LETTERS: Soccer parents support Tuminaro

To the editor:

We are writing to show our support for Jennifer Tuminaro as she runs for public office. As the soccer coach for Solid Rock, Jen leads humbly, giving clear instruction while coming alongside to help guide those around her. Coach Tuminaro embodies what it means to be a servant leader. She is not afraid of getting down in the trenches with people. She can be seen doing intense drills and exercises alongside the team, even on a 90-degree day, leading by example and showing them that they can do hard things.

We have also observed her on the sidelines engaging with kids and parents alike, some of who are traversing hardships in life, while offering a listening ear and compassionate heart. She is the loudest voice on the field cheering our kids on, and she motivates our children to a standard of excellence, both on and off the field. Coach Tuminaro has a passion for the success of the next generation, inspiring our youth to be leaders and young men and women of integrity.

When problems arise, Jen seeks solutions and is not afraid to ask for help if needed. An example of this was when Covid affected sports throughout Maine. Coach Tuminaro, who is also the athletic director and representative for the MCSSL Sports League, spent countless hours making phone calls, keeping up on ever-changing protocols, and found ways where we could safely participate in the soccer season. It was a daunting task but one she pursued ardently. Her hard work was reflected on the smiling faces of our children as they were able to participate in group sports in this unprecedented time of isolation.

One of Jen’s many strengths is that she is a great communicator who has a heart to hear and understand others, even those whom she may not agree with. This important skill, coupled with her respect for people of all ages and stages, makes her very approachable. Jennifer Tuminaro inspires others to be the best versions of themselves. She is the kind of leader who can capably handle the hard issues of our day while also remaining kindhearted and accessible. Jennifer Tuminaro is a breath of fresh air in the polluted world of politics.

The Solid Rock Soccer parents

CHINA: Road paving plan to use chip seal process

by Mary Grow

CHINA, ME — China Director of Public Services Shawn Reed has consensus support from the town Road Committee for his paving plans for this summer, which involve extensive use of chip seal rather than asphalt resurfacing (see The Town Line, May 12, p. 2).

Reed and Doug Fowler, representing All States Construction, of Richmond, the company to which select board members awarded the paving bid on May 9, explained the process to the committee

A road is first shimmed, given a coat that evens its surface. Fowler said sometimes as much as four inches of shim are needed where years of traffic have created ruts in the pavement. The shim coat cures for 30 days; then chip seal, an emulsion with hard rock embedded, is applied.

After a few days the road is swept to move any loose rock into the ditches. Fowler said All States will do the sweeping, twice if necessary.

China’s South Road is chip sealed, and Reed is pleased with the way it is holding up so far. He and Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood said they received two types of comments after the road was done.

Because the shim surface was so smooth, drivers questioned why the road was surfaced again after a month, Reed said. Hapgood added that until the loose rocks were gone, motorcyclists complained.

Reed plans this year to resurface all or parts of McCaslin Road, Dutton Road, Danforth Road, Pleasant View Ridge Road, Morrill Road (to the Winslow town line) Causeway Street, Canton Street, Peking Street and Neck Road.

He recommends asphalt resurfacing only on Peking, Canton and Causeway streets. Because Pleasant View Ridge Road is heavily traveled, he is considering a double coat of chip seal on the part scheduled, which runs east and then south from Lakeview Drive about to McCaslin Road.

Chip seal is less expensive than asphalt, so at present prices the planned work can be done within the proposed 2022-23 paving budget of $560,000. However, Reed and Fowler said, prices are rising weekly, and China’s contract with All States has an escalator clause allowing the company to raise its prices as its costs go up.

The paving budget includes road striping, and Reed commented that the price.

Area residents named to dean’s list at University of New England

The following students have been named to the dean’s list for the 2021 fall semester at the University of New England, in Biddeford. Dean’s list students have attained a grade point average of 3.3 or better out of a possible 4.0 at the end of the semester.

Olivia McPherson, of Albion; Valerie Capeless, Zinaida Gregor, Jessica Guerrette, Brooklynn Merrill and Julia White, all of Augusta; Sidney Knox, of Benton; Alden Balboni, Kierra Bumford and Tyler Pellerin, all of Oakland: Sarah Kohl and Olivia Roy, both of Sidney; Julia Steeves and Dawson Turcotte, both of Skowhegan; Lauren Boatright, Noelle Cote and Richard Winn, all of South China; Libby Breznyak and Lauren Pinnette, both of Waterville; and Juliann Lapierre and Justice Picard, both of Winslow.

