SCORES & OUTDOORS: Mounted great black hawk to go on display at Maine State Museum

A mature great black hawk.

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Maine’s famous great black hawk was back in the news last week when it was announced that the raptor, which succumbed to its wounds last year, was going on display at the Maine State Museum, in Augusta, following its preparation by taxidermist, Tom Berube, of Poland. The mount of the rarely seen South American raptor appropriately depicts it standing over a squirrel.

The great black hawk, the first of its kind known to visit Maine, was originally spotted in Biddeford in August 2018. It disappeared for a while, only to reappear in Portland’s Deering Oaks Park, in November, stalking a gray squirrel. The park is known for its abundant population of squirrels. During its brief stay in Deering Oaks, it didn’t lack for food.

great black hawk mount destined for the Maine State Museum

The first photos of the great black hawk mount destined for the Maine State Museum were posted on Facebook by hunter Christi Holmes, who saw the finished mount at Tom Berube’s taxidermy studio, in Poland. (photo by Christi Holmes)

It was rescued during a snowstorm on January 20, 2019, and transported to the Avian Haven bird rehabilitation facility, in Freedom, in an attempt to rehab the raptor. The bird was euthanized on January 31, 2019, because of extensive frostbite which prevented blood from reaching either leg or foot.

While at the rehab facility, the bird received national attention. “This bird is certainly our most famous patient,” Diane Winn, the executive director of Avian Haven, where the hawk was being treated, wrote in an email to Audubon.

According to Audubon, “from its usual haunt at Deering Oaks Park, in downtown Portland, the hawk occupied itself by hunting squirrels and rats and fared well despite the snowy conditions, according to its many attentive onlookers.

“Then, the mercury dropped.

“On an icy Sunday morning, with temperatures hovering around 8°F, a man strolling through the park discovered the hawk on the ground, unable to stand. He was soon joined by a skier who recognized the famed animal from signs hanging around the park, which also advertised Avian Haven’s phone number in case the hawk appeared in distress. She brought the bird home in a cardboard box, called up the rescue, and arranged for its transport through a volunteer-run shuttle. The drive usually takes an hour and a half; on January 20, it took almost four hours on the sleet-covered roads.

“The hawk was unresponsive when it left Portland. But along the route, in the car’s welcome heat and shelter, it began perking up. The bird opened its eyes at a handoff between drivers, and was active by the time it arrived at the hospital in early evening, according to a Facebook post by Avian Haven. Hospital staff bandaged the bird’s feet and by morning it was alert and standing.

“After a full exam and initial bloodwork, a staff veterinarian said the hawk would lose part of its outer toe to frostbite, but was doing well and eating meals of mice with gusto. Now, the big question looming over the recovering bird is what happens next.”

The bird had originally been sighted in South Padre Island, in Texas, in April 2018.

According to Louis Bevier, a research biologist at Colby College, in Waterville, it could be the same great black hawk spotted in Texas last year. The Maine great black hawk had similar markings as those of the Texas bird, which identified it as a juvenile. It is often mistaken for a common black hawk.

The great black hawk is native to Central and South America, and rarely leaves its surroundings. What brought this particular great black hawk to Maine is unknown. Although that particular species has been known to wander.

With regard to diet, it is a generalist, feeding primarily on rodents, bats, birds, fish, crabs, reptiles, and amphibians; there also are reports of these hawks eating fruit and eggs, often while pursuing its prey on foot. This species can be seen soaring above woodlands. Along the Amazon river, its normal range, it has been seen raiding hoatzin – nesting colonies looking for eggs and chicks. Hoatzins, also known as the reptile bird, skunk bird, stinkbird, or Canje pheasant, is a species of tropical bird found in swamps, riparian forests, and mangroves of the Amazon and the Orinoco basins in South America. It is notable for having chicks that have claws on two of their wing digits.

The great black hawk belongs to the same family as the bald eagle, and all others of the eagle species.

The great black hawk is large but slender, at about 22-25 inches in length. Despite its size, it weighs about 2-1/2 pounds. Adults have very broad wings, and is mainly black. The short tail is white with a broad black tip. The bill is black and the legs and cere are yellow. The sexes are similar, but young birds have dark brown above with spotting and steaks. Their underparts are buff with dark spots, and the tail has a number of black and dusky bars. The call of the great black hawk is a distinctive piping ooo-pwheeeeee.

It was determined what the age of the great black hawk was, but why it was attempting a relocation to much colder weather conditions is not known.

This particular great black hawk is not the first bird to visit our state from other, far away, places on the planet. Other species to have wandered here came from as far away as southern Europe, Asia, Africa, but are not indigenous to North America.

So, in one respect, the great black hawk that visited Maine lives on, as it can be seen on display at the Maine State Museum, in Augusta.

Like all taxidermy work, it lets the animal live on in a way, and many people will get to admire him up close at the Maine State Museum.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

What was the last Eastern Conference team in the NBA to win the league title?

Answer can be found here.

Roland’s Trivia Question for Thursday, February 6, 2020

Trivia QuestionsWhat was the last Eastern Conference team in the NBA to win the league title?


Cleveland Cavaliers over the Golden State Warriors, 4-3, in 2016.

(02/13/2020) CORRECTION – The answer should be:

Toronto Raptors in 2019.

We’re sorry for the error!

