Erskine Academy announces school calendar change

Parents and students should be advised that Wednesday, November 22, will now be an early release day for all Erskine Academy students. Students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m.

Erskine Academy announces Mr. EA competition

The 15th annual “Mr. EA” Competition will be held on Saturday, November 18, at 7 p.m., in the James V. Nelson gymnasium, at Erskine Academy, in China. Ten senior boys will compete in the categories of talent, recreational wear, and personal interview for the coveted title of “Mr. EA.” Admission to the show is $5 and tickets can be purchased at the door. All proceeds will benefit the Class of 2018.

This year’s contestants are Alex Cleaves, Cody Daigneault, Derrick Dyer, Luke Hodgkins, Harrison Mosher, Jake Peavey, Dylan Plugge, Chance Reed, Michael Sprague and Caleb Tyler.

China voters to decide RSU #18 bond issue

by Mary Grow

Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 officials are presenting voters in the five member towns – Belgrade, China, Oakland, Rome and Sidney – with a $13.9 million bond issue that they hope will be approved at the polls Nov. 7.

Voters in China also have local elections and three local referendum questions, including one asking approval to spend money.

At the first of a series of hearings on the bond issue, on Oct. 23 at China Primary School, RSU #18 Superintendent (and former China principal) Carl Gartley explained what the bond money would be used for. About $10 million will be spent to repair and update school buildings; $3.9 million will help build a new athletic complex at Messalonskee High School in Oakland.

A Facilities Committee composed of community members, RSU staff and the state Fire Marshal recommended funding priorities, Gartley said. The two China schools are slated to get almost $2.4 million worth of work, mostly at the older China Middle School.

Gartley said the committee’s tasks included catching up on work postponed after the 2008 financial downturn, emphasizing safety and looking toward future needs. Since 2010, he said, state funding has decreased and voters continue to resist local tax increases. As a result, in the last eight years China’s school budget has gone up by 6.61 percent, or an average of 0.83 percent per year, not enough to keep up with rising prices. Building maintenance has suffered, despite the RSU applying for and receiving loans from the state’s revolving loan fund.

Proposed improvements at China Middle School include a reorganization and expansion of the gymnasium, a new boiler, a new Americans with Disabilities Act compliant back entrance, paving and interior and exterior lighting upgrades.

China Primary School is slated to get roof repairs to stop leaks, a generator for the boiler room and paving and lighting. Modern lights should reduce costs, Gartley added.

Gartley calculated the cost of the bond in terms of additional taxes on a China house valued at $100,000: $49.10 a year, or $4.09 a month, averaged over the life of the bond.

The Messalonskee athletic complex is needed, Gartley said, because the current facility lacks handicapped access and other amenities. He emphasized that the complex would be for youth sports, gym and health classes and community use, not just for high-school sports teams.

China’s three local ballot questions ask voters if they approve:

  • Spending up to $8,500 from surplus to build a fire pond off Neck Road;
  • Requiring nonprofit organizations seeking town funds to provide a current financial statement in order to have their requests considered by selectmen and the budget committee; and
  • Authorizing selectmen to rent out space on the town’s communications tower behind the town office.

The proposed fire pond would be an enlargement of an existing pond just south of the intersection of Neck and Stanley Hill roads, with permission of the two landowners involved. The project would include an area for fire trucks to load water.

During selectmen’s discussions of the questions, Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said many of the nonprofit groups who seek town support already provide the information that would be required if voters approve the second question.

The town’s tower might be competing with privately-owned area towers. People said, however, that companies seeking to rent tower space look primarily for a location that meets their needs; so the town tower would be requested when no other was as suitable. Selectmen have not talked about criteria for choosing tower users or fees to charge.

Selectmen and the budget committee recommend voters approve all three questions. China polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 7 in the former portable classroom behind the town office.

