SOLON & BEYOND: Solon Elementary School news

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

Can’t begin to thank the Solon School News person who sent so much school news for me to send out to all you faithful readers, it made my day!

The following is the Principal’s Message: “The Solon staff and I wish to welcome our new students in grades Pre-K-5 and their families to our school and to welcome back those who have been with us before. I hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful summer.

“This will be a new kind of school year with new health and safety procedures and more online work for both in-person and remote students. We appreciate the great cooperation and super attitudes we have seen in our students and the support of our parents/guardians. Together as a team we can make this a great school year despite the changes necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am the principal of both Solon Elementary School and Garret Schenck Elementary School so I split my time between the schools. I am here for half of each day. Our school secretary Mrs. Tanya McFadyen can help parents with any issues they may have and can help you make contact with me if you wish to.

“Mrs. Jennifer LaChance will serve as our lead teacher and will help me with schedules, planning, and discipline issues.

“Please contact us if you have any questions. Teachers are reaching out to parents to be sure you are comfortable with navigating through our digital platforms Seesaw and Google Classroom to access your child’s assignments on their at-home learning days or on all days if your child is a remote learner. Thank-you for your cooperation. We look forward to a great new year.”

Back To School News! Fifth Graders Learn FLAGETOQUETTE. Custodian Chad Hebert shows fifth graders Lane Frost, Isabella Atwood, and Paul Craig how to raise and lower the American flag. It is our tradition that fifth graders are responsible for the flag every day.

There will be a drive-thru food give-away, sponsored by RSU #74, Tuesday, October 6, 1:30-3 p.m., at Carrabec High School. Drive up and pick up a free box or bag of nonperishable food. Open to all families regardless of residence, income or whether or not you have children. Food donated by the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

Need Help With Remote Learning? Do you have questions about our digital platforms and other aspects of your child’s at home learning whether he/she is a hybrid student or a remote learner?

Join us for a better understanding of how to help your child when he/she is learning at home. Thursday, October 1, at 6 p.m., at Solon Elementary School; Masks will be required.

Solon PTO Fundraiser Update: The Solon PTO will continue where they left off with a spring fundraiser that was halted by the coronavirus in March. Students were selling calendar raffle tickets during the month of March with the drawings scheduled for the month of April. When the school closed on March 16, the fundraiser was put on hold.

Your child has received new calendar raffle tickets to sell in September for drawings during the month of October. If your child sold tickets and brought in the tickets and money in March, those tickets will be entered into the raffle. If you sold tickets but didn’t get to turn in the tickets and money, please send these in soon. They will be entered into the raffle along with new tickets sold by students this fall.

Even though the Embden Historical Society hasn’t been able to meet so far in 2020 due to COVID-19 and it doesn’t look good for the remainder of the year, dues were due in August. If you would like to join, please send your dues for $3 per person payable to Embden Historical Society, c/o Treasurer, Bob Donovan, 547 Dunbar Hill Road, Embden, ME 04958. I am planning to contact the speakers we had lined up for 2020 to see if they would be willing to hedge a bet it would “be a go” for 2021. This e-mail was signed by Carol Dolan with the words Thank you. Stay safe…. and thank you Carol for sharing your news!

And now for Percy’s memoir: When you are offended you have a choice of several reactions. You can ignore the situation and leave conditions unchanged; you can move away and avoid repetition through escape; you can retaliate and lower your standards to the level of the wrong-doer; or you can forgive and in that way try to heal strained or broken relationships. But in order to do this, you must be prepared to forgive frequently enough for your love and goodness to win their way into the hearts of the one who has wronged you.

OBITUARIES for Thursday, October 1, 2020


ALBION – Dale Crawford, 63, passed away on Thursday, September 3, 2020, at Brewer Rehab, following a battle with cancer.
Dale is survived by his son, Jeremy Crawford; his grandson, Braden Crawford; and his brothers, Randy, Richard and Scott.
Dale was predeceased by his mother, Wilberta Mitchell; his father Kurt Crawford, and his stepfather Lloyd Mitchell.


WATERVILLE – Sister Martha Helen Thibodeau o.s.u., passed away on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. Born in Sanford on February 21, 1927, she was the daughter of the late Helen and Ernest Thibodeau.

She attended the Sanford school system and attended The College of New Rochelle to obtain her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in art and French, in 1952. She also attended Boston College for a master’s degree in English in 1962, and then to the University of Maine Orono for a master’s degree in library science from 1968-1976.

