FOR YOUR HEALTH: A Critical Support System For Veterans

Helping a veteran get to needed medical care can be a great way to give back.

(NAPSI)—There are certain aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic that many Americans may not have thought about. For example, one area that saw a sharp decline was volunteerism—placing heavy burdens on nonprofit organizations that rely on the compassion of their volunteer forces.

According to a recent research survey by Fidelity Charitable, a nonprofit organization created by Fidelity Investments, two-thirds of all U.S. volunteers had either decreased volunteer hours or stopped volunteering altogether because of the pandemic.

Volunteer to Help Veterans

One nonprofit feeling the effects is DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and its Transportation Network, which has helped get veterans to and from medical appointments since 1987, when the government-run system was shut down. The nationwide DAV Transportation Network provides no-cost rides to veterans who need help getting to their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers and clinics. Prior to 2020, volunteer drivers spent more than one million hours and logged over 20 million miles, providing more than 600,000 rides for veterans each year.

“We’ve seen a major decline over the past year in volunteer support across all of our programs,” said John Kleindienst, Director of Voluntary Services at DAV. “For our aging veteran population, getting to and from critical care appointments is a growing concern and without volunteers, many veterans have no way to access their health care or get other much needed support.”

Ramping up volunteerism for the DAV Transportation Network is critical as the pandemic restrictions lift, as it is anticipated that higher than average numbers of veterans will return to the VA both for routine appointments and for care that was delayed over the past year.

“While safety has been the key priority, we have to think toward the next phase and be prepared to meet this increased demand for transportation,” Kleindienst added. “We know the pandemic has hurt a lot of veterans and they might not get the care they earned without our dedicated volunteers. We need the help.”

VolunteerMatch’s survey, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Volunteering” found many in the nonprofit sector are rethinking volunteer engagement strategies to accommodate the current environment. While this strategy works for some sectors, it can be challenging for others.

Nonprofits, such as DAV, are hopeful that there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel as vaccines are made widely available, restrictions are lifted and communities can safely get back to volunteering.

“We know there are many passionate and dedicated volunteers who are ready to step up and support our nation’s veterans and with added safety measures in place we’re beginning to see more people coming out to help. We can only hope it will be enough to keep pace with those veterans in need,” added Kleindienst.

Learn More

If you are a veteran in need of support or want to learn more about volunteer opportunities in the community, go to

The South China Public Library: Central ME Nonprofit Spotlight

photo courtesy of South China Library

by Bob Bennett

As I believe most of we humans are aware, especially in these difficult times, change is inevitable. For the most part, the results of these events are positive, at least in the long run, and we look back with gratitude and acceptance. The South China Public Library is undergoing change to a great degree at this moment and those of us associated with this special organization are certain that ultimately, we will have an entity that will continue to provide the services to our community for which our library has been noted for nearly two centuries.

The verification of this “old age” is that the South China Public Library is the oldest continuously operating public library in the state of Maine. It was established in 1830 and its founders included members of the Jones family and other Quaker families. The library is also one of the oldest nonprofit organizations in the state, incorporated in 1912. The building presently in use by the library had its main section constructed in 1900 and the addition now housing the children’s room was built by volunteers in 1980.

Our historic, treasured building does not have bathroom facilities and we are not able to expand at the current site. Our central location has always made the library very accessible for the residents of South China and for its numerous summer visitors and seasonal residents. In addition, the library’s site directly across from the South China Community Church has allowed us to coordinate our annual fundraisers (until this year) such as the library’s book and pie sale and the church’s chicken barbecue and summer sale. This is a tradition we hope to continue, even with our relocation “around the corner.” These community interactions have always been at the heart of our existence.

The programs the library offers are in many ways our most vital services, and our children’s programs may best reflect this. Every summer for a number of years, we have offered a kid-oriented series of get-togethers, usually on Wednesday mornings, that spotlight local resources and presenters focusing on young people. These range from Mr. Drew and his amazing animals (he “zoomed” with our young patrons recently), to local fire departments stressing the importance of safety, and ice cream trucks, offering a “taste of the good life.”

