FOR YOUR HEALTH: Hollywood Legends Recruit Military Caregiver Champions

(NAPSI)—Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is rallying the nation behind America’s military caregivers with help from the legacy of a legend, Bob Hope. Hanks launched the Military Caregiver Champion program with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to fund resources for the 5.5 million Americans voluntarily caring for a loved one who was wounded, made ill or injured through military service. Hope’s daughter, Linda Hope, was the first to join the campaign, donating $1 million on behalf of the Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation.

“My dad, Bob Hope, dedicated so much of his life to connecting members of our military to the nation they served and their loved ones waiting at home. He would be so proud to join another passionate entertainer like Tom Hanks in making that same connection between America’s military caregivers and the country that owes them such a debt of gratitude and support,” said Hope.

Military caregivers provide $14 billion of unpaid care to veterans every year. They devote their lives to their loved ones, often sacrificing their own health, jobs and financial security.

“As Senator Elizabeth Dole says, our military caregivers are hidden heroes and I am honored to have the spirit of Bob Hope helping us support them,” said Hanks. “There has never been, nor will there ever be, a greater ambassador between the military community and us Americans than Bob Hope.”

All Americans are invited to become Caregiver Champions. Supporters will receive a Caring Tag, which reimagines the honored symbol of the military dog tag and includes the name and story of a military caregiver.

All administrative costs have been sponsored. One hundred percent of donations will support the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s resources for caregivers.

“We cannot take away the injuries or the illnesses but we can ensure our caregivers do not walk this difficult journey alone,” said Hanks.

To become a Caregiver Champion, visit

SOLON & BEYOND: Solon Pine Tree Club holds meeting; marijuana opt-out meeting slated

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!

The Solon Pine Tree Club met at the Solon Fire Station on January 11 for their meeting. In attendance, there were six members and five leaders.

The craft project was wood burning and finishing candles from the previous month.

Leader Mrs. Pooler shared information on Maine 4-H camper scholarships ranging from $100 – $200. These camps are at Blueberry Cove, Bryant Pond, Greenland Point and Tanglewood.

Hunter, Cooper, Kaitlin and Sarah will give their demonstrations in February. The remaining members will give their demonstrations in March.

4-H members will be doing their annual food trays as a community service during the February meeting.

The club will provide food for the dinner during town meeting day, Saturday, March 7. This will take place at the Solon Elementary School.

The next meeting of the Solon Pine Tree 4-H Club will be on Saturday, February 8, at 9:30 a.m.

Received the following e-mail from Angie Stockwell about news from the Margaret Chase Smith Library, in Skowhegan: First issue of 2020 is ready for viewing. Even in the dead of winter with freezing temperatures, the MCS Library continues to be busy. Chancellor Malloy visited; PBS featured a McCarthy documentary; Scott joins the MCS Policy Center; National History Day in Maine judges are needed; Essay Contest focuses on Maine’s Bicentennial; and two high school students are off to Washington, DC, as winners of the U.S. Senate Youth program. Opportunities to contribute to the annual fund are bolstered by a Hannaford Supermarket fundraiser. Here’s the link: Margaret Chase Smith Library newsletter.

There will be a marijuana opt-out or not options with (these options listed under Adult Use Establishment options are Adult Use Retail Stores, Cultivation Facilities (inside and/or outside) Manufacturing Facilities, Testing Facilities and Note: No “Social Clubs” are allowed. Medical establishment options are: Caregiver Retail Stores, Registered Dispensaries, Manufacturing Facilities and Testing Facilities..

The Maine State Law provides that all the above options are not allowed in a municipality unless that municipality votes to allow them.

In the above paper that I took this from, it states that,”The state has created the rules and regulations covering each of the above options. The state will not issue any licenses to a proposed business unless the municipality the business will be located in has voted to allow that option in their municipality. Currently Solon has not voted to “Opt In” on any of the above options and is not required that we do so.

Carol Dolan sent me this email awhile ago and I did put it in at the time but perhaps you have forgotten and need more things to do in these cold days of winter. A sewing class at 10 a.m. – noon, on Wednesday. TOPS (Take off Pounds Sensibly) 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., Wednesday; Weight Watchers: 5 – 6 p.m., Wednesdays. Come in an sign up – new members accepted. Pickle Ball: 6 p .m., Monday’s, except second week, when it’s on Tuesday. Community Center meetings: 6:30 p.m., Thursday, prior to the second Saturday supper.

If you have any questions, contact Wayne at 474-1065.

And so now for Percy’s memoir: I seek in prayerful words, dear friends, my hearts true wish to send you, that you may know that far or near, my loving thoughts attend you. I cannot find a truer word, nor better to address you – nor song, nor poem have I heard is sweeter than “God bless you.” God bless you! So, I’ve wished you all of brightness life possesses , for can there any joy at all be yours unless God blesses? And so, “through all your days may shadows touch you never – but this alone – God bless you – then thou art safe forever!”

The above didn’t say who wrote it. Anyway, I’m going to put in another one this morning to cheer you: It is called, Love Hath No Season: Love is never out of season, we can always find it where we connect with one another, through thoughts and deeds we share. We may avow it in a letter or recite sweet words of prose; We may show it by a loving glance, or express it with a rose. We may shout it from the rooftops or whisper it soft and low, but no matter how we show it, it sets another’s heart aglow. (words by Catherine Janssen Irwin.)

