SCORES & OUTDOORS: Was it an emerald ash borer, or a 6-spotted green tiger beetle?

Left, an emerald ash borer; right, six-spotted green tiger beetle

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Of all the animal species on earth, approximately 40 percent of them are beetles. Many of them look alike. That is probably why a friend of mine related to me that he had seen an emerald ash borer in Vassalboro and killed it, because, as a fairly knowledgeable woodsman, he knew how destructive they can be to the forest.

According to Allison Kanoti, state entomologist with the Maine Forest Service, Forest and Health Monitoring, and entomologist Colleen Teerling, there are no known emerald ash borers (EAB) in central Maine.

They do exist in Maine, but have been isolated to northern Aroostook County and western York County towns. I guess the logical question is, how can this invasive beetle be found in northern and southern Maine, but nowhere in between.

Anyway, they are being contained in those two counties because the transportation of untreated firewood into Maine from other states and provinces of Canada have been prohibited, as is movement of untreated firewood out of those quarantined areas. Firewood provides a free ride to a staggering host of insect and disease-carrying organisms that pose a threat to our forests. That is why it is encouraged for people to use local firewood.

So, what did my friend see?

Apparently it is a very common insect in our area called the six-spotted tiger beetle, also known as the six-spotted green tiger beetle, Cinindela sexguttata, which is common in North America.

They are commonly found in deciduous forests from Minnesota, east to Rhode Island, and north to Ontario. They are also found as far south as Kentucky.

They are easily recognizable, if you know what you’re looking for, by their large, white, overlapping mandibles and six yellowish spots on their bodies. They are also a brilliant green, which resembles to EAB. However, don’t let the spots fool you. Some of the species will have more spots, fewer spots or none at all, again possibly leading to a misidentification.

The mandibles give this insect a menacing appearance, but they are only predators of small anthropods. They do not bite humans unless handled or feel threatened.

This species is associated with wooded areas and they are often found in sunlit patches clear of undergrowth such as dirt paths and fallen logs where they hunt caterpillars, ants, spiders and many other kinds of anthropods. Although they are not gregarious, many beetles may sometimes be seen in one suitable hunting area.

The letter D-shaped holes in a tree produced by the emerald ash borer.

Like as many as 147 types of tiger beetles in the United States, this species has a two-year life cycle. During this time it goes through a complete metamorphosis. This means they have four separate stages during their lifetime. The first is the egg stage. The female lays eggs in individual holes in the ground during June or early July. The egg hatches and the second stage, known as the larval stage, begins. The larva resembles a caterpillar, but with two unique characteristics. The first is the two sickle-shaped jaws protruding from its abnormally large head, which it uses to catch prey. The other is a hooked hump on its back, which prevents it from being pulled out of the ground. The entirety of the larval stage happens underground. It then reaches the third stage, the pupa a year later. The pupa begins to make its way out of the ground by digging toward the surface diagonally. The adult form of the beetle emerges within a month. The beetle is sexually mature in the spring, mates, and dies during the summer months.

The tiger beetle, not more than a half inch long, is a ferocious predator in the insect world. It is carnivorous throughout the span of its life. The six-spotted green tiger beetle is an active creature with the ability to run and fly at great speeds; this is not the case for most beetles.

Now, getting back to the emerald ash borer. Should you find holes in trees in the shape of the letter D, please contact the Maine Forest Service, so an entomologist can be dispatched to investigate and possibly confirm or discount the existence of the insect in our area.

Hopefully, for the sake of our forest, you never come across one.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

To be politically correct, which NFL team would you be describing in the following manner:

A – Six royal male rulers; B – Juvenile bovines; C – Crimson Epidermis; D – Military insects?

Answer can be found here.

Roland’s Trivia Question for Thursday, August 1, 2019

To be politically correct, which NFL team would you be describing in the following manner:

A – Six royal male rulers; B – Juvenile bovines; C – Crimson Epidermis; D – Military insects?


