Ezhaya Scholarship applications now available

photo: Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce

Joseph B. Ezhaya was a community leader who distinguished himself with his warmth, enthusiasm, generosity and particularly, his friendships. Successful candidates for this scholarship should share Joe’s interest in citizenship, community service and exemplify his spirit and vitality.

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce is encouraging all eligible students to apply for its Joseph B. Ezhaya Scholarship. This $750 scholarship is awarded annually for all four years to a recipient upon successful completion of his/her first semester of college with a 2.0 GPA or better.

To be considered, applicants must meet the following criteria: Must be currently attending a Mid-Maine Chamber area high school: Lawrence, Winslow, Mt. View, Waterville, Messalonskee, MCI, Erskine Academy, Temple Academy, or MeANS School; Must maintain an academic average of a “C” or better; Must complete a required short essay on citizenship; Must show evidence of community service and involvement; Must be enrolled in an accredited New England College or University.

Please visit http://www.midmainechamber.com/cms/joseph-b-ezhaya-memorial-scholarship for more information or call the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce at 207-873-3315.

Submissions may be sent via email to patricia@midmainechamber.com or mailed to Ezhaya Memorial Scholarship Applications, Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, 50 Elm St., Waterville, ME 04901.

All applications must be received by 5 p.m. on April 28, 2021.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Agriculture

19th century threshing machine.

by Mary Grow

By the 19th century, Maine farmers realized the benefits of organizing. Samuel L. Boardman, author of the agriculture chapter in Henry Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history, wrote that the Waterville-based Kennebec Agricultural Society, founded in 1787, was the first such group in New England and the second in what would become the United States ((Pennsylvania had the first one). This organization’s goals were to share knowledge and resources – “trees, seeds, tools, books, etc.”

The Kennebec Agricultural Society was succeeded by the Maine Agricultural Society, incorporated Feb. 21, 1818. In 1820 this group sponsored, at Hallowell, the first cattle show in Maine, Boardman wrote.

On Feb. 28, 1820, he continued, the Winthrop Agricultural Society came into existence, expanded April 23, 1832, to include all of Kennebec County and renamed the Kennebec County Agricultural Society. The Kennebec County Society still existed when the Kennebec County history was published in 1892.

Boardman described some of the society’s actions, as recorded in meeting reports. In 1818, members collected information about a newly-invented threshing machine, prepared to buy one if it seemed desirable. In 1822, they voted to spend $30 for Spanish summer wheat seed from Malaga or Gibraltar.

In 1825 they investigated Smith Island Sheep, planning to buy a pair if expedient. In 1834 they voted “that this society decidedly disapprove the sale of ardent spirits on the grounds on the days of their cattle show.”

The Kennebec County society established a fairground in Readfield in 1856, Boardman wrote.

E. P. Mayo’s chapter on agriculture in the Waterville centennial history begins discussion of organizations with the North Kennebec Agricultural Society, incorporated by the state legislature July 31, 1847.

The Society enrolled farmers from Waterville and 10 nearby towns, including Benton, Fairfield, Winslow, Sebasticook (later Benton), Clinton, Albion and China. Members made an early decision to “raise $75 for the purchase of standard agricultural works for a library.” They sponsored their first agricultural show in October 1847.

The author of an on-line list of some of the prize-winners at the North Kennebec Society’s 1863 fair commented on the high-quality cattle displayed, including five from Thomas S. Lang’s beef herd that, in the writer’s opinion, were alone worth the time a farmer spent attending the fair. Lang also won first place in the breeding category with a cow named Bianca.

The cow who placed second to Bianca was raised by Edwin Spring, of Winslow; William Nowell, of Fairfield, owned the third-place cow. The judges commended Mrs. Spring’s tomato ketchup, and 11-year-old Marcia Spring got a special award for her cheese.

Boardman wrote that between 1855 and 1875 the North Kennebec Agricultural Society’s fairs were among the best and best-attended in Maine. He said the Society still held annual exhibitions in 1892; Mayo said after the 1880s, the increase in competing fairs and fairgrounds let to its (undated) dissolution.

In January 1854, Mayo wrote, Society members appointed a committee to find a place for a horse track. They bought land in southern Waterville and built a half-mile track, but apparently used it for their contests for less than a decade before leasing it in 1863 to a short-lived Waterville Horse Association.

The Oct. 10, 1865, New York Times announced that on Oct. 12 the Waterville Horse Association fair would feature a trotting race between two “noted Eastern stallions,” General Knox and General McLellan. This race would have been two years after the race mentioned in last week’s issue of The Town Line in which General Knox beat J. L. Seavey’s Hiram Drew; this writer could not find out whether he won again in 1865. General Knox was one of Thomas Lang’s horses.

(While searching on line for a stallion named General McLellan, this writer learned that after a European tour in 1855, then-Captain George B. McLellan designed the McLellan saddle, which the United States Cavalry adopted in 1859 and used until World War II.)

“Nelson” and his breeder Charles Horace Nelson, in a photo that appeared in The Centennial History of Waterville, 1802-1902, by Rev. Edwin Carey Whittemore. The chapter on agriculture was written by E. P. Mayo.

