Colby professor says China Lake has moderate amounts of nutrients

China Lake (photo by Eric Austin)

by Mary Grow

Colby College Professor Denise A. Bruesewitz, Ph.D., gave China Planning Board members “more than a little bit of food for thought,” Chairman Randall Downer remarked after her presentation at the board’s March 23 meeting.

Bruesewitz is a limnologist (the word means an expert on scientific aspects of inland waters) who has studied lakes in New Zealand and various parts of the United States. She is currently engaged in a National Science Foundation water quality project that uses robotics and computer modeling to study algae in lakes in Maine, including China Lake, and in other states.

Bruesewitz said China Lake is classified as mesotrophic, meaning it has a moderate amount of nutrients in the water. (A eutrophic lake has so many nutrients that algae blooms are common; an oligotrophic lake has few nutrients and therefore is unlikely to have algae blooms.)

Older surveys of China Lake have involved taking water samples from a boat and analyzing them. Bruesewitz said the current study uses drones that collect data and learn to recognize hot spots. There are plans to create diving robots.

Downer invited Bruesewitz to help board members develop standards for shoreland erosion barriers. She said she and her colleagues are not familiar with the type of solid vertical barrier that caused the planning board discussion, but in principle such barriers are not a good idea.

The zone where water and land meet, an area that is alternately wet and dry, is ecologically important, she said. Technically named the reference line, it is home to microbes that eat nutrients and is therefore critical to protecting water quality.

The shallow water on the lake edge of the zone houses life forms that are part of the lake’s food web, so it, too, should be protected from man-made disturbance, Bruesewitz said.

Downer asked how to quantify effects of a solid barrier. Bruesewitz replied it would not be easy. She suggested three possible methods: measure on-land nutrient uptake over the seasons and in different conditions; or look for relevant studies from comparable water bodies; or begin a citizen-science monitoring and sampling program.

Bruesewitz shared several documents with planning board members, including New Hampshire’s 2019 Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act that several members considered worth studying.

Replying to questions from board member Scott Rollins, Bruesewitz said China Lake’s biggest threats are the phosphorus that is already in the lake, plus on-land factors, like roofs, paved areas and other impervious surfaces and lack of buffers, that add more unwanted nutrients. Remedies, she said, include providing vegetated buffers that control run-off without separating land and water, and minimizing soil disturbance in the watershed.

She told the board she will be able to share results of the National Science Foundation project with them and with the Kennebec Water District, which uses China Lake’s west basin as its water source.

In other business March 23, Codes Officer Jaime Hanson’s report to the board included the comment that China is experiencing “a definite uptick in construction,” based on permit applications for new houses and other construction.

Board members continued review of the draft solar ordinance that, if approved by voters, will give them standards for reviewing applications for solar installations, both individual and commercial. The ordinance is not on the warrant for the June 8 town business meeting.

All solar installations require permits. Hanson bases his reviews on the six-year-old International Residential Code, and planning board members have been adapting standards for new structures to cover rows of solar panels.

The next China Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13.

China selectmen ask for more info from broadband committee

by Mary Grow

Ronald Breton, Chairman of the China Selectboard, requested and received time on the China Broadband Committee’s March 25 agenda. In return, CBC members ended their meeting by drafting an email request for time on the selectboard’s April 26 agenda.

Breton complained that CBC members are failing to keep him and the rest of the selectboard informed about their activities. What he knows, he reads in The Town Line, he said; and the articles make it sound as though the committee is trying to “sell” a broadband plan to townspeople before consulting the selectboard.

If people are convinced that broadband is “good and great,” and selectboard members find otherwise, he fears “They’ll get their asses kicked” by indignant residents.

Speaking as a selectman, he expressed two concerns: he does not want taxes to increase, and he does not want any broadband system to impose more work, like collecting bills or “running a utility,” on town office staff.

He also questioned the CBC proposal to prepare a letter of intent to continue negotiations with Axiom Technologies, of Machias (see The Town Line, March 25). Breton believes only selectmen, not members of committees appointed by the selectboard, have authority to sign letters of intent.

Committee member Jamie Pitney, who had drafted a nine-point outline of a document the committee could flesh out and present to Axiom president Mark Ouellette, agreed with Breton on the authority question. “Letter of intent” is probably incorrect wording, he said; the idea is to give Ouellette something more than a verbal assurance that he is not wasting time negotiating with the CBC.

At their March 18 meeting, CBC members and Ouellette talked about Axiom helping not only to plan broadband service, but also to develop a community outreach program to present information to the selectboard and residents.

