I’M JUST CURIOUS: The silent abuser

by Debbie Walker

Have you ever been surprised when someone you know ends a relationship because of abuse and you had no idea? It’s hard to believe there was anything wrong because you ‘didn’t see or hear it’. This is the role of the silent abuser.

The silent abuser has had years to wear down the confidence of the abused. When we are told abusive, down grading, negative, and belittling words long enough it becomes real to the abused. That makes the abused weaker and easier to control.

After the surprise you begin to question a few things? Those questions are answered now. Now you know why she never questioned what he said. You understand her lack of confidence, why she had to miss group or couples activities. Many things become clear now.

The definition of ABUSE I chose for this column is: language that condemns unjustly or angrily.

The quiet abuser is always right. The partner’s opinions have no value. They may even be told repeatedly how stupid they are. Even though on the one hand, the abused know these things aren’t true but over time this eats away at their confidence.

I want to add here that his abuse also pertains to our children, maybe even our parents or co-workers. Quiet abuse is possibly in all their communications.

Sometimes this abuse is generations deep. A person may be verbally abused or physically abused as a child. When given the opportunity to get out of the home they jump at the chance. They may be making the next generation of quiet abuser.

One woman says a few people who witnessed the final couple of years of her life asked, “How much longer can you put up with this behavior?” Her answer was “for the duration, she owed him.” As his abusive behavior intensified beyond anything, she could foresee there came a day… The day came when she had to finalize their relationship. It had become a risk for her own health, bordering on breakdown. She found her voice and left.

Because it was a situation of ‘silent abuse’ some family and friends may not understand their separation. They hadn’t witnessed the behavior. Their disbelief may even cause the abused to wonder, “Was it really so bad?” Hell, yes it was!

I spoke to a few people about this and we came up with some of the categories for a quiet abuser: Yelling (is that ever necessary?), silent treatment, isolation (running your family and friends away), roller coaster of emotions (I promise I’ll never do it again) not being allowed to get medical assistance, destroying personal belongings, insults … Sadly, there are still more categories, but I am running out of space to continue.

One thing I did want to mention is the abused will often defend the abuser. Fear of the unknown is often stronger than fear of the known.

I’m just curious if anyone realizes this is the adult version of “Bully.” Please remember this is not a medical report, it is only my opinion. It is also not a reflection on this paper. If you would like to leave a comment or ask a question please contact me at my new email address: DebbieWalker@townline.org.

Thank you for reading. Have a great week.

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Soprano: Mirella Freni

Mirella Freni

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Soprano: Mirella Freni

On Sunday February 9, the soprano Mirella Freni died from the combination of strokes and a degenerative disease she had been suffering for a number of years. I have been a fan of her records ever since first hearing one of her singing a Verdi aria over 50 years ago while still in high school. Her good looks, the power and beauty of her vocal chords and the magnificent acting she brought to bear in her various stage roles set her apart from the other sopranos (to take nothing away from the great ones among them such as Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Virginia Zeani, Victoria de los Angeles etcs.).

She and tenor Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007) were born in the same town, Modena, Italy, about six months apart. Their mothers worked in the same cigar factory, were friends themselves, and, because of the toxins from their jobs, gave their babies to the same wet nurse. Pavarotti later happily attributed Freni’s beautiful rosy cheeks to her getting more of that nutritious milk from their nurse.

Pavarotti’s 1965 La Scala debut in Puccini’s La Boheme under conductor Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) had him paired with Freni. As I write this column, I am listening to the YouTube of the 1974 recording of the opera that all three of them did for London records, which I highly recommend as a beginner’s set. For those who want more Freni recommendations, I will simply state I have never heard a Freni recording, with or without Pavarotti, I didn’t like and leave it at that, especially with so many examples of her on YouTube.

Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess delayed and recorded Met February 15 link at Waterville Opera House!