Erskine Academy girls basketball team holds fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis

Participants in the Erskine Academy girls basketball team fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis, held at the school on January 26. Over $500 was raised for those stricken with MS, who need help with medical bills. (photo courtesy of Jane Golden)

Cassidy Roderick, left, with Erskine girls basketball coach Bob Witts. (photo courtesy of Jane Golden)

The Erskine Academy girls’ basketball team hosted a charity basketball clinic on January 26 with proceeds going to the Maine chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Thirty-five athletes between the ages of 8 and 12 came to the two-hour clinic to not only learn skills, but to also help raise funds for this worthy cause. Coach Bob Witts and several members of the girls’ basketball team worked with the clinic participants to run them through fun drills, teach them skills, and to play a few games.

Over $550 was raised at this event, which will go towards getting wheelchairs and walkers for people as well as helping pay medical bills for those that cannot afford it in Maine with multiple sclerosis (MS).

One of the Erskine basketball players, Mackenzie Roderick, has been personally affected by MS, as her sister, Cassidy, was diagnosed with the disease a year and a half ago, making this cause very special to her and her teammates. Cassidy joined the participants at the clinic, speaking to the kids and parents about how her wheelchair helps her, especially when she needs to walk a great distance or for a long amount of time.

This was a great way to inform the community about MS and its effects on the lives of those who have it. Congratulations to the Erskine Academy girls’ basketball team for holding such an important fundraiser, and thank you to the community for supporting this cause!

Submitted by Jane Golden, VP of HR, JMG Central Office, 65 Stone Street, Augusta, ME 04330.

SCORES & OUTDOORS: Woody calls for a wintry mix of everything until spring

Woodrow saying goodbye following my annual visit to his den.

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee


It’s time again to bundle up and make my trek through the snow fields of center Vassalboro in search of my old friend, Woodrow Charles. As folklore goes, Woody is a weather prognosticating groundhog. With Groundhog Day coming on February 2, I always visit him a little early to give our readers a head start on the possibilities of the weather for the next couple of months.

As I headed out on that day, it was a pleasant start to the day, clear skies with the temperature in the low 30s. Really balmy for the last week in January.

As I walked through the fields, I couldn’t help but notice that, had it not been for the five inches or so we received the previous week, there would not be much snow to trudge through.

As I approached his lair, I spotted the usual smoke billowing from the chimney above the stump, and the glow of lights through the only window he has. There were many tracks outside with groundhog footprints headed in every direction.

I arrived at the door, knocked and waited for an answer. I noticed things were a little different from last year.

If you remember, Woody was off the grid. He had given up all his electronics, given away his 60-inch TV, had his electricity turned off, and basically went all natural with everything. Sustainability, they call it.

But today, I see an electric light on inside.

I knocked again.


“What is going on,” I think to myself.

I knocked a third time. Apparently, he’s out. I didn’t notify him that I was coming today.

Suddenly, I heard something behind me.

It’s Woody, waddling through the snow, carrying a bag.

He stopped, looked at me, and said, “Oh, I didn’t know you were coming today. You should have called first. I’ve been out foraging”

“Well,” I responded. “The reason I didn’t call is because, as of last year, you were off the grid, and swore you were in it for the long haul.”

He had a strange look on his face. “It didn’t work out. I was out of touch with everything. Couldn’t talk to my buddies, Frank, Butch and Slim. I didn’t know what was going on in the world with no TV. It just wasn’t working.”

He continued, “Luckily, Slim gave the TV back to me, but I had to promise to invite him to every one of my Super Bowl parties.”

That got me to thinking. “Hey, the Super Bowl is on Groundhog Day this year. Any predictions?”

I don’t know how he does it, but he’s usually correct.

“If you remember last year I predicted the Patriots by 10 points,” he started bragging. “And the final score was 13-3.”

“OK,” I responded, “you nailed it! Let’s see how you do this year.”

Woody rubbed his chin, and said, “This one is a little tough. I don’t know that much about San Francisco. Being a west coast team, they are not on television that much.

“From what I have read and heard, Kansas City’s offense is generally unstoppable, and the 49ers have one of the top defenses in the league. I usually like to go with defense. So, here goes, San Francisco by four points, as long as Jimmy Garoppolo can put up enough points against an improving Kansas City defense.”

Finally, I remembered. I was here to get a weather prediction, and somehow it always turns to Super Bowl picks.

“What about the weather?” I asked. “It’s been a pretty mild winter so far.”

Woody looked at the floor, then looked up, scratched his head, and spoke: “The worst of the winter is still ahead of us. I get mixed messages on snowfall, but I predict a little more snow than we have received so far, but with no major snow events. Temperatures, however, will plummet, with most of the precipitation being in the form of some snow, but a lot of wintry mix, with rain, sleet and freezing rain.”

I smiled wryly. “That doesn’t sound very encouraging.”

“Also,” Woody continued as though I hadn’t said anything, “the winter will be prolonged into late March, and into early and mid-April.”

That being said, Woody turned to me and said, “Cup of coffee?”

“Sure,” I replied. “I have a little time on my hands.”

So, for the next hour, we had coffee, and talked about many different subjects. I didn’t realize he was so well informed.

In all, everything he had a couple of years ago was back in its place, including his cell phone, WiFi, weather equipment, even Siri.

“Cost me a bit,” he said embarrassingly. “I needed to get everything out of hawk.”

So, what about Siri? “Gives me someone to talk to,” he said. “She knows a lot about a lot. It gets lonely here during winter.”

“So, you’re fairly well connected,” I asked.

“That’s what happens when you have communication with the outside world,” Woody said. “It’s amazing what you can learn with Google. And on television, there is the Home Shopping Network, CNN, FoxNews, Home & Garden Network, and my favorite, Animal Planet.”

Coffee finished, I got up, put on my coat, hat and gloves, and headed to the door. Once there, I turned, and wished my host a good day.

“Stay warm, and I’ll see you next year,” I said.