SOLON & BEYOND: Looking back at old stories

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

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

This is one of those mornings when I sit down at this computer with only one item that has to do with Solon. I received the following by e-mail: The Solon Congregational Church will be having a supper on February 15 from 5 – 6 p.m., at the Masonic Hall, in Solon. There are always some very good cooks furnishing tasty foods for these suppers. Hope you will support the church and come for the great food and fellowship at this event.

As you perhaps have guessed by now, I am a pack rat as far as old newspapers and saving lots of clippings from newspapers is concerned! I love old history! And so this morning I’m going to fill you in on one of the old papers that I wrote for back in 1983 — the Somerset Reporter.

It states, “For 143 years the Somerset Reporter has been providing Skowhegan and Somerset County with news and information. Under the current direction of General Manager Michael Daigle and Editor Dianne Smith, the paper is once again becoming a leader in the community. In Daigle’s view Somerset County is a vast and interesting territory. ‘This county is so varied,’ he said, ‘it provides us with endless possibilities. We have to be able to provide communities as far apart as Skowhegan and Jackman with the information they require. In addition, the businesses in these communities must know that our paper reaches their customers effectively.’”

Editor Smith agrees. “We have the chance to cover a wide variety of stories,” she said. “Each of the towns in the county provides a different situation for us to cover. Each town has its own character which we must understand and report.” To this end she added, the Somerset Reporter employs a wide wide-ranging correspondent network to help gather both the social and town news which is important.

In the January 31, 1985, paper, the following towns in Somerset County had correspondents in Smithfield, Norridgewock, Fairfield Center, Bingham, Harmony, Madison, Embden, New Portland , Solon.

Others who wrote columns were Rosamond Haley’s “Over the backyard fence,” “Day by Day,” by Mary Day, “La Pie,” by Lorraine Shea, “Eve ‘n’ So,” by Ben Gilbert, “Speaking of Sports,” by Bruce Farrin, and “From the Barron Trail,” by Wallace Barron.

There was a large picture and column entitled, “Federated Church celebrates 200th,” written by Bruce Farrin. “Skowhegan – A very special birthday celebration took place Sunday as the Skowhegan Federated Church honored its bicentennial anniversary.”

I checked on my column in that issue of the paper to see if it was before I ended the column with Salada Tea tag sayings or Percy’s memoirs and neither one was there. But then I noticed the last paragraph, and thought, “Oh NO! ! It said, “Just want any of you who may have passed by last Thursday when I was stopped beside the road talking with that big handsome fella in the New England Tel. car, to know I wasn’t having a rendezvous – that was son Mark! You know how gossip gets started!!”

It would seem that I was just as nutty back then as I am today! and so for Percy’s memoir entitled Judgment: Don’t judge a person by the clothes he wears; God made the person, the tailor made the clothes. Don’t judge a person by his family relations; Cain belonged to a good family. Don’t judge a person by the company he keeps; Jesus can still transform lives by His Presence. Don’t judge a person by his speech ; A parrot can talk, and the tongue is only an instrument of the mind. Don’t judge a person by his failures in life; many are too honest to succeed.

Being Happy Doesn’t mean Everything is Perfect.. it means You Decide to see Beyond The Imperfections… Have a great week!

OBITUARIES for Thursday, February 6, 2020


CLINTON – Robert A. “Flat” Archer, 58, of Clinton, passed away on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, following a six-week long hard, courageous battle resulting from a tragic car wreck, in which he was a passenger. Robert was born March 3, 1961, in Brewer.

He spent his childhood and dug his roots in Clinton. As a young teenager, Robert moved to Florida with his mother and began to build his life there. He met Mina Curry, and they had a daughter, Rachael. While living in Florida, Robert began his career as a mason by trade, and was very skilled in what he did. Upon his return to Maine in the early 1990s, Robert continued to work as a mason and built a life doing the things he loved; fishing, hunting, listening to music and spending time by the ocean. He eventually met his girlfriend of 15 years, Becky Littlefield, while attending the East Benton’s Fiddler’s Convention.

Robert was always in a good mood and always genuinely happy to see you. He made friends wherever he went, and had a large network of friends who will miss him terribly. He thought of his friends as his family, and his close friends like his brothers. Robert valued what it meant to be a friend and would do just about anything for his friends, and because of this you knew when you were considered one of “Flat’s friends”.

Robert is survived by daughter Rachael Baker and her mother Mina Curry, of Florida; father Roger Archer, of Brewer; longtime partner Becky Littlefield, of East Benton; and lifelong friend and brother, Andrew Fitzpatrick, his wife Melody and their daughters, Amanda and Alisa, all of Clinton; several stepchildren whom he never considered “step,” Laura Weiz, Lisa and husband James Selson, and Brian Baker, all of Florida.

Robert is predeceased by his mother, Eleanor (Drew) King and her husband Bill, of Clinton; and a stepson, Dale Baker, of Florida.

A burial and celebration of life will be planned for this spring and announced at a later date.


WATERVILLE – Jacqueline (Giguere) Carter, 87, passed away on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Jackie was born in Waterville on March 22, 1932, one of seven children born to Joachim and Olivine (Tardif) Giguere.

Jackie was a caretaker for many years, first with her own nine children and then her husband who was diabetic and required a lot of care. Once he passed, Jackie was rarely found home. Before the days of cell phones, she’d jump in her car and go dancing for hours, even requiring a hospital visit after one particularly hot July 3 street dance.

Jackie was predeceased by her parents, husband Donald Carter, and two brothers and three sisters.

