VETERANS CORNER: We hear on the television and radio that veterans are receiving the best care and benefits ever. How can that possibly be?

Veterans Administration facility at Togus. (Internet photo)

by Gary Kennedy

I will share with you what I know and I will try to answer the many questions that you have. The political side of the VA system tries to appease you with an occasional conference call which they pack in as many vets as they can. For those of you who are privy to these calls you must realize that the moderator is very vague, and 75 percent, or more, of the time passes you off to someone who will give you a future phone call, or so they say. The reason for this is obvious. To some, if not most of you, it’s because the answer is not readily available and this service is just supposed to act as a pacifier for the VA and the government.

You will hear Senators Angus King and Susan Collins names being dropped to seem to give a sense of validity/legitimacy to this conference. However, these senators are not present nor privy to these confrontations. With our distressed, disabled veterans, who in many cases can’t articulate their problems in a way that is totally understandable; they are more discouraged after the call. So, the reply you hear most of the time is, “I am sorry to hear that,” but because of the complexity, lack of records, or other information needed to assist you, I will have to have someone call you back. Such is not the case when the doors to service officers and/or V.B.A. are open. Almost everything around our state is open, at least to some degree, but VA keeps its doors locked for the most part. There are some medical exceptions but very few.

We hear on the television and radio that veterans are receiving the best care and benefits ever. How can that possibly be? If you have a medical issue you can contact “My Healthy Vet,” on your computer. Do you have a computer? Are you computer literate? If you say yes then you can make a third or fourth party contact and some time in the future you should get a phone call from a call center, asking what you would like to accomplish by this contact. If you were talking to your medical provider that would be the answer to your problem as he or she would direct you with authority to the next point of necessity. There is nothing that can replace your contact with the source, VA.

Years ago, when I found really complex issues pertaining to veterans, I would take them to Senator Olympia Snowe’s office and there I would sit down with John Cummings and we would discuss the issue and take it to the next level, if need be. Those were the good old days, as the expression goes. One way or the other, we would get the job done.

Today, I see so many discouraged veterans who gave up years ago but found new solutions using different venues today. The government believes that these brief video or phone contacts will pacify most of the veterans. However, they aren’t seeing the real picture. They are just patting themselves on the back and saying, “Job well done for now.” What you really need are definitive answers coupled with hands on. The VA is saying we are not taking any elective procedures at this time. Shots in your joints which you have had in the past for mobilization and or pain is elective? Some veterans have been having these procedures for many years along with chiropractic manipulation and acupuncture. Baby boomers are synonymous with Vietnam Era Veterans. The majority of those who are serviced at VA, currently are of this time slot. There isn’t much in front or behind this group of veterans, with exceptions.

It is said that video and audio appointments are very appropriate and well received by both the veteran and the care giver. Such is definitely not the case. Nothing can replace hands on health care. If we go that route we are all losers. For some covid-19 is a blessing, a weeding out process; VA will have less employees and veterans will get less than robotic care. Out sourcing money will run dry soon.

When you are given a phone number to call for service, you are actually getting a call center which houses people with minimal amounts of training and a hand book to use for quick reference. Don’t buy into that even though the person on the line is very kind and sympathetic. They are trained to do that. You still have your senator, so don’t be afraid to use her. I personally don’t have faith in the rest. If you are an amputee, there are some wonderful programs and people out there. For the younger generation, there are more programs and possibilities, and that is as it should be but we older vets must be acknowledged to a degree as well. Don’t abandon me in my few remaining years. Most of us just want respect and comfort. We wish we had your paycheck and benefits.

I was on the government conference call this week because I wanted to see what they had to offer. I really hated hearing, “I will have someone call you.” I think Paul Lawrence and his team need some training. (Under Sec. for Benefits) By the way the National Call Center’s number is 1-800-827-1000, good luck with that. Call centers have general rules of a time limit of eight minutes and most have never been a service officer (VSR). Most are no more than retained telemarketers which are extremely overwhelmed with millions of calls. These folks have limited, scripted answers. True!