“Be safe, my friend,” Woody responded.

With that, I began my journey back home.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

The San Francisco 49ers have appeared in six Super Bowls, winning five. Who defeated them in Super Bowl XLXII, in 2012?

Answer can be found here.

Roland’s Trivia Question for Thursday, January 30, 2020

Trivia QuestionsThe San Francisco 49ers have appeared in six Super Bowls, winning five. Who defeated them in Super Bowl XLXII, in 2012?


The Baltimore Ravens, 34-31.

Obituaries for Thursday, January 30, 2020


WINDSOR – Carl W. Sevigny, 70, of Windsor, passed away Sunday, January 5, 2020, at Maine Medical Center, in Portland. He was born February 3, 1949, in Augusta, to Howard and Victoria Sevigny.

He served in the U.S. Army. Carl had been a woodsman most of his life. He enjoyed going to the ocean and driving around siteseeing. Carl enjoyed going to the truck pulls and the horse races. He was a great friend to many and would do anything to help someone. He was a very loving and giving man and will be deeply missed.

Carl was predeceased by both parents; his brother, Dale Sevigny and grandson Aaron White-Sevigny.

Survivors include his significant other of 20 years, Cindy Trask; son, Roy and wife Jennifer Sevigny and daughter Ginger Sevigny, all of Windsor; sister Gail Hall; brothers Phillip Sevigny and Bruce Sevigny; grandchildren, Santasia Sevigny, Ryan Sevigny, Ashley Dumas and Josh Duggan; great-grandchildren, Lucas, Jared and Alyson; several nieces and nephews. He was also like a father to Steve and Melissa Plourde and Karen Sheehan.

A celebration of life was held Jan. 26

Memories and condolences may be shared at


JEFFERSON – William “Bill” Alton Ames Sr., 77, of Jefferson, passed away on the evening of Monday, January 6, 2020, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. He was born in Damariscotta on September 23, 1942, the son of Samuel H. and Dorothy (Smith) Ames.

Bill attended Jefferson Village School and graduated from Lincoln Academy in 1960. He went to Gates Business School and graduated with a degree in business. He worked for Augusta Federal Savings Bank, in Augusta, for 37 years, retiring in 2000.

He married his high school sweetheart, Nancy West, in 1963. They resided in Jefferson, where they raised three children, Carole, William Jr., and Joseph.

Bill was a Mason at Riverside Lodge #135 AF&AM, joining in April 1966. He served as master from 1970-71 and 1988-89. Throughout the years, he served in every chair at one time or another. Bill also belonged to the Willow Grange, in Jefferson, for many years.

Bill was loved by all who knew him. If anyone needed help, old friend or new, Bill was there to lend a hand or a tool. He loved spending summers at his camp on Damariscotta Lake, which has been enjoyed by more than four generations. He enjoyed taking friends and family for boat rides on the lake. He enjoyed woodworking and made a tool bench, table and chair sets and cradles for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He enjoyed many life-long friends and always welcomed new ones. Bill and Nancy enjoyed many years of traveling in their motor home to warm places in the winter, such as Florida and Texas.

Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his son, William Jr.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy, of 56 years; his daughter, Carole Colby, of Augusta, his son, Joseph Ames and wife Holly, of Lindenwold, New Jersey; his grandchildren, Jeffrey Feyler Jr. and wife Stacey, Erinn DeRoy and husband Blaine, William E. Ames, Jonathan Ames, Amanda Ratcliff and husband Larry, Kasey Ames, Jessica Ames, Marissa Linton, and Miranda Linton; his great-grandchildren, Jeffrey III, Bridget, Emma, Landon, Hannah, Ella, Jaxson, Coleton, Kenneth, Selina, JazmineLee, and Jaceon; his brothers, Kenneth Ames and Robert Ames; and by many cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

A graveside masonic service will be held at Hillside Cemetery in Damariscotta in the spring.

Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543. Condolences, and messages for his family, may be expressed by visiting:

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to either the Maine Cancer Foundation, 170 U.S. Rte. 1, Suite 250, Falmouth, ME 04105, or the American Heart Association, 51 U.S. Rte. 1, Suite M, Scarborough, ME 04074.


VASSALBORO – Robert “Bob” Bullen, 79, passed away on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, following a long battle with illness. Bob was born in Brooklyn, New York, on April 30, 1940.

He served in the U.S. Navy for three years and then began a career as a telephone repairman. He moved to Maine with his family in 1972 where he continued his career with the phone company. After retiring, he was a part time faculty member at Kennebec Valley Techincal College, in Fairfield.

He is survived by his three sons; Robert, John, and Vincent: daughters-in-law Jean and Mildred; grandsons, Dane, Jordan, and Myles; and his great-grandson Jace.

According to Bob’s wishes, there will be no viewing or funeral services. A private celebration of life will be held at the convenience of the family.

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


WATERVILLE – Louise A. (Douglass) Levesque, 77, passed away on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, at her home, in Waterville. She was born July 2, 1942, in Farmington, the daughter of Harry Stevens and Margaret Corinne (Currie) Douglass.

She grew up in Eustis, then attended Good Will-Hinckley School, in Hinckley, and progressed to Lawrence High School, in Fairfield, where she met the love of her life, Paul Levesque. On June 12, 1965, she married Paul at the Sacred Heart Church, in Waterville, and spent 47 years together on this earth. As a teenager Louise was employed at Hillman’s Bakery, in Fairfield; in the 1960s, Shoe Corporation of America, in Norridgewock, as a shoe sewing technician; then at the Waterville Osteopathic Hospital as a member of the kitchen staff; and in the late 1970s turned her attention to becoming a full time homemaker.

