Well, we’re coming up on the middle of October, and time to take a look at what Mother Nature has provided to us in regards to a preview of the upcoming winter.
Brrrr! Dread the thought!
During the summer and fall, our little critters, and even our vegetation, provides us with a glimpse of what we may be in store come the winter months.
Now, let’s make it clear. All of the following are according to farmers’ folklore. I looked up the word “lore” in the dictionary, and this is what I came up with: “All the knowledge of a particular group or having to do with a particular subject, especially that of a traditional nature.” Apparently, these are the result of many years of farmers keeping track of conditions involving their fields and crops.
First, it’s the old wives tale about the beloved onion. The lore goes that if an onion is difficult to peel, it is a sign of an impending harsh winter. If the onion peels easily, we can expect a milder winter. Notice I said, “milder.”
So far this summer, I have noticed that onions have been relatively easy to peel. My wife and I eat lots of onions, so this is more than just a small sample size.
Next comes those dreaded hornets and wasps. Farmers’ folklore has it that ground hives signify a low snowfall. Well, we went through this a couple of weeks ago when I told of the problem we had at camp this fall with yellow jacket hives in the ground. We had at least four that we knew about this summer, when action had to be taken to alleviate the problem.
However, during our close-down weekend at camp, we were again pestered with a multitude of yellow jackets, indicating there was another hive nearby. We never found it.
Contributing to that theory is the hornets nest I saw last week. A nest, the size of a honeydew melon, hung on a branch, low on a tree, probably about six feet or so off the ground. Not very high for a hornets nest.
With so many nests in the ground and the one hanging low on a tree branch, that, supposedly, indicates low snowfall. Wouldn’t mind that, even if I do have the snowblower tuned up and ready to go.
Another sign that the impending winter will be on the mild side has a little bit of controversy.
The wooly bear caterpillar. That darling, little fuzzy insect that usually comes out in mid-September. I have seen only a few, but they all have been on the highway, where I can’t get a really good look at them.
I did see one last weekend at camp, and the results were not favorable. However, there is another side to that story.
Now, I am sure everyone has heard the myth that the length of the rust-colored band on a wooly bear tells of how severe or mild the winter. If the rust-colored band dominates the body, it will be a mild winter.
The wooly bear I saw measured 1-5/8 inches long. An inch of that length was black, while the rust-colored band measured only 5/8-inch. That’s telling me the winter will be a little on the bad side. However, other people have told me the wooly bears they have seen were predominantly rust-colored. I hope mine was the flunky of the wooly bears.
Finally, the cicadae. That is the green, grasshopper-looking insect that buzzes during the hot, steamy, humid days of July. Farmers’ folklore has it that the first killing frost of the season will occur 90 days following the first sound of the cicadae, after the full moon. The first time we heard the cicadae this summer was on July 26. Count out 90 days, that brings us to October 26. With the full moon happening on October 28, you can expect the first heavy frost to take place after that date.
Now, just for giggles, let’s throw in the Farmers Almanac. According to them, the first sight of snow should come around mid-November, but only as flurries. Through December, it is calling for some wet snow and rain, with some wintery mix. They do predict a white Christmas. But again, no serious snowfalls. Their first significant snow event is predicted during the second week of January 2020.
Do we dare look any further?
Roland’s trivia question of the week:
Which player holds the NFL record for most points scored in a single game.
Which player holds the NFL record for most points scored in a single game?
Gale Sayers, of the Chicago Bears, scored 36 points against the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 12, 1965; and Dub Jones, of the Cleveland Browns against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 25, 1951.
The Kennebec Historical Society is seeking submissions for a logo design for use primarily across digital media.
Any member of the public is welcome to submit a design. The design should be created keeping in mind that its final use is for concise and easy-to-identify brand use, representative of the KHS mission and/or history of Kennebec County. The logo needs to be usable in social media, such as for a Facebook profile image or brand icon. This logo will not replace the society’s current logo; instead, it is intended to act as a supplemental logo that maintains a connection to the current logo.
A KHS committee, in conjunction with the KHS board of directors, will select the winner.
The designer of the selected logo will receive:
- A one-year membership in KHS.
- Recognition across platforms such as our newsletter, our Facebook page, and press releases sent to local media.