She is survived by her sister, Priscilla (Giguere) Roy and her husband Edmond; her children, daughter Deborah Crain, of Arizona, son Dominic Carter and wife Michelle, of Winslow, son Robert Carter and significant other Kimberly Juskevice, of Thorndike, son Henry Carter and wife Sharon, of Albion, son Joel Carter and wife Doris, of Winslow, daughter Ann Stevens and husband Bruce, of Calais, daughter Rose Pelletier and husband David Lawrence, of Manchester, daughter Pauline Trask and husband Randy, of Oakland, and son Anthony Carter and wife Janice, of Norridgewock.

As Jackie was famous for saying, “I didn’t start the world, but I’m ending it!” She lives on in her many, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

A graveside service for Jackie will take place at St. Francis Cemetery, Grove St., Waterville, this spring.


AUGUSTA – Lillian M. Crommett, 99, died Saturday, January 25, 2020, at the MaineGeneral Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center at Gray Birch. She was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on April 20, 1920, a daughter of the late Harry H. and Hazel (Clark) Brooks.

Mrs. Crommett was a graduate of Erskine Academy, in South China, class of 1940, and was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in Farmingdale.

She was a homemaker for most of her life and had been employed at Hussey’s General Store, in Windsor, for many years.

Mrs. Crommett was a life member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

She was pre-deceased by her husband, John H. Crommett, Sr.; a son, Stanley G. Crommett; her three brothers: Harry, George and Stanley Brooks and two sisters: Bertha Pelton and Viola Brooks.

Mrs. Crommett is survived by her son, John H. Crommett, Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Neighoff, of Augusta; a sister, Eleanor Hines, of California; several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

At her request, there will be no public visiting hours.

Following cremation, a memorial service will be held on Sunday, February 9, at 2 p.m., at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 584 Main St., Farmingdale. Burial will be in the spring in Chadwick Hill Cemetery, China.

Those who desire may make donations in Lillian’s memory to: Seventh-day Adventist Church, 584 Main St., Farmingdale, ME, 04344.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Plummer Funeral Home, 16 Pleasant St., Augusta, ME.

Condolences, photos and stories may be shared at


WINSLOW – Mark Steven Loubier, 60, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was born in Waterville on August 17, 1959, the son of Eugene “Babe” and Verna Loubier.

Mark graduated from Winslow High School in 1977. In 1986, after years in the drywall industry, he began a 33-year career at the S.D. Warren Paper Mill (now Sappi Fine Paper), in Skowhegan, that culminated with his retirement in 2019.

Mark loved to hold court in his backyard for friends and family with a seemingly endless repertoire of terrible (incredible) jokes and a cigar in hand. He also enjoyed muscle cars, working on engines, and even had a brief stint competing in the local truck pull circuit. He was an avid Bruins, Red Sox, and Dallas Cowboys fan and loved to talk about decorated athletes of years past, his favorite being the great Bobby Orr. More than anything though, Mark loved to spend time with his grandchildren and would proudly discuss what exceptional little people they are becoming.

He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Lucie (Michaud); sons Adam (Mindy) Loubier, Benjamin (Heather) Loubier, and Nathan Loubier; his grandchildren Mikayla, Patrick, Lauren, and Lacey; his sister Donna Birt (and partner Michael Christiano), and his sister Ruth (Daryl) Schoellkopf; his mother and father-in-law Ann and Roland Michaud; his sister-in-law Tess (Don) Carter, and brother-in-law Michael (Karen) Michaud; and many adoring nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held at St. John Catholic Church, 26 Monument St., Winslow on February 3.


OAKLAND – Dora Mae Michaud, 76, of Oakland passed away on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Dora was born July 26, 1943, in Evansville, Indiana, the daughter of William Hassel and Marjorie Dockery.

In July 1966, Dora married Charles H. Michaud Jr. They spent a lifetime of happiness raising their son, Brian, working for veterans and enjoying each other’s company prior to his passing in 2006.

Dora was a busy woman in her lifetime, serving the town of Millinocket on the town council. She was also heavily involved with the Maine Democratic Party.

She was a very active member of the American Legion Auxiliary for nearly 50 years, working her way from the Unit level in Millinocket, through the county and district up to state president. In 1984-85 she and her husband Charles served as State President of the Auxiliary and State Commander of The American Legion, the only husband and wife team to have done so in Maine in 100 years. Dora also served as State President of the La Femmes in 1985-86. Dora retired as the state secretary of the Maine American Legion Auxiliary in 2014, after serving five years in that position. In 2000-2001 Dora served as state president of the VFW Auxiliary.

Dora was sweet, funny, and very giving. She will always be remembered for her dedication to veterans. She enjoyed living life to its fullest, partying with friends and family, camping and spending time with friends. She had a passion for board games, but specifically Yahtzee.

Dora was predeceased by her husband, Charles H. Michaud Jr.; and son, Brian Michaud.

Dora is survived by her grandson, Joshua Michaud; daughter of the heart, Michelle McRae; and Brian’s girlfriend, Beckey Washburn, all of Oakland; several nieces and nephews. She considered Beth Michaud-Tillson her “Baby Girl;” special nephews Mikey, Luigi and Jason Michaud.

Family burial will be at a later date.

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

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in her memory to the Maine General Hospice, P.O. Box 828, Waterville, Maine 04903.


VASSALBORO – Ethel Mae Heckman, 76, passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 26, 2020, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, following a brief illness. She was born in Orono in July 1943, the daughter of Raymond and Ethel (Lyons) Ramsay.

