PHOTO: Cub Scouts carve their great pumpkins

Cub Scouts from Skowhegan Cub Pack #485 show off the great pumpkins they carved in time for Halloween. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Skowhegan legion to hold September events

Photo source: Skowhegan American Legion Facebook page.

Skowhegan American Legion Post #16, will hold two events during the month of September.

September 11, 2021
Luck of Draw Auction
Located at American Legion Post #16
on Route 201, in Skowhegan

Doors open at 9 a.m., drawings starts at noon.

Money raised will be used for charities the Auxiliary donates to all year long. Some of these include, but are not limited to: Togus VA Center, Annual High School Scholarship, Songs of Love Foundation, Hospice Volunteers of Somerset County, Local Food Cupboards, and direct assistance to veterans and citizens in our community.

September 18 and 19
Stuff the Cruiser

Located at American Legion Post #16 hall, on Route 201, in Skowhegan

From 10 a.m. ‘til 3 p.m. both days. Auxiliary members will be collecting personal care, and activity items that will be distributed for free to Veterans receiving care at the Veterans Hospital, or one of the Veteran Homes.

Ideas for donations at the event:

Personal Care: Deodorant, Soap, Razors, Shampoo, Lotion, Chapstick, Tooth Brushes, Tooth Paste, Chapstick, Hair brushes/combs, lap blankets, T-shirts of all sizes, and socks.

Activity items: Word Search, Sudoku, crossword, or adult coloring books. Also colored pencils, stationary to write to family, and card games.

For more information call Ann Spaulding at 399-5602.

Skowhegan scouts hold annual crossover ceremony

Owen Perri, left, and Hayden Rowell recently joined Cub Scout Pack #485, in Skowhegan, and are both working on their Lions Badge this year.

by Chuck Mahaleris

Skowhegan Cubs Scouts held their annual cross over ceremony on July 2 and Arrow of Light recipient John “LJ” Easler completed all requirements in order to leave Cub Scout Pack #485 and start his new adventures in Scout Troop #485.

The program was held at “Chicken Camp” on River Road and included dinner (all families brought things to share), campfire, awards, and families could spend the night if they chose. There was an Arrow of Light Ceremony for Webelos Scouts and a Bobcat Light ceremony.

John “LJ” Easler crosses the Arrow of Light bridge leaving Cub Scouting and entering the Skowhegan Scout Troop. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Kaleb Simonds and Owen Hatfield crossed to the Tiger Cub program from the Lions Program. Jameson McGinnis left the Tigers and began his journey to Wolf. Logan Simonds started his Bear program and Weston Booker crossed the bridge from Webelos to the Arrow of Light level program. Pack #485 welcomed two new Cub Scouts: Owen Perri and Hayden Rowell who earned their Lions Honor. The Scouting program follows the school calendar so they will be working all year on these new levels of program.

Pack #485 Cub Master Shanna Brown said, “It was an amazing night. We had a BBQ, ball games, the campfire and Scouts made and enjoyed s’mores. No one stayed the night, it was chilly and many of the families have younger siblings.” The pack is planning another similar family outdoor event at the end of summer as a way to kick off the new Scouting year.

Cub Scouts Kaleb Simonds, Hayden Rowell, Owen Hatfield, Owen Perri and Jameson McGinnis with leader Shawn Hayden. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Scouts New Boy Scout LJ Easler. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

EVENTS: Skowhegan class of 1963 to meet

The Skowhegan High School class of 1963 will be gathering for a breakfast buffet on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at 9:30 a.m., at 234 Hilton Hill, MountainsView, Cornville. FMI call 858-0946.

PHOTO: Moving up the ranks

These students at Huard’s Martial Arts earned the rank of Blue Belt on April 24. From left to right, Jackson Hanson, of Clinton, Walker Johnson, of Oakland, Brody Robbins, of Skowhegan, and Trenton Clark, of Oakland. (photo by Mark Huard)

Legion collects for animal shelter

Members of the American Legion of Tardiff-Belanger Post #39, Madison, are collecting for the Furry Friends at the Somerset Humane Society Animal Shelter, in Skowhegan, during this holiday season. Items can be dropped off at the hall, on 20 S. Maple Street, Madison after 3 p.m., on Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Here are a few items that are in need: cat litter, cat and dog toys, cat food containing no dye, dog food, cleaning supplies, used bedding such as comforters, blankets, sheets, etc., just to mention a few. For a complete list go the legion’s website at

If you can’t drop off items, but you still would like to help, monetary donations are accepted. Mail to American Legion Post #39, PO Box 144, Madison, ME 04950, please earmark it Skowhegan Animal Shelter. The donations will be delivered to the Animal Shelter prior to Christmas. Thank you in advance for your help. FMI: call 431-5533.

