SOLON & BEYOND: Thrift store, community center re-open

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

I was very happy to receive two e-mails with wonderful news this week! The first one was from Mary Frear and she wrote, The Embden Thrift Store, at the Embden Community Center, is back in operation. The new hours are Wednesday 9 a.m. – noon and Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Only five customers can be in the shop at the same time, and everyone must wear a mask. No one will be allowed to enter without one. Thank you for your always interesting articles. Keep up the good work! Sincerely Mary Frear. ( Thank you, ever so much for your kind words, I shall treasure them!)

Also received an e-mail from my faithful helper, Carol Dolan, and she wrote, Changes at the Embden Community Center; The Neighbor to Neighbor Thrift Shop will be open Wednesday’s 9 – 10 a.m. – noon and Saturday’s 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., ( not open on Friday’s )

Other events: Sewing – Wednesday’s 9 a.m. – noon, and Bone Building, 9 – 10 a.m. Thanks so much, Carol.

This week, because the above e-mails are the only local news that I have received, I am going to print some of the Solon and Beyond news of February 11, 2005, from the newspaper that my cat Percy and I started in January 2005.

At the beginning, it starts with these words: Perseverance (Percy) Rogers co-owner of SOLON and BEYOND

Would like to introduce you to my partner and supporter, Perseverance (a/k/a Percy). On bad days he is right there to cuddle with me, with one paw as far as he can get it around my neck.

Percy started out as a frightened stray kitten and was rescued by a family on Route 43. They called and told me about this sweet little female kitten that needed a home and it was love at first sight. I named her Faith, but as luck would have it, on the first trip to the vet, I found out that a boy’s name was needed instead. After a short time this little kitten started his true personality and hence Perseverance, or Percy for short.

Percy has many talents besides being a good cuddler, he is always at the door to welcome me home, loves to sing, (Amazing Grace is his favorite song!) He has become famous and much loved for his good advice in the columns I have written. As you can see from his picture, he is very intelligent and he’s promoting this book of meditations – for-cat lovers. Oh yes, he thinks he is a mighty hunter and is still looking for the mouse that got away! (For those of you who didn’t get the January 21, 2005, issue of this paper, I told of his letting a live mouse loose at my feet and how upset I got at him.) I must confess, there is a slight power struggle between us as to who who is really the “Boss!”

There was a lot of local news printed and then it continues with these words: One of the things I have always enjoyed over the years as a reporter, is hearing from people and then sharing their news. It is now early Thursday morning and we’re in the middle of a beautiful snowstorm. I quite often write this paper during different times and days, am finding that this is a full time job. The reactions that I get when I tell people that I’ve started my own paper, are basically the same, total amazement! It affects me like that some days, also. One day this week someone said to me, “What are you trying to do? You’re giving this paper away!” True….and had hoped for a miracle of some kind, but when the miracle doesn’t materialize immediately, you compensate. Sometimes you have to eat your words, as in this case, never say ‘never’! I had tried to sell ads for another paper for awhile last year and couldn’t reach the goal set for me and so I quit. I remember saying the words, “I’ll never sell ads, again, ever ! Well, you will notice that I have started selling ads again, and my many, many thanks for those who responded so graciously. (And you know, I did receive a miracle, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined your wonderful response to this little paper, my heartfelt thanks..)

And so with your great support, I have decided to expand to Bingham. And so the first story from there will start with a question. Can someone in Bingham tell us Solon people the story, (what, why, who did it and more) about the, as we call it, “Mystery Light,” on the river? Going north, it shines from the island, soon after you go by Goodrich Road. When I heard about it, I called Glen Wing and he said he had never seen it. So being a person who has to be shown, I have been up both during the day and night to witness the mystery for myself. If anyone has any information about this would you call or e-mail me, I love a mystery. End of that story: I don’t seem to remember all of that happening, hope some of you will clear that up for me.

This message that Percy is approving this week is from his favorite book, What My Cat Has Taught Me About Life. And it says, “To get a grip on a job that’s waiting, dig in with determination. Work past that imposing start, and get hooked on a dreaded task. Nothing productive in this world happens without hard work. Sharpen your character with a little gutsy determination, and sink your energies into that next project.”

