The Huards Martial Arts annual Bootcamp Weekend was another success. Students of varying belt ranks, ages and abilities all gathered together to enjoy a fun-filled weekend at the Yogi Bear Campground, in Madison. Mark Huard, owner and instructor at Huard’s Martial Arts, in Winslow, is the director of the bootcamp. He states that he has an amazing amount of help from parent and student volunteers, which make it possible for the camp to run smoothly and efficiently. All of the students slept overnight on Saturday in either tents or cabins, and participated in activities such as jiu jitsu, sword training, nunchaku training and much much more.
I think it was Dr. Demento who used to say, “They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere!”
Well, they are. You could be sitting on the deck or porch at camp, and there’s one on your leg, or walking across your shoulders. Go do some garden work, and you’ll see them there. Deadhead flowers in your beds, yup, they’re there, too. Go fetch a couple of sticks out of the wood pile, Bingo! More of them. They are actually “everywhere” and can be a nuisance.
What am I talking about? Daddy Longlegs. It was Jim Stafford who sang, “I don’t like spiders and snakes,” and it usually applies to me. I think he had me in mind when he wrote the song. However, Daddy longlegs don’t bother me too much. They are tolerable, not like those other scary looking, eight-legged creatures.
But are Daddy longlegs truly spiders? Let’s take a closer look.
According to entomologists at the University of California, Riverside, the term “daddy longlegs” is commonly used to refer to two distinct types of creatures: opilionids arachnids with pill-shaped bodies and eight long legs are actually not spiders, and pholcids, which have long legs and small bodies, and thus resemble opilionids, but which are truly spiders.
What we refer to as daddy longlegs are actually called harvestmen. You see them almost every day. They are not spiders – although closely related – but belong to a group with many different species, called opiliones. The common name daddy longlegs came about because of their small oval body and long legs, and the name harvestmen because they are most often seen in large numbers in the late summer and early fall around harvest time.
While they have eight legs and an outward appearance of a spider, daddy longlegs lack two of the most important features that make a spider a spider: silk production and venom. Daddy longlegs do not have spinnerets that spiders have to produce silk and make webs. Spiders also produce venom they inject through fangs to quickly kill and digest prey. Daddy longlegs do not produce venom, nor do they have fangs.
So, how about the old legend, “daddy longlegs are one of the most poisonous spiders, but their fangs are too short and weak to bite humans?”
This tale has been lurking around for years. I have heard it repeatedly. This is incorrect, an urban myth. Most folks who retell this tale have no idea that they are referring to two completely separate groups of animals, daddy longlegs and daddy longlegs spiders.
Daddy longlegs spiders are venomous predators, and although they never naturally bite people, their fangs are similar in structure to those of brown recluse spiders, and therefore can theoretically penetrate skin. For these reasons, this is most probably the animal to which people refer when they tell the tale.
The daddy longlegs we see are the harvestmen – not spiders – and can actually be beneficial. They have a very broad diet that includes spiders and insects, and plant pests such as aphids. They will also feast on caterpillars, beetles, flies, mites, small slugs, snails, earthworms, other harvestmen, and decaying plant and animal matter. Daddy longlegs also scavenge for dead insects and will eat bird droppings. Control should only be performed when absolutely necessary. The clustering behavior only occurs during the fall and for only a brief period of time. If necessary, no need for pesticides, a broom or a vacuum will suffice.
Last weekend, I noticed a harvestman (daddy longleg) carrying a small moth across our deck at camp. I watched it for a while, and observed that it was struggling with the weight of the moth. Finally, the daddy longleg dropped the moth, ate its fill, and left. I kept going back from time to time to see the moth still laying on the deck. After a while, I don’t know whether it was the wind, or the harvestman returned, but the moth had disappeared.
Daddy longlegs legs easily break off. They have the ability to break off legs similar to the ability of lizards to break off a portion of their tail if being attacked by a predator. But it can have an adverse affect on them, especially if its the second set of legs.
The daddy longlegs’ second pair of legs serve as ears, nose, tongue and perhaps even as supplementary “eyes.” The legs are loaded with nerves and literally thousands of tiny sense organs that lie inside microscopic slits in the legs. They can produce a pungent odor that is distasteful to most predators.
Although they can be pests, they have a place in the ecosystem.
