LETTERS: Marquis is superb candidate

To the editor:

Dear Town of China Friends and Neighbors:

Good government in our community requires the election of outstanding candidates.

The best candidates offer personal qualities such as independence, non-partisanship, positivity, knowledge, balance and modesty. They also possess a demonstrated record of community achievement and action.

Jeanne Marquis is a superb candidate who meets that test; she is running in the November 2 election for a position on the China Select Board.

As a resident and registered voter in China, I will support Jeanne.

I respectfully ask you to consider casting your vote on November 2 for Jeanne Marquis; please also ask other residents you know to carefully review her background in order to make the best choice for the Town of China.

Thank you.

Stephen Greene

LETTERS: Jeanne is a darn good listener

To the editor:

Over the past few years, I have become acquainted with Jeanne Marquis. I was informed recently she is running for the office of selectperson to serve the town of China in a leadership position. I find Jeanne to be a darn good listener and to have great loyalty to the town in which her family has lived for generations. She is bright, curious, mature, well-educated and offers good ideas and sensible suggestions. She is respected and will make a good addition to the board that provides stability and guidance to the town. I openly support her candidacy.

Richard Dillenbeck
Augusta, Georgia, summer resident on China Lake

EVENTS – Question #1: CMP corridor debate Oct. 14


by Jan John
Event organizer

The next Lincoln County Community Conversations event will take place on Thursday, October 14, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The panel discussion focuses on the November referendum Question 1 in order to provide voters “Views from Both Ends of the CMP Corridor.”

Supporters and opponents of Question #1, a citizen’s initiative on the November 2 ballot, have Maine voters pitted against each other in an all out tug-o-war. The question reads, “Do you want to ban the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region and to require the Legislature to approve all other such projects anywhere in Maine, both retroactively to 2020, and to require the Legislature, retroactively to 2014, to approve by a two-thirds vote such projects using public land?”

A “Yes” vote will ban the construction of the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), colloquially known as the CMP Corridor, and any other high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region. It will make it so all construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in Maine has to be approved by the State Legislature. If the transmission lines are on public lands, a yes vote would require a supermajority in the Legislature in order for construction to be approved. These provisions would apply retroactively to September 16, 2020, meaning that all projects previously approved within that time frame would become subject to review and reapproval of or denial by the Legislature. Finally, a yes vote would require the Legislature to review and reapprove or deny the use of public lands for any poles, transmission lines and facilities, landing strips, pipelines and railroad tracks, retroactively to September 16, 2014.

A “No” vote would allow the construction of the CMP corridor and similar projects to continue as permitted in the Upper Kennebec Region. It would uphold the status quo of not requiring state legislative approval for the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the state and not requiring two-thirds of the State Legislature to approve the use of public lands for any poles, transmission lines and facilities, landing strips, pipelines and railroad tracks.

Event organizer, Jan John, of Bristol, shares, “There is a lot to this question and we want to use our Community Conversations forum to bring together representatives from both sides of this issue. We hope that our panel will help us unpack it all, calmly, and present facts and figures so that the voters of Lincoln County are able to make informed choices on election day. This vote has the potential to set precedents for generations to come.”

Please contact John at janjohn1us@yahoo.com or 207-529-6502.

OPINIONS – Question #1: A diabolical scam to gain more control

by Sheldon Goodine
South China resident

A lot of questions and confusion about question #1 have come to my attention, so I’m going to try to dissect the wording and give you my take on it. I do this under my by-line, The way I see it, and not by any legal or expertise on my part.

Question #1: “Do you want to ban the construction of high-impact electrical transmission lines in the upper Kennebec Region”…. Fair question, but it should stand alone for an up or down vote. Question: What are the high impact of the transmission line? Why did the writers of the question want to expand it to include Future Construction for Politicians to have control and to require the legislature to approve ALL other such projects anywhere in Maine…? Do you not see what is happening? The legislature can and will make a correlation, that a new project is like question #1.