The University of New England is Maine’s largest private university, with two beautiful coastal campuses in Maine, a one-of-a-kind study-abroad campus in Tangier, Morocco, and an array of flexible online offerings. In an uncommonly welcoming and supportive community, we offer hands-on learning, empowering students to make a positive impact in a world full of challenges. We are the state’s top provider of health professionals and home to Maine’s only medical and dental colleges, a variety of other interprofessionally aligned health care programs, and nationally recognized degree paths in the marine sciences, the natural and social sciences, business, the humanities, and the arts. Visit une.edu

Local Farms Day at ACB

Come one and all to the first annual Local Farms Day at the Albert Church Brown Memorial Library at 37 Main St. in China Village. Attendees will view displays of goods of area farmers and producers with items also for sale. This family friendly event will be held on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Displays will be indoors and out. There will be door prizes and giveaways. Children will enjoy some activities including a story and craft time at 11 a.m. We will also be accepting seed donations to build up our Seed Sharing Library.

China Planning Board meeting canceled

The China Planning Board meeting scheduled for May 9 was canceled; board members were not ready to continue work on draft ordinances. The next regular meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 24.

China broadband committee continues talks with Unitel, Direct Communications

by Mary Grow

At their May 4 meeting, China Broadband Committee (CBC) members continued discussion of working with Unitel and Direct Communications to bring expanded broadband service to China residents. CBC Chairman Robert O’Connor planned to present an interim report to China Select Board members at their May 9 meeting.

As at their previous joint discussion April 6 (see The Town Line, April 14, p. 3), everyone was enthusiastic about a cooperative endeavor – and how to pay for what CBC members envision remained a problem.

After voters defeated a request to borrow money through a bond in November 2021, CBC members have been determined to develop a plan that would not require financial support from taxpayers. They expect a combination of grants, user fees and other to-be-explored sources to cover costs.

CBC member Jamie Pitney summarized the committee’s relationship with Unitel: “We contacted all these people [from other broadband and telecommunications companies, including those already serving China residents] and the most promising are sitting right here.”

Michael Akers, Unitel’s Director of Network Operations, said he and Lead Communications Technician Scott Turgeon toured about half of China’s roads and confirmed and expanded information collected by last summer’s survey by Hawkeye Connections.

Notably, they found areas on main roads and camp roads where new facilities would be needed. The necessary construction would be “fairly straightforward,” Akers said, parts of it easy and parts hard.

In sum, the Unitel experts were “not supersurprised” by their findings. They concurred with Hawkeye’s cost estimate of around $6.5 million for work China would need.

They also agreed that under current guidelines and definitions for federal and state broadband grants, China could expect about $850,000, leaving a substantial amount needed from other sources.

Unitel and Direct Communications would contribute, amounts unknown. And, several people mentioned in discussion, grant guidelines will not be final until the fall of 2022 and might change to China’s advantage.

Another possible plan would be to expand China broadband incrementally over several years, starting with service to currently unserved and underserved areas.

The group agreed that CBC members should encourage China residents to do repeated speed tests on their current broadband service. Demonstrations of limited service should help show the need for change. Direct Communications, based in the small town of Rockland, Idaho, specializes in providing rural towns with broadband service. Unitel, based in Unity, Maine, is now a member of Direct Communications. Unitel’s Director of Internal/External Support, Jayne Sullivan, and Akers said they will forward a description of the local financial situation to Idaho.

Pitney asked James Dougherty, from consultant Mission Broadband, to draft a work plan for the CBC based on the May 4 discussion. After discussion of how much time would be needed, the next CBC meeting was scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, in the portable building behind the China town office.

China select board holds public hearing on proposed budget

by Mary Grow

The May 9 China Select Board meeting began with a half-hour public hearing on three of the items to be submitted to voters on June 14: the Large Scale Solar Facilities Moratorium Ordinance (Art. 37), the updated town comprehensive plan (Art. 38) and the 2022-23 municipal budget (Arts. 2 through 21, and indirectly Arts. 22 through 25 and 27 through 35).

Select Board Chairman Ronald Breton briefly explained each item and invited questions from the audience, on line and in the meeting room. There was one: Lawrence Sikora asked why money for China’s volunteer fire departments appeared in two different articles.

Breton explained that Art. 9 asks for $166,755 to keep the fire departments and rescue unit operating, funding their buildings and equipment and related expenses. Art. 12 asks for $92,000 for 11 “community support organizations,” donations or gifts to help in-town service organizations. The fire departments’ appropriations are intended for each department’s chief to distribute among the volunteer members in appreciation of their work.

Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood said town meeting information, including the proposed ordinance and the revised comprehensive plan, are on China’s website, china.govoffice.com, under the elections tab on the left side of the page. A paper copy of the lengthy comprehensive plan may be borrowed from the town office.

During the meeting that followed the hearing, select board members approved two school-related questions for voters to answer on June 14. They will be on two separate ballots. One asks voters to approve or reject the 2022-23 school budget that will have been approved in an open meeting May 19. The other asks voter approval to apply to the state’s School Revolving Renovation Fund.

Carl Gartley, China resident and Superintendent in Regional School Unit (RSU) #18 (Belgrade, China, Oakland, Rome and Sidney), said the proposed 2022-23 budget is 1.57 percent, or about $643,000, higher than the current year’s budget. China’s share is projected to increase by 0.96 percent, or about $48,000.

On Thursday, May 19, interested voters from the five RSU #18 towns will meet at 6 p.m. at the Messalonskee High School Performing Arts Center, in Oakland, and vote on the amount in each of the 18 articles that make up the budget. On June 14, voters in the five towns will vote yes or no on re-approving the total that was approved May 19, the annual school budget referendum vote.

The formula that determines how much of the total RSU budget each town pays is currently based 75 percent on property valuation and 25 percent on student population. Gartley said that a new 15-member committee – three people from each town, appointed by the select boards – that will decide whether to continue or to amend the formula is scheduled to be organized this fall.

Also on June 14 is the state primary election.

China’s polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 14, in the former portable classroom behind the town office. Hapgood reminded the audience that the town office will be closed all day, because staff will be at the polls.

Town and state absentee ballots will be available at the town office Monday, May 16, and the RSU ballots will be available Friday, May 20.

In other business at the May 9 meeting, select board members reviewed seven bids for paving town roads. They unanimously accepted the low bid of $86.90 per ton of paving mix, from All States Construction, of Richmond, with the proviso that Hapgood and the China Road Committee will decide what roads to repave with asphalt and what roads to chip seal, as they evaluate the need and the funds available.

Steven Goulas, Paving Coordinator/Estimator for All States, explained that a chip seal surface is a layer of emulsion with hard stone spread on top and packed down, and then swept to move any loose stone into the ditches. Chip seal costs less than repaving.

Depending on the road, different size stone can be used, and either one or two layers applied, Goulas said. He estimated a chip sealed surface would last on average around five years, compared to an average of around seven years for an asphalt repaving. Chip seal is more durable now than it was 30 years ago because of the change in weather, he added.

Shawn Reed, China’s newly-titled Director of Public Services (combining management of the public works department and the transfer station), reminded the audience that South Road was chip sealed and is holding up well. His opinion is that it would be better to do as much as possible of the planned 5.1 miles of resurfacing this summer, using both methods as road committee members advise, than to postpone all work hoping for lower prices in 2023.

The China Road Committee, including Hapgood and Reed, was scheduled to meet Wednesday morning, May 11.

Reed’s report to the select board, presented by Hapgood, said his department has just added two new employees, one for public works and one for the transfer station.

Hapgood reminded those present that new transfer station hours take effect the week of May 16. So far, she said, she has heard only approval of the change. The new hours are on the town website and posted at the transfer station.

Select board members accepted the lowest of three bids for 18 months of mowing (to switch the contract from a calendar to a fiscal year), $47,225 from AK Enterprise, Alex Sargent’s landscape company, in Chelsea.

They approved a renewed two-year dispatching contract with the City of Waterville’s police department. The price is a little over $19,000 for the first year – already in the proposed 2022-23 budget, Hapgood said – and likely to increase slightly in the second year.

Robert O’Connor, chairman of the China Broadband Committee (CBC), updated board members on committee discussions with representatives of telecommunications companies since his report last November. CBC members are currently optimistic about prospects for expanded broadband service through Unity-based Unitel and Unitel’s new partner, Direct Communications of Idaho (see related story here).

The next regular China Select Board meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, May 23.

Erskine Academy second trimester honors 2022

(photo credit: Erskine Academy)

Grade 12

High Honors: Isaac Baker, Julia Barber, Alana Beggs, Jacob Bentley, Autumn Boody, Olivia Bourque, Lilian Bray, Kevin Brownell II, Emily Clark, Jesse Cowing, Jasmine Crommett, Isabella DeRose, Luke Desmond, Alexander Drolet, Coralie Favier, Emma Fortin, Wyatt French, Jenna Gallant, Josette Gilman, Samantha Golden, Ciera Hamar, Isaac Hayden, Hayden Hoague, Grace Hodgkin, Balqis Hutami, Emma Jefferson, Grace Kelso, Mallory Landry, Aidan Larrabee, Lili Lefebvre, Isavel Lux Soc, David Martinez-Gosselin, Adam Ochs, Tony Pedersen, Matilde Pettinari, Devon Polley, Sarah Praul, Riley Reitchel, Parker Reynolds, Mackenzie Roderick, Abbey Searles, Andrew Shaw, Hannah Soule, Natalie Spearin, Daniel Tibbetts and Lily Vinci.

