Give Us Your Best Shot! for Thursday, February 13, 2020

To submit a photo for this section, please visit our contact page or email us at!

SPECTACULAR: John Gardner captured this gorgeous sunset recently.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Michael Bilinsky, of China Village, snapped this close up of a cedar waxwing.

LONESOME FINCH: Joan Chaffee, of Clinton, photographed this lone gold finch on a suet feeder.

Vassalboro planners OK replacement of power poles

by Mary Grow

Central Maine Power Company’s plan to replace power poles and lines between McCoy’s Substation, in Vassalboro, and the Augusta East substation got approval from the Vassalboro Planning Board at a Feb. 4 meeting, but still awaits state action, company spokespeople said.

The map accompanying their presentation to the planning board shows McCoy’s Substation, on Cross Hill Road, north of Webber Pond (local maps show McCoy’s Crossing as the intersection where Cross Hill, Taber Hill and Bog roads meet). The power line runs southwest along Bog Road, the west shore of the pond and beside Church Hill Road to North Belfast Avenue (Route 3).

Seventeen of the 65 poles are in Resource Protection districts and therefore require local approval, according to the board agenda.

Both current and planned poles heights vary, but engineer Gary Emond, of Power Engineers, said on average, the new poles will be 15 to 20 feet higher than existing ones.

CMP personnel have discussed construction plans with abutters, Project Manager Nicole Harbaugh said. Deborah Turcotte said she spoke with the owner of a private airport who was concerned about higher poles and lines interfering with flight paths. A consultant recommended slightly shorter poles and colored marker balls on the lines; CMP concurred and the airport owner is satisfied.

The CMP representatives said there are no plans to move poles any significant distance, nor to expand the company’s right-of-way, nor to ask for additional easements or do additional clearing along Webber Pond.

Discontinued poles are cut off at ground height, Harbaugh said, and either given to abutters (if they want them and if they plan to use them in environmentally harmless ways) or hauled away. Pole stumps are left in the ground except in agricultural fields.

Electrical service will not be disrupted during construction, Harbaugh said. The tentative – she emphasized tentative – schedule has work beginning in May and ending sometime in the fall. However, she said, the Maine Public Utilities Commission is still reviewing new legislation that might be relevant, and Emond is still working with Department of Environmental Protection staff.

After unanimously approving CMP’s proposed work, board members also approved Codes Officer Paul Mitnik’s revised shoreland zoning permit application.

The next Vassalboro Planning Board meeting will be March 10, the second Tuesday of the month, because their usual first Tuesday evening will find the town office meeting room set up as a voting room for presidential primary elections and one state referendum question.

Addition, renovations completed at China Middle School

The new expansion of the gymnasium accommodates a new stage, instrumental music practice room, new gym floor, and movable bleachers to accommodate more seating for concert, basketball games and other events. Also included in the renovations were two music offices, storage area for lunch tables, new locker rooms, two new bathrooms, new shower area, a new sound system and a newly-shingled gymnasium roof.

The new floor in the gymnasium. (photo by Sandra Isaac)

The new stage with movable bleachers. (photo by Sandra Isaac)

The new instrumental music practice room. (photo by Sandra Isaac)

Meaghan Murphy, dean of students for China Middle School, Lois Bowden, China Middle School principal, and Carl Gartley, Superintendent of RSU #18, stand against the wall in the new gym. (photo by Sandra Isaac.)

Williams Elementary School honors first responders

Williams Elementary School students displaying their support for first responders during the school’s Hearts for Heroes program. (contributed photo)

Hearts for Heroes program presented by students

by Mandi Favreau

On January 24, Williams Elementary School, in Oakland, celebrated local first responders with a special Hearts for Heroes event.

The entire school came together in a community assembly to show their gratitude and appreciation for local responders and all they do to keep us safe. Members of the Oakland Police Department, Oakland Fire Department, Belgrade Fire Department, Rome Fire Department, Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department, and Delta Ambulance were welcomed into WES through an elaborate balloon archway.

Some of the students with first responders who attended the event. (contributed photo)

“This event was wonderful,” said school board member Laura Tracy. “From the moment we walked in the door, we could feel the excitement and enthusiasm from the kids as well as the adults. I was also pleased to see that our schools are teaching students to be appreciative, respectful and most of all, to honor others for acts of service.”

Each grade had a special role in the ceremony. The fourth-grade students sang songs, specially chosen by music teacher Amy Peterson, to honor these men and women for their service. The three songs were T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U, Gratitude Attitude and We Appreciate you, all by Teresa Jennings.