We continue, “not only in the upper Kennebec Region, but the entire state of Maine, ‘both retroactive to 2020’.” Now we see the beginning of retroactivity power and a precedent will be established giving the legislature retroactive power to 2014….So now the authors want to go backward seven years to give the legislature the power to pick and choose where and when to apply this new law as they see fit.

We continue: “To approve by a two-thirds vote such projects using public land….” Do you believe they will stop at public lands and not to private lands. I think they will stop at nothing.

You must ask yourself, which part of this double barrel question will harm the state of Maine and its citizens the most over many years. To me it’s just a diabolical scam for the legislature to ride on the coattails of a very controversial subject that they believe will be approved and will give them more power that they want.

The way I see it the CMP corridor will be nice when completed, giving access for animals to feed and for recreation. In a few years it will look like it will always be there, but power to the legislature will go on a long, long time. I’ll be voting NO and hope informed citizens will see the harm in one vote for two questions found in Question #1.

MY POINT OF VIEW: A controversial figure whose holiday name was changed

Christopher Columbus

by Gary Kennedy

It happens every year my friends. And for me it will happen every year in the future if I have anything to say about it. This year this holiday occurs on Monday October 11, 2021.

Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492. Columbus Day also celebrates our Italian/American heritage, as well as the many achievements of Columbus. Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. Because of controversy regarding this holiday there have become alternate names given around this event, such as Indigenous People’s Day.

The Italian population took great pride in the Italian influence regarding the establishment of the greatest country that ever existed. Columbus and crew were Italian explorers and very good at what they did. However, there is reported to be a bad side to Columbus which I will mention later. Columbus was favored in the courts of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. His companion on the journey to Chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and Spice Island of Asia were also Italian. They must have fallen way off course as he landed in the Bahamas, which made him the 1st European to explore the Americas since the Vikings who established colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland. (10th Century).

Columbus went on to discover Hispaniola and Cuba, located in the Greater Antilles on December 6, 1492. In Hispaniola Spain, established the 1st colony in the Americas by leaving 39 of his men who would take native wives. Columbus didn’t actually know that he was in the wrong ocean. He originally believed he was in China and Japan. In March of 1493 he returned to Spain a hero with gold spices and captive Indians. The capture of native populations was very common then by all superior countries of the time. Today it has cost him much of his popularity but such were those times. Things tend to work out in the end by the natural evolution of things. We are currently going through a nightmare because of this and other past happenings of history. In any case it is history and I believe most has worked out for the better.

Although Columbus receives credit for discovering America such is just the case in general. The Americas and the Continents are very different places. I should mention that when Columbus made his return trip from Spain to Hispaniola he found that his 39 men which he left behind to settle were all slaughtered. I suppose that was revenge and perhaps rightly so, at the time. Remember these were the days of exploration and colonization. I believe history teaches us that progress has always come at a cost. As long as greed and self control our growth, there will always be them and those.

Unfortunately, God’s way has not been mastered. I would, however, like to point out that many have gained from this growth. Many countries are at peace and thrive and many of the peoples have flourished. That is not justification for cruelty in any form. I am just pointing out that every country has a history, which in its origin, is not very humane. Having or showing compassion or benevolence is lacking even here in our beloved country. Just watch the news and you will see much of what we talk against.

So all that being said does Columbus Day belong on our calendars. We don’t mind observing it; we just don’t like who it represents, not necessarily what it represents or the good that did derive from it.

If we want to get more technical we can say that America was actually named after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian merchant, explorer and navigator who derived from Florence, Italy. He discovered Rio de Janeiro and named it South America. Our country is named because of him, not Columbus.

Finally, we must not discount (Erik), Leif Erikson a Viking from Iceland. Erik landed in North America, perhaps Newfoundland almost half a millennium before Columbus. Erikson was a Norwegian warrior and explorer. Some of us have heard of his father Erik the Red. (Hair color), also a feared and respected warrior. This is approximately 1000 AD. It is believed that he reached the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is very near to us here in Maine. Year’s later Leif’s sons would revisit because of the grapes that were discovered. Obviously wine was made during this time.

