide behind her apron because you were shy with strangers? An apron was used to wipe a brow or at times to warm grandmother’s arms.

Today, can you imagine the germ freaks testing to see how many were on your favorite grandmother’s apron?

There are aprons for many different uses, more than I ever imagined. Waist aprons that cover the body from the waist down and bib aprons that cover the entire front. You find aprons to cover a list of problems and then mostly today you will find the comical ones used for things like barbecuing or home bartending.

The Pinafore is an apron used by girls and women as a decorative garment or as a protective apron, protective applies to most. Have you ever heard of a Tabard? It’s an apron that covers both front and back of body used for bakeries, hospitals, and large retail stores.

I had never heard of the Tabard nor had I ever heard of the Bungalow apron. It looks to me like it was a cross between a house coat (robe) and the house dresses of that time. Today, I believe the Bungalow is called a Lounger.

There are others that are like the ones we have discussed (special occasion, job related, etc.) but they may have been made of leather. The cobblers apron comes to mind.

In the 1650s the apron became part of the law. Women and girls were to dress properly; think of the Puritans. I believe their black dresses and the long white apron was considered proper.

You can find this and more information on the History of Aprons on the internet. It has been an interesting read to me.

The Wandering Nanas are still wandering at this writing. Tonight, we will be going to see the city of Pittsburgh and the night lights around the PNC Park. This has been an amazing trip. Exciting and relaxing at the same time. We will be heading back to Florida this week. Once we are back, I’ll write Chapter 2 of The Wandering Nanas. Nana Dee has been dreaming up other possible trips for us so we may have additional chapters to come.

I really would like to hear from you and your apron memories. Contact me at Hope you have enjoyed the read. Don’t forget we are on line as well. Thank you for reading!

GARDEN WORKS: It’s planting time! Helpful hints to get your garden growing

photo by Emily Cates

Emily Catesby Emily Cates

Finally, after what seems like forever, the soil in the garden is ready to plant what we’ve all been waiting for: tasty tomatoes, sumptuous squashes, wonderful melons, among many more. After a tough winter and tardy spring, we’re going to make up for lost time. To get things growing, we have a few tricks up our sleeve. This time we’ll look at planting strategies and growth promoters.

This year’s planting season is definitely behind schedule by a couple weeks or so. But don’t despair, it should all catch up just fine with the right care. Early plantings, unless covered somehow with a hoop house or cold frame, won’t grow much faster than if they were planted when the soil warms up. So no worries for slacking this time.

However, I would certainly recommend planting long season, commonly direct-seeded veggies like corn, squash, beans, melons, pumpkins, and gourds right away. We definitely want them to have enough time to mature before our first frost in the fall. Tomato, pepper, eggplant, and others that are planted as seedlings will also appreciate being set out ASAP.

Cool-weather crops that are direct-seeded like peas and spinach have probably missed the boat as far as spring sowing goes, but will be happy to get a second chance to be planted in about a month for a fall harvest. Lettuce and salad greens like to chill in the shady part of the garden when summertime sizzles.

Black plastic mulch speeds up the growth of heat-loving plants and keeps weeds at bay. Also, floating row covers provide an added layer of warmth and protect plants from pests, providing the cover is removed when needed during pollination.

Most important is a nice, rich, healthy soil with adequate nutrients for the plants to grow fast enough to catch up. Liquid fish and seaweed fertilizers can be applied as directed. Compost and aged manure are great mixed into the garden or top-dressed as needed. I’ve read a ratio of 1:10 organic matter to soil, but heck, that seems minimal to me and I just load it on with fine results. Squash especially grows like crazy when planted in a manure pile, and that’s just what I want. Now if the weeds weren’t as enthused.

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Make Health A Family Reunion Affair: Talk With Your Family About Kidney Health

(NAPSI)—Family reunions are a great way to reconnect with loved ones, celebrate your family’s heritage and make new memories. Family reunions are also an opportunity to talk about family health history.

You may have family members who have diabetes, high blood pressure or both. These are conditions that often run in families and are risk factors for kidney disease. Kidney disease affects African Americans more than other groups. That’s why it’s important to talk to your family about risk factors for kidney disease, how to get tested and how kidney disease can be treated.

Kidney disease is a serious and common health problem, affecting an estimated 30 million adults in the United States. Kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should. Kidney disease can often get worse over time and may lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain your health. The sooner you know about your family history of kidney disease, the sooner you can make changes to help protect your kidneys.

