The Town Line Valentine’s Day Greetings!

Eunice Farnsworth-Ruth Heald Cragin Chapter DAR

The DAR is a nonprofit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism. Our motto is: “God, Home & Country.” We have 3,000 chapters in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. , and in several countries. Over one million women have joined the DAR since it was founded.

To become a member you must be 18 years or older, regardless of race, or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. We offer assistance with joining.

Some of the interesting things we do are:

We discuss women’s issues, health tips, recycling, conservation, patriotism, growing gardens, pollination, etc., maintain the World War I Memorial Sundial Garden at Coburn Park, in Skowhegan, donate to a local animal shelter, donate clothing to schools so that if a young child has an accident while at school they have a change of clothing available, donate comfort items such as toothpaste, tooth brushes, soaps, lotions, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, etc. for the veterans at the VA Hospital (Togus), and we donate annually for newspapers there.

Visit our website:

Empty Bowls Fundraiser at Messalonskee High School

Empty Bowls has been a fundraiser at Messalonskee High School for the past several years. The purpose of this project is to raise money for local food pantries. It’s also about raising awareness about some of our community members who are struggling to provide food for their families.

Students and faculty members of Messalonskee High School, under the direction of ceramics teacher Sherrie Damon, have been crafting ceramic bowls to be sold as part of the dinner. The menu for the evening consists of homemade soups, salads, breads and desserts. The pottery bowls will be on display for diners to choose and take home with them as a reminder of the event and what it represents.

This year’s Empty Bowls Dinner will be on Friday, March 6, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the high school cafeteria.

Cost is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. This year we will have a silent auction for people to bid on.

Diners can complete the evening by attending The Tempest, performed by the Messalonskee High School Players. Tickets for the play may be purchased at the door.

For more information contact Susan Perrino at 465-9135 or email Sherrie Damon at

Annual Polar Bear Dip held during Maine Pond Hockey Classic

Colby football players Travon Bradford and DJ O’Donnell, make their plunge. (photo by Missy Brown,
Central Maine Photography staff)

by Mark Huard

The 27th Annual Polar Bear Dip took place on Sunday February 9 at the Snow Pond Center for the Arts in Sidney.

The event helped raise $23,500 and had 114 dippers, Colby College Sports brought 68 dippers and raised over $4,000 by itself! 92 Moose’s Cooper Fox was live streaming throughout, and between the all weekend Pond Hockey Classic and the Dip, over $55k was raised. The event would not be successful without the hard work and support of site sponsor Snow Pond Center for the Arts and lead Dip Sponsors, Hannaford, Maine­General, and Nicholson, Michaud & Co.

Colby men’s hockey team. (photo by Central Maine Photography)

The Silver Street Tavern team won most money earned for the fifth year in a row with $7,400, led by team captain and highest raising individual with $3,900, Tony Tuell.

The Colby men’s hockey entry in the tournament included, front, from left to right, Reed Spear, Chase Lawler and Max Poulin, all CMYHA Mites. Back, Paddy Daley, Sean Holly and Mark Leprine. (photo by Sarah Fredette,
Central Maine Photography staff)

The challenge between Alfond Youth & Community Center CEO Ken Walsh and incoming board chairman Amy Bernatchez, ended in a tie of $2,400 each, thanks to a last minute pledge to do just that; however, Amy pulled out a secret $500 donation from Golden Pond Wealth Management to best Ken, who went into the sink, ‘70s wig, glitter jumpsuit and all. Then, as a show of solidarity and just to prove she could, Amy jumped in, too.

Best costumes included the AYCC Wellness team’s ‘80s workout theme, the afterschool program’s pink T’s decorated by Club kids, and the KVYMCA cape donned Super Hero Dippers, with honorable mentions to Colby football teams’ banana and football-shaped entries.

With over a dozen belly flops, an impressive Timber! Fall and too many cannonballs to count, Best Dips went to American Heritage Tour Director Kurt Mathies for most water displaced, Silver Street/Charlie’s Mules Tony Tuell for staying in the water while his team of ten jumped in individually, and the entire Colby men’s soccer team for twirls and flips that impressed us all.

Top prizes included a four-person portable hot tub (won by Tony) donated by Lowe’s and gift cards donated by Marden’s, Portland Pie, Amici’s Cucina, The Proper Pig, and Silver Street Tavern – each accompanied by its very own mini-Oscar.

And once again, thank you, Delta Ambulance for being on hand and not being needed (phew).

All money raised directly fund the Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA of Greater Waterville’s Kid’s Kitchen, which serves more than 85,000 free, hot, nutritious meals and snacks annually to an average of 200 at risk children daily. Over 65 percent of these children say this is their last meal of the day. In addition, every weekend 125 families receive a meal supplement backpack through the center’s Weekend Meals Backpack program. Every $5 donation fills a backpack for a family of three for the weekend, according to a news release from the club.