A. Vikings; B. Cowboys; C. Redskins; D. Giants.

Obituaries for Thursday, August 1, 2019


OAKLAND – Albert Wayne Chaffee, 81, of Oakland, passed away on Friday, July 5, 2019, at Northern Light Inland Hospital, in Waterville. Wayne was born in Maybrook, New York, on August 4, 1937. He was the son of the late Albert Cyril Chaffee and Mildred (King) Chaffee.

Wayne married Shirley on May 4, 1956. Wayne and Shirley met at Whitehall High School, in New York. They were “Boy and Girl of the Month” during their senior year and walked down the graduation aisle together in 1955.

After graduating from the University of Vermont in 1959, Wayne worked for his father at Chaffee Lumber Company until moving to Oakland in 1960.

He was the mill manager for the Androscoggin Corporation, in Oakland, until he and Shirley founded A.W. Chaffee, Wood Fiber Brokerage, and then A&S (Albert & Shirley) Inc. Trucking Company. Their orange and white trucks were a fixture throughout New England and Atlantic Canada for more than 40 years.

Wayne and Shirley sold their business in 2016. Their employees became more like family over the years. Many were with Wayne just prior to his passing.

Throughout his business career, Wayne was a member of numerous professional and civic organizations including the American Pulp and Paper Association, the Maine Motor Transport Association and the National Rifle Association.

He was also a life member of the Freemasons Phoenix Lodge #96, in Whitehall, New York.

Wayne and Shirley shared many wonderful years together. When their children were young, they enjoyed camping at Popham Beach and snowmobiling. They were also fond of vacationing on Key West, Florida, and, in later years, Siesta Key, Florida. Wayne enjoyed duck hunting with his son Tim and friends. He loved the home he shared with Shirley on Messalonskee Lake where they celebrated many happy holidays and gathered with family and friends.

Wayne was the devoted husband of 63 years to Shirley (Noonan) Chaffee. He is survived by his son, Albert Timothy Chaffee, of Clinton and his wife, Joan, and daughter, Amy Chaffee Pekock, of Andover, Massachusetts, and her husband, Steven. He was “Papa” to two grandsons, Lincoln and Channing. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Heman Stannard, brother-in-law, Jack Noonan and wife, Angela, sister-in-law, Sylvia Noonan and Beverly Greene, as well as his much-loved nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was also predeceased by his sister, Patricia Stannard, father-in-law, Guy Noonan, mother-in-law, Elza Fenton and two infant children.

A Celebration of life will take place at the Waterville Country Club, 39 Country Club Road, Oakland, Maine, on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 11 a.m.

Arrangements are under the direction and care of Gallant Funeral Home, 10 Elm Street, Waterville, Maine. An online guestbook can be signed, condolences and memories shared at

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Wayne’s memory to Northern Light Inland Foundation, 200 Kennedy Memorial Dr., Waterville, ME 04901.


FAIRFIELD – Jacqueline “Jackie” Theresa Noel, 85, passed away on Thursday, July 18, 2019, at Lakewood Continuting Care Center, in Waterville. She had been a resident for the last week. She was born in Waterville on February 8, 1934, the daughter of the late Clifford and Madeline (Champine) Noel.

Jackie attended Immaculate Heart of Mary School and Lawrence High School, both in Fairfield.

She moved to Kentucky in her early 20s and resided there for over 40 years. Living in Kentucky was quite an adventure with many interesting places to see including the Kentucky Derby, the Grand Ole Opry, Elvis’s Graceland, the Smokey Mountains and more. Her sister Sandra, her husband, Nathan, and their two daughters, Rhonda and Mindy would visit very often and travelled to all these places plus many more. A fun time for all.

Jackie lived next to her brother Roger and his wife, Helen, in Campbellsville, Kentucky, for many years.

She was employed in several factories over the years. Jackie worked for Enroe’s Shirt factory, Brown & Williamson Cigarette Factory, and Fruit of the Loom. Upon her retirement she moved back to Maine to be around her family.

Jackie enjoyed making crafts, puzzles, and playing cards with the girls until her eyesight failed her. Holidays and family gatherings were spent with her sister Sandra and “the family”. She loved music and dancing and plenty of that was done when they got together.