Honors: Gabriella Berto-Blagdon, Jack Blais, Daniel Cseak , Colby Cunningham, Kaden Doughty, Abigail Dutton, Kelsie Fielder, Chase Folsom, Rayne George, Trace Harris, Larissa Haskell, Hunter Johnson, Madelyne Koehling, Shawn Libby, Madison Lully, Hunter Marr, Malcolm Martinez, Calvin Mason, Wes McGlew, Kaden McIntyre, Rebecca Morton, Abigail Peaslee, Julian Reight, Ely Rideout, Nathaniel Solorzano, Hannah Strout–Gordon, Lily Thompson, Hannah Torrey, Summer Wasilowski, Samuel Worthley, Emily York and Hayden Young.

Grade 11

High Honors: Carson Appel, Abigail Beyor, Eve Boatright, Katherine Bourdon, Breckon Davidson, Nicole DeMerchant, Lillian Dorval, Lilly Fredette, Cooper Grondin, Nabila Harrington, Grady Hotham, Grace Hutchins, Olivia Hutchinson, Hallie Jackson, Beck Jorgensen, Kaiden Kelley, Dale Lapointe, Brenden Levesque, Malachi Lowery, Lily Matthews, River Meader, Timber Parlin, Kayla Peaslee, Jonathan Peil, Gabriel Pelletier, Jenna Perkins, Sophia Pilotte, Kaden Porter, Alexis Rancourt, Cadence Rau, Samantha Reynolds, Noah Rushing, Jarell Sandoval, Gabriela Sasse, Zuriah Smith, Sophie Steeves, Daniel Stillman, Mackenzie Toner, Emma Tyler, Lauren Tyler, Katherine Williams and Damon Wilson.

Honors: Molly Anderson, Parker Bellows, Angel Bonilla, Samuel Boynton, Alexis Buotte, Nicholas Choate, Courtney Cowing, Grace Ellis, Myra Evans, Brianna Gardner, Loralei Gilley, Alivia Gower, Mallary Hanke, Kassidy Hopper, Acadia Kelley, Jakob Kennedy, Matthew Knowles, Lydah Kong, Meadow Laflamme, Zephyr Lani-Caputo, Bryce Lincoln, Gwen Lockhart, Kendal Longtin, Emily Majewski, Gage Moody, Angelina Ochoa, Ethan Ouellette, Ezra Padgett, Karen Potter, Ally Rodrigue, Conner Rowe, Emmalee Sanborn, Sammantha Stafford, Emma Stred, Paige Sutter, Colby Willey, Joseph Wing, Aidan Witham and Keanah Young.

Grade 10

High Honors: Isabella Boudreau, Heather Bourgoin, Robin Boynton, Elizabeth Brown, Nolan Burgess, Makayla Chabot, Elise Choate, Alexia Cole, Brielle Crommett, Noah Crummett, Hailey Estes, Kaylee Fyfe, Caleb Gay, Leah Grant, Nathan Hall, Tara Hanley, Cristina Hart Loran, Natalie Henderson, Stephanie Kumnick, Carol Labbe, Sydney Laird, Kiley Lee, Aidan Maguire, Richard Mahoney III, Holden McKenney, Austin Nicholas, Jazel Nichols, Alejandro Ochoa, Jeremy Parker, Nathan Polley, Jessica Pumphrey, Kinsey Stevens, Lara Stinchfield, Reese Sullivan and Baruch Wilson.

Honors: Austin Armstrong, Duncan Bailey, Leah Bonner, Kellsie Boynton, Wyatt Bray, Kaleb Brown, Nathalia Carrasco, Timothy Christiansen, Simon Clark, Connor Coull, Thomas Crawford, Caleigh Crocker, Gavin Cunningham, Keira Deschamps, Ciara Fickett, Hunter Foard, Jackson Gamblin, Brayden Garland, Abbey Gordon, Jessica Hendsbee, Hannah Kugelmeyer, Mackenzie Kutniewski, Logan Lanphier, Sophie Leclerc, Jack Lyons, Liberty Massie, David McCaig, Carlos Michaud, Gavin Mills, Cami Monroe, Alexis Moon, Hannah Oakes, Remy Pettengill, Keith Radonis, Evelyn Rousseau, Giacomo Smith, Adam St. Onge, Jack Uleau, Haley Webb, Tyonna Williams, Elijah York and Melanie York.