To get you started talking with your family about kidney health, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a part of the National Institutes of Health, created the Family Reunion Health Guide. This guide offers basic information about kidney disease and suggests approaches you can take to connect with your family about kidney health. You can use this guide to help make kidney health a family reunion affair. Information in the guide includes materials and tips to help you:

Talk With Your Family About the Risk Factors for Kidney Disease

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney disease. You are also at risk if you have a family history of kidney failure or have heart disease. The Family Reunion Health Guide can help you talk with your family about kidney disease and its connection to diabetes, high blood pressure and other risk factors.

Encourage Family Members at Risk for Kidney Disease to Get Tested

Many people with kidney disease don’t know they have the disease until their kidneys begin to fail. This is because you can have kidney disease without any symptoms. The good news is that when kidney disease is found early, there are ways to protect your kidneys by managing your blood pressure, eating a healthy diet and being active. There is no cure for kidney failure, but dialysis or a kidney transplant can help you live longer and feel better. The sooner you find out you have kidney disease, the sooner you can take steps to prevent more serious health problems. This is why it’s important to talk with your family about the need to get tested.

Make a Family Commitment to Kidney Health

You can reduce your risk for developing kidney disease by taking steps to live a healthy lifestyle. Diagnosing and treating the disease early can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease. The Family Reunion Health Guide shares ideas for how you can encourage family members to take steps to protect their kidney health. By being your family’s kidney health champion, you can help ensure that your family enjoys many more reunions to come.

Learn More

For more information about kidney disease, kidney failure, diabetes, high blood pressure and more, or to access the Family Reunion Health Guide, visit the NIDDK website at

UMaine students explore the future by visiting China transfer station

On May 21, students from the University of Maine came to interview China Transfer Station Supervisor Tim Grotton, (seated) Selectman and Transfer Station Recycling Coordinator Irene Belanger (with a suitcase from the Swap Shop) and Transfer Station Assistant Keith Rhoades, right. Assistant Professors Cindy Isenhour, front left, and Andrew Crawley, front right, lead the class through the interview process as a method of doing research. (Contributed photo)

by Sandra Isaac

It was a breezy Tuesday on May 21, as China Transfer Station Manager Tim Grotton waited in the Swap Shop for a group of students from the University of Maine to stop in for an interview. The students are learning how to properly conduct interviews as methods of collecting data for research. Their class, Digital Eth­nography Field School’s Exploring and Documenting Maine’s Cul­ture of Reuse, is part of the Re­source­fulME project headed up by Cynthia Isenhour, assistant professor with the Department of Anthropology and the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine and Andrew Crawley, assistant professor. According to their website, “ResourcefulME is a three year research project designed to explore the social, environmental and economic value of Maine’s vibrant reuse economy.“

The China Transfer Station originally started putting aside items that still had a second life after coming to the dump for disposal. As the collection grew, the transfer station had to construct a separate building to house all of the repurposed valuables. “The Swap Shop” has become very popular. China residents drop off anything that can be reused and “shoppers” give these items a new life. “Some people will pull up to the swap shop as soon as they see items being dropped off,” said Irene Belanger, selectman from China and Recycling Coordinator for the Transfer Station.

The students were on a day tour of resources in our local area. Prior to coming to the Transfer Station, they visited the Department of Environmental Protection and Uncle Henry’s to conduct interviews about how these entities are helping to impact the reuse culture in our Maine communities.

The students came prepared with their lists of questions, photography releases, and tape recorders. Students Cameron and Carrie spearheaded the interview with Tim Grotton, Irene Belanger, and Transfer Station Assistant Keith Rhoades. When asked, “Have you ever seen items returned?” Rhoades stated, “I once saw a buzz saw taken and returned over three times.” Belanger commented on the resale value of some items, while Grotton spoke of the wide variety of things that come in. The class held the interview in the actual Swap Shop building. While there, patrons came into the building to shop the entire time, not deterred by the size of the crowd in the structure.

The students were able to learn a lot during the interview. For example, not only is this operation an enjoyable pastime for the China residences, it is also saving thousands of dollars in items not having to be processed with the rest of the rubbish at the station. Recently, Ashley Farmington, of the China Transfer Station helped write and apply for a grant to help track the beneficial qualities of the swap shop. If approved, the results of the studies can assist other area transfer stations to set up their own swap shops, saving even more debris from landfills. Grotton agreed to share any data collected with ResourcefulME and the students.

The Swap Shop is effectively a Maine community doing what they do best – helping each other, the environment and the economy. After all, one man’s junk truly is another man’s treasure. Not only are we all benefiting from that concept, but now students are learning from it, too.