China selectmen act on bids

by Mary Grow

At their May 24 meeting, China selectmen acted on bids for summer work and got updated information on buildings that might meet the state definition of a dangerous building. They need more information on the buildings before possible action.

Bids were requested for three categories: road paving, materials for the Public Works Department and mowing. Mowing was subdivided into town property (like the town office lawn), cemeteries and ballfields.

Road paving attracted seven bidders, whose bids Town Manager Becky Hapgood summarized by number of tons of paving mix, per-ton price, chip seal (which turned out to be irrelevant) and total bid. Board members awarded the 2021-22 paving contract to Pike Industries, at a price of $67.47 per ton, after discussion among themselves, Hapgood and Public Works Manager Shawn Reed, who joined the meeting virtually.

Board Chairman Ronald Breton dissented, not because he objected to Pike, but because he wanted the bid awarded based on total price rather than per-ton price. Pike’s $67.47 was the lowest per-ton price by almost a dollar.

The total cost will depend on various factors, Reed explained, like the condition of the road being paved; rougher sections might need more shim – leveling material under the top coat – than first planned. Pike’s total price falls within the 2021-22 road budget, and Reed will make sure work does not exceed available funds.

Reed said Pike had last year’s contract and he is pleased with the work.

The road committee recommended against using chip seal this year, he said, and no additional chip seal is planned. Chip seal, he explained, is a liquid emulsion topped with very small stone chips and rolled. The method was used on about a mile of South Road last year; results are satisfactory so far, but road committee members want to see how it holds up for another year.

Two companies bid to supply gravel and other materials. Selectmen rejected both bids and authorized Reed to negotiate as needed, the same tactic they chose for the current year.

No mowing bids were received by the deadline; two came in the morning of May 24. The lower bidder did not bid on cemeteries, which Hapgood said are more labor-intensive than the other two categories.

Despite higher prices, a majority of the selectboard voted to award the contract to Danforth Lawncare, which has done China’s mowing for many years. Hapgood and the board majority doubted Danforth would do the cemeteries only, without the rest of the work.

Selectman Blane Casey dissented on the vote because of Danforth’s higher prices, which total over $32,000. Hapgood said the expenditure is “more than we anticipated,” but “we’ll be okay” with fitting it into the 2021-22 budget.

Codes Officer Jaime Hanson joined the May 24 meeting virtually to describe five buildings in town that appear to be abandoned, or nearly abandoned.

If selectmen so decide, they can seek a judge’s order to have a building declared dangerous and demolished within days, Hanson said. They can then bill the property-owner for the demolition and if necessary go to court to recover costs.

Hanson considers none of the buildings habitable in its present condition, and said as far as he knows none is permanently occupied, although he has talked with a person at one and seen a vehicle at a second. Only one of the five seems in imminent danger of collapse, he said.

Hapgood intends to get more information and consult town attorney Amanda Meader. Breton is concerned about possible town liability should someone be injured because selectmen did not deal with the problems.

Selectmen voted unanimously to support Hapgood’s suggestion that a Story Trails program be part of this summer’s China Community Days celebration. (See box below with this story.)

Two other agenda items were postponed to future meetings: how to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money and how to adjust transfer station fees for special items – electronics, propane tanks, tires, carpets and other things listed at the transfer station and on the town website,

Hapgood said China is slated to get about $429,000 in ARPA funds through the state. Rules for using the money are being developed, she said; she expects them to include allowed and forbidden uses, deadlines and paperwork requirements. Resident Jamie Pitney added, virtually, that towns are encouraged to ask for local people’s ideas.

Breton wants to review the transfer station fees, which he said have not been changed in a decade. Higher fees help hold down property taxes, he pointed out. He has also asked for advice from the Transfer Station Committee.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 7. The annual town business meeting will be held by written ballot in the portable classroom behind the town office Tuesday, June 8, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Story Trails of Maine

Information sent to China town officials describes “Story Trails of Maine” as an opportunity to boost tourism, bring traffic to local businesses, promote local history and create “a memorable experience for participants.”

Participants, in groups of two to four, use a mobile app to follow clues to explore a local area. A typical tour takes about an hour and covers up to two miles, with four to six stops, the brochure says. The tour is “self-paced” and people can take breaks to eat and shop locally.

Hapgood said two volunteers are working on a local Story Trails plan. Selectman Janet Preston volunteered to join them. Others interested should contact the town office.

China business meeting ballot shortened to ease voting

Available on town of China website, under “Elections.”

by Mary Grow

For the second year in a row, China’s annual town business meeting will be entirely by written ballot, with voters able to choose an absentee ballot or a Tuesday, June 8, trip to the polls.

To shorten voting time, town officials have condensed the ballot into 26 articles, most dealing with 2021-22 appropriations and town policy.

The 2021-22 school budget is not on the local ballot. Regional School Unit #18 voters approved it at a May 20 open meeting, and on June 8 China voters (and voters in Belgrade, Oakland, Rome and Sidney) will affirm or reject it by written ballot.

China polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 8, in the portable classroom behind the town office. Absentee ballots may be obtained from the town office by mail, telephone or email through Thursday, June 3. They must be returned before the polls close on June 8.

A copy of the town meeting warrant and multiple related documents are on the town’s website, To read them, click on “Elections” in the left-hand column.

