Somerset County: Fallen state trooper remembered

From left to right, retired Maine State Trooper Mark Nickerson, Sen. Paul Davis, Maine State Trooper Seth Allen, Maine State Trooper Tyler Harrington, Maine State Police Lt. Jackie Theriault and Sen. Scott Cyrway. Contributed photo

On Monday, December 11, Senator Paul Davis (R-Piscataquis) and Senator Scott Cyrway (R-Somerset), joined retired Trooper Mark Nickerson, Trooper Seth Allen, Trooper Tyler Harrington and Lieutenant Jackie Theriault at Brown Cemetery in Benton to visit the grave of Trooper Thomas J. Merry, a hero who died in the line of duty in July of 1980, in Palmyra.

Trooper Thomas J. Merry

Senators Davis and Cyrway, both now retired, were law enforcement officers at the time. Senator Cyrway was a classmate of Trooper Merry’s and Senator Davis was one of the first responders on the evening of the incident.

In visiting Merry, both are reminded that, even in a safe place like Maine, law enforcement can be a dangerous line of work, and that officers put their lives on the line every day to protect us, anyways.

Trooper Merry was killed on July 12, 1980, in Palmyra, when struck by a car involved in a high speed chase. Merry had parked his cruiser as part of a roadblock and was attempting to seek safe cover when struck by the fleeing car. He joined the state police in 1977.

WATERVILLE: Kringleville has one of its best years

Brooklyn, 14, second from left, and Nolan, 12, with dad Brian, right, all of Winslow, visited with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Kringleville during the Christmas season. Photos by Central Maine Photography staff

by Mark Huard

Another magical season at Kringleville in the friendly city of Waterville has come to an end. The visitors seemed to be full of visions of Legos and hatchimals dancing in children’s heads, rather than sugar plums of old. The elves were certainly hard at work in the North Pole making toys for all the good little boys and girls. Elves, Cinnamon and Cinnamon Stick were busy at Kringleville in the cabin taking photos of folks who stopped to tell Santa what their Christmas wishes were. Though toys were quite popular, many children and adults visited to ask Santa for gifts for the less fortunate and for loved ones to be healthy. Many only asked that Santa would help make sure that their family had a good Christmas. The spirit of Christmas is truly alive in the hearts of many in the city of Waterville.

“Santa thanks the Children’s Discovery Museum for organizing the event this year, and to all of the volunteers, the elves, and Kringleville neighbors who made this season special.”

The polar bear, the gingerbread house and the train were a big hit. Santa also thanks the local businesses that sponsored Kringleville and who offered hot chocolate and warm mittens to those waiting in line. Your support made a tremendous difference to many. Santa appreciates Mrs. Claus traveling back and forth between the North Pole and Kringleville, so that she could be in Waterville every Sunday to talk with each person waiting to see Santa. While at the North Pole, Mrs. Claus has much cookie making to do for Santa and she oversees the toy making while Santa is at Kringleville. The deer also receive special attention from Mrs. Claus when Santa’s away.

Santa enjoyed spending time with all who visited him at Kringleville this season. Santa loves to share the stories of your visits with Mrs. Claus, and she enjoys sharing with Santa what you tell her while you wait to see him. Santa wants to share with you all, Santa had 1,150 good girls and boys visit him along with family and Kringleville raised $400 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Santa’s very own hand-painted ornaments will be on the Kringelville tree again next year to donate money to children who are not feeling well.

Santa wants everyone to keep in mind that Christmas isn’t something you should celebrate once a year. The spirit of Christmas should live in our hearts year round. So, take Santa’s advice and be good to your brothers and sisters, your friends and neighbors, and all whom you are with until Santa sees you again…That means mom and dad too! Remember, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, which makes a difference for his naughty or nice list. Santa and Mrs. Claus look forward to seeing you all next season when they arrive for the 2018 Parade of Lights. Keep Christmas in your heart!

Shalahn Staten, serving in leadership position of Assumption’s ALANA Network

The Assumption College Office of Student Activities, in Worcester, Massachusetts, has announced that Shalahn Staten, of Clinton, has been elected, and is currently serving, as president of ALANA Network for the 2017-18 academic year.

ALANA Network is one of nearly 60 clubs and organizations available to students allowing them the opportunity to network with professionals; take on leadership roles; and use classroom knowledge in the community. The student-run clubs appeal to a variety of interests and include offerings such as academic clubs (French, Italian, Pre-law, etc.); media (College television station, literary magazine and student newspaper, Le Provocateur); honor societies and many more.

