China transfer station committee members struggle with unauthorized users

by Mary Grow

China transfer station committee members pondered two questions at their May 9 meeting: how to make a second regional household hazardous waste day as successful as the one April 22 (if China hosts one again); and how to continue to reduce the number of unauthorized transfer station users.

A regional household hazardous waste day lets residents of participating towns (on April 22, China, Albion, Palermo, Windsor and Winslow) dispose for free of types of waste that do not go into the mixed waste stream, like paint, old gasoline, household chemicals and electronics (television sets, stereos, VCRs, for example).

The day was a huge success, with an estimated 400 people (twice the number who signed up in advance) coming to the public works building west of the transfer station and long lines of vehicles waiting to get in, committee members said.

Some people obviously brought things they’d stored for years. The China transfer station accepts most types of what is considered household hazardous waste, but charges a fee for some.

“We did a lot of good for the communities,” committee member Robert Kurek, from Palermo commented.

China Director of Public Services Shawn Reed had three suggestions for continuing the collection days.

First, he recommended enforcing the pre-registration requirement.

Second, he suggested town officials consider budgeting for annual collection days, because the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG) grant that funded most of the April 22 event might not be available in future years.

And third, he recommended trying to hold future collections at one of the China schools, instead of the public works garage, for more space and better traffic circulation.

According to statistics distributed at the May 9 committee meeting, getting rid of the collected materials cost more than $20,000. Each participating town contributed $500; the grant covered the rest.

Olivia Kunesh, of KVCOG, said in an email that a company called EPI – found on the web as Environmental Projects, Inc., of Auburn – took away the collected waste and recycled the old paint. Removal of electronic waste (e-waste) was delayed more than a week, committee members said, and Kunesh wrote that a means of dealing with e-waste needs to be found.

Other towns host such events at their schools, Reed said. Having seen the care taken to avoid spills or otherwise damage the public works area at the April 22 event, he does not think there would be any risk.

The day’s traffic spilled over to the nearby transfer station, which was the site of the annual drug takeback day. Manager Thomas Maraggio said 996 people came in, close to double the usual Saturday traffic.

The Transfer Station Committee’s second issue, discussed at several previous meetings, was how to make sure only China and Palermo residents use the transfer station that their taxes help support. The present RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) program, started in 2019 with a state grant, provides tags that an electronic sensor recognizes; driving in without a tag alerts attendants.

The main problem with the RFID tags is that people can keep them after they move out of town, and can lend them to out-of-town relatives and friends whose transfer stations might be more expensive or less convenient. Maraggio said staffer Cheyenne Houle had tried unsuccessfully to find a way to link the RFID system with town office records that might show someone had moved away.

Before RFID, transfer station users had a vehicle window sticker with the license plate number. Committee members said stickers, or lack thereof, send no message to transfer station staff; and some people don’t want a sticker on their car.

Another method discussed previously and mentioned May 9 would be to add a guard shack where a staffer would check each vehicle coming in.

Reed and Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood commended Maraggio and his staff for their efforts to minimize unauthorized transfer station use.

In other business, Maraggio distributed copies of a Dec. 6, 2022, marketing report from the Maine Resource Recovery Association summarizing the lower market for recyclable materials. Recycling income has declined substantially, he said; but generally, recycling is still less costly than having materials transported and disposed of as waste.

Because the committee’s usual second Tuesday meeting falls on election day in June, the next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 6.

EVENTS: Spectacular laser show to benefit Winslow Food Cupboard

Winslow Community Cupboard food pantry—which serves thousands of food-insecure children, seniors, and other adults from Winslow, Waterville, Skowhegan, Fairfield, and 20 other surrounding towns—will benefit from a spectacular Drive-in Laser Show & Concert coming to the Clinton Fairgrounds from Thursday, May 18, through Sunday, May 21, with gates opening at 5 p.m. each evening. To assure admission, ordering tickets in advance at the link below is strongly suggested.