There have been several questions veterans have repeatedly asked only because they are nearing the end of the line and are extremely concerned about those they will leave behind without their guidance. We may not be the brightest bulb in the ceiling but we feel we are.

The questions that Paul and his team have the most difficult time with should be printed in understandable terms and made available to all vets in a simplistic written format. Where formulas are involved they should be layed out in (example :) format. One problem I have seen, the answer to mass questions is very simple; write a pamphlet. The most asked questions are DIC explanations which involves benefits to their surviving spouse and dependents. Since they already pay these benefits, they should be able to explain them in lay terms. Lay terms mean different things to different people. Some people need more help than others, via explanation. “Don’t take your audience for granted” should be the golden rule. There are those brighter than you and some not so.

Regarding DIC, this use to be based on a 10-years marriage or more but such is not the case anymore. There are many variations but basically if the vet is permanent and totally disabled and dies from his service connected disabilities in any way shape or manner and is married for one year, he or she should be eligible for DIC benefits of somewhere in the ball park of $1,340.14. A child with no parent $565.84. Aid and Attendance has variations from $284.57 to $332.00. I believe house bound would be $155.33. A spouse remarries after age 57 can collect DIC if after 12-16-03. When they use the word totally it doesn’t necessarily mean 100 percent, but means unable to work. Each child under 18 is entitled to a transitional benefit of $286 for two years only; each child over 18 for a limited period can receive a DIC Apportionment Rate of $332.00. This info should give you a talking point.

Don’t rely on my above opinion as these things change often. I also concur that a better explanation is necessary but this is a good bench mark from which to begin your search. If you really want to get into it you can purchase a CFR Title 38, Pensions, Bonuses and Veterans Relief. I believe you can also acquire this in software format. Check your computer or Barnes and Noble. They are fairly expensive and for some perhaps difficult to understand. However, with all the hype out there you need to be informed to the best of your ability.

So, to reiterate what wasn’t answered on our conference call is the following: Permanent & Total refers to veterans whose disabilities are (total = rated 100 percent disabling by the VA) and (Permanent which is zero or close to zero chance of improvement). (Permanent and Total ratings are protected from being reduced and may entitle you and /or your loved ones to additional VA benefits. This definition is as of 2017 and like everything else is subject to change. Once a veteran is granted Individual Unemployability (IU) or TDIU) which is short for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability, you are disabled with less than 100 percent service connection but rated as if you were because of inability to maintain meaningful employment.

These are just some of the queries I was privy to. I hope these responses are of some help to my brother and sister vets out there. We are all in this together and should help each other to the best of our ability. Last but not least, when you enter the VA you will notice that safety measures are in place as they are in many other businesses. Respect these areas but don’t be intimidated by them. If a person is talking behind a shield or plexiglass barrier, they are protected especially since you are wearing a mask as well. Report any and all disrespect you receive while visiting “your” VA. They work for you. Anything that is sent by the mail is not protected. You should sanitize anything you receive like this. I personally witnessed a UPS driver wipe his nose on the back of his hand then enter an Augusta pharmacy without a facemask. The door of this pharmacy was clearly marked, “No Entry without a mask.” Obviously this is not being enforced by them and many other businesses which I have been monitoring.

We can’t get back to normal if we don’t follow protocol. Believe it or not, Walmart was the best I surveyed for mask and distancing. Make it our quest not to digress, participate. In conclusion, we have nice trimmed lawns and new buildings but we still have no equipment in neurology. So for testing you must be sent outside. I do believe we have a new neurologist. I guess we just need to be creative with spending.

God Bless.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: A test of the mind #2

by Debbie Walker

As the title says this column is connected to last week’s test, it has the little quiz and the rhyme: St. Ives Travelers. Shortly you will read the answer but first the following was printed in the Weekly Magazine in Sept. 1779:

Why the deuce do you give yourselves so much vexation,
And puzzle your brains with long calculation,
Of the number of cats, with their kittens and sacks,
As you seem to suppose? – Don’t you see the cunning,
Old Querist went only? – the rest were all coming,
But grant the wives went, too, – as sure’s they were married,
Eight only could go – for the rest were all carried.