It’s going to be difficult, but you now should refer to those eight long-legged animals as daddy longleg harvestmen, and not spiders.
Roland’s trivia question of the week:
Mike Lodish was the first NFL player to play in six Super Bowls with the Bills (4) and Broncos (2). Who is the NFL player to appear in the most Super Bowls?
by Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979
Good morning, my friends. Don’t worry, be happy!
There won’t be any church service at the North Anson Congregational Church on Sunday, September 1.
The Annual Church Camping Trip, Worship Service, and Picnic Friday August 30 – September 2. Worship Service at 11 a.m., on Sunday, September 1, and potluck picnic to follow. Directions to Cathedral Pines, Eustis: From the Church parking lot turn right onto Rte. 16 west (towards Pinkham’s Market). Follow Rte. 16 west 8.3 miles to North New Portland, where there is a sharp left to continue on Rte. 16 west for 7.6 miles to Kingfield (cross the bridge). Turn right onto Rte. 27 north, continue on Rte. 27 north for 26.7 miles (going through Carrabassett Valley and Stratton) you will see Cathedral Pines Campground on your right (across from the main campground). Turn left onto Eustis Ridge Road, Go to Group site #2, the third driveway on the right. (There will be a sign so you will know where to turn).
If you are camping please bring firewood for the community campfire. If you can, please bring lawn/camp chairs for the Sunday worship service. If you have any questions, please call the parsonage (635-2137).
The following is a reminder of an upcoming event at the Solon Congregational Church. On Friday, September 13, Lorna and Carlton Russell, from Stockton Springs, will perform an organ concert at 6 p.m., at the Solon Congregational Church. The organ is believed to be the oldest pipe organ of its kind in New England. There will be light refreshments served at intermission. Donations will be accepted at the door.
I am sure the above will be very enjoyable. I have listened to that special old organ many times in the past, and it truly does perform well!
The Town Line held their annual summer picnic on Sunday, August 18. Was very sorry to miss it , but we were on our way back from our stay up in the ‘County.’ I think it has always been the same weekend that we are traveling. I’m sure everyone had a great time.
Received the following e-mail from Western Woods: Help us protect the beautiful 275-acre Western Woods forest for conservation and recreation! Imagine the opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, birding, snowshoeing and skiing on a three-mile trail along the Kennebec River, in Madison.
Five talented artists have joined with Somerset Woods Trustees to create ART FOR WESTON.
Join with our many wonderful supporters to celebrate the protection of Western Woods at the Western Homestead, in Madison, on Saturday, September 7, at 4:30 p.m. (Heavy rain date: Sunday, September 8, at 4:30 p.m.)
As I told you last week, we have been traveling and enjoying this wonderful state of Maine recently! And….it has made my heart sing to see so many more of the signs that say, No CMP Corridor! It seems I’m not alone in wanting our state to remain beautiful and special. Lief and I have been up to what I call “God’s Country” quite often this summer, and again, I can’t explain the peace that I find up in that part of Maine.
And so for Percy’s memoir: Do you encounter situations in which you cannot tell whether you are up against a stone wall or whether you are temporarily thwarted? The difference between success and failure is not great. Success often depends upon being able to tell whether you are up against a hopeless situation or just a difficult one. Here is a prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, that may help when you are up against it: “God give me the strength to accept with serenity the things which cannot be changed; give me the courage to change things that can and should be changed; and give me the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.” (I like that prayer a lot, and I try to live by it…but I get in trouble some times!) When I’m afraid I may have written something that might get this paper in trouble, I always call Roland to make sure he reads it. One time that I called him about one of my columns ……there was a long pause and then he said, “Marilyn, you are one of a kind. You are one of the last of the old time journalists!” I kinda took that as a compliment, I definitely don’t write Fake News!
by Mark Huard
In 2019, Maine’s suicide rate is higher than the national average. That’s a staggering statistic, and is the reason why many central Maine residents traveled Northeast to Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion. The Waterfront Concerts, Music Matters and SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) all joined together to bring some of the biggest names in Rock n’Roll to Maine to raise money for this cause. This two day event took place on July 27 and July 28, 2019 and housed more than ten bands to include: Five Finger Death Punch, Skillet, In this moment, Clutch, Between the Buried and Me, Godsmack, Evanescence, Killswitch, Engage, All that Remains, Beartooth and Andrew W. K.