These foxes were seen recently at the South China Public Library. Perhaps they are interested in reading up on ancestors. (photo by Bob Bennett)

These presentations, starting in late June after schools close and extending into the middle of August, are intended to bring young people together and to encourage reading and learning in the summer. Traditionally, the children’s room is packed as Mr. Drew’s unique critters crawl over willing listeners while he describes their lifestyles or fairy house builders present their construction techniques. We also occasionally host adult-oriented speakers and encourage public interaction and, of course, circulate many books, movies, and audiobooks and provide 24/7wireless internet access. In addition, reflecting our rather unique heritage, all of these activities are provided totally by volunteers supported by a board of directors consisting of local residents. All financial donations go to support the South China Library and its services. And in the last several years, much of those funds have been directed toward the new library.

Having outgrown our present site, the South China Library purchased the Rufus M. Jones House and property that rests largely between the Jones Road and Lakeview Drive, in South China. The ground breaking ceremony for new construction was held on August 6, 2018, and work has continued at a relatively slow pace since then. The portable classroom purchased from the town of China for $1 has been added to the new building as well. This new location will give us more and better organized interior space and will have the amenities that will allow our patrons and volunteer staff to be more comfortable year round. In the future we plan to develop the Jones house as an attractive historic venue. Fundraising for this still-evolving change in the library’s life is ongoing, and the results will ultimately continue our mission and efforts for a long time to come.

In conclusion, the South China Public Library is a vital, useful and compassionate presence in our town and the surrounding area. We have been in existence for 191 years and during that time have provided a multitude of services to untold numbers of loyal receivers. Change is inevitable, and we look forward to the future.

Please support your local library.

The Town Line will continue with a series on local nonprofit groups and their work in their respective communities. To include your group, contact The Town Line at

New Dimensions FCU supporting their community

Ryan Poulin, center, CEO of New Dimensions FCU, prepares to cut the ribbon at a special ceremony commemorating the opening of the credit union’s new Waterville location in 2020. (contributed photo)

Ask New Dimensions Federal Credit Union (NDFCU) what Team Teal means to them and they will likely talk about giving back to their community through the fundraising efforts of their Social Responsibility Committee. “Team Teal”, as they have coined themselves, is more than a Social Responsibility Committee. They pride themselves on being an organization that positively impacts the community by supporting friends and neighbors who need it the most, but they also take tremendous joy and reward in their efforts that help to fund Maine’s Ending Hunger Campaign, Special Olympics Maine, and Maine Children’s Cancer Program. Helping others is a priority to their staff, management, and Board of Directors.

2020 brought some unique challenges that forced NDFCU to postpone some fundraising events and to reimagine others. They found that they were unable to host several of their popular, and always successful, events due to concerns with the pandemic and had to search to find viable yet safer ways to raise money to help the people of Maine. They utilized technology and made many of their fundraising events virtual, they found items that could be purchased through the drive-thru and tested several new ideas, including themed baskets and holiday gift-giving ideas.

Although the year presented many obstacles, challenges, and an uncertain economy, they were determined to maintain the true credit union spirit of “People Helping People” by raising a total of $24,493.97. They are excited to make this announcement because even with the number of challenges they faced, their employees, board, and members, really made a difference. That difference will feed more people in our local area; enable and include those with intellectual disabilities, and help with childhood cancer in Maine.

Through this dedication and perseverance, four wonderful and deserving organizations received support again this year. With great pride, they presented checks to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program (MCCP), Special Olympics Maine, and MECUL’s Ending Hunger Campaign.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Ticks and bumps

by Debbie Walker

Ever notice how sometimes things are easier when you put them in your own words rather than maybe the appropriate one? You know, bring them down to your terms.

I think I do it out of a healthy disrespect for the real terms, and sometimes because my words are just shorter. I’ve done some of that here.