Sister Martha used her diverse college education to teach the children of Sanford. As an Ursuline, Sister Martha served in many places in Maine including St. John’s, in Brunswick, St. Ignatius and Holy Family, in Lewiston, Notre Dame, in Springvale, and Mount Merici Academy, in Waterville. She also served the community of St. Angela’s, in Bronx, New York. While in Waterville, Sister Martha also spent time volunteering at the Waterville Public Library, Colby College and Thayer Hospital.

She was predeceased by her parents; and her siblings, Ruth J. T. Barberie, Raymond A. Thibodeau, Cathrine E. Thibodeau and Alma Morin.

She is survived by her siblings, Mrs. Ernestine Lovell, of Sanford, Mrs. Cecile Brown Jr., of Pleasant Hill, California, Lucille Thibodeau, of Anniston, Alabama, Leo T. Thibodeau, of Falls Chruch, Virginia, Philip L. Thibodeau, of Springfield, Massachusetts, Mrs. Claire Garrity, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Mrs. Rose Devarenne, of Horn Lake, Mississippi, and Henry Thibodeau, of Springvale.

Services will be private at St. Angela’s convent Chapel and the Ursuline Cemetery.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Veilleux and Redington Funeral Home,

In lieu of flowers, donations in Sister Martha’s memory can be made to Mount Merici Academy or the Ursuline Sisters Retirement, and may be mailed to Veilleux and Redington Funeral Home, 8 Elm St., Waterville, ME 04901.


WINSLOW – Myra Evelyn Powell, 95, passed away on Thursday evening, Sept. 17, 2020, with her family by her side.

Myra was born in Brooks on May 7, 1925, the daughter of Thomas and Leversie (Maskel) Dyer.

After graduating from Waterville High School in 1942, she went on to work at Keyes Fibre Co. (now Huhtamaki), in Waterville. Myra also worked for Dyer Brothers, the family well drilling business. Myra went on to marry James Powell in 1950 and they had two children, Raymond Powell and Patricia Poulin.

Myra’s husband’s naval career took them to several duty stations along the East Coast and to the North African country of Morocco. Beginning in Norfolk, Virginia, the family then did tours of duty to include Newport, Rhode Island; New London, Connecticut; Winter Harbor; Kenetrai, Morocco – a small Naval communications base, and their last duty station – Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

Upon her husband’s retirement from the Navy, she and the family returned to Maine where her children finished school at Winslow High School and went on to graduate from the University of Maine. Throughout her life, flowers were one of her biggest passions. Myra was known for her bountiful flowerbeds filled with tulips, roses, Easter lilies, and daffodils. She also loved preparing holiday meals and baking sweet treats. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were her greatest joy.

Myra was predeceased by her parents; husband of almost 59 years, James C. Powell; her brothers, Kenneth Dyer, Ronald Dyer, Ralph Dyer, Raymond Dyer, and her sisters Myrtle Hubbard, Bernice Fish, and Leversie Doeing.

She is survived by her son, Raymond Powell and wife Milagros, and daughter, Patricia Poulin and husband Michael; her grandchildren, James Powell and wife Sarah, Elizabeth Hubbard and husband Michael, Sara Poulin, Timothy Poulin and wife Nicole, Raymond Powell Jr. and wife Marie, Janet Powell and Wade Albert; her great-grandchildren, Tanner, Savannah and Madison Hubbard, Elijah Powell, Myra Powell, Ava Powell, Akela Albert, Claire Powell, Bradley Poulin; and her nephews, Thomas and Raymond Dyer and Robert Fish.

Funeral services were held on September 22, 2020, with interment taking place at Howard Cemetery, in Winslow.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at

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


VASSALBORO – Naomi June (Cramp) Clark, 91, passed away at home (310 Dunham Road, Vassalboro), on Friday, September 18, 2020. Naomi was born in Medway on June 20, 1929. Naomi was the last of 12 children born to William J. and Alfra L. (York) Cramp.

She was educated in the Medway schools; after the death of her mother (1943) she moved to Oakland. In 1945, Naomi met and married Kenneth L. Clark, settled in Waterville, where three children were born to them.