She was predeceased by her parents; her two brothers, Donald and Roger; and her nephew, Steven K. Martin.

Jackie is survived by her sister, Sandra Martin and her husband, Nathan, of Fairfield, and their two daughters, Rhonda Forsythe and her husband, Jeff, of Falmouth, and their three daughters, Brianna Brockway, of Winslow, Meagan Schmiemann, and Faith Forsythe, both of Boston, Massachusetts, and Melinda Layne and her three sons, Garrett, Nicholas, and Matthew Shibley of Houston, Texas; her nieces, Velvet Noel and her daughter, Ashley both, of Waterville, and Christal Cook and her husband Rick, of Waterville, and her son, Christopher.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at

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


WINSLOW – Robert “Larry” Carrier, 90, of Winslow passed away on Sunday, July 21, 2019, at the Oak Grove Nursing Care Facility, in Waterville, following an extended period of declining health. He was born on June 25, 1929, in Waterville, a son of Edmond J. and Florence Giroux Carrier.

He graduated from Waterville High School in 1947. Upon graduation he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict, serving four years plus a dozen years thereafter with the U.S. Navy Reserves. He was honorably discharged.

After his enlisted period he returned home to work briefly at Hollingsworth & Whitney, in Winslow, (later became Scott Paper Co.), followed by a long career with the Maine State Liquor Commission until his retirement in 1990. He married the former Pauline T. Quirion, of Winslow, on May 5, 1956.

Larry and Pauline loved taking trips along the Maine coast feasting on seafood. They also made annual excursions into Canada. Larry was very proud of his garden as he and Pauline would freeze and can vegetables each summer. They spent many summers at their camp which he built on Pattee Pond, in Winslow. Their love of animals was exhibited by the many dogs they cared for over the years. Larry loved watching war movies and westerns, the New York football Giants, the Boston Bruins and UMaine hockey. He spent a great deal of time with his three grandchildren and enjoyed following their athletic pursuits on soccer and softball fields and on basketball courts. He was a member of the Corpus Christi Parish, in Waterville/Winslow, and a lifetime member of the American Legion.

Larry is survived by his wife, Pauline; a son, Bruce and his wife Rachael; three grandchildren, Tristan and his wife Megan, Colby and his wife Danielle, and Chelsea and her fiancé James; four great- grandchildren, Parker, Everly, Maxwell and Oliver.

He was predeceased by his parents; and his brother Ed Carrier and sister-in-law V. Jane Carrier.

At his request there will be no visiting hours or funeral. There will be a private committal/prayer service for his immediate family.

Arrangements are under the direction of Veilleux Funeral Home. Please visit to share condolences or memories with Larry’s family.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his honor should be made to: Corpus Christi Parish, 70 Pleasant St., Waterville, ME 04901.


WINSLOW – Donald P. Breton, 88, of Winslow, died on Sunday July 21, 2019. He was born on May 16, 1931, in Waterville, a son of Grace (Mailloux) and Louis Breton.

He graduated from Waterville High School and enlisted in the US Navy.

He married Jeannine Lapointe and together they would have four children.

Don was a certified master mechanic who enjoyed a well-deserved reputation and was sought out by many from miles around. He owned Breton’s Garage, on Kennebec St., in Waterville, then Breton’s SuperShell, in Winslow before working in the Winslow Public Works Department as both the head mechanic and performing any other job the town needed. He would readily help people whose cars had broken down and found themselves stranded. He was an active and dedicated member of the Knights of Columbus, the Elks, VFW and American Legion. He lived to serve his family, his friends, his church and his community.

He enjoyed roller-skating well into his 70s, maintained a large vegetable garden and donated 105 pints of blood over his lifetime. He was also a member of the Saturday morning French Club that would meet at Jorgenson’s Café. He also enjoyed fishing, swimming and puttering around in the garage and his big yard.