Many people are impacted by suicide or by suicidal ideation, and they don’t have the awareness, resources or access to resources to help identify and manage the symptoms. For these reasons, the Impact Music Festival takes place and all of the proceeds go to organizations providing mental health treatment and outreach services to those in need. Last year in 2018, the Impact Festival raised more than $25,000 for suicide awareness and prevention.
Both days were filled with great music and just all around positive energy. The bands have all taken an interest in giving back to help those in need. It really was amazing to see all of these celebrities take an interest in Suicide Prevention and Awareness in order to raise money but also to raise awareness. It’s easy to feel like you are all alone when you are facing these kinds of situations and the message by many of these bands is to say, “You are not alone.” Five Finger Death Punch was able to discuss their work with children and adults to improve their lives and overall functioning.
“This event uses the power of music to support suicide and mental health awareness. We all go through our own personal battles and demons in life, but music is the common theme that brings us all together,” reported Winslow resident Kyle Clavo. He was right in the front row on the fence both days and loved every second of it, seeing all the bands perform up close and personal. This being Clavo’s second time at this event, he says, “I support suicide and mental health awareness and I will attend this event for years to come.” He would like to see as many people as possible attend this event in the future and cautions, “Before you judge about the genre of music that is performed at this event, listen to the meaning before you judge the screaming.”
The musicians traveled far and wide to be there in order to make it clear that suicide is an issue that is plaguing Maine and the entire nation. This approach not only is away to spread the message and band together as a community, but it also is a way to gain proceeds to benefit the heavy expenses of the necessary treatment.
The Farmers Market at Pumpkin Vine Family Farm is excited to launch their Maine Harvest Bucks program on Sunday, September 1, just in time for the fall harvest season! Fill your market basket for less by using your EBT/ SNAP card to purchase any of of the fresh, local food at the market (meat, cheese, eggs, bread!), then receive a dollar for dollar match in Maine Harvest Bucks, that can be used to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Market is located on a working historic farm and aims to serve country folks where they live. The Market was built by and for the community, in the belief that everyone should enjoy fresh local food. Locally grown food, tended by hand, often costs more than the food at grocery stores and can be hard to fit into a tight budget. But the farmers at the Pumpkin Vine Market want to make sure you can enjoy their food no matter your budget! Not only will we match every SNAP dollar with Harvest Bucks, but first time SNAP shoppers will get an extra bonus $10 in Harvest Bucks on their first purchase!
Maine Harvest Bucks is funded by the USDA through a FINI (Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program) and implemented in Maine by the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets. The market is open between 11 – 3 every Sunday, from May – December, at 217 Hewett Rd in Somerville. Email email@example.com or call Kelly at (207) 549-3096 for more information.
LUCILLE M. CLICHE
WATERVILLE – Lucille Mary Cliche, 99, passed away on Thursday, August 8, 2019, during a brief stay at the Lakewood Nursing Facility, in Waterville. She was born on June 18, 1920, in Van Buren, where she was one of nine children born to the late George Roy and Rose Anna Clavette (Roy) (Maheu).
The family relocated to the Waterville area shortly thereafter, where she attended Waterville schools. She later met and married Emile R. Cliche on August 22, 1940, in Waterville. Lucille worked at the C. F. Hathaway Shirt Co., in Waterville, for several years while raising her family. She enjoyed traveling and fishing in her younger years.
Later in life she could be found playing the piano and organ, singing, dress making, knitting and talking with her siblings. She was a kind-hearted soul that was loved by many.
Lucille was predeceased by her parents, Rose Anna and George Roy; by her husband Emile R. Cliche; brothers Ivan Roy and Roland Roy; sisters, Ann Upham, Loretta Fredette, Simone Lemieux, Joan Pelletier, Carole Roy and little angel girl, Roy; and a grandson, Timothy Cliche.
She is survived by her daughter, Claudette Cliche, of Winslow, and a son, Carl Cliche Sr. and his wife Mary Jane, of Clemson, South Carolina; and a sister, Bernadette Tilton, of Stockton Springs; three grandchildren, Ty Kerr, of Winslow, Carl Cliche Jr. and his wife Charlotte, of Gainesville, Georgia. and Kimberly Lee and her husband David, of Guyton, Georgia; seven great-grandchildren; along with numerous nieces and nephews; and extended family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Lucille M. Cliche, c/o Tyler Kerr, 6 Clifford Ave., Winslow, ME 04901.