Louise loved babysitting and helping to raise her nephews, nieces and grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoyed knitting mittens and dish cloths, working on jigsaw puzzles, completing word search books, and playing Yahtzee, UNO and cribbage with her family. She was a wonderful cook with many special recipes and had a green thumb for houseplants and gardens. Her endless optimism, smile and spunky attitude will be missed by all who have known and loved her.

She is survived by son, Christopher Levesque, of Waterville; three sisters, Marcia Dulac, Corrine Douglass, and Joanne Shaw; aunt, Mary Currie Stevens; three brothers-in-law, Peter Levesque, John Levesque (Jean Dolley), and James Levesque; four sisters-in-law, Kathy Sandy (Raymond Sandy), Joann Hopkins, Lillian Levesque, and Jane Levesque; son-in-law, Luke Moen; grandchildren, Veronica Levesque, Jonathon Levesque, Mark Moen, Jacob Moen, and Joshua Moen and many nephews and nieces.

She was predeceased by husband Paul Levesque; daughter, Tammi Moen; brother, Steven; two sisters, Linda and Barbara; parents, Harry and Margaret Douglass.

A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring of 2020 at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Louise’s memory to Good Will-Hinckley, 16 Prescott Dr., Hinckley, ME 04944.

Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 455 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, ME 04976.


FAIRFIELD – Brandon Jack Blanchette, 26, passed away on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. He was born in Ellsworth, June 21, 1993.

Brandon was a hard worker and had vision. He always found work, working with others and also did side jobs. He had in recent months started his own business B&B Construction. He always took life’s challenges head on. He was a good artist, good at mechanical work, loved hunting, fishing, and the outdoors. He was very sociable and loved to dream big and talk of his dreams. He was good with children and his daughter was the pride and joy of his life. All in all a good soul, nothing he wouldn’t do for his family and friends if he could.

He was predeceased by his father, Paul Blanchette in September of 2010.

He is survived by his daughter, Aubrey Jane Blanchette and her mother Dakota, of Wales; his mother, Rose Blanchette Desrosiers, of Fairfield; sister, Alana Blanchette, of Waterville, and his brother, Travis Blanchette ,of Fairfield; many aunts, uncles and cousins.

A Mass of Christian Burial took place on January 27, 2020, at Notre Dame Catholic Church, in Waterville.


PALERMO – Marie Fernande St. Pierre, 92, of Palermo, passed away peacefully, following a brief illness, on Friday, January 17, 2020. She was born on Arpil 25, 1927, in Seigas, New Brunswick, Canada.

As the matriarch of her family, she leaves behind a long legacy of love, laughter and life. Her door was always open, as was her kitchen to family and friends. Her kindness and caring resonated through and to any and all whom had the pleasure of having her touch their lives.

She leaves behind four generations of a beautiful family that she created, sustained and kept close together and to her heart, as the phenomenal woman she was. She was the best mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend who blessed us all with her kindness and generosity. Her prevailing optimism left many filled with gratitude for having been touched by such an angelic soul. She will be missed deeply, truly, madly, forever and a day.

Her remaining legacy includes her son, Giles Gerard St. Pierre, of Palermo; daughter, Murielle S. DiBiase and her husband Dana DiBiase Sr., of Palermo; grandson, Dana DiBiase Jr. and Leah Maxwell, of Bingham; granddaughters, Marla DiBiase, of Winthrop, and , Jennifer St. Pierre and Ray Shults, of Vassalboro; great-grandchildren include Dylan Fortin and Nikolette Alexander, of China, Brianne DiBiase, of Brighton, Massachusetts, Colton DiBiase, of St. Joseph, Missouri, Kinli DiBiase and Donivyn Harms, of Westbrook, Nea DiBiase, of Winthrop, Ayden Michaud, Colby Shults, and Ravyn Shults, all of Vassalboro; sisters and brothers include Ernest Ruest, of New Brunswick, Canada, Georgine Ruest, of Matante, Québec Canada, Lisette Butler, of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, Yvette Fournier, of New Brunswick, Canada, and Claudette Ruest ,of Degelis, Québec, Canada.

Several generations of nieces, nephews and cousins were also blessed by her presence in their lives.

She was predeceased by her father, Romeo Odellon Ruest, her mother, Marie Anais Cyrl; her husband, Joseph Hector St. Pierre; and her brothers, Jean Guy Ruest and Joseph Jean-Louis Ruet.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, February, 1, 2020, at 4 p.m., at China Baptist Church, 36 Causeway Road, China, Maine. A reception will follow the service in the church vestry. Flower arrangements can be made with Augusta Florist (207) 626-2808.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Plummer Funeral Home, 983 Ridge Road, Windsor, Maine. Condolences, stories and photos may be shared at


CANAAN – Keith W. Lawler, Jr., 52, passed away Saturday, January 18, 2020, at the Maine Veteran’s Hospital, in Augusta. He was born February 19, 1967, in Waterville, the son of Keith W. Sr. and Rose (Hart) Lawler.

He attended Hartland Christian School and Nokomis Regional High School, in Newport, graduating in 1985. On October 6, 2012, he married the former Ann Kimball, of Skowhegan. He was employed by Mid-State Machine, in Winslow, and NRF Distributors, in Augusta. He spent several years in military service with the Army National Guard. Keith enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing horse shoes, golf, family BBQs, poker, cribbage and spending time with his grandkids.