Don will be remembered for his compassion, determination, his playful spirit and good sense of humor. He readily welcomed and loved the spouses of his children. He was proud of his family.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jeannine Breton; his son John Breton and his wife Peg, his daughter Nancy Wood, his son Joey Breton and his wife Heather; his grandchildren, Melissa, Samantha, Johnny, Henrik, Daphne; his great-grandchildren, Benjamin and Shawn; his brother Roland Breton and his wife Jeanette, his sister Gloria Luebberman and her husband Tom, his brother Jerome Breton and his wife Toni; his son-in-law Rick Vigue; as well as a large extended family.

Don was predeceased by his daughter Laurie Vigue.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday, August 12, 2019, at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church, 26 Monument St., Winslow followed by burial at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, 78 Grove St., Waterville.

Please visit to share condolences, memories and tributes with his family.

For those who wish, donations may be made in Don’s memory to: American Red Cross, 475 Pleasant St., Lewiston, ME 04240.


NORTH VASSALBORO – Rita A. Roux, 90, passed away Monday, July 22, 2019,. She was born March 10, 1929, in Greenville, the daughter of Joseph and Odella (Daigle) Perry.

She was educated in the schools of Greenville and graduated from Greenville High School in 1946. On July 12, 1947, she married Robert J. Roux at the Holy Family Catholic Church, in Greenville. She was employed from 1946 to 1991 as an inspector for C.F. Hathaway Shirt Factory, in Waterville. Rita was a member of St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, in North Vassalboro, and the C.F. Hathaway bowling team and enjoyed playing cards with family, bingo, and she loved to fish.

Rita is survived by her husband of 72 years, Robert J. Roux, of North Vassalboro; two daughters, Robin L Reagan, of Lisbon, Rhonda L. Weston and husband Dennis, of Vassalboro; son, Randall R. Roux and wife Irene, of Farmingdale; brother, Lorenzo “Joe” Perry, of Tilton, New Hamsphire; sister, Frances Davis and husband Keith, of Dover; grandchildren, Casey Reagan and Katie Reagan, both of Lewiston, Jeffrey Roux, of Lavergne, Tennessee, Matthew Roux and wife Ruth, of Cape Coral, Florida, Justin Roux, of Portland, Timothy S. Dibenedetti and wife Tracey, of Augusta, Sarah Rosciti and husband Henry, of North Scituate, Rhode Island, Ryan Pleau and partner Tiana Ireland, Joseph Weston and partner Samantha Mason; eight great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by two sisters, Winifred Sawyer and Carmel Smith.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, August 3, 2019 from 1 – 4 p.m., at the American Legion, in Fairfield.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Rita’s memory to the Humane Society Waterville Area, 100 Webb Road, Waterville, ME 04901, or Hospice Volunteers of Waterville, or to the Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area, 304 Main Street, Waterville, Maine 04901

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


VASSALBORO – James Watson Gray, 98, of North Vassalboro, passed away on Monday, July 22, 2019. He was born in Wesley on May 1, 1921, the son of Roger A. Gray and Minerva (Sharman) Gray.

James attended grammar schools in Wesley and Northfield. He graduated from Washington Academy, in East Machias, in 1939, and Washington State Normal School, in Machias, in 1942. He served in the U.S. Army 4th Armored Division under General Patton from 1942 to 1945. After his military service, James attended the University of Maine at Orono, graduating in 1947 with a bachelor of science degree in education, returning later to earn a master of arts degree in education in 1953. He was a teaching principal in Lamoine and for over 30 years taught mathematics at Waterville High School, retiring in 1983. James married Janet Marilyn Fennelly in 1948.

He had a lifelong love of hunting, the outdoors, and wildlife. For many years he raised a wide variety of game birds as a hobby. He was a member of Ronco-Goodale Post #126 of the American Legion, and also a member of Negumkeag Lodge, No. 166, F. & A. M. (Free and Accepted Masons).

He was predeceased by his former wife in 1991; his son Robert and his wife Lucille, his son Lawrence and his wife Donna; his brother Allen Gray and his wife Prudence Bartley Gray, his brother L. Austin Gray, his sister Agnes Diffin and her husband Darrell Diffin, his sister Maxine Robbins and her husband Gerald Robbins; and special family friend Frances Richards.