Charles Horace “Hod” Nelson, of Sunnyside Farm, breeder and owner of the horse Nelson (also mentioned last week) rented the North Kennebec Society’s track to train his horses, and from 1887 to 1897 owned the former Society’s Central Maine Fairgrounds. The Lost Trotting Parks website says Nelson sold the property in 1897 to the City of Waterville; Mayo wrote that it was sold “for the enlargement of our present beautiful cemetery.”

In 1904 and 1905, and perhaps later, on-line sites mention the fairs at the Central Maine Fairgrounds, located where Seton Hospital was built in 1965. The fairgrounds had a large two-story exhibition hall, and tents were set up on the grounds.

In addition to palmists, “Honest Bill’s Wonder Show” and a photographer who offered “old fashioned tintypes made ‘while you wait,'” the Maine Memory Network website says the fair included “horse racing, livestock competitions and shows, and other entertainments.” This writer found no record of who owned the fairgrounds or sponsored the fairs.

Two other organizations Boardman listed were the South Kennebec Agricultural Society, incorporated in 1853, and its successor in1860, the Kennebec Union Agricultural and Horticultural Society. Both included Augusta and towns south and west.

The Eastern Kennebec Agricultural Society was organized in the spring of 1868. Members immediately bought 16 acres off the west side of Dirigo Road, in China, and built a half-mile track, completed in time for an inaugural three-day exhibition to open Oct. 20. In 1869 a 40-by-60-foot exhibition hall was constructed.

Boardman wrote that the Society held seven fairs, the last in 1874. The majority of exhibitors were from Albion, China, Vassalboro and Windsor. Boardman explained that bad October weather reduced fair receipts to the point that the Society ran out of money. It was disbanded in December 1877 and the land sold.

Windsor later joined Chelsea, Pittston and Whitefield to form the South Kennebec Agricultural Society. Boardman wrote that it was organized in March 1888, leased land and built a half-mile track at South Windsor Corner and held its first fair Oct. 3 and 4, 1888.

The legislature chartered the new Society in February 1889, adding the Lincoln County towns of Jefferson, Somerville and Whitefield. Boardman wrote an exhibition hall was added that summer, and up to 1892, “the annual fairs have been successful in the highest degree.”

The South Kennebec Society survived, but less successfully and renamed an association, well into the 20th century. In the spring of 1973 the Maine legislature passed an emergency bill deleting the requirement that members be from the towns listed in the 1889 charter.

The bill’s preamble explained that it was passed as emergency legislation, effective immediately rather than 90 days after the session ended, because agricultural societies are economically important “since they encourage one of Maine’s basic industries”; legislative action is “vitally necessary” to increase the South Kennebec Agricultural Association’s membership; and expanding membership is “essential” before 1973 Association meetings.

Albion, China, Sidney and Vassalboro also organized local fairs in the 19th century, Boardman wrote. In 1869, the Maine Board of Agriculture suggested that agricultural societies help organize and support local farmers’ clubs; Boardman wrote that many such clubs were organized, but gives no specifics.

Well before then, a Vassalboro Agricultural Society was organized in 1820, according to Alma Pierce Robbins’ history of the town. She wrote that it awarded premiums and prizes for “wheat, corn, hemp, flax and silk” and “cattle, sheep and swine.”

Albion’s first agricultural society, according to Ruby Crosby’s Wiggin’s town history, was the Farmer’s and Mechanic’s Club of Albion. Organized Oct. 5, 1863, it held annual fairs, the first on Oct. 13, 1863. (This writer suspects the fair was organized before the club.)

Wiggin wrote that fair displays included varied livestock, mostly horses, oxen and cows, “a large display of farm produce and vegetables” and miscellaneous foodstuffs and home-made items. She listed 16 different kinds of potatoes named in fair reports over the years.

The reports on annual fairs end in 1991, Wiggin found; she believed the fairs did not end then. Gradually, she wrote, horses took over, and the fairs moved to the trotting park near Puddle Dock, in southern Albion. The trotting park became a plowed field a few years before she published her history in 1964.

Augusta probably had only one trotting park, although on-line and written information might be describing two different ones. According to The Lost Trotting Parks website, the trotting park was built in 1858 on the west bank of the Kennebec River, just south of Capitol Park. The website shows an excerpt from an 1892 publication, Agriculture of Kennebec County, Maine, and an aerial view of the park, an oval track with what looks like a grandstand on one side.

The website says the aerial view is a postcard, property of the Kennebec Historical Society. In 1892, according to this site’s information, the Capital Driving Park Association managed the park.

When Kingsbury’s history was published in 1892, Capt. Charles E. Nash wrote in his chapters on Augusta that the Augusta Park Association, organized in 1888, owned and operated the trotting park “adjacent to the state house grounds.” He is probably referring to the 1858 park; some 19th-century city maps show Capitol Park and the grounds around the State House as a single unit. However, the river is not visible in the aerial view.

In 1920, the Lost Trotting Parks website says, city and state changed the trotting park to a recreational field on which an Augusta semi-pro baseball team played for years. (Confusingly, this information seems to come from the 1892 book.)

The Fairfield bicentennial history includes a brief and frustratingly undated history of the Fairfield trotting park, which was located on the west side of West Street, about where Lawrence High School and Keyes Field are in 2021. Two local civic-minded entrepreneurs, Amos Gerald (1841–1913) and Edward Jones Lawrence (1833–1918), are credited with building it.

