China select board supports broadband committee

by Mary Grow

After a pre-meeting party in appreciation of retiring chairman Ronald Breton, China select board members settled down to deal with a long and varied Nov. 7 agenda.

They unanimously endorsed a letter of support for the China Broadband Committee (CBC) application for a Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA) grant to improve broadband service in China.

CBC chairman Robert O’Connor said under new state standards, all of China, not just part of the town, qualifies as underserved by current internet providers. Therefore, he said, CBC’s partners, UniTel, of Unity, and UniTel’s Idaho-based parent company, Direct Communications, have expanded their original application.

O’Connor said he has numerous letters of support from townspeople. Select board members unanimously authorized Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood to send a supporting letter and to sign any other documents needed as part of the application.

Several Thurston Park Committee members attended the Nov. 7 meeting to argue against Breton’s proposal to leave the park gate open in October and November so that hunters can drive in. Breton explained his goal was to make it easier for older people to hunt in the park.

Sheri Wilkens said that after years of neglect that led to impassable roads and vandalism, committee members had done a lot of hard work to restore the park. They feared leaving the gate open would lead to major setbacks.

No one else on the select board favored Breton’s idea, and no action was taken.

Hunting has always been allowed in the park. Part of the roads are open to four-wheelers, committee members said.

Select board members acted on bids or price estimates on two topics.

They voted to buy a snow pusher to go on the new loader from Scott’s Recreation, a company with dealerships in Hermon, Manchester and Turner that sells a variety of RVs, trailers, tractors, equipment and other outdoor-related items. The price was $5,900, more than $1,000 lower than the next lowest bid.

Hapgood thanked Brent Chesley (who appears certain to be a select board member after the Nov. 8 local election) for picking up the new loader.

To demolish a trailer at 90 Chadwick Way, off Dirigo Road, board members had a $4,500 figure from Pine Tree Waste, including removal of the remains and site clean-up; and a $2,500 figure from board member Wayne Chadwick, owner of W. D. Chadwick Construction, with the town to pay for disposal after he brought debris to the transfer station.

Hapgood had tried to estimate disposal costs, but without knowing how much debris there would be, an accurate figure was impossible. Chadwick said he would not accept a motion to give the job to his company with a $4,500 price ceiling.

A board majority voted to accept Pine Tree Waste’s $4,500 price, with Chadwick and Blane Casey abstaining. Hapgood hopes the work will be done by the end of November.

Returning to an Oct. 24 topic, board members unanimously revised the starting date for the two-cents-a pound fee for brush disposal at the transfer station (see the Oct. 27 issue of The Town Line, p. 3) from Nov. 15 to Feb. 1, 2023. Hapgood said she had been reminded of the requirement that China give Palermo residents three months’ notice of transfer station fee changes.

By contract, Palermo shares use of China’s transfer station. Residents of the two towns pay identical fees for specified items (bulky items, tires, electronics and others); Palermo residents pay for trash bags for mixed household waste; and the Town of Palermo pays China an annual fee.

Board members postponed a decision on repairs to the roof of the recycling building after Casey suggested considering switching to asphalt shingles, instead of repairing the screwed-down metal roof. He volunteered to inspect the roof the next day.

Appointments approved were:

  • Kenneth Reese as a member of the Municipal Building Committee and the Emergency Preparedness Committee; and
  • J. Christopher Baumann as a member of the Transfer Station Committee.

Hapgood reminded those present that town facilities will be closed Friday, Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans’ Day. They will also be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24 and 25, for the Thanksgiving holiday. On Saturday, Nov 26, the town office and transfer station will be open regular hours.

The next regular China select board meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Nov. 21.

Three brothers complete Eagle Scout hat trick

The Pettengill family, from left to right, Lee, Aiden, Bryson, Rémy, and Danielle Pettengill. All three of Lee and Danielle’s sons attained the rank of Eagle Scout. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

CHINA, ME — Bryson Lee Pettengill, of Troop #479, received his Eagle Scout rank during a ceremony held on October 30, at the China Masonic Lodge. He isn’t the first in his family, however, to attain the rank of Eagle. Both of his brothers have also earned scouting’s highest honor. Aiden earned his Eagle on October 25, 2017, and Rémy, who is currently serving as Senior Patrol leader for Troop #479, earned his Eagle on August 28, 2019. Since the inception of the Eagle Scout award in 1912, 2.01 percent of eligible scouts have earned scouting’s highest honor but the Pettengill family has seen 100 percent of their children earn the award.

Danielle Pettengill pins the Eagle Scout medal on the uniform of her son Bryson. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Lee Pettengill, their father, praised scouting: “It means a safe place for boys to turn into young men. A place of friendship and tolerance. A place that teaches it’s OK to stumble and educates how to get back up gracefully and move forward with dignity. I don’t know about other troops but ours is an extended family of people going out of their way to help others both in the troop and the community.” Lee is an assistant scoutmaster with the troop and his wife Danielle is the troop advancement chairman.