James is survived by several nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, August 10, at 1 p.m., at the East Vassalboro Methodist Cemetery, Bog Road, East Vassalboro, followed by a memorial service and reception beginning at 2 p.m. at the Vassalboro United Methodist Church, 614 Main St., Vassalboro.

Arrangements are under the care of Veilleux Funeral Home, 8 Elm St., Waterville, ME.

In lieu of flowers, friends may make donations in James’ memory to:Wildlife Care Center, 1787 N. Belfast Ave. Vassalboro, ME 04989.


VASSALBORO – Alexander Charles Hartman-Nutting, 30, passed away on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. He was born on February 28, 1989.

His friends and family knew him as a thoughtful, soft-spoken, brilliant, and talented young man. His calling for photography produced over a million indelible images including one entitled First Day, First Light, which decorated the Governor of Maine’s office in Augusta. Another, Dancing Bear, brought him worldwide recognition.

In spite of being inseparable from his camera equipment, computer, and cell phone, Alec loved nature. He often painstakingly took hours and days arranging to capture a perfect image like Afternoon Tea, a chipmunk sipping tea from a china teacup with cake and silverware at the ready, and First Day, First Light, a magical image taken after driving all night to the eastern edge of the U.S., in Lubec, at the dawn of a new year. Other pictures required a quick eye and shutter to capture. Lynx Triplets caught three lynx cubs posing perfectly together on a fallen tree at Mosquito Lake, Alaska. Dancing Bear is a near-impossible shot of a grizzly bear cub as he stood up on one toe for a better look at the photographer. Jetstream captures sky-filling blood red clouds raked down the middle like a scar. His logo – the picture that started it all – is Ewe Portrait, with a sheep’s eye so intricate you could feel her looking back.

For Alec, Heaven was a quiet and calm journey deep out of doors until he unwound at the perfect spot. Then and there, flora and fauna recognized his peaceful presence and showed him how astonishingly beautiful they really are.

Alec gave all dogs and most people a chance. He loved his family and friends and would go above and beyond to see to their well-being. We loved him and still do. He enjoyed music with an edge, bands that reflected his darkly introspective side, and a great deal of volume. His band photography is nothing short of brilliant. Alec felt as at home in a sea of sweaty screaming fans as he did in nature. Music and those who made it energized him as if they shared a language. To him, it was life affirming.

Alec is survived by his parents, Peter West Nutting, of China, and Charlie Hartman, of Vassalboro; his cousin, Sam Hartman, of Manasquan, New Jersey; and a number of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A memorial service for Alec will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 24 at the Winslow Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, at 12 Lithgow Street in Winslow.

The images referenced above can be seen at

Donations in Alec’s name can be made to one of the places he loved the most, Mohonk Preserve, online at

CHINA: Nomination papers available

China Town Clerk Becky Hapgood announced that nomination papers for local elective offices are available. Signed papers are due at the town office by closing time Sept. 6 for names to appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.

People whose terms end this year are Selectmen Irene Belanger and Robert MacFarland; Planning Board members Kevin Michaud (District One) and Ralph Howe (District Three, appointed in June to fill out an unexpired term); Budget Committee members Robert Batteese (chairman), Kevin Maroon (District One) and Wayne Chadwick (District Three). The Planning Board alternate at-large seat, currently vacant, is also due to be filled this year.

Meet China author Gerry Boyle at Winslow Library

Gerry Boyle

Meet mystery writer Gerry Boyle on Thursday August 8, at 6 p.m., at Winslow Public Library where he will discuss his popular Jack McMorrow mystery series. Boyle is the author of 15 mystery novels, including the dozen installments in the Jack McMorrow series. A former newspaper reporter and columnist, Boyle draws on his journalist experience as McMorrow leads him down the backroads of Maine. Faded crossroads, small towns, gritty cities—Boyle knows the darkest reaches of his home state. McMorrow novels have garnered critical acclaim and have been translated into a half-dozen languages. The newest book in the series, Random Act, was published in June.