Keith is survived by his wife of eight years, Ann (Kimball) Lawler, of Canaan; two sons, Trevor Leathers and wife Leslie, of Canaan, Timothy Kimball and wife Brianna, of Skowhegan; four daughters, Heather Lawler and significant other, of Bowling Green, Virginia, Ashley Oakes and husband Julian, of Canaan, Jerrica Benton, of Hudson Falls, New York, Chelsea Wyman, of Washington; father, Keith Lawler Sr. ,of Norridgewock; two brothers, Marshall Lawler and wife Pamela, of Pittsfield, and Eric Witham and significant other, of Skowhegan; four sisters, Mardene Shibles and husband Willis, and Lisa Tozier and husband Shawn, all of St. Albans, Karen Sinclair and husband Roger, of Norway, Beckie Genthner and husband Dana, of Skowhegan; grandchildren Blake, Leighton, Lincoln, Grayson, Jaxson, Courtney, Timothy Jr., Connor, Jace, Amelia Mae; several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by Parents Ruby Lawler, Rose Lawler and Miles Mooers, and grandchild Reagan.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, February 1, 2020, at 1 p.m., at the Pace Local #9 Banquet Hall, Waterville Road, Skowhegan.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Keith’s memory to VA Hospice Care at Togus, 1 VA Center, Augusta, ME 04333.

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


UNITY – Patricia A. (Walsh) Toto, 85, passed away at Maine Medical Center after a long illness surrounded by family on Saturday, January 18, 2020. She was born the daughter of James A. and Dorothea D. (Cadden) Walsh, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, on October 24, 1934.

She lived in and attended school in Charlestown, Rhode Island, and graduated from high school in Providence, Rhode Island, at the age of 16. Following graduation, she attended Salve Regina College, in Newport, Rhode Island, where she graduated with a BS in nursing.

Upon graduation, she worked as a charge nurse at South County Hospital. In 1956 she met the love of her life, and in August of 1957 she married Daniel A. Toto, of Warwick, Rhode Island. In 1960 they moved to Unity where she went to work at Sebasticook Valley Hospital, in Pittsfield. In 1967 she became a nursing instructor at the Maine School of Practical Nursing, in Waterville, eventually becoming the principal of the school.

In 1981, she became the director of the Associate Degree Nursing Program at Kennebec Valley Technical College, in Fairfield, a program that she developed and implemented. In 1996 she stepped down as director to oversee the Student Placement Program at KVTC, also proofreading nursing textbooks for a major publishing house until she retired in 1998.

Following her retirement, she enjoyed knitting, crocheting, reading, cooking, traveling with her husband and playing cribbage. She was an avid Red Sox fan, loved her daily crossword puzzles, spending time with her large family and remaining the matriarch of the clan. She was fiercely proud of her Irish heritage and every year she looked forward to St. Paddy’s Day, the bagpipes, and Irish music.

Patricia was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel A. Toto; and her great-grandson, Gunner Toto.

She is survived by her brother, James A. Walsh Jr. and wife Carolyn, of Palm City, Florida; her children, Daniel A. Toto Jr., of Vassalboro, Christopher J. Toto and wife Diane, of Windham, Dr. Timothy P. Toto, of Unity, and significant other Betsy Shields, of Old Town, Caroline W. Toto-Lawrence and husband Peter, of Fairfield, and Suzanne P. Giles and husband Jonathan, of Brunswick; her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Jennifer Prickett and her children Ann, Ava and Abigail, of Vassalboro, Anna Mowatt, husband Joshua and their children Silas and Piper, all of Vassalboro, Sarah Toto and husband Tristan Mills, of Bangor, Nicholas Toto, of Windham, and his children Brodie Toto, of Newfield, Vito Toto, of Windham ,and Hunter Toto, of Yarmouth, Kaitlin Toto, of Portland, Brendan Toto, of Bangor, Michaela Lawrence, of Fairfield, and Ryan Giles, of Brunswick; her sisters-in-law, Mary G. Haley, of Warwick, Rhode Island, and Angela L. Schiraldi, of Orlando, Florida; and her many nieces and nephews.

Patricia’s wishes were for a private family funeral. There will be a burial in the spring at the Maine Veterans Cemetery, in Augusta.

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

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Maine Public Safety Pipe and Drum Corp., P.O. Box 8821, Portland, Maine 04104.


WINSLOW – Annette L. Sproul, 77, passed away Tuesday, January 21, 2020, following a long struggle with illness.

Annette was born on March 2, 1942, in Brewer, to Bruce and Jessie Fogg.

She attended Hampden Academy, in Hampden, and graduated salutatorian June 1961. She married James E. Sproul Sr. on July 8 of that year.

Annette had several occupations, ranging from a daycare provider, payroll clerk for the Hathaway Shirt Com­pany, in Water­ville, driving school bus in Winslow, as well as several retail positions over the years.

Some of her favorite hobbies were crafting, cooking, reading, gardening, puzzles and collecting stuffed animals. She was a talented cake decorator and cross-stitcher but her true passion was her family. Whether it was volunteering as the Cub Scout leader, driving the band bus, attending sporting events, dance recitals, packing up and going to camp or planning a special birthday party, she always made her family feel more than special. She loved her friends and extended family and found true joy in “The Cousins” dinner group.

Annette was predeceased by her parents; and her most beloved brother, David Bruce Fogg. KIA, Quang Nam, Vietnam, February 6, 1970, P.F.C., US Marine Corps.

Annette is survived by her husband, James E. Sproul Sr.; son, James E. Sproul Jr. and his wife Doreen; daughter, Laurie Poisson and her husband Christopher; son, Joseph and his wife Darlene; many grandchildren, Lyndsay J. Clark, Amanda Dugal, Kymberlee Leighton, David Sproul, Carli Poisson and Rachel Poisson.

Funeral services were held on January 25, at Faith Evangelical Free Church, in Waterville, with Pastor Brent Small officiating. Arrangements were under the care of Veilleux and Redington Funeral Home,


FAIRFIELD – Henry Pouliot, 89, died Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at his home.