I made a long put-off trip to the dermatologist to have a little mole thing on my forehead looked at. They told me just by looking at it that it was a basil cell carcinoma, lot of words for cancer. Instantly that thing reminded me of being in Maine, come in from the woods with a tick on you and all you want to do is get it off you! Well my immediate reaction was: GET THAT THING OF ME NOW! This little mole thing was my “tick” and I wanted it gone now!

Well beside the little tick I had a bump on my upper left leg. It had never been discolored; it had never burned, itched, hurt, changed colors, nothing. However, it had started to grow, and it seemed to be forming groupies around it. So, hey, I’m here I might as well ask him what kind of thing it was. Well you know how it goes, almost like with your car, it could be this or it could be that, usually it is the more expensive one but sometimes you get lucky. So, the doc did his little biopsy of both tick and bump.

Tick test came back next day just what they said it was, and it was going to have to come off. “I’m ready now.” However, we (they) were waiting on the bump’s biopsy that it turns out had to be sent away. Oh yeah, I’m a little nervous now, but better safe than sorry.

The “tick” was no big deal; they took that off in a matter of minutes and a few stitches. But it seems the “bump” was going to send me to a specialist, it was a little on the rare side and had a name I think includes all the letters of the alphabet in it. So, I was sent off to Moffitt Cancer Center, in Tampa, Florida. Probably means nothing to you guys but this place is top of the line all the way.

That little bump that never did anything but grow to about the size of a quarter was going to require an 8-inch by 6-inch cut down to the muscle to get rid of, I’d have one layer of stitches and one layer of staples. This cancer is rare and has a 95 percent success rate. And, for it to be considered not successful only means it would grow back in the same spot. Now as cancers go, I consider myself very lucky.

We all do it; we all put things off, “ah, that isn’t nothing.” I will admit that for a while I had an idea what the tick was and even then, put it off, lack of money, insurances, time from work, etc. As for the little bump, it looked like the most harmless thing in the world and as I said, never gave a sign it being anything other than a bump on the skin. But if you think about it, what was the bump doing there, I didn’t have one anywhere else?

Please take this seriously. My tick is long gone, and my bump was removed December 23, 2008. Yup, I am making fun of them, that healthy disrespect I was talking about, but this is serious. If you have ticks or bumps or whatever word you decide to call them do yourself and your family a huge favor and go now. Don’t wait. If it turns out to be nothing, go celebrate, if it is something deal with it. You wouldn’t leave a real tick on you knowing it was there, would you?

This is one time when I wish my curiosity had won over sooner.

Thanks for reading and if this rings a bell to you: CHECK IT OUT!

Contact me at We’ll just call this my public service announcement.

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Lost on a Mountain in Maine

Robert P. Tristram Coffin

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Robert P. Tristram (continued…)

Up until a few weeks ago, I was offering weekly paragraphs from Robert P. Tristram Coffin’s essay Kennebec Crystals, which is contained in the 1989 Maine Literature Project anthology, Maine Speaks. To briefly summarize previously offered information Professor Coffin (1892-1955) wrote 40 books that included poetry, novels and non-fiction, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and taught at Bowdoin College, in Brunswick. The essay gives a vivid account of the source of ice blocks that our local Kennebec River was world-renowned for and the arduous, methodically planned process by which they were extracted during the early to mid 1800’s.

Continuing from earlier:

“But back up on the farms, the men were grinding their picks. Women were laying out armfuls of gray socks with white heels and toes, piling up the flannel shirts, packing up bacon and ham and sausage meat and loaves. Boys were oiling harness and polishing the glass sidelights of headstalls. Chains were clinking and sheds were being piled with blankets and bedding and victuals and extra whiffletrees, cant dogs, picks and feed for the horses.

“Down along the river, the doors stood open in the big ice-houses, with sides lined with sawdust that for months had been shut in silence, except for the sharp thin music of wasps. Men were clearing out old roughage and rubbing the sections of track free of rust. Machinery was being oiled. Gouges and scrapers were being looked over and assembled by the river’s side.”