The answer:

The answer as well as the rest of the rhyme I found on Wikipedia. The answers are left to your interpretation, however the way I read it was:

The last line of “How many were going to St. Ives?” On the first line of the rhyming “As I was going ” and the next says, “I met ….”. To me that means only one was going to St. Ives. According to Wikipedia if you calculated all the numbers it would total 2,802. “You can find all of this on the internet on the Wikipedia website.”

Uses for Murphy’s Oil Soap

Insect repellent: combine lemon juice, vegetable oil, Murphy’s Oil Soap and water – put in spray bottle. Spray any area – around windows and doors.

Leather Cleaner: Put small amounts on dry cloth and wipe away dust and marks from leather.

Banister Cleaner: They can get very sticky, Clean that with Murphy’s oil soap.

Shines laminate floors: ½ cup Murphy’s, two gallons warm water. For bucket and mop use.

Permanent Marker Remover: removes marks on dry erase board.

All Purpose Cleaner: essential oils, two cups of warm water, a bowl and two tablespoons Murphy oil, mix well and put in spray bottle or just wipe surfaces straight from the bowl.

Sink Cleaner: wash away grease in your sink. Dry with clean cloth. Pour small amount of Murphy’s on a dry rag and wipe entire sink.

Bathroom cleaner: Mix soap with water – clean walls, sinks, shower and floor.

Remove grime from Hardwood finishes: Mix equal parts of Murphy’s and paint thinner to remove a thin layer of surface. Apply with a sponge, then wipe away with a sponge. Wipe away residues with a dry rag.

Clean and polish bridles and saddles. Also used to clean black-powder weapons.

Just a little history: Murphy’s Oil Soap recipe was brought to this country by a German immigrant. Murphy’s Oil Soap was run by the Murphy’s for 80 years when they sold to Colgate.

I just came across these little tidbits of information and decided to add them to today’s collections of writing, hope you don’t mind. It may be a subject you have discussed. Hope you enjoy the following:

When you are grocery shopping this article in Women’s World’s June issue may be of help to you, too. Have you ever wondered about those “Best if used by xx/xx/xx” dates on your groceries? Mom told me for years of her buying dented can foods that she did not go by the “Best if used by——” date. She looked for cans that bulged. If they did, she wouldn’t buy. The bulge is a warning, a sign of a bacterial problem. Of course, opening the can, the smell, the texture will tell the story for you. In the article they talked about eating things four years after the date. Wish Mom was still here to talk this over with.

I’m just curious about questions you might have. Let me know. Contact me with questions or comments at Have a great week!

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Memories of Grandma

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Memories of Grandma

I am going to try something different this week but tie it into earlier reading, listening and viewing experiences, sharing a few memories of my grandmother, Annabelle Ingraham Cates (1888-1974).

Grammie Cates was born and brought up in the coastal village of Rockport, Maine, to Enos and Marian Ingraham. In 1906, she rode the narrow gauge to East Vassalboro where several kinfolks on her mother’s side had been residing already for 25 years, and she took a teaching job at the one room Perley Schoolhouse, one of about 20 such buildings in the Vassalboro territory, back during the years when teacher certification requirements were pretty well non-existent.

Within three years, she met and fell in love with Benjamin Harold Cates, married him and gave birth to 12 children, after her cousin, Lena Upham, told her, “He was a good catch.”

A longer bio will have to wait for another day so as to cut to the chase.

Despite her very busy life of being a wife, mother, homemaker, and chief disciplinarian with her not always angelic kiddos, she did find time to read. And the book that sticks out most vividly is her humongous Modern Library copy of the collected writings of that narrative genius, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), which she read and re-read thoroughly from cover to cover. It included his four novels, The House of the Seven Gables, Blithedle Romance, Scarlet Letter and Marble Faun, of which, again, more another week. I remember her keeping it on a kitchen bureau for easy reach.