I first saw George Gershwin’s 1935 opera, Porgy and Bess, in 1977 through a touring Houston Grand Opera production at Boston’s Opera House, one that has been preserved on an RCA Victor set. The composer (1898-1937) called it a folk opera and explained his reasoning in a 1935 New York Times article:

Porgy and Bess is a folk tale. Its people naturally would sing folk music. When I first began work on the music, I decided against the use of original folk material because I wanted the music to be all of one piece. Therefore, I wrote my own spirituals and folksongs. But they are still folk music-and therefore being in operatic form, Porgy and Bess became a folk opera.

The Met production starred Eric Owens as Porgy, Angel Blue as Bess, and a fine supporting cast. Mention should be made of Alfred Walker as Bess’s evil ex-boyfriend, Crown; Frederick Ballentine as the unsavory drug dealer, Sportin’ Life; Latonia Moore as the righteous woman of prayer for everybody, Serena; Denyce Graves as the feisty cookshop owner, Maria, etcs.

The opera contains the old favorites Summertime, It Ain’t Necessarily So, Bess You Is My Woman Now, I Got Plenty Of Nuthin’, I’m On My Way, and several other less known but equally good musical numbers.

The very gifted David Robertson conducted a magnificent performance and all visual aspects of the staging were very good.

The next live Met link is George Frederick Handel’s opera, Agrippina, on leap year, February 29.

GARDEN WORKS: Seeds of your dreams, Part 2 (G-H)

Read part one here: Seeds from your dreams, Part 1 (A-thru-E)

Emily Catesby Emily Cates

Calling all gardeners! There’s treasure hiding among the pages of all those seed catalogs, ready to be highlighted and added to your order form. In our last article, we looked at a few alphabetically and got all the way to “E for eggplant.” Now let’s move on to “G for garlic” and beyond. Please feel free to share your thoughts for what’s on your dream garden wish list in a comment on our website or Facebook, or email me at EmilyCates@townline.org.

Garlic – A staple in my garden, I’d never be without good-old German Extra Hardy. It does best when fall-planted, but it’s possible to start it in the spring.

Ginger – While a lot of folks who grow ginger on a market scale in Maine use high tunnels and hoop houses, a simple, well-drained flowerpot with good potting soil can accommodate a plant or two for an occasional treat. I bring mine in before a frost in fall, and outside after a frost in springtime. It looks pretty good as a houseplant, too.

Ginseng – I just found seeds for this in the Johnny’s catalog! Though my initial attempt to grow ginseng years ago was not a success, I am determined to try again. Let me know your experiences with ginseng.

Gourds – This is another plant with endless possibilities to fire an artist’s imagination. Not only are gourds delightfully ornamental, they can be fashioned into useful objects such as canteens, containers, dippers, birdhouses, children’s toys, musical instruments and more.

Grains – These crops are incredibly important from a historic perspective, but are equally important now as food, forage, cover crops, and ornamentals. On a small, garden-scaled plot, try hulless oats, Opopeo amaranth, and Duborskian rice.

Grapes – While many folks think of vineyards when they think of grapes, all that is needed is a well-drained, moderately fertile, sunny spot, preferably with something the grapevine can climb on – such as a fence, gazebo, or trellis of some sort. Brianna, Somerset Seedless, and King of the North are among my favorites.

Greens – I never seem to be able to get enough of them, and I’ll probably die trying to plant as many packets of mixed greens as I can get my hands on. The varieties for braising seem to hold up well in my garden. Also, the green known as Good King Henry is a perennial, spinach-like plant that even self-sows. What could be better than that?

Groundnut – As a child, I always wondered about a distinctive fragrance along a meadow near China Lake, until discovering it was actually groundnut. What a wonderful surprise to find out that this useful plant, that nourished native peoples from ancient times, would grow well at my home. This lovely native perennial vine with unusual, highly fragrant maroon/pinkish leguminous flowers yields tasty, protein-filled tubers that are edible and delicious when peeled and cooked. It likes damp, shady places with something to climb on, and will care for itself once established.