Four of the 26 articles have generated discussion over the last several months.

Art. 8 asks voters to appropriate $16,530 for animal control, $34,000 for police expenses and $40,060 for emergency services dispatching. The $34,000 is intended to pay for 10 hours a week for special Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office patrols in China, replacing the present police department.

Information on the reasoning behind the proposed change is on the website. See also the letters from Police Chief Craig Johnson and former Selectman Robert MacFarland and the article by Town Manager Becky Hapgood in the May 13 issue of The Town Line, p. 11.

Art. 15 requests a $26,471 appropriation for FirstPark, the Oakland business park in which China and other area municipalities invested 20 years ago. Because revenue from the park has lagged behind projections and supporting municipalities have not seen profits, the park has been controversial in recent years.

The park’s bond is now paid off, but according to Hapgood, member municipalities’ obligations do not end until next year. China selectmen are likely to discuss ending the contract in 2022.

Art. 16 asks voters to approve an amended Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program and to appropriate $256,000 from TIF revenue to be spent in the 2021-22 fiscal year for purposes designated in the document.

China’s Tax Increment Financing Committee discussed the changes at great length before submitting them to selectmen, who approved them for forwarding to voters. Major additions allow TIF money to be used for broadband service (with limitations); to assist the China Lake Association and China Region Lakes Alliance with projects that improve lake water quality; and to assist with the Alewife Restoration Initiative (ARI) that brings alewives into China Lake by removing or modifying dams on Outlet Stream in Vassalboro.

The amended TIF document is on the website.

Art. 25 asks voters whether they want to sell about 40 acres of town-owned land on the east side of Lakeview Drive, opposite the Cottages at China Lake (formerly Candlewood). Selectman Janet Preston has consistently opposed selling the property. She presented arguments for keeping it as Adams Memorial Park in a commentary in the May 20 issue of The Town Line, p. 11.

Most of the articles ask voters to approve the 2021-22 municipal budget and policies for town officials. Art. 11, the most expensive article, asks $1,423,692 for the public works department, of which more than $600,000 will be spent repaving town roads.

Art. 4 combines requests for $589,427 for town administration (salaries and related), $214,600 for administration other (supplies, town office utilities and related) and $25,000 for accrued compensation (the fund to pay for unused time off if someone resigns or retires).

Art. 10 requests $623,005 to run the transfer station next year, and permission to use fees paid in the current year for unusually large amounts of demolition debris to offset costs of disposing of that debris.

Requests for $146,605 for assessing costs and $30,000 for legal expenses are combined in Art. 7. Art. 9 asks for $151, 547 for fire and rescue services; it does not include the previously-controversial firefighters’ “stipends,” which are instead in the $107,500 requested in Art. 12 for community support organizations.

The annual request for money to let selectmen cover unforeseen expenditures has been increased from $55,000 to $123,680 (Art. 14). Town Manager Hapgood explained that the increase is intended to cover “unbudgeted changes in employee benefits resulting from life events or new hires” and unemployment claims, if any. The $123,680 comes from surplus and reserve accounts, not from taxes. Unspent money will lapse back into the accounts at the end of the fiscal year.

Requested policies include permission for selectmen to sell tax-acquired properties (Art. 20) and specifically to sell the 1982 John Deere grader (Art. 24); to accept and use grants and gifts (Art. 21); and to make multi-year contracts (Art, 32).

In the event that voters refuse to approve one or more spending articles, Art. 26 provides that officials can continue to spend money for the rejected purpose at the current year’s funding level.

June 8 is business meeting

China’s June 8 meeting is the town business meeting, not the annual town meeting. By state law, the annual town meeting is when voters elect local officials. China’s local elections are held in November – the 2021 election day is Nov. 2.

For many years, China’s elections and voting on the annual budget were held together at the March town meeting. Selectmen noticed that more voters turned out for November written-ballot voting on state and national issues (and an occasional local referendum) than for the in-person spring meeting. To get more voters’ input, they moved the local election, and thus the town meeting, to November.

According to the town website, the following officials’ terms will end in November 2021:

  • On the Selectboard (two-year terms): Irene Belanger and Wayne Chadwick.
  • On the Planning Board (two-year terms): Randall Downer, in District One; and Natale Tripodi, alternate elected from anywhere in town. The District Three position is currently vacant; if there were an incumbent, his or her term would end in November 2021.
  • On the Budget Committee (two-year terms): Robert Batteese, Chairman; Kevin Maroon, District One; and Dana Buswell, District Three.
  • Representative on the Regional School Unit 18 Board of Directors (two-year term): Neil Farrington.

CORRECTION: In the description above of the Nov. 2 local elections in the May 27 issue of The Town Line, the length of selectboard terms was incorrectly stated. Selectmen are elected for two-year terms, not for three years. It was a reporting error.

Give Us Your Best Shot! for Thursday, May 27, 2021

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

DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT: Pat Clark, of Palermo, photographed this early dawn sunrise.

WHICH WAY? Jayne Winters, of South China, caught this turkey maybe looking for directions.

SMILE: Joan Chaffee, of Clinton, snapped this male cardinal posing for the camera.