After Breton zoomed out of the meeting, committee members further discussed the outreach program. At one point, Tod Detre and Chairman Robert O’Connor were talking about what residents might want for broadband service: would 25 up and 25 down be enough, or would people insist on at least 100 over 100, or maybe a gig over 100, or gig over gig?

“Can you imagine this discussion in a community meeting?” Pitney protested. “You’ll lose two-thirds of the people in the first 10 minutes.”

Members talked for more than an hour about different facets of providing broadband service, including the option of starting with a partial build-out (for $2 to $3.5 million) instead of going town-wide in one swoop (for $6 million or more); the possibility of cooperating with other central Maine towns, and what legal structures might be needed to do so; and potential grant opportunities.

They ended their two-hour meeting with two decisions: to ask to talk with selectmen on Monday, April 26, and to meet at 7 p.m. each of the first four April Thursdays (April 1, 8, 15 and 22) to prepare for the April 26 meeting.

On April 26, the selectboard is scheduled to hold consecutive public hearings, beginning at 6 p.m., on the Second Amendment to the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) document that governs expenditure of TIF funds and on the warrant for the June 8 annual town business meeting (which includes the TIF amendment).

Breton said he expects the hearings to be short enough so the selectboard meeting will begin about its usual time, 6:30 p.m.

China to continue using Waterville dispatch center

by Mary Grow

At a short China selectmen’s meeting March 29, board members unanimously authorized two actions by Town Manager Becky Hapgood and discussed Selectman Janet Preston’s idea of a China farmers’ market.

Hapgood is authorized to sign a contract to continue using the Waterville dispatch center to dispatch local fire departments and China Rescue, and to write a letter to the Atlantic Salmon Federation assuring them plans for a fishway at the Branch Mills dam will not interfere with town property.

Selectman Wayne Chadwick said he, Hapgood and Public Works Director Shawn Reed had reviewed the federation’s plan on-site and determined it will not affect the town’s right-of-way where Branch Mills’ main street crosses the West Branch of the Sheepscot River.

Preston had previously suggested the town sponsor a farmers’ market. Discussion at the March 29 meeting favored private sponsorship. Chadwick thought town sponsorship might have the potential for liability.

Board Chairman Ronald Breton assigned to Preston the job of finding out whether there is interest among local farmers and residents and whether some group would offer a site, presumably in return for rental fees or other payment from vendors. Interested people are invited to email Preston at

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 12.

On April 26, selectmen have scheduled a 6 p.m. public hearing on town business meeting warrant articles, on which voters will act on June 8, followed by a selectmen’s meeting.

VASSALBORO: Road complaints bring action by selectmen

by Mary Grow

VASSALBORO – With roads unusually rough this spring, Vassalboro residents have complained, frequently and loudly.

Vassalboro selectmen have listened, sympathized and come up with a solution: a municipal helicopter service, tentatively named the Vass Fly.

The public works crew is surveying the town for a dozen or more helipad sites, probably including the town office lawn and the recreation fields. Selectmen are negotiating long-term leases on two dozen choppers and arranging to train public works employees as pilots and helicopter mechanics.

A Selectboard member reported that five residents with the necessary licenses have volunteered as pilots pending longer-term arrangements. Selectmen have asked the National Guard for help, once Guard members are done staffing vaccination clinics.

Among road complaints selectmen and town office staff reported receiving:

A man spent a night in the emergency room after a bump threw him through the roof of his car. He has a concussion and sprained wrists, and can’t drive his car in the rain until the head-sized hole is patched.
An eleven-year-old girl’s laptop is still lost in the puckerbrush after a violent jolt ripped it from her hands and threw it out the window of her father’s truck.
Three residents are looking for new vehicles after the bottoms of two pick-ups and a Hummer were torn out when the wheels settled into deep grooves in the pavement. “That was my 2021 Ram – still had the temporary plates,” one man mourned.
A series of heaves and dips threw a car off the road and over a stone wall into an orchard, where it damaged two Cortland trees. The driver admitted he should have known better than to go as fast as 25 miles an hour on that particular stretch.
A couple complained that they could not access their driveway, which is near the top of a steep hill. Every time they slowed to turn in, either a trough in the pavement deflected the wheels and they missed the driveway, or a bump sent them back down the hill.
A woman was carrying her damaged mailbox, which had been struck by a car whose driver was avoiding a pothole, when she stumbled and dropped the mailbox into the pothole. Her garden rake was not long enough to retrieve it.

One day, a selectman related, a town public works truck got hung up on a bump, all four wheels off the ground. Selectmen ordered the road closed, so the town crew put concrete Jersey barriers at each end.

“Made no difference,” the selectman said. “People drove right over the barriers without noticing them, they’re so used to bouncing up and down.”

