EVENTS: Messaloskee girls to host girls youth soccer mentoring day

(contributed photo)

Messalonskee High School girls soccer and the ShineOnCass Foundation will host its 8th annual girls youth soccer mentoring day “ShineOn Saturday” September 23, from noon to 2 p.m., on the Messalonskee High School Turf Field, in Oakland. The event is held to honor former Messalonskee soccer player and youth mentor Cassidy Charette, who died in a hayride accident October 11, 2014.

Area girls, ages pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, are invited to attend at no cost. Soccer skills are not required. In addition to participating in skill building and fun field games, attendees will receive an autographed team poster and a ShineOnCass wristband that earns them a special snack and recognition at the Lady Eagles’ homecoming soccer game. Healthy snacks will be provided.

To assist in planning, please pre-register at, or send your child’s name and age, parent/guardian name and contact info to Walk-ins welcome.

The ShineOnCass Foundation was created to educate, inspire and empower youth to shine their own light through kindness and volunteer charitable activities. For more information about the ShineOn Saturday event or the Foundation, visit or email

Emery Pell (front) and her twin sister Shea, learn new soccer skills under the guidance of their mentor and Messalonskee girls soccer player Brooke Landry, at last year’s ShineOn Saturday. The 8th annual event connects young girls with high school soccer players, for a fun day of skills, games and positive youth mentoring. ShineOn Saturday is organized by the Lady Eagles and the ShineOn Cass Foundation to honor and remember former Eagle midfielder and youth mentor Cassidy Charette. The event is free to all interested girls, Pre-K to Grade 5. Contributed photo

OPINIONS: Thoughts about high impact transmission lines through central Maine


by Thomas Bolen
Albion resident

Historically when the citizenry finds itself in a position where they perceive their elected officials have failed them in pursuit of a larger goal, citing “For the common good” common folks like me, regardless of political stripes, find themselves pushing back and asking for pause to reassess their decision. The proposed High Impact Transmission Line approved in a “bipartisan” vote by the Maine Legislature early this year is that inflection point. The T-line touted as “progress towards decarbonization” was approved by the MPUC and awarded to LS Power of New York earlier this year.

But is it progress? When I think of “Progress” relative to this issue I think of utilizing new proven and relatively mature technology that will mitigate impacts to the environment and socio-economic wellbeing of the people both directly and indirectly impacted by the line in addition to setting us up for future successes. LS Power proposed building out the High Impact Transmission lines prescribed in the PUC term sheets, at 345kv AC (alternating current) utilizing 140-foot towers. However, I may have missed it but nowhere in the statute or term sheets does it say specifically, Overhead or 345kv AC”.

It simply states in numerous places throughout the sheets and statute 345kv. With the understanding, identified in the LS Power Day Mark study on page 21, that these new lines WILL NOT CONNECT Northern Maine’s Grid administered by NMISA to the ISO NE Grid. Their energy will still come from New Brunswick for the foreseeable future.

Much of the T-line right of ways will be cut through forested lands, across organic farms and generational farms leaving Homes, Farms, Woodlots, Sugarbushes, etc… contending with an aftermath of avoidable consequences had our PUC been more mindful of total impacts and mitigation through the use of newer technologies. Consequences such as: lower real-estate values, organic farms/dairies and sugarbushes at risk of losing organic certifications, Apiary’s/pollinators (personal and commercial) being significantly impacted thereby further degrading the socio-economic infrastructure of this rural and poorer part of the state.

To be clear, I, nor the Albion, Me Transmission Line Committee which I chair, are opposed to the Aroostook Connect project. We are, however, opposed to the methodology being deployed! Buried HVDC requires approximately 5+ foot wide ROW vs. 150 feet wide for AC overhead.

Utilization of ROW’s of existing roadways in Maine is not new. Look at HP1274, LD 1786 of the 124th Maine State Legislature and you’ll find provisions for this. Why not look forward and amend this Statute to allow other road ROW’s beyond what is already outlined to better serve Maine and began to use them.