OBITUARIES for Thursday, August 27, 2020


WATERVILLE – Gloria C. Simpson (Pouliot), 86, of Winslow, passed away at Oak Grove Center, in Waterville, on Friday, August 14, 2020. She was born in Winslow on February 23, 1934, to parents, Leo and Marie (Bedard) Pouliot.

Gloria graduated from Winslow High School in 1952. She married Richard Simpson in 1954 with whom she spent 32 years. She was employed as an office manager for Kennebec Supply, in Winslow, for many years.

Gloria’s favorite pastime was spending time with her family. She also enjoyed reading, playing the piano, watching the Red Sox, spending time at the coast and painting. She was a very talented artist and her masterpieces will live on in the homes of the ones she loved. She was a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, in Winslow.

After her husband’s passing, from diabetes, she volunteered countless hours for the American Diabetes Association. She also loved spending time with her four-legged best friend, Bella, who always had extra love and kisses for her.

Glo had a kind, loving and generous soul. Her smile was infectious and her great sense of humor.

Gloria is predeceased by her parents; her husband; and her brother, Reginald Pouliot, of Connecticut.

Gloria is survived by her brother-in-law, Donald Simpson and wife Nancy, of Waterville. (She referred to Don and Nancy as her angels, as they became best friends as well as her caretakers over the years.); her niece, Wendy Aucoin and husband Gerard, of Waterville, as well as their son Cameron Aucoin. Cam was Aunt Glo’s “Main man”. They enjoyed countless breakfast dates and shared a very special bond. Each of them always knew how to make the other one feel better. She is survived by cousin, Carmen Easinsky, of Winslow, as well as several nieces, nephews; great-nieces and great-nephews.

You are invited to offer your condolences and share fond memories with the family by visiting Gloria’s guestbook at

A prayer service will be held at St. Francis Cemetery, in Waterville, at a later date, and due to the Covid-19 virus restrictions, services will be private.

A service of Veilleux and Redington Funeral Home, 8 Elm St., Waterville, ME 04901. (207)872-7676.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing may make a donation in her name to the Waterville Area Humane Society.


WATERVILLE – Yvette C. Mitchell, 95, of Waterville, passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 15, 2020, at the Lakewood Nursing Home, in Waterville. She was born in Waterville on March 10, 1925, the second child of Eddie J. and Alice (Maheu) Pooler.

Yvette graduated from Waterville High School in 1942, and married her high school sweetheart and love of her life, Paul Mitchell, on August 20, 1949. Other than a period of 7 – 8 years in New York City and the Boston suburbs when they were first married, Yvette lived here in Waterville. She and Paul raised their four children and together shared 68 years of wedded bliss.

Although she never really came out and said it, Yvette loved Waterville. It was home to her extended family, including her Mitchell in-laws and her Pooler siblings, especially her sister Rita.

Yvette was a terrific cook and baker, with famous family recipes for her chicken pie, her chocolate cake and her whoopie pies. She dedicated years of her life supporting husband Paul’s business endeavors at GHM Insurance Agency, in Waterville, and raising her children, sending them off to college and to start their own families. She was a tremendous mother, but in many ways the prime of Yvette’s life started with the birth of her grandchildren, all 12 of them. Nothing brought Yvette more happiness than spending time with her husband, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, especially at their sporting events or at her home away from home, her summer camp on Great Pond, which served as the family gathering spot and scene of happy memories for many years.

She would oversee the swimming, tubing and water skiing of her grandchildren, then send them off by boat to Day’s Store, in Belgrade, with a dollar in hand to buy whatever special treat they desired. She loved to cheer on her grandchildren at their sporting events, from football and basketball games in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to baseball games in Marblehead, Massachusetts, to track meets, hockey games and tennis matches, in Waterville and Winslow.

Until her Parkinson’s took over, she never missed a graduation, wedding or big family event.Yvette was humble. She never wanted the glory or to be the center of attention, and was much more comfortable in the background. That was her comfort zone, the one- on-one talk, where she could stress the fundamentals of life – education, hard work, keep moving forward, try hard and do your best. And she stressed these to her grandchildren.