Logo designs should be emailed as .JPG, .EPS, and .PDF files to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Logo Contest Submission” by 5 p.m. December 1, 2019.
For more details about the contest, visit the Kennebec Historical Society’s Facebook page (enter “@KHS1891” in Facebook’s search window), email us at email@example.com, or call us at 622-7718.
by Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979
Good morning, my friends. Don’t worry be happy!
Last week I was so happy to have had lots of e-mails sent to me with recent news. Just checked my e-mails and nothing of interest there for this week. It has surprised me greatly, that there are so many people who have never heard of Flagstaff, Dead River and Bigelow being flooded out by Central Maine Power Co back in 1949!
Have been trying to get all my old history of the event together and came across an old clipping from Central Maine Newspapers dated June 6, 2002, with the headline, “Make Flagstaff Lake a certain stop, History only one reason to visit area.” This story was written by M.J. Kaniuka. There is a picture stating that “A view of Flagstaff Lake from the causeway in Stratton. The 26-mile long lake was formed more than 50 years ago by flooding three communities. History only one reason to visit area.
“When travelers on Route 27 first view Flagstaff Lake, in Stratton, from the causeway just beyond Stratton, their typical reaction is, “What is this?” For Flagstaff Lake, a seemingly endless puddle, looks like no other body of water in Maine. Yet it is the centerpiece of a story that encompass the Revolutionary War, progress in mid-century America and evolving ideas of outdoor recreation.”
Flagstaff Lake is a man-made lake, approximately three miles wide and 26 miles long. “Its banks really recede in a drought,” said Forrest Bonney, regional fisheries biologist.
The lake was created in 1949 by Central Maine Power Company as a water storage facility for Long Falls Dam, “progress” in controlling the flood-prone Dead River. Subsequently, the lake submerged three communities: Flagstaff, Bigelow and Dead River.
The next year CMP received permission from the Legislature under the government’s right of eminent domain to buy property as it become available. Over the years CMP bought land and buildings and moved some homes and razed others. Eventually, CMP also clear cut 18,000 acres of woodland. Wildfires took care of many of the stumps and other debris that remained.
By 1949 only 30 adults and their families were left to be moved. That summer the Flagstaff and Dead River cemeteries were relocated to a site on Route 27 beside the newly-built Flagstaff Memorial Church. CMP erected the church to replace the town’s Congregational Church that they flooded. Stained glass windows from the Congregational Church were removed and installed in the chapel.
Today a memorial marker beside the chapel refers to much earlier events. In the fall of 1775 Col. Benedict Arnold passed through the region on his ill-fated march to Québec. He had left the Kennebec River below Caratunk to cut across the wilderness and reach the Height of Land, the dividing line between Maine and Québec.
To avoid the twists and turns of the meandering Dead River, Arnold and about 1,100 men, portaged their bateaux and dwindling supplies through the uninhabited Maine wilderness. They suffered incredible hardships with few or no trails to follow, rough and wet terrain, bad weather, fatigue, accidents and illness. Finally they reached the camp of an Indian named Natanis. Here Arnold erected a flag, an act that gave the town of Flagstaff its name.
The historical marker on Route 27 commemorates the event, but states that “the actual spot is now under water.”
Not far from the marker is the Arnold Trail turnout. Here another marker memorializes Col. Timothy Bigelow, an officer with Arnold and an eight-year military veteran . Bigelow reputedly climbed to the top of a nearby mountain to view the countryside and if possible, to see Québec. Today the mountain range bears his name.”
The Bingham Country Jammers! Bingham Grange Hall, first and third Sundays of each month. Open Mic from 1 – 4 p.m., Acoustic Only. Potluck To Tickle Me Appetite! Bring a hot or cold dish. Salads, desserts, cakes or pies! Price Range: 1 oz. of Gold. Also – Grange sponsored kitchen will be open. Hot dogs, burgers, and coffee. Entrance by donation to help with costs. Directions to 23 Meadow Street, Bingham, off Main Street (Rt. 201); Turn right on Meadow Street, across from Camden National Bank. The Grange is fourth building on the right, on the corner of Milford Avenue. Host: Ralph Van Dyke and MC : Bill Messer.
There was more to the above article, but want to save room for Percy’s memoir; hope you enjoyed reading about past history.