China School’s Forest opens a new trail

Anita Smith in the China School’s Forest. (photo by Jeanne Marquis)

by Jeanne Marquis

China School’s Forest opens the North Loop trail after a team of volunteers cleared brush and fallen trees. It has been twenty years since this portion of the forest had been opened for hikers. The North Loop trail is easy to find heading down the main trail toward the power lines, and it will soon be marked by a sign.

Anita Smith, director of the China School’s Forest, explained, “It was originally part of the logging trails that were used when the logging was done back in the mid 90s. We were always more focused on the loops closer to the schools and creating outdoor classrooms. It [Opening this trail] was lower on the priority list of the things we wanted to do, but now with the resurgence of people interested in trails and getting outside, we decided now’s the time to get it done.”

Graphic by Troy and Anita Smith

As you head out to the North Loop you may pass a portion of the “Story Walk.” These are posters that contain pages from a story that lead students through their hike adding to their experience. This story, entitled “Who Pooped in the North Woods?” teaches kids about animal tracks and scat commonly found in the forest. The story was assembled on repurposed, donated political signs.

It takes roughly a ten-minute walk to get to the new North Loop trail. The turf of the trail is easy on the feet, as it is still lined with a thick layer of lichen and moss not worn away by hikers.

Smith describes the new loop, “The turf is soft. It is very healed. It has great mosses out there, and I was out earlier this week taking some pictures of some of the wild flowers that are starting to come up. Oh and yes. We did some logging back there last year. And basically, that was to clear out there was a lot of spruce and fir that was at the end of its life cycle. Part of the purpose of this piece of land is to demonstrate forestry and the value over the working forest here in Maine. So we did remove the fir and the spruce and some of the really big hemlocks. And it’s just going to be a really nice nice area once that starts to grow up. This is the entrance to it. We’re really lucky to have this resource. The trails are for everybody to be able to enjoy. It’s not just for the school kids. It can be used during the school day. If there’s a group of kids out here with lessons, just go around them. It can be used year round.”

The China School’s Forest began in the mid-’90s with some grants, donations of time and materials. A local carpenter, who was at that time attending school to get his teaching certification, worked with a group of eighth grade kids to build the first original bridge. That same carpenter built the Reading Tree which still stands strong today with minor repairs and a new roof added recently by volunteers.

There was a big push late last summer of groups of volunteers to prepare additional outdoor class spaces to provide “breathing room” from Covid restrictions. In the category of good things sometimes comes from crisis situations, using the outdoor classrooms reminded teachers, students and parents of the benefits of incorporating outdoor classes into the schedules.

Anita shared a story to illustrate the spontaneity you’ll find in the forest: “I was out yesterday working with Miss Preston’s class and we did four different stations on animal tracks. They were able to make plaster of Paris molds of different animal tracks … As I was leaving, a garter snake crossed in my pathway. Miss Robie was with her pre-K class so I picked up the snake. So some of the kids were a little leery of it, so I sat down in a chair and those who wanted to see it could come over and those that dared could pet part of its body.”

A forest provides a wide range of teaching moments in a calm, yet engaging environment. Smith explains, “There’s a lot of research going on that talks about the benefits of outdoor classroom spaces and getting outside physically and mentally. Their minds are on when they’re outside. They’re constantly thinking.”

So what’s next for the China School’s Forest? Smith provided insight into ongoing and future projects at the China School’s Forest. This last winter, Susan Cottle, who was working on her Master’s naturalist program, started a tree identification trail that runs from the soccer field by the middle school along the main trail. Smith and volunteers will be adding more signs this summer.

In the future, Smith envisions a geology station to teach students of the mineral and rocks of Maine. Knowing that kids love rocks, she feels this would be an ideal teaching tool to inspire their exploration. The project will be funded by grants. There is no time schedule assigned to this project at present. A more immediate need for the China School’s Forest would be a building to house equipment and to be used as a teaching facility in inclement weather. This structure would enable the forest volunteers to expand programs. For more information about China School’s Forest, visit

SOLON & BEYOND: Frequent chickadee visitor at our window

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

This week I’m going to start out with our story about a little chickadee that has been at our windows trying to get in for over three weeks. Now for some information about Black-Capped Chickadees: (which are my favorite birds, but not ready to have them move in with us yet!)

They are frequently seen with other birds such as nuthatches and woodpeckers. Makes its nest mostly with green moss, lining it with animal fur. Common name comes from its familiar “chika-dee-dee-dee-dee call. It also gives a high-pitched, two toned “fee-bee” call. Can have different calls in various regions. Our little bird comes to many of our windows and pecks the glass over and over again while looking in at us. Have been thinking how nice it would be to formally meet this little bird by opening the window for a visit, but I’m sure Lief would frown on that!! And I must admit he would be right, and the constant pecking does get tiresome. Would really like to know if any of you do have birds pecking on your windows asking to come in for a visit? Our phone number is 643-5805.

Have been trying to organize all the old cut out pieces from by-gone clippings I have cut out from past years from different papers I have written for. It doesn’t say what paper the following item was taken from, but it does say it was in 2007 and a picture of Percy is on with me. It starts, “Good morning, dear friends. Don’t Worry, be Happy!