Born on December 9, 1930, in Benton, and raised in Fairfield Center, the son of Wilfred and Yvonne Ouellette Pouliot, he was a lifelong resident of Fairfield Center.

Henry enjoyed his career at Keyes Fibre (Huhtamaki), in Waterville, for 26 years as a maintenance technician.

Henry and Wilma were lucky to spend 30 years in retirement making countless friends. While in Maine, they were active members of the Kennebec River Rovers RV club. He also loved traveling to Canada to visit friends and explore the countryside.

For 23 long Maine winters, they traveled south to the Red Oaks Resort, in Bushnell, Florida. Here he spent time playing golf, shooting pool, expanding his creative world through carving, painting, making floats, props for plays, and more. Henry was always the first to lend a hand to neighbors, often resulting in lifelong friendships.

For many years Henry helped host large family Thanksgivings at the Victor Grange Hall, in Fairfield Center.

He leaves his best friend and wife of 65 years, Wilma (Mackay) Pouliot; his son, Philip Pouliot and his wife Debra; his two grandchildren, Jason Pouliot and wife Vicky, Travis Pouliot and partner Francis Nicdao; and his great-grandchildren, Wyatt Pouliot, Kegan, Kassadi, and Karsten.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on January 29, at Notre Dame Catholic Church, in Waterville.

An online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at

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

In lieu of flowers, his family asks you to donate to the Victor Grange Hall. Checks can be made out to Victor Grange and sent to Roger Shorty, 118 Oakland Road, Fairfield, ME 04937.


WINSLOW – Gerald “Gerry” Michaud Sr., 91, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at the Oak Grove Rehab Center, in Waterville, from cardiac complications following a recent surgery. Gerry was born on June 23, 1928, to J. Alcide and Jennie Mae (Labbe) Michaud, in Waterville.

He attended high school at and graduated from Coburn Classical Institute and was a 1951 graduate of Colby College, both in Waterville. He also attended Franklin Technical Institute, in Boston, for advanced physics and math courses.

He married the former Dollena “Dolly” Bilodeau on April 9, 1950, and they were married just weeks short of 65 years when she died in March of 2015.

Gerry worked at his father’s car dealership briefly and then sold insurance for Allstate from 1953-1963. He then worked as assistant of operations planning and manager of customer services at Keyes Fibre Co. (now Huhtamaki), in Waterville, and then for two years in the Hammond, Indiana, office. He retired in 1990. He was quickly bored with retirement and worked for his son, Gerry Jr., owner of Big G’s Deli, in Winslow, to deliver sandwiches at lunchtime. He worked for Big G’s for 21 years, retiring finally at 83 years old.

Gerry was a Boy Scout master for five years, helped to organize Troop #443, sponsored by St. John Parish, in Winslow, and was promoted to scout commissioner, establishing other new troops. In the late 1960s Gerry taught CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) to high school students at St. John parish. He was a member and chairman of the board of directors for three years at Keyes Fibre Federal Credit Union, in Waterville. Gerry was also a member of the National Guard Reserves prior to his marriage.

In his free time, Gerry built a woodworking shop in his basement and created many lovely pieces of furniture for his friends and family. He was an avid reader and lifelong learner. Gerry was fluent in French and belonged to a few local French discussion groups and also spoke Spanish. He played bridge for over 70 years with dear friends the Cyrs, Veilleux’, and Vigues. Gerry was a runner for 25 years and loved fishing and hunting with his sons and family.

He is survived by his daughter Sarah Michaud and husband Dennis Perkins, with whom he lived for the last six years, and three sons, Gerry Michaud Jr. and wife Ginger Lord, Peter and Catherine Michaud and Christopher Michaud and wife Kristal; his grandchildren, Seth Dearborn and wife Kari Christian, Joshua Michaud, Jenny Michaud, Heather Lewis and husband Chip, Madeline Michaud, John Peter Michaud, and Nathan Michaud and partner Magen; his great-grandchildren, Avery, Aidan, Ashton and Cash Lewis, Molly Michaud, Gwen and Anna Martin and Lenny Sousa; his grandstepchildren, Elly Perkins, Julia Martin and Will Perkins, and Jamey Lord; his brother, Roland Michaud and wife Ann, of Winslow; several nieces, nephews; and special niece Terry Collier, her husband Russ and their family.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on January 28, 2020, at Notre Dame Catholic Church, in Waterville. Burial will be in the Spring at the Village Cemetery, Vassalboro.

An online guestbook signed, condolences and memories shared at


WINSLOW – Brenda Marie Levesque, 56, died at home on Friday, January 24, 2020, following a long battle with ovarian cancer. Brenda was born on Nov­ember 21, 1963, in Fort Kent, to Lionel and Geraldine “St. Onge” Levesque.

She attended Van Buren Secondary School and graduated in 1982. Brenda worked for Marden’s, in Waterville, from August of 1988 – June 2016 as a furniture salesperson for most of her career. Brenda, known to many of her customers as “Frenchie,” was well liked by many customers. She enjoyed coloring, reading, and most of all her grandkids – the pride and joy of her life.

Brenda was predeceased by her dad, Lionel Levesque, and brother, Michael Levesque.

She is survived by her live in partner of 34 years Mike Cyr; two daughters, Keisha Cyr and Fiancé Richie Yvon, of Windsor, and Sarah Lynds and husband Ben, of Houlton; her mother, Geraldine Levesque, of Grand Isle; two brothers Daniel Levesque of Southington, Connecticut, and Kenneth Levesque, of St. David; two sisters, Jackie Ayotte, of Sabetha, Kansas, and Lynn Dumond and husband Ricky, of Van Buren; her three grandchildren, Drake Lynds, of Houlton, Jamison Yvon and Zoey Yvon, both of Windsor; as well as several nieces, great-nieces and great-nephews.