Kennebec County retired educators support the classroom

The Kennebec Retired Educators Association (KREA) awards two $150 grants to two educators in Kennebec County for classroom use. The grants will supplement expenses for student-centered, inter-disciplinary projects and may be expended for materials used in the classroom, speakers’ fees, project development expenses, etc.

Grant description and applications have been disseminated to every principal in all 60 elementary, middle, and high schools in 31 cities and towns in Kennebec County. The principals have made them available to the classroom teachers.

“Students and teachers remain our primary focus long after we leave our classrooms,” says George Davis, of Skowhegan, chairman of the Innovative Classroom Grant Committee and retired principal of Winslow High School.

Grant applications are to be submitted by October 31. The winning applicants will be notified in early November and will receive the grant money at that time.

St. Anthony Soup Kitchen continues to creatively serve community

Volunteers prepare meals at the St. Anthony Soup Kitchen, in Skowhegan. These photos were taken prior to the pandemic. (contributed photos)

The cars continue to line up and roll through, while others walk up wearing masks.

The images of this weekly labor of love look different than they did just eight months ago, but it’s Thursday night, which means a free dinner is available to all who need one thanks to the volunteers at St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen, in Skowhegan.

“It’s going well. Our numbers increase every week,” said Aldea LeBlanc, coordinator of the kitchen.

St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen located in the parish hall of Notre Dame de Lourdes Church on Water Street, offered a free, sit-down, hot meal for anyone in need every Thursday night prior to the start of the pandemic in March. The ministry is entirely volunteer run.

“The meals were suspended until early June when the soup kitchen resumed again,” said Nora Natale, office manager at Christ the King Parish, of which the soup kitchen is a part. “Most of the crew was more than ready to see our guests again.”

“The need is so great here,” said Fr. James Nadeau, pastor of Christ the King Parish.

The diners are currently not allowed in the parish hall due to the pandemic, but nobody involved was willing to give up this important ministry that has helped thousands of community members through the years.

Now, volunteers wear masks and practice social distancing, the meals are served in a drive-thru format in the parking lot of the church and other recipients participate through take-out service.

While the delivery methods have changed, what has not is the appeal of the meals, which have included pork chops, barbecue chicken, and many other delectable choices.

“We also provide a vegetable and fruit of some kind, as well as donated desserts and bread,” said Aldea. “The meals are served from 4:30 to 5 p.m. to anyone who comes.”

Established in 1991, the soup kitchen shut down briefly in 2017 while the parish sought funding and someone to lead it.

Aldea stepped forward, along with Steve Watrous, and the kitchen began serving meals again in November 2018.

Patrons not only come from Skowhegan but from surrounding communities such as Athens, Bingham, and Canaan.

The soup kitchen is funded through several source, including donors as well as partners like the Good Shepherd Food Bank, in Auburn, and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Additionally, Walmart provides a $50 gift card each month, which is used to buy food or supplies, and Hannaford donates food for the meals, as well as bread for the guests to take home.

“If there is any food left over, it gets donated to a homeless shelter in Skowhegan,” said Aldea.

Like many ministries, St. Anthony’s has been diligently planning for the colder months ahead.

“There are two separate doors to the kitchen. One of our ideas is to have people come one at a time to pick up their food from one door and exit the other door,” said Aldea. “They could tell the volunteers what items they want so they wouldn’t need to touch any of the food items. Anyone who cannot pick up this way, we will bring the food to their car like we are doing now.”

Organizers look forward to the day when they can once again offer sit-down service and the in-person community it helps build.

In the meantime, regardless of the protocols they will have to adhere to, you can bet this dedicated group of volunteers will find a way to ensure the doors are open each Thursday.

“We welcome anyone,” said Aldea. “And we’ll always thank them for coming.”

For more information about the St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen or to learn how you can help, contact the parish at (207) 474-2039.

Skowhegan chicken BBQ slated

Join the on Saturday, September 19, and enjoy the famous, better than ever chicken barbecue. This event will be curb side pickup only.

Meal includes deliciously prepared half chicken (half breast, full leg, thigh) basted with their signature sauce. Along with the chicken they will provide a roll and butter, potato chips, Steve Snack’s Whoopie pie, and Boston Market cole slaw. All of this for $14 per meal. Pick up is at the Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce parking lot between 4 – 6 p.m. Please indicate your time for pickup.