Ethel graduated from Orono High School in June 1961 and married James Heckman in July 1961. She worked in child care and as a nurses aid in her early years and was co-owner, with her late husband James Heckman Sr., of Heckman’s Auction Hall, in Benton, and later Heckman’s Party Palace, in Waterville. She has worked for Acadia Auto Group for the last 30 years.

Ethel was an avid reader and a lover of music and the theater and loved to dance. She loved animals, lunch with friends, holidays with family and Sunday dinners. She also loved to travel but hated to fly, she became queen of the “road trip” and traveled as often as possible.

Ethel is survived by her sister, Lucretia Smith, of Waterville; her son James Heckman, Jr. and daughter-in-law Leora Mitchell, of Hamden, her son Scott Heckman and daughter-in-law Kia Heckman, of Fairfield, and daughter Traci Bernatchez and son-in-law Kevin Bernatchez, of Vassalboro; her grandchildren Trevor Heckman, Kalib Bernatchez and Jacob Bernatchez, all of Vassalboro.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are under the direction and care of Gallant Funeral Home, 10 Elm St., Waterville.

An online guestbook may be signed, condolences and memories shared at

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to your local animal shelter


WATERVILLE – Katherine Giroux Achey Morissette, 87, of Jackman, passed away on Jan. 26, 2020, at Woodlands Assisted Living, in Waterville. Katherine “Kate” was born on November 19, 1932, to Theodore and Minnie C. Giroux, of Moose River. After attending school in Jackman, Katherine married Victor Achey on August 28, 1948, at St. Anthony’s Church, in Jackman. They had three children: Francis, Viola, and Clayton.

Victor and Kate shared many years together before separating. Kate later married Ernest J. Morissette in May 1976, and resided part-time in Sarasota, Florida, for the winter months, returning to Jackman to live and work over the summers. In her lifetime, Kate waitressed at Henderson’s, Briarwood, and Hillcrest, in Jackman, and Windjammer and Shriners, in Florida, and retired after 50 years of waitressing.

Kate was an avid crocheter and created beautiful doilies, dolls, and afghans for loved ones. She loved to play cards, Bingo, horseshoes, pool, cribbage, and enjoyed painting, but loved to dance. Kate was a member of the Ladies Red Hat Society, Garden Club, and Moose River Senior Center.

Katherine was predeceased by her parents; her husband, Ernest Morissette; her former spouse, Victor Achey; and her son, Francis Achey, all of Jackman.

Kate is survived by her son, Clayton Achey and wife, Deborah, of Jackman, and daughter, Viola Nadeau and friend, Guy Brochu, of Skowhegan; 13 grandchildren, Donavan, Robert, Scott, Sylvia, Jennifer, Daniel, Melissa, Jason, Amanda, Michele, Philip, Matthew, and Stephen; 21 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren; brother, Ernest Giroux, of Jackman, and sister, Mary Lee Audet and husband Lawrence, of Waterville; along with numerous nieces and nephews; A funeral was held on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, 366 Main Street, Jackman.

A spring burial will be held in May 2020 at St. Anthony’s Cemetery, in Jackman.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Giberson Funeral Home and Cremation Services, in Madison and Bingham. To leave a condolence for the family, share a memory, view the online obituary and to share service and obituary information on social media please visit our website at

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Kate’s memory to the Jackman Community Health Center376 Main StreetJackman, ME 04945.


WINSLOW – Una Withee, 91, passed away at her home, in Winslow, on Sunday, January 26, 2020, following a long fulfilling life. She was born to the parents, Barbara (Brockway) and Earle Simpson, on June 28, 1928, and raised on a dairy farm on Odlin Road, in Bangor.

Una graduated from Bangor High School in 1946. Shortly after her marriage, she purchased her home of nearly 60 years, where her son, Alan, was raised.

Una was a strong, independent, and loving women. She worked for LaVerdiere’s warehouse, on Benton Ave, in Winslow, from 1967 to 1993. LaVerdiere’s was not only a place of work but a friendly neighbor. She was proud of her hard work and dedication to her career. She made many friends that would last decades after LaVerdiere’s closed.

In her free time, and into her retirement, Una loved going to auctions and lawn sales. She was known for her own magnificent lawn sales. Una was always redesigning her home and loved showing off her new flooring, wallpaper, furniture, or holiday decorations. She had a green thumb and was proud of her beautifully manicured landscape.

Una shared many of her passions with friends, family, and her grandchildren. Una spent many of her later years enjoying time with her friends and family. Whether it was going to an auction, the Purple Cow, or an arcade, someone always knew and cherished Una.

Her granddaughter, Lacy, and great-grandchildren Ben and Matthew especially enjoyed their time and lunch dates at Wendy’s.

Una was predeceased by her parents, Barbara and Earle Simpson; and sisters, Virginia and Helen.

She is survived by her son, Alan Withee and wife Robin, of Turner; and sister, Ottilie Gray, of Carmel; her five grandchildren, Travis Withee, of Lewiston, Lacy Menchen and husband Chris, of Benton, Jason Withee and wife Audrey, of Bedford, New Hampshire, Dakota Withee and wife Karlye, of Minot, and Noah Withee, of Baldwin; and her seven great-grandchildren, Sara Menchen, Ben Menchen, Owen Withee, Matthew Menchen, Edison Withee, Emmitt Withee, and Alanna Withee.

The family will be having a private celebration of life.