“Student involvement is a cornerstone of an Assumption education,” said Kaitlin Bevins, director of student activities and leadership development at Assumption. “The College offers a wide array of clubs and organizations-cultural, athletic, and academic, among others. Engagement in student groups help students find their niche and utilize their talents, while building confidence, friendships and leadership skills.”

ALANA (African, Latino/Hispanic, Asian and Native American) Network is a student-run group that meets weekly during the academic year in order to plan and promote student and community activities.

WATERVILLE: Care & Comfort workplace cited

Care & Comfort, a leading provider of Home Health and Behavioral Healthcare, was recently recognized as one of Maine’s best employers for workers over the age of 50 for 2017 by the Maine State Workforce Investment Board’s Older Workers Committee.

The Silver Collar Employers Award honors Maine employers whose policies and practices match the needs of mature employees, valuing their skills and experience, strong work ethic, flexibility, and enthusiasm.

The agency which is locally owned and operated was founded in 1991 and employees over 400 people – a significant percentage of whom are over 50. Services for individuals and families are provided in 13 counties thus providing employment opportunities close to home for most workers.

“Care & Comfort is pleased to have employees spanning several generations choosing to work with us, and we are truly honored to be recognized for our commitment to employing those over 50,” said Mike Stair, COO. “Age is never a factor from the time we begin our hiring process, but experience, confidence, vitality, and reliability are.”

According to the Maine Department of Labor, Maine is the oldest state in the nation, with a median age of 44.5 years. “Nearly one-quarter of the state’s labor force is age 55 and over,” remarked Susan D. Giguere C & C’s CEO, and Founder. “As one of those, I know first-hand that most of us enjoy working and we are good at what we do!”

AUGUSTA: Kennebec Historical Society to hear Joey Kelley

Come for a ride through 150 years of history in Waldo County. Chartered in 1867, the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad has survived two world wars, the construction of highways, the collapse of the poultry industry in Waldo County and survives today as a tourist railroad and historic relic of days gone by. This presentation by author and railroad historian Joey Kelley outlines the history of this unique railroad and gives you a summary of his book on the subject – the very first book ever written on the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad.

Joey Kelley

The speaker, Joseph T. “Joey” Kelley, is a railroad historian, photographer and volunteer with the Brooks Preservation Society. He has been involved with the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad on and off since 2004 and was once a paid employee of the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad Preservation Society. His other passions include photography, motorcycles and restoring antique equipment.

The Kennebec Historical Society January Presentation is co-sponsored by the Maine State Library and free to the public (donations gladly accepted) and will take place on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. at the Maine State Library, located at 230 State Street, in Augusta.

With winter settled in, ice fishing success increases

brook trout

by Frank R. Richards

Ice fishing on Webber Pond can be really good, particularly in January and March. I’ve learned a few things over the years and I’d like to pass them on.

Usually, fish are most active just after the ice forms and in March as the snow melts, bringing oxygenated water into the pond. February can be slow.

The yellow lines indicate prime ice fishing spots on Webber Pond right after ice in and in March. Illustration courtesy of Frank Richard

When a lake is frozen, the wind can’t oxygenate the water. By late January, in a relatively shallow, mostly clay bottomed lake like Webber, there is often very little oxygen left in water that is deeper than 15 feet. Without oxygen, fish are not moving around much or feeding aggressively.

They will seek relatively warmer water with higher levels of oxygen. Locations may vary according to differences in individual years. However, generally the optimum seems to be about 8 feet for bass and crappies; about 4 feet for stocked trout.

Either jigging or tip ups will produce fish. I prefer to jig when I am alone. I like tip ups better when I am fishing with friends. Waiting for flags is a great time to socialize.

With tip ups, I think it is easiest to set the bait about 18 inches under the ice. In water as shallow as eight feet, fish will come up to it from where ever they may be located in the water column.

To go with the article, I have prepared a map and drawn yellow lines to indicate good places. Over the years, I have had my best results off Birch Point. However, the area off the Green Valley Campground has also been productive recently.

Stocked trout may be caught in shallow areas all over the lake. However, by far, the best trout hole is the “Two Rocks” area on the northern shore. Also, I have been told that there is a spring near Church Island. If anyone ever gets an exact location, it will be extremely productive because of the highly oxygenated water.

chain pickerel

Please practice catch and release on bass weighing more than three pounds. Large fish play a very important role in promoting the overall health of the total fishery. If the hook is deep, simply cutting the line is far safer for the fish than trying to disgorge a hook that is embedded deep down.

