China Town Office COVID-19 Update (April 2, 2020)

from Dennis L. Heath, CMM
China Town Manager

In light of the Governor’s latest order, I am informing you of actions we are taking to comply.  I have discussed this with our department heads first thing this morning, coordinated with the Chairman of the Select Board, then informed the entire staff via a Zoom meeting.

Here is your daily summary for April Fool’s Day, 2020:

  • Implementation of the Governor’s “Stay Healthy at Home” order is complete and takes effect tomorrow, with the exception of the Transfer Station, when it will take effect next Tuesday
  • New secure dropbox is mounted and ready for business; small white lock-box with mail slot at the top under a lid; non-sensitive items may still be placed in the mailbox if desired
  • Mail retrieval and bank deposits will be done daily; rotating between Becky and Julie
  • We are working with Consolidated to automatically forward the phones each day, but if necessary, we will manually forward them; we are also changing the outgoing message to reflect the current scenario

Transfer StationOpen Tuesday 7 am – 3 pm; Thursday 9 am to 5 pm; and Saturday 6:30 am to 1 pm; only two on duty at any given time

Public WorksStandby only; stay at home; unposting roads today; delaying install of docks until after Apr 30

Town OfficeOn call at home; main number forwarded to Becky and she will assign work; if a call-back is necessary, the individual requested will make the call; appointments for essential business only; no drive-through service; most have remote access capability; Becky will check mail daily; packages will be redirected to where they can be received and then brought to the Town Office

Code Enforcement: Continue working remote from home; appointments will be for essential services only; permits will be given a full 30-day review (per ordinance) prior to issuing

Public NotificationSending out direct mail information sheet today to ensure everyone is notified

Meetings: We will continue to host Zoom meetings, so if there is a need, please let me know a day and time and we will work out the details; participants without a computer/smart phone can join with a regular phone; we have the ability to broadcast these meetings over LiveStream for those who just want to watch and listen

Erskine Academy second trimester honor roll (Spring 2020)

(photo credit: Erskine Academy)

Grade 12

High Honors: Lucy Allen, Jay Austin, Alec Baker, Julia Basham, Derek Beaulieu, Haley Breton, Kole-Tai Carlezon, Norah Davidson, Vincent Emery, Alyssha Gil, Annika Gil, Boe Glidden, Joshua Gower, Clara Grady, Tori Grasse, Alyssa Hale, Summer Hotham, Nicholas Howard, Emily Jacques, Sarah Jarosz, Brandon LaChance, Benjamin Lavoie, Cole Leclerc, Eleena Lee, Madison Leonard, Stephanie Libby, Jordan Linscott, Brandon Loveland, Reece McGlew, Jakob Mills, Krysta Morris, Nathaniel Mosher, Lyndsie Pelotte, Matthew Picher, Hunter Praul, Miina Raag-Schmidt, Benjamin Reed, Mitchel Reynolds, Andrew Robinson, Dominic Rodrigue, Alyssa Savage, Shawn Seigars, Santasia Sevigny, Taylor Shute, Katelyn Tibbs, Cameron Tyler and Richard Winn.

Honors: Pedro Albarracin, Adam Bonenfant, Bridget Connolly, Abigail Cordts, Summer Curran, Colby Cyr, Lily DeRaps, Michael Dusoe Jr, Dominick Dyer, Cheyann Field, Mitchell Gamage, Bryce Goff, Emma Harvey, Nicholas Hayden, Julianna Hubbard, Ashley Huntley, Cameron Johnson, Colby Johnson, Kyle Jones, Luke Jordan, Marisa Klemanski, Tristan Klemanski, Benjamin Lagasse, William Leeman, Gabriel Lewis, Sydney Lord, Shawn Manning, William Mayberry II, Lexigrace Melanson, Kaytie Millay, Adalaide Morris, Isaak Peavey, Chloe Peebles, Jasmine Plugge, Jennifer Reny, Katelyn Rollins, Serena Sepulvado, Nicholas Shelton, Danielle Shorey, Ryan Sidelinger, Kayla Sleeper, Lily Solorzano, Matthew Stultz, Jacob Sutter, Nicole Taylor, Courtney Tibbetts, Ashleigh Treannie, Hailee Turner, Tanner Watson and Amber Wysocki.