Grade 9

High Honors: Ava Anderson, Emmett Appel, Bryana Barrett, Noah Bechard, Octavia Berto, Jayda Bickford, Brooke Blais, Keenan Clark, Hannah Cohen-Mackin, Lauren Cowing, Lillian Crommett, Gabrielle Daggett, Brady Desmond, John Edwards, Ryan Farnsworth, Chloe French, Jonathan Gutierrez, Serena Hotham, Kailynn Houle, Ava Kelso, Sophia Knapp, Lucy-Anne Knowles, Chase Larrabee, Jack Lucier, Owen Lucier, Eleanor Maranda, Jade McCollett, Abigail McDonough, Shannon McDonough, Madison McNeff, Sadie Pierce, Wallace Pooler IV, Carter Rau, Elsa Redmond, Justin Reed, Lillian Rispoli, Laney Robitaille, Carlee Sanborn, Joslyn Sandoval, Aislynn Savage, Zoey Smith and Parker Studholme.

Honors: Daphney Allen, Haileigh Allen, Geneva Beckim, Kaleb Bishop, Olivia Brann, Carter Brockway, Paige Clark, Madison Cochran, Dylan Cooley, Andra Cowing, Aydan Desjardins, Thomas Drever, Lucas Farrington, Kaylee Fortier, Kenneth Fredette, Wesley Fulton, Ellie Giampetruzzi, Kaylene Glidden, Tristan Goodwin, Brandon Hanscom, Landen Hayden, Emma Henderson, Parker Hunter, Walker Jean, Montana Johnson, Rion Kesel, Kaiden Kronillis, Bodi Laflamme, D’andre Marable, Addison Mort, Owen Northrup, Colin Oliphant, Makayla Oxley, Noah Pelletier, Ava Picard, Alyssa Pullen, Nathan Robinson, Kyle Scott, Achiva Seigars, Jordyn Smith, Katherine Swift, Grace Vashon and Dalorice Vires.

China planners discuss revised ordinances they hope to ask voters to approve

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members spent a second meeting the evening of April 26 mostly discussing new and revised ordinances they hope to ask voters to approve in November (see The Town Line, April 21, p. 3).

They made two unanimous decisions about ordinance revisions.

  • One recommended change, in the Land Use Ordinance, will be to limit lot coverage in the shoreland zone to 15 percent for structures plus 5 percent for other impervious surfaces, like driveways and parking areas.
  • A second change, to the draft Solar Energy Systems Ordinance, will be to exclude commercial solar developments from the Stream Protection Zone and the Resource Protection Zone. They are already excluded from the Shoreland Zone.

After board members have agreed in principle on all revisions they recommend, they will develop wording to be presented to voters as proposed ordinance amendments.

Codes Officer Jaime Hanson had learned that state regulations set no limit on the amount of a lot covered by man-made structures and surfaces in rural zones, a topic discussed at the April 12 board meeting. There was consensus, but no formal decision, on a 30 percent limit instead of the present 20 percent limit.

Hanson pointed out that new state laws intended to promote affordable housing are likely to increase housing density, by encouraging duplexes, mother-in-law apartments and similar expansions of single-family residences.

Turning to the proposed Solar Energy Systems Ordinance, board members discussed a variety of issues it needs to cover, including minimizing effects on neighbors, making sure construction debris is cleaned up, controlling stormwater run-off and guaranteeing funds to restore the land after the solar farm reaches the end of its useful life. Board member Michael Brown volunteered to look into possible compatible uses of land under a solar array, for example for raising some type of crop.

Subject to landowner approval, board members plan to visit the solar farm on Route 32 North (Vassalboro Road), if possible immediately before their May 10 meeting.

Hanson and board Chairman Scott Rollins brought up another potential ordinance, one that would govern short-term vacation rentals. A major concern is that building-owners around China’s lakes are renting to large groups of people, potentially overloading shoreland septic systems.

The topic will be on a future agenda.

LETTERS: Fooled by Alpawich

To the editor:

The article written by our faithful reporter Mary Grow, was certainly well written! I think that was the best April Fool that I have ever been fooled by. I hate to admit I was completely fooled, then I noticed the continued on page 15. I had to laugh at myself when I read, “If you believed this, you are an April Fool.”

Seriously, Mary, I thank you for your dedicated reporting for The Town Line.

Marilyn Reed
South China