More than 50 people attended Bryson’s ceremony including State Senator Matt Pouliot and State Representative Tim Theriault, who presented the 13-year-old China Middle School student with a Legislative Sentiment acknowledging his accomplishment, and a United States flag that flew over the State capitol building. “This is a tremendous accomplishment,” Pouliot said, admitting that he never got beyond Cub Scouts but appreciated the leadership development and service scouting provides. “It is a great program for our young people and it is a great benefit to our communities.”

Not only did Bryson receive his Eagle, but he also earned a Bronze Palm for his Eagle Scout ribbon in recognition of his having earned nine badges above those required for Eagle. As he is only 13, he could earn many more palms before he turns 18.

China planners postpone action on solventless hash lab

Daycare expansion approved

by Mary Grow

At their Oct. 25 meeting, China planning board members postponed action on Bryan Mason’s application, and scheduled a public hearing when they return to it on Nov. 22. They approved Angela Glidden’s application.

Mason applied for what he and codes officer Nicholas French considered a change of use for a shipping container, on Mason’s property at 1144 Route 3 (right next to M. A. Haskell Fuel Company, he said).

Mason said the container had been used for storage. He plans to convert it to a solventless hash lab.

A solventless hash lab, he explained, turns marijuana plants into hash oil, which is the basic ingredient for consumer products like marijuana gummy bears. Hash oil is much in demand; there are three other labs in Maine, all backed up on orders, Mason said.

Mason will not make consumer products; he will sell the oil to companies that do. He anticipates no retail traffic at his property, at least not in the near future. The process does not produce any troublesome waste products.

Planning board members found that Mason’s application was incomplete, lacking evidence to demonstrate that the new use would meet all the criteria in the town’s Land Use Ordinance. They asked him to submit a more detailed proposal, accompanied by a copy of his state license.

They questioned whether change of use of a building was the appropriate category, because approval to use the shipping container for storage came from a prior codes officer, with no planning board involvement required.

Their unanimous decision was to hold a public hearing on Mason’s application, followed by board discussion that might lead to an immediate decision. Because their next regular meeting night will be election day, they rescheduled the meeting to Tuesday evening, Nov. 22.

Glidden’s application was to increase the capacity of the childcare she runs at 135 Windsor Road from 20 children to 31 children. Required state approvals and permits are in hand or pending, she said.

Board members again found the application had insufficient information, but because the issue is an expansion of an existing use, with no other change, they took a brief recess to allow Glidden, with French’s help, to respond more completely.

At the end of the meeting, board member James Wilkens led in thanking retiring Scott Rollins for his years of service. Rollins is not seeking re-election.

They then reviewed and approved the application, with two conditions:

  • Glidden is to submit a letter from the appropriate local fire chief saying there is adequate access to the building for emergency vehicles.
  • She is to go ahead with her plan to install a water meter and report results to French; and if water use exceeds the septic system design, she will have a new septic system installed.

Glidden said the building has been a childcare center for more than 20 years, with no objections from neighbors. Operating hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. She takes only pre-school children, she said; the current age range is four months to five years.

Planning board members agreed with Glidden that childcare facilities are much needed in the area.

During the recess, retiring board chairman Scott Rollins led a review of topics for the next board. Focus was on new regulations that might be needed, beginning with the long-discussed ordinance to govern commercial solar farms.

Other activities that board members think might need rules are short-term rentals and food trucks. They mentioned potential problems with short-term rentals: noise and other disturbance to neighbors; and overcrowding, especially an issue in shorefront buildings where overused septic systems might fail and contaminate the nearby lake.

Board member Walter Bennett surmised that short-term rentals, through Airbnb for example, have become big business in China.

Board members do not intend to regulate a food truck that shows up for a few days for an event. Should someone apply to park a truck for weeks or months, perhaps there should be rules, they said.

At the end of the meeting, board member James Wilkens led in thanking Rollins for his years of service. Wilken’s motion to adjourn said: “I move to adjourn Scott’s last meeting and make our next meeting Nov. 22.”

New fee on brush at China transfer station

by Mary Grow

Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 15, people disposing of brush at the China transfer station will be charged a fee of two cents a pound. Vehicles carrying brush will enter and leave over the scale so the weight can be measured.

Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood explained at the Oct. 24 select board meeting that China used to get rid of its brush for free: a company would chip it and haul away the chips to sell. This year, she said, because of changing economics, the company charged a $4,000 fee.

By combining China’s and Vassalboro’s brush piles, China’s charge was halved, to $2,000 – still more than she appreciated paying, Hapgood said.

Now that disposal costs the town money, select board members voted unanimously to pass the cost on to transfer station users.

Hapgood said experiments in anticipation of the new fee showed most people will pay between two and five dollars.