And now for Percy’s memoir, it was one I used back in 2008. Cultivating Friends: Sow a word of praise today, Plant a kindness-seed, Listen to a troubled friend, Help someone in need. Compliment a weary soul too fatigued to try; Shine forth rays of hope on all, Comfort those who cry. Scatter deeds of love each day, plant each row with care; Sprinkle joy along your way, soak each one in prayer. Ask the Lord to bless each one, and one day you’ll reap a harvestful of loving friends to cherish and to keep. (words by Connie Hinnen.)
VIRGINIA M. RUEST
OAKLAND – Virginia “Ginger” Marie (Carpenter) Ruest, 76, passed away Monday, September 23, 2019, at her home, in Oakland. She was born October 16, 1942, in Skowhegan, the daughter of Arthur and Harriet (Goodrich) Carpenter.
She attended the schools of Skowhegan and Waterville. She was employed at South End Café, in Waterville, for many years in the early ‘70s, as a waitress at Mister Donuts, in Waterville, Big Apple, in Winslow, Casewells, in Waterville, Mini Burger and Huddle House, of Cookeville, Tennessee.
Ginger was a member of St. Francis Catholic Church and Notre Dame Catholic Church, in Waterville. Other than the love of her family, packing up her kids after a long shift of work, the swimming and picnics at China Lake were her favorite memories and times with her children. Though she couldn’t swim a lick, she always ventured in the water to play with them. She loved all her animals, Puddles, Marty, Skipper Pal and Dino. Her charismatic smile and personality brought joy to all who knew her. Everyone called her “Mom” and she had many other children she loved. Her life was fulfilling and she had many very dear friends.
She is survived by son, Randy Ruest and wife Rhonda, of Oakland; three daughters, Sharon Sherby and partner Steve Corbin, of Oakland, Sandra Therriault, of Oakland, Terrylynn Wentworth and husband Richard, of Waterville; four grandsons, Kyle Therriault, of Orlando, Florida, Nick Ruest, of Waterville, Drake LeBlanc, of Norridgewock, Randy Ruest II, of Waterville, Travis Morse and Trevor Lewis; three granddaughters, Danielle Sack and partner Josh Hancock, of Fairfield, Shaynna Therriault, of Oakland, Hailey Ruest and partner Cody Quirion, of Waterville; three great-grandsons, Adrian Recio, of Orlando, Florida, Jayden Hancock, of Fairfield, Noah Therriault, of Smyrna, Tennessee; two great-granddaughters, Naomi Therriault, of Oakland, Kinsley Hancock, of Fairfield; sister, Lorraine Burke, of California.
She was predeceased by her first husband, Carl Thomas Therriault; her parents, Arthur and Harriet Carpenter; brothers, Philip Carpenter, George Booth, Jerry Carpenter, Richard Booth; sisters, Dot Booth, Verna McCarthy; granddaughter, Angelica Lynn Ruest.
In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Ginger’s memory to Humane Society Waterville Area, 100 Webb Road, Waterville, Maine 04901.
Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, ME 04976.
RUSSELL D. PRINCIPATO
WATERVILLE – Russell David Principato, 87, died Monday, September 23, 2019, at Woodlands Senior Living, in Waterville. He was born to Salvatore and Annie (Wentworth) Principato, in Oakland, on February 27, 1932.
Russell graduated from Williams High School, in Oakland, in 1952. In 1953, he joined the U.S. Navy, serving on the USS Willis A. Lee DL-4 ,out of Boston, Massachusetts.
Russell married Ethel Shores, in Waterville, where they lived together for nearly 40 years. After serving in the Navy, he worked as a machinist at Keyes Fibre (now Huhtamaki), in Waterville, until his retirement. He thoroughly enjoyed electronics and mechanical tinkering and operated a TV and appliance side business for many years out of his home.
Russell enjoyed traveling to fun tourist destinations both internationally and throughout the United States. He looked forward to attending Navy reunions and traveling to California with his daughter to visit his grandson, Jamie. Shopping for souvenirs or trinkets to distribute to family and friends brought him joy. Russell was social and enjoyed eating many, if not all, of his meals out at Governor’s or The Villager restaurants, both in Waterville. He also loved meeting up at McDonalds for coffee with friends. Sweet treats were his favorite.