The funeral will be Friday January 31, 2020, at 11 a.m., at Notre Dame Church, 116 Silver St., in Waterville. The family invites you to visit at the church prior to the service at 10 a.m. Burial will be at a later date at the St. Gerard Cemetery, in Grand Isle.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, 22 Bramhall St., Portland, ME 04102, Attn. Development Department.


SIDNEY – Verna (Deschene) Ferland, 72, passed away peacefully at her home, in Sidney, on Sunday, January 26, 2020. Verna was born in Grand Falls, New Bruns­wick, Canada, on November 3, 1947, one of seven children born to Claude Deschene and Winnifred Levesque Deschene.

At the age of 5 her family traveled from Grand Falls to East Millinocket, where she lived and graduated high school in 1967. The day she started school, she, along with the rest of her family, spoke and read only French, which was the case for many back at that time immigrating from Canada. They joked later in life that they learned to speak English from watching TV.

On October 19, 1968, she married James A. Ferland and they built a life together that lasted over 51 years.Verna gave birth to two children, Michelle, who was born at Loring Air Force Base in 1969 where Jim was stationed, and a son George who was born in Presque Isle in 1973. The family lived in Presque Isle for 26 years.

She worked many a potato harvest for extra money at Christmas to make that morning special for her family. That love of Christmas was with Verna her whole life and was passed on to her entire family. She always thought of others first and did as much for her family and friends as she could.

She was employed for many years in Presque Isle as a crossing guard at local schools and at the outdoor public pool for many summers. Verna was also an amazing seamstress and made many family members clothes as gifts. Including prom dresses for her daughter Michelle and a tuxedo for husband Jim. She would stay up nights to finish projects so her friends and family would have their items for their special day. Her sewing machine could be heard cranking away many a Christmas Eve finishing gifts.

Verna had a great love for animals and her favorite pastime, gardening. The family had many pets over the years, but her favorite was Quincy, a bulldog. She spent many hours in her flower gardens in which she took great pride. She and her twin sister Velma had a sibling rivalry when it came to gardening and would often share bulbs and cuttings from their plants. Verna and Velma shared a special bond. They came into this world right next to each other and Velma was there by her side when she passed.

Verna was predeceased by her parents Claude and Winnifred Deschene.

She is survived by her husband James Ferland, of Sidney; daughter Michelle Warguleski and husband Chris, of Syracuse, New York, and her children Miranda Lombardo Hyzy and husband Christopher, of Kenmore, New York, and Chelsea Lombardo, of Rochester, New York; son George H. Ferland and wife Kris, of Madawaska Lake, and their children Kristopher Alfaro of Kingsville, Texas, Nicolas Alfaro ,of Ankara, Turkey, and George J. Ferland, of Madawaska Lake; siblings Camille Deschene and wife Nancy, of East Millinocket, Claudette Green and husband Dennis, of Brownville, Velma Appleby and husband Bill, of Millinocket, Donald Deschene, of Medway, Bert Deschene, of Lee, and Linda Ambrose and husband Rick, of Glenburn; many special nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Verna’s life will be scheduled in the spring, a time she looked forward to so she could get back in her garden.

Arrangements are under the care of Funeral Alternatives, 82 Western Ave., Augusta, ME 04330.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Verna to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, Maine Medical Center, Development Office, 22 Bramhall St., Portland, ME 04102.

China planners set to visit one proposed solar development site

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members are tentatively scheduled to visit the site of one of two proposed solar developments in town Saturday morning, Feb. 8, if the developers are available and the weather cooperates. The site visit is considered a board meeting and is open to the public.

At the Jan. 28 Planning Board meeting, Codes Officer Bill Butler said he expects the solar applications to be on the board’s Feb. 11 meeting agenda. Planners would like to see the proposed site in the field behind Mike Willette’s gravel pit, off Arnold Road near Erskine Academy, which has been described as an open meadow with an area of forested wetlands.

The visit is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 8, with Butler and the developers to decide where to meet.

Erskine Academy to host eighth grade open house

(photo credit: Erskine Academy)

All eighth grade students and their parents from the surrounding communities are invited to attend the Erskine Academy 8th Grade Open House on Wednesday, February 26, at 6:30 p.m., in the gym. The administration strongly encourages all incoming freshmen and their parents to attend this event as registration materials will be available and information about the course selection process will be provided. In the case of inclement weather, a snow date of Thursday, February 27th has been set.

Parents who are unable to attend this event are asked to contact the Guidance Office at 445-2964 to request registration materials.

China selectmen make budget recommendations

by Mary Grow

China selectmen made their recommendations on Town Manager Dennis Heath’s proposed 2020-21 municipal budget at a special meeting Jan. 27, so the budget committee could review them Jan. 30. Voters will make final decisions at the annual town business meeting, scheduled for Saturday morning, April 4.

The major change Heath proposed was adding a full-time police officer, which would increase the police and animal control budget from this year’s $91,498 (of which $26,535 is designated as “police wages”) to more than $207,000.

“We can’t afford it,” was Selectman Wayne Chadwick’s immediate response, followed by a motion to leave police wages and related items at the current level.

“We can’t afford it,” was Selectman Wayne Chadwick’s immediate response…

Later, however, selectmen expressed willingness to support a proposal to put the police officer’s salary and related expenses in a separate, extra-budget warrant article with a price tag, so voters could decide on April 4 whether they want the service and are willing to pay for it.

Most other changes in the proposed budget are internal moves or rearrangements of expenditure requests.