Grade 11

High Honors: Philip Allen, Nicholas Barber, Abbygail Blair, Jane Blanchard, Samantha Box, Trevor Brockway, Anthony Chessa, Cody Devaney, Jacob Devaney, Amelia Evans, Addison Gamage, Margaret Gamage, Avery Henningsen, Emma Hutchinson, Bryan Joslyn Jr, Madyx Kennedy, Sierra LaCroix, Isabela Libby, Emily Lowther, Gamboa Medina, Michael Nicholas III, Ian Oliphant, Olive Padgett, Courtney Paine, Elek Pelletier, Aiden Pettengill, Anna Pfleging, Sydni Plummer, Kristin Ray, Mollie Wilson, Samuel York and Kelby Young.

Honors: Mara Adams, Brooke Allen, Paris Bedsaul, Rylee Bellemare, Isabella Bishop, Everett Blair, Joshua Bragg, Hailey Brooks, Eleanor Brown, Emma Burtt, Zoe Butler, Ashley Clavette, Joshua Cowing, Nolan Cowing, McKayla Doyon, Abigail Dumas, Jake Emond, Cameron Gifford, Avril Goodman, Patrick Hanley, Hailey Haskell, Braydon Hinds, Paeshance-Rae Horan, Nathan Howell, Delaney Ireland, Haley Laird, Marina Lavadinho, Joanna Linscott, Colby Lloyd, Chiara Mahoney, Eva Malcolm, Xavian Marable, Jonathan Martinez, Hailey Mayo, Mikala McIntyre, Tyler Ormonde, Brian Ouellette, Daniel Page, Isabella Parlin, Annaliese Patterson, Logan Rizzardini, Hailey Sanborn, Acadia Senkbeil, Alessandro Smith, Noah Soto, Carly Spencer, Hanna Spitzer, Ariel Stillman, Riley Sullivan, Logan Tenney, Joshua Tobey, Gage Turner and Dylan Wing.

Grade 10

High Honors: Griffin Anderson, Isaac Baker, Julia Barber, Gabriella Berto-Blagdon, Autumn Boody, Lilian Bray, Emily Clark, Tabitha Craig, Colby Cunningham, Isabella DeRose, Emma Fortin, Wyatt French, Josette Gilman, Samantha Golden, Hayden Hoague, Grace Hodgkin, Rachel Huntoon, Emma Jefferson, Grace Kelso, Aidan Larrabee, Lili Lefebvre, Christian Moon, Adam Ochs, Abigail Peaslee, Devon Polley, Sarah Praul, Riley Reitchel, Mackenzie Roderick, Abbey Searles, Andrew Shaw, Hannah Soule, Lily Thompson and Lily Vinci.

Honors: Alana Beggs, Jacob Bentley, Jack Blais, Evan Butler, Abrial Chamberlain, Nathaniel Collins, Jesse Cowing, Jasmine Crommett, Daniel Cseak, Jacob Cunningham, Caleb Cyr, Luke Desmond, Kaden Doughty, Alexander Drolet, Jacob Fisher, Chase Folsom, Jenna Gallant, Bryce Garcia, Ciera Hamar, Trace Harris, Larissa Haskell, Skye Havey, Isaac Hayden, Hannah Huff, Hunter Johnson, Taidhgin Kimball, Tanner Klasson, Mallory Landry, Shawn Libby, Madison Lully, David Martinez-Gosselin, Calvin Mason, Robert McCafferty, Wes McGlew, Kaden McIntyre, Rebecca Morton, Garrett Peebles, David Pierpont, Kaden Plourde, Lilly Potter, Paige Reed, Parker Reynolds, Shawn Searles, Natalie Spearin, Hannah Strout-Gordon, Hannah Torrey, Samuel Worthley, Emily York and Hannah York.