To be continued.

Lost on a Mountain in Maine

Donn Fendler at 12 years old

One of the state’s major attractions for adventurous campers and climbers is Mount Katahdin. I’ve yet to make the trek but one very exciting book I read decades ago was Donn Fendler’s Lost on a Mountain in Maine, which became a national best seller during World War II years. He was a 12-year-old who got separated from his Boy Scout group during a hike up the mountain in 1939 and, for nine days, made the mistake of wandering in all directions instead of staying in one spot. The terrors of survival in its wilderness were vividly recounted.








by Joan Ferrone

I’ve got baggy eyes
and flat feet
Too much belly
and a saggy seat
My hair won’t curl
my nails are split
I can’t sit without
a pillow for my bum
The legs and feet
will go numb.

I forget names and where I’ve been
and where I’m going and what I’ve seen
For I have life!

I am old, I am tired
But it’s okay—
For I have life.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Churches – Part 4

South China Meeting House.

by Mary Grow

Two churches in the Town of China were added to the National Register of Historic Places on Aug. 4, 1983. The earlier is the Pond Meeting House, on Lakeview Drive, built in 1807. The South China Meeting House, now South China Community Church, on Village Street, dates from 1884. Both were originally houses of worship for the Quakers, or Society of Friends.

The present Town of China’s first settlers, two generations of the Clark family, came in 1774 and established their homesteads around China Lake’s east basin. Originally named Jones Plantation after surveyor John Jones, the area was Harlem from 1796 to 1822 and became China in 1822, with various boundary changes along the way.

In his chapter on the Society of Friends in Kingsbury’s Kennebec County history, Rufus Jones, China’s most famous Quaker, wrote that Miriam Clark, wife of settler Jonathan Clark, and her sons Andrew and Ephraim were Quakers; her husband and two other sons were not.

Andrew and Ephraim Clark made their homes on the east shore of the lake. For the first few years, the nearest Quaker meeting was 40 miles away in Durham.

In 1780, the Vassalboro Friends established the earliest meeting in Kennebec County, Jones wrote. The first Vassalboro meeting house, built in 1785-86, was near the Kennebec River, about 10 miles from the Clarks’ China home. In 1797 the East Vassalboro meeting house opened, an easy ride across China Lake.

Enough other Quaker families arrived in the next two decades to justify a China meeting, which began in 1802 in Lemuel Hawkes’ house. Jones quoted from February (2nd month, to Quakers) 1807 minutes of the China Friends meeting, at which they voted to share the cost of building a 30-by-40-foot meeting house on land bought from Jedediah Jepson. They appointed Jepson, Reuben Fairfield, Isaac Hussey and James Meader as the building committee, instructing them to work as they thought best and report when necessary.

Pond Meeting House

The Pond Meeting House is about three miles south of the north end of the lake. Gregory Clancey, the architectural historian who wrote the application for National Register recognition in April 1983, described it as “a modest but pleasing post and beam structure, devoid of all ornament or stylistic claim, save for the concern with regularity and proportion characteristic of Federal buildings.”

The building is a story-and-a-half high with a steep roof. The equally tall entranceway, attached at right angles on the west side of the building, has separate entrance doors with a window between them.

Although Quakers always accepted women as entitled to speak at meetings and to act as preachers, inside a meetinghouse men sat on one side and women on the other, usually with a moveable partition between them. They would be together for worship, separated for business meetings.

Update on Victor Grange

The May 13 history article was about Victor Grange in Fairfield Center, the oldest continuously operating Grange in the central Kennebec Valley area. Since then, Barbara Bailey, the Grange member who contributed so much to the story, has sent out the Grange’s summer newsletter.

One theme is continuing work on the grounds and building. The new parking lot beside the Grange Hall is finished and in use. Interior work has run into unexpected problems, as so often happens with old buildings (readers will remember, of course, that the hall was built in 1902 and 1903).