Herbs – I’ve mentioned a few, and though they are more commonly recognized for their culinary properties, herbs also provide medicine, pest control, aromatherapy, dyes, art projects, and more. Why not plant some herbs among garden plants to confuse their pests?

Horseradish – When planted in an area outside of the garden where its invasive-ness can be controlled, horseradish pretty much takes care of itself. Its bold, bold flavor commands respect unsuitable for the fainthearted.

Husk Cherry – These sweet, pineapple-flavored, cherry tomato-resembling fruits are encased in a husk and are ready to eat when they fall from their plant. Oftentimes they will self-sow, to my delight.

Well, looks like we only made it to “H” this time on our whimsical stroll through our seed catalogs. No worries, we’ll look at a bunch more next time. Until then, stay tuned and let me know your thoughts.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: A Quick Brush-Up On Children’s Dental Health

Getting kids into good dental habits early is a wise idea and easier than many parents realize.

(NAPS)—For most parents, happiness is seeing a smile on their child’s face—right from that first gummy grin. Instilling good dental hygiene habits early can help protect your child’s precious smile.

Your dentist can help. Most dental plans cover children, starting at birth. And since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, now is a great time to brush up on the topic. Here are some hints that can help:

Baby Their Baby Teeth

Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, they still matter. Decay and other problems can set the stage for dental problems in adult teeth.

To help prevent decay in baby teeth, never put baby to bed with a bottle. Milk and juice break down into sugars, which can pool around their teeth and cause cavities.

Even before the first tooth pops up, get in the habit of gently wiping baby’s gums with a clean, moist cloth after feedings and before bedtime, to prevent bacteria from growing.

Concerned about pacifiers and thumb-sucking? Both can contribute to an overbite. The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children stop all sucking habits by 36 months or younger. But pacifiers put less pressure on the teeth than thumb-sucking, and they’re an easier habit to break.

Year 1: First Toothbrush, First Dentist Visit

When that first tooth pops up, it’s time for baby’s first, soft-bristled toothbrush. Also, per the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, brush gently with plain water or just a drop of toothpaste with fluoride—no bigger than a rice kernel. Be sure to schedule your child’s first dental appointment soon after their first birthday, too. Early visits can help them become comfortable with your dentist and reduce anxiety down the road.

If your child is especially fearful or has special physical or developmental needs, consider a pediatric dentist. They have years of specialized training in child psychology and development.

Age 3 And Up: Make Brushing Fun

By age 3, kids can begin using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride. Make brushing and flossing a fun daily experience: once in the morning and once at night. Remember that it’s difficult for little hands to use a toothbrush correctly—and at a 45-degree angle. They’ll need your help for quite a while.

Try setting a timer for two-minute brushing sessions. You can brush together, have a special brushing song, and treat your kids to a colorful character toothbrush. With a little creativity (and much patience), brushing can be a positive, feel-good experience.

A “Silver Lining” For Cavities

A cavity or tooth decay can result when tooth enamel breaks down. Although most cavities are preventable, tooth decay is the most common childhood disease of children aged 6 to 19.

The good news? Dentists now have a painless way to deal with cavities. “An application of silver diamine fluoride can effectively slow or stop the tooth decay process in its tracks,” says Dr. Gregory Theis, Director, Dental Services, Delta Dental of Wisconsin.

Applying the antimicrobial liquid is quick and easy. And, because it can prevent the loss of a tooth, many dental plans cover two applications per year.

Teens’ Teeth Need TLC, Too

Teenagers are known for their big appetites and busy schedules. They often grab whatever food comes their way—including sticky sweets that tug on braces, and sodas or sports drinks that can erode enamel.

Do your best to offer healthier meal and snack options at home—and don’t let your teen skip dental or orthodontic appointments. If you’re weary of reminding your teens to wear their elastics or to stop chomping on ice and sticky sweets, give your dentist or orthodontist a heads up—and let them help reinforce healthy choices at the next appointment.