Naomi is survived by her children, Kenneth L. Clark Jr. (wife Nancy), of Athens, Presley J. Sasuclark, of Winslow, and Barbara J. Pierce, of Vassalboro; grandchildren Michael (Jennifer), Christopher (JoAnn), Garth (McKinley), Duane (Colette), Danielle, Alexandru, and Miruna; great-grandchildren, Lyn-ann, Courtney, David, Hannah, Lilian, Emily, Ben, Lucas, Elijah, and Vivian; great-great grandchildren, Brockton, Eleigh, Addysan, David Jr., Liam; and several nieces and nephews.

A graveside service was held at Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 163 Mt. Vernon Rd., Augusta, on September 24, 2020.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at

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

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice


CHINA – Grover B. Bragg, 82, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 18, 2020, following a battle with cancer. He was born in Waterville to the late Hermon and Pauline (Prentiss) Bragg on November 1, 1937.

He worked in the wood industry his whole life. He had many things he enjoyed but hunting was his number one passion. Many would say he was a legend with a reputation that preceeds as well as followed him. An avid sportsman, known for his illicit activities, he instilled the joy and adventures of hunting wild game with many others. You can read many of his exploits in a series of books by his great friend, the late John Ford, retired game warden. His love for animals and his horses, not to mention the numerous chickens, rabbits and cats that he brought home and let run wild. He loved his horse pulls at the local fairs.

He was predeceased by his lifelong partner, Dorothy Brewster; a brother, Mavel Bragg, a sister, Carleen; and daughters, Terri Hathaway Bragg and Sonia Bragg; granddaughter, Melissa Rae Bragg.

He is survived by his 14 children, sons Steve Bragg and partner Cassie Brewster, of China, Dave Bragg and wife Angela Bragg, of China, Grover Bragg Jr. and partner Carry Cushman, of Freedom, Randy Bragg, of Florida, Warren “Buddy” Bragg, of China, Ricky Bragg, James Bragg and partner Binu, of Gray, Rodney Bragg, of Florida; daughters Melissa Bragg and partner Shane Willett, of Vassalboro, Michelle Bragg Haskell and husband Ray, of Waterville, Holly Etheridge and husband Max, of Norridgewock, Kelly Bragg, Clover Bragg, of New Hampshire, Tammy Brag,g of New Sharon; and many grandchildren’ and great-grandchildren.

There will be a graveside service on Sunday, November 1 (his birthday), at 1 p.m. ,at the Pleasant View Ridge Cemetery, China.

Condolences, photos and stories may be shared through the funeral home website at:


WHITEFIELD – Gerald Leon Brann, 73, passed away peacefully at his home in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 19, 2020. He was born on March 9, 1947, in Gardiner, to Walter “Mike” Brann and Bernita Allen Brann.

Jerry was educated in local schools and entered the U.S. Navy in September 1965. He was very proud to be a military veteran. He was a Machinist Mate 3 assigned to the Iwo Jima Aircraft Carrier of the 7th Fleet stationed in San Diego, California. After two tours of patrolling the waters off Vietnam, Jerry was given an honorable medical discharge.

Jerry’s childhood sweetheart, Toni Newcombe Brann, traveled to San Diego and married him on April 16, 1966, before he shipped out to Vietnam. They were together 54 years, living first in San Diego and then the Windsor and Whitefield areas. Jerry and Toni were blessed with a son, Gerald Michael “Mickey”, a daughter, Dianna Michelle “Dede”; and two grandsons, Cameron Michael and Kyle Branndon.

After his discharge from the Navy, Jerry worked at the Wiscasset Nuclear Power Plant and Togus VA. His true passion was construction, and he drove tractor trailers and operated heavy equipment for Bridge Construction, Ben Pushard Construction, Hanley Construction, and Forrest Peaslee Logging.

Jerry’s favorite activities included riding his Harley, ice fishing, horse pulling, especially at Windsor Fair, hunting with his grandsons, and using his John Deere tractor on his land. Tony and Jerry loved camping with their Toy Hauler and ATVs. His favorite travel destinations were visiting Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and ATV riding Downeast with Toni and friends.

Jerry’s family was very important to him, and it gave him great pleasure to watch over his family, especially his grandsons. Jerry was blessed with many, many close friends, and he enjoyed socializing with all of them and their families.

Jerry was predeceased by his parents, Mike and Bernita; brother Darrell and wife Ray, sister Cheryl Kelley; and father and mother-in-law, Philip and Mary Newcombe.