The section headed “The Insulation Saga” explains that Grange members are fund-raising to insulate the building. The first step, finished in May, was “to get all the critter droppings cleaned out and disinfected” to protect the ceiling.

An insulation vendor explained that insulating required adding ventilation. Grangers are now seeking someone who can ventilate and insulate the top of the building, as they continue to raise funds to pay that person. Suggestions, volunteers and donations are welcome.

The mailing address is Victor Grange, c/o Roger Shorty, 118 Oakland Road, Fairfield, Maine 04937; the email address is The Grange has a Facebook page that includes information on coming events, the second theme of the newsletter.

These include hosting the Fairfield Historical Society’s annual Quilt Show on Saturday, July 10, and Sunday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 to view more than 50 antique and new quilts. Grange members will provide lunches and snacks.

On Saturday, July 31, from 9 a.m. to noon, Rita Fortin, President of the Clinton and Somerset County extension services, will host a free workshop on canning green beans. She is scheduled to return on Saturday, Aug. 28, same hours, to talk about canning tomatoes. Interested area residents can sign up at the Grange email address above or by contacting Fortin directly at 453-2945 or

The Pond Meeting House originally had two rooms separated by what Clancey called “a shutter-door attached to the ceiling with iron hooks.” The interior was a single room by 1983, except that in 1930 a corner had been partitioned off to make a kitchen.

Clancey described the interior with its exposed beams and hand-hewn pine floorboards and roof timbers. The meeting house was by then, as it is in 2021, part of the China Friends Camp, founded in 1953 under the auspices of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

What is now the South China Community Church was initially a Friends meeting house also, built in 1884 on the north side of Village Street.

The first church building on the lot, Jones wrote, was the Second Baptist Church’s brick meeting house, built in the 1820s or 1830s. On May 10, 1856, church members approved selling the building. It was moved, and in 1862, they put up a larger wooden building on the lot.

The South China Baptists were active in the prohibition movement in the 1860s and 1870s. On Oct. 1, 1869, Jones wrote, “a liquor man” burned down their church. The Friends later bought the lot for a dollar on condition that they build a house of worship.

The China bicentennial history names the building committee for the new meeting house: five men, one surnamed Philbrook and four surnamed Jones.

The earliest section of the meeting house, Clancey wrote, was a single room in a minimally-decorated, clapboard-sided story-and-a-half building with a pitched cedar-shingled roof, its gable ends on the north and south. There were three windows on each of the long sides and a small vestibule on the south (street) side

About 1900, Clancey wrote, the vestibule was extended across the gable end and four street-facing windows were added. At the west end of the vestibule a square tower not much taller than the building was constructed, with a south-facing door in the base. Another door was added to the east end of the enlarged vestibule.

At that time, the upper part of the tower was shingled rather than clapboarded and was “painted a darker color than the rest of the church,” Clancey wrote. Later (undated) additions included a room behind the tower attached to the original west wall and a small shed that Clancey wrote was a kitchen in 1983.

The interior was remodeled repeatedly. The change Clancey mentioned specifically was the 1970s addition of a stained-glass window parishioners bought from Whittimore Associates, of Needham Heights, Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, the building was home to weekly Friends meetings until the 1930s, when the congregation became too small to support a pastor. In 1935, the bicentennial history says, the Friends proposed uniting village residents in the South China Community Fellowship, which continues active today.

The Friends own the church building. Fellowship members retain their individual religious affiliations, but they cooperate to maintain the building, select a minister and organize and finance community religious and social activities. Current Pastor Paul Harwath has served since 2012, according to the church website.

Clancey’s 1983 application for National Historic Register listing included three other buildings associated with Rufus Jones, who was profiled in the July 30 and August 6, 2020, issues of The Town Line.

Two residential buildings gained individual listings and will be discussed, with a third, in the next article in this series. The third nominee, the South China Public Library across Village Street from the church, was rejected by the keepers of the National Register.