MONEY SAVINGS for MAINERS: A few cost saving ideas in today’s economy

by Shell Rowe

There are many of us in today’s economy that are thriving. That said, however, there are also many in our communities that struggle to make ends meet and put food on the table. That includes tons of financially challenged parents as well as single folks who simultaneously are also health and environmentally conscious. Here’s a few cost saving ideas I personally have utilized over the years.

Food Purchasing & Cooking: Organic or naturally grown consumption is optimal, for those on a tightly fixed budget, the next best route at least temporarily, is to purchase healthy foods at the least possible price.

Dry Beans: Though canned beans are so convenient for time strapped folks, dry beans are consistently cheaper than their canned counterpart. Pinto beans in the largest sized bags (at Walmart) & bags of lentils at (The Dollar Tree) are the lowest prices I have recently found.

Make Substitutions: If a recipe calls for a particular spice; say for example, oregano, for a spaghetti sauce, if you are out, just improvise. If you have, for example, other Italian type seasonings such as basil or parsley just use that. It may turn out a slightly different, but just as tasty and modifying makes each meal a bit of a surprise.

Garden Sharing: For those without the space to grow a garden on privately owned land, in many locals there are community/-shared gardens. In my local and nearby town gardens, there are typically empty plots. Your local town hall or community Parks and Recreation often manage them or will have contact info on who does.

Wild edibles: While this one is unconventional in today’s society, Maine has lots of plant-based food free for foragers. Of course its vital to ascertain what is safe to consume. There are learning resources on this subject such as books that can be rented for free through the interlibrary loan from your local library.

Multi generational households:

In this modern society, for a variety of factors, there is a stigma surrounding adult family members living together and combining resources. Ironically, it actually is not financially prudent for gainfully employed or college enrolled family members to live in separate households.

Responsibilities & Resource Sharing: Though my housemates and I do not work as professional gardeners, and have separate full time jobs, we do work together within family real estate business on the side, we all employ teamwork to provide sustenance and livelihood for the three of us.

With the exception of our seed order, which, we all monetarily chip in with voluntarily, as much as each can personally afford, we do not require that a specific percentage of money from each household member to go towards food expenses. Each of us contributes by purchasing up what we collectively need and that averages its self out. In other households, a more rigid system such as chore and bill payments assigned to individual members may be required.

Free Resources:

Seed swaps: For the past few years, I have gone to the yearly MOFGA seed Swap and Scion Exchange. It an event in which people donate seeds and scion wood (a tree shoot or twig) in turn exchange them for seeds they would like to grow and scion wood they would like to graft onto trees. Don’t worry if you have no seeds to trade. Many such as The MOFGA swap allows for seed swappers to bring in baked goods etc in exchange for seeds. To find a seed swap in your area, your nearest Cooperative Extension may have a listing on Reddit-seedswap.

Freebies: The internet has loads of swap and give away groups and listings. Freecycle is one such free for the taking listing site with groups throughout Maine in which no money exchanges hands: Freecycle-Maine.

Free Stuff in Maine is a public Facebook group with lots of free item listings. Type in free in the search bar on classified ad websites such as Craigslist-Maine and Uncle Henry’s regularly to search for needed items.

GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: Embrace change; grow your business

Growing your businessby Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

“I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” – Lily Tomlin

Oh, that dreaded word “CHANGE.” I have seen companies go out of business, rather than change. I have seen people suffer from all kinds of physical ailments, rather than change. I have seen companies fail because they don’t want to change.

People, by natural instinct hate change. They hate anything that takes them out of their comfort zone. They would rather stay in a deplorable situation, than make a change. It’s that proverbial frog in the water syndrome. Which isn’t at all true by the way. The fact is that even a frog will be smart enough to jump out of the water when it gets too hot!

In our own times, look at the people who have made fortunes by taking advantage of the changing social media platforms, as opposed to those who sat back and called Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook…passing fads.