Russell was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Ethel; twin brother Richard Principato, brothers Leo Principato and Russell Orlando Principato, sisters Marion Hill, Gladys Swett and Rose Principato and brother-in-law Roland Giroux.
He is survived by his daughter Paula Lemar (Dennis); grandson Jamie Krog (Valerie); great-grandsons Logan and Matthias Krog; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Carroll and Carlene Shores, Roland and Kathy Shores, Dorothy Giroux, Maxine Principato; and several nieces and nephews.
At a later date there will be a small family gathering for his burial at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Veilleux Funeral Home, www.veilleuxfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Russell’s memory to the local Meals on Wheels, Muskie Center, 38 Gold St., Waterville, ME 04901.
DIANE J. BODGE
CHELSEA – Diane J. Bodge, 75, of Chelsea, died Saturday, September 28, 2019, following a brief illness, at the Alfond Center for Health, in Augusta. She was born on January 4, 1944, the daughter of Henry Arthur and Oliva (Holt) Staples.
A Gardiner native, she attended Gardiner area schools and married Richard Bodge on November 9, 1962. She spent 30 years of her career working for Etonics Shoe Company, in Richmond. She moved on to work in the cafeteria at the Gardiner Area High School where she remained until her retirement at 65.
She was an avid singer and beach goer. If she wasn’t singing at her computer or out at karaoke, you could find her at Five Islands or Popham Beach; her two favorite places in Maine. She loved bingo, horse racing, fishing, bird watching and camping.
She was a kind, caring and compassionate individual and cherished her time with family, always putting them first. She made sure everybody around her was comfortable before seeing to herself. She was a beautiful sole who never complained. She had a special bond with her first great-grandchild, Makenzie, and enjoyed spending time with her at their home in Chelsea.
She was predeceased by her parents; and siblings Shirley, Robert, Melvin, Arthur, Charles, Norman, Marion and Donald.
Diane is survived by four daughters, Elizabeth and husband Aaron, Sherri and husband Pete, Sandra, Penny and husband Dan; her sister Barbara Jordan; 11 grandchildren, Jason and wife Samantha, Ryan, Carrie, Nicole, Katie and husband Chris, Nathan and fiancee Ashley, Conrad, Kyle, Sasha, Jesse and Samantha; eight great-grandchildren; and several special nieces and nephews.
At the request of Diane there will be no services. A celebration of life will be held for immediate family.
Arrangements are in the care of Staples Funeral Home and Cremation Care, 53 Brunswick Ave., Gardiner.
Condolences, memories and photos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the Staples Funeral Home website: familyfirstfuneralhomes.com.
She was loved by her husband, Bob, and her three children. She worked at Erskine Academy, in South China, for 20 years, where she was an English teacher and librarian. She worked for Maine Municipal Association for 17 years as their website and research specialist. She was a wood carving artist and taught herself to be a digital painter. She will be missed by all who knew her.
Condolences, photos and stories may be shared at www.plummerfh.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kennebec Valley Humane Society.
COLLEEN F. TRUE
Colleen started her school years at Riverside Grammar School where she made many friends, especially her lifelong friend Linda Lary Bunnell. Colleen and Linda both went on to Hall-Dale (class of 1968). While at Hall-Dale, Colleen continued to make and enjoyed many new friendships that endured over the years. For several years while Colleen was in high school, she worked as a guide at Fort Western, in Augusta. She enjoyed the interaction with the visitors to the fort while answering their questions and showing the exhibits at the fort. She had many great memories of working there and of the co-workers that were there at the time.
After graduating from Hall-Dale she attended the University of Maine, Orono. Colleen enjoyed her college years, the college life, and the friends she made while at school. She started her working career as a data entry clerk with the state of Maine and retired 35 years later as a program analyst for the Maine State Court System. She established and maintained many friendships with her co-workers over the years.
Colleen married Timothy True on July 11, 1970, where they built a life around family and friends. She enjoyed the simple things in life such as reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Colleen enjoyed taking trips across Maine, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and made several trips across the country with her husband and children. She valued the cruises that she took with her daughter and grandchildren, where they all could create memories they could have and share for a lifetime. Colleen enjoyed her annual trip to Small Falls which she brought her children to visit when they were young and continue to visit with her husband to see the leaves change in the fall, her favorite time of the year. Colleen especially loved all the time that she spent with her children and grandchildren. Colleen also had a soft spot in her heart for animals, having many cats and dogs over the years.