SOUTH CHINA – Darlyne D. Lane, 62, of South Road, died unexpectedly on Monday, January 27, 2020, at Alfond Center for Health, in Augusta. She was born in Augusta on October 14, 1957, the daughter of Duane D. Cowing and Joyce (Glendenning) Cowing.

Darlyne recently retired from the state of Maine after 32 years of service. She was an avid Willie Nelson follower and prolific knitter, providing socks to all her family.

She was predeceased by her parents Duane and Joyce Cowing and brother Douglas Cowing.

Surviving is her husband of 45 years, James M. Lane, of South China; daughter Emily Lane and son Kevin; son Grady Lane and partner Kailyn and children Izzabeya, Mateo and Elias; foster children Sherry and Terry; foster siblings Florence, Robert and Dennis; aunt Jean and uncle Ted Bigos and cousins Patrick and Michael; uncle Mike and aunt Judy Madden and cousin Jonathan; and aunt Evelyn Cowing; nieces and nephews Deanna, Donna, Daniel.

No services are planned.

Burial will be at the Maine Veterans Cemetery, Augusta, Maine, at a later date.

Condolences, photos and stories may be shared at


WINDSOR – James Robert Brown Sr., “Jimmy,” 80, passed peacefully on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, following a brave battle with Sepsis, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta. He was born in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, to parents, William B. and Clara (Silva) Brown of Edgartown, Massachusetts on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard.

After graduation from Edgartown High School he joined his father in the electrical contracting business of Bill Brown’s Electric.

He always had a smile on his face and was willing to help where help was needed, and a serious work ethic which he passed on to his grandsons, especially to Scott.

Jimmy was a Master Mason of 53 years at Oriental-Martha’s Vineyard Masonic Lodge A.F. & A.M. in Oak Bluffs, Massa­chusetts.

He was a master electrician in both Massachusetts and Maine and an electrical contractor, operating the business after his father’s death until 1999.

Jimmy was a volunteer firefighter in Edgartown, Massachusetts, as well as Windsor, and Whitefield, retiring after a combined total of 50 years’ service, joining Edgartown Fire at the age of 16 years.

He was predeceased by his parents, a sister, Jeanann and her husband Curtis Collison III.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Linda Brown, of Windsor; a daughter, Polly and her husband, Robert Maciel Jr., of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; a son, J. Robert Brown, Jr. and his wife Teri ,of Edgartown, Massachusetts; a sister, Sandra and husband Dennis Arnold, of Edgartown, Massachusetts; grandchildren: Robyn, Jesse, and Scott Maciel, Michael and Stephen Brown; 10 great-grandchildren, a cousin, Carol Brown, of Ohio; also several nieces and nephews.

A spring 2020 committal with a Masonic burial service at Rest Haven Cemetery, Windsor.

Arrangements under the care of Plummer Funeral Home, 983 Ridge Road, Windsor, ME.

The family suggests memorial donations to Coopers Mills Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 341, Coopers Mills, ME 04341, or a charity of your choice.


WINSLOW – Laurianne “Lil” T. (Labbe) Fecteau, 90, of Winslow, passed away on Thursday, January 30, 2020, at Northern Light Lakewood Manor, Waterville. She was born in Waterville on March 16, 1929, the daughter of Joseph and Yvonne (Pouliot) Labbe.

Laurianne worked as a stitcher at the C.F. Hathaway Shirt Com­pany, in Water­ville, for over 32 years, retiring in 1976. She was a life member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, of MacCrillis-Rousseau, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #8835, in Winslow.

Laurianne loved to read, sew and was a very dedicated wife taking care of her husband, Adelbert William Fecteau, during his long illness until his death in 2006.

She was a devoted mother and grandmother.

She was predeceased by her parents; husband, Max; two brothers, Gerard and Fernand (Babe) Labbe; her baby sister, Lillian; one stepgrandson, Paul Veilleux.

Laurieanne is survived by her son, Lee W. Fecteau and wife Ghislaine, of China; daughter, Caroline Bernier and her grandson, Lyle Bernier; stepgrandchildren, Louise Clarke and Lise Theriault; and several nieces and nephews.

A committal service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, in the Chapel of the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 163 Mount Vernon Rd., Augusta.

Arrangements are under the direction and care of Gallant Funeral Home, 10 Elm St., Waterville.

An online guestbook may be signed, condolences and memories shared at

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to: Servants of Blessed Sacraments, 101 Silver St. Waterville, ME 04901.


WINSLOW – Christine M. Wheeler, 92, of Winslow, passed away peacefully on Thurs­day, January 30, 2020, at Oak Grove Center, in Waterville. Christine was born in Winslow on July 5,1927, the daughter of the late Roy and Ida (Bennett) Martin.

Christine grew up helping her family on their family farm, on the Albion Road, in Winslow.

Christine attended and graduated from Winslow High School. She then worked for the Sisters Hospital, before moving to Harris Baking Company, both in Waterville, where she met the love of her life. She married Herbert H. Wheeler on July 14, 1956, and together they raised their family.

Christine and Herbert were self-employed over the years. In their younger years they owned and operated Wheeler Poultry and later, The Red Barn, on the Garland Road, in Winslow, where they sold antiques, collectibles, used furniture and housewares for over 30 years. She could often be seen at yard sales or auctions with her husband, searching for that next “treasure” they could share with their customers. Christine enjoyed talking with and helping The Red Barn customers.