Survivors are his wife, Toni; his children, Mickey (Stacey), and Dede Holmes; grandsons, Cameron (Allison), Kyle; and like-a-daughter Dawn Haskell; sister in-law Ty and her husband Tony Turner, brother-in-law Philip and wife Darlene Newombe, brother-in-law Milan Kelley; special nephews, Ricky (Laurie) and Todd (Greta) Cummings and Sam Newcombe; nieces Katherine (Alex) Newcombe-Lang, Tammy Grant and Shari Billings; great-nephews, Logan (Kaitie), Jacob and Caleb Cummings; great-niece, Sydney Cummings; nephews Luke Turner, Adam Turner, and families, Jason Brann and family, and niece Allison Kornsey and family. Jerry is also survived by two special aunts, Arlene Gervais and Mary Peabody; and many special Brann cousins and Allen cousins.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a private graveside service was held for his family.

Arrangements are under the care of Plummer Funeral Home, Windsor Chapel, 983 Ridge Rd., Windsor.

Condolences, photos and stories may be shared through the funeral home website at:

If desired, donations can be sent to Jerry’s favorite charities, Windsor Historical Society, P.O. Box 27, Windsor, ME 04363 or Mid-Coast Animal Shelter, 190 Pleasant St., Brunswick, ME 04011.


WATERVILLE – Catherine Marie Marshall, 95, died peacefully at Lakewood Continuing Care Center, Waterville, on Thursday, March 26, 2020. She was the second of seven children born to Walter and Marie Louise (Noonan) Smith, of Skowhegan. Cathy grew up and attended public school in Skowhegan. Cathy’s lengthy work career in retail sales began during high school behind the counter at McLellan’s, in Waterville. From there, she was hired by the local Sears and Roebuck store to work in its catalog department where she did so well that, within eight months, she was assigned to Fort Fairfield to handle its catalog department in that town. It was on a break visiting family and friends ‘back home’ that Cathy caught the eye of one Bertrand Marshall, of Waterville, looking for a dance partner to accompany him onto the floor of the Milburn Motel, in Skowhegan. This encounter was the beginning of a long-distance romance followed by good fortune when news arrived of an opening in the catalog department of Sears’ Waterville store. The rest is history.

Bertrand and Cathy Marshall were married in 1949. In attendance were Bert’s three daughters, Shirley (Marden), Martha (Castner) and Pauline (Perkins), who accepted Cathy in every way as their second (younger) Mom and dear friend and who Cathy came to love as her own. These newly weds made Waterville their home where Bert worked as a Ford mechanic and Cathy continued to master the Sears catalog. Pretty much every one of Cathy’s weekends during the warmer months was devoted to supporting her husband in the activity of fishing, smelting and trolling with streamer flies at ice out, lead-core line and sewn-on bait as the water warmed up. Cathy was a perfect fishing companion with lunches and foul weather gear packed and ready to go. A small camp on leased land came available in the 1960s on Skunk Point, Moosehead Lake, which provided an ideal get-away for this couple to enjoy their favorite pastime while in the company of their children, grandchildren and good friends.

At home when not working, Cathy enjoyed her membership and community service with the Beta Sigma Phi International Sorority. She must have made a thousand May baskets and filled them with a ton of homemade fudge for its annual fundraiser. She especially enjoyed her weekly dates with her lunch group. Throughout her busy life (including 34 years with Sears) Cathy never forgot a birthday and was always the first to offer a hand with a project or get-together. She was respectful to all and always thoughtful to those in need.

Cathy’s kindness, generosity and love for her husband was apparent to all as she provided for his care at home during his last years. Her strength, independence and appreciation for the simple pleasures surrounding her allowed her to adjust and live a full life on her own.

During her final years, Cathy resided at Sunset Home, on College Avenue, Waterville, where she made many new friends among the residents and staff. It was here she allowed others to provide some assistance to her and lighten her load.

Cathy will be fondly remembered by her 10 grandchildren; her 15 great-grandchildren; and her six great-great-grandchildren; as well as by her 16 nieces and nephews from the Smith clan who continue to make the Skowhegan area their home.

A graveside committal service will take place on Saturday, October 3, at 10 a.m., at the St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, Grove Street, Waterville. Attendees are asked to be respectful of CDC guidelines for outdoor gatherings.


TARPON SPRINGS, FLA. – Paul E. Dall, 79, passed away unexpectedly in Tarpon Springs, Florida, on June 25, 2020. He was born on October 14, 1941, to John and Adrienne Dall, of Waterville.