So, there you have it for this Columbus Day. Oh, during Leif’s time slavery was still in the mix of the construction of civilization as we know it today.

God Bless and have a happy and safe Columbus Day.

Reaction to announcement of possible closing of Albion Elementary School


by Katrina Dumont, Kara Kugelmeyer, Billy-Jo Woods

Dear Fellow Albion Resident(s),

Our town has had its own school(s) since its founding in 1804.

Today, we are faced with the reality that the MSAD #49 School Board has decided to close the Albion Elementary School, as part of the MSAD #49 new school construction project.

Closing our only school will have many impacts (listed below) on our town both socially and economically.

Fortunately, as citizens of Albion, we have many options that we can explore and take action on in response to this decision (options below). The purpose of this letter is to inform fellow residents of our options, and invite all Albion residents to join future discussions on what option(s) the town should pursue.

After discussion with the Albion Selectboard, the residents (listed below) have started a committee that has been exploring:

  • What realistic options does the town have in response to the school closing: keep school, close school, school choice, etc. (see options below).
  • What would be the impacts (positive and negative) on the students, residents, and town with the closing of the Albion Elementary school.

An overview of the information that we have gathered to date is below. Detailed information can be found at https://albionschoolfutures.squarespace.com/ Also sometime in the next few months there will be a special public meeting to discuss our options (to be scheduled).

Below is more about the school closing and options:

On March 18, 2021, the MSAD #49 School Board accepted the recommendation of the new school building committee to close the Fairfield Primary building, consolidate the elementary schools, and close the Albion and Clinton Elementary Schools. While the purpose of the new building has not been fully envisioned, it will house some if not all of the elementary grades.

The vote on the motion passed 10-2-1, with the Albion School Board members voting against the motion. The closing of our school, which does not need or have to happen, will be tied to a vote to fund the new school. The final vote to try and close our school, which is a district wide vote (so even if Albion votes no the school can still be closed), will most likely be held in June of 2022 (next year).

It is fair to say that receiving state funding for a new school can be seen as a win for MSAD49, yet it is equally true that closing the Albion elementary school will have many harmful and long term negative impacts on our residents, young students, and our town.

While the location of the new school has not been posted on the district’s school consolidation webpage, all evidence points to that it will not be in Albion or in Clinton. Also while a large part of the cost of the new school will be paid for by the state, the towns in the district will need to pay the remaining costs to build the new school. Finally, while our current school building in Albion is older, it’s still an adequate building for our students, even by the state’s ratings and standards.

So what does closing our school mean for our town?

Sadly the vast majority of studies (educational, social, and economic) on rural school closings conducted across the U.S., including in Maine, show that when a rural town loses its only school to consolidation, especially an elementary school, even when residents have access to a new school in a nearby town, the following negative outcomes occur.

  • For young children, longer bus rides and larger class size, often negatively impacts their overall academic performance, (reading, writing, and math), and lessens their connection to the people in their local community
  • The sense of community and town identity is hugely diminished for all residents and many people stop wanting to move to the town
  • For students and families who don’t live near the school, the ability to easily participate in school related extracurricular activities, like sports, becomes much harder
  • The future of the town as a inviting place to live and raise a family is hugely diminished, and the town’s population decreases, increasing the tax burden on the remaining citizens (you still have to pay school taxes no matter what)
  • In rural towns the farther a residence is from a school, the value homes and property decreases, as does the ability to attract future buyers for homes
  • Taxes increase as home and property values decrease
  • Local school related taxes (the biggest part of tax bills) increase regardless of cost savings with a new
    building, as the major portion of the school budget is salaries
    Fortunately, as citizens of Albion, we have options that we can explore and take action on. It is fair to say that all of these
    options have some upsides and downsides. Our options include:

    • Vote NO! When the district wide vote to close the school(s) happens next year, vote against closing the school(s). *This a district wide vote so all towns in the district get to vote on closing our school, so if Albion votes no and the rest of the towns vote yes, the school still closes.
    • Withdraw from the MSAD #49 district with three different possible options:
    1. Keep our elementary school (home rule) and have school choice (children can go to any schools in the area) for middle and high school. The school would have different leadership. Children could still go to Lawrence or Benton elementary. We can afford to do this at the current tax rate.
    2. Close our elementary school but have school choice (can go to any schools in the area, including MSAD #49) for all grades. Children can still go to Lawrence or Benton elementary. We can afford to do this at the current tax rate.
    3. Join another district and negotiate to keep our elementary school and school choice.
    • Stay in the district and support the closing of our elementary school.