Boyle is also the author of the Brandon Blake series, the third of which, Port City Crossfire, was recently published. He lives in China.

A book sale and signing will accompany the talk.

China TIF committe members discuss future plans

by Mary Grow

China’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Committee members discussed future plans, including the second phase of the causeway project, at their July 29 meeting, despite the absence of all three construction subcommittee members who have been most involved in the work at the head of China Lake’s east basin.

Town Manager Dennis Heath said Phase I, which focused on replacing a large culvert with a bridge, is all done but the final paperwork. Phase II will involve replacing the current bulky guardrails with more attractive and less obtrusive ones; repairing the boat landing east of the bridge and providing more parking; creating a walkway and water access along the shoreline between boat landing and bridge; and installing lighting.

Engineer Mark McCluskey of A. E. Hodsdon brought preliminary plans for Phase II. An early step, he said, is getting a Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

His tentative timetable, which he said might slip, calls for a preliminary design to be presented to the committee in August, a final design approved by the committee and a final DEP permit application by December, bidding out the work in the spring of 2020 and construction next summer.

The current guardrails have been criticized as “ugly,” “overkill” and unsafe rather than safe because they are so awkward to get over. McCluskey said the boulders that lined the edge of the lake for years were apparently adequate, but now that supposedly safer rails have replaced them, town officials need to be careful not to back off too much.

McCluskey’s preliminary plan shows 14 parking spaces for boaters, the largest 50 feet long. Despite earlier reports that state officials would no longer support the boat landing due to limited parking, Heath expects state funds and materials to help with repairs. McCluskey’s plan does not envision enlarging the landing.

Two other uses for TIF funds discussed July 29 were the revolving loan fund (RLF) and the list of other projects currently funded.

Amy Gartley, RLF coordinator, said information is on the town website under the TIF Committee. Now that application forms have final approval, she and Heath plan to put information and applications in a more conspicuous place on the website.

TIF money has been helping organizations like the China Lake Association, China Region Lakes Alliance and Four Seasons Club. Committee members decided their Aug. 26 meeting will be a workshop session at which any group seeking TIF funds from the 2020 town business meeting should present its request.

Heath would like to have a list of requests submitted to selectmen by October for consideration in November.

Under state rules, TIF money is to be directed toward economic development projects, including recreation, and spent in designated TIF districts in the town. Income is from taxes paid by Central Maine Power Company on its north-south power line through China and its South China substation.

China’s comprehensive planning committee to consider revising land use ordinance

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members have a request from the Comprehensive Planning Committee to consider revising China’s land use ordinance to clarify requirements for a commercial use permit. They started discussion at their July 23 meeting, but came nowhere near a decision, partly because the issues are complicated and partly because only three of the five members were present.

Three main issues were presented, the ordinance sections that require an applicant to show that:

  • “The proposed use will not have a significant detrimental effect on the use and peaceful enjoyment of abutting property as a result of noise, vibrations, fumes, odor, dust, glare or other cause;
  • “Adequate provision has been made to handle storm water runoff or other drainage problems on the site;
  • “The proposed water supply will meet the demands of the proposed use or for fire protection purposes.”

The Comprehensive Planning Committee would like ways to measure compliance – for example, when do noise and the other things listed interfere with neighbors’ enjoyment, what runoff control provisions are adequate and how much water is needed for fire protection?

Board members and Codes Officer Bill Butler agreed on the second issue: state and town site protection regulations adequately control run-off.

They also agreed that determining detrimental effects is complicated, with the possible exception of controlling lighting by requiring downward-facing shielded bulbs.

Butler talked about ways to measure individual volunteers’ sensitivity to odors and send out teams to evaluate odor complaints. There are a variety of noise standards, state and local, he said, but to use them the applicant – or some other person or entity – would first need to do a study to establish the background noise level.

Butler and board members said there are many exemptions to standards in state laws and regulations, especially for farming and construction.

Some of the questions about fire protection and water supply should be referred to the state fire marshal, Butler said. He pointed out that “the demands of the proposed use” could be highly variable, giving as an example a water bottling operation like Poland Spring’s.