Yvette was never negative, she never had a bad word to say about anyone, let alone someone from her family. Yvette was tough, and she never complained. For the last ten years or so, she had very limited mobility and for the last five years was confined to a wheelchair, unable to comfortably move. During those years at Lakewood Nursing Home, she never complained about her situation or complained about the pain she was in. She did not want to talk about herself, she wanted to talk about her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren; how they were doing, what they were doing. They were the great loves of her life, and we will all miss her so.

Survivors include her four children, Paul J. Mitchell Jr. and his wife Suzanne, of Marblehead, Massachusetts, Linda Mitchell Price and her husband Stuart Price, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jeffrey D. Mitchell and his wife Lisa, of Winslow, and William E. Mitchell and his wife Vicki, of Waterville; 12 grandchildren, Colin, Nara, Stephanie, Stuart, Bethany, Catherine, Jacqueline, Jessica, Taylor, Michael, Nicole and Sean; and her nine great-grandchildren, Emlyn, Quinn, Mitchell, Charlotte, Vivian, Clara, Will, William and Elizabeth; brother-in-law George Mitchell and sister-in-law Heather, of New York City, and her sisters-in-law Barbara Atkins and Janet Mitchell, both of Waterville.

She was predeceased by her husband, Paul Mitchell, and her brother John Pooler and sister Rita Stuart.

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

In light of Covid-19 restrictions, all services will be private.

An online guest book may be signed and condolences expressed at

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 SE 1st St. Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131.


WATERVILLE – David R. Spencer, 73, passed away Saturday, August 15, 2020, at Maine Medical Center, in Portland. He was born February 18, 1947, in Caribou, the son of Robert and Verna (Cote) Spencer.

David served in the United States Army, then in the National Guard for many years retiring as an E5. Known to many as “Spence”, David was a hard working man who was always ready to lend a hand to anyone in need. Always smiling and up for a spirited chat.

He was co-owner of Wishing Well Manufacturing and worked for various restaurant equipment vendors. He spent 16 years working for the state of Maine highway crew. David retired at 62 and spent the remainder of his time doing handyman jobs for family and friends.

He enjoyed being “Grumpa” to his four-legged grandson, Lucky, and going for daily walks with him. He was proud to be an honorary member of the Hamlin family and enjoyed many family gatherings with them.

He enjoyed working on carpentry projects, eating out, and going on many day trips with Susan and Patsy. He loved going to Dunkin’ Donuts to gather with friends. He also liked perusing Marden’s and The Home Depot for any new tools for gadgets he didn’t already have. He never met a tool he didn’t like or couldn’t use.

David is survived by his daughters, Lisa Cormier, Lori Harrell and husband Sam, both of Tennessee, daughter-in-law, Susan Hamlin Spencer, of Waterville; niece, Eileen Alley and partner Mark Gifford, of Bucksport; grandchildren, William Cormier, Bernard Cormier and wife Lesley, Kayla Cormier and partner Deron Martell, David and Logan Guinn, Robert Spencer and partner Jacob Dyer; great-grandchildren, Mason and Ava Cormier, Zavier Cormier, Gabrielle Martell; siblings, Michael Spencer, of Oakland, Thomas Spencer, of Dover-Foxcroft; many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by parents, Verna and Robert Spencer; siblings, Arthur, Bill, Gloria and Linda; son, Scott A. Spencer; and son-in-law, Marc Cormier.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family.

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

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in David’s memory to Spectrum Generations Meals on Wheels, Muskie Community Center, 38 Gold St. Waterville, ME 04901.


SOUTH CHINA – Margaret E. “Marge” Glowa, 88, of South China, and formerly of Shelton, Connecticut, passed away on Sunday, August 16, 2020, following a lengthy illness. She was born in Monticello on August 23, 1931, to the late Harry and Dorothy Beaton.

For 61 years, she was the wife of John E. Glowa, who predeceased her in 2014. She was also predeceased by sons, Andrew and Steven and a sister, D. Elaine Bailey.