In 2022 the State of Minnesota DOT undertook a comprehensive feasibility study, entitled NextGen Highways (found here: conducted by NGI consulting of Seattle, Washington. A subset of the study findings are:

– Transmission and Fiber are being sited in the interstate and highway ROW across the United States
– Buried HVDC transmission can be compatible with interstate and highway ROW;
– Buried HVDC transmission is comparable in cost to overhead AC transmission while providing additional reliability and resilience benefits;

  • Historically Utilities have discounted the use of underground transmission citing the cost of AC transmission often at 7-10 times more than overhead AC transmission lines. Many utilities, including LS Power cite those numbers without considering the technological advances HVDC cable and Converter stations over the past decade.
    Notable study takeaways.
  • Buried HVDC transmission projects are cost competitive with traditional overhead AC transmission projects;
  • Buried HVDC transmission costs have fallen over the past decade.
  • Together, DOT ROW and buried HVDC transmission can deliver billions of dollars in societal benefits.
  • Buried HVDC transmission supports transportation decarbonization.

As we move forward in Maine trying to meet decarbonization goals we need to be mindful of how we do it. Negatively impacting the beauty of the State and the fragile socio-economic infrastructure is not my definition of progress.

Thank you Representative Scott Cyrway and Senator David Lafountain for your ongoing support and also the many other Senators and Representatives who are listening.

HealthReach welcomes podiatrist, Dr. Daniel J. Keane

This September, HealthReach staff in Albion, Belgrade, Coopers Mills, and Richmond welcome Dr. Daniel J. Keane, Podiatrist, to their team.

Dr. Keane earned his doctorate degree in Podiatric Medicine from the William Scholl College of Podiatric Surgery, in North Chicago, Illinois. He has a wealth of experience in the field of podiatry, including experience in rearfoot, forefoot, and ankle surgery; podiatric medicine; and wound treatment.

Dr. Keane shares, “In my many years of practice, I have always strived to treat patients as if they were family: providing the highest level of care with both respect and dignity. As a member of the HealthReach Community Health Centers family, I will continue to provide the best care possible. Patient relationships have always been a cornerstone of my practice, and I provide individualized patient care based on each patient’s needs. It is a rewarding and meaningful experience to join the team at HealthReach and to contribute to this community-based system of affordable and high-quality healthcare.”

Dr. Keane joins the existing mission-driven, values-focused care teams at the Belgrade Regional Health Center, Lovejoy Health Center (of Albion), Sheepscot Valley Health Center (of Coopers Mills/Whitefield), and Richmond Area Health Center. Clinicians offer medical and behavioral health services for patients of all ages and from all walks of life.

No support in Albion for LS Power electric transmission developer

Farmers with equipment and local residents showed up at the Besse Building, in Albion, to protest the installation of an electric transmission line through their town. (photo by Jonathan Strieff)

by Jonathan Strieff

On July 19, representatives from LS Power, an electric transmission developer from Missouri, hosted an open house in Albion to begin community outreach among landowners impacted by the proposed transmission line. The event was the fifth of six such meetings along the proposed route, starting in Mattawam­keag, and concluding in Windsor.

Prior to the event, nearly three dozen farmers from Albion, China, and Palermo and their supporters gathered outside for a “tractor drive-in” and press conference to vocalize opposition to the project.

The Aroostook Renewable Gateway is a new 345 kV transmission corridor approved by the state legislature to connect King Pine Wind near Webbertown Township to the existing power grid substation in Windsor.

The new transmission lines would deliver up to 1,200 MW of electricity from 170 new wind turbines in Aroostook County to the regional power grid. Sixty percent of the energy generated would be purchased by Central Maine Power and Versant, while the remaining 40 percent would go to Massachusetts.

Ahead of the open house series, LS Power sent more than 3,500 letters to landowners impacted by the proposed route with the goal of soliciting feedback.

(photo by Jonathan Strieff)

Representative Doug Mulvey explained on Wednesday each letter included a unique code corresponding to a map of the corridor. In addition to informational posters and promotional materials, LS Power representatives brought a bank of laptops to each open house event to allow landowners to identify to the company unseen constraints on individual parcels. While the application and permitting process is already underway, LS Power is seeking landowner input to modify the final route to be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission by the end of the year. Outside, local farmers parked their tractors along Main Street decorated with signs opposing the project. Chuck Noyes, owner of Noyes Family Farm in Albion, addressed the economic, environmental, and cultural concerns that the transmission line poses.