I am so frustrated now with trying to figure out this machine that hope this column comes out making some sense! Last Wednesday, June 13, 35 former residents, spouses and friends met at the University of Maine North dining hall for a luncheon and visiting. This is an annual gathering of Flagstaff and Dead River people who truly enjoy this time of friendship and memories.

I asked Frances Taylor how this all got started and this is what she wrote. “After Bill and Olena had been in a boarding home for a few years ( about 1990 ) she expressed a desire to visit with Eleanor Flint Currier ‘without any husbands around’. We worked out a date and the three of us met at a Farmington restaurant to eat and talk ( and talk and talk.) The next spring I suggested we add a few other Flagstaff-Dead River women to join us. As a result there were eight of us, Eleanor Currier, Eleanor White, Eleanor Burbank, Flora Shaw, Lydia Bryant Mary Spenser, Olena and I. Olena handed out old report cards and school papers that she’d saved over the years, to the ones she’d had as pupils. We sat at the table ‘til we were ashamed; then stood around out in the parking lot, still talking, until the manager suggested we come back inside.

“From then on the numbers increased and the men folks joined us, always in Farmington, which seemed to be a good central location for everyone.” Eleanor Currier had done the organizing for several years, establishing a meeting place, picking a menu for the luncheon, sending our invitations etc. She had decided she didn’t want to attempt all of that this year so I decided to go ahead with it so we would be able to continue this annual get-together that everyone enjoyed so much.

“As always it appeared to be a happy time, for everyone. Those who attended from this area were Glenn Wing, Clarence Jones, and Pat Wing, from Bingham; Frances Taylor, from North Anson, Nancy McLean, from Embden, Gladys Rogers, Linda French, Loin Burbank and myself, all of Solon; Lydia Bryant, from Skowhegan; Eleanor Burbank, from Anson.”

Again this year my first grade teacher, Barbara Swan, (age 91) drove herself from her home in South Paris to Farmington and as busy as I am, she could put me to shame as she named over her many activities and volunteer work! Glen Wing was the oldest one present at 93, and he had driven over from Bingham, there were three 91-year-olds , two 88-year-olds, one 87 and at least five in their low to mid 80s, and we have many things in common, especially being young at heart! I tried to give the organizing job to someone younger, but they unanimously elected me for the job again next year.

I’m sorry to say, but most if not all are no longer with us here in 2021.

And so now for Percy’s memoir: You ‘re only young once – but you can be immature forever!

Have a great day!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Another adventure: chapter 2

by Debbie Walker

Last week I started telling you about my urinary adventure. As I told you it can affect men and women. All I know about the men is they are generally whinier than women (we know that, right, girls?). When you read these adventures, please know that I am only talking about my experience and you would have to research for your own situation with your doctor.

I went to a urologist to find an answer to my embarrassing subject. We did the questions and answers. I was scheduled to have some sort of urinary test. It would tell what kind of treatment would work the best for me. Did it.

Next was another office visit to discuss the route best suited to me. We decided that would be the Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy delivered by the InterStim System. (That’s a mouthful.)

Last week I had a procedure that is considered a test to see if a permanent placement was possible, would work for me. It involves wires and batteries! I tell everyone I am the Energizer Bunny. The doctor numbs an area just higher than the butt cheek on both sides and inserts two wires into the bladder. They hook the wires to a small battery pack that is taped to that side. In my case it was decided the left side would work.

After they complete the procedure, the instructions were given to me. I had to keep a diary of the effectiveness of this system. It was a way for the urologist to see just how well the system worked for me. A home nurse was sent to me for a visit for a few days. She looked over the diary, checks the wiring is staying in place and answers any questions I had.

When I went back into the office it was decided that “Yes, indeed, it worked”. So, the doctor scheduled my permanent placement for this past week. Yehaw! I was ready.

We basically started out like the test procedure, but it gets a little more involved since they are now implanting the wires and a small battery pack. This required me to be put to sleep for a little bit. It was an early morning surgery, so I was ready for a nap.

When I woke, I was observed a little longer and then allowed to get dressed. Once finished with that I met with a representative of the Medtronic company who again walked me through the process and follow-up. Then I was released for home. Once home I napped until the home nurse showed up again.

The reason there is so much repetition of the information is you are learning how to control the remote control. There are possibly some small changes you will want to make to the process. It will all be explained to you. If you are familiar with the Tends unit, you could compare the two.

Everyone was so much help, so kind and considerate. And it has been an interesting adventure. Find some things that you enjoy doing that don’t involve lifting, bending, twisting, stretching or any sexual activity until told you can resume. And I must tell you it has all been worth it.

I am curious how many others have kept their secret. Contact me with questions or comments at, or call The Town Line and leave a message for me to call you. Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for reading.

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Pianist: Rudolf Serkin

Rudolf Serkin

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Rudolf Serkin

Back during my college years, I considered Rudolf Serkin (1903-1991) my favorite pianist. He played with a most engaging combination of rhythmic muscularity, musical virtuosity, and fervent heart and soul in whatever work he was giving his total attention to. I grew up with his Columbia Masterworks LP of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic from 1962 (It contained recording session photos including one of Bernstein smoking a cigarette – he smoked four or five packs a day, had suffered from emphysema since he was 29, and was carrying air the last two years of his life before he passed away in 1990. For what it’s worth, Serkin was not smoking.). The performance blazed and roared with fiery passion and ethereal beauty especially in the slow 2nd movement. Other more lyrical performances of that work seemed tepid by comparison. Nowadays, I find the Emperor can stand a variety of approaches and have a few dozen different recordings.