Other names the Fairfield historians associate with the park are John Hiram Gilbreth (1833-1871), described in an excerpt from a 1939 memoir as “[a]bout the first of the really famous horsemen of Fairfield”; and in later years Ralph Jewell (1883-1960). (An on-line Cornish [Maine] Agricultural Society race card reveals that Jewell’s brown gelding, McKinney Volo, placed fifth of five and fourth of five in two races at Cornish on Aug. 5, 1936.)

The Fairfield history reproduces an undated September 29 and 30 race program for Fairfield Park, with five trotting events and one pacing event and winners’ purses from $100 to $250.

The trotting park is shown on an 1891 map in the Fairfield history, and it was active on Aug. 21, 1895. The races hosted that day attracted participants and spectators from miles around, and the town lumber mills closed at noon so interested employees could join the crowd. As a result, no one noticed the fire that started in the boiler room of a lumber mill on the river until it had a good hold. Despite efforts by firefighters from all around the area, the connected mills that made up Fairfield’s lumber industry burned.

Dedication to Nelson

Photo by Roiland Hallee

An inscribed granite marker at the Sterling Street Playground, in Waterville, honoring the life of the horse Nelson. The playground is part of what was once Sunnyside Farm, the home to Nelson, a champion trotting stallion. The marker was placed almost 100 years to the day of the death of the horse on December 3, 2009.

Main sources

Fairfield Historical Society, Fairfield, Maine 1788-1988 (1988).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Robbins, Alma Pierce, History of Vassalborough Maine 1771 1971 n.d. (1971).
Whittemore, Rev. Edwin Carey, Centennial History of Waterville 1802-1902 (1902).
Wiggin, Ruby Crosby, Albion on the Narrow Gauge. (1964)

Websites, miscellaneous.

Mainers have more help available to pay monthly health insurance bills

Submitted by
Consumers for Affordable Health Care
Contact: Helen Roy, China, Maine, 207-480-2137, Certified Application Counselor

Mainers have more health coverage options than ever. Free help is available to anyone who needs assistance understanding their options. Sorting through those options can be challenging, even for the most sophisticated consumer. The American Recovery Plan has made available more help paying monthly premiums for many people who buy private Marketplace insurance through HealthCare.gov. Many others who did not qualify for help in the past may also now be eligible for premium assistance.

People who are uninsured or worried about being able to pay for their coverage should act quickly. Starting April 1, people who already have Marketplace coverage can update their application to take advantage of the new premium assistance. This current Special Enrollment Period with the Marketplace, where people can enroll in coverage, receive additional premium assistance, and change plans ends on May 15.

There is additional help with premiums for those who are unemployed; they may be eligible for coverage with a $0 premium. Those with COBRA coverage can get help paying for that coverage for a limited time. People with income that was too high in the past can now get premium assistance. Full coverage through MaineCare remains available for those with limited income. You can learn more about MaineCare and how to apply at CoverMe.gov.

Maine’s Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) toll free Help Line provides free assistance to people who need help understanding coverage options and applying for and enrolling in coverage. The CAP was designated by Maine’s Attorney General and the Bureau of Insurance in 2010. Certified Application Counselors provide free, unbiased information about private individual Marketplace insurance and public coverage programs, including MaineCare.

Anyone who is uninsured, worried about losing their health coverage or concerned about not being able to afford health insurance are encouraged to call the CAP Help Line at Consumers for Affordable Health Care (CAHC) toll free at 1-800-965-7476. CAHC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization located in Augusta with the mission to improve access to affordable quality health care for all people living in Maine.

Don’t delay – Now is the time to look into changes that are making it easier for Maine people to afford the coverage they need. Visit HealthCare.gov to update your plan to receive the extra assistance or to enroll in coverage or call the Consumer Assistance Help Line at 1-800-965-7476 for help.

Noah Lambert, of Fairfield, wins the 2021 Virtual Slam Dunk Contest

Noah Lambert, 16, from Fairfield (photo by Central Maine Photography)

by Mark Huard

Noah Lambert, 16, from Fairfield, is 6-feet, one-inch tall and was one of eight chosen in the Big Time Hoops Maine Dunking Competition.

He works out and practices two to four hours a day or more.

With post season all-star games and festivities being canceled last year into this year, Fort Kent Native Tom Bard wanted to try and put something together for the kids that allowed them to showcase their skills. With everything being virtual over the last year he came up with the idea of doing a virtual 3-Point & Dunk Contest.

Tom had posted a couple questions through social media asking those who follow the page as to who should be invited and send out the the invites based on that input. The kids selected recorded their dunks at their home gyms and sent them back once completed.

Once I had everyone’s videos, I edited and and packaged it as the Big Time Hoops 3-Point Shootout and Dunk Contests and put it up on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vp2U-wdE8M&t=2634s).

Fans voted on who they thought won the Dunk Contest, and Noah Lambert, of Lawrence High School, in Fairfield, was crowned champion. Lambert has been playing basketball now for nine years!

SCORES & OUTDOORS: The beneficial, destructive, disease carrying, smart European starling

European Starling

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Last week while while doing some work in my backyard, specifically, dealing with the compost bin following the winter, spreading fertilizer in the garden, pruning my black raspberry bushes, and just doing some general clean up, I noticed a flock of starlings in a bush in the corner of my property. I had seen them before, but it seemed a little early for them.