He grew up in the city’s north end and was a member of Waterville High School’s class of 1959. He went on to graduate from the University of Maine at Orono in 1963 earning a bachelor’s degree in Bacteriology. Following graduation, he served in the US Army, in New York, and later became employed by the Keyes Fibre Company (now Huhtamaki), in Waterville, where he worked for 30 years as a research chemist.

Paul married Katherine Foster in the summer of 1966 and soon after built the family home on China Lake where they raised their two daughters. He was an avid runner, and all-around outdoor enthusiast who enjoyed gardening, boating, hunting, and fishing. After retiring, he moved to Boothbay Harbor and spent many years working in his gardens and on various landscaping projects.

He was very proud of his three grandchildren and always looked forward to their summertime visits to Boothbay. Paul was a family man and someone that we could always depend on to be there for us. He will be missed greatly.

He was predeceased by his parents John and Adrienne Dall; his brother Richard Dall, and his former wife Katherine Foster Dall.

He is survived by daughters Joanna Dall and Allison Hall; son-in-law Michael Gaffney; grandchildren Nick, Katie, and Jack; brothers John Dall and George Dall, sister Joyce Armstrong; as well as his special friend Rita Greene; his brother and sisters-in-law; many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A private service will be held at a later date.


ALBION – Sandra A. (Stewart) Wade, 79, passed away Monday, September 21, 2020, at her home in Albion, after battling a long illness. She was born January 19, 1941, the daughter of Lloyd and Nancy (Sinclair) Stewart.

She was a graduate of Erskine Academy, in South China. She worked many different jobs including Sampson’s Super Market, First National Bank, both in Waterville, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, in Winslow, and Al’s Pizza, in Fairfield. She loved crafts, cooking, and visiting with everyone. She was a hard-working and loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend who will be sadly missed by all.

Sandra is survived by her husband, Richard Wade; daughter, Laureen Lalancette; grandchildren, Kaitlyn Sinclair, Tyler and Ethan Lalancette, Chris and Bianca Wade; great-granddaughter, Quinn; her brother, Kevin Gordon; and many other relatives.

She was predeceased by her son, Chris.

At her request, there will be no visiting hours or funeral service.

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


FAIRFIELD – Hazel Jean (Roux) Sellers, 97, passed away Sunday, September 27, 2020, at her daughter’s home, in Fairfield. She was born October 11, 1922, in Waterville, the daughter of Harry Joseph Sr. and Hazel Dean Montgomery Roux

She attended Waterville Elementary schools and was a graduate of Waterville High School, class of 1940. On August 6, 1944, she married Bayne Sellers. She was a homemaker and worked part-time at Sterns Department Store, in Waterville, and at the Waterville Public Library.

She was a member of the Pleasant Street Methodist Church, in Waterville, for over 76 years and taught Sunday School for many years. She was president of the Women’s Society. Jean was an accomplished seamstress, beautiful knitter, loving and proud grandmother and great-grandmother. She lived with her daughter and husband for the last 20 years and they were glad to have had her in their lives.

Jean is survived by her daughter, Cynthia Sellers Gilbert and husband Reginald, of Fairfield; grandchildren, Christopher Jacques and wife Megan, of Virginia, Heidi Jacques Muskavitch and husband Paul, of New Hampshire, Paula Sellers, of Alaska, and Kimberly Sellers, of Hallowell, Great-granddaughters, Hannah and Mariah Muskavitch, and Maddison Jacques; daughter-in-law, Donna Sellers, of Waterville, and brother-in-law, Dr. Lawrence Petz, of California.

She was predeceased by her husband, Bayne Sellers in 1977; son, Wayne Sellers; sister, Thelma Roux Petz; and brother, Harry Roux Jr.

A private service will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Jean’s memory to the Waterville Humane Society, 100 Webb Road, Waterville ME 04901.

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

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: China voters asked to amend transfer station ordinances

by Larry Sikora
China Transfer Station Committee

The November ballot will have two questions for China voters on amending the ordinances that describe the operation of the China Transfer Station. The changes are mainly in terminology.

Earlier this year the Transfer Station switched from stickers on vehicles to identifying China and Palermo residents to an electronic tag called RFID or radio frequency identification. The change was brought about with a grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and allows for identification by both sight and an alarm and calculates accurately the traffic into the Transfer Station.

The ordinances as currently written use the terms “sticker” and “decal” which are incorrect. These terms are replaced in the amended versions by the generic term “access permit” that describes properly the new RFID and any other identification marker that may be used in the future. The ordinances will now contain a definition of ‘access permit’.