I have previously written of my enthusiasm for the Brahms 1st Concerto and was then very dogmatically opinionated in musical preferences, and considered Serkin the finest interpreter of it. In April, 1974, I was the classical record buyer for the Kenmore Square Discount Records and heard that Serkin would be collaborating with the Boston Symphony under its then recently appointed music director Seiji Ozawa at Symphony Hall the next day in a Sunday afternoon pension fund concert. I called the box office and found out that tickets were still available, took a $2 cab ride to and from the hall, and, having only $20 to get me through the following week, paid $10 for my ticket, subsisting on baloney sandwiches with mustard on white bread until the following Friday pay day.

I had seen Serkin on television and was captivated by how he would hum at the piano and conveyed such joy. His hand movements were phenomenal to observe and my seat in the balcony would provide a view of them.

Before the Brahms, Ozawa conducted vibrant performances of Maurice Ravel’s showpieces, Menuet Antique and the complete Mother Goose ballet. After intermission, Serkin entered on stage with the conductor and, from his posture on the bench, seemed tired and frail during the five minute orchestral introduction. However, just before his entrance, the pianist sat up erect, flexed his fingers and gave the performance of his life. I was shaking with goosebumps and tears.

He recorded the piece four times – with Fritz Reiner and the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1946, twice with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra – 1952 and 1968, and with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1961. I have all four and cherish them for different reasons. Serkin was rarely satisfied with his recordings and welcomed the challenge of re-doing them, as did Artur Rubinstein.

Most of Serkin’s recordings can be heard on YouTube. His son, Peter Serkin (1947 – 2020), was also a very distinguished pianist.

Robert P.T. Coffin

More from Robert P. Tristram Coffin’s essay, Kennebec Crystals:

“Women swept past, little crepe bonnets cocked over the left eye and eyes like jets and blue diamonds. The ice was marked off into lanes, the racing sleighs came out. Horses came up the river, neck and neck, the flowers of their breaths festooned each side of them like garlands hung from high head to high head. Whips cracked, and shouts sent out long echoes each way. The chipped ice shone like splinters flying from a rainbow. Young men had young arms around waists of only 18 inches, and young people started off on the road to matrimony on the thinnest of bright steel shoes.”

More next week.

Of related Maine history interest is the Facebook page, Old Pictures of Forgotten Maine.

LEGAL NOTICES from Thursday, May 20, 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 May 20, 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

2021-107 – Estate of EVELYN L. DOSTIE, late of Smithfield, Me deceased. Crystal L. Corbett, 99 Depot Road, Belgrade, Me 04917 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-110 – Estate if DAVID F. WHITTEN, late of St. Albans, Me deceased. Theodore Whitten, 391 St. Albans Road, Palmyra, Me 04965 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-111 – Estate of JULIA A. FIELD, late of Norridgewock, Me deceased. Susan M. Pomelow, 48 Upper Main Street, Norridgewock, Me 04957 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-112 – Estate of MICHAEL F. BELYEA, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. Karen M. Belyea, 112 Main Street, Skowhegan, Me 04976 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-108 – Estate of JACQUELYN A. STRYSKO, late of Skowhegan, Me deceased. Selena Hoyak, 202 E. Main Street, PO Box 861,Worthington, PA 16262 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-113 – Estate of FLORENCE M. HUNT, late of Fairfield, Me deceased. Daniel J. Simard, Jr., 6 Savage Street, Fairfield, Me 04937 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-116 – Estate of JANICE JOAN GITSCHIER, late of Bingham, Me deceased. Kerrie J. Alkurabi, 60 Alfalfa Road, Sidney, Me 04330 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-126 – Estate of GARY F. COBB, late of New Portland, Me deceased. Elizabeth V. Cobb, PO Box 124, North New Portland, Me 04961 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-127 – Estate of JACINTA N. FRANCIS, late of Fairfield, Me deceased. Anthony Francis 8 Military Avenue, Fairfield, Me 04937 appoint Personal Representative.

2021-129 – Estate of PETER M. BOOTHBY, late of Canaan, Me deceased. Shawn W. Cyrway, 605 Moulton Road, Embden, Me 04958 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-130 – Estate of ROSEMARIE HENDRIX, late of New Portland, Me deceased. Ralph Hendrix, 95 Valley Road, Mercer, Me 04957 appointed Personal Representative.

2021-131 – Estate of JOSEPH R. BEAULIEU, late of Pittsfield, Me deceased. Nellie Jane Buzzell, 790 Main Street, Pittsfield, ME 04967 appointed Personal Representative.

To be published on May 20 & 27, 2021
Dated May 17, 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 on June 2, 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.

2021-069 – Estate of COLTON WAYNE ASTBURY. Petition for Change of Name (minor) filed by Charissa and Ethan Minnick, 506 Beech Hill Road, Norridgewock, Me 04957 requesting minor’s name be changed to Colton Wayne Minnick for reasons set forth therein.