DONALD L. AMES
He graduated from Lawrence High School, in Fairfield. In his earlier years, Donnie was employed by Fort Halifax Packing, in Winslow, and later worked 20 years for Scott Paper Co., in Winslow.
He was a faithful member of Shawmut Chapel, in Shawmut. Donnie greatly enjoyed singing and listening to music. He was very meticulous about his lawn and yard. He took great joy in working around the house. Donnie also enjoyed watching the TV show Dark Shadows, but his greatest joy was spending time with his family. Even when he was ill, he would attend the many events the kids were involved with.
Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his stepfather, Lionel Veilleux; his sisters, Marion Bailey, and Susan Davis, his brothers, Tommy Veilleux, Chegaw Veilleux, and Eugene Ames, and his sister-in-law, Phyllis Ames.
Donnie is survived by his son, Brian Ames and his wife Tammie, of Fairfield; his brothers Horace “Hoddy” Ames Jr. and his wife Ruth, of Massachusetts, Oral “Buddy” Ames and his wife Vicki, of Benton, and Eddie Ames and his wife June, of Fairfield; his grandchildren, Brandon and Sean Ames, of Fairfield; his nieces and nephews, Brandi Forney, of Waterville, Ed Ames Jr., of Waterville, and Melanie Monk, of Skowhegan; his great-nieces, Jada Forney, of Waterville and Scotland Ames, of Waterville; his former wives, Brenda Ames, of Winslow and Donna Vintinner, of Oakland; and many other extended family members.
An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com
Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers Funeral & Cremation Care, 107 Main St., Fairfield.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Donnie’s memory may be made to American Cancer Society, 30 Speen Street, Framingham, Massachusetts 01701.
WINSLOW – Maurice “Moe” Kennedy, 85, passed away on Thursday, August 15, 2019. Maurice was born in North Vassalboro on February 28, 1934, to Harold G. Kennedy and Orena E. (Poulin) Kennedy, the third of five children.
He attended school in North Vassalboro and Winslow High School. He received his G.E.D. as an adult. Maurice married Geraldine J. Grondin on May 15, 1954, in Waterville, and together they raised three children. He worked at Hollingsworth & Whitney, later known as Scott Paper Company, for 36 years, retiring in June 1989. Maurice was an avid hunter and fisherman for many years and enjoyed being outdoors. He also loved gardening, both flowers and vegetables, and some said instead of having a ‘green thumb,’ he had a ‘green hand.’ All benefited from his annual harvest of vegetables. He was also very handy and could fix just about anything. He enjoyed spending time with family and attended many of his children’s and grandchildren’s activities. He played the guitar and harmonica, and loved to dance with his wife, Gerry.
Maurice and Gerry enjoyed traveling throughout their married life. They took several cruises to the Caribbean and Alaska and visited many cities throughout the United States and Canada. They also visited several countries in Europe and spent many winters in Hawaii.
He was predeceased by his parents, Harold and Orena Kennedy; his sisters, Joan Boulette and Marlene Rogers, of California and Oregon, and his brothers, Harold Kennedy, of California and Waterville, and Robert E. Kennedy, of Winslow.
Moe is survived by his wife of 65 years; his daughter, Cathy (Kennedy) Zemrak and her husband Brian, of Winslow, his son, Larry Kennedy and his wife Jane (Etchie) Kennedy, of Florida, his son, Christopher Kennedy and his wife Rebecca (Sawyer) Kennedy, of Cumberland; his grandchildren, Lenny Kennedy, Lance Kennedy, Mindy Zemrak, Katrina Zemrak and her husband, Alexander Mattingly, Zachary Kennedy, Benjamin Kennedy, and Matthew Kennedy; and his three great-granddaughters, Kiara Kennedy, Ava Kennedy, and Lilianna Kennedy; and several nieces and nephews.
The funeral service will be held on Saturday, November 2, at 11 a.m., at St. John the Baptist Church, in Winslow.
Condolences and stories for the family may be shared online by clicking on Obituaries at: www.directcremationofmaine.com
In lieu of flowers, you can Donate a Memorial Gift for Maurice to the: American Lung Association of Maine, 122 State St., Augusta, ME 04330 (207) 624-0302, www.lung.org/about-us/local-associations/maine.html American Lung Association of Maine.