Grade 9

High Honors: Carson Appel, McKenzie Berry, Abigail Beyor, Eve Boatright, Katherine Bourdon, Nicole DeMerchant, Lillian Dorval, Grace Ellis, Lilly Fredette, Alyssa Gagne, Reiana Gonzalez, Alivia Gower, Cooper Grondin, Elizabeth Hardy, Kassidy Hopper, Grace Hutchins, Olivia Hutchinson, Beck Jorgensen, Kaiden Kelley, Meadow Laflamme, Aimee Lizotte, Malachi Lowery, Emily Majewski, Lily Matthews, Brooklyn McCue, River Meader, Nabila Meity, Timber Parlin, Kayla Peaslee, Jonathan Peil, Gabriel Pelletier, Kathleen Pfleging, Sophia Pilotte, Alexis Rancourt, Cadence Rau, Samantha Reynolds, Ally Rodrigue, Noah Rushing, Jacob Seigars, Sophie Steeves, Daniel Stillman, Jacob Sullivan, Paige Sutter, Mackenzie Toner, Emma Tyler, Lauren Tyler, Julia Wade and Damon Wilson.

Honors: John Allen, Molly Anderson, Kassidy Barrett, Andrew Bentley, Angel Bonilla, Zane Boulet, Emma Charest, Nicholas Choate, Nickolas Christiansen, Courtney Cowing, Kayleen Crandall, Tianna Cunningham, Breckon Davidson, Myra Evans, Isaac Farrar, Brianna Gardner, Loralei Gilley, Carson Grass, Mallary Hanke, Alexzander Hoffman, Grady Hotham, Hallie Jackson, Hannah Jackson, Acadia Kelley, Brady Kirkpatrick, Casey Kirkpatrick, Matthew Knowles, Emmet Lani-Caputo, Zephyr Lani-Caputo, Dale Lapointe, Dinah Lemelin, Joseph Lemelin, Brenden Levesque, Bryce Lincoln, Gwen Lockhart, Cooper Loiko, Brady Mayberry, Gage Moody, Ethan Ouellette, Maddison Paquet, Angelyn Paradis, Hannah Patterson, Jenna Perkins, Kaden Porter, Sarah Robinson, Conner Rowe, Emmalee Sanborn, Jarell Sandoval, Emma Stred, Hannah Toner, Colby Willey and Aidan Witham.

China residents seem to be doing fine during crisis

by Mary Grow

China selectmen held their first virtual meeting March 30, with three members joining Town Manager Dennis Heath at the town office and two calling in.

The main purpose of the meeting was to pay the usual two weeks’ worth of bills. At Board Chairman Ronald Breton’s request, Heath provided updates on coronavirus response and town finances.

The manager said so far the town office has received no individual requests for help. Apparently, he said, China residents are “hunkered down” and have enough to get by. Town office staff have ordered supplies, including toilet paper, paper towels and Lysol, to keep on hand should things gets worse.

People planning to come to the town office are asked to call ahead and to use the drive-up so their business can be done quickly and safely.

Until further notice, the transfer station will take only household waste that goes into the hopper. Demolition debris, brush and compost will join the list of unacceptable items. The goal is to limit the number of people at the facility.

One more change Heath listed is that the town office and the transfer station will close from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily, so staff can take a lunch break and when necessary catch up on cleaning.

In response to Breton’s query about extending the local tax due date, Heath said since town meeting voters set the date, he is not sure selectmen have authority to change it. He will investigate the question.

The manager said property tax collection is at about the same level as it was at the end of March 2020, suggesting most people have made their payments on schedule and people who needed reminders in 2019 will need them again this year.

Heath and board members expect China’s 2020 income will be lower than expected. Lower state revenue will likely reduce state aid to municipal governments and schools; and, for example, if people postpone buying new cars, excise tax revenue to the town will decrease.

Until the situation is clearer, the manager plans to keep spending controlled, but not to stop using appropriated funds for necessary purposes. After all, he said, China’s unassigned fund balance (informally called surplus) is intended for emergencies like the pandemic.

China selectmen plan their next virtual meeting for 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 13. As with the March 30 meeting, they intend to livestream it on the town website, china.govoffice.com.