The Drive-in Laser Show & Concert (three shows each night, May 18 through 21) will be family-friendly and will feature many of your all-time favorite musical hits from the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and beyond – current hits to Classic Rock! All songs are choreographed with cutting-edge effects, high-powered lasers, and Large Screen Laser Projection! Vendors and food will be on the fairgrounds, and there will be an exclusive infield seating area. (Please bring your own chairs and blankets.)


Clinton Fairgrounds, 1450 Bangor Rd., Clinton, ME 04927, May 18, 19, 20, and 21, 2023
Gates open at 5 p.m., 8 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
Shows at 7 p.m., 9 p.m., and 10:30 p.m.

ADMISSION FEE: Just $29 per entire carload when you purchase tickets in advance; $39 per carload at the gate. PLEASE NOTE: We strongly advise purchasing tickets in advance to guarantee admission.

Order Tickets at:

CAN’T ATTEND? Those who may not be able to attend a Laser Show & Concert – but who would still like to donate to Winslow Community Cupboard food pantry – are invited to do so by sending a check payable to “Winslow Community Cupboard”, to 12 Lithgow St., Winslow, ME 04901, or by visiting and clicking on the yellow “Donate” button.

Winslow Community Cupboard is a ministry of Winslow Congregational Church, 12 Lithgow Street, Winslow, which has served the local community since 1828.

For more information, please contact Winslow Community Cupboard at

KVYSO senior spotlight on Breckon Davidson

Breckon Davidson, left, with his grandfather, John Shields. (contributed photo)

Submitted by Jen Tuminaro

The Kennebec Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra (KVYSO), is proud to feature Breckon Davidson, a senior at Erskine Academy, in South China, in our Senior Spotlight article. He is a talented, diligent musician whose participation in KVYSO has added to the quality and level of ensemble community.

Breckon began his musical journey with piano lessons, from age six until he was nine. At that point, he picked up the cello after seeing Pineland Suzuki School (an organization of strings teachers in central Maine) perform at Granite Hill Estates.

“Working with Pineland in the beginning of my cello playing was amazing, and they had such a refined program for beginners. They had so many group classes, activities, and just made learning cello something that I had a ton of fun to do,” explained Breckon, eventually joining the Allegra Orchestra (Pineland’s beginner ensemble). “My favorite piece that we played with them was the theme to Jurassic Park.”

After auditioning for Kennebec Valley Youth Orchestra (KVYSO’s intermediate orchestra), he was not able to play with them that year in person due to Covid restrictions, but it “only fueled my excitement further. In the fall of 2020, we were able to play in person for the first time in what felt like forever, and it felt exhilarating to be part of an orchestra again.” After a year with KVYO, Breckon began playing with Kennebec Valley Youth Symphony (KVYSO’s advanced orchestra). “That was a huge deal, because that would be the first time in my life that I would be playing a full, unaltered symphony in concert. This was the real deal, and I took it very seriously.”

Around this time, Breckon joined Capital Strings (Pineland’s advanced ensemble) and started taking lessons with Jon Moody. “In Capital Strings, we got to play incredible arrangements of so many kinds of music, whether they be film scores, contemporary classical, folk music, what have you, and it was a joy. Eventually, I started doing the Bach cello suites, and have loved working on them ever since.”

In addition to being a member of KVYSO and Pineland, Breckon is also a part of the Jazz Band at Erskine, where he recently picked up bass. “At first it was like a whole new language, playing bass, but eventually I got the hang of it, and recently played in a concert at Erskine where I played bass in the Jazz Band and a jazz quartet, and played cello for a solo and for my composition class group.”

Music has been part of Breckon’s life for a long time. “I absolutely adore music, and it is an ever-present part of my life. There’s rarely a time that I’m not listening to music, the majority of it being classical. I’ve loved classical music for so long, and I find its rich textures and harmonies to be unlike any other type of music that I know of.”

As for future plans, Breckon plans on going to college as a biology major to become a psychiatrist. “As much as I love music, I also have a great passion for science, and find psychology to be the most fascinating one to me, so I’ll make it my career.” We wish Breckon well as he pursues his goals after his time with us at KVYO is done.