BRIAN E. BLODGETT
ATHENS – Brian Elic Blodgett, 67, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, August 17, 2019, at his home in Athens. Brian was born on October 3, 1951, in Fairfield, to Clarence Sr. and Christine Blodgett.
He was raised as one of 15 brothers and sisters on their family dairy farm. He attended the Fairfield school district where he enjoyed playing baseball and basketball.
In his early youth he worked hard doing chores on the farm and spent his free time raising chaos with his siblings, more so with his brothers. They would play whatever musical instrument they had on the hill behind the house, or toss around a ball that had seen many miles in its day. Laughter could be heard in whatever they did and many memories where made outside in the fields behind the farm.
Later in high school after seeing many of his brothers go into service Brian enlisted in the National Guard. He was a handsome young fellow in his uniform. He watched as his siblings grew and married off. He met his wife-to-be a few years after graduating. They married on June 10, 1972.
He worked at Norwolk Shoe Company and Dexter Shoe. They lived in an apartment downstairs from their in-laws until they were ready to purchase a home on Hilton Hill Road, in Skowhegan. At this time their first two children were born, Crystal and Brian II. When the kids were five and three, respectively, the family moved to a farm in Athens where Brian decided to go back to his roots and take up dairy farming. Thirteen years later two more children were born, Alexander and Philip. The house was full and busy from dawn until dusk.
As their eldest children grew and moved away from the farm, Brian and Linda’s lives changed also. It was a difficult decision, but after running dairy then beef and back to dairy cows, they sold the farm. They kept a piece of land down the road where they built their final home. His later years were spent enjoying the outdoors whenever he could and puttering around the house. He cherished the company of his four children, thirteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He was the hardest working man we will ever know and never spent time passing judgment on others. His heart was big and his laughter loud. He will be greatly missed by all. We all love you for every family title you hold.
He is survived by a large family. His wife Linda, of 47 years, and his four children – Crystal and her husband Jim Bowman and their children, Brian II and his family, Alexander and his wife Jennifer and their children, and Philip and his family, as well as Brian’s siblings and their ever growing families.
Services will be announced at a later date.
Those wishing to give condolences to the family may send cards to : Alex Blodgett, PO Box 105, Athens, ME 04912.
Arrangements by Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, Skowhegan.
PEARL V. PAGE
VERO BEACH , Fla. – Pearl Valerie Page 93, of Vero Beach, Florida, died Wednesday, August 21, 2019. Valerie was born in Winslow on January 1, 1926.
She graduated from Winslow High School in 1944 and worked for the state of Maine as clerk of courts at the Kennebec County Superior Court, in Augusta, before retiring in 1988. In addition, she had the great honor of sitting on the Maine Judiciary Council. Following retirement, Valerie studied oil and pastel painting which brought her great joy. She most recently took classes at the Vero Beach Art Museum. Valerie’s other passion was shopping.
She was predeceased by her parents, Delia Poulin Rancourt and Romeo Rancourt; husband, Miles Page; her son, Bruce Page; three brothers, James, Romeo and Karl.
She is survived by her daughter, Kellie and her husband, Manuel Mateus, of Vero Beach, Florida, son, Paul Page and his wife, Diane, of Raymond, New Hampshire; three grandchildren, Keith Page, Joshua Page, and Melissa Mateus; several great and great-great-grandchildren.
A private burial service will be held at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in Augusta, at a later date.
Online condolences can be made at www.CoxGiffordSeawinds.com
She was predeceased by her parents; husband, Joseph Pinette; children, Gregory, Scott and Lori Pinette; brothers and sisters, Ruth Hussey, Marilyn Bragg and Richard, Robert, Roger and Ronald Dowe.
She is survived by her son, Brian Pinette; sisters, Dorothy Burke and Barbara Poulin; grandchildren, Jed Pinette Kundl, Luke Kundl Pinette, and Derry, Moira and Ian Salewski, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Gloria is remembered as an excellent baker, a voracious reader and an eager shopper.
There will be a celebration of her life (at a date yet to be determined) where you will be able to share your memories of her, too.
Correspondence to the family can be sent to P.O. Box 163, South China, ME 04358.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Gloria’s name to MaineGeneral Hospice, P.O. Box 828, Waterville, ME 04901.