China Transfer Station enacts social distancing policy

The China Transfer Station during social distancing. (Photo: The town of China)

The China Transfer Station will continue to operate with these limitations:

  • Cones and barricades will be setup to control traffic into the facility;
  • Only one vehicle will be allowed at the “hopper” area;
  • Only one vehicle will be allowed at the “express can” area;
  • Users will be asked what area they need to access and directed when appropriate to proceed to the assigned area;
  • Users will be asked to use each area expeditiously meaning no delay;
  • Users will be asked to maintain a 6-foot distance from all employees and others;
  • Users will be asked to only visit the transfer station once per day per household;
  • Users will be asked to limit visits on Saturdays to times other than between 9 a.m. -1 p.m., when we see the highest volume of users;
  • Alternate days with less traffic are Wednesday and Thursday;
  • Please treat the staff with kindness and care.

Transfer Station hours – Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Please note this is only a temporary change.

China Manager: virtual meetings considered public & legal

by Mary Grow

At China’s March 26 Broadband Committee’s virtual meeting, Town Manager Dennis Heath and committee members explained how virtual meetings are temporarily considered public and therefore legal.

The difference is Governor Janet Mills’ declaration of an emergency, committee member Jamie Pitney said. Normally, only a few state agencies were allowed to hold some of their meetings without gathering in person. Now and until 30 days after the emergency is declared over, municipal boards and committees can do the same, provided that they give public notice.

Heath added that the declaration allows members not physically present at a meeting to vote, another change from past procedure. The recording of the meeting legally serves as minutes.

China has subscribed to a virtual meeting system that allows meeting participants to see and talk with each other and signed-in non-participants to watch and listen via computer and/or cellphone, depending on audience members’ computer capabilities. Heath said he paid $150 for a year’s service.

The March 26 meeting was not streamed on the China’s live stream and therefore was available only to those who signed in. Heath plans to have future virtual board and committee meetings live-streamed so they can be seen on the town website.

People seeking information on future meetings may visit the website, email the town office at info@chinamaine.org or call the town office at 445-2014 during office hours.

Broadband Committee members, joined virtually by two representatives of Mission Broadband Inc., discussed two main topics: the previously-planned broadband census to find out how many China residents need better service and why they don’t already have it, and ways to expand service.

Mike Reed and John Dougherty, of Mission Broadband, a national company promoting increased broadband service, said the company is planning a state-wide survey or census, simpler than the one originally proposed for China. Their version is currently on-line only and has alternatives – that is, a person’s answer to one question determines which question appears next.

Heath would like a paper census as well, to reach people who cannot or will not reply by computer or cell phone. Reed plans to review Mission Broadband’s draft to see if it can be adjusted for paper. Heath hopes to send a direct mailing to China residents by the end of March.

Committee members continued discussion of ways to increase the reach of existing broadband in town, suggesting more questions for Heath to ask Peter Hussey, of Hussey Communications, in Winslow, with whom town officials are working.

Committee member Tod Detre said there is not yet enough equipment to cover the town. The tower at the town office and the repeater at the China Village fire station offer limited service.

Heath said Hussey installed an omnidirectional antenna at the town office to reach the town garage and transfer station. The downside is a shorter range, he said. After census results more accurately define town-wide needs, he intends to explore more options.

Committee members scheduled their next, presumably-virtual meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 8. One agenda item will be a proposal to ask the Maine legislature to study the possibility of continuing to allow virtual meetings after the coronavirus emergency ends.

Heath feared virtual meetings would limit public participation. Pitney suggested the town office could be opened so people could go there to watch virtual meetings just as they could attend person-to-person meetings before the emergency.

Michigan group plans high-rise housing in China

An artist’s rendition of the proposed high rise housing complex for China.

by Mary Grow

DeMiHuGi Developers, of Detroit, Michigan, filed permit applications with the Maine environmental protection and transportation departments on April 1, for a 28-story luxury housing complex, to be built on an artificial island at the Narrows on China Lake. The complex will be accessed by a causeway connecting the end of Neck Road to Lakeview Drive, as well as by boat.

Plans call for 24 stories of housing, with apartments arranged around a central core with elevators and utilities. The lower 12 will have four apartments per floor, each with views in two directions; the upper 12 will have two apartments per floor, each with views in three directions. Above will be a rooftop restaurant topped with solar panels.