She was predeceased by her father Norman Fossett.
Colleen is survived by her husband Tim True, of Chelsea; a daughter Emily True and partner Paul Wadley, of Phoenix, Arizona; a son William True of Chelsea, a son-in-law Douglas Symes and a daughter-in-law Erica True, who Colleen loved as they were both her own children; her mother Arlene Fossett, of Augusta; a brother Henry Fossett, of Augusta, and a sister Melody and her husband, Roland Beaulieu, of Farmingdale; two grandchildren Tanner and Kaden Symes that she loved greatly and was proud of the amazing men they were growing up to become; also several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. on October 26, in the Cross Hill Cemetery, Vassalboro.
Arrangements are in the care of Knowlton and Hewins Funeral Home, One Church St., Augusta where condolences to the family may be shared on the obituary page of the website at www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to KennebecValley Humane Society, 10 Pet Haven Lane, Augusta, ME 04330.
MARGARET L. GETCHELL
WATERVILLE — Margaret Louise Getchell, 88, of Waterville, died at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, on Monday, September 30, 2019. Margaret was born in Kezar Falls on August 22, 1931, the daughter of the late Louis Caryle “Carl” Marshall and Hilda Mae (Esterbrook) Marshall, of Auburn.
Margaret attended Auburn schools and graduated from Edward Little High School, in Auburn, in 1949, and she graduated from Central Maine General Hospital School of Nursing in 1953. That same year, she moved to Waterville and worked as a registered nurse at Maine Medical Health, Thayer Unit, until her retirement in 1994. The last 23 years were spent working in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit. She also taught other medical professionals the Coronary Care Course, along with Dr. Michael Szucs, for 15 years.
Margaret married Earl “Jim” Getchell, in 1954. They remained happily married for 48 years until his death in 2002. Together they enjoyed spending time at their camp in Bridgton, and on their many vacations to South Carolina.
She was a fervent member of the Blessed Hope Advent Christian Church, in Waterville, since 1954 and served in various capacities there for most of these years. Of primary importance to her was her strong faith in Christ Jesus. She led a Bible Study group at her church for many years, and with her angelic voice, she sang for her church in ensembles, choir, and solo.
Margaret had a keen intellect and a wide range of interests. She loved nature and the outdoors. She was an avid bird-watcher, was a member of the Josselyn Botanical Society for 43 years, and loved working in her backyard gardens. She was an ardent reader and a passionate scholar of Civil War history, astronomy, and grand opera. She also enjoyed crocheting and puzzles, and was devoted to her close circle of female friends.
Her greatest joys were her two sons and their wives and her three grandchildren.
She leaves behind sons Scott B. Getchell and Catherine L. Monrose, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and David N. and Elizabeth S. Getchell, of Salem, New Hampshire and South Carolina; a granddaughter Marisol R. M. Getchell, and grandsons, Bryce J. Getchell, of Derry, New Hampshire, and Christian J. Getchell, of Salem, New Hampshire; and in-law cousin Anna (Barnes) Hall.
She was predeceased by her parents; her husband Earl “Jim” Getchell, and her brother-in-law Glenn A. Getchell.
Visitors may call from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 11, at Lawry Brothers Funeral Home, 107 Main St,, Fairfield, ME 04937.
A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, October 12, at 2 p.m., at the Blessed Hope Advent Christian Church, 10 Pleasant St., Waterville, with the Rev. Michael Alix officiating.
An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers Funeral Home & Cremation Care, 107 Main St., Fairfield, ME.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to Blessed Hppe Advent Christian Church, 10 Pleasant St., Waterville, ME 04901.
MARIE F. CASEY
She graduated from the Mexico High School in 1969. She has resided the past 25 years in Belgrade. She worked in the healthcare industry for many years and enjoyed working with adults with disabilities. After retiring, she enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and in her garden. Marie had many longtime friends who she cherished and for whom she was always there. Becoming a full time MeMe was what she enjoyed the most.