I believe the size of bass taken through ice has increased significantly compared to 20 years ago. I suspect it is because of the additional forage provided by juvenile alewives during the summer.

Crappies have also evolved as a popular fish on Webber, both through the ice and open water. They came down Seaward Mills Stream from Three Mile Pond and then proliferated. They were evidently not illegally introduced by a self-appointed bucket biologist. They did not come up the fish ladder from Seven Mile Stream.

Crappie are an excellent eating fish and so prolific that there is no reason to practice catch and release. Also, there is no reason to practice catch and release on stocked trout. If the bass don’t eat them, they will die as the water warms up during the summer. White perch, yellow perch, and pickerel are also frequently caught on Webber; and are good to eat.

Good fishing. And enjoy the winter.

Frank Rich­ards is president of the Webber Pond Asso­ciation.

largemouth bass

brown trout

Guitar concert benefit foundation

Colby Charette, Cassidy’s brother, performed at the fundraiser. Contributed photo

The 16th Annual Warming Up for Christmas benefit Guitar Concert honoring Cassidy Charette brought more than 600 people to the Williamson Auditorium, in Fairfield, on December 2 and raised over $12,300 for the ShineOnCass Foundation. Orchestrated by Steve Fotter, a local musician and guitar instructor from Benton, and his wife Linda, the three-hour concert featured 80 of his students and local talent performing rock, blues, jazz and folk Christmas music. Fotter said it was the largest fundraiser in his concert’s history, which in total has raised well over $100,000 for local charitable organizations.

Fotter said, “We have tremendous talent here and the concert has become a special tradition to start the holiday season. We continue to be grateful and humbled by the people who support us.”

Cassidy Charette was killed October 11, 2014, as the result of a tragic hayride accident. Cassidy was a Messalonskee High School top scholar and athlete, and a life-long community volunteer and youth advocate. In the past three years, her friends, family and the greater Oakland community have started multiple programs and services to honor her. This is the second year the concert has benefitted the ShineOnCass Foundation, which was created by the Charette family to educate, inspire and empower youth to continue Cassidy’s passion for caring for others through volunteer charitable activities.

As part of the benefit concert, the ShineOnCass Foundation organized a collection of gifts for the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers’ Christmas Program, which provides boxes filled with warm clothing and toys for 1,700 less-fortunate children in Maine. Over 200 hundred gifts, including books, pajamas, hats, mittens and toys were collected at the concert and by Messalonskee High School students, who delivered them to the program’s headquarters in Waterville. The Foundation will also gift proceeds from the concert to help purchase items needed to fill all the boxes before Christmas.

“This is how we Shine Cassidy’s Light, by giving back to our community,” said Monica Charette, Cassidy’s mother. “We know of no better way to honor Cass than to continue to support things that she was passionate about—especially programs that involve helping children.”

King named to NEWMAC All Sportsmanship team

Abby King, of Fairfield, a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Worcester, Massachusetts, was one of seven fall WPI student-athletes to earn a spot on their respective sports All-Sportsmanship team. King was a field hockey selection. Now in its second year, the NEWMAC All-Sportsmanship team is intended to recognize one student-athlete from each team.

Save the Mill fundraiser reaches preliminary goal

The Olde Mill Place in North Vassalboro

More needs to be done to achieve $250,000 estimate for repairs to the roof damaged in October storm

Vassalboro’s “SAVE THE MILL” Campaign and Ray Breton thank all of who were involved in hard work and donations towards repair of the roof of the Olde Mill in downtown North Vassalboro! The $7,000 mark has been reached, and they still have a long way to go!

As many of you know, The Olde Mill, in downtown North Vassalboro, sustained significant roof damage as a result of the storm of October 28 – 29, 2017. The estimate for repairs is $250,000.

The mill is owned by Raymond J. Breton. Ray shares the mill with the town.

Vassalboro Days events are held there. Halloween at the Olde Mill is an annual event.

The Community Christmas Tree and lighting ceremony are held there.

The mill houses 2,000 rubber ducks and then hosts the Double Dam Ducky Derby.

The mill serves as storage for the 100 flags that fly along Maine Street each summer.