Here from a neat little book titled: Change is Good…You Go First: 21 ways to inspire change, by Mac Anderson and Tom Feltenstein are six ways that you can inspire change in your own organization:

  • Change what needs changing – not what’s easy: Sometimes people will see easy things to change. That low hanging fruit. That’s a fine way to get started, but though the easy stuff can get you started, but in the end the real change that has to be done can be painful. Don’t be scared of it
  • Forget to success: Remember the 50 reasons why it won’t work? Forget everything you tried in the past. So many times, when change is introduced, members of your team will wrack their brains trying to find the few reasons why it might not work. What just might go wrong. Don’t let them do that. Think of the good change can do.
  • You’ve got to believe: You have to get the entire team to believe that change is the right thing to do, and that the changes you want to make are the right ones. It’s an all hands on deck situation. Everyone has to buy into it.
  • Remove barriers: The company leader’s main job is to remove all the barriers to change. Make sure the team’s path to change is as clear as possible and you’re the one who has to do the clearing.
  • Communicate/ simplify the message: “Peace and Bread,” the Russian revolution was started by the use of these two simple words. The people were hungry, and they were tired of war. So, when the Bolsheviks showed up and promised them, “Peace and Bread,” they converted the populace and the rest is history. In the end it’s all about simple communications.
  • Celebrate your successes: People love success. People love recognition. Start with small success and then build from them. Recognize those who are doing a good job not only adapting to but actually driving change. The more you recognize them for their achievements the more they will become your best “change mongers.”

And the more change mongers you have, the more everyone on your team is ready to embrace change, the more your business will grow.

Dan Beaulieu has owned his own business consulting firm since 1995, during that time he has helped hundreds of companies all over the world with their sales growth challenges and issues. Originally from Maine he returned a few years ago and is ready and willing to help his fellow Mainers start and grow their business. He can be reached at 207-649-0879 or at danbbeaulieu@aol.com.

SOLON & BEYOND: Second quarter honors at Solon Elementary

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

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

The Second Quarter Honor Roll at Solon Elementary School is as follows: All A’s, Katelyn DeLeonardis, Kaitlin Dellarma, David Dixon, Lydia Dixon, Lane Frost, Charlotte Hamilton, and Jillian Robinson.

All A’s & B’s Isabella Atwood, Maxx Caplin, Amelia Cooper, Veronica Hoffman, Allyssa Hutchins, Alex Jerkins, Joseph McLaughlin, Riley Pelkey, Hunter Pouliot, Aiden Powell, Ben Powell, Spencer Rogers, and Haylee Towers.

The first snow day of the year, November 12 caught them all by surprise. They weren’t ready for the annual “Guess the First Snow Day” contest. So they decided to hold a “Guess the Second Snow Day” contest! The winners, who came the closest to choosing January 16 as the second snow day, were preschooler Maelah Wellman and fourth grader Isabella Atwood.

Preschool Applications Available: If you have a child who will be four years old by October 15, 2020, stop by to pick up an application for the preschool program for the 2020-21 school year. Please call the school at 643-2491 for more information about this program.

Again this year, Solon Elementary School scheduled some fun activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day. They held their annual Secret Cupid activity in which each decorated a heart with some kind words for another person in the school. The hearts are displayed on the bulletin board in the lobby. The annual Heart’s game was played on February 13. Students also exchanged Valentine cards with their classmates and friends.

Superintendent Teaches First Grade: On January 28, the first graders had a very special substitute teacher. Superintendent Mike Tracy spent the day teaching reading, math, and all the other parts of the first grade curriculum at the Solon Elementary School.

Why did Mr. Tracy teach first grade? Well, he is teaching a five-part series of after-school workshops on working with children who are affected by trauma for district staff members. At each workshop, he does a drawing from the names of the staff members in attendance. The person whose name gets chosen gets a day when Mr. Tracy will fill in for him/her on his/her job. Mr. Tracy worked in the CCS kitchen in December after he picked the name of one of the cooks there. In January, Mrs. Campbell’s name was chosen so that’s why Mr. Tracy came to Solon to teach first grade. In February he will be teaching Special Education at the Garret Schenck School, in North Anson.

The first graders enjoyed working with their special teacher for a day!