Another change in the ordinances removes details on the hours of operation of the Transfer Station and substitutes the “Facility shall be open as determined by the Town Manager in conjunction with the Select Board.” The hours and any changes to them or closings of the Transfer Station will appear on the Town of China website and displayed on the Town’s electronic sign.

There are also some minor editorial changes for clarity.

The ordinances with the changes discussed can be found under the Elections tab on the Town of China
web site, . Please review them prior to voting.

Thank you for being a proponent of the Transfer Station. Your support is appreciated as our facility continues to be a model which other towns use.

China planners decide to prepare separate solar ordinance

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members decided at their Sept. 22 meeting they should prepare a separate ordinance to set requirements for solar developments, instead of trying to amend the existing land use ordinance.

Attorney Thomas Federle, of Federle Law, in Portland, has been representing SunRaise Investments as the company got approval for two solar projects near Route 3. He found that China’s lot coverage requirement, under which solar panels are counted as structures, limits the size of a solar array.

China ordinances say that structures cannot cover more than 20 percent of a lot in the rural district or 15 percent in shoreland, resource protection and stream protection districts. The purpose is to maintain natural ground that absorbs rainwater and thereby to limit run-off that could carry unwanted nutrients into water bodies.

At the planning board’s Aug. 25 meeting, Federle and board members discussed amending the current ordinance to add a definition of solar array and a provision that solar panels would not count in lot coverage calculations.

Federle’s main point was the ground under solar panels is maintained as a meadow. The grass will absorb water dripping from the panels.

Board members and Codes Officer Bill Butler were sympathetic to his view. But by Sept. 22, they were seeing complications and possible unintended consequences from suggested amendments.

One issue is whether a proposed change, in whatever form, should apply everywhere in town. Butler suggested shoreland, stream protection and resource protection areas need more protection than rural areas.

After board members decided they would prefer a separate ordinance, Federle offered to collect samples from other Maine towns for their guidance.

Any new ordinance would need approval by China voters before becoming effective.

The Sept. 22 meeting was entirely virtual. The motion to adjourn included a provision that the next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 13, will be in-person in the town office.

China selectmen are also scheduled to meet Oct. 13, because their usual Monday meeting, which would have been Oct. 12, falls on the Columbus Day holiday, when the town office will be closed.

‘Swap shop’ temporarily closed at China transfer station

Empty shelves in the “Swap Shop” at the China Transfer Station (photo by Karen Hatch)

by Mary Grow

China selectmen agreed to two temporary closings at their Sept. 28 meeting, one their own doing and one not.

At the transfer station, the free for the taking building, sometimes called the swap shop, will be closed indefinitely, effective immediately. Reopening will depend on state guidelines concerning Covid-19 safety measures. Selectmen were concerned about the possibility of people leaving items carrying the virus and about the number of people in the building at the same time, even though it is well ventilated.

At the head of China Lake’s east basin, Causeway Street will be closed between the China Baptist Church parking lot and the boat landing, beginning the week of Oct. 12 and lasting for eight to 10 weeks. During the closure, McGee Construction will install protective shoreline barriers and a walkway along the north shore of the lake.

Another selectboard decision was to give the old roto phase at the transfer station to the Town of Vassalboro, with Vassalboro employees to come and get it. Town Manager Becky Hapgood said the roto phase is 25 to 30 years old, no longer needed in China and valued at a maximum of $200.

Asked what a roto phase is, Hapgood replied, “It’s something that does something with the power.”

Selectman Wayne Chadwick provided a more technical explanation. A roto phase converts incoming electricity from single phase to the three-phase power transfer station machinery now uses. Months ago, China officials arranged with Central Maine Power Company to provide the station with three-phase power directly, without needing a converter.

Selectmen made two appointments. James Lane will become China’s second Animal Control Officer, so an ACO will be available when Kim Bolduc-Bartlett takes time off. Lane served in the past as China’s police officer.

Town Clerk Angela Nelson will be China’s agent for the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles, meaning she will handle vehicle registrations.

Hapgood announced that Codes Officer Bill Butler is retiring, effective Dec. 1. She planned to start advertising for a successor within days.

The Sept. 28 meeting was preceded by two public hearings. The first was the annual state-required hearing on state-recommended amendments to the appendices to the town’s General Assistance Ordinance. The second was on the two local ordinance amendments to be on the Nov. 3 ballot – they are posted under Elections on the China website, Hapgood said.