2021-085 – Estate of JOANN MARY BOONE. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by JoAnn Mary Boone, 63 Mechanic Street, Norridgewock, Me 04957 requesting her name be changed to JoAnn Mary Pullen for reasons set forth therein.

2021-086 – Estate of SARAH MICHELLE GARZA. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Sarah Michelle Garza, 138 Nichols Street, Apt 1, Pittsfield, Me 04967 requesting her name be changed to Kody Alastor King for reasons set forth therein.

2021-098 – Estate of SONIA MAGDALENA RAJKIEWICZ. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Sonia Magdalena Rajkiewicz, 281 Birches Road, Rockwood, Me 04478 requesting her name be changed to Sonia Magdalena Gabriel for reasons set forth therein.

2021-115 – Estate of MICHAEL ANTHONY PRATT. Petition for Change of Name (Adult) filed by Michael Anthony Pratt, 34 Burrill Street, Fairfield, Me 04937 requesting his name be changed to Violet River Pratt for reasons set forth therein.

Dated: May 17, 2021
/s/ Victoria Hatch,
Register of Probate


DOCKET NO. 2021-131

It appearing that the following heirs of Joseph R. Beaulieu, as listed in an Application for Informal Probate of a Will and Appointment of Personal Representative are of unknown names and addresses:

Children of the following deceased siblings: Dorici Beaulieu, Godrick Beaulieu, Rodrick Beaulieu, Norman Beaulieu, Roger Beaulieu, Anilda Ouellette and Ida Beaulieu.

THEREFORE, notice is hereby given as heirs of the above-named estate pursuant to Maine Rules of Probate Procedure Rule 4(d) (1) (a), and Rule 4 (e) (a).

This notice shall be published once a week for two successive weeks in The Town Line with the first publication to be May 20, 2021.

The name and address of the Personal Representative: Nellie Jane Buzzell, 790 Main Street, Pittsfield, Me 04967.

Dated: May 14, 2021
/s/ Victoria M. Hatch,
Register of Probate

OPINIONS: Potential Adams Memorial Park on Lakeview Drive

The property in question, from Google Streetview.


by Janet Preston

To sell or not to sell? That is the question you will be asked in Article 25 on China’s June 8 ballot. The property in question is on tax map 63, lot 008, located on the west side of Lakeview Drive, across from The Cabins.

Q: How did the town come to own the property?

A: The property was donated to the Town of China in 2016, when China residents voted to accept the land. The previous owners had separated the land from the cabins on the lakefront in order to subdivide it (see map) and sell individual lots separately. They were unable to sell any of the lots (it is very wet and not easily developable), and decided to offer it to the town.

Q: How big is the property?

A: The land is approximately 40 acres. The map shows the planned subdivision, which has expired. The property extends from Lakeview Drive all the way east to Hunter Brook.

Q: If we vote “no” and keep the land, what will become of it?

A: The land belongs to the taxpayers, so it makes sense to do something that serves the community. If the voters decide to keep the property, I would propose creating a park with a roadside picnic area and a system of walking trails throughout the property.

Q: What would we call it?

A: I would propose that we name it Adams Memorial Park after Albert and Muriel (“Mother”) Adams, who owned the land and ran Candlewood Cabins for almost 40 years. They were beloved members of the community and very involved and supportive of youth activities.

Q: How would we pay for creating this public area?

A: All the funding would come from TIF District funds and Maine grants.

TIF funds may be used for “Costs associated with the development and/or maintenance of new or existing recreational trails with significant potential to promote economic development. TIF Revenues may be applied to the design, construction, safety, handicap accessibility and ongoing maintenance of a trail system within China … The goal is to develop a recreational trail system which will be eventually interconnected within the Town…”

Also, among the numerous Maine grants designed to increase outdoor activity, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) provides funds through the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands to develop and maintain recreational trails. (

Q: How will a park help our community?

A: Green spaces have a significant positive effect on people’s health, the environment, and the economy.

Health: Outdoor exercise and experiences are good for us. Maine people know this and appreciate getting out in the fresh air in all seasons.

Environment: Vegetated and unpaved areas provide a free and efficient way of storm water collection, which is a huge environmental concern for China. Hunter Brook flows into China Lake, so protecting the property near the brook helps to protect water quality in the lake.

Economy: Studies have shown that public green spaces provide a net economic gain to a community. People driving through China would see an appealing place to stop, stretch their legs, or have a picnic. They will buy food and other items at our businesses, and they might even decide to move here because of the variety of recreational opportunities. The 2020-2024 Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) recognizes and highlights that “outdoor recreation is a major engine of economic activity and an incredible asset as communities strive to be healthy, vibrant places where people are excited to live, work, and play.”

Q: We already have two parks – Thurston Park and the China School Forest. Why do we need another one?

A: This past year of COVID restrictions has inspired people to become more active outdoors. Thurston Park and the China Forest are wonderful resources for that purpose. However, the number of trails in these parks is limited, and as the town grows, we will need more trails to accommodate our outdoor recreational needs. One of the goals in China’s comprehensive plan is to “expand opportunities in parks, possibly through non-sport activities for adults, community gardens, and more community events.” Also, neither of these public spaces is visible from the road. The Lakeview Drive property has the potential to provide a visible, aesthetically pleasing green space with a view of China Lake.