AYCC Childcare leadership team, Chrissy Johnson, Bobbi Pelletier and DJ Adams, take the dip. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography staff)

China Middle Schoolers tour Kennebec Technologies

Submitted by Ryan Sweeney

On January 14, China Middle School JMG had the opportunity to tour Kennebec Technologies, in Augusta. Eighth graders walked the shop floor with Shawn Arbour, director, sales and marketing, and Harvey Smith, director of quality, learning about the variety of machinery and jobs. Students then had an in-depth question/answer session with Shawn and Virginia Fletcher, human resources manager. Shawn and Virginia emphasized the importance of soft skills like work ethic, teamwork and cooperation. Student Sydney Laird commented that hearing Shawn and Virginia emphasize that you don’t need to be the smartest person to be successful. Instead, working hard and being committed are most important in terms of success. I feel like I always try to work hard, which gives me confidence that my effort it will pay off.”

Kennebec Technologies prides itself on a safe and professional workplace. Shawn Arbour added, “I think it’s a valuable experience for both the students and Kennebec Technologies. Kennebec gets to explain and show off to the next generation what we do every day and how it applies to the world we live in. The students get to see what’s out there in the real world and get exposure to a manufacturing environment first hand. It also gives them the opportunity to ask us questions about the work place that we don’t always see from our perspective.” It was a valuable opportunity for all involved.

Ryan Sweeney is JMG Specialist at China Middle School.

China Boy Scouts hold Sunday Service at China Baptist Church

Photo courtesy of Ron Morrell

February 9 was Boy Scout Sunday at China Baptist Church. Troop #479 is sponsored by and meets weekly in the church vestry fellowship hall. Each year they participate in a Sunday service honoring and celebrating the Boy Scout program. This year was especially moving as the whole troop joined the church choir to sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The scouts led each part of the service that culminated with one of the scouts having a conversation with “God” for the message. The scouts also served the coffee hour fellowship following the service. Ron Emery works with the scouts and the pastor to plan the service. Thank you to Scott and Priscilla Adams for their many years of service to the church, community, and the troop.

Dr. David Austin talks about Doctors Without Borders in African countries

Dr. David Austin

by Mary Grow

In a Feb. 5 talk at the Albion Public Library, Dr. David Austin described some of his experiences as a physician in three African countries in 2010 and 2011. He read from his book, Therese’s Dream, a collection of emails he sent to Dr. Paul Forman at the Lovejoy Health Center, and answered audience questions

Under the auspices of Doctors Without Borders (DWB), also known by its French name, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Austin worked in Darfur, a region in western Sudan; in Ngila, a village in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and in Djibouti Ville, capital of Djibouti. Sudan is the northernmost of the three countries, on Egypt’s southern border. The DRC is a large country in central Africa; Djibouti is a tiny country on the African side of the southern entrance to the Red Sea, the Bab-el-Mandeb strait.

Austin usually worked with three or four other expats and a larger number of local doctors, nurses, midwives and other personnel. A typical DWB team would include a doctor, nurses, a logistician (the person responsible for supplies of all sorts, like making sure drinkable water was available) and sometimes a psychologist or social worker. The Therese in his book’s title was a local social worker in the DRC.

DWB did not provide cooks, so a good local cook was always welcome, Austin said.

Most of Austin’s patients were infants and children. His emails describe severe malnutrition and a variety of diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis (Djibouti has the world’s highest rate of childhood tuberculosis, he said). Many of the children he wrote about died, in spite of his and his colleagues’ efforts.

He tells the story of driving a family to their home after a child died, something commonly done. The family lived in a slum he left undescribed. While they were there, neighbors asked if they would drive a young woman with appendicitis back to the hospital. Had they not happened to come, Austin said, the woman would have had an hour’s walk to get help.

Despite the deaths, Austin enjoyed his work and the people he worked with. His emails often mention the high spirits, hopefulness and resilience of local people.

The idea of DWB began with people Austin described as “A few crazy Frenchmen who smuggled themselves into Biafra.”

In 1968 the province of Biafra seceded from Nigeria. According to DWB’s website, the International Committee of the Red Cross was asked to help victims of the ensuing civil war, and doctors Max Recamier and Bernard Kouchner led a six-person team. The website explains that seeing results of the Nigerian government attacking and starving the Biafran rebels led the doctors and their followers to publicize what they considered governmental atrocities.

Their reaction spread, and in December 1971 Doctors Without Borders was founded, with 300 volunteer members.