The common starling, Sturnus vulgaris, also known as the European starling, or in the British Isles just starling, is a medium-sized bird about eight inches long and has glossy black plumage with a metallic sheen, which is speckled with white at some times of year. The legs are pink and the bill is black in winter and yellow in summer; young birds have browner plumage than the adults. It is a noisy bird, especially in communal roosts and other gregarious situations, with an unmusical but varied song. Its gift for mimicry has been noted in literature including the Mabinogion and the works of Pliny the Elder and William Shakespeare.

The common starling has about a dozen subspecies breeding in open habitats across its native range in temperate Europe and western Asia, and it has been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, the Falkland Islands, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, South Africa and Fiji.

Large flocks typical of this species can be beneficial to agriculture by controlling pests; however, starlings can also be pests themselves when they feed on fruit and sprouting crops. Common starlings may also be a nuisance through the noise and mess caused by their large urban roosts. The species has declined in numbers in parts of northern and western Europe since the 1980s due to fewer grassland invertebrates being available as food for growing chicks. Despite this, its huge global population is not thought to be declining significantly, so the common starling is classified as being of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The European starling ranks third, behind only the red-winged blackbird and the American robin, as the most abundant species in North America.

After two failed attempts, about 60 common starlings were released in 1890 into New York’s Central Park by Eugene Schieffelin. He was president of the American Acclimatization Society, which tried to introduce every bird species mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare into North America. About the same date, the Portland Song Bird Club released 35 pairs of common starlings in Portland, Oregon. These birds became established but disappeared around 1902. Common starlings reappeared in the Pacific Northwest in the mid-1940s and these birds were probably descendants of the 1890 Central Park introduction. The original 60 birds have since swelled in number to 150 million, occupying an area extending from southern Canada and Alaska to Central America.

The global population of common starlings was estimated to be 310 million individuals in 2004, occupying a total area of 3,420,000 square miles.

A majority of starling predators are avian. Their ability in flight are seldom matched by birds of prey. Adult common starlings are hunted by hawks. Slower raptors tend to take the more easily caught fledglings or juveniles. While perched in groups by night, they can be vulnerable to owls, including the little owl.

Common starlings are hosts to a wide range of parasites. A survey of three hundred common starlings from six U.S. states found that all had at least one type of parasite; 99 percent had external fleas, mites or ticks, and 95 percent carried internal parasites, mostly various types of worm. Blood-sucking species leave their host when it dies, but other external parasites stay on the corpse.

Common starlings introduced to areas such as Australia or North America, where other members of the genus are absent, may have an impact on native species through competition for nest holes. In North America, chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, purple martins and other swallows may be affected. For its role in the decline of local native species and the damages to agriculture, the common starling has been included in the IUCN List of the world’s 100 worst invasive species.

Common starlings can eat and damage fruit in orchards such as grapes, peaches, olives, currants and tomatoes or dig up newly-sown grain and sprouting crops. They may also eat animal feed and distribute seeds through their droppings, which is how I think I got my patch of black raspberries in my garden area. I never had them before, but they showed up about eight years ago. Agricultural damage in the U.S. is estimated as costing about $800 million annually. This bird is considered to be damaging to agriculture the United States.

The large size of flocks can also cause problems. Common starlings may be sucked into aircraft jet engines, one of the worst instances of this being an incident in Boston in 1960, when 62 people died after a turboprop airliner flew into a flock and plummeted into the sea at Winthrop Harbor.

Starlings’ droppings can contain the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum, the cause of histoplasmosis in humans. At roosting sites this fungus can thrive in accumulated droppings. There are a number of other infectious diseases that can potentially be transmitted by common starlings to humans, although the potential for the birds to spread infections may have been exaggerated.

The common starling’s gift for mimicry has long been recognized. In the medieval Welsh Mabinogion, Branwen tamed a common starling, “taught it words,” and sent it across the Irish Sea with a message to her brothers, Bran and Manawydan, who then sailed from Wales to Ireland to rescue her. Pliny the Elder claimed that these birds could be taught to speak whole sentences in Latin and Greek, and in Henry IV, William Shakespeare had Hotspur declare, “The king forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer. But I will find him when he is asleep, and in his ear I’ll holler ‘Mortimer!’ Nay I’ll have a starling shall be taught to speak nothing but Mortimer, and give it to him to keep his anger still in motion.”

Mozart had a pet common starling which could sing part of his Piano Concerto in G Major (KV. 453). He had bought it from a shop after hearing it sing a phrase from a work he wrote six weeks previously.

After all of this, I wonder where the starling fits in our ecosystem. Is it beneficial, is it destructive to agriculture, is it a carrier of disease, or is it smart enough to learn Mozart? Whatever the outcome, I hope the black raspberries make it to fruition.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

What manager led the Boston Red Sox to their first championship in 86 years in 2004?

Answer can be found here.

Roland’s Trivia Question for Thursday, April 1, 2021

Trivia QuestionsWhat manager led the Boston Red Sox to their first championship in 86 years in 2004?


Terry Francona was hired to manage the Red Sox in 2004 and led the team to two World Series titles (2004 & 2007).