Q: If we vote “yes” and sell the land, what will become of it?

A: We don’t know. Someone could buy the land and keep it as it is, or someone could develop it. If the town doesn’t own it, then we have no control over what becomes of it.

Q: How much tax revenue would the sale produce?

A: Revenues from taxes on the property depend on how the new owner uses it. Currently, the assessed value of the undeveloped land is $65,600. Based on the current mil rate, the taxes collected would be anywhere from about $970 (as is) to $40,000 (with a 13-lot development). A $20,000 addition to the town’s tax revenue amounts to about $5.75 per taxpayer. Of course, new development brings new costs as well, so any additional tax revenue would likely be absorbed by these or other costs.

Q: The Narrow Gauge snowmobile trail crosses the property. Will snowmobiles still be allowed to pass through the land? Will hunting still be allowed on the property?

A: If the town maintains ownership, then hunters and snowmobiles would continue to be welcome. If we sell it, the new owner would make that decision.

Personally, I am in favor of the town keeping the property. If we sell it, there is no turning back, and the public land is gone forever. If we keep it, we would have a nice tribute to the Adams family and a park that China residents could enjoy for generations to come.

If you have additional questions or would like to walk the property, please email me at

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Granges – Part 7

Charles Moody School.

by Mary Grow

Hinckley Grange

Last week’s article was on the two Fairfield Grange organizations, still-active Victor Grange, in Fairfield Center, and no-longer-active Hinckley Grange, with its Hall across the Kennebec River from Fairfield, in Clinton. There is one more connection between the Grange and the town of Fairfield, a connection that brings us back to the National Register of Historic Places.

Maine State Grange voted at its 22nd meeting, held in Bangor in 1895, to raise money to build and equip a “cottage” for the new “Girls’ Farm” at what was then Good Will Homes, in Hinckley, one of Fairfield’s original seven villages.

Good Will Homes, for a while Goodwill Home-School-Farm and now Goodwill-Hinckley, is a charitable organization dedicated to helping orphaned and at-risk children and young adults. Its multi-building campus stretches along about two miles of Route 201 between Nye’s Corner to the south and Pishon’s or Pishons Ferry to the north.

Connecticut native George Walter Hinckley (1853-1950) founded the institution in 1889 as a home for boys, with the girls’ division added not long afterward. By the time Hinckley died, Wikipedia says, the school owned 3,000 acres, had 45 buildings and was serving thousands of young people.

Grange Cottage, 1911.

The original Grange Cottage was dedicated on Dec. 20, 1897, according to an on-line source. The building burned in 1912 and was promptly replaced. On-line photos on the mainememory site, from the L. C. Bates Museum collection, include a 1908 photo of the first cottage and a 1912 photo of the second cottage.

Both buildings were two full stories high with third-floor windows in front and side gables. Each had an open front porch and appeared to have a basement, though in the 1912 photo the foundation is hidden by the snow around the building.

The 1912 building was designed by Augusta architect, Charles Fletcher. It was larger than the first one, and the larger third-floor windows imply more usable space in the gables. The front porch wrapped around part of one side.

(Charles Fletcher also designed the 1890 Doughty Block, at 265 Water Street, in Augusta. See the Feb. 10 issue of The Town Line.)

The second Grange Cottage burned in 1987 and was replaced by a third building.

According to the 2009 Journal of Proceedings of the One Hundred Thirty Sixth Annual Convention of the Maine State Grange, Goodwill-Hinckley had just discontinued its residential program and the use of Grange Cottage. The state Grange’s Committee on Women’s Activities was holding money intended for the building, which Goodwill-Hinckley owned; the meeting report says the money would be “redirected if the program does not start up again.”

Good Will Cottage, 1940.

Grange Cottage is in the section of the Goodwill-Hinckley campus described in the application for National Register listing (completed in November 1986; the property was added Jan. 9, 1987). The area designated as historic includes 33 buildings (two are complexes of buildings), “the original historic core” of the Hinckley Home-School-Farm, on about 525 acres.

Martin Stream, a major tributary that drains northern Fairfield into the Kennebec, divides the historically significant area. The application says the main campus, including the first cottages for boys, is south of the stream; the area where the first girls’ cottages were built is north of it.

Historian Frank Beard, writing the application for the Maine Historic Preservation Commis­sion, explained the significance of Goodwill-Hinckley in two ways. Socially, he wrote, it was “an early home,” perhaps the first in the United States, for “indigent and homeless children.” Arch­i­tecturally, its buildings, constructed between 1889 and 1930, “represent an important concentration of period buildings.”

The description of Grange Cottage in the application is of the 1913 building, the one that burned soon after the campus was added to the National Register.

Another among the 33 buildings is on the National Register of Historic Places separately, the L. C. Bates Museum, listed Oct. 4, 1978 (see below).

Carnegie Library.

The other buildings include three schools, (Charles E.) Moody (built in 1905-1906), Edwin Gould (built in 1926-27) and (George C.) Averill (built in 1930); Moody Memorial Chapel (built in 1897 and enlarged in 1927); Carnegie Library (built in 1906-1907); Prescott Memorial Administration Building (built in 1916 and substantially remodeled in 1921-22); Kent Woodworking Shop (built in 1919); and residential buildings.