The square story-and-a-half library building was built in 1900, Clancey wrote, with donated materials and local labor. It housed books for a library originally incorporated in 1830. Library association members have described the South China Library as the oldest continuously functioning library in Maine, but not the oldest library (see box).

The first library in the State of Maine (before Maine was a state)

Blue Hill Library

The Blue Hill library, in Hancock County, was organized in 1796 in the local grocery store, with the grocer as the librarian. According to an on-line history, “Overdue fines were six cents a week, with additional fines of two cents per page for spilled drops of oil or tallow.”

The library’s bookplate, which the history site says is still used, was designed by the first Congregational minister in town, Jonathan Fisher (1768-1847; in Blue Hill from 1794 to 1837). Fisher, one of the founders of Bangor Theological Seminary, was also an artist (his self-portrait is on his Wikipedia page), a writer (including local newspaper reporting) who could bind his own books, a scientist, mathematician and surveyor. He built his house and designed and built furniture.

The Blue Hill Library history page explains that lack of interest caused the library to close before the Civil War. After almost 20 years, a new group reorganized it in the 1860s as the Ladies Social Library of Blue Hill.

The ladies met once a week to swap and discuss books over dishes of ice cream. By 1895, Blue Hill had a new town hall and the library had two rooms on the ground floor. The first professional librarian, a Colby College graduate named Anne Hinckley, was hired in or soon after 1930.

In the 1930s, the library had a car that was its bookmobile, used to bring books to remote residents and to students in Blue Hill’s seven elementary schools and George Stevens Academy. The history site says library services included party planning.

Besides Hinckley, two other women are associated with the 20th-century Blue Hill Library, according to the history site.

Adelaide Pearson was responsible for hiring Hinckley and was the driving force behind the first separate library building, a brick structure designed by Augusta architects Bunker and Savage and opened in March 1940. She and Hinckley persuaded the federal Public Works Administration, created to combat the Depression by funding big public works projects, that a library in Blue Hill, Maine, qualified.

An on-line photo shows the ground-breaking for the building, Dec. 19, 1938, with the comment, “It was 12 degrees below zero.”

Dorris Parker was the first full-time Blue Hill librarian. She started as head librarian in 1944 and retired in 1981. An on-line photo, from the 1950s, shows a small, dark-haired woman behind a large, rather cluttered circulation desk that has three panels across the front and two more on back-folded side wings, each with a scene that appears to depict a historical event. Well-filled bookshelves rise on either side of the desk and the office area behind it.

The Blue Hill Library remains active today, in space that was doubled by a $2 million expansion in 2000 and 2001. The expansion provided a children’s room and a community meeting room. The website says the library building typically hosts 450 meetings and 400 library-sponsored events annually.

Clancey had the library building on his nomination list because, he wrote, “Rufus Jones served as library president 1919-1948, the only civic activity with which he was associated.”

Main sources

Grow, Mary M., China Maine Bicentennial History including 1984 revisions (1984).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).

GARDEN WORKS – The eleventh plague: Battle of the browntail moth and curse of the caterpillars

Browntail moth caterpillar showing the two red dots at the end of its tail that differentiates it from other hairy caterpillars (moth on right)

Emily Catesby Emily Cates

Well! I had intended, amongst the hustle and bustle of a busy life and chaos in the garden, to write on the next rainy day… which doesn’t help so much with a lack of rain. Anyways, here we are for a look at one of the most annoying problems – besides ticks – that I’ve ever had to deal with outdoors. Now, what could that possibly be? You guessed it, those blasted browntail moths and their cursed caterpillars!

Unless you live under a rock, or in a cave, or in your parents’ basement, you’re probably unwillingly familiar with these cantankerous characters. If you need an introduction, call 211 or look it up on here.