Easter is not about bunnies and eggs

by Gary Kennedy

For all of you who are convinced that the holiday, “Easter,” has something to do with the Cadbury Bunny and her ability to lay chocolate cream filled eggs, I have become compelled after many hours of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude to research and confront this obvious hyperbole. I love chocolate covered Easter eggs, but two issues have risen to the degree of conflict. I took them to bed with me a couple of nights ago and thrashed them out in my dreams. I ended up with chocolate on my face but that rabbit didn’t lay a single chocolate covered, cream filled egg.

Because of the intensity of this traumatic conflict I was left with the burning desire to eat chocolate, cream filled eggs irrespective of their source. I am so weak. The other issue that I was left with was the definition of the real Easter, which had no bunny nor any humor. Bunnies are symbolic of spring and fertility as believed in days of old. However, they have nothing to do with Easter and its true meaning.

Easter which is also called Pascha (Latin, Greek, Aramaic), or the day of resurrection, is a precious time which is set aside to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. This Easter will be observed on April 4. Easter is a Christian holiday, which the faithful celebrate reverently.

Unfortunately, it has become like a fairy tale over the years and so much of the dedicated observance has been abandoned. Even so, there are many of us that will attend church to be with others who feel compelled to give love and respect to the one we believe gave his everything to save us from ourselves. We are in times currently where that becomes so very important for our well being and for the training of our children.

The Passion of the Cross causes many of us to weep. A beautiful, perfect man suffered the pain and agony in the name of redemption. He loved his creations so much that he needed a sacrifice to redeem us from ourselves. We don’t know why it had to be that way with the pain and suffering of being nailed to a cross and hung in the hot, burning sun to die. One day we’ll perhaps understand the why of it all. For now we just have to accept what he did as a sinless man to save us all. Such is the thinking of a Christian.

There are others who see this story differently but that is up to them. What is the downside of this? The way I see it, if there was no salvation at the end of life, what did it cost you? You lived with some doubt but followed the doctrine. In other words you just always tried to do the right thing and prayed for forgiveness when you failed. Isn’t that a nice way to live, my friends? You have lost nothing and hurt no one. You just lived as you should have anyway.

The 10 Commandments is a heck of a great place to draw from. Love your neighbor as yourself. You would be amazed at the reciprocation. Most people react to sensitivity and kindness. This week my wife and I gave a few dollars to pan handlers. Each and everyone responded with “God Bless You.” Did they speak with sincerity? Perhaps we will never know but we felt good. If one blessed thank you was real, I’m a blessed guy. It sure makes my day.

So, yes there will be Easter egg hunts and other games surrounding Easter and I don’t think our creator has anything against that. Your families will be together which includes many children and grandchildren and, of course, love will be in the air. If your church is open, share the love with those who attend with you.

Easter received its name from the English goddess, Eostre who was celebrated at the beginning of spring. The one source for this information came from the writings of a British Monk named Bede, who lived in the late 7th century. The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ played no role in this. However, I suppose Easter is as good as any other name without just using the explanation of the event of the gift of salvation. The place where Jesus sacrificed his life was known as Golgotha or Calvary.

I hope my little narration of very minimal proportion opens your mind and heart to the true meaning of what we know as Easter. The entire story is both a work of tragedy and beauty. I suggest we all make it part of our lives if only for its moral value. I’m sure when you read the “greatest story ever told” you will realize much more than my fetish with Easter eggs. Also, don’t feel guilty when you pass by the beggar on the street. After all he “might not” be who he is claiming to be; or is he? As for me, I don’t like taking chances. Also, our country is in trouble currently so when you take a knee, pray for all of us who have lost our way. God knows we need it.

Have a great and safe Easter.

God be with you and yours, and God bless and guide America.

SOLON & BEYOND: The time I let Percy write the column in my absence

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

I would like to start this column off with an apology: I am so sorry that I couldn’t get the story that was sent to me from the New Portland Library, but I didn’t receive it in time to do that. It was called a Breakfast Bake, Book and Movie Sale! Hope you had lots of people attending, it sounded like a really fun time!

Now, I would like to thank Roland from the bottom of my heart, for leaving Percy’s picture beside mine on our column, for all these years. For those of you who don’t know, Percy died quite a few years ago, and I still miss him every day, he was a very remarkable animal! I came across a small clipping that I found recently dated The Town Line – January 3, 2008, with only Percy’s picture; (Percy was alive and well at that time, and I had let him write our column that week because I was down in sunny Florida!)

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

This is Percy wishing you the happiest of New Years! I am missing my human, she has been down in sunny Florida since before Christmas.

I am thrilled beyond belief that she is letting me write this column again, since so many of you have told her that you prefer my writing instead of hers.

Since I don’t have any real news to share, I have been reflecting on what subject to write about, think perhaps Happiness might be a good topic to delve into. Our by-line each week being, “Don’t Worry be Happy, and she’s been using it for years, before I started helping her. Does that make you stop and think just how happy you really are? Some quotes I can think of are, “Cheerfulness greases the axles of the world, ” “Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself,” “True happiness consists in making others happy.” But the one I like the best is, “There are two essentials to happiness: something to do, and someone to love.” It gives me great pleasure to behold the sappy look on my humans face when I lavish her with love, (I curl up in her lap and put my paw as far around her neck as I can and sing at the top of my lungs!) That is pure ectasy, and makes me happy also.