You can learn more details about the options, the impacts, and the new school project at https://albionschoolfutures.squarespace.com/ If you wish to join the committee looking at the options, have questions etc. please email: albionschoolfutures@gmail.com.

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 or 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.

OPINIONS: Potential Adams Memorial Park on Lakeview Drive

The property in question, from Google Streetview.


by Janet Preston

To sell or not to sell? That is the question you will be asked in Article 25 on China’s June 8 ballot. The property in question is on tax map 63, lot 008, located on the west side of Lakeview Drive, across from The Cabins.

Q: How did the town come to own the property?

A: The property was donated to the Town of China in 2016, when China residents voted to accept the land. The previous owners had separated the land from the cabins on the lakefront in order to subdivide it (see map) and sell individual lots separately. They were unable to sell any of the lots (it is very wet and not easily developable), and decided to offer it to the town.

Q: How big is the property?

A: The land is approximately 40 acres. The map shows the planned subdivision, which has expired. The property extends from Lakeview Drive all the way east to Hunter Brook.

Q: If we vote “no” and keep the land, what will become of it?

A: The land belongs to the taxpayers, so it makes sense to do something that serves the community. If the voters decide to keep the property, I would propose creating a park with a roadside picnic area and a system of walking trails throughout the property.

Q: What would we call it?

A: I would propose that we name it Adams Memorial Park after Albert and Muriel (“Mother”) Adams, who owned the land and ran Candlewood Cabins for almost 40 years. They were beloved members of the community and very involved and supportive of youth activities.

Q: How would we pay for creating this public area?

A: All the funding would come from TIF District funds and Maine grants.

TIF funds may be used for “Costs associated with the development and/or maintenance of new or existing recreational trails with significant potential to promote economic development. TIF Revenues may be applied to the design, construction, safety, handicap accessibility and ongoing maintenance of a trail system within China … The goal is to develop a recreational trail system which will be eventually interconnected within the Town…”

Also, among the numerous Maine grants designed to increase outdoor activity, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) provides funds through the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands to develop and maintain recreational trails. (https://www.maine.gov/dacf/parks/grants/recreational_trails_program.shtml)

Q: How will a park help our community?

A: Green spaces have a significant positive effect on people’s health, the environment, and the economy.

Health: Outdoor exercise and experiences are good for us. Maine people know this and appreciate getting out in the fresh air in all seasons.

Environment: Vegetated and unpaved areas provide a free and efficient way of storm water collection, which is a huge environmental concern for China. Hunter Brook flows into China Lake, so protecting the property near the brook helps to protect water quality in the lake.

Economy: Studies have shown that public green spaces provide a net economic gain to a community. People driving through China would see an appealing place to stop, stretch their legs, or have a picnic. They will buy food and other items at our businesses, and they might even decide to move here because of the variety of recreational opportunities. The 2020-2024 Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) recognizes and highlights that “outdoor recreation is a major engine of economic activity and an incredible asset as communities strive to be healthy, vibrant places where people are excited to live, work, and play.”

Q: We already have two parks – Thurston Park and the China School Forest. Why do we need another one?

A: This past year of COVID restrictions has inspired people to become more active outdoors. Thurston Park and the China Forest are wonderful resources for that purpose. However, the number of trails in these parks is limited, and as the town grows, we will need more trails to accommodate our outdoor recreational needs. One of the goals in China’s comprehensive plan is to “expand opportunities in parks, possibly through non-sport activities for adults, community gardens, and more community events.” Also, neither of these public spaces is visible from the road. The Lakeview Drive property has the potential to provide a visible, aesthetically pleasing green space with a view of China Lake.