Marie is survived by her spouse Jack Benton, of Belgrade; son and daughter-in-law Ryan and Jessica Casey, of Rumford, daughter Angel Casey, of Rumford, stepdaughters Katie Benton and Christie Labbe, of Sidney; siblings Linda Herd and husband Bruce, of Sunapee, New Hampshire, Michael Bouthot, of Mexico, Jamie Bouthot, of Rumford; three grandchildren Emma and Ethan Casey and Marie Merriam.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
You are invited to share your thoughts, condolences and fond memories with the family by visiting their guestbook at www.sgthibaultfuneralhome.com.
A Time of Sharing and Remembering will be held from 1 to 3 p.m., on Saturday, October 12, 2019, at SG Thibault Funeral Home.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of S.G. Thibault Funeral Home & Life Celebration Center, 250 Penobscot St., Rumford, ME 04276. Telephone 364-4366 or www.sgthibaultfuneralhome.com.
If so desired, contributions in Marie’s memory may be made to:ASPCA, PO Box 96929, Washington, DC 20090-6929.
EVELYN R. FRENCH
SOMERVILLE — Evelyn (Rideout) French, 80, passed away on Thursday, October 3, 2019, at Maine Medical Center, in Portland, after suffering a heart attack. She was born September 16, 1939, to Lauren and Annie Rideout.
On January 14, 1957, she married Lloyd (Bucky) French. Together they purchased their Somerville home where they lived and happily raised their six children.
After Bucky’s passing, Evelyn continued to carry on with the family traditions. She loved to cook and enjoyed all the holidays in the homestead with her children, their mates, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her doors were always open. She loved lawn sales, auctions, card games, and a good conversation.
She is survived by her six children, Theresa (Tim) Grotton, Rita (David) Gower, Lloyd (Lori) French Jr., Betty (James) Baker, Lisa (Gary) McCarty, and Richard French; grandchildren, Penny Grotton, Peggy (Grotton) Barrett, Theresa (Gower) Steeves, David Gower ll, Eric French, Amanda French, Lisa Baker, AJ Baker, Tanya (McCarty) Barrett, Gary McCarty II; great-grandchildren, Kaitlyn, Kassidy, Bryana, Sophie, Larissa, Payson, Arabella, Taylor, Emersyn, Joshua II, Leah; brothers, Ken (Pat) Rideout and Ralph (Carolyn) Rideout; sisters, Lena Worthing, Katherine (Claustin) Lawrence, Dot Moulton, Irene Rideout and Romana (Joseph) Dean, brothers-in-law, Bill Sproul and Ed Trask.
She was predeceased by her husband of 41 years; her parents; two sisters Barbara Sproul and Annie Trask; two brothers-in-law, Clayton Worthing and Andy Moulton
Condolences, photos and stories may be shared at www.plummerfh.com.
The Unity Barn Raisers (UBR) held their annual Day of Service event on Saturday, October 5. The Day of Service is a celebration of community spirit and volunteerism. This year, nearly 100 volunteers completed 12 service projects in and around Unity (other towns include Freedom, Montville, and Thorndike), culminating in a community meal to thank the volunteers and sponsors of this great event. Many of these volunteers included first year Unity College students.
Projects included trail work with Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, gardening at Triplet Park, tidying of local cemeteries, fall cleanup with the Unity Historical Society and Freedom Historical Society, post-fair cleanup at MOFGA, squash harvesting for the food pantry, stacking wood at Avian Haven Bird Sanctuary, painting the Community Center, and more!
This annual event is a fundraiser for UBR, ensuring their ability to serve Unity and the surrounding communities of Troy, Knox, Freedom, Thorndike, Montville and Burnham. More importantly, it provides an opportunity to complete important community enhancement projects that ensure local vitality and development while coming together as a community.
Generous sponsors of this event include Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Envirem Organics, UniTel, Down East Credit Union, Sandy Stream Mobile Home Park, Unity Foundation, Revision Energy, 93 Main Coffee Shop, TA’s Automotive, Depot Country Store, Hidden Valley Camp, Unity Forge, Timber Frame Farm, and VillageSide Farm.
Anyone interested in volunteering in the community please contact UBR at 948-9005 or unitybarnraisers.org.