As I have told you before, the first thing she does when she gets up in the morning, even before she gets her breakfast, is to give me my dish of tuna fish, such love is beyond measure. Do I appreciate it ? You betcha! But must confess, I’ve been misbehaving ever since I heard her telling someone on the phone that she was going to Florida. She gets pretty upset when I do things I know I’m not supposed to but she comes around when I make up, unconditional love is the greatest!

Are you gaining insight about finding happiness from my words? I do hope so…. but to continue, with more wise words. When you do the things you do with love, you give life a gleam that most people only carry a glimpse of. Your attitude affects the outcome of so many things. Smiles inspire smiles. Reaching out brings people in. Looking on the bright side doesn’t entail being naïve and donning rose-colored glasses. It simply means leaving the cynicism and complaining to someone else, someone who will spend their whole life wondering why good things don’t come their way.

Being a positive person, someone who looks forward to so much, is not only rewarding, it’s refreshing. The wisest people on earth are those who have a hard time recalling their worries….and an easy time remembering their blessings. Now, my human has edited what I have written to share with you, but, will it get by the real editor? Have been told that she asked him once how much mushy stuff he would let her get away with. I’m pretty sure he likes me best and hopefully some of you have told him that you like my writing better than hers.

Anyway, my human and I would like to wish you the Happiest New Year ever! Signed by Percy. Editor’s note: Percy got many of these quotes from different books.

Just to let you know, to those of you who read this column, Roland has let me get away with lots of mushy stuff over the many years he has been my editor. and, I appreciate every bit of it! As far as Percy saying some of you like his writing better than mine…. that hurts!

OBITUARIES for Thursday, April 1, 2021


WATERVILLE – Harolyn Kenneth “Stub” Clifford, 97, passed away on Saturday, March 6, 2021. Harolyn was born on July 5, 1923, in Benton, the son of Harold E. and Marguerite (Stinchfield) Clifford.

He was the husband of Marjorie (Varney) Clifford, with whom he shared 74 years of marriage.

He was a graduate of Lawrence High School, in Fairfield, class of 1942.

Harolyn was in the Army Air Corps while serving in World War II and achieved the rank of TEC4 as a radio repairman. He served in Hawaii and Iwo Jima.

He worked for Central Maine Power Company for 43 years, retiring in 1989 as the superintendent of the Northern Division, Department of Meters.

He enjoyed many outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, golfing, and gardening. He also enjoyed bowling, woodworking, genealogy, and spending time with family.

He was a Mason at Waterville Lodge #33 AF & AM, a 32nd degree Scottish Rite, Valley of Augusta, and a Shriner, Kora Temple. He received his 55-year pin in 2007.

In addition to his wife, Marjorie, Harolyn is survived by his daughter, Linda Livingston and her husband Robert, of Harpswell; daughter, Mary Clifford, of Methuen, Massachusetts; son, David Clifford and his wife Gisele, of Vassalboro; daughter, Beth Clifford, of Benton; his brothers, Roger Clifford, of Benton, Allen Clifford and his wife Goldie, of Canaan; his grandchildren, Kristi, David, Christopher, Devin, Dillon, Nathan, Stephanie, and Jenna; and his great-grandchildren, Victoria, Bailey, Tabitha, Belle, Kyle, Conor, and Spencer; and several nieces and nephews.

Mr. Clifford is predeceased by his parents; his daughter, Laurie Jean Clifford; and four siblings, Marion Liberty, George Clifford, John Clifford, and Ellen Holt.

Burial will be at Pine Grove Cemetery, in Waterville, in the spring.

Arrangements are in the care of the Lawry Brother’s Funeral Home, 107 Main St., Fairfield, where condolences may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the website at http://www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com.

ln lieu of flowers, donations in Harolyn’s memory may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Association, JDRF, 200 Vessey St., 28th floor, New York, New York, 10281 or the Shriners Hospital for Children, 51 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02112.


WATERVILLE – Clarence “Ray” Boudreau, 93, of Waterville, passed away Saturday, March 13, 2021, in Bangor. He was born to Anastasia “Sadie” Glendenning and Vilbon Boudreau.

Ray worked in shipping and receiving for McLellan’s Department Store, custodian at Thomas College, and custodian at St. Joseph Maronite Church, all in Waterville.

Ray was a kind man who loved to tease others and enjoyed others teasing him. He was a one of a kind man who was a real “character”.

Ray was predeceased by his parents; brother, James and brother, Gerry.

Surviving are his wife Jeannette (LePage) Boudreau; stepchildren, Vickie and Pete LaCroix, Richard and Belinda Collman, Bob and Sharon Collman; grandchildren; plus many nieces and nephews.

There will be a Mass at Notre Dame Church, 116 Silver St., in Waterville, on Saturday, April 10, at 10 a.m. There will be a celebration of life after Mass at 12 Halde St., in Waterville.

Interment will take place at a later date.


WHITEFIELD – Madeline R. Parmenter, 92, passed away on Sunday, March 14, 2021. She was born in Augusta, in 1929, to the late Ernest Doyon and Rose (Pomerleau) Doyon.

Madeline spent decades working at Statler Tissue Paper Co., and Augusta News, both in Augusta.