More about music. The first record that sticks out in the memories was Nelson Eddy’s 1948 Columbia LP of Stephen Foster songs – examples being Old Folks At Home, Camptown Races, Oh Susanna – which for my money is still one of the best collections of that early American composer (1826-1864) who, after several years of fame and fortune, would die as an alcoholic in poverty in New York City with just 37 cents in his wallet.

Grammie had a Columbia LP changer with a very heavy tonearm, a needle that was rarely replaced and a hookup through the expensive Dumont TV set with tremendous sound.

A mid-’60s Christmas present for her was an anthology of Ray Charles hits including Georgia On My Mind and Hit the Road, Jack! She was quite captivated by his sense of swinging while singing.

My grandmother’s favorite movie may have been the 1965 Sound of Music, which she, myself and other family members first saw during Christmas vacation of that year at the Westbrook cinema, where it stayed and made money for at least a year. Within the month, a cousin talked her into joining the RCA Victor Record Club, where new members could get five LPs for 99 cents, provided they purchased five more at list price. She purchased 10 copies of the RCA Victor Sound­track of the Sound of Music, kept one for herself and gave the other nine for birthday presents.

She introduced me to her favorite TV show, Wagon Train, during the spring of 1959, and was a big fan of its star, Ward Bond.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Maine governors

by Mary Grow

Maine’s first governor was William King, a Bath entrepreneur who had served in both houses of the Massachusetts General Court and been a leader in the movement to separate Maine from Massachusetts. He resigned the governorship at the end of May 1821 because President James Monroe asked him to represent the United States in treaty negotiations with Spain.

During discussion of the history of Albion for the June 11 issue of The Town Line, a friend mentioned “Albion” as a first name – unusual, she thought. The conversation reminded your writer that Maine had a governor whose first name was Albion: Albion K. Parris was sworn in Jan. 5, 1822, and left office Jan. 3, 1827, after serving five consecutive one-year terms (according to the Wikipedia article from which some of the information in this piece is taken).

Albion Keith Parris was listed as Maine’s fifth governor.

Maine became a state on March 20, 1820, as we have been repeatedly reminded in 2020. The first four governors served a total of 21 months?

Wikipedia explains as follows:

Governor #1 was William King, a Bath entrepreneur who had served in both houses of the Massachusetts General Court and been a leader in the movement to separate Maine from Massachusetts. He resigned the governorship at the end of May 1821 because President James Monroe asked him to represent the United States in treaty negotiations with Spain. King is credited with negotiating an 1824 agreement that avoided United States entanglement in Spain’s efforts to reconquer Mexico.

Governor #2 was William Durkee Williamson, a Bangor lawyer who took office May 28, 1821, and served until Dec. 5, 1821. Legally, he was the acting governor, taking over because he was President of the Senate when King resigned. Williamson in turn resigned after he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives. (His detailed 1832 two-volume history of Maine is interesting in both content and style.)

Governor #3 was Benjamin Ames, another acting governor, who served from Dec. 5, 1821, to Jan. 2, 1822. A Harvard graduate, Class of 1803, he was a Bath lawyer and the first Speaker of the Maine House. He became governor because with Williamson promoted, the Senate had no president until it was re-organized after the September 1821 elections.

Once the Senate was reorganized, Ames saw no reason to remain governor; he resigned. In 1824 he was elected to the state Senate and soon became its president, and in 1827 he served again in the House of Representatives.

Governor #4 was Daniel Rose, another interim governor, the new President of the Senate chosen in late 1821. He served for three days, from Jan. 2 to Jan. 5, 1822, when Parris took over. Rose was a Boothbay doctor with a degree from Yale (1791). Leaving politics in 1824, he helped design the Maine State Prison in Thomaston and became its first warden. (The prison was relocated to Warren in 2002.)

When Maine became a state, its Constitution set the governor’s term at one year, with the first governor (and legislature) to be elected on the first Monday in April 1820. After that, state elections were in September and those elected took office the first Wednesday of the next January. Presidential elections were in November with the rest of the country.