Christine loved her family. She enjoyed watching the accomplishments of her sons and later her grandsons. She felt so blessed to be a part of her great grandson’s life, too. She especially enjoyed watching school events and attended as many of their sporting events as possible. She loved attending family functions, but she treasured the times when her family just called or stopped by to share what was going on in their lives.

Christine was the humblest and most giving person anyone could know. She was a devoted wife and mother and would do anything she could for her grandchildren. She was a hard worker and never complained about anything and never talked badly about anyone.

Besides her parents, Ida and Roy Martin, she was predeceased by her infant daughter, Jayne Ann; her husband, Herbert H. Wheeler; and her sister, Shirley McPhail.

Christine will be sadly missed by her children, Brian Wheeler and his wife Susan, of Clinton, and Omar Wheeler and his wife Valerie, of Winslow; her grandsons, Chad Wheeler and his wife, Rebekkah, and their son, Arron Wheeler, of Augusta, Corey Wheeler and his wife Laura, of Bucksport, Benjamin Wheeler, of Winslow, and Jacob Wheeler and his wife Alicia, of Unity; her sister, Laura Higgins, of Winslow; as well as several nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Christine’s life will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, February 8, at Lawry Brothers Funeral Home, 107 Main St., Fairfield. Please join the family as they invite guests to share their special memories.

Graveside services will be held in the spring, at Village Cemetery, in North Vassalboro.

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, donations made be made in Christine’s memory to Benton Falls Congregational Church, c/o David Gagnon, 299 Eames Road, Winslow, ME 04901.

China planning board discusses three projects on Rte. 3

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members continued discussion of three pending projects near Route 3 at their Jan. 28 meeting. All were discussed at the board’s Dec. 10, 2019, meeting (see The Town Line, Dec. 19, 2019). None was ready for final action at the January meeting.

Jamie Nichols’ application for a self-storage facility on Vassalboro Road just north of the car wash was postponed in December because board members found the application incomplete. On Jan. 28 they found it complete, but the project is complicated by the China Phosphorus Control Ordinance and the need for state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permits.

Codes Officer Bill Butler expects the other two applications, from Sunraise Investments for proposed solar arrays, to be on the board’s Feb.11 agenda. In advance, board members scheduled a Feb. 8 site visit.

The lot Nichols plans to build on is part of a 2002 subdivision that already has filter beds for run-off control, Waterville engineer Al Hodson said. Board member did not know whether the beds have been maintained as scheduled.

Hodsdon had figures showing that as designed, Nichols’ project would not quite meet the requirements of China’s Phosphorus Control Ordinance, adopted in 1993 to protect water quality in China Lake and Three Mile Pond. Nichols’ lot drains into Three Mile Pond.

Board Chairman Tom Miragliuolo said reducing either roof sizes or paved area would fix the problem. Hodsdon said DEP might approve state permits anyway, because measurements have a degree of uncertainty.

Nichols said he owns other self-storage facilities and is moving his main office to South China. He plans two metal buildings, with sections for his own equipment and an office in the larger one. The proposal includes a bathroom and a holding tank.

There will be no hazardous or flammable materials allowed; on-site parking is provided; lighting will be on the buildings with down-facing sconces.

“People are getting very sensitive about light pollution,” Hodsdon commented.

Board members postponed action until DEP staffers act. If they require changes, China planners would need to do another review, Hodsdon said. If enough people show interest in the development, the China board could hold a public hearing before making a decision.

The solar site visit is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, for the property described as the field behind Michael Willette’s gravel pit. Notice of the visit says SunRaise intends to install 17,880 solar panels on about 21.5 acres.

The site walk is considered a planning board meeting and is open to anyone interested. Participants should meet at the pit entrance at the end of Heino Lane. “Heino Lane is accessed off the west side of Windsor Road and is 0.35 miles north of Arnold Road,” the notice says.

Added in capital letters is a warning that the visit will be canceled if there is “significant snow cover” on the site or if the weather is bad Feb. 8.

SunRaise’s second proposed site is farther east on Route 3, on Daniel Ouellette’s property near the South China Wash and Dry and the power line.

Board members and engineer Mark McCluskey talked briefly about plans for Phase Two of the causeway project at the head of China Lake. That topic and the Windsor Road SunRaise proposal are on the agenda for the board’s Tuesday, Feb. 11, meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m., at the town office.

China selectmen approve metal can purchase for transfer station

by Mary Grow

The major decision at an unusually short Feb. 3 China selectmen’s meeting was to buy a new large metal can for waste from the new pre-crusher at the transfer station. Without it, Town Manager Dennis Heath explained, staff would have no replacement under the mixed waste hopper while a filled can is hauled away.

Heath commended Transfer Station Manager Tim Grotton for arranging to sell a can too old to use for enough money to lower the cost of the new one to $8,100. Estimates had ranged from $10,000 to$13,000.

Selectmen voted to take the $8,100 from the $55,000 contingency fund voters granted them for unexpected expenses during the 2019-20 fiscal year. Later, as Heath presented his monthly financial summary, they discovered the contingency fund has less than $4,000 left in it.

They therefore amended their vote and will pay for the new waste can from the equipment reserve fund.

After the meeting, Heath shared a summary of the $51,311 spent from the contingency fund. More than $42,000 went to install three-phase power at the transfer station, primarily to accommodate the pre-crusher. Central Maine Power Company claimed the lion’s share; Windsor electrician Dan Finley was paid for labor and materials.