Margaret was born on a potato farm in northern Maine during the Great Depression. She and her family moved to Robinsons in the 1940s where she helped on the farm, picking potatoes and driving the truck. In 1952, she graduated from Aroostook State Normal School, in Presque Isle, and started her teaching career. She married in 1953, and in 1955 moved to Stratford, Connecticut, with her new family. She moved to Shelton with her husband and two young sons in 1960 and lived in the same home until 2016 when she returned to live in Maine.

In the late 1960s, Margaret went back to college and resumed her teaching career. She taught for many years at Elizabeth S. Shelton Elementary School until her retirement. She was a wonderful, loving and supportive mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. When her sons were growing up she was active in the Cub Scouts and the Shelton Little League. She always supported her sons and their families in whatever they did and she believed in living by example.

Margaret is survived by her son, John Glowa, of South China; grandchildren, John Jr., Joseph, Jeffrey, Leanne, Andrea and Michael; eight great-grandchildren; her sister, Mary Valadez, of Hampton, Virginia; and several nieces, nephews and cousins; former daughter-in-law, Joanne Glowa, of Winslow, and her son, John’s partner, Charlene Rackliff ,of Vassalboro.

A walk-through visitation for family and friends will be held on Saturday, August 29, from 1 to 2 p.m., in the Riverview Funeral Home, 390 River Rd., Shelton, Connecticut. Visitors are asked to wear masks and social distance as they walk through, pay their respects, and exit without lingering to ensure all guests can come through the building. Her funeral service and burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery, River Rd.. Shelton, Conn. at 2:15 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Margaret’s memory to the Elizabeth S. Shelton School library. Checks can be made out to Elizabeth S. Shelton School and sent to John M. Glowa Sr., 30 Meadow Wood Drive, South China, ME 04358.


WATERVILLE – Samuel Brelsford, 77, passed away on Monday, August 17, 2020, following a long battle with cancer. Tony was born Jan. 15, 1943 in Providence, Rhode Island, to Raymond and Rose Brelsford.

He enlisted in the United States Army on March 19, 1962, where he served in the Vietnam and Korean wars and as a Military Policeman at Fort Riley, Kansas.

Following an honorable discharge, Tony followed his brother, Bill, to Maine where he worked at Bath Iron Works, then married the love of his life, Janice Dashiell, October 15, 1983. They were married 36 years.

Tony was a die-hard Red Sox fan, people person, jokester, nature and dog lover, and enjoyed his large collection of model cars, which he shared with many children through the years. He had several security jobs and worked his last job at Circle K, Fairfield, where he enjoyed sharing a lifetime of stories with drivers and coworkers.

Tony was predeceased by his parents; brother, Bill; and oldest son, Ernest.

He is survived by his wife, Janice; daughter, Barbara Barrs and husband, Tim, and stepdaughter, Darlene Frost, all of Waterville; sons John Brelsford and wife, Anna, of Erin, Tennessee, and Steven Brelsford and wife, Marsha, of Checotah, Oklahoma; stepdaughter, Diana Larson and husband, Steve, of Suffield, Connecticut; stepson, Eric Dashiell and wife, Wanda, of Hampden; sister Joan Andrews, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; 17 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and many friends and extended family.

Committal prayers took place at the Veterans Cemetery Memorial Wall, Augusta, Aug. 25.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the

Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers, 93 Silver Street, Waterville, ME 04901, where Tony donated many of his model cars.


WATERVILLE – Constance J. Kirk, 81, of Waterville, passed away peacefully on Monday, August 17, 2020, at Woodlands Assisted Living, in Waterville. She was born on February 15, 1939 to Albert and Marie (Roy) Nadeau.

She attended schools in Lewiston, graduating from Lewiston High School. She loved making memories with family and friends at Camp Megamasena, on Morrill Pond, in Hartland, her home away from home.

Connie was predeceased by her parents, of Lewiston; and brother, Ronald Nadeau,of Casco.

She will be sadly missed by her daughter, Kim Kirk, of Vassalboro; sons, William Kirk Jr., of South Portland, and Robert Kirk and wife, Valerie, of Levant; sister-in-law, Linda Nadeau, of Naples, Florida; grandchildren, Chad Caron, Ashley Caron, Tricia Kirk and Kayla Bubar; great-grandchildren, Xander Pugh, Carmen and David Brown; many cousins, nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be planned at a later date.