Development can affect supply, he added. He cited an area where the groundwater level was measured before a proposed subdivision. When trees were cut, the level dropped; when roofs and driveways created impervious surfaces, groundwater rose to a level higher than before the subdivision.

Further discussion was postponed to the board’s Aug. 6 meeting. Butler said the board hopes to have recommended changes on the Nov. 5 local ballot.

There was no action on the pending application for a medical marijuana facility on Route 3 in South China (see The Town Line, July 18). Butler said Clifford Glinko would probably present a revised application in September.

Board member Ralph Howe reported on his independent research on one of the questions raised about Glinko’s application, applicability of regulations separating marijuana facilities from schools. He said a Department of Education staffer told him Grace Academy across Route 3 is a school. The required 500-foot separation is between property lines, not between buildings, he said.

Delightful “All Things Blueberry” festival promises loads of family fun!

One of central Maine’s most beloved and popular summer events—the annual Blueberry Festival—will dish up its delectable, all-things-blueberry goodness and fun on Saturday, August 10, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Winslow Congregational Church, 12 Lithgow Street, Winslow. Admission to the festival grounds is free.

This year’s Blueberry Festival will kick off with a mouth-watering, all-you-can-eat blueberry pancake breakfast, from 7 to 10 a.m. Festival patrons also will enjoy arts and crafts booths, a lobster shore dinner raffle, a massive yard sale, a silent auction, a blueberry bake shop, a blueberry café, live music from David Deas & Friends, an organ recital, local vendors, an agricultural exhibit featuring goats, a firetruck and police car, and fun-filled kids’ activities. Rounding out the “Yummy Factor” will be a record 425 blueberry pies for sale!

A beloved community favorite since 1972, the Blueberry Festival raises funds to empower the local humanitarian/Christian-service work of Winslow Congregational Church. Celebrating its 191st birthday this year, the historic church is housed in a building dating from 1796, which has been home to a worshipping congregation since 1828.

Everyone seeking a wonderful opportunity to gather and enjoy a treasure trove of “all things blueberry” is cordially invited to attend this year’s Blueberry Festival. For more information, please visit

Work in progress at China school

The new additions will cost between $1.5-1.6 million and will include new locker rooms, a redone stage and music class area, and other improvements. (photo by Roland Hallee)

Construction has begun on the China Middle School addition. The work is being performed by Blane Casey, of Augusta, and although they have come across some structural issues it is expected the work will still come in within the budget that was planned, according to Carl Gartley, Superintendent of Schools for RSU #18. A few changes have been added to enhance the project that has increased some of the cost, but still within budget. The total cost of the expansion and renovations will be between $1.5 and $1.6 million. The project will include adding locker rooms, redoing the stage and music class area, adding practice rooms for music classes, adding storage for cafeteria tables, redoing the gym floor, redoing the HVAC system, repairing the roof and other fire code improvements to meet compliance of new laws.

At Full Fork Farm, it’s full circle farming, regenerating the land

Anson Biller, owner and operator of Full Fork Farm, and his trusted companion. (photo by Sandy Isaac)

by Sandy Isaac

U-pick strawberry season is well underway at Full Fork Farm. “It’s probably my favorite part of farming,” said Anson Biller, owner and operator of Full Fork Farm. “Human interaction and watching families have fun as they pick the strawberries is one of the highlights of the growing season.”

Full Fork Farm is a six-acre property located 1.5 miles from the northeast corner of China Lake and has been in operation for four years. Although smaller in size, Full Fork Farm is a great example of how farming and Biller have evolved.

After studying Alternative Education in college, Biller found himself in New York City teaching at a peace and conflict resolution after-school program. One of the skills he taught was how to grow vegetables in a city environment.

Looking for something more, Biller did a job search specifically for the east coast. However, when an opportunity showed up (twice) growing food on a larger scale at a Buddhist retreat center in California, he took it as a sign from the universe and headed west. He worked at the center for two and a half years, but despite enjoying the experience, he wanted to be back in the northeast.