The base of the building, partly below water level, will be a 150-car parking garage. Above the garage will be three stories housing a supermarket, a clothing store, a pharmacy and clinic, specialty restaurants and boutiques, a gym and sauna, a four-lane bowling alley, offices and probably one or more shops tailored to the area, like a sporting goods store or bait-and-tackle shop.

A double water purification system on the north side of the building will purify China Lake water to make it drinkable and treat wastes so wastewater will be returned to the lake “cleaner than it came out,” according to a DeMiHuGi spokesman.

The swimming beach will be on the south side, the marina on the southeast and motel-style employee housing east and west.

The four-lane causeway connecting the island to the mainland on both sides will be roofed with more solar panels. Additionally, cables running under the road will provide back-up power and will heat the causeway so it will not need winter maintenance.

The DeMi­HuGi spokesman, Maken Haye, said two similar projects on larger water bodies have drawbridges in the causeways to accommodate sailboats.

The company analyzed mast heights on China Lake and concluded no drawbridge is needed.

All windows will have bird-friendly glass. Indoor lighting will be arranged to create “a warm, welcoming glow” after dark.

DeMiHuGi’s spokesman, Haye, said in most projects some amenities are open to local residents, by arrangement with municipal officials.

Additionally, she said, it is company policy to hold a contest among local residents only to name the project. The contest winner receives a 10-year lease on one of the larger apartments.

The project schedule depends on acquiring the needed permits, state and local. The company spokesman said, “Since Maine has never seen a project like this, I expect it will take a while. I doubt we’ll break lake bottom this year.”

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IF YOU BELIEVED THIS STORY, YOU ARE A BELATED APRIL FOOL.

The bird man of South China: 100 birdhouses or bust!

Clinton Hayward at work in his woodworking shop. (Contributed photo)

by Eric W. Austin

“More than a billion birds have disappeared in recent years,” says South China resident Clinton Hayward, a local conservation activist who has established five chapters of Ducks Unlimited across Maine and has spent 70 years birdwatching and following the research on bird populations in North America.

Hayward’s latest project is to build and install 100 birdhouses across the expansive property owned by his daughter and step-son on Three Mile Pond. So far, Hayward has finished 30, but hopes to reach his goal of 100, working mostly on rainy days over the next year.

A look at Hayward’s birdhouse in-progress. (Contributed photo.)

“This has been a lifelong interest of mine,” he says. “[I’ve] always [been] fascinated with anything that has feathers.” Growing up on a farm in Calais, Hayward was constantly surrounded by flocks of chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and pigeons. Over the last half-century, he has watched, with rising alarm, as bird populations have steadily decreased across North America.

Recent scientific research backs up Hayward’s lifelong observations. A 2019 study by researchers, published in the journal Science, found that North America’s bird populations have declined by roughly 30 percent over the last half-century. That’s nearly three billion fewer birds flying in our skies today than in 1970.

“I am convinced this is not a short term cyclical problem,” Hayward says, “but rather a long term gradual decline that may be irreversible.”

According to the referenced study, the most affected species are small birds whose habitat are grasslands. Hayward agrees. “My observations lead me to believe that the problem is more acute with small birds, especially song birds,” he says. Much of the decline is a result of the destruction of important nesting areas that have been converted for agriculture, but Hayward thinks insecticides play a major role as well.

“The spray can affect the birds directly or indirectly when they eat dead insects that have succumbed to the spray,” he says. “Squirrels are also devastating, along with other rodents who very much enjoy eating bird eggs, but insecticides are doing the major damage in my opinion.”

Waterfowl such as ducks and geese have been less affected as a result of early conservation efforts in the U.S. and Canada. “I do not feel that waterfowl are currently under the same threat as most other bird species,” Hayward says, “because organizations like Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy and others responded long ago to the waterfowl population crisis in the dust bowl days of the 1930s and ‘40s, when waterfowl populations were all but wiped out and lack of habitat took its toll. By spending millions and millions on habitat projects in North America, the species have responded and thrived.”