Unity Barn Raisers works pro-actively to enhance small-town character and rural environment, while nurturing a thriving community-based economy. UBR believes that a community working together can shape its own future, and in so doing, significantly advance the quality of life of its people, both now and for generations to come.
At their Oct. 1 meeting, Vassalboro Planning Board members unanimously approved two applications to expand buildings in shoreland zones.
Bryan Moore may make an addition to his year-round home at 152 Park Lane, in the Three Mile Pond shoreland; and James and Karyn Darby may add a new bedroom to their Webber Pond camp.
Each building is less than 50 feet from the respective lake. Neither addition will decrease the distance to the water.
Planning board members complimented both applicants on their thorough applications.
Review of Moore’s application took more time, because the building has a complicated history in relation to the town’s shoreland ordinance. He explained that he intends to remove an addition by a former owner, under different regulations, to make his proposed change meet current requirements.
The allowable expansion depends on the size of the building, and the rules for establishing the size have changed, from floor area (which includes a second-story floor) to footprint (the area of ground covered). Calculators appeared as Moore and board members subtracted and added square footage.
Board members briefly discussed trees cut to make room for the addition – more than expected, Moore said, because the arborist found rotten ones. They decided Moore does not need to replace the trees.
The Darbys’ proposal to add a room on the back of their camp was uncomplicated and took less time to gain approval.
China selectmen reacted with indignation when Town Clerk Rebecca Hapgood and Town Manager Dennis Heath told them people are rude to counter staff in the town office.
In addition to the usual daily business, people have been calling and coming in to question, dispute or pay their taxes, and Hapgood said staff have dealt with many “ill-mannered, vulgar and threatening customers in person and over the phone.”
Ronald Breton, acting chairman at the Sept. 30 selectmen’s meeting, pointed out that staff are not responsible for the tax rate or town policies; he invited people who want to complain to talk to selectmen. He also advised counter staff to politely decline to serve rude customers. And, board member Donna Mills-Stevens added, don’t hesitate to call 911 if necessary.
Hapgood said there are two other problems: some taxpayers are so out of practice writing checks that they make them out incorrectly or forget to sign them; and others look at only the top of the two little slips on the bottom of the bill and if the cents are an odd number, pay a penny short.
For example, if a bill is for $4,000.21, the September half payment is for $2,000.11; the March 2020 half payment, on the upper of the small slips, is for $2,000.10.
Heath estimated so far about 50 taxpayers owe a penny each for this error. He and Mills-Stevens doubted it would be legal to simplify things by rounding the hypothetical bill up to $4,000.22. He said he would see if there are other options.
The manager said now that China is down to two part-time patrolling policemen, Craig Johnson from the Kennebec County sheriff’s department and Jordan Gaudet from the Hallowell police department (plus continuing administrative and logistical support from the Oakland police department), he asked Johnson to develop a cost estimate for a full-time China officer. He is not yet ready to consider making a proposal to selectmen.
Heath gave selectmen a revised schedule of proposed fees for town office services like making copies, emailing, FAXing, notarizing and using the telephone (see The Town Line, Sept. 19). Board members approved it unanimously.
Looking back to earlier decisions, Heath reported the transfer of town funds to Bar Harbor Banking and Trust is well under way; and work has started to make the town’s new portable classroom, currently in Oakland, mobile. The building will be brought to the town garage lot until a pad on the town office grounds is ready and then moved there at no additional cost (see The Town Line, Sept. 19). Heath proposes using it as police office.
Selectmen again had to postpone action on the application for a Tax Increment Finance loan for Buckshot Power Sports because they lacked final supporting documents. Heath explained that review of part of the application was delayed because a computer crash required owner Mike Rackliffe to hand-write financial information.
The next China selectmen’s meeting is moved from the usual Monday to Tuesday, Oct. 15, to avoid the renamed Indigenous People’s Day holiday. It will be preceded by 6 p.m. public hearings on Nov. 5 local ballot questions and on amendments to the General Assistance Ordinance appendices.
Vassalboro’s F.A.V.O.R. group will be holding a Window Dressers Build from November 16th – 21st. We are looking for volunteers to assist with measuring, frame building and completing the inserts. Now is also the time to request and purchase frames for your winter insulating needs. Please call the Town Office – Debbie 207 872 2826.
- Issue for May 13, 2021
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