In September 1844 voters approved a Constitutional amendment making the state year begin the second Wednesday in May, instead of the first Wednesday in January. The governor and legislators installed early in January 1845 were to serve until the second Wednesday in May, 1846. Governor Hugh Johnston Anderson (#20) served from the beginning of his first term, Jan. 3, 1844, until the end of his third term, May 12, 1847.

Edmund Sixtus Muskie (#64) had been re-elected for a second term in September 1956, during which he led the movement for the Constitutional amendment changing the fall state election to November. In 1958 he was elected to the United States Senate and therefore resigned the governorship on Jan. 2, 1959. The Rumford native and Waterville attorney would later become a presidential candidate in 1972.

In September 1850, voters again amended the Constitution to change back to the January schedule. They provided that governors and legislators elected in September 1850 and inaugurated in May 1851 would serve until the first Wednesday in January 1853.

(Numerous on-line sources give the wording of these amendments; this writer found nothing that explains them. She theorizes that legislators disliked traveling to Augusta in January, but found the lack of synchronization with municipal and national years even less convenient.)

Governor John Hubbard (#22) therefore was in office from May 8, 1850, to Jan. 5, 1853, when William George Crosby (#23, elected in September 1852) succeeded him. In 1851 there were no state elections.

Another Constitutional amendment in September 1880 extended the governor’s term from one year to two years. Governor Daniel Franklin Davis (#37) was the last one-year governor (and served only one term, Jan, 17, 1880 – Jan. 13, 1881). Number 38, Harris Merrrill Plaisted, was also a one-term governor, but under the revised Constitution he got to serve two years, from Jan. 13, 1881, to Jan. 3, 1883.

In September 1957, Maine voters approved another Constitutional amendment extending the governor’s term to four years and providing that no one could hold the office for more than two consecutive terms. The governor takes office the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday in January and serves until a successor has been elected.

After the revolving-door governorships between 1820 and 1822, the other time voters must have wondered who was in charge was in 1959, the calendar year during which Maine had four governors.

Edmund Sixtus Muskie (#64) had been re-elected for a second term in September 1956, during which he led the movement for the Constitutional amendment changing the fall state election to November. In 1958 he was elected to the United States Senate and therefore resigned the governorship on Jan. 2, 1959.

Maine House Speaker Robert Haskell (#65) filled in until Clinton Amos Clauson (#66), elected in 1958, was sworn in on Jan. 7. Clauson died in office on Dec. 30, 1959. Senate President John Hathaway Reed (#67) finished Clauson’s term, beginning Dec. 30, 1959.

Maine House Speaker Robert Haskell (#65) filled in until Clinton Amos Clauson (#66), elected in 1958, was sworn in on Jan. 7. Clauson died in office on Dec. 30, 1959. Senate President John Hathaway Reed (#67) finished Clauson’s term, beginning Dec. 30, 1959.

Haskell was a University of Maine graduate, Class of 1925, with an engineering degree; he rose through Bangor Hydro-Electric Company to become its president in 1958. He served one term in the Maine House and five in the Senate, two as majority leader and two as Senate President; his colleagues called him “Slide Rule Bob” because of his mathematical skills.

Reed served from Dec. 30 until Clauson’s term would have ended in November 1960. He was elected in his own right that fall, and in 1962 was re-elected as the first governor to serve a four-year term. After his Maine political career he was appointed to the National Transportation Safety Board in 1966, and in the 1970s and 1980s was United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldive Isands.

Governor Rose’s three days in 1822 was not the shortest Maine gubernatorial term. Two men held the office for one day each

— Richard Hampton Vose (#14), Jan. 12, 1831 – Jan. 13, 1831, was a Senate President who served as acting governor after John Fairfield (#13) resigned (Wikipedia does not know why) and before Edward Kent (#15) was sworn in.

— Senate President Nathaniel Mervin Haskell was governor #62 for the 25 hours between the end of Governor Burton Cross’s Maine Senate term and the beginning of his second gubernatorial term. Cross was both the 61st and the 63rd Maine Governor.

Joshua Chamberlain, #32, was a military hero from the Civil War that helped the Union Army defeat the Confederates at Gettysburg during the Civil War.