[See related – Welcome home: A Vietnam Experience]

It’s not just the bird population that is at risk, believes Hayward. “Bat populations are also in extreme difficulty,” he says. “Just a few short years ago, I could count hundreds and even thousands of bats doing their work at dusk. Now, I see almost none. I believe the spraying for insects is probably responsible since they live primarily on insects.”

Anyone can help put up birdhouses to provide additional habitat-space for visiting birds, but it’s important to educate yourself about the kinds of birds that visit your property and their specific needs before getting started.

A look at some of the birdhouses Hayward has finished. Contributed photo.

“Many people who put out bird houses do not pay particular attention to the dimensions of the house, the size of the portal hole, etcetera,” says Hayward. “Different species of birds prefer different size cavities and openings. For instance, if you are seeking to attract wrens, you would want a small, four-inch by four-inch house with a one-inch to one-and-an-eighth inch opening and the portal hole about eight to nine inches above the floor.” He adds, “Many fledglings have a problem exiting bird houses when they are getting ready to learn to fly. Placing a strip of screening below the portal will assist fledglings in getting to the portal.”

It’s a good idea to carefully observe the birds that visit your property before deciding which bird houses to install. Hayward recommends that interested readers consult the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service pamphlet For the Birds, which can be found here: www.fws.gov/birds.

Clinton Hayward, a master gardener, often does site visits to provide assistance or offer advice on garden design and proper selection of plants to make a property bird friendly. He is happy to share his experiences or offer advice for others who might be looking to make their own properties more habitable for our visiting feathered friends. He can be reached by email at clntnhayward@gmail.com.

Eric W. Austin writes about local community issues. He can be reached by email at ericwaustin@townline.org.

CFAL committee meets to discuss volunteer needs and efforts

CFALC members, left to right, Eric Austin, Jeanne Marquis, Christopher Hahn, and Dan McKinnis. Out of frame, Laurie Lizotte, Ann Austin, Irene Belanger, and Theresa Wight. (contributed photo)

by Eric W. Austin

On March 19, the China for a Lifetime Committee (CFALC) met to discuss the best ways to provide assistance to members of the community that are especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes high risk individuals like the elderly or those with underlying respiratory conditions which makes possible infection especially dangerous.

Five members of the committee gathered in the main conference room at the town office, sitting at least six feet apart as advised by the CDC, and others logged into a conference call set up for the purpose or watched the meeting live via the town’s live streaming service. The committee was also joined by Dan McKinnis, China Rescue Chief, who advised the committee on important safety measures, and Theresa Wight, from Head Start, who spoke about her work to supply food to needy area families with young children. China town manager, Dennis Heath, watched the meeting live and supplied suggestions via text chat.

McKinnis, who reminded the team that he was not an expert on the coronavirus but relied on best practices set down by the Maine CDC, told the group that it is important that they treat everyone as a potential infection risk. Gloves can be an important safety measure, but the Maine CDC has warned that gloves can also make people less cautious. Gloves need to be changed or washed as often as one would wash your hands, as any contamination on the gloves can then be easily transferred to other surfaces.

McKinnis also spoke of the difficulties of local EMT and first responders, who are on the front lines of the current crisis. Like others, they are fearful of contracting the virus themselves or bringing a possible infection home to their families. In response to the current situation, the dispatch officers who receive 911 calls are now asking qualifying questions to classify people into three possible categories: positive, negative or undetermined. These categories are helping first responders determine the risk level in responding to calls. So far, said McKinnis, China Rescue has not had any calls from likely positive individuals, but they have adjusted their procedures as a cautionary measure. If they do get a call from an individual who could be infected with the virus, they can suit up in gowns and masks for safety, but since these items are disposable and their supplies are limited, they must carefully assess each situation and respond accordingly.

McKinnis recommends that everyone practice social distancing as advised by the CDC, and suggests that those without cleaning supplies can soak a paper towel in a solution of bleach and water to wipe down frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, steering wheels, light switches and eating surfaces. The CDC recommends a solution of five tablespoons (1/3 cup) of bleach per gallon of clean water for this purpose.