“Throughout the preparation, the students kept up an energy level that clearly demonstrated their excitement for being able to thank our first responders through music,” said Mrs. Peter­son. “We are so fortunate to have these incredible men and women keeping our community safe, Thank you again to all of our area first responders. We definitely have a “Gratitude Attitude” for you!”

The fifth-grade students read beautiful, heartfelt poems they had written about “What Makes a Hero,” in order to show their appreciation, and the third-grade students gifted each guest with a heart they had made under the guidance of art teacher Ellen Gronlie. The hearts illustrated why first responders hold such a special place in the students’ hearts. All of the presentations were a hit with their special guests.

“I thought it was great,” said Dave Coughlin, a member of the Oakland Fire Department, “The enthusiasm of the kids and the work they put into the event, the poems and songs – it was all very well received by the first responders.”

WES will also mail out scrapbooks they created with copies of the student artwork and poetry for each department to keep and share with colleagues who were not able to attend the event. After the presentations, guests mingled and enjoyed snacks, and students were able to have their pictures taken with their favorite heroes in front of a special photo booth.

Police Chief Mike Tracy was in attendance both as a board member and as the head of the Oakland Police Department. He thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the students and staff. “The Hearts for Heroes event at the Williams School was simply incredible! It was very obvious that everyone put a lot of time and effort into the day’s activities,” said Chief Tracy. “All of the first responders that I spoke with, while at the school and after the event, were touched by the Hearts for Heroes experience! Thank you all so much for everything!”

The Hearts for Heroes event was funded by the RSU #18 Lifestyles Team Gratitude Grant, which is designed to encourage teaching the values of being gracious, thankful, and giving.

2019-’20 Real Estate Tax Due Dates


(Second half)
April 8, 2020


(pay all up front or semi-annually)
Friday, September 27
Friday, March 27, 2020


(pay all up front or quarterly)
Monday, September 23
Monday, November 25
Monday, February 24, 2020
Monday, April 27, 2020


(pay all up front or quarterly)
October 11
December 13
March 13, 2020
June 12, 2020


(pay all up front or)
September 30 or
Half on Sept. 30
and half March 31, 2020

Vassalboro Historical Society seeks donations for storage building

Vassalboro Historical Society

An open letter to the Greater Vassalboro community and members of the Vassalboro Historical Society

Founded in 1963, the Vassalboro Historical Society’s purpose has been to:

“…bring together people interested in history, particularly the history of the Town of Vassalboro…”

“…discover, collect, preserve and make available to the public any material…which may…establish or illustrate the history of that area…”

“…disseminate historical information and…arouse interest in such matters…”

“…cooperate with other historical societies in preserving and making available material of any sort, particularly things of more than local interest.”

We have grown since the inception, both in membership and in acquisitions. We are now at a crossroads financially. Due to the number of large items we currently have, including wagons, farm equipment, boating equipment, etc., we need a large space. As a solution the board of directors has voted to purchase a large (32’x60’x18’) 18-gauge steel storage building which will not only allow us to protect the items, but will enable us to have them viewed by the public. The building will be placed on VHS property behind Betty Taylor’s barn, to the side of the harness shop.

We are asking for your financial help to prepare the site and to pay for the building. The building and site work is estimated at approximately $45,000 total. Please help us to preserve and maintain Vassalboro’s larger artifacts as well as we preserve and maintain the smaller items. Any and all donations will be appreciated. Donors can opt to be named as a supporter in our newsletter and/or our website. Donations will be acknowledged for tax purposes.

Please send your donation to the following: Building Fund, P.O. Box 13, North Vassalboro, ME 04962.

Singing Valentines

The Kennebec Valley Chordsmen

The Kennebec Valley Chordsmen, of Waterville, will be offering Singing Valentines on Friday, February 14, 2020. For $35, a quartet will sing two love songs, present a card and a rose. Contact Galen Larrabee at 465-6579 (C) or Juan Lavalle-Rivera at 437-9274 or by email to

Local teen wins preliminary round of “Lights, Camera, Save”

Keisha Small, left, and Allan Rancourt, President of Kennebec Federal Savings, congratulating Keisha upon being the preliminary round winner in the Lights, Camera, Save, video competition. (photo courtesy of Kennebec Federal Savings)

Submitted by Dave Carew

Keisha Small, an 18-year-old senior at Lawrence High School, in Fairfield, who is also enrolled in Mass Media Communications at Mid-Maine Technical Center, in Waterville, has been selected by Kennebec Federal Savings as the winner of the local round of the “Lights, Camera, Save!” video competition sponsored by the American Bankers Association. The competition, open to those from 13 to 18 years of age, solicits original short videos from teens nationwide; each video must promote the value of saving money and using money wisely among teens. Keisha worked with her MMTC teammate, Mason Cormier, to create the video. Keisha’s teacher at MMTC is Dave Boardman, Mass Media Communications Instructor.