We invite you to support Breckon and the Kennebec Valley Youth Orchestras for the Spring Concert on Friday, May 5, at 6:30 p.m., at the South Parish Congregation Church, in Augusta. Daniel Keller will be conducting our KVYO, with Jinwook Park conducting our KVYSO. The concert will feature the music of Mendelssohn, Debussy, Vivaldi, and more! In addition to joining them on May 5, please consider following them on Facebook and Instagram (Kennebec Valley Youth Symphony Orchestras). If you would like to donate to our program, please visit their website at They truly appreciate your support of our program!

EVENT: Scouts to honor legionnaires

The Kennebec Valley District of Scouting will honor the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, and Sons of the American Legion during a special breakfast to be held on Saturday, May 6, at 8:30 a.m., at American Legion Fitzgerald-Cummings Post #2, in Augusta, located at 7 Legion Drive.

“Each year, scouting honors a person or group for their amazing contributions to our lives,” said Kennebec Valley District Commissioner Eric Handley, of Sidney. “Last year, we recognized the important work done by the medical professionals and support staff at MaineGeneral Hospital. This year, we are recognizing the veterans of the American Legion and the entire Legion family for providing outstanding service to our communities since 1919. They answered when our nation asked for their help and when they returned home, they continued to serve as members of the Legion, Auxiliary, and Sons of the Legion.”

Join them for this breakfast to help say thank you to the American Legion family of groups for more than 100 years of patriotic service to our nation and state.

Space is limited to the first 100 attendees. Contact Chuck Mahaleris at to reserve your spot.

EVENTS: It’s Maine Pottery Tour time

Springtime in Maine can mean daffodils or snow, and sometimes both, but the first weekend in May has meant the Maine Pottery Tour for more than a decade. The 11th annual Maine Pottery Tour welcomes visitors on Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7, 2023. The self-guided tour is an opportunity to enjoy spring in Vacationland and the hospitality of local potters in their studios. Eagerly anticipated by all who enjoy handmade pottery, as well as anyone looking for a special and unique Mother’s Day gift.

Funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In central Maine, visit the following potteries:

A Lakeside Studio Pottery, Wayne; AP Curiosities, Bowdoinhaml; d harwood Pottery aka Mudgirl, Winthrop; Delilah Pottery and Dominique Ostuni Ceramics; Bowdoinham; Fine Mess Pottery, Augusta; Jeffrey Lipton Pottery, Litchfield; Julie Mondro Pottery, Greene; Kennebec Clay Works, Augusta; Kennebec Pottery, Belgrade; Maple Lane Pottery, Windsor; Margaret Melanson, Gardiner; Muddy Toes Pottery, New Gloucester; Pots in Bowdoin, Bowdoin; Marie Palluotto, Augusta; Fischer Pottery, Lisbon; The Art Walk Shop & Sutio, Winthrop; The Potter’s Shed, West Gardiner; Upper Room, Farmington; Whitefield Pottery, Whitefield; Work in Progress, Lisbon; Prescott Hill Pottery, Liberty; and Unity Pond Pottery, Unity.

Gaslight Theater’s 2023 season continues

Gaslight Theater’s 2023 Season of Laughter continued in April and May with Peter Shaffer’s Black Comedy, directed by Lucille Rioux. The show will be produced at Hallowell Cithy Hall Auditorium, at 1 Winthrop St., in Hallowell, over two weekends, including Sunday matinees, April 28, 29 and 30, and May 5, 6, 7. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinees start at 2 p.m.

Recycled Shakespeare Co. to hold 10th annual Bard’s Birthday Bash

At last year’s Sonnet Stroll readers gather with Robert Sezack (center, kneeling with cap in hand) at Re-Books, in Waterville. (contributed photo)

by Lyn Rowden

What ho! Anon! Recycled Shakespeare Company is planning a big party for its 10th Annual Bard’s Birthday Bash on Saturday, April 22 and you are invited.