Grades 3-5 students are getting ready to take the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA), which will start the week of March 16 and go until April 10. Students in all three grades will take tests in reading / ELA and math. After April vacation, the fifth graders will take a test, in science. Please encourage your child to do his/her very best on this important test, which helps the school to assess each child’s achievement level as well as the progress of the school.

Ms. Rich organized an activity for students to complete a calendar of healthy alternatives to screen time that they engaged in during the Christmas break. Each student received a certificate and a water bottle.

Students completing this challenge were Katelyn DeLeonardis, Derek Dixon, David Dixon, Emma Pooler, Hunter Ingersoll, Olive MacDonald, Jayden McKenny, Sophie Duquette, Lane Frost, Kyliee McNear, and Nevaeh Beaulieu.

Students will have a chance to take the 5-2-1-0 vacation challenge again during the February vacation week.

And now for Percy’s memoir entitled, The Wind’s Not Always at Our Back: The wind’s not always at our back; the sky’s not always blue. Sometimes we crave the things we lack and don’t know what to do. Sometimes life’s an up hill ride with mountains we must climb. At times the river ‘s deep and wide and crossing takes some time. No one said that life is easy — there are no guarantees, so trust the Lord continually on calm or stormy seas. The challenges we face today prepare us for tomorrow, for faith takes our fears away and peace replaces sorrow. (words by Clay Harrison)

And now a few words of wisdom from my little book: “If you Always tell the Truth you Never Have To Remember What you Said.” Now isn’t that good advice?

SCORES & OUTDOORS: House finches were not always part of our landscape

Male house finch

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

While I sit here at my computer, trying to figure out what to write about this week, I am watching several house finches at my feeders – (light bulb comes on over my head).

Oh, why not do an article about house finches?

The house finch, Haemorhous mexicanus, is a bird in the finch family. It is native to western North America, but has been introduced to the eastern half of the continent and Hawaii.

This is a moderately-sized finch. Adult birds are 5 – 6 inches and span 8 – 9 inches, with an average weight of .75 ounces.

Adults have a long, square-tipped brown tail and are a brown or dull-brown color across the back with some shading into deep gray on the wing feathers. Breast and belly feathers may be streaked; the flanks usually are. In most cases, adult males’ heads, necks and shoulders are reddish. This color sometimes extends to the belly and down the back, between the wings. Male coloration varies in intensity with the seasons and comes from the berries and fruits in its diet. As a result, the colors range from pale straw-yellow through bright orange (both rare) to deep, intense red. Adult females have brown upper-parts and streaked underparts.

I always wonder why they hang around all winter. They sometimes visit the feeders during heavy rain, snow, ice, etc. Why don’t they go south?

But, these birds are mainly permanent residents throughout their range; some northern and eastern birds migrate south. Their breeding habitat is urban and suburban areas across North America, as well as various semi-open areas in the west from southern Canada to the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Originally only a resident of Mexico and the southwestern United States, they were introduced to eastern North America in the 1940s. The birds were sold illegally in New York City as “Hollywood Finches,” a marketing ploy. To avoid prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, vendors and owners released the birds. They have since become naturalized; in largely unforested land across the eastern U.S., they have displaced the native purple finch and even the non-native house sparrow. In 1870, or before, they were introduced to Hawaii and are now abundant on all its major islands.

There are estimated to be anywhere from 267 million to 1.7 billion individuals across North America, and is of least concern to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Yellow birds at a sock feeder.

House finches forage on the ground or in vegetation normally. They primarily eat grains, seeds and berries, being voracious consumers of weed seeds such as nettle and dandelion; included are incidental small insects such as aphids. They are frequent visitors to bird feeders throughout the year, particularly if stocked with sunflower or nyjer seed, and will congregate at hanging nyjer sock feeders. The house finch is known to damage orchard fruit and consume commercially-grown grain but is generally not considered a significant pest, but rather an annoyance.