What is Labor Day to you? In actuality it depicts the social and economic successes of workers here in the USA. Once a year we set aside a day which would be most beneficial to the working class to rest, reflect and enjoy family and friends. It happens to be one of my most favorite holidays as it falls on the first Monday of September, which historically is a wonderful day – weather wise, and also follows a Sunday, thus allowing most of the working class a long weekend. This allows for planning and short travel excursions. There are only so many great friends and family long weekends in a life time and this is one of the best. All the things the family loves to do can be done on the first of September; swimming, camping, cookouts, boating, and short trips and just getting together for a fun filled restful experience.
Labor Day is not steeped in fanfare, yet it usually gets packed with lots of memories. It also brings notice to the contributions the American worker has made to provide strength, well being and prosperity to the greatest country the world has ever known. So much has been given by so many to bring our country to where it is today. When we think of achievements we think in terms of the past and, of course, that is a very good place to start. Our forefathers knew what it was to work from sun up to sun down. Sunday was usually reserved for God and family. A lot has changed since those days, however, Labor Day will always be a work in progress. Having a growing problem has always been a hurdle to deal with. Sometimes we face them head on and sometimes we don’t do as good a job. However, we usually vault the hurdles and join together and grow. We always find the middle.
Government involvement began by ordinance in 1885-86. From this a movement was secured in the state legislature. A bill was introduced in the New York state legislature but became law first in Oregon on February 21, 1887. That same year four more states joined the movement, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. By the end of the 1880s Connecticut, Nebraska and Pennsylvania would join. Twenty-three more states would soon follow. Now it’s here for all to enjoy.
On June 28, 1894, the U.S. Congress passed an act delegating the first Monday in September of each year as a legal holiday in Washington D.C., and its territories (now states).
It is argued that the Labor Day holiday was proposed by Peter J. McGuire, a Union leader. However, recent research seems to award this honor to Matthew McGuire, another union leader. Both men hold the distinction of union leaders. Whichever of the two was the rightful originator, we can thank them both. The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. The second one on September 5, 1883. In 1884 the first Monday of September was chosen as the holiday; “the working man’s holiday.” A show of strength and “Esprit de Corps,” of trade and labor organizations was manifested. (Spirit, pride of a body person).
The purpose/meaning of this holiday has met with some bumps in the road as of late; however, I am a firm believer that we as a nation, diverse in so many ways, will always come together as one, when needed. That is what makes America great and so resilient. Our individualism and diversities will never circumvent our willingness to be as one when it is needed.” Those who tend to divide us are as weeds which the gardener will extract as he tills the soil.”
So remember, my friend, when you think of Labor Day, remember what it took to get where we are now and the cost that had to be paid. Thank your ancestors for leading the way and for the great work ethic instilled in most of us. Always remember, God was with them as he is with you now. He knew it would take both men and women working side by side to make it happen. History has proven this to be true. There are many famous works of art regarding Labor but one of my favorites is the World War II depiction of strength and solidarity characterized by Naomi Parker Fraley, known to the world as “Rosie the Riveter.” In 1943 the great Norman Rockwell sketched Rosie for the Saturday Evening Post. The painting became a national treasure. Rosie lived to be 96 years of age. What she stood for lives on.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday. And help us remain united and strong. God be with you and God Bless America.
China Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee members got a preview of potential requests for TIF funds for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. After additional presentations, committee members will make funding recommendations to the selectmen, who will in turn submit requests they approve to voters at the spring 2020 town business meeting.
Scott Pierz, president of the China Lake Association and the China Region Lakes Alliance, summarized both groups’ major projects, including the LakeSmart program that helps shorefront property owners add buffers to limit run-off into the lake; the Youth Conservation Corps, whose members do the physical work of creating run-off controls; and the new CLGRRP (China Lake Gravel Road Rehabilitation Program), intended to repair fire roads around the lake, starting with three identified in a Kennebec Water District survey as contributing the most run-off into the lake.
Initial CLGRRP work has been put out to bid, Pierz said, with bids due this fall. The outcome of the bid process will be significant in calculating funds needed.
Pierz said volunteer Marie Michaud would like to reduce the time she spends on LakeSmart activities. Marie Michaud’s husband Tom Michaud, a TIF Committee member, said his wife would continue to assist, but does not want the full-time job the project has become.