RSC founders: the late Emily Rowden Fournier, Aaron Blaschke Rowden, and Lyn Rowden started the Bash in 2014 for the 450th birthday of the great William Shakespeare (April 23, 1564 – April 23, 1616). When they began they only planned on the one birthday, but the party kept on – even when held creatively using Zoom and recordings from all over the world in 2020 – 21.

This year is also special because it is the 400th anniversary of the printing of Shakespeare’s First Folio seven years after his death in 1623. It preserved what was known of his 36 plays, many of which had never been printed and is still considered the most reliable text, as well as one of the most influential books ever published.

The Bard’s Birthday Bash begins with the Sonnet Stroll through downtown Waterville. Costumed members of RSC and anyone who wants to join them will gather at Camden National Bank, at 9 a.m., to recommence the reading of all 154 sonnets interspersed with monologues and songs from his plays. The stroll continues to Yardgoods Center and The Villager Restaurant and pauses at Waterville Public Library at 10 a.m., where librarians and others will join in the readings.

Then on to Re-Books where owner Robert Sezack will enthrall readers with his selections outside his storefront as he has every year. A stop in at Greene-Block Studios, and then it is on to the Silver Street sidewalk in front of Cancun Restaurant where ardent supporter Representative Colleen Madigan will join in the readings. Try your hand at period weaponry with a Sword Fight Demon­stration at 11 a.m., led by stage combat artist Joshua Fournier.

Simul­taneously, RSC Chorus will be bringing Shake­speare’s songs to the patrons of Front/Main Restaurant, led by Joshua Bickford on mandolin, who wrote all original music to Shakespeare’s words. They will be performing in various locations throughout the day and everyone is welcome to sing along.

Continuing up Main Street the stroll will be visiting The Framemakers, and Incense and Peppermint, entertaining diners at Holy Cannoli, having readers from Day’s Jewelers join in as they have every year, and stop at Waterville Creates at the new Paul Schupf Art Center. At 1 p.m., gather to buy lunch at Jin Yuan as readers from across the nation will join by recordings or Zoom to add to the festivities. At that time Aaron and Heather Rowden, who now reside in California, will be delivering their annual hilarious surprise contribution. From 2:30 to 5 p.m., join the crowd at Selah Tea to relax with tea and goodies to more entertainment or even get up and read – no experience required. Bobbie McGee at Selah Tea has supported this project from its inception, and it is now the tradition for everyone to read Sonnet 154 out loud together there. RSC and Waterville are honored to have over 65 readers from the arts, theater, government, and business, as well as friends and visitors from near and far.

At 6 p.m., Waterville Mayor Jay Coelho, will kick off the annual Masquerade Ball held until 9 p.m., at the Greene-Block Studios. Elizabethan dances will be led and taught to all – with free birthday cake, of course. As with the rest of the celebration, costumes are welcome and add to the fun but are not required. Anyone of any age can learn these simple dances and no partners are necessary.

Thanks to the generosity of several donors and many volunteers, the day’s activities are free, open and accessible to all so please invite your friends and spread the word! Huzzah!

For more information, please contact Lyn Rowden at 207-314-4730 or Like and follow us Facebook for updates on this and all our plays and special events.

EVENTS: No-till garden; getting started

On April 21, local master gardener, Sharon Turner, will describe how to start a home garden using simple, no-till, organic techniques and get your vegetable or ornamental garden growing this season.

Sharon’s talk ‘Starting a Garden from Scratch’ is Friday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Bryant Room of Gibbs Library. The free event is sponsored by Washington Lakes Association of which Sharon is a long-time member and two term past president. She is a gardening consultant, educator, and designer who, with her son, Eli Berry, operates Crystal Lake Farm and Nursery here in Washington. They specialize in heirloom and open-pollinated vegetable and flower seedlings, as well as native perennials, shrubs, and trees. Sharon is devoted to the no-till method because it doesn’t disturb the native soil but, instead, continuously enriches it.

No till avoids erosion, as well. Importantly for many of us, no-till enables planting without labor intensive digging or expensive tilling equipment. Everyone is invited to come and learn about no-till gardening that is a perfect method for home gardens. Friday, April 21, 6:30 p.m., Bryant Room. Free.