“This is one of very few areas still being intensively farmed. Our farms are the backbone of the regional economy and we don’t need to make it harder for us.” Noyes farms 370 acres that have been in his family for over 100 years. Troy Nelson, a beef producer, from Paler­mo, farms land over a distilled gas pipeline from Buckeye Petro­leum and worries about the risks posed by the power lines crossing the aging infrastructure. Matt Dow, from Sweetland Farm, in Al­bion, sought cla­ri­fication about how the development might impact his organic certification. Lincoln Sennett, owner of Swan’s Honey, spoke to the harms to his bees and other wildlife by electromagnetic fields created by the power lines. “Honey bees, migratory birds, and other animals depend on geological magnetism to be able to navigate,” Sennet said, and EMFs from high transmission main lines have been shown to disrupt this. “Bees and beekeepers don’t need one more stressor.”

The farmers are reaching out to town and state officials for any kind of help protecting their farmland and businesses from the impacts of the transmission line.

“We can’t fight with the money and lobbyists that LS Power has,” said Holly Noyes. “But we can show the will of the people, that the project does not have local support.”

If the PUC approves the final route proposal next year, LS Power anticipates completing right of way acquisitions by late 2025, beginning construction in early 2027, bringing the project in-service by mid-2028.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: How towns cared for the poor

Many poor houses were designed to punish the poor for their poverty.

by Mary Grow

China concluded and Albion

This article is the third of four that will talk about how central Kennebec Valley towns took care of their destitute residents, when welfare was a local responsibility.

Last week’s piece summarized actions in China from the 1820s into the 1870s, when the poor farm on the east shore of China Lake housed many of the town’s paupers (some were still bid out or assisted as they lived with family members). In the 1870s, the China bicentennial history says, there were often 20 or more people living on the farm, “many of them too old or too ill to help with the work.”

The farm superintendent was usually paid $300 (in 1874, $325) annually. Building maintenance was, or should have been, an ongoing expense. The history quotes from the March 1873 report of selectmen Alexander Chadwick, John Hamilton and Caleb Jones: they called the farm’s house “wholly unfit,” as it was “very cold and void of nearly every convenience which the wants of the inmates and those who have charge of them demand.”

The farm itself was “very much run out,” so that crops were small and income inadequate, they wrote.

They concluded: “The poor are a class of unfortunate beings who are entitled to our warmest sympathies, and demand from us all respect and kindness, and we believe it is a duty which we owe to them and to God, to provide them with comfortable homes and render them as happy as we possibly can.”

Unmoved, voters at the March 1873 town meeting rejected an appropriation to work on the buildings. In 1876, the history says, town records show $161.87 spent on repairs; but in 1877 voters refused to allocate more money to finish the work.

Through the rest of the century the farm hung on, with fewer residents – only half a dozen for much of the 1890s. The superintendent’s pay went down to $200 a year in 1880 and 1890.

The history lists minor upgrades, like a new cookstove in 1887, and building repairs in 1895 and 1900. In 1908, “a well was sunk at the south end of the barn, finally providing an abundant water supply.”

Town reports indicated that the farm also provided overnight lodging and meals for tramps passing through China.

The China history documents an incident that appears to indicate that not all poor China residents wanted to live on the town farm. Voters at the town meeting in March 1881 agreed to reimburse selectmen Elihu Hanson and Francis Jones for their expenses “defending themselves against an assault and battery charge brought by a town pauper, Mary Coro, ‘while in the discharge of their official duties as Overseers of the Poor in removing her to the poor house.'”

For much of the early 20th century China officials rented out the poor farm, at least part of the time with the understanding that if a pauper needed to live there, the tenant would take care of him or her.

A February 1911 report listed “$482.75 worth of livestock, supplies and equipment on the farm.” But, selectmen said, two of the three residents in 1909 had died and the third had left Maine, and no one had moved in during 1910. They suggested town meeting voters consider a change.

At the March 1920 town meeting, voters finally approved selling the farm. Carrol Jones bought it for $2,000 in April.