Payment for dinner can be made through Eventbrite website at the link below. Or, send your check for payment to Skowhegan Lions Club BBQ, PO Box 916, Norridgewock, ME 04957.

Local scouts rally in attempt to save Camp Bomazeen

(left to right) Dalton Curtis, Zachary LeHay and Connor Keimel

Submitted by Chuck Mahalaris

Scouts from across the area are busy working on a new and difficult project. If they are successful, there is no merit badge for them to receive but something even better. They hope to save their beloved Scout Camp – Camp Bomazeen.

Dalton Curtis, of Skowhegan, Dawson White, of Sidney, and Zachary LeHay, of Oakland, are some of the Scouts who have begun circulating a petition to save Camp Bomazeen. The Scouts visited leaders during the recent Kennebec Valley District Scouter Recognition Dinner/ Program Kick Off at Camp Bomazeen. They asked them to sign the petition that night and to ask if any Scouts in their Pack and Troop want to help collect more signatures in their area. The petitions will be presented to the Pine Tree Council Executive Board at an upcoming meeting. In July, the council executive board voted to sell the camp this year – its 75th anniversary since opening.

Life Scout Connor Keimel, of Troop #401, Sidney, is one of the Scouts taking part in the petition drive and said, “Bomazeen has been a camp that I have gone to for so many years. I have made so many memories here. It would be such a shame if other Scouts coming forward didn’t have the opportunity to go there.” Eagle Scout Dalton Curtis, of Troop #485, in Skowhegan, said he learned to swim at Bomazeen and he loves all of the aquatics activities. Zachary LeHay, a Second Class Scout, from Oakland, said that he enjoys the camp in all the seasons. He has taken part in winter camping trips there and week-long summer camp experiences. Star Scout Dawson White, of Troop #401, in Sidney, loves the shooting sports program at Camp Bomazeen. “I have never been to another Scout camp. I just love it and would hate to lose it.”

Dalton’s mother, Tammy James, said that he has been working hard on collecting signatures but it has been hard with Covid-19. “Some people aren’t really happy about us going to their doors even with masks on,” she said. “But he is continuing to work on his sheet and will be bringing it to the troop leaders’ meeting. He really has gotten so much from his time at Camp Bomazeen. He would live there if he could.”

Former Camp Bomazeen Director Bruce Rueger, of Waterville, praised the Scouts for their effort. “I was heartened to see the Scouts doing this,” Rueger said. “They clearly have formed a strong bond with the camp. I think that is what happens. You spend so much of your time camping at Bomazeen, taking part in camporees there, working on merit badges there, learning about nature, exploring the world around you and discovering things about yourself as you do – it becomes a part of who you are and you want to preserve it for others. Camp Bomazeen has given to them and generations that have come before them and now they want to give back when Bomazeen needs their help the most. Bomazeen has made a remarkable difference in so many people’s lives since it was given to Scouting by Dr. Averill in 1944. Some of our Scouts went on to serve in the military, help the needy and run large corporations. Peter Vigue, CEO of Cianbro, in Pittsfield, was a Bomazeen Scout in 1959 as was his son and grandson as well. ”

Chris Bernier, of Winslow, runs the Bushcraft Program at Bomazeen which is a living history program designed to teach Scouts skills such as Native lore, blacksmithing, outdoor cooking, muzzle-loading, basket-making, metal working, woodworking, candle making, to hide tanning. The program transports Scouts from today back to the pioneer days of the 1840s. Before joining the staff, Bernier was a Scout at Camp Bomazeen. “I think that the Scouts wish to do this it is a great way for them to practice citizenship,” Bernier said. “They see something wrong and they are peacefully trying to make it better. They wish to see an active change and to do so in this manner is practicing what they learned in their citizenship badges. In this case Citizenship in the Community – the community of Scouting for them and future Scouts.”

Scouts from several communities including Jackman, Skowhegan, Sidney, Oakland, and Augusta are working the petitions that they began circulating on August 12. They hope to convince the Scouting Executive Board to reconsider their vote to sell the camp and, if not, that they hope to convince whatever entity buys the property to allow the Scouts to continue to use it as they have for the past 75 years.

For those who would like to lend their name to the petition but would not like a Scout to visit due to Covid-19 concerns, email or send a message to the Facebook page Friends of Bomazeen. Be sure to include your name, town and what Bomazeen means to you.