John Winchester Dana (#19) also served a one-day term, Jan. 3, 1844, but he returned as governor #21 and served from May 12, 1847, until May 8, 1850. On Jan. 3, 1844, as newly-elected Senate President, he followed Edward Kavanaugh (#17), who resigned on Jan. 1 for health reasons, and House Speaker and acting Governor David Dunn (#18), who resigned Jan. 3 when the new legislature was sworn in. Dana was succeeded by Hugh Johnston Anderson (#20), who served from Jan. 3, 1844, until May 12, 1847. Dana then became Governor #21 and served until May 8, 1850.

Dana left politics after May 1850 and in 1853 became President Franklin Pierce’s charge d’affaires in Bolivia. Back in Maine, he ran unsuccessfully for governor again in 1860. He then moved to South America to raise sheep and, his Wikipedia page says, died in December 1867 of cholera he caught while assisting Argentinian victims.

Hannibal Hamlin (#26) was another short-term governor. A Democratic U. S. Senator since 1848, he switched in June 1856 to the new anti-slavery Republican Party, and in the fall of 1856 was the Maine Republicans’ successful nominee for governor. He served from Jan. 8, 1857, to Feb. 25, 1857. From March 4, 1861, until March 4, 1865, he was United States vice-president under Abraham Lincoln.

Hannibal Hamlin (#26) was another short-term governor. A Democratic U. S. Senator since 1848, he switched in June 1856 to the new anti-slavery Republican Party and in the fall of 1856 was the Maine Republicans’ successful nominee for governor. He served from Jan. 8, 1857, to Feb. 25, 1857, when he went back to the Senate until Jan. 17, 1861.

Hamlin had been a member of the United States House of Representatives (1843-1847) and a major in the Maine militia (in that capacity he helped negotiate a peaceful end to the boundary war between the U. S. and Canada called the Aroostook War [1838-1839]). From March 4, 1861, until March 4, 1865, he was United States vice-president under Abraham Lincoln.

In addition to Albion Parris, a dozen other Maine governors have shared either a first or a last name with a Maine town or city. They include Enoch Lincoln (#6); Nathan Cutler (#7); John Fairfield (#13 and #16); the two Morrills, Anson Peaslee (#24) and Lot Myrick (#28); Samuel Wells (#25); Hannibal Hamlin (#26); Israel Washburn, Jr. (#29); Sidney Perham (#33); William Tudor Gardiner (55); Sumner Sewall (#58); and Clinton Clauson (#66).

If the concept of “town or city” is expanded, the list could include Chamberlain (Joshua Chamberlain, (#32). Wikipedia identifies Chamberlain as an unincorporated village in the Town of Bristol and says Chamberlain has its own ZIP code. There is also an organized territory in Aroostook County identified as Connor (Seldon Connor, #35) and a Reed Plantation, also in Aroostook (John Reed, #67).

Anson Morrill and Sidney Perham are the only Maine governors, so far, who share both their first and their last names with a Maine town.

Main sources:

Websites, miscellaneous




Jada Boggs Graduates from Ithaca College

Jada Boggs, of Clinton, graduated from Ithaca College, in Ithaca, New York, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Studies.

Founded in 1892, Ithaca College is a residential college dedicated to building knowledge and confidence through a continuous cycle of theory, practice and performance. Home to some 6,200 students, the college offers more than 100 degree programs in its schools of Business, Communications, Humanities and Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Performance, and Music.

Erskine Academy holds virtual 2020 Renaissance awards

On Wednesday, May 13, Erskine Academy, in South China, held a virtual Renaissance assembly to recognize second and third trimester Senior of the Trimester recipients.

Four seniors received Senior of the Trimester Awards for second trimester: James Berto, son of Catherine and Jonathan Berto, of China; Stephanie Libby, daughter of Megan Morrell and Paul Libby, of Windsor; Tori Grasse, daughter of Kristin and Tim Grasse, of Windsor; and Sarah Jarosz, daughter of Karen and James Jarosz, of Fairfield.