EVENTS: Waterville Creates announces The Great State of Illustration in Maine exhibition

Artist: Barbara Cooney

As an art form, illustration has an ancestral home in Maine, with a legacy of attracting acclaimed authors and illustrators like E.B. White, Robert McCloskey, Melissa Sweet, and Chris Van Dusen. In recognition of this incredible history, Waterville Creates is excited to announce The Great State of Illustration in Maine exhibition at Ticonic Gallery, on view April 17­–July 16.

Curated by the Illustration Institute, this exhibition will showcase the past, present, and future of illustration in our state, representing history and contemporary culture through narrative imagery. By viewing historic work alongside contemporary illustration, visitors will gain a further appreciation for the enduring, beautiful work created in the state we call home. Featured artists include Barbara Cooney, Lucky Platt, Daniel Minter, Ashley Bryan, Rockwell Kent, Dahlov Ipcar, Bruce Hutchison, and Edward Hopper.

“We’re thrilled to bring this extraordinary collection to Waterville,” said Marie Sugden, exhibitions coordinator at Waterville Creates. “We are truly honored to collaborate with the Illustration Institute on this exhibition and accompanying educational programs to inspire a new generation of Maine illustrators.”

The Illustration Institute’s mission is to raise appreciation and awareness of illustration in its many forms, providing people of all ages the opportunity to learn directly from master artists and working professionals through exhibitions and workshops. Inspired by this rich heritage, Illustration Institute is interested in sharing this legacy and teaching new illustrators and writers of all ages and abilities.

“We are delighted to be working with Waterville Creates,” said Nancy Gibson-Nash, co-founder of the Illustration Institute. “Waterville Creates provides all that Illustration Institute would want in a collaboration. Ticonic Gallery and access to classroom and presentation space are ideal. We’re excited to inspire a new audience by bringing The Great State of Illustration in Maine to Waterville, and to celebrate the work of over 90 published Maine illustrators.”

The opening reception will be held on May 5, from 4­­ – 7 p.m., in conjunction with downtown Waterville’s First Friday event. To celebrate the opening of The Great State of Illustration in Maine and to kick off its Arts in Bloom weekend, Waterville Creates will host a children’s book giveaway during the opening reception and on Saturday, May 6. Children will receive a picture book from a Maine illustrator, with a variety of titles available.

The Great State of Illustration in Maine exhibition is sponsored by Kennebec Savings Bank, PRO Moving Service, Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal, The Lunder Foundation: Peter and Paula Lunder, and MaineGeneral Health.

Located inside the new Paul J. Schupf Art Center, Ticonic Gallery is open 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., daily except Tuesdays and federal holidays.

For more information on The Great State of Illustration in Maine exhibition, visit or contact Marie Sugden at

EVENTS: Free public COVID-19 booster clinics at HealthReach locations

HealthReach is pleased to announce free public COVID-19 booster shots available at locations across Central and Western Maine. The Belgrade Regional Health Center clinic will open to everyone – patients and the public – from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 15, April 29, and May 6, 2023. No appointment is necessary during these time periods! Belgrade Regional Health Center is located at 4 Clement Way in Belgrade, Maine.

They are offering Bivalent Moderna boosters through these clinics. These boosters are available to any fully-vaccinated individuals ages 6 and up, regardless of their primary vaccination series – Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and other brands. These shots will be offered completely free of charge, and are offered on a first-come, first-served walk-in basis for anyone eligible to receive their updated shot.

Booster clinics will be held across 10 HealthReach locations in Maine. In addition to the Belgrade location, sites to hold a COVID-19 Booster Clinic include: Bingham Area Health Center, Lovejoy Health Center (in Albion), Madison Area Health Center, Mt. Abram Regional Health Center (in Kingfield), Rangeley Family Medicine, Richmond Area Health Center, Sheepscot Valley Health Center (in Coopers Mills / Whitefield), Strong Area Health Center, and Western Maine Family Health Center (in Livermore Falls). Addresses for each location can be found on their website, at