Nests are made in cavities, including openings in buildings, hanging plants, and other cup-shaped outdoor decorations. Sometimes nests abandoned by other birds are used. Nests may be re-used for subsequent broods or in following years. The nest is built by the female, sometimes in as little as two days. It is well made of twigs and debris, forming a cup shape.

During courtship, the male will touch bills with the female. He may then present the female with choice bits of food, and if she mimics the behavior of a hungry chick, he may actually feed her. The male also feeds the female during breeding and incubation of the eggs, and raising of the young. The male is the primary feeder of the fledglings. Females are typically attracted to the males with the deepest pigment of red to their head, more so than the occasional orange or yellowish-headed males that sometimes occur.

The female lays clutches of eggs from February through August, two or more broods per year with two to six eggs per brood, most commonly four or five. The eggs are a pale bluish green with few black spots and a smooth, somewhat glossy surface.

In response to mite infestation, which has a more harmful effect on male chicks than on females, the mother finch may lay eggs containing females first, in order to reduce the length of time male chicks are exposed to mites. This strategy increases the likelihood that representative numbers of both sexes will survive. Shortly after hatching, she removes the empty eggshells from the nest. The female always feeds the young, and the male usually joins in. The young are silent for the first seven or eight days, and subsequently start peeping during feedings. Dandelion seeds are among the preferred seeds fed to the young.

House finches are aggressive enough to drive other birds away from places such as feeders.

The house finch may be infected by a number of parasites which caused the population of house finches in eastern North America to crash during the 1990s. The mite Pellonyssus reedi is often found on house finch nestlings, particularly for nests later in the season.

The brown-headed cowbird, a brood parasite, will lay its eggs in house finch nests, although the diet house finches feed their young is inadequate for the young cowbirds, which rarely survive.

There are many house finches that come to our feeders, and watching them makes you aware of the built-in protections they have against adverse weather conditions. They also make sure they are the only ones on the feeders at the time. I’ve seen some male finches “stand guard” while others, including the females, feed.

Remarkable creatures of nature, to say the least.

Roland’s trivia question of the day:

What MLB pitcher threw the only no-hit game in World Series history?

Answer can be found here.

INside the OUTside: Maine offers Adaptive Programs

Dan Cassidyby Dan Cassidy

Adaptive programs are being offered at Sunday River, in Bethel, Sugarloaf, in Carrabssett Valley, and other ski mountains in Maine.

Also included are Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, competitive Alpine racing and programs for visually impaired skiing for snow sports athletes.

There are also cycling trails in the foothills of Maine where veterans can find winter retreats with clinics and specialty camps are available throughout the state. These and other programs are offered at Sunday River, Sugarloaf and Pineland Farms.

For more information, check out Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation at the following 8 Sundance Lane, Newry, ME 04261-3228, (207) 824-2440, or log into: www.maineadaptie.org or email info@maineadapive.org.

Other Adaptive programs include Horizons that is your Adaptive Gateway to the Outdoors. The program offers three recreation activities through the Horizons programs, ski, climb and sail.

AEOC provides recreation and education programs at Sugarloaf Mountain or sea cliff climbing in Acadia, offering outdoor adventures year around to all people with disabilities. The Lodge is a fully accessible facility that sleeps up to 25 people. The Lodge includes a full kitchen, laundry room, dining area and living nook. There is also a yurt located on the property that is available for meetings, classes, art and crafts.

Ski and ride safely. Use your head and don’t forget to wear a helmet.

Dan Cassidy, of Winslow, is an experienced skier who has skied throughout the country and the world.

OPINIONS – Question 1: No vote will protect our children and everyone’s health

Community Commentary is a forum The Town Line makes available for citizens to express their opinions on subjects of interest to our readers, and is not necessarily the views of the staff nor the board of directors. The Town Line welcomes, and encourages, supportive comments, differing opinions, counterpoints or opposing views. Keep the rebuttals positive, and informative. Submissions containing personal attacks will be rejected. Email any submissions to townline@townline.org, subject “Community Commentary.”

by Tom Waddell

Question 1 on the March 3, 2020 Maine primaries ballot reads – “Do you want to reject the new law that removes religious and philosophical exemptions to requiring immunization against certain communicable diseases for students to attend schools and colleges and for employees of nursery schools and health care facilities?”