Keisha submitted the 90-second video to Kennebec Federal Savings, the local participating financial institution for the “Lights, Camera, Save!” video competition. Kennebec Federal Savings selected Keisha’s video to advance to the national competition, and also announced at a ceremony held in Waterville on January 15 that they were awarding Keisha a new GoPro camera.

“We chose a storyline approach to the video, to draw people in,” Keisha said. “We wanted to show that smart, regular saving can not only help you pay bills, but also help you do really enjoyable things, like taking trips.”

Keisha’s video, along with all the entries submitted by banks across the country, now advances to the national competition, where it will be reviewed by ABA Foundation judges. They will select up to 6 videos as finalists to be shown for the Savers’ Choice social media contest and Bankers’ Choice contest.

The Savers’ Choice Social Media Contest will run from noon February 12 through noon February 19, and all are welcome to vote. (More information is available here.)

The Banker’s Choice contest will take place at the Conference for Community Bankers, in Orlando, Florida, from February 9-12, where bankers will vote on the finalists.

National winners will be announced Wednesday, February 26, at 2 p.m. ET, via ABA’s YouTube Channel.

The first place, second place, and third place winners will receive cash prizes of $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000, respectively, to fund their savings goals. Each winner’s school also will receive a scholarship for a teacher to attend the 2020 Jump$tart National Educator Conference.

View the winning video entry below:

Dave Carew, of Waterville, is a freelance book editor, publicist and copywriter, and can be contacted at (615) 540-7457.

Senior College offers three special one-day courses

Well the TRIAL is over and so is the BOWL……now what?

Be a Witness to your OWN enlightened experience, growth and enjoyment!

The Belfast Senior College is now offering three special one-day courses in February.

The Sequoia: A Guest Celebrity, Wed­nes­day, Feb­ruary 12. Relive the history of “The Floating White House,” now in Belfast Harbor undergoing rehabilitation.

Be Your Own Personal Knitting Designer, Friday, February 14. Learn to make your own knitting pattern and create your own design

The Fundamentals of Civic Discourse, Thursday, February 20. Learn how to contribute to restoring civility in our public and private discourse.

All courses will be held at the Hutchinson Center, in Belfast, from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Registration is now open via

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Doggy information

by Debbie Walker

I don’t know how many columns I have written, and I just recently realized I have never written anything about our pets. So… here goes:

I came across the most recent Reader’s Digest and it has a great article about dogs and cats titled What Pets Want You to Know.

A professor from British Columbia stated that our average dogs have the mind equivalent to our 2 – 2-1/2 years old child. The average dog can understand about 165 words. They are better with words about things (ex: a favorite toy) as opposed to ‘emotion’ words (good dog).

Before your pup is six months old, they should have met 150 people and they suggest 50 different places (I don’t go to that many!). They should try out different environments, be familiar with different sounds and sights. Dogs that don’t, can grow up fearful and aggressive.

We all know our dogs have different barks. Our dog, in the middle of the night, alerts us to her concerns with the bark. There is no question that she is alerting us. There are also barks that tell you the dog is lonely. The barks may be a single string of barks with pauses.

Dogs also have their own version of body language; they provide you with clues as to what they want. (Ex: pawing at bottom of sofa to alert you there is something under the sofa that they want.)

Dogs are very aware of your stress or tension. Many dogs will feel that tension and can in fact react with aggression. Our energies affect the people around us, don’t think for a minute it doesn’t affect your pet.

Have you ever wondered why dogs chase their own tails? It can be itchy; they can be reverting to their predatory nature or they are just bored. It can also be a compulsive disorder.

When you come home and find your dog has made a mess and she tucks her tail and looks ashamed. She’s just afraid of your anger, guilt is not part of her makeup.

Dogs don’t feel guilt, but they do get jealous. If you have a dog, you know this.

If your dog has light colored or white fur, they have a higher chance of being deaf in at least one ear. The gene that causes the white coat is associated with deafness, just as is blue eyes.

Little dogs have shorter, more frequent dreams than the bigger breeds. This is proven by brain scanning just like with us.

There are studies that have shown some dogs can detect cancer just as there are some who know when a diabetic is going to have a problem.

For those who don’t know there are some wonderful websites of dogs and their antics as well as other animals. They can be very entertaining on these cold snow and ice filled days and evenings.

We have a dog in our house. She is a Walker Hound and Boxer mix. She has been a wonderful friend. She talks. If she wants something, she will carry on quite the conversation. I love it.

I’m just curious about your pal. I would love to hear your stories. Contact me at with your questions or comments. Thank you for reading. Have a great, healthy, and happy week!