Erskine Academy to Host Trunk or Treat

Erskine Academy will host its annual Trunk or Treat event on Tuesday, October 31st from 5:30 – 7:00 pm in the front parking lot. Representatives from Erskine’s various athletic teams, clubs, and departments will hand out candy from the trunks of vehicles parked around the front parking lot. Children aged twelve and under who are accompanied by an adult are invited to participate in this safe and fun way to celebrate Halloween. Families planning to attend should park in the back parking lot located off the Arnold Road. Please contact the school at 445-2962 with any questions.

Erskine Academy inducts 22 Leo Club members

New members of Erskine Academy’s Leo Club. Contributed photo

Twenty-two Erskine Academy students were inducted into the Erskine Academy Leo Club at the Whitefield Lions Club, on October 12.

The new members joined an original 25, making the Erskine Academy Leo Club the largest in the state.

Leo Club members were presented with a banner supplied by the Whitefield Lions Club.

During the induction ceremony performed by District Governor Norman Hart, and past District Governor Paula Beach, members were awarded Leo pins by Whitefield Lions Club President Cindy Lincoln and Club Director and Leo Club organizer, Barry Tibbetts.

The Leo Club was formed last Spring in conjunction with the Whitefield Lions Club and Erskine Advisor Roxanne Malley.

Whitefield Lions Barry Tibbetts, Ron Kenoyer and Calvin Prescott have been instrumental in the formation and support of this club, which helps students conduct local civic duties and develop leadership skills.

Erskine Leos have attended Whitefield Lions Club meetings and helped with their local fundraisers including a golf tournament, fishing derby and working at the Windsor Fair.

The Erskine Leos plan a pumpkin painting and visitation day at the Country Manor Nursing Home, 132 Main Street, in Coopers Mills, on October 26, at 2:30 p.m. They are also looking for donations of pumpkins.

For more information about the Leo club or to make a donation, please contact Roxanne Malley at 314-9859/rmalley@erskine247.com or Barry Tibbetts 549-3109. To learn more about the Whitefield Lions Club and upcoming events www.WhitefieldLionsClub.com.

Erskine homecoming schedule 2017

Erskine Academy, in South China has released the schedule of events for this year’s homecoming:

  • Wednesday, September 27, Cross Country – Girls 4 p.m., Boys 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday, September 29, Pep rally 1 p.m.; Girls JV Soccer vs. Lincoln Academy 3:30 p.m.; Boys JV Soccer vs. Lincoln Academy, 5 p.m.; Parade (meet at South China Detailing shop) 6:30 – 6:45 p.m.; Tailgating event—bring a donation for HOPE (music, games, food, etc.) 6:45 – 8 p.m.; FBLA Movie Night (*for students only*) 8 – 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 30, Varsity Field Hockey vs. Lincoln Academy, 9 a.m.; Girls Varsity Soccer vs. Lincoln Academy, 10 a.m.; Leo Club Car Wash 10 a.m. – noon; Girls JV Field Hockey vs. Lincoln Academy, 10:15 a.m.; Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Lincoln Academy, 11:30 a.m.

EA Boosters will be selling concessions and Erskine apparel throughout the day.

Join them on the EA Campus to support our students, enjoy the activities, and share memories of your experiences at Erskine Academy!

As a follow up to their successful efforts to raise food and funds for the community through the participation in WGME’s School Spirit Challenge last fall, the goal is to help those within their own school community this year. The Helping Others Persevere at Erskine (HOPE) Club at EA assists students with food and other basic needs through their backpack program. Donations for HOPE will be accepted during lunches on Thursday, September 28, and Friday, September 29, as well as allow entrance to the tailgating party on Friday night.

Most items currently needed are canned tuna or chicken, peanut butter and jelly, canned vegetables or fruit, macaroni, spaghetti sauce, shampoo, soap, toothpaste and tooth brushes.

Erskine Academy parent/teacher conferences Fall 2017

All parents of Erskine Academy students are invited to attend fall Parent/Teacher Conferences on October 4 and 5, from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Progress reports will be emailed to parents by October 3.

For those parents who have not yet submitted a primary email address, please stop by the Guidance Office for a printed copy of your student’s progress report. No appointments are necessary as teachers will be available to speak with parents in their respective classrooms. However, to avoid long waiting lines, two separate evenings have been scheduled:

  • Wednesday, October 4, for students whose last names begin with A through I; and
  • Thursday, October 5, for students whose last names begin with J through Z.