Associated with the town farm was a cemetery, which the bicentennial history says was “(probably) always a town-owned burying ground.” In the cemetery, in 1975, were the headstone of John Chase, who died June 19, 1839, at the age of 38, “an initialed footstone, and many fieldstones.”

In the 1890s, China’s town farm superintendent “acquired a new responsibility,” the bicentennial history says. The March 1891 town meeting authorized selectmen to buy a town hearse and to build a hearse house, giving them $700 for the project.

Selectmen decided to put the town farm superintendent in charge of the hearse, and they had the hearse house built on the farm. The hearse cost $500, the building $170.39, according to the history.

In 1892, the town earned $15 “for letting the China hearse be used out of town.” What became of the hearse is unstated; the building was part of the farm when Carrol Jones bought it in 1920.

Jones stored his farm machinery in the building for a while before he gave it to “his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. William Nye, who turned it into a summer cottage.” The cottage was still in use when the history was published in 1975.

* * * * * *

In many areas, poor families were auctioned off to the lowest bidder.

Moving north to Albion, Ruby Crosby Wiggin found that in 1804, voters appropriated $1,200 for roads, $200 for schools and an amount she did not list for “the support of the poor and other town charges.” (If this sentence sounds familiar, it might be because Augusta voters took similar action at a 1797 town meeting, as was reported in the first article in this series.)

Albion voters began bidding out the poor in 1810, Wiggin wrote, during a period of hard times, when newly-built roads were discontinued and produce instead of money was accepted in payment of taxes. In one case, a man agreed to take care of a widow “for $8.00 and the use of her cow for one year.”

Wiggin did not mention paupers again until she excerpted from the 1868 town report. It included, she said, a report that “doctoring the town poor” for a year had cost voters $3.25.

She continued: “Either they were a healthy lot or the Doctor didn’t receive much for each call. We might conclude that there weren’t many poor people, but since the town had maintained a town farm for several years, there must have been a few of them.”

Wiggin gave no more information about the town farm, but Henry Kingsbury devoted a paragraph to it in his 1892 Kennebec County history. He wrote that about 1858, after the poor had been “cared for by individual contract” (presumably since soon after the town was incorporated as Fairfax in 1804), town officials bought a farm “on the Bessey road, three miles south of the Corner.”

The farm had been settled by Solomon Bessey around 1810 and by the 1850s belonged to his nephew, William Bessey. Kingsbury wrote that the initial purchase was 160 acres; later sales and acquisitions made it about 170 acres by 1892.

Bessey Road, now called Bessey Ridge Road, runs south from Routes 202 and 137 to Libby Hill Road, in the southern part of town. An 1879 map of Albion, in the atlas of Kennebec County, shows the town farm on the east side of the road about half-way along. On the same side of the road, C. H. Chalmers lived north of the town farm and H. B. Bessey south; A. Bessey’s property was on the west side about half-way between the town farm and H. B. Bessey.

Albion went through at least two town hearses, according to Wiggin’s history. The earlier was “simply a wooden box on wheels” that was allowed to rot “out back of the hearse house” (wherever that was). Blacksmith Benjamin Abbott bought the “wheels, axletree and tongue” in February 1886 for $16.

By then, Albion had a new hearse, thanks to an 1884 spending spree: in that one year, town officials bought a $200 road machine and a $450 hearse. The hearse, made by Cooper Brothers in Searsmont, was “a beautiful thing,” Wiggin wrote, with shiny black paint, nickel trim and tasseled window curtains.

Its custodian, Bert Skillins, drove “a pair of dapple gray horses that were as spic and span and tasseled as the hearse itself.”

According to Wiggin, as residents admired the new hearse, one commented that “he hoped no one would kill himself just for the sake of riding in it.” Yes, Wiggin wrote: “The first occupant was a suicide victim.”

Main sources

Grow, Mary M., China Maine Bicentennial History including 1984 revisions (1984).
Halfpenny, H. E., Atlas of Kennebec County Maine 1879 (1879).
Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Wiggin, Ruby Crosby, Albion on the Narrow Gauge (1964).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Albion couple visits coastal Maine botanical gardens

Ron Pohlman, little guy on the left, stands next to one of the giant trolls. (contributed photo)

by Donnajean Pohlman

On a cool but sunny spring day in mid-May, my husband Ron and I took advantage of the “Admission to the Gardens Library Program”.