In addition, six seniors received Senior of the Trimester Awards for third trimester: Miina Raag-Schmidt, daughter of Tarja Raag and Michael Schmidt, of Vassalboro; Clara Grady, daughter of Sarah and Jason Cobb, of China; Hunter Praul, son of Erika and Darryl Praul, of China; Andrew Robinson, son of Nina Robinson, of Jefferson, and Michael Robinson, of Thomaston; Richard Winn, son of Jamie and Jason Winn, of China; and Lyndsie Pelotte, daughter of Shasta and Jerad Pelotte, of China.

Seniors of the Trimester are recognized as individuals who have gone above and beyond in all aspects of their high school careers.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Every Young Man Should Know About This Type Of Cancer Prevention

Max Mallory succumbed to testicular cancer. Now, a foundation created in his name helps other young men save their own lives with information about the disease.

(NAPSI)—Young men and those who care about them should consider the story of Max Mallory. At 22 he graduated from college and started his dream job in the video game industry. He landed the job before graduation at the company where he had interned for almost a year. Set up in his own apartment, he started to live his life on his own and navigate the nuances of that first professional job.

Life was fine until mid-October, when Max experienced what seemed like stomach troubles and minor back pain. After two visits to urgent care centers where doctors prescribed antibiotics, he came home to stay with his dad and visit a urologist. He never made it to that medical appointment. Doubled over with sudden pain the next afternoon, he called 911. Late that evening in the emergency room, he heard the worrisome diagnosis: late-stage testicular cancer.

His cancer journey lasted only seven hard-fought months. He had an aggressive testicular cancer, choriocarcinoma. He passed away three days after he received the first round of stem cells.

He couldn’t have prevented his testicular cancer with self-exams, since he “was born with” one testicle that was healthy.

Be Aware of the Other Cause 

Mallory was born with one undescended testicle, known in medical terms as cryptorchidism and identified as the most common genital problem pediatricians encounter (Medscape). He had exploratory surgery at age one. He and his parents were told he was born with one testicle, that the undescended testicle they were looking for wasn’t there. Over the years, no one questioned this situation—though he regularly saw pediatricians.

His cancer did not appear as a lump or tumor on his testicle. The malignant mass rested in his lower abdomen. The acute back pain became the catalyst for action. Unknown to him, his “missing” testicle existed after all and developed into the cancerous tissue. By the time he made it to the E.D., it had already spread to other parts of his body.

What Can Be Done? 

For boys and men with two testicles, self-exam is key. Some schools, coaches and informed doctors have told these young men how to go about it. There are many sources online for the information; for example, the Mayo Clinic is a good place to check.

For those who have had an undescended testicle, it’s important to find out what was done about it. If it was surgically put in place (usually done in infancy), there is still a slightly higher risk of testicular cancer. Your doctor should know about this.

More Info 

The Max Mallory Foundation was founded in 2017 and provides awareness of testicular cancer not identified “with a lump” and self-exam. It also assists young adults with cancer, an underserved group and works in association with other testicular cancer organizations. The Foundation is a 501c(3) organization. Mallory’s full story is on the website,

Fish die-off reported on China Lake

This photo was taken of a fish die-off occurred on Webber Pond in June 2016. (The Town Line file photo by Roland D. Hallee)

There has been a fish die-off reported on China Lake. An inquiry at the China Town Office prompted this response from Scott Pierz, president of the China Lake Association.

“In the past there was a fish die off that was recognized by Nate Gray of the Maine Department of Marine Resources and others (more knowledgeable than I) said that a temperature shift in the lake water’s thermocline stressed the fish and caused their mortality. This was reported by Shannon Power down in the area of the lower portion of the east basin watershed of China Lake a couple of years ago. I had sent an email to Nate along with some photos (from Shannon) and that’s the response I received.”

What to expect at the polls in China on July 14

by Becky Hapgood
China Town Clerk

Welcome to 2020! The year of everything being different than what we are accustomed. On July 14, the town of China has a major election not because of the size but because of what you will be voting on and how things surrounding the election have changed.

First, if you are 17 and will turn 18 on or before the November 3 election, and you are enrolled in a party, you can vote. You will only receive a state candidate ballot.