Rescue Chief McKinnis also recommended to the China for a Lifetime Committee that any food deliveries to needy residents be left on front porches without contact with the resident, that no one go into the house of a resident they are helping, and that transporting anyone – such as to doctor’s appointments – should not be done because of the possible risk of contamination.

Theresa Wight, who works for the local Head Start office, spoke about the food insecurity faced by the families in her program. Currently she works with 14 local families who are finding it difficult to feed their children with local schools closed. This led to a discussion of how to identify local families in need.

The China for a Lifetime Committee has several ways for local residents to get in contact with the committee and let them know what needs they have. Residents who need help may send an email to ChinaforaLifetime@gmail.com or call the China for a Lifetime hotline at 207-200-3704. This is a voicemail-only number, but the messages are regularly checked and you will be called back as soon as possible. Please leave your name, age, phone number and explain your current need.

There are also several active Facebook groups where residents can post requests or suggestions. One is the “Friends of China, Maine” group which is managed through a partnership between The Town Line newspaper and the China for a Lifetime Committee. Another group, started by China resident Sara Casey is called “China Community Emergency Supply Drive” and is set up specifically to organize a collection of food and other essentials for distribution to needy families in China.

At the meeting, the committee identified several immediate needs. Most essential is the need for volunteers. This includes drivers to deliver or pick up items for high risk residents who are housebound for fear of infection. Volunteer drivers should be younger than 60 years of age, with no underlying respiratory health issues. For this and other volunteer opportunities, please contact the committee by sending an email to ChinaforaLifetime@gmail.com or leave a message on the hotline at 207-200-3704.

There is also a need for volunteers at the China Community Food Pantry, as many of its volunteers are older senior citizens who are now in a high risk category. To volunteer at the China Food Pantry, please contact Ann Austin at 968-2421 or email lee.ljaustin@gmail.com.

Anyone with symptoms such as a fever with a dry cough and shortness of breath – the primary indicators of the new virus – should call their local primary care physician or local hospital. Do not physically go to either location, as you could be putting yourself or others in unnecessary danger. Please start with an initial phone call to avoid overcrowding at our hospitals or local physicians’ offices. If you have questions or concerns, you may also call Maine’s information hotline by dialing 211, 1-866-811-5695, or emailing info@211maine.org.

A runny nose, said Rescue Chief McKinnis, does not seem to be a primary indicator of a COVID-19 infection and is most likely just the common cold.

In this time of crisis, the most important thing we can do is pull together as a community. If you are healthy and low risk, please volunteer to help others. If you are aware of elderly neighbors, especially those living alone, please call them and check in on them or contact the CFAL Committee and let us know they need to be checked on. Do not visit anyone “in person” as you could be putting them at risk. Instead rely on phone, email or other means to make contact while maintaining your distance.

To find out more about the China for a Lifetime Committee and for a list of local resources, please visit their website at ChinaforaLifetime.com.

Eric W. Austin writes about local community issues. He can be contacted by email at ericwaustin@townline.org.

Recycling suspended 14 days in China

Recycling operations suspended for 14 days at the Town of China Transfer Station effective immediately. This brief suspension should not create too much of a burden on users, but we appreciate everyone’s patience. We will update as appropriate.

CHINA: Self-storage facility gets approval

by Mary Grow

China Codes Officer William Butler reported the planning board, meeting March 10, approved Jamie Nichols’ application for a self-storage facility on Vassalboro Road.

Nichols amended his application by adding more phosphorus treatment and reducing the amount of impervious surface to bring the facility into compliance with China’s phosphorus run-off regulations.

The board approval is conditional on Nichols getting two state Department of Environmental Protection permits.

The next China Planning Board meeting is currently scheduled for Tuesday evening, March 24. Butler said the agenda has two items, review of an application for Phase Two of the causeway project at the head of China Lake’s east basin and continued discussion of SunRaise solar projects near Route 3.

The second phase of the causeway project involves changes to the shoreline and boat landing east of the new causeway bridge, which was the heart of the first phase. SunRaise has approval for a solar array off Windsor Road (see The Town Line, March 5, p. 3), with further discussion of the surety bond for decommissioning and restoration of the property pending, and has applied for a second solar development farther east on Route 3.