The lakes groups are considering contracting with a program manager, Pierz said. Much of the preliminary work – locating sites and agreeing with landowners, developing plans – can be done in the fall so the work can start the next spring.
Briefer presentations came from:
- Elaine Philbrook, discussing plans for a small building in the school forest behind China Primary School. She envisions electricity and a heat pump, porta-potties rather than a septic system – enough to provide shelter during year-round nature activities for schoolchildren and adults.
- Tod Detre, speaking for the Broadband Committee, describing plans to work with Hussey Communications to provide wireless broadband service to all China households, including those now excluded because they are low along the lake or among hills away from towers. A tentative plan calls for doubling the number of towers, from three to six, at a cost somewhere around $800,000. Town Manager and Treasurer Dennis Heath talked of asking town meeting voters to spend the money immediately from town assets and repay it from TIF funds at $80,000 a year, once the TIF program is enlarged to cover broadband as recent legislation allows.
- Tom Rumpf, president of the China Four Seasons Club, with plans to request another TIF allocation for continued work on snowmobile and four-wheeler trails on the east side of China Lake.
The other major action at the Aug. 26 meeting was unanimous endorsement of the Revolving Loan Committee’s recommendation to approve a loan to Buckshot Power Sports. This action also goes to the selectmen with a recommendation that they forward it to the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, which helps with loan management.
Revolving Loan Committee Chairman Amy Gartley said there are no other loan applications pending.
The causeway project at the head of China Lake’s east basin was not discussed. Heath said the state Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing needed applications for further work.
The next TIF Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Sept. 23.
Not surprisingly, Vassalboro School Board members spent most of their Aug. 20 meeting discussing back-to-school issues. A preliminary result of their deliberations about the school lunch program appeared in the packets sent home to parents as school opened Aug. 27.
The welcome-back packet included a survey asking parents how often their children ate school-provided food, what they liked and disliked and especially what the meals program could do to encourage participation. Survey results will be anonymous and confidential. Information is also on the new website, vcsvikings.org.
Board members and Superintendent Alan Pfieffer stressed the importance of student participation in the meals program, which includes breakfast and lunch. The state, using federal funds and guidelines, reimburses schools for free and reduced-price meals served to students whose families meet income requirements. Yet, Pfeiffer said, many families eligible for the program do not apply.
As a result, the Vassalboro Community School lunch program, like many others in Maine, runs a deficit, and Vassalboro doesn’t receive federal money for which it could be eligible.
Board members also voted to join the Kennebec Alliance Service Center, which is a totally different thing from the former AOS (Alternative Organizational Structure) #92.
The service center, Pfeiffer said, is a more organized version of the informal cooperation among school officials that has existed for decades in such forms as regular superintendents’ meetings, shared staff and cooperative purchasing among different schools and school units.
RSU (Regional School Unit) #18 Superintendent Carl Gartley has been a major proponent of increased cooperation, Pfeiffer said. New state legislation encourages the idea with financial incentives; Pfeiffer expects when the state contribution to local school budgets is calculated in the spring of 2020, Vassalboro will get about $33,000 added as a result of service center membership.
The Kennebec Alliance already includes schools from the Skowhegan area (School Administrative District #54) through Waterville to China, the easternmost RSU #18 member.
Vassalboro is also in the second year of a three-year contract to continue to use the services of former AOS #92 staff members, several of whom regularly attend Vassalboro board meetings. Each of the three former AOS members has its own superintendent. Pfeiffer said he, Eric Haley, in Waterville, and Peter Thiboutot, in Winslow, continue to work together.
In other business Aug. 20, board members unanimously appointed five new staff members at Vassalboro Community School and accepted three resignations.
The meeting was preceded by the first of several proposed long-range planning discussions aimed at evaluating current conditions and developing recommendations for building on strengths and overcoming weaknesses.
The next regular Vassalboro School Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Sept. 17.
Emma Tyler, a freshman at Erskine Academy, recently competed and won first place for her age division at the Union Fair Talent Show. Singing Jesus, Take the Wheel, by Carrie Underwood, to advance in the preliminary round, she then competed with Jealous, by Labrinth, and Your Song, by Elton John, to capture first place and the $500 cash prize Tuesday night, August 20.
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