Connie will be laid to rest in St. Peter’s Cemetery, in Lewiston, in a private ceremony.

You are invited to offer your condolences and share fond memories with the family by visiting Connie’s guest book at

In lieu of flowers, the family wishes for you to make a donation to a charity of your choice.


OAKLAND – Stephen J. Palmer, 84, of Oakland, passed away on Monday, August 17, 2020, at Glenridge Nursing Home, in Augusta, following a lengthy illness. He is the husband of Janice C. (Wiley) Palmer with whom he shared 63 years of marriage. Stephen was born September 6, 1935, in Bridgton, son of the late Gerald H. and Marie (Embich) Palmer.

He grew up in Bridgton and was a 1953 graduate of Bridgton High School. He went on to attend Franklin Technical Institute, in Boston. Stephen worked for National Cash Register as a service technician for many years until his retirement.

Stephen enjoyed spending time at home with his family. His favorite activities were those pursued in the Maine outdoors including fly fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and riding his motorcycle.

In addition to his wife Janice, Stephen is survived by his three daughters, Diane Angelo and her husband Paul, of Troy, Carolyn LaVerdiere and her husband Steve, of Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, Rebecca Watson and her husband Don, of Gilford, New Hampshire; and his son, James Palmer, of Augusta; his brother, Joel Palmer, of Limerick, Joel’s wife Linda; his sister-in-law, Maxine Palmer and his brother-in-law, Dean Brown; nine grandchildren, Laura, Amy, Thomas, Edward, Tyler, Taylor, Morgan, Sarah and Emily; his great-grandchildren Donovin, Treva, Brenton, Aiden, Lenna, Oliver and James; nieces and nephew, Cathy, Robin, Penny, Jonathan and Amy.

In addition to his parents, Stephen was predeceased by his sister, Susan Palmer Brown and his brother, Carlton Palmer.

Stephen’s funeral service was held at the Wheeler Funeral Home, 25 Church Street Oakland on Saturday, August 22. His graveside service followed at Lewis Cemetery, Oakland..

Arrangements are in the care of the Wheeler Funeral Home, 25 Church St., Oakland.

Condolences may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the website at

In lieu of flowers donations in Stephen’s memory may be made to the Oakland Fire and Rescue, P.O. Box 187, Oakland, ME 04963.


WINSLOW– Ralph G. Bourassa, 86, of Winslow, passed away on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at his home in Winslow, following a brief illness. Ralph was born and raised in Winslow, the son of Lucy (Dusty) and Donat Bourassa.

Ralph attended Winslow High School, graduating in 1953, where he excelled in football. He was employed as a first-class lineman by Central Maine Power (CMP) Company for 45 years. While at CMP, Ralph loved to treat his fellow linemen with his beautiful voice by singing Country and traditional French-Canadian folk songs over the company’s truck radio system, much to the dismay of CMP’s management. He thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of his fellow CMP linemen and thought of them like family.

A devout Catholic, he was a member of Corpus Christi Parish. He had a quick wit and a compassionate spirit who always tried to find the good in everyone. He was also a wicked cribbage player and was always up for a competitive game but was considerate enough to “allow” everyone to win a few games before showing them who was the cribbage boss. Ralph was a great cook who enjoyed preparing meals for his family, friends and anyone who dropped in as it was important to him that everyone felt welcomed.

Ralph enjoyed retirement with his wife in St. Maarten and by keeping busy with countless projects around the home, reading books about history and visiting with friends and family.

Like his seven brothers, Ralph served in the United States Army and was deployed in Germany from 1957 to 1959, working in Special Weapons.

Ralph is survived by his wife of 51 years, Brenda (Thomas) Bourassa; and their two children, Nikki and Michael; sister, Yvette “Jackie” Bourassa; brother-in-law, Michael Thomas and wife Candy and their daughter, Amy Pool; sisters-in-law, Jo-Ann Bourassa, Judith Veneziano, and Gail Thomas; along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins. “Mr. B.” will be missed by Mikayla, Amara, Braden and Elaina Rioux.