Q: If we vote “yes” and sell the land, what will become of it?

A: We don’t know. Someone could buy the land and keep it as it is, or someone could develop it. If the town doesn’t own it, then we have no control over what becomes of it.

Q: How much tax revenue would the sale produce?

A: Revenues from taxes on the property depend on how the new owner uses it. Currently, the assessed value of the undeveloped land is $65,600. Based on the current mil rate, the taxes collected would be anywhere from about $970 (as is) to $40,000 (with a 13-lot development). A $20,000 addition to the town’s tax revenue amounts to about $5.75 per taxpayer. Of course, new development brings new costs as well, so any additional tax revenue would likely be absorbed by these or other costs.

Q: The Narrow Gauge snowmobile trail crosses the property. Will snowmobiles still be allowed to pass through the land? Will hunting still be allowed on the property?

A: If the town maintains ownership, then hunters and snowmobiles would continue to be welcome. If we sell it, the new owner would make that decision.

Personally, I am in favor of the town keeping the property. If we sell it, there is no turning back, and the public land is gone forever. If we keep it, we would have a nice tribute to the Adams family and a park that China residents could enjoy for generations to come.

If you have additional questions or would like to walk the property, please email me at janet.preston@chinamaine.org.

OPINION: Will Palermo choose the path of sustainability?

David Attenborough in the documentary, “Life on Our Planet”

A Maine resolution to take action on climate pollution

by Pamela McKenney

If you need an introduction to climate change or an update on the state of our planet, David Attenborough’s recent documentary, A Life on Our Planet, is a good place to start. After 93 years of work as a British broadcaster, writer, and naturalist visiting every continent on the globe and exploring its wildest places, Attenborough has seen the results of global warming first hand. He contends, “Real success [at reversing the impact of pollution] can only come if there is a change in our societies, and in our economics, and in our politics.”

Palermo town residents will have an opportunity to join others on the path of sustainability and carbon reduction in March at town meeting. An article has been introduced by Maine citizens at dozens of Maine municipalities intending to show support for federal legislation that will reduce carbon pollution – a major cause of climate change. The Maine Resolution to Take Action on Climate Pollution “calls upon our State and Federal elected representatives to enact legislation that will protect Maine from the costs and environmental risks of continued climate inaction.” This article is not a proposed bill; it is communication tool to instigate action. It communicates that the residents of Palermo favor a fee and dividend approach that charges fossil fuel producers for their carbon pollution and rebates the money collected to all residents on an equal basis. Enacting a Carbon Cash-Back program decreases long-term fossil-fuel dependence, aids in the economic transition to renewable energy, and keeps local energy dollars in Maine’s economy. Carbon Cash-back has been championed by US economists (Jan. 17, 2019, Wall Street Journal) as the most effective and fair way to deliver rapid reductions in harmful carbon emissions at the scale required for our safety and to support our environment.

Carbon Cash-back is a proposed climate solution that would place a fee on fossil fuel production and imports at their source (mine, refinery, pipeline, or port of entry). Money collected from this fee would be returned to every citizen equally as a dividend, to put a price on carbon pollution from fossil fuels and return funds from collected fees to all US households monthly, off-setting the potential increase in pricing. As stated in the article, voting for it will spark “our representatives to lead in this critical moment for the health and well-being of our citizens and for the protection of Maine’s natural resources upon which we all rely.” More information is provided on the Town of Palermo website and at the town office.

There are many attitudes people can adopt on the issue of climate change. We might think:

  • Earth belongs to humanity – the superior species – and its resources are at our disposal.
  • Global warming is part of a natural cycle, not caused or impacted by humans.
  • Global warming may be caused mostly by humans, but there is nothing we can do about it.
  • Global warming is real and rapid, and we can take action now in order to reverse the damage.