Selectmen expect a whirlybird update at their April 1 meeting.


APRIL FOOL if you believed this.



Vassalboro selectmen meet

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 1, in person at Vassalboro Community School gymnasium. Major items on their agenda include:

  • Continued discussion of renovations at the transfer station, and the impact, if any on the selectmen’s proposed 2021-22 budget;
  • Review of bids for installing a new boiler at the North Vassalboro fire station and perhaps a bid award;
  • Review of bids on the old fire truck the town is selling and perhaps a decision;
  • Review and signing of the Town Manager’s contract for fiscal years 2021 through 2024; and
  • If new information is available, an update from board Chairman John Melrose on negotiations for a land swap with Kennebec Water District.

The Vassalboro Budget Committee will meet immediately after the Selectboard adjourns, also in person in the gymnasium.

Vassalboro planning board meets

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro Planning Board members have four applications on the agenda for their Tuesday, April 6, meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. The meeting will be virtual; it will be available for simultaneous viewing on the website

The applications, in order, are:

  • From Kelley Gooldrup, to combine lots 9 and 10 in the Stone Road subdivision;
  • From Jack’s Place Too, LLC, to expand a deck at 201 Tilton Lane, in the Webber Pond shoreland zone;
  • From Elizabeth Austin to open a juice bar at 913 Main Street, in North Vassalboro; and
  • From Sunvest Solar, Inc., to build a solar facility on David and Jennifer Jones’ land on Webber Pond Road.

Sunvest Solar is presenting a pre-application; company representatives will explain the proposed project, but no decisions are expected.

Vassalboro has two approved commercial solar projects, ReVision Energy’s, on Route 32, and Longroad Energy’s, on Riverside Drive. Another application, from Sebago Technics for a property off Cemetery Street, is pending.

Give Us Your Best Shot! for Thursday, April 1, 2021

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

THEY’RE BACK!: With the return of the loons to China Lake, we’re reminded how welcoming it is in this photo submitted by Sharon Coolahan, of Vassalboro, last summer.

REMINDER: Pat Clark, of Palermo, snapped this icy canopy protruding from the porch roof in a photograph from this past winter.

SPECTACULAR: Tina Richard, of Clinton, submitted this spectacular sunset.

Teaching in the year of Covid-19

China Middle School teacher Ron Maxwell with part of his daily uniform. (contributed photo)

by Jeanne Marquis

Covid-19 has created unprecedented times in our schools, full of challenges for parents, students and teachers alike. I had the opportunity to interview one of our local seasoned teachers, Ron Maxwell, a science teacher with China Middle School, who gave a frank look into what it is like to teach during this era of Covid. Although we may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, it is important to document what our teachers are going through during these extraordinary times.

Ron Maxwell said he had no experience teaching remotely before the pandemic. In late August at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year he was told the school was offering remote learning for some students using Google Classroom. So as Ron put it, “We kind of learned as we went because this was a brand new thing for most of us.”

“There’s something magical about a face. Our brain gets so much information from the entire thing. That’s what we’re missing the most. There’s a connection. It’s also half the communication.”

As every teacher did across the nation, Ron had to adapt his teaching methods as well as his classroom organization. He had to protect his students from a contagious virus, while at the same time connect with them inside the classroom and through his laptop screen.

Ron explained, “My philosophy has always been hands-on, so a lot is experiential. Most of my grading happens with what we do in the classroom and I use homework sparingly. We do a lot with lab reports. I set up stations in the classroom, and they run from here to there as they work in groups. And, of course, everything that I’m describing now went out the window.

“This school year all the things that I’ve been practicing and perfecting needed dramatic changes to be possible. We’re doing an electronic learning target right now where they’re learning the difference between series and parallel circuits. Over here, I have three bins of wires and bulbs and batteries, none of which I can use because I can’t put them down for the kids to use and then put back in the next group because of the sanitation.”

Sanitation became an essential part of the 2020-2021 school day to keep both the students and the faculty safe, adding another layer of complexity and stress. “Now I’m literally spraying down my classroom every time a class leaves. So imagine the bell rings. They all get up. They’re packing up. They’re chatting. They’re decompressing, and they’re leaving right? That is, if I can get them to leave, because they are junior high kids. We have to watch them to make sure they’re staying this far apart and they’re wearing their masks. Then I have to lock the door and spray everything down. So in essence, that’s what happens in that two minute time between classes.”

Another challenge to the 2020-2021 school year was learning how to connect with students through laptop screens. As a veteran teacher, Ron knew how to set guidelines upfront. To be counted as present in class as a remote student, Ron told them he needed to see their faces, not the ceiling or blank screen. That was a non-negotiable rule. He said in the beginning he had a few students who were reticent about showing their faces. Each morning as their faces popped up as they joined the class, he greeted them with a “hello that says I see you, you exist and you mean something.”