The sports boosters will also have items available to purchase on both evenings.

Contact the Guidance Office at 445-2964 with any questions or concerns.

OAKLAND: Statewide fishing derby planned to fight Variable Leaf Milfoil

From June 20 to July 20, bait your hook, cast your line and you might reel in not only fish, but cash and prizes too. In this Statewide Fishing Derby, earn your chance to win cash prizes from 50 percent of the ticket proceeds and sponsorships. This is a fundraising derby to benefit the programs of Friends of Messalonskee that directly fight the battle against the invasive aquatic plant Variable Leaf Milfoil.

There are 13 species of fish that qualify. Enter as many fish in as many categories that you wish-no limit of entries! There is no weigh station- just take a picture of the fish against a measuring tape, include the FOM ticket in the photo, and email it to friendsofmessalonskee@gmail.com. A weekly updated leaderboard will be available on our Facebook as well as our website. All first through third place winners in each category will be placed in a raffle style drawing, respectively, and winners will be drawn for the cash prizes. Out of the 50 percent purse, 60 percent of will be first place, 30% second place, and 10 percent third place. Winners also have chances to win other great prizes as well!

Winners will be drawn on July 22 at Oakfest, in Oakland, where derby door prizes will be drawn and a separate 50/50 raffle will take place. Order tickets through their website at www.friendsofmessalonskee.com or call (207) 465-8333. Derby Rules, How-to video, and other information can be found on the website! You can also go to their Facebook Derby Page: All Belgrade Lakes Fishing Derby (This particular derby is statewide.) Have fun!

Financial Fitness Fair held at Messalonskee High School: New Dimensions FCU hosts mission to provide financial education

Financial Fitness Fair 2017

Messalonskee High School Gym – Financial Fitness Fair 2017. Contributed photo

On January 17, New Dimensions Federal Credit Union arrived at Messalonskee High School, in Oakland, and set up and put on a Financial Fitness Fair for around 720 students. The mission was to provide education on financial security and basic real-life budgeting concepts. The students chose a profession and were assigned an annual salary and credit score. They then visited several booths such as housing, furnishings, credit cards, autos, student loan debt, and more. The students rounded the booths complete with little twists such as the “Reality Wheel of life” that threw in real-life “curveballs” such as speeding tickets and cell phone repairs. The test was that they had to come back with a balanced budget at the end of the exercise which needed to include a savings plan.

New Dimensions FCU President/CEO, Ryan Poulin, met with Messalonskee High School to discuss the idea and ability to host a Financial Fitness Fair for the students. This was a huge undertaking. “The importance of educating our young people about financial stability and sustainability needs to be a priority. Not enough education is provided in this area and they are not always ready for the real world,” Poulin said.

Contributed photo

Students hold Saluting Our Veterans day at Messalonskee Middle School

Veteran Tina Richard, right, of Clinton,  with keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

Veteran Tina Richard, right, of Clinton, with keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

On November 4, students at Messalonskee Middle School held Saluting Our Veterans Day tribute. The ceremony began with a light breakfast, and the veterans chatting with the students. The veterans then moved to the auditorium accompanied arm-in-arm by a student under a canope of American flags. The Messalonskee High School band played America the Beautiful march, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. A slide show was then presented of the students’ interviews at the Cole Lane Transportation Museum, in Bangor, and many poems were read about what freedom meant to the students. U.S. Senator Susan Collins was the keynote speaker. Collins stressed the fact that veterans possess two distinguishing qualities of integrity and humbleness. VFW Post #1285 announced the winner of the Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest, which was followed by a moment of silence and the playing of Taps. The veterans were then escorted from the auditorium at the end of the ceremony with much appreciation and thanks from the students.

Students form a canopy of American flags as military veterans are escorted into the auditorium by students

Students form a canopy of American flags as military veterans are escorted into the auditorium by students

Text and photos courtesy of Tina Richard