Upon retiring, she enjoyed cross country trips with her husband and friends where they all shared wonderful views, many experiences and lots of laughs. Madeline spent time at their camp on Square Lake, in Aroostook County, where, for 40-plus years enjoyed family, friends and fun. Fishing, hunting, story telling, pulling pranks, and playing poker were always the necessities of a fantastic time at camp.

Madeline enjoyed knitting, crocheting and was known for her beautiful knitted kitchen hand towels.

Mrs. Parmenter was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Mervyn Parmenter; and her sisters, Lucille Gerine Small and Dolores Irene Weeks.

She is survived by Marlene Richards and her husband Jon, of Windsor; a sister-in-law, Irene Parmenter of Charleston, South Carolina; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

There will be no public visiting hours.

A committal service will be held in the spring in new Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in Augusta, where she will join her husband, Meryvn.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Plummer Funeral Home, 983 Ridge Rd., Route 32, Windsor. Condolences, photos and stories may be shared at http://www.plummerfh.com.

Donations may be made to the Amy Buxton Pet Pantry, South Parish Congregational Church, 9 Church St., Augusta, ME 04330.


WATERVILLE – Mary Jean (Potter) Shorey, 86, passed away Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at Woodlands Center, in Waterville. She was born June 9, 1934, in Conway, New Hampshire, the daughter of Philip and Lottie (Irish) Potter.

She enjoyed cooking, crocheting, reading and gardening.

Mary is survived by two daughters, Chrystal Hassen and husband Doug, of Waterville, and Janet Shorey, of Waterville; many grand- and great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her parents; brothers, John Potter and wife Janet, Robert Potter and wife Susie, David Potter and wife Evelyn, Richard Potter and Harry Potter. There will be no visitation hours or funeral service.

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

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Mary’s memory to Somerset Humane Society, P.O. Box 453, Skowhegan, ME 04976.


LANCASTER, S.C. – David I. Ifill Sr., 79, of Lancaster, South Carolina, and formerly of Vassalboro, passed away on Saturday, March 20, 2021, at Atrium Medical Center in Monroe, North Carolina. He was born in Waterville on September 12, 1941, the son of Llewellyn and Kathleen (Brown) Ifill.

He was educated in Vassalboro schools and graduated from Winslow High School in 1960. He also attended Mississippi State University.

David worked in the Local #320 Union as a millwright throughout the northeast and he also worked at Maine Central Railroad, owned several small businesses in metal fabrication and constructed many large steel support systems in shopping malls, department stores and in many different industrial applications. In the mid-1990s he worked for Valmet, of Finland, and traveled to Spain, Colombia, Canada and Sweden, where he further developed many skills in the paper industry. In 2004 he and his son formed HeadboxHelp LLC to serve many paper corporations across America in the work he loved.

David enjoyed playing and watching college and pro-football on TV. He also enjoyed hunting as a young man and belonged to the Big Bucks of Maine Club. He enjoyed collecting antiques, cannons, coins, knives, swords, old pictures and paintings. He also liked taking pictures on family vacations and while traveling for his work.

He built his own home in Vassalboro and was very skilled in horticulture. He also was known for being able to fix anything and was a very talented man. He would help anyone in need and was very generous to all who knew him. Later in life he especially enjoyed taking his granddaughter, Emily, everywhere and doing special things with her.

He was predeceased by his parents; and three brothers, James, Robert and Richard.

David is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jacqueline (Boucher) Ifill; a daughter, Michelle L. Ifill of Rock Hill, South Carolina; a son, David I. Ifill Jr. of Lancaster, South Carolina; a granddaughter, Emily Megan Ifill, of Lancaster, South Carolina; a brother-in-law, Lou Boucher, of New Harbor; and several nieces and nephews.

McCray Funeral Home is serving the family.


CHELSEA – Charlie “Chuck” Means III, age 63, passed away on Thursday, March 25, 2021. Chuck was born in Waterville on August 16, 1957, to Charlie A. Means Jr. and Dorothy (Rawley) Means.

He grew up in Winslow and graduated from Winslow High School in 1976. He graduated from Casco Bay College in 1980 with a degree in computer science, and started working for the state of Maine as a computer operator. Chuck retired as a senior systems analyst after 22 years of service.

Despite a debilitating medical condition, Chuck lived life to the fullest over the years, doing the things that he enjoyed – playing guitar, riding motorcycles, bulldozing with his John Deere tractor, camping, and going boating and fishing. He particularly enjoyed boat trips down the Kennebec River and riding the waves on the ocean and riding his jet ski on Damariscotta Lake, where he and his family were later able to own a camp.

He was always upbeat and joking, and had the gift of cheering up others. Chuck took great pride in his work and learned to do mechanical, electrical, and plumbing jobs, house renovating and woodworking.

More than anything, Chuck was a devoted husband and father. Though he couldn’t get to church in later years, his life philosophy was “God first, family second and work third”. He was married to his wife Tina for 33 years, and they were thrilled when their daughter, CariAnn, came into their lives.

Even when CariAnn became an adult, Chuck continued to call her his “Little Princess.” He loved his dogs and they always vied for his attention, so much that he was nicknamed the “Dogfather” by his family.

Chuck was predeceased by his mother and several aunts and uncles.