The earliest residential building is Golden Rule Cottage, designed by architect Henry Dexter, of Dexter, and built in 1891. Beard described it as a two-and-a-half-story Queen Anne style wood-frame building with a “veranda” and a “rear porch with fan-shaped brackets.”

The newest residence on the list, Pike Cottage, dates from 1935 (and is the only building in the historic area constructed after 1930). Colonial Revival style, wooden, two and a half stories, it has a gable roof and an east-side veranda.

Beard called three cottages, Gifford House, Hinckley House and Price House, part of “teachers’ row.” They were all built in 1904, presumably as faculty housing.

Also in the historic area are Easler Cottage and a cluster of buildings identified as Easler Farm. The late-19th-century Easler Farm includes two wooden barns, a metal-sided animal barn and a garage.

Beard described Easler Cottage, built in 1900, as Queen Anne style, two-and-a-half stories, with a “pedimented veranda supported on turned posts with corner brackets and spindle work.” He listed with the cottage a story-and-a-half barn with a gable roof and a cupola.

Raising the bell to the tower of Prescott Building in 1915.

The sole nameless building listed in the application is a story-and-a-half mid-19th-century wood frame “house.”

The L. C. Bates Museum is in the 1903 Quincey Building, designed by Lewiston architect William Robinson Miller (1866-1929). The brick building is an example of the elaborate Romanesque architecture in which he specialized.

The application for National Register listing mentions the building’s “hipped roof, dormers, recessed round-arched entry, [and] symmetrical round stairwell towers on principal (east) elevation.” A Wikipedia article adds its “distinctive terracotta egg and dart ornamentation, and arched windows.

Inside, the museum has 32 Maine dioramas painted by American Impressionist Charles Daniel Hubbard (1876-1951); impressive natural history collections, from mammals to minerals; and Native American baskets, archaeological artifacts and other Maine historical items.

The Moody School, architect Miller’s earlier building on the campus, honors Charles Eckley Moody, of Bath. A Goodwill-Hinckley web page says Hinckley visited Moody’s two sisters, Mary and Frances, in 1894, a year after Moody died. The visit reminded them that their late brother had favored Hinckley’s project, so they donated $25,000 to build the school. Dedicated Jan. 1, 1896, it was the first brick building on campus.

(The Rev. Albert Teele Dunn, D. D., is quoted as calling the dedication “one of the proudest, happiest days” in Hinckley’s life. Dunn later was honored in Portland by naming Dunn Memorial Church after him, because he organized its congregation shortly before he died in 1904. The church later became Central Square Baptist Church and is now Deering Center Community Church.)

Beard described the two-story Moody School building as Renaissance style, “with hipped roof,…central pavilion with arcaded recessed entry, square-headed and round-arched windows.”

The Edwin Gould School was added in 1926-1927 with funds donated by railroad and Wall Street tycoon Edwin Gould (1866-1933), after he read of the need for a girls’ school on the Goodwill campus. According to on-line sources, the name honors his son, Edwin Gould, Jr., who died in 1917 in a hunting accident.

The building was designed by the Portland architectural firm of Miller, Mayo & Beal, whose members were William Miller, doing his third Goodwill-Hinckley project; Miller’s former head draftsman, Raymond J. Mayo; and Miller and Mayo’s former head draftsman, Lester I. Beal. The firm specialized in school buildings.

An on-line photo from the L. C. Bates Museum’s collection and historian Beard’s description of the Gould School depict a two-story brick Georgian Revival building with chimneys on each end. The building had two entries, one near each end, “sheltered by Doric porticos,” and a wooden cupola atop the middle.

On-line information about the Gould School says it closed in 2009 and stood vacant or was used for storage for four decades. In 2012, officials decided to reopen the building.

By then, there were holes in the roof “leading to severe water damage and rot.” The need for taller rooms on the ground floor required excavation and control of water under the building. Original masonry and interior and exterior trim were restored.

(Gould Academy, in Bethel, originally organized by local citizens as Bethel Academy, was renamed after Rev. Daniel Gould willed it $842 in 1843. Gould Academy’s website says annual tuition is currently $38,650 for commuting students and $62,700 for boarders. This information has nothing to do with Goodwill-Hinckley.)

Colonial Theater update

The restored decorative element, now completed, on top of the Augusta Colonial Theater. Caught at a moment by Dave Dostie – 2021. May.

In the May 14 Central Maine newspapers, the Kennebec Journal and The Morning Sentinel, reporter Keith Edwards continued his description of the reconstruction of the Colonial Theater in Augusta, specifically the elaborate decorations on the front (see The Town Line, Feb. 4).

The Water Street theater has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1914. Edwards wrote that the façade work is part of a restoration project started “several years ago,” after the building had been vacant since 1969. Organizers turned to Maine artisans who had the skills to replicate work originally done in the 1920s.

Total cost of the restoration is estimated at up to $8.5 million. Donations are welcome; they may be made via the website,, or by mail to Augusta Colonial Theater Offices, 70 State Street, Augusta, Maine 04330.

People wanting to read Edwards’ article in the Central Maine newspapers should look for the headline “Augusta’s Colonial Theater topped by work of artisans.”

Main sources

Websites, miscellaneous.

Next week: more Goodwill-Hinckley buildings.