Ralph was predeceased by his parents, Lucy (Dusty) and Donat Bourassa; his brothers, Donald, Earnest, Frank, Lawrence, Leo, Carl, Richard; and his sisters, Lucille, Rena, Mona, Irma Munro, and Annette Thurlow; in-laws, Robert Thomas, Barbara (Wheeler) Thomas and their son, Ronald Thomas.

A graveside service will be held at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, on Grove St., in Waterville, on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, at 10 a.m. Protective face coverings are required for attendance.

In Ralph’s memory, donations may be made to the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, 19 Colby Street, Waterville ME 04901 or to a charity of your choosing.

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

Messages of condolence may be left at the bottom of this page in the comments section.


WATERVILLE – Gregory “Greg” John Duguay, 54, passed away Sunday, May 3, 2020, due to medical complications. He was born March 24, 1966, in Waterville, the son of Lawrence and Faylene (McCann) Duguay.

Greg graduated from Winslow High School and attended Eastern Maine Vocational Technical Institute, in Bangor, as well as Central Maine Technical College, in Auburn, where he earned an applied science degree.

Greg was currently employed at Ware-Butler, Inc., in Waterville. He had recently become a member of the Elks Club. He loved spending time with his large extended family and many friends. He enjoyed all sports, but his passion was music. He was the drummer in the band RFactor13 for several years. Greg especially looked forward to his annual trip to Delaware to watch the NASCAR races and visit with friends.

Greg was a loving son. He was kind, generous, loyal, and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

He is survived by his parents, Lawrence and Faylene Duguay; sister, Karen; as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, August 29, at 10 a.m., at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, in Winslow, for family only.

There will be a Celebration of Life at 11:30 a.m., for friends and family at the Elks Lodge, in Waterville, at the outdoor, open air, covered pavilion. CDC guidelines apply, masks and social distancing required.

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

Give Us Your Best Shot! for Thursday, August 27, 2020

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

WEST SIDE STORY: Miranda Meader, of Winthrop, sent along this photo of a bald eagle on the west side of China Lake, on July 27.

HMMM, GOOD: Emily Poulin, of South China, snapped this squirrel enjoying some snack.

EARLY ARRIVALS: Michael Bilinsky, of China Village, captured these Canada geese on their return last spring.

Vassalboro selectmen make progress on several issues, make no decisions

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen made progress on several issues at their Aug. 20 meeting, although the only absolutely final decision they made was to appoint Charlie Plourde as a recreation committee member.

Reviewing bids for reroofing the snack shack at the ballfields (which the recreation committee manages), they awarded the contract to Legacy Home Improvements, of South China for $6,900 – after Town Manager Mary Sabins talks with company representatives about two issues and assuming she reaches satisfactory results.

They reviewed a preliminary transfer station redesign plan from engineer Al Hodsdon, head of A. E. Hodsdon Engineers, of Waterville, and scheduled review of a final plan for their Sept. 17 meeting.

They read the bid from the only person interested in buying the retired police car and asked Sabins to see if junking it would be more profitable than accepting the bid.

They agreed that instead of appointing a committee chairperson (or chairpeople) for the 2021 sestercentennial (250th anniversary) of Vassalboro’s incorporation on April 26, 1761, selectmen will coordinate as local volunteers do their own projects.

John Melrose, the new chairman of the selectboard and promoter of the sestercentennial since last year, has been overseeing improvements to the park in East Vassalboro. He said other ideas so far include a 2021 commemorative calendar and postcards, a scavenger hunt for historic items, interpretive panels at significant places, a time capsule, an anthology of long-time residents’ stories and fireworks.

Melrose recommended scheduling events in two groups, one close to the April incorporation date and a second around the traditional Vassalboro Days celebration in September.

This September’s Vassalboro Days will include a chalkfest for which organizers are looking for paved areas on which to draw, Sabins said. Part of the town office parking lot might become one site.

Selectmen heard two additional progress reports: Sabins said 2020-21 tax bills had been sent out and payments were “already rolling in”: and Public Works Director Eugene Field said paving had started.

The next regular Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, in the town office meeting room.

China selectmen set tax rate at 14.9 mils for 2020-21

by Mary Grow

At their Aug. 24 special meeting, China selectmen, in their capacity as assessors, set the 2020-21 tax rate at 14.9 mils, or $14.90 for each $1,000 of valuation.