To what degree do people understand that global warming is happening, human-caused, and a serious risk for human societies and natural ecosystems? According to a study fielded in December 2020 by the Yale Program on Climate Change, Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it is not by a ratio of more than five to one. More than half of Americans (58 percent) understand that evidence indicates global warming is mostly human-caused, although three in ten think global warming is due mostly to natural changes in the environment. The study also states that one in four Americans are “very worried,” however 41 percent feel helpless about creating change. But experts say we can make a difference, if we act now.

David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet details humanity’s impact on the natural world and the devastating changes he has witnessed. Alarming as this film is in its scope and documentation, his reckoning concludes with a message of hope. “Although we are often blinkered by the needs of here and now, we have a path to sustainability. If enough people can see the path, we may start down it in time.”

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Is our country ready to round the corner on race relations?

by Charlotte Henderson

After the Civil War, during the Reconstruction Period in American history (1865 – 1877), many newly-freed blacks took advantage of the right to vote and the right to hold office. As slavery was abolished (13th Amendment to the Constitution), denial of voting rights on account of race was prohibited (15th Amendment), and means were set up for secessionist states (freed blacks, too) to rejoin the nation and vote (14th Amendment), there were as many as 2,000 black office holders. But the successes were short lived as, over only a decade or so, segregationist powers modified rules and carried out personal attacks that drove blacks out.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that they again held significant numbers of public offices. When Barack Obama became our nation’s first black president in 2009, it seemed a huge breakthrough for race relations and a hopeful signal for equality. But as the realization sank in that a person of color could actually get elected, latent prejudices were triggered and a not-so-subtle resistance developed against this black president’s success.

At the same time, people of color took it as inspiration to seek – even demand – their equal opportunities and treatment in our society which provoked more resistance. Many citizens had gut fear that “those people” were not caving in to white supremacy anymore and the fear shows up as anger and hostility.

Early on in the Obama presidency, in a Senate committee meeting, upon hearing a committee member caution that they couldn’t let Obama have a success, Maine Senator Angus King, asked, “Then what the hell are we doing here?” He was asking why the committee even bothered to discuss it if the foregone conclusion was that they wouldn’t push it forward. Many proposals died in committee due to that attitude.

It seems evident that the election of a black president revealed the possibility that blacks – and, by extension, any people of color and other marginalized citizens – might actually have a shot at true equality. So, as in post-Reconstruction times, resistance to that idea signaled a movement to squelch the notion by suppressing their initiative.

It seems likely that we’re all in for another long and rocky lap in the race toward equality. But this time there are greater numbers and more political savvy. And, the American spirit and idealism that led to the Founding Fathers’ dream of a new kind of country is alive and well in a lot of our countrymen and women. We must keep striving.

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 or 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.

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: China voters asked to amend transfer station ordinances

by Larry Sikora
China Transfer Station Committee

The November ballot will have two questions for China voters on amending the ordinances that describe the operation of the China Transfer Station. The changes are mainly in terminology.

Earlier this year the Transfer Station switched from stickers on vehicles to identifying China and Palermo residents to an electronic tag called RFID or radio frequency identification. The change was brought about with a grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and allows for identification by both sight and an alarm and calculates accurately the traffic into the Transfer Station.

The ordinances as currently written use the terms “sticker” and “decal” which are incorrect. These terms are replaced in the amended versions by the generic term “access permit” that describes properly the new RFID and any other identification marker that may be used in the future. The ordinances will now contain a definition of ‘access permit’.

Another change in the ordinances removes details on the hours of operation of the Transfer Station and substitutes the “Facility shall be open as determined by the Town Manager in conjunction with the Select Board.” The hours and any changes to them or closings of the Transfer Station will appear on the Town of China website and displayed on the Town’s electronic sign.

There are also some minor editorial changes for clarity.

The ordinances with the changes discussed can be found under the Elections tab on the Town of China
web site, https://china.govoffice.com . Please review them prior to voting.

Thank you for being a proponent of the Transfer Station. Your support is appreciated as our facility continues to be a model which other towns use.