Neither hearing drew any public comments or questions. During the meeting selectmen unanimously approved the general assistance amendments.

The evening’s longest discussion was over Hapgood’s request for an early performance review, before Nov. 3 local elections bring in one or more new selectmen who have not worked with her. Appointed to succeed Dennis Heath in mid-July, Hapgood is on six-months’ probationary status, scheduled for review in January 2021.

“I want to know if I’m meeting the needs of the community, if I’m serving you well and taking care of what needs to be done,” Hapgood said.

After talking about the time between mid-July and the election, and the time between the election and mid-January, and when the following review would be due (Hapgood said normally employees’ reviews are done shortly before the June 30 end of the fiscal year), board members decided to wait until January.

Chairman Ronald Breton said any new selectman who thought he or she did not know Hapgood’s work well enough by January could decline to participate in the review. And meanwhile, he told Hapgood, any board member not satisfied with her job performance could tell her so individually.

China voters will elect three selectmen from a field of five on Nov. 3. Breton and Janet Preston seek re-election; three newcomers on the ballot are Blane Casey, Brent Chesley and Jeanne Marquis. Donna Mills-Stevens is not running for another term; Irene Belanger’s and Wayne Chadwick’s terms end in 2021.

The next China selectmen’s meeting should be Monday, Oct. 12, but was rescheduled to Tuesday, Oct. 13, to avoid the Columbus Day holiday. The next regular planning board meeting is scheduled the same evening. Breton said he and Planning Board Chairman Tom Miragliuolo will resolve the conflict.

PHOTO: Sunset over Sheepscot Lake

Ashley Wills, of Palermo, took this spectacular sunset over Sheepscot Lake on September 25. The sunsets in recent weeks have been remarkable.

THE MONEY MINUTE: Should my company start a 401(k) plan?

by Jac M. Arbour CFP®, ChFC®
President, J.M. Arbour Wealth Management

It’s a great question. And the answer is usually straight forward.

For an employee, the idea of not going to work anymore after a certain age, yet still receiving an income to live life on their terms, is the specific purpose of a retirement plan. Solo Ks, SIMPLE IRAs, SEP IRAs, Traditional and Roth IRAs, 403(b)s, and 401(k)s are all designed to do just that. Each of these plans has its differences, and in this month’s column I will share some key considerations to help you decide which type of plan may be best for your employees and your company.

Contribution amounts: Each of the aforementioned plans allows a different total amount of deferrals, or contributions, annually. IRAs have a maximum contribution of $6,000, SIMPLE IRAs are limited to $12,500, and 401(k)s and 403(b)s allow up to $19,500 annually. In addition to these elective deferral totals, each plan also offers “catch-up” provisions that allow people ages 50 and over to contribute a little extra. When deciding which plan type is best for your company, it is important to know how much you and other highly compensated employees would like to contribute each year. The answer to the question, “How much would you like to contribute?” is a great place to start.

Employer match: Do you want to help your employees save for retirement and incentivize them to grow within their position at your company? If so, an employer match can serve the purpose. It is widely known that benefits in general, including 401(k)s with or without employer matches, increase attraction and retention rates of employees. When companies help their employees get to where they want to go, everyone wins.

Profit sharing: Not all retirement plans offer this feature, so choosing the right type of plan design is important if you want to institute profit sharing. This can be a great way to say an additional “thank you” to your employees. Furthermore, when the philosophy of your company is “the better we do, the better you do,” more often than not, you will see enhanced camaraderie amongst your workforce. In business, there are not many things stronger than a solid team, aimed at a single vision, firing on all cylinders.

Company size: How many employees do you have? If you have 100 or less, a SIMPLE IRA might do the trick, as long as you plan to contribute less than the max, mentioned above. If you have more than 100 employees, you cannot start a SIMPLE IRA. Basic rules like this can narrow down your choices quickly. Once you know the right plan type, you can dive into the weeds to build out the inner workings of your plan.

These ideas are just a few of the many things to consider. To explore all the factors and derive specific answers to which plan is best for your company, reach out to an advisor or firm that guides people through these decisions. It is a lot simpler than you might think, if you have the right people on your team.

See you next month.

Jac Arbour CFP®, ChFC®

Jac Arbour is the President of J.M. Arbour Wealth Management. He can be reached at 207-248-6767.
Investment advisory services are offered through Foundations Investment Advisors, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser.