Last year’s rate was 16.3 mils, or $16.30 for each $1,000 of valuation.

The lower rate will mean a lower tax bill for some property owners, but not for all. People who have made improvements can expect a higher valuation that could increase the tax. And at the Aug. 3 selectmen’s meeting, Kelly Grotton explained that some categories of property, especially land around lakes, will have higher valuations to meet state requirements.

Grotton is the assistant to assessor William Van Tuinen, who recommended the 14.9 rate as adequate to raise enough local tax money to meet China’s financial obligations this year. The town receives money from many other sources, including state funding, vehicle excise taxes and fees paid for town services.

Town Manager Becky Hapgood said tax bills should be mailed out the week after Labor Day, assuming preparations go smoothly. By town meeting vote, the first half payment is due at the town office by 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25.

In other business Aug, 24, selectmen appointed board member Janet Preston as alternate representative to the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments General Assembly (Selectman Irene Belanger is China’s main representative). They appointed Brent Chesley a member of the Tax Increment Financing Committee.

Hapgood reminded the audience that nomination papers for local elective office are due back at the town office by 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, for candidates’ names to be on the Nov. 3 local ballot.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31.

Vassalboro school board approves 2020 opening plan

Vassalboro Community School. (source:

by Mary Grow

At their Aug. 18 meeting, Vassalboro School Board members approved the reopening plan developed by staff over the summer, in consultation with many students’ families, other state educators and state officials. Board members voted with the understanding the plan is subject to change as local circumstances or state recommendations change.

School is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Sept. 2. Teachers and other staff will be at Vassalboro Community School. Students will alternate by groups between in-school and remote learning, except those whose families have chosen remote learning only. The emphasis is on safety, including social distancing, face coverings, washing and sanitizing, health checks and other measures.

There have also been safety-minded rearrangements inside the school building, like making a waiting room outside the nurse’s office.

The reopening plan and related documents are on the school website,

Principal Megan Allen said, “We’re going to do this and we’re going to do it well. I feel good about people coming through these doors,” with a glance toward the school’s entrance.

“It could all change at any moment,” Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer warned.

In other business Aug. 18, board members approved five new appointments and welcomed the new staff members who were at the meeting. Gregory Hughes is assistant principal; Melora Norman is library/media specialist; Jenna Zemrak is literacy specialist; Teraysa Noyes is grade six and seven science teacher; and Chad Dixon is a special education teacher.

They accepted the resignations of gifted and talented teacher Julie Oliver, third-grade teacher Sally Putnam and special education technicians Amanda Caldarella and Erika Johnston.

Pfeiffer commended staff members from the former school union who work with Vassalboro, Waterville and Winslow superintendents for their help getting the plan in place. He read a letter from a former student, now in the border patrol in Texas, thanking Vassalboro Community School for giving him the opportunity to start learning Spanish.

During the public comment period, board member Jessica Clark read an email from a parent wondering whether a Covid-19 vaccination, when developed, would be mandatory. School nurse MaryAnn Fortin said making a new vaccination mandatory would probably be a legislative decision, as current vaccination requirements are.

The next regular Vassalboro School Board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, in the school cafeteria.

Northern Light named to best maternity care list

photo: Newsweek:

Northern Light Inland Hospital has been named to Newsweek’s 2020 list of Best Maternity Care Hospitals. The distinction recognizes facilities that have excelled in providing care to mothers, newborns and their families, as verified by the 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Best Maternity Care Hospitals is part of Newsweek’s Best Health Care series, powered by data from The Leapfrog Group. Inland Hospital is one of only five in Maine and fewer than 250 hospitals nationwide to receive the prestigious accolade

“We are very proud to be named to such an impressive list,” said Terri Vieira, president of Inland Hospital. “Inland’s Birthing Center is known for its excellent, safe care and for its skilled and caring providers and staff. We are a healthcare family that loves to take care of other families.”