Heath commented that Grotton reported a welcome increase in the price China gets for one recycled material: cardboard is now worth $100 a ton, up from a negligible amount some months ago.

The Feb. 3 meeting included an executive session to discuss an employment agreement between the selectmen and Heath. Heath reported afterward board members approved a town manager’s job description and asked Heath to submit a draft employment agreement at their next regular meeting (see below).

The next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Feb. 18, to avoid the Presidents’ Day holiday. Before then, selectmen have scheduled a Monday, Feb. 10, special meeting to review articles for the April 6 town business meeting, and the budget committee will meet on Wednesday, Feb. 12, for the same purpose. All meetings are at 6:30 p.m. in the town office meeting room.

Description of town manager’s responsibilities

This is the position description for the China Town Manager, approved after the executive session of the China Select Board, on February 3, 2020. The draft employment agreement will be presented at the next select board meeting on Tuesday, February 18, 2020. (Monday is Presidents Day).

The Town Manager

This is responsible leadership work as chief executive and chief administrative official of the Town. The Manager is under the direction of the Board of Selectmen. Performance must be in accordance with the Maine Statutes and local ordinances.

Employee of this class is responsible for the achievement of tangible results through people. Work involves a certain degree of urgency to produce and will require firm dealing with people to achieve results. Work involves planning, budget making, problem solving and organizing with the authority to make decisions as well as delegate to others. The work environment is relatively unpredictable and requires the ability to manage many projects at once. Although governed by policies, the Manager must frequently act without precedent.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Examples of Work (Illustrative Only):

  • Maintains the administrative organization of the Town to ensure efficiency of operation. Oversees the accounting of all monies of the Town.
  • Makes monthly reports to Board of Selectmen pertaining to the financial status of the Town. Annually prepares a proposed budget and work program for the Town.
  • Prepares an annual report of the previous year’s activities for presentation to the Board of Selectmen and citizens of the Town.
  • Appoints, with Board of Selectmen approval, all department heads and supervises their performance on a day-to-day basis.
  • Oversees the hiring, evaluating, promoting, and disciplining of employees or establishes procedures for others to follow in such matters.
  • Recommends an annual salary schedule for the Town employees for Board of Selectmen consideration.
  • Identifies service and policy needs of The Town and brings to the attention of the Board of Selectmen with recommendations for action.
  • Maintains a sound public relations posture between the Town and its citizens, the press, and other federal, state and local governmental agencies.
  • Coordinates departmental activities, and sets attainable goals for all municipal departments. Act as purchasing agent for all municipal departments, and oversees the bid process on major purchases.
  • Maintains contact with public by handling suggestions, complaints and information requests.
  • Carries out the directives of the Board of Selectmen.
  • Attends meetings of the Board of Selectmen, preparing its agendas, providing supporting documents and information pertinent to agenda items.
  • Attends various meetings on behalf of the Town.
  • Prepares federal and State grant requests and administers grant programs.
  • Enforces municipal and State codes.
  • Ex-officio member of numerous municipal committees.
  • Performs related work as required.

Requirements of Work:

  • Thorough knowledge of municipal management and community problems.
  • Thorough understanding of administrative organization, design, and evaluation.
  • Thorough knowledge of financial administration and the design of financial accounting and reporting system.
  • Thorough knowledge of the theory and practice of public personnel administration.
  • Thorough knowledge of municipal government programs and decision-making processes. Working knowledge of State and federal programs.
  • Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing.
  • Ability to listen to others.
  • Possess conflict resolution skills.
  • Ability to direct and supervise others and to delegate.
  • Ability to organize and use time effectively.
  • Ability to give and accept constructive criticism.
  • Knowledge of road maintenance.
  • Employee must be goal-minded and possess a self-starting drive to get things done, frequently through other people.
  • Employee must be able to react quickly to changing situations which may be physically taxing.
  • Employee must be positive and direct in striving to achieve results, but must at times be able to motivate others to act through persuasiveness and the generation of enthusiasm.
  • Ability to act independently and without precedent in the face of problems.

Training and Experience Required:

  • Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university program in public administration or a related field, and at least five years experience as chief administrative officer in a municipal government; or any equivalent combination of experience and training.

Additional Duty Assignments:

  • Tax Collector
  • Treasurer
  • Road Commissioner
  • Emergency Preparedness Director
  • Agent to Overseers of the Poor
  • General Assistance Administrator
  • Public Access Officer
  • Building Official
  • Ex-Officio Member of all Committees/Boards.

Kennebec Historical Society to present “Lost Indian Tribes of Western Maine”

Hopelessly caught between the colonial aims of several European nations, primarily England and France, Maine’s native population never stood a chance. Dozens of tribes in western Maine were decimated by an endless series of war, disease, trauma, and displacement from their homelands. Their cultural presence has been lost to the world; their histories are told by white men. This presentation locates the tribes along western Maine rivers and identifies the forces that sealed their fates. Learn of the names of Wawenocks kidnapped by George Weymouth and Capt. Henry Harlow, of the murder of Squanto, and of the western Maine Indians who were tricked into capture at Dover, New Hampshire, and later imprisoned, hanged, or sold into slavery never to be heard from again.