If you reside in or visit central Maine this time of year from April to late June, you, too, may have the miserable experience of disagreeable symptoms as a result of direct or airborne exposure to the tiny, poisonous hairs disturbed from a living or dead caterpillar, or molted caterpillar skins. Symptoms range from slight discomfort, to itchy red bumps in the area of exposure, or to an all-out inflammation extravaganza requiring medical assistance. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours (if you’re lucky), or weeks (if you’re like me and not so fortunate).

Yes, folks, I too have the measly rash. (It even looks like measles!) And I’ve had it continually for the past couple months. It’s almost like my senses have become dulled to the perpetual prickling on my skin. Never before has scraping my arms and neck with a butter knife and plastering myself with clay evoked such satisfaction.

I try to look at the bright side and count myself among the folks who do not have the breathing problems associated from being around these pests. Also, I’ve resolved never again to mow the lawn under my fruit trees wearing a tank top or short sleeves. Hat and gloves are a must!

Unfortunately, the best window of opportunity to eradicate the caterpillars by destroying their nests has slammed shut. December through April is the optimal time to check the tips of your oak and fruit trees for their silky webs, cut off any you find, and chuck those into a bucket of soapy water to soak overnight. Another flush of these happens in July, so another – albeit less optimal chance to get them – might present itself. Just be sure to wear long-sleeves, a hat, and possibly a face mask when working around trees since the hairs from the current crop of caterpillars are still a problem. Hairs remain toxic for up to three years!

During the night, the moths will be attracted to and drown in a soapy mixture of apple-scented dish soap in a bucket of water. Place the bucket as close as possible under a light.

So, what to do if exposed? There are tons of tips and tricks out there as this has become a serious community crisis affecting so many folks in our area. Unfortunately, there is no official specific treatment, but home remedies may help address the itching and swelling.

Everybody is different, so it’s important to find the safest individual solution if possible. Of course, it would be advisable to contact a trusted care provider immediately if symptoms are severe – especially when there is trouble breathing, swallowing, or swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat.

That said, here are a few suggestions from my personal experience and others’. Please share your thoughts and suggestions with us!

As soon as possible after exposure, gently wash the area with plain soap and water. Unscented, natural soaps like Dr. Bronner’s and African black soap don’t contain fragrances or other added chemicals that can compound the problem in sensitive skin.

Resist the urge to scratch with fingernails, as this can make things worse. A clean body brush or similar utensil could be more effective.

Cosmetic-grade clay may help draw out the caterpillar hairs and their toxins.

Try a cool bath with baking soda.

Witch hazel – if it’s not sold out of the stores – can really help!

Now, wouldn’t it be great if someone could train cedar waxwings to eat these caterpillars rather than berries!

Do you have a remedy or want to share your experience dealing with the browntail moth caterpillar? Email Emily at

art + gender exhibit to begin August 6, 2021

photo credit: City of Waterville

The Harlow invites artists to submit artwork to art + gender, a juried exhibition that explores the relationship between gender and society. art + gender will be on view August 6 – September 11, 2021, at 100 Water Street, in Hallowell, with an opening reception on Friday, August 6, from 4 – 6 p.m., in conjunction with Hallowell Pride. art + gender is open to all New England based artists. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m., on July 1, 2021.

Original fine art in any media may be submitted. For complete details please visit:

AYCC parking lot work to continue through summer

Three construction phases will take place at the Alfond Youth and Community Center, on North Street, in Waterville. The project began June 28 and projected to be completed by October 4.

Renovations include new parking lot entry, traffic flow change, angled parking spaces, new walkways, curb-less and slanted front entry and landscaping.

The changes will include safety and ease of traffic flow, drop offs and pick ups, pull-in/out parking/departures. There will be new walkways to increase pedestrian safety, and curb removal and slanted entry to facility will increase accessibility.

The landscaping will be updated and temporary signage will be displayed to direct traffic during each phase, please stay alert and follow all signage.

The staff asks you to be patient as they continue to improve every area of service to this community.

Dates are estimated and subject to change.