We have visited the Gardens a number of times over the years enjoying the unique eco-systems of the Maine coast area. The Gardens are truly a “living museum”, a wonderful way to learn about and enjoy the diverse flora of the area. We experienced all it had to offer – the gardens coming into bloom, the quiet walks on the woods trails, and discovering the “Giant Ad­ven­ture” – five humongous wood­en Trolls “hidden” throughout the woods. Their story is not be missed.

So back to the “Admission to the Gardens Library Pro­gram”. The program is one in which local libraries can participate allowing their town residents to reserve free admission passes during the May – October season. What a wonderful way to experience a part of Maine and enjoy a summer day out in nature. The Albion library made this opportunity available to Albion residents.

SNHU announces winter 2023 president’s list

The following central Maine students have achieved president’s list status at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Kristina Canedo, of Skowhegan, Heather Hall, of Canaan, Ashley Parks, of Anson, Jessica Keay, of Albion, Philip Densmore, Carrielee Harvey, and Alyson Cass, all of Waterville, and Matthew Bandyk, of Jefferson.

EVENTS: No parade in China; One in Albion

China to hold moment of prayer

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, there will be a parade in Albion, beginning at 9 a.m., from the Besse Building.
There will be no parade in China, however, there will be a moment of prayer, at 10 a.m., at the China Baptist Church, on Causeway St.

EVENTS: ShineOnCass Animal Baby Shower & PJ Party planned May 7, in Albion

The annual, free event is held in memory of Cassidy Charette, a longtime summer camper at Hart-to-Hart Farm. Pre-registration is required to attend one of two sessions, which is limited to 80 children per session. Visit or to register. (photo by Monica Charette)

Children dressed in their pajamas will welcome baby lambs, goats, calves and other newborn animals also wearing pajamas, on May 7, at the ShineOnCass Animal Baby Shower & PJ Party, at Hart-to-Hart Farm & Education Center, in Albion.

Linnea Burke-Maya snuggles a chicken at Hart-to-Hart Farm, in Albion, as part of last year’s ShineOnCass Animal Baby Shower & PJ Party. The 2023 event will be held May 7. Children dressed in their pajamas will welcome baby lambs, goats, calves, and other newborn animals also wearing pajamas! (photos by Monica Charette)

The annual event features educational stations that include learning how to milk a cow, fetching eggs from the chicken coop, spinning lamb’s wool, and participation in goat yoga! Children will be able to hold, and have photos taken with, the newborn baby animals.

Hart-to-Hart Farm & Education Center is a family-owned and operated organic dairy farm that offers a variety of educational programs for children, adults and families. The ShineOnCass Animal Baby Shower is held each year in honor of Cassidy Charette, an Oakland teen who died in a hayride accident in 2014, and was a summer camper at Hart-to-Hart Farm.

Families attending the free event are asked to bring pet food and items to donate to Humane Society Waterville Area in memory of Cassidy, who was a longtime shelter volunteer.

There will be two sessions offered, 10 to 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 to 2 p.m., with limited capacity of 80 children per session. Pre-registration is required at or For more information, email










Area residents named to dean’s list at UNE

Photo credit: University of New England Facebook page

The following students have been named to the dean’s list for the 2022 fall semester at the University of New England, in Biddeford.

Albion: Emma McPherson and Olivia McPherson.

Augusta: Valerie Capeless, Zinaida Gregor, Jessica Guerrette, Brooklynn Merrill, Daraun White and Julia White.

Benton: Jessica Andrews.

Fairfield: Caitlyn Mayo.

Jefferson: Mallory Audette.

Oakland: Kierra Bumford and Francesca Caccamo.

Palermo: Peyton Sammons.

Sidney: Sarah Kohl.

Skowhegan: Wylie Bedard, Elizabeth Connelly, Ashley Mason and Dawson Turcotte.

South China: Richard Winn.

Vassalboro: Adam Ochs.

Waterville: Mohammad Atif-Sheikh, Elias Nawfel, Grace Petley and Evan Watts.

Winslow: Juliann Lapierre, Kristopher Loubier and Justice Picard.