Our KHS speaker, Peter Stowell, grew up in Andover and Bethel. Educated at Gould Academy, the University of Maine, and Tulane University in New Orleans, he was entranced early by the majesty of Oxford County’s mountains and rivers and began exploring its history and geography as a child. He is now focused on recovering cultural information long lost to present generations through assiduous research in Maine’s defunct newspapers, official state and federal directories and reports, and informed sources. For his presentation to the Kennebec Historical Society, Stowell has collected information on Maine’s Indians from more than 100 sources, some of them dating back to the early 1600s and most of them dating before 1900.

This KHS presentation is free to the public (donations gladly accepted). The presentation will be followed by some light refreshments and take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 19, at Hope Baptist Church, located at 726 Western Avenue, in Manchester.

Karen Hatch: Queen of the Swap Shop

Karen Hatch stands outside the Swap Shop at the China Transfer Station. (photo by Eric Austin)

by Eric W. Austin

Walking into the Swap Shop at the China Transfer Station, you may find that you don’t recognize the place anymore. Gone are the disorganized piles of clothes, toys, tools and odds and ends with no apparent plan or place to stand. Instead, the small space has been arranged with a finesse fine enough to make a Macy’s manager blush. Books line the wall as you walk in, arranged by author. A T-shirt with the message “SHOP ‘TIL YA DROP” is pinned to the far wall. Boxes of men’s and women’s clothes crowd the bottom shelves, neatly labeled by size.

The change that has come over China’s Swap Shop is due to the hard work of one woman who saw an opportunity to make a difference in her community and took it. Her name is Karen Hatch, aka “Queen of the Swap Shop.” She’s a member of the China for a Lifetime Committee, a local group dedicated to exploiting volunteering opportunities in China.

The Swap Shop has a wide selection of books, now arranged by author. (photo by Eric Austin)

“The first day was quite overwhelming,” Karen confides. “But day by day I got it organized.”

The Swap Shop was built roughly two years ago, according to China Transfer Station Manager Tim Grotton, who says it’s become a popular destination for local residents. “I bet there’s close to a hundred people that go in there on a Saturday,” says Grotton. “I’m amazed how many people use it. It’s pretty astounding.”

I met with Karen on a frosty Friday afternoon, one of the slower days at the transfer station. While we talked, half a dozen people dropped by. We added a box of brand new attachments for a sleep apnea machine, six jars of slightly rusty nails, a steady-light with camera attachment, and a pair of red suspenders. Everything found a place in the newly-organized Swap Shop. “It’s all about merchandizing,” Karen explains as she hangs the suspenders on a hook she had recently installed.

It’s certainly been a learning process for Karen, who retired in December 2019 after serving 27 years as childcare director for the city of Augusta. When she first embarked on this project at the beginning of January, she made the mistake of setting down her mittens. It was only for a minute, but before you could say, “Karen Hatch, Queen of the Swap Shop,” they had been re-appropriated. A few days later, she brought magic markers and masking tape to make signs for the shelves in the little building. She’d only made a few signs before they too magically disappeared! She tells me all of this with a shrug and a smile. If there’s one rule of the Swap Shop you have to remember, it’s that everything is up for grabs.

To the crew at the China Transfer Station, Karen Hatch is a godsend. With the heavy traffic the shop receives, keeping it organized is nearly an impossible task. “We just don’t have that kind of time to dedicate to the building,” says Grotton. “It gets to the point where [donations are] three feet high – with the clothes and stuff – and we got to go in and clean the whole thing right out.”

That has changed since Karen took over. “We haven’t had to touch it in three weeks,” Grotton says, clearly pleased with the change. And Karen is making it easier for Swap Shop visitors to find something useful. “A lot of residents use that place,” continues Grotton, “and she’s cut their time in half because everything is sorted. Everybody used to go in and pick all through the clothes and throw them on the floor. Now, they can go right to their size – it’s fantastic.”

The newly-organized Swap Shop at the China Transfer Station. (photo by Eric Austin)

An efficient Swap Shop also saves the town money by diverting more items out of the trash stream. “A lot of the stuff that goes out of that building would go into a landfill,” says Grotton. Especially clothing. “We want to keep all the clothing that we can out of the regular hopper.”

To this end, the China Transfer Station has partnered with Apparel Impact, a “textile recovery company” that operates out of New Hampshire. According to their website, clothing makes up close to 10 percent of all trash in local landfills. They have four donation bins located around central Maine, with one of them here at China Transfer Station.

“Last year, we shipped out 6.2 tons of clothing [through Apparel Impact] that would have gone to the landfill,” Grotton says. But he tells me the Swap Shop puts that number to shame. “I’m guessing four times that amount goes through that building there,” he says, nodding toward the Swap Shop. That’s a lot of clothing that isn’t filling up our landfills.

Organizing the clothing as it comes into the Swap Shop increases its efficiency, but even with her organizational superpowers, Karen is just one lady. She’s at the Swap Shop on most afternoons, but she’s eager to find other volunteers, especially someone to monitor the shop in the mornings. If you’re interested in helping her out, send an email to

Considering the Swap Shop’s popularity and money-saving success, Station Manager Grotton hopes to apply for a TIF grant that would allow him to add a few building improvements, including running power to the building. Not only would that allow them to install lights in the building, but visitors could then test items that require power before taking them home.

Whatever the future holds for the Swap Shop, Karen Hatch has found a way to make this little corner of China a more pleasant place to visit. Next time you drop by the transfer station, why not check out the Swap Shop and thank her for all her hard work? Maybe you’ll even find something to take home with you, as they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” especially when there’s a woman around to organize it.

Eric W. Austin writes about issues important to central Maine exclusively for The Town Line. He can be reached at