A yes vote allows religious and philosophical exemptions from vaccinations. A no vote only allows medical exemptions.

Independents can vote on referendum questions. Don’t let a poll worker deny you your right to vote on Question 1.

Cara Sacks, co-chairman of Yes on 1 Maine to Reject Big Pharma – formally Mainers for Health and Parental Rights – opposes the current law, claiming it violates religious freedom. Almost 30 years ago the Supreme Court ruled against the religious privilege argument. The Court wrote the government must protect people from actions taken for religious reasons if that action endangers another’s health. Granting religious exemptions endangers others and provides some people with religious privilege. We can only protect religious freedom for everyone if no one has religious privilege.

The Yes on Question 1 road signs include No to Big Pharma to gain support against a perceived common enemy. Most people revile Big Pharma’s obscene profits and assume a yes vote will lower drug prices, but it won’t. What it will do is increase the risk of children catching a deadly and preventable disease.

Measles is highly contagious because the virus can remain in the air for two hours after an infected person, often without symptoms, leaves the area. Most unvaccinated people who walk into that area will get the measles virus. Caitlin Gilmet, a spokesman for Maine Families for Vaccines, a group that supports the current law, said: “Vaccines are one of the most effective ways that parents can protect their children and help them lead a healthy life. Improving Maine’s immunization rates helps to protect the entire community from preventable diseases.” Maine’s current law joins a growing number of other states that have eliminated non-medical vaccine exemptions to protect their citizens from preventable diseases.

Dr. Laura Blaisdell, co-chairman of Maine Families for Vaccines, reports they just started airing TV ads to expose the dangers of voting yes on 1. She said, “The message is very simple: We have to protect our kids, and schools need to be a safe place for our kids. Every major medical organization in Maine supports the law (and) removal of non-medical exemptions for vaccines protects community health, prevents infectious disease outbreaks, and protects people with impaired immune systems.” Earlier, Dr. Blaisdell said, “Ultimately, it’s about the health of children, the health of schools, and the health of our community” and “If we continue on our current (vaccine opt-out) track, it’s not a matter of if we get an outbreak, it’s a matter of when.”

The Maine CDC reports: “Among kindergartners, the state’s vaccination-exemption rate (is) 6.2 percent, the highest level in 10 years, and is above the national level” and “Forty-three elementary schools (have) 15 percent or higher rates of unvaccinated kindergarten students, putting those schools and the surrounding community at greater risk for the return of preventable diseases such as measles, chickenpox, and pertussis.”

Dr. Meghan May, a University of New England PhD pathologist, said despite decades of scientific research showing vaccines are effective and safe, there is a significant anti-vaccination movement in Maine. Consequently, Maine’s pertussis (whooping cough) infection rate is more than eight times higher than the national average. Refusing to vaccinate children allows the pertussis virus to spread and mutate more rapidly, making current vaccines less effective. Pertussis has a 40 percent mortality rate in infants who are unvaccinated and untreated.

Cara Sacks rejected this scientific evidence when she said: “While we don’t know that all (vaccines) are 100 percent safe for 100 percent of people every time, you can’t mandate a product that has known risks and liability associated with it.”

However, according to the CDC, the “known risks and liability associated with” unvaccinated children contracting measles are: “Ten percent of children will have an ear infection, five percent will come down with pneumonia, and 0.2 percent will die of organ failure or brain swelling.” Are these “known risks and liabilities associated with” not vaccinating children an acceptable risk for your child, especially when another parent puts your child at greater risk of catching the measles by not vaccinating their child?

I urge you to protect everyone’s health and religious freedom by voting NO on Question 1 on March 3, 2020.

Tom Waddell is a resident of Litchfield and is the president of the Maine chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. He can be reached at president@ffrfmaine.org.