He is survived by his wife; his daughter, of Chelsea; his father Charlie Means Jr., of Waterville; his sister Cheryl McInnis and her husband Dana, of Winslow; nephews Craig McInnis and his wife Jennifer and children, of Waterville, and Christopher McInnis and his wife Rachel and children, of Winslow; his uncle Richard Rawley, of Windsor; his uncle David Rawley and his wife Marie, of Waldoboro; and several cousins.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, at Lighthouse Baptist Church, 108 Maple Street, Farmingdale, Maine.

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

An online guestbook may be signed, condolences and memories shared at http://www.gallantfh.com.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donatoins be made to the: Bread of Life Ministries, 159 Water St., Augusta, ME 04330, or any humane society.


OAKLAND – James I. Winters, 69, of Oakland, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, March 26, 2021. He was born in Waterville on August 3, 1951, the son of the late Irving and Mary (Richardson) Winters.

James attended Williams High School, in Oakland. On November 8, 1969, he married his high school sweetheart, the former Anita Begin. The couple shared nearly 51 years together.

James was a very hard-working man. He was employed with several businesses over the years including Cottle’s Grocery Store, Joseph Motor Company, both in Waterville, a car care products company, worked for Sonny Breton, at Madison Superette, worked for Paul Langette, at Fairfield Masonry, Guardian Building Products, and finally was a driver for Motor Supply Co.

His passion was riding motorcycles. He and Anita enjoyed many riding adventures together. He loved meeting his friends at Dunkin’ Donuts before going on their rides. He was a member of United Bikers of Maine. In his younger years he enjoyed hunting, fishing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.

James is survived by his wife, Anita Winters; his son, Sean Winters, of Oakland; his brother, Richard Winters and his wife Terry, of Abbott; his nieces, Niya and Xenia Winters and their families.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at http://www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com

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


WEST PARK, Fla. – Richard Frank Harris, 89, of Hollywood, Florida, and Waterville passed away on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. Richard was born in Melbourne, Arkansas, on November 7, 1931, to Robert Frank Harris and Audie Maye Landers.

He enlisted in the United States Navy and it was during his station in Brooklyn, New York, that he met his future wife, Marion Jane Fitzgerald. Both Marion and her twin sister, Marie, were serving in the Navy Reserve as WAVES. Richard and Marion married in 1958, in Waterville. Due to military service they traveled early in their marriage and were stationed in Rota, Spain, and Oakland, California. Richard retired from the Navy after 20 years of service and they settled in Waterville where they raised their four children, Robert, Audie, Wanda and William.

After retirement from the Navy, Richard became a private personal care attendant providing compassionate and therapeutic care. After his second retirement, Richard and Marion split their time between Florida and Maine where they enjoyed Square Dancing and playing bridge. They made several trips to Arkansas for family reunions. Richard was a communicant of Sacred Heart and Notre Dame Catholic churches, in Waterville, and a member of American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War.

Richard and son, William, provided compassionate care to Marion after she suffered a stroke in 2010 and she was able to stay at home until her death. Richard truly died of a broken heart, five months after Marion’s passing. They celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary. Richard was a devoted and loving husband, father, and grandfather.

Survivors include his children Robert, Audie (Jeff Pomerleau), Wanda Lewis and William; grandchildren, Joseph Lewis (Sarah) and Eliot and Nolan Pomerleau; his sister-in-law, Marie Varney (son Charles) and brother-in-law, Robert Fitzgerald.

He was predeceased by his wife, Marion Jane.

China TIF committee reviews mission statement

by Mary Grow

China’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee members covered two of the three items on their March 24 agenda, without reaching final agreement on either.

Committee members reviewed the committee’s Mission Statement, last written in August 2018, and the application form for organizations seeking TIF funds. Both will be back for reconsideration at their April 20 meeting, along with the procedures document they did not discuss March 24.

Chairman Thomas Michaud had the 2018 statement and proposed revisions from committee members James Wilkens and Robert MacFarland. Most of the discussion was over how specific the statement should be, with detours into whether it is a mission statement or a vision statement, and how large the committee should be.

Discussion of the application form was more complicated, beginning with whether to set an application deadline and if so, what it should be. Suggestions ranged from January to August, for requests for the fiscal year that would start the next June.

Committee members are effectively dealing with three timelines. They need to have requests for TIF money early in the calendar year, so they can develop a budget request for the following fiscal year by March.

After town voters approve the budget at the annual town meeting in the spring, committee members need to recommend specific expenditures from TIF funds to the Selectboard, which authorizes issuing checks. And the date at which money will actually be given to requesting groups depends on fund availability.

Central Maine Power Company provides TIF funds through taxes paid on its north-south power line in China and its South China substation. Like other taxpayers, CMP pays twice a year; if voters approve selectmen’s recommendations for the coming fiscal year, local taxes will be due Sept. 30, 2021, and March 31, 2022.

Committee members also talked about what information should be requested on an application form. They left almost all their questions to be resolved at their next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 20.

At earlier meetings this year, committee members developed a Second Amendment to China’s TIF document, including a fund request for 2021-22. The document and fund request are in Art. 16 of the town meeting warrant on which voters will act June 8. Public hearings, on the Second Amendment and on the rest of the warrant, are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Monday, April 26, before that evening’s selectmen’s meeting.