For example, Heath proposes making Town Clerk Rebecca Hapgood, Transfer Station Manager Tim Grotton and Public Works Manager Shawn Reed salaried rather than paid by the hour, because, he said, they work as managers. He and selectmen agreed on recommended salary levels that would be approximately equivalent to the three percent increase recommended for China’s hourly workers.

The town manager moved requests for money for the China Lake Association, the China Region Lakes Alliance and stipends for volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel into the article funding community support organizations, raising that request considerably while reducing planned use of Tax Increment Finance funds and the fire and rescue budget lines.

Overall, Heath said, if budget committee members and voters agree with the selectmen, the 2020-21 municipal budget will have a minimal effect on the tax rate. The municipal budget includes the annual county taxes; the school budget is separate and was not part of the Jan. 27 discussion.

According to the budget summary for the current fiscal year in the town report for the year ended June 30, 2018, the municipal budget was less than 33 percent of overall spending; the county tax was less than 5 percent; and the school budget was just over 52 percent.

The budget committee meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, in the town office meeting room to review the selectmen’s recommendations for 2020-21 spending.

CHINA: Discussions continue over conflict of interest

by Mary Grow

At their Jan 21 meeting, China selectmen, assisted by town attorney Amanda Meader, continued their discussion of conflict of interest as it relates to budget committee members who are also volunteer fire department members. They added an expansion of earlier discussions of reporting requirements for fire departments spending town funds. Neither issue was resolved.

As at the special Jan. 7 meeting (see The Town Line, Jan. 16), board Chairman Ronald Breton insisted that a budget committee member who is also a fire department member, or has a family member in one of China’s three departments, must recuse himself from any discussion of stipends, donations or other individual reimbursement, under whatever name, for firefighters. He named Budget Committee Chairman Robert Batteese and members Kevin Maroon and Tom Rumpf as those affected.

According to China’s Administrative Code of Ethics, no appointed or elected official can take any part in a decision on an item “in which he or she or a member of his or her immediate family has a financial or special interest, other than an interest shared by the public generally.”

Breton challenged Batteese, the only one of the three named budget committee members present, to declare himself in conflict and recuse himself from any committee discussion. Batteese refused, repeating, as he said on Jan. 7, that he has been in both positions for many years.

“I’m much more interested in keeping the taxes down than in the few dollars I get,” he said.

“That’s not gonna happen,” Batteese, a China Village department member, said, because individual stipend amounts are not public information.

Batteese asked whether the selectmen were in conflict when they voted to add to the 2019 town meeting warrant a request to increase their annual stipends, which voters approved. Meader replied that since only selectmen can approve the meeting warrant to be sent to voters, sometimes they must be exempted from conflict of interest rules. The voters make the final decision, she emphasized.

The attorney added that she regrets the whole “difficult conversation,” which in her view is not about local people “honorably serving your community for a few bucks,” but about possible future problems or current issues in the wider world.

Since Batteese declined to state a conflict of interest, Breton made a motion for the selectboard declaring the three budget committee members cannot vote on anything involving funds to individual firefighters, based on state law and China’s Administrative Code of Ethics. Donna Mills-Stevens seconded the motion so it could be discussed.

Breton insisted the issue was conflict of interest, not the money involved, although when Mills-Stevens called the $40,000 proposed for stipends a “very small part” of the total budget, he disagreed.

Breton voted in favor of his motion, Wayne Chadwick voted against it, and Mills-Stevens and Irene Belanger abstained. Breton demanded reasons for the abstentions. Mills-Stevens said she was confused by the emphasis on one budget item; Belanger agreed.

The motion having failed, selectmen turned to other business before returning to a related issue: when fire department treasurers submit quarterly reports on how they’ve spent town money, Breton said stipend recipients’ names should be listed.

“That’s not gonna happen,” Batteese, a China Village department member, said, because individual stipend amounts are not public information.

South China and Weeks Mills fire chiefs Dick Morse and Bill Van Wickler, respectively, also objected. Morse thought his department was filling out the quarterly form as Town Manager and Town Treasurer Dennis Heath requested. For example, he said, the line for vehicle repairs reports a total spent, but not individual amounts for tires or nuts and bolts.

Breton said without names being listed, the town treasurer can be fined, jailed or both for failing to require proper itemization of taxpayers’ money.

Heath, who had been following the meeting via livestream as he continues to recover from a broken ankle, joined on speakerphone. He said that he does not need to know how stipends are calculated or how many hours each recipient puts in, but does need each name and the amount the person received. Because the stipends are an individual benefit from public funds, the treasurer needs a public record, he said.

Breton recommended selectmen, Heath and the three fire chiefs schedule a joint meeting to seek clarification and consensus. No action was taken on the suggestion.

In other business Jan. 21, resident Anita Smith talked about a planned timber harvest in the China School Forest behind China Primary School, to begin in February. Smith and Elaine Philbrook have been overseeing the forest for years.

Smith is working with forester Harold Burnett, of Two Trees Forestry, in Winthrop, and Tyler Reynolds Forest Products, of China. She expects timber sales will bring in less than $4,000.

Proceeds from the last harvest in the late 1990s were set aside in an account for town forest maintenance, grant-matching and related purposes. Smith would like money from the February harvest to go into the same account.

After some confusion over whether she was asking permission or informing selectmen of the next step in an ongoing plan, selectmen unanimously voted approval.

Selectmen appointed Trishea Story as budget committee secretary until the next local elections in November and Sandra Isaac to the China for a Lifetime Committee.

Their next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Feb. 3. Before then, they were scheduled for a Jan. 27 review of the proposed 2020-2021 budget in advance of a Budget Committee meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30.