If you are over 18 and, in a party, you will receive a candidate ballot, state referendum ballot, two RSU ballots (budget and revolving renovation fund) and two town of China ballots containing the municipal budget. If you are unenrolled, you would receive all ballots except for the candidate ballot.

Because China requires a quorum of 118 voters to hold an open meeting, we could not convene our annual town business meeting and follow the CDC guidelines. We were forced to go to a written ballot vote to approve the town’s budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

I expect if a voter receives all ballots, it will take the voter up to 10 minutes in the voting booth. We sent out a mailer earlier to help the voters see the municipal ballot questions before they enter the voting booth. We will also be posting all sample ballots to our website under elections as soon as they are received.

Please note the Lakeview Drive entrance will again be closed to traffic. We kindly request you access the municipal complex from the road off the Alder Park Road. We will have signs to remind everyone where the entrance is located. I expect long lines while the polls are open. To avoid the lines, you are welcome to request an absentee ballot up to and including Election Day. This is a change to election law for this election due to the pandemic.

We cannot plan for the weather, but we will have a 20-foot x 40-foot tent in case of rain or heat. You will notice that we will have to adjust how we wait to enter the voting area. We will be limiting the number of voters in the building to maintain the 6-foot physical distance between persons. Everything in the polling place from the booths to the voting machines must be set up as to maintain the 6-foot social distancing. Voters are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings but cannot be turned away from voting for not doing so. If you cannot stand for a long period of time, you should request an absentee ballot.

The absentee ballot request process is very easy. You can go online to under the Election tab, you can call the office (207) 445-2014 to request a ballot or you can stop by the office and pick one up for you and/or an immediate family member. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election night. No reason is required to vote absentee. Once you receive the ballots, you vote and then seal all ballots in the envelope provided. Please make sure to sign on the return ballot envelope where highlighted. The ballots can then be returned by mail or dropped off at the town office by the voter or the voter’s immediate family. We are working on a secure drop box for ballots but as of this writing, we have not found one that meets the criteria set forth by the state.

If you have any questions leading up to the election, please reach out. We have provided background information for the town’s budget vote on under the Elections tab. Sample ballots will also be posted as soon as they are available.

Doing whatever it takes 4 Kids’ Sake

Big Sister Paige Lilly and her “Little Brother” Hunter Stevens. (Contributed photo)

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine is reinventing its largest annual fundraising event “Bowl for Kids’ Sake” to do “Whatever It Takes” to support the 435 kids the agency currently serves in eastern, central and midcoast Maine. With all 13 of the agency’s bowling events canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, supporters will instead be walking, biking, reading, hiking, painting and doing other activities of their choice to raise funds for local youth, one-to-one mentoring programs.

According to Gwendolyn Hudson, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine, revenue from Bowl for Kids’ Sake makes up half of the organization’s annual budget. The unforeseen changes due to Covid-19, Hudson said, are expected to result in a loss of more than $200,000 this year.

“Many Littles are experiencing increased stress, anxiety, fear and isolation. Even in the best of times, they are facing adversity at a higher rate than the average young person, and will bear the greatest burdens of trauma and financial insecurity because of this pandemic,” Hudson said. “Funding is critical right now to continue to provide Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring services to our most vulnerable population—our kids. That’s why we are asking our supporters to do whatever it takes to support our Littles.”

Teams and individuals can register online at, and then create a personal fundraising page where supporters can make safe, electronic donations. Whatever It Takes 4 Kids’ Sake runs now through July 31. Every person who registers is included in a weekly drawing for local business gift cards. Individuals who raise $125 and teams that raise $500 or more will receive Big Brothers Big Sisters T-shirts.

Whatever It Takes 4 Kids’ Sake is presented by Hannaford Supermarkets and Camden National Bank, with support from local business sponsorships.

For more information about participating in Whatever It Takes 4 Kids’ Sake, becoming a sponsor, donating weekly prize gift cards, or information about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister volunteer, visit, email or call 207-236-BBBS (2227).