Urgent funding needed to save Nathaniel Hawthorne’s boyhood home

Hawthorne House

by David Carew

The boyhood home of the legendary author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables in Raymond, Maine—known with great affection by locals as “the Hawthorne House” and listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1969—is at risk of serious structural damage if major repairs are not made soon. A major “Save the Hawthorne House” fundraising drive is now underway, seeking to raise $75,000 to make critical repairs to the house’s foundation and structural support, roof, and siding, as identified by a professional structural engineer hired by The Hawthorne Community Association.

“The Hawthorne House is a landmark and a source of pride, not only for our community but also for everyone who appreciates the culture and heritage of New England, and of southern Maine in particular,” said Abel Bates, of the Hawthorne Community Association, which has cared for the historic house since 1921. “By raising the needed $75,000, we will ensure that one of Maine’s most historic places will endure and that, in the future, we will continue to have this special place to hold popular community events such as our annual Strawberry Festival and Christmas Party, as well many other public gatherings.”

To help save Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Boyhood Home, please consider a much-appreciated check or online donation. Please make checks payable to “Hawthorne Community Association” / PO Box 185 / South Casco, ME 04077. PayPal donations may be made online at:

For more information, please contact Abel Bates at (207) 318-7131 or

Trying to make sense out of absentee ballot applications

by Roland D. Hallee

With the push by municipal officials encouraging voters to cast their ballots early, and the aggressive campaigns taken by political candidates to get-out-the-vote, much confusion has surfaced as to the process of voting absentee.

At the head of the confusion is the fact that many households are receiving multiple unsolicited applications in the mail.

According to area election officials, individual voters are receiving multiple absentee ballot applications.

Michelle Flewelling, Fairfield town manager, stated, “There are two registered voters at my address, we have received eight absentee ballot requests in the mail so far.”

China Town Clerk Angela Nelson pointed out, “We have received multiple absentee ballot applications from individuals. When this happens, we write ‘Duplicate Submission’ on the additional requests and staple them to the first processed application. If residents are receiving these additional applications in the mail they can simply destroy them.”

Vassalboro Town Clerk Cathy Coyne stressed, “Once you have applied for an absentee ballot, toss all other requests. You can only apply for one absentee ballot.”

Patti Dubois, Waterville city clerk, informed the public that if a voter receives multiple applications, “Do not call your municipal clerk, since these mailings are coming from outside civic/political groups. If a voter has already submitted an absentee ballot request form, disregard any additional ones received in the mail.” According to Dubois, to check on the status of an absentee ballot, go to

Flewelling added, “If you should happen to fill [out a second ballot] and mail it to your town office, the second application will be denied. Since you are only allowed to receive one set of ballots per election, and all absentee requests are processed through the state of Maine, Secretary of State computer system, it will be obvious to the election clerks that more than one request has been submitted.”

In most towns, absentee ballot applications can be found on the community’s website. If you have not applied for an absentee ballot, and receive one in the mail, it may be filled out and returned to your municipal office.

Once a person receives their ballots, which will be mailed on or about October 3, there are multiple ways to cast the ballot. They can be mailed back to their respective town offices; they can be hand carried to the municipal offices, or, in some communities, placed in the convenient ballot collection boxes located outside their town offices. They should not be brought to the polls on election day.

In Waterville, the drop box is located outside the main entrance to city hall. In the town of Fairfield, the ballot collection box is located at the town office near the handicap accessible ramp. In China, the drop box, once it arrives, according to Nelson, will be located outside, in front of the town office.

According to Flewelling, should voters who have applied for absentee ballots not receive them in the mail by October 15, they should contact their respective town office.

But the COVID-19 pandemic will cause other election day problems. Since many people will insist on in-person voting at the polls, state CDC guidelines will be observed.

According to Dubois, “In Waterville, anyone who waits to vote on election day should plan for long lines. Due to social distancing requirements and gathering limits that are capped at 50, including staff and voters, there will only be approximately 25 voters within the voting area at one time.”

Voters should also be aware that eligible voters must be allowed to vote on election day whether they choose to wear a mask or not.

All the town officials stressed that voters are asked to have patience with the election workers who are all doing the best they can under the challenging conditions.

The polling places are: In China, in the portable building at 571 Lakeview Dr., behind the town office, from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.;

In Vassalboro, according to Coyne, at the Vassalboro Community School, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. In Fairfield, at the Fairfield Community Center, 61 Water St., from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; in Waterville, Waterville Junior High School, 100 West River Rd., 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.