Its website calls DWB an independent, neutral organization that provides medical aid where it’s most needed and speaks out against injustice. It currently operates in more than 70 countries. DWB needs governmental approval to send in personnel, Austin said.

Austin worked with local people and volunteers from all over the world – Americans and Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, Europeans. Asked about becoming a DWB volunteer, he commented that in his opinion it’s “harder than it should be” to get accepted. However, he commended the program, especially its very effective polio and measles vaccination initiatives.

Currently Austin is back on the staff at Lovejoy Health Center, where he worked from 1993 to 2008, with brief stints in Haiti that sparked his interest in third-world countries.

Addition, renovations completed at China Middle School

The new expansion of the gymnasium accommodates a new stage, instrumental music practice room, new gym floor, and movable bleachers to accommodate more seating for concert, basketball games and other events. Also included in the renovations were two music offices, storage area for lunch tables, new locker rooms, two new bathrooms, new shower area, a new sound system and a newly-shingled gymnasium roof.

The new floor in the gymnasium. (photo by Sandra Isaac)

The new stage with movable bleachers. (photo by Sandra Isaac)

The new instrumental music practice room. (photo by Sandra Isaac)

Meaghan Murphy, dean of students for China Middle School, Lois Bowden, China Middle School principal, and Carl Gartley, Superintendent of RSU #18, stand against the wall in the new gym. (photo by Sandra Isaac.)

Williams Elementary School honors first responders

Williams Elementary School students displaying their support for first responders during the school’s Hearts for Heroes program. (contributed photo)

Hearts for Heroes program presented by students

by Mandi Favreau

On January 24, Williams Elementary School, in Oakland, celebrated local first responders with a special Hearts for Heroes event.

The entire school came together in a community assembly to show their gratitude and appreciation for local responders and all they do to keep us safe. Members of the Oakland Police Department, Oakland Fire Department, Belgrade Fire Department, Rome Fire Department, Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department, and Delta Ambulance were welcomed into WES through an elaborate balloon archway.

Some of the students with first responders who attended the event. (contributed photo)

“This event was wonderful,” said school board member Laura Tracy. “From the moment we walked in the door, we could feel the excitement and enthusiasm from the kids as well as the adults. I was also pleased to see that our schools are teaching students to be appreciative, respectful and most of all, to honor others for acts of service.”

Each grade had a special role in the ceremony. The fourth-grade students sang songs, specially chosen by music teacher Amy Peterson, to honor these men and women for their service. The three songs were T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U, Gratitude Attitude and We Appreciate you, all by Teresa Jennings.

“Throughout the preparation, the students kept up an energy level that clearly demonstrated their excitement for being able to thank our first responders through music,” said Mrs. Peter­son. “We are so fortunate to have these incredible men and women keeping our community safe, Thank you again to all of our area first responders. We definitely have a “Gratitude Attitude” for you!”

The fifth-grade students read beautiful, heartfelt poems they had written about “What Makes a Hero,” in order to show their appreciation, and the third-grade students gifted each guest with a heart they had made under the guidance of art teacher Ellen Gronlie. The hearts illustrated why first responders hold such a special place in the students’ hearts. All of the presentations were a hit with their special guests.

“I thought it was great,” said Dave Coughlin, a member of the Oakland Fire Department, “The enthusiasm of the kids and the work they put into the event, the poems and songs – it was all very well received by the first responders.”

WES will also mail out scrapbooks they created with copies of the student artwork and poetry for each department to keep and share with colleagues who were not able to attend the event. After the presentations, guests mingled and enjoyed snacks, and students were able to have their pictures taken with their favorite heroes in front of a special photo booth.

Police Chief Mike Tracy was in attendance both as a board member and as the head of the Oakland Police Department. He thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the students and staff. “The Hearts for Heroes event at the Williams School was simply incredible! It was very obvious that everyone put a lot of time and effort into the day’s activities,” said Chief Tracy. “All of the first responders that I spoke with, while at the school and after the event, were touched by the Hearts for Heroes experience! Thank you all so much for everything!”

The Hearts for Heroes event was funded by the RSU #18 Lifestyles Team Gratitude Grant, which is designed to encourage teaching the values of being gracious, thankful, and giving.

2019-’20 Real Estate Tax Due Dates


(Second half)
April 8, 2020


(pay all up front or semi-annually)
Friday, September 27
Friday, March 27, 2020


(pay all up front or quarterly)
Monday, September 23
Monday, November 25
Monday, February 24, 2020
Monday, April 27, 2020


(pay all up front or quarterly)
October 11
December 13
March 13, 2020
June 12, 2020


(pay all up front or)
September 30 or
Half on Sept. 30
and half March 31, 2020