“Maine has a profound sense of community unlike any other place that I have lived. Not Massachusetts, New York nor California. Neighbors support neighbors.” For example, Biller has a new, elongated greenhouse structure on the farm he calls “the tunnel.”

“The tunnel took a few months to put together. The pad had to be leveled, then I hit ledge. I had to rent a pneumatic drill, and the project had to be completed by Spring.” Then help stepped in. “I had a lot of friends and local farmers pitch in. One came with a crew of kids and helped put the plastic (covering) on in one day. We were lucky not to have any wind.”

Shortly after coming back to Maine, Biller joined Maine Organic Farmer Growers Association’s journey-persons program. This two-year program pairs new farmers with more experienced ones, similar to an apprenticeship. MOFGA enables farmers to have a good networking system they call on for advice or help. “Maine is a large state, but all the farmers are very reachable,” said Biller. “Facebook has also proven to be a good source for farmer groups.” These groups not only provide support, but also information on other farming opportunities.

In 2017, Biller wrote a grant as part of the Sustainable Agriculture Research (SAR) educational grant program. The proposal included utilizing spent brewers’ grain (the waste product from a brewery) and using it as nutrition for crops, creating more sustainable fruits and vegetables. Biller said he found the results “interesting” and his produce yield increased by over 25 percent. He writes extensively about it on his blog, found on the Full Fork Farm website. When asked about the grant process, Biller commented, “It was a lot of work, but the SAR program was very helpful. Oxbow Breweries (where Biller works part-time and where he received the byproduct used in his study) is very supportive of my work.”

The sign for Full Fork Farm on the Dutton Road in China. (photo by Sandy Isaac)

Biller says he hopes to write more grants in the future. He would like to extend his research to looking toward natural weed control or examining how carbon dioxide affects crop production. “We need to close the gaps and figure out ways that parts of the farms can interact and benefit from one another, or how different parts of the community of neighboring businesses can work together to be more productive and less wasteful.”

Biller’s philosophy is “Earth care. People care. Resource share.” He believes in “full circle farming,” meaning “seeking to emulate Earth’s natural cycles…and to foster community and regenerate the land in the process.”

One of the ways Biller is doing this is by “seed stewardship.” Seed stewardship is about saving the seeds from the best plants and using them for the next growing season. By doing so Biller hopes to encourage top self-pollinating vegetable varieties that grow best in Maine’s environment and eventually share those seeds with other farmers. Self-pollinating plants do not need the assistance of bees, other insects or the wind for pollination and fruit production. Some self-pollinating vegetables include tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and peas, all of which are being grown at Full Fork Farm. In addition, Biller is also growing cucumbers, kale, swiss chard, winter squash, salad greens and, of course, strawberries. These selections come from seed purchased locally from companies like Johnny Seeds in Winslow,.

“We also need to be conscious of weather patterns,” Biller said. “We had a very late and cold Spring. This put our growing season behind by about a month. Then there is the flooding out west. Is this the new norm?”

Cultivating native plants that are able to adapt to the local environment and yield the most fruit or vegetables are where farming is headed. This doesn’t have to involve genetic modification, just paying attention to the plants, tracking the results, saving the seeds from the best ones and repeating the process. Biller also hopes to extend the growing season by using the tunnel greenhouse and plans to introduce some winter squash to his produce line up. “Being able to produce healthy vegetables and offer them to people for longer periods of time…that would be ideal, especially for Maine.”

“Our growing season got off to a slow start with the cold, damp Spring, but we are now well underway,” said Biller. “One of the reasons we do U-pick is because there are too many strawberries for me to pick alone,” Biller joked. “The weeding also takes up a lot of time.” Biller hired a college student from Unity College that comes in part-time to help.

The U-pick strawberries are a favorite stop for many reasons. Last year, Biller purchased an ice cream machine that takes plain ice cream and mixes in the fresh strawberries that customers just picked. The result is “the best strawberry ice cream they ever had,” Biller said. “Having conversations, making the ice cream, and being part of this great family and friendly experience makes all the hard work worthwhile.”