Hospitals named as a Best Maternity Care Hospital have fully met The Leapfrog Group’s standards for maternity care on evidence-based, nationally standardized metrics. This includes lower rates of early elective delivery, primary C-section rates, and episiotomy, as well as compliance with process measures including newborn bilirubin screening prior to discharge and blood clot prevention techniques for mothers delivering via C-section.

“We take the safety of our moms and babies very seriously,” noted William Bradfield, MD, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Inland Hospital. “We are very excited about this award because it recognizes that safety is our top priority. We hope it gives expecting families confidence in us to see that we are doing everything possible to keep them safe and healthy.”

Courtney Cook, RN, birthing director explains that, “We also provide valuable services to make sure moms and babies are healthy beyond the birth experience, such as our In Touch program that connects moms to a nurse 24/7 so they can ask questions or raise concerns after they get home. In addition, our lactation program, breastfeeding support group, and our postpartum support group (called Tree of Hope) all help keep moms healthy and empowered as their bodies change after their labor of love.”

“Best Maternity Care Hospitals showcases an elite group of hospitals from across the country,” said Nancy Cooper, Global Editor in Chief of Newsweek. “These facilities stand out for the care they provide to women and families, and for giving babies a strong start to life. Particularly in these uncertain times, we are honored to share this list of top-ranked facilities with Newsweek’s readership.”

The full list of recipients is available at

For more information about the Birthing Center at Inland Hospital, please call 861-3100 or visit

Volunteers needed to help set up outdoor classrooms in the China Schools Forest

photo: China School’s Forest Facebook

Anita Smith, Director of the China Schools Forest, has been preparing the grounds for outdoor learning experiences in time for the beginning to the 2020-21 to year. The China School Forest provides ample space for students to socially distance in a calm, safe atmosphere, while learning. Volunteers have been essential. They have cleared brush, raked gravel on trails, stained picnic tables and water sealed a bridge over a pond. As school is about to begin, we need volunteers to give it one last push to prepare for the kids’ arrival.

Volunteers will be need on Friday, August 28, from 5 – 7 p.m., and Saturday, August 29, from 9 – 11 a.m. Four or five strong people with ladders to tie tarps up in the trees will be needed. The tarps will help protect kids from sun or unexpected sprinkles.

Contact Anita Smith at 207-445-3056 to volunteer. For more information about the China Schools Forest, visit

Future needs for volunteers:

Saturdays, September 5 and 12 at 9 a.m., to cut and load firewood to store for neighbors in need. Bring chainsaws, work gloves, and goggles. If you own a pick-up truck, please bring it.

China For A Lifetime also needs more volunteers. We help with projects such as the China Schools Forests and with individuals who may need a helping hand or two. We run errands, rake leaves, shovel snow, basic home repair, minor chores and welcome neighbors. Contact them at 207-200-3704 or at

Belfast Senior College fall session begins Sept. 2020

Are you searching for something of value? There is much anticipation in the air these days with elections, school openings, vaccines, domestic and global issues. Why not consider a Zoom class to broaden your personal knowledge?

Value awaits you beginning next month at the virtual zoom classes offered by the Belfast Senior College. Literature, history, technology, wellness, language courses among others commence in September.

Look for our course descriptions and registration form at Several courses have class size limitations so register early.

No stress, no exams, no homework, no report cards! Connect with new ideas, practical education and experienced instruction. Add some value this Fall.

B2B Showcase canceled for 2020

Board member Emily Cates and Editor Roland Hallee sit at The Town Line’s booth at the Business-to-Business Showcase in 2019. (photo by Eric Austin)

Due to the closing of the Colby campus through the end of the year and the large gathering restrictions currently in place, it became necessary for the Mid-Maine Chamber to postpone the Business-to-Business Showcase to 2021.

According to Cindy Stevens, program director at the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, the showcase will be rescheduled, most likely to the usual late March date, assuming gathering restrictions are lifted by that time. In the event that Colby’s fieldhouse is not available an alternate venue is under consideration.

While no exact date has been announced at this time, all booth reservations will be honored, and all pre-paid deposits or payments applied to that event.

Once a date has been determined, the chamber will re-communicate to all participants with additional details.

Stevens concluded, “while we regret having to cancel this event for 2020, it is out of an abundance of concern for the health and well-being of everyone.”