The Vassalboro Fishing Derby is held there, as are many of theVassalboro Business Association’s Scholarship Fundraisers.
Baseball and softball training occurs upstairs all winter long.

The Girl Scout’s Annual Cookies Storage and Distribution is all at the mill.

There is a clothing closet for the local food pantry to store clothing for those in need.

These and many other community events are hosted by Ray at the mill for no charge.

Ray has created a picnic park, a brookside gazebo, and a swimming hole with life vests, canoes, a float, and slide for the town to use for free. He has created a children’s playground on the property as well as several areas for playing basketball.

Ray’s properties are noted for their psychic richness. He leads many tours through his buildings and donates those proceeds to the Vassalboro Food Pantry.

Downtown North Vassalboro has undergone a huge and beautiful transformation in the last eight years because of Ray.

Now he needs our help. There is no insurance on the mill. Ray and his friends and crew work very diligently to maintain the building, but this storm was too much. In order to save the mill, the roof will need to be repaired or else ice and rain will ruin the mill structure. Right now, after many hours of patching, the roof is rigged with tarps and tar to hopefully keep as much of the weather out as possible. But by spring, real repairs need to happen.

Many have donated anonymously at the Vassalboro branch of Maine Savings Federal Credit Union to the “Save The Mill” account. They should know their gifts are truly appreciated.

Heartfelt thanks go out to Nate Gray, Bill and Deb Johnson, Harriet Stamler, William and Betty Branch, AgMatters LLC, Dawn Cates, Tim and Debbie Giroux, Luc Beaulieu, Evan Shorey, Rocky Gravel, Margaret Dowdy, James Ashton, Jacquelyn Murphy, Frank Reynolds, Peter and Jackie Reny, Kaitlin Hosea, Robert Nixon, Judith Davidson, Kelsey Houston, James Breslin, Laura, William Whitman, Vassalboro Retired Teachers and Friends, Leonard Poulin, Lucille Roy, Richard Desmond, Juliette Akins, Carol Axtell, Chris and Amy French, the Watson Family, Kimberly Kimball and friends, and In Memory of Thelma Rancourt, and The Town Line newspaper.

Extra-special thanks also go out to the movers and shakers behind the scenes, including Don, Lisa, and Jessica Breton, Linda Ellis, Mike Vashon, Darrell Gagnon, Tiffany Luczko, Meridith Cain, Therese Burns Barnett, Victor Esposito, Stacy Thorndike, the Titus family, April Stitham-Woodbury, Johnny and Becky Goodrich, and Mr. and Mrs. Dan Rodrigue.

Vassalboro is a small town of 4,320 and so many are involved with this campaign. If we have accidently omitted your name, we are sorry. Your help is so important and needed.

We cannot forget the thousands of dollars of items donated for the raffles going on to benefit the work!

The fundraising continues! Please mark your calendar for the following events, all of which will benefit the mill:

  • Saturday, Dec. 30, from 6 p.m. on, the Taylor Road Band Benefit. Tickets are $15/person. It is a concert and potluck at the mill! Call Darrell Gagnon at 649-3626 for more information.
  • Sunday, January 21, from 4 – 6:30 p.m.. spaghetti supper and huge raffle at Vassalboro Community School. Supper Tickets are $5. Contact Meridith Cain at 458-2075
  • Sunday, February 11, from 10 a.m., the American Woolen Mill Urban Mountain Bike Fundraiser at the Mill. for more information.
  • Sunday, February 11, from 1 – 5 p.m., Vassalboro’s Annual Fishing Derby and Huge Raffle at the mill! Tickets are on sale now! Contact Linda Titus at 631-3303.
  • Saturday, April 7, from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the mill participate in Vassalboro’s First Indoor Yard Sale! Contact Stacy Thorndike at 446-2690 to reserve your space!
  • Saturday, April 21, from 6 to 11 p.m., a Public Paranormal Investigation by G.R.I.M. Tickets are $35 each and available from https://ghost-research-and-investigations-of-maine.ticketleap. com/save-the-mill-public-paranormal-investigation/

To keep up with all the fun-raising, please check out our “SAVE THE MILL” page on Facebook! Thank you.

Winter wonderland sleigh ride

A family enjoying a sleigh ride at Benton Fun Park on Sunday, December 10. Sleigh rides will be offered again on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 16-17, and Sat., Dec. 23. Call 314-1640 for reservations. Photo by Mark Huard, Owner of Central Maine Photography