For the most part, Ron’s remote students are fully engaged, “I may just have the best students. Maybe that’s why or maybe the answer is sometimes their parents on the other end, and I can hear them in the background laughing at my jokes.

“I’m deeply appreciative of all the support the parents give us. We couldn’t do our work if they weren’t doing theirs. I’ve said things have changed for me but things have changed for them, as well. Now, if you were to drive by the school building around 7:15 a.m., you would see the line of cars start. They wait in line sometimes for as long as a half an hour to drop their kids off and pick their kids up. I couldn’t imagine that. Parents, who used to be a two-income household, now they’re a one income household because one parent has elected to stay home and look after the kids. Yeah, and there are single parents of our students holding down a job, helping the kid appropriately attend classes, making sure they figured out how to get internet at home to deal with this. The community has really stepped up. We are blessed to have the support that we have. I’m proud of them as much as I am of my colleagues.”

Ron Maxwell expressed so openly what a challenging academic 2020-21 is for teachers, ed techs, students and their parents to balance safety, learning and technology. It’s a year where challenges are being met and adaptations are ongoing through human resilience and cooperation.

At the end of the interview, Ron said the one thing that he misses from the pre-Covid days that he will never take for granted again is seeing his students’ faces and he explained why: “The other day, I realized something important. I am looking solely at their eyes now. Yeah. And if I walk by them outside on the playground, I don’t know my own students. Oh my gosh. Because with their lower faces open, it changes who they are. It does. So, what do I miss the most? Yeah. I miss the faces.

“I have a student who had several older siblings, and I taught most of the kids in the family. She looks just like an older sister until the first time I saw her out there. [Outside at recess.] I was just amazed because she’s entirely her own person, of course.

“There’s something magical about a face. Our brain gets so much information from the entire thing. That’s what we’re missing the most. There’s a connection. It’s also half the communication.”

FOR YOUR HEALTH: 9 Scientific Secrets to Healthy Aging

The second half of your life can bring some of your most rewarding decades. You may be more confident than your younger self. You gain wisdom and patience. Sure, your hair sprouts more grays and your face sports more lines. But you can grow older with your body and mind as healthy as they can possibly be.

Here are science-backed secrets to do just that.

Eat Whole Foods

It’s more a way of eating than a formal diet. You load up on veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy. You eat less fatty meats, butter, sugar, salt, and packaged foods.

Many studies have found that this diet can help you live longer and protects against heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe one way it works is by physically changing parts of your chromosomes linked to age-related diseases.


Aim for 30 minutes every day. If that’s too much, break it up into shorter strolls. Regular exercise – especially if you do it briskly enough to feel a little breathless – delivers huge health benefits. It helps keep brain cells healthy by delivering more blood and oxygen. In fact, research suggests aerobic exercise may delay or improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

It also helps:

Control your weight Boost your mood Keep bones and muscles strong Helps you sleep better Makes you less likely to get heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Stay Connected

Loneliness is harmful to your health. If you feel lonely – whether you live alone or with someone, have lots of friends or none – you are more likely to get dementia or depression. Seniors who report feeling left out and isolated have more trouble with everyday tasks like bathing and climbing stairs. They also die earlier than less-lonely folks do. Researchers found that lonely people have higher levels of stress hormones that cause inflammation, or swelling, linked to arthritis and diabetes. Another study found more antibodies to certain herpes viruses in lonely people, a sign of stress in their immune system. So stay or make friends. Do volunteer work or simply help someone in need. Just connect.

LEGAL NOTICES for Thursday, March 25, 2021

18-A MRSA sec. 3-801

The following Personal Representatives have been appointed in the estates noted. The first publication date of this notice March 25,2021. If you are a creditor of an estate listed below, you must present your claim within four months of the first publication date of this Notice to Creditors by filing a written statement of your claim on a proper form with the Register of Probate of this Court or by delivering or mailing to the Personal Representative listed below at the address published by his name, a written statement of the claim indicating the basis therefore, the name and address of the claimant and the amount claimed or in such other manner as the law may provide. See 18-C M.R.S.A. §3-80

2020-332 – Estate of CHARLES B. LAMPHERE, late of Madison, Me deceased. Helen A. Lamphere, 106 Lakewood Road, Madison, Maine 04950 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-035 – Estate of HEATHER J. TAYLOR, late of Anson, Me deceased. Samantha J. Taylor, 238 Broadway, Apt. 3, Farmington, ME 04938 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-036 – Estate of LAWRENCE E. GOODWIN, SR., late of Madison, Me deceased. Evelyn Goodwin, 8 Goodwin Drive, Madison, Me 04950 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-038 – Estate of GERALD G. MOULTON, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. Elaine R. Ellis, 14 Dore Street, Skowhegan, Me 04976 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-039 – Estate of RONALD A. CORSON, late of Madison, Me deceased. Elizabeth Horton, 56 Shusta Road, Madison, Me 04950 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-042 – Estate of KATHERINE M. NEWTON, late of Bingham, Me deceased. Earl Z. Newton, 85 Middle Street, Apt. 9, Hallowell, Me 04347 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-043 – Estate of BARBARA A. THODY, late of Palmyra, Me deceased. David C. Dill, 206 Main Street, New Sharon, Me 04955 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-046 – Estate of ALLEN D. WYMAN, late of Norridgewock, Me deceased. Angela L. Wyman, 103 Tarbell Hill Road, Norridgewock, Me 04957 appointed Personal Representative.

2019-393 – Estate of SUMNER A. JONES, JR., late of Palmyra, Me deceased. Scott Jones, 204 Nichols Street, Pittsfield, Me 04967 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-048 – Estate of AVIS E. EMERY, late of Norridgewock, Me deceased. Alice E. Emery, 229 Fredericks Corner Road, Norridgewock, Me 04957 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-056 – Estate of DAVID ALLEN TEBO, late of St Albans, Me deceased. Patricia A. Fitzgerald, 74 Ross Hill Road, St Albans, Maine 04971 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-057 – Estate of KIMBERLY A. TOZIER, late of Palmyra, Me deceased. Philip R. Sanborn, 376 Beans Corner Road, Hartland, Me 04943 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-058 – Estate of YVONNE D. RICHARD, late of Norridgewock, Me deceased. Christopher J. Richard, 104 Landseer Street, Apt. 1, West Roxbury, MA 02132 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-059 – Estate of THERESA R. TAYLOR, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. Mark A. Taylor, 88 Oxbow Road, Skowhegan, Me 04976 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-060 – Estate of WAYNE J. CHICOINE, late of Fairfield, Me deceased. Mark S. Crane, 658 Norridgewock Road, Fairfield, Me 04937 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-062 – Estate of GARY WENDELL LITTLE, late of Shawmut, Me deceased. Shawn Lee Little 1430 Main Street, Pittsfield, Me 04967 and Stephanie Lynn Wallis, 41 Sanger Avenue, Waterville, Me 04901 appointed Co-Personal Representatives.

2021-063 – Estate of ROBERT J. HATFIELD, late of Moscow, Me deceased. Brandon A. Hatfield, 122 Pine Street, Madison, Maine 04950 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-065 – Estate of WAYNE H. JEWELL, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. Kimberly Bodwell, 59 Ocean Drive, Brunswick, Maine 04011 appointed Personal Representative.

To be published on March 25 & April 1, 2021.
Dated: March 22, 2021 /s/ Victoria Hatch,
Register of Probate



Notice is hereby given by the respective petitioners that they have filed petitions for appointment of personal representatives in the following estates or change of name. These matters will be heard at 1 p.m. or as soon thereafter as they may be April 7, 2021. The requested appointments or name changes may be made on or after the hearing date if no sufficient objection be heard. This notice complies with the requirements of 18-C MRSA §3-403 and Probate Rule 4.

2021-002 – Estate of SETH ROBERT LAMPHERE. Petition for Change of Name (Minor) filed by Angela Buker, 1619 East Madison Road, Madison, Me 04950 requesting minors name be changed to Seth Robert Buker for reasons set forth therein.
SPECIAL NOTICE: This notice is especially directed to Natasha Libby who is of ADDRESS UNKNOWN.

2021-034 – Estate of BRYAN MICHAEL WILSON. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Bryan Michael Wilson, 25 Locke Hill Road, Starks, Me 04911 requesting his name be changed to Byrne Maddoc Wright for reasons set forth therein.

2021-052 – Estate of KATIE-JO LeBLANC, adult of Fairfield, Me. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Katie-Jo LeBlanc, 146 Middle Road, Fairfield, Me 04937 requesting that her name be changed to Joey Benjamin LeBlanc for reasons set forth therein.

2021-064 – Estate of PAULA MAE BERRY, adult of Skowhegan, Me. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Paula Mae Berry, 100 Berry Drive, Skowhegan, Maine 04976 requesting that her name be changed to Paula-Mae Prescott for reasons set forth therein.

Dated: March 22, 2021 /s/ Victoria Hatch,
Register of Probate