Local candidates present their respective position on issues (November 2022)

China School Board

(One Seat)


Why are you running for school board?

I am running for the school board because I believe in contributing to the community in the best way I am able at this time.

I think what best qualifies me to participate on the school board for the next three years are the following; consistency, the ability to make informed, unbiased decisions based on strong background knowledge, and a genuine interest and concern that each and every student in District 18 receive the best possible education.

  1. Consistency as demonstrated by successful positive participation for the past six years on the RSU#18 school board
  2. Background Knowledge: My prior experience in the field of education as a highly qualified educator spans 5 uninterrupted decades. My Educational background includes 36 Graduate credits beyond a Masters in Education.
  3. Each and every student deserves the best possible education to support their development and growth. Over the years I have observed the dedication of the RSU#18 employees and it is formidable. This observation has spanned many years.

Four of our grandchildren have or are attending RSU#18, each unique in their own right, and each has had their educational needs more than met. Two are currently seniors, having started in PreK. One is a Sophomore in college who started at the primary level. One is currently in fourth grade.

I have seen firsthand that RSU#18 students are recipients of caring, nurturing environments where academic expectations reflect high standards, where social and emotional needs are addressed, and the importance of being respectful and responsible for one’s behavior is a basic learning expectation.

I think the biggest challenge facing China schools today may be different than the biggest challenge faced by the China schools yesterday and again different, albeit possibly the same as the biggest challenge facing the China schools tomorrow.

Without a crystal ball, a way to analyze challenges, big or small may be to identify the areas of greatest need, perhaps based on surveys, gather data, analyze and act.

I think it is a process that is fluid, gathering input, drawing conclusions, acting on those areas that can be addressed, and planning for future actions as need be within a collaborative and collegial forum.


Why are you running for school board?

My wife and I have three children in school, two of whom attend China Middle School. For the first time in years, my career offers me the flexibility to become more involved within the community. What better place to begin than with the school board? The school board is where I can best represent the interests of my own children, their classmates, and our entire community.

What do you think best qualifies you?

I have many years of experience volunteering on various boards and committees. It is often an exhausting and thankless role, but it is one I am familiar with. I believe my experience working in healthcare administration, an industry arguably as divisive as education, has prepared me for the many challenges our RSU, and greater society, is faced with.

What is the biggest challenge facing the China schools and how would you seek to remedy that?

COVID-19 threw a wrench into an already faltering industry. I believe our district navigated the complexities and ever-changing guidelines better than most, however our children and educators didn’t avoid the challenges altogether. This past year, China Middle School experienced tremendous turnover, even amongst younger, less experienced teachers. We need our schools to become employers of choice for the best and the brightest, so our children can realize equal or greater opportunities than their peers throughout the state, and beyond. These challenges can be addressed by developing the RSU organizational culture, prioritizing employee engagement and accountability, and by doing a better job of listening to our constituents.


Why are you running for school board?

My interest in running for a position on the board is purely one of service. I believe we need to put the focus on educating all of the children in our district in order to set them up for future success. While I have never served on a school board, I bring almost 40 years of experience from my military career in many different positions, as well as my college education in business. I have the ability to communicate and work as a team member, and have the integrity required to take full responsibility for my actions if elected.

My wife and I moved to China 11 years ago with our two children. Both have since graduated from Erskine Academy and attended college. Our daughter is a speech-language pathologist, and our son works full-time in sales Verizon.  My wife and I have both retired after fulfilling careers. She spent hers as a cardiac nurse and I spent mine in the military as aircraft mechanic, pilot, adviser/manager.

What do you think best qualifies you?

During my last 10 years in the military, I served as the Senior Warrant Officer Advisor for the Maine Army National Guard. Overseeing the professional development and management of highly technical officers. I have a willingness to work with others to develop and establish effective solutions that will benefit our students and believe in listening to all points of view in order to develop the best solutions for the community.

In my past leadership positions, I have served on state, regional and national boards.

2013-2017: Warrant Officer Senior Advisory Council (WOSAC) National Chairmanman.
2012-2013: WOSAC National Vice Chairman.
2010-2012: New England, WOSAC Chairman.

The WOSAC represented over 10K Warrant Officers across the Army National Guard, in which the committee was responsible for programs and policies in the area of education and training.

What is the biggest challenge facing the China schools and how would you seek to remedy that?

I believe the most important issue we can address as a community is one of good schools. Upon graduation, whether our children decide to go directly into the workforce, to college, or to trade school, I believe education is the solid foundation necessary to continue building a productive society.  Whether you are a long-time resident or a family in search of a new community to call home, I want you to be confident that our schools can provide your children with that foundation necessary for limitless possibilities. If elected, I would use data and communication to ensure our schools continue striving for excellence while engaging the community. I would always advocate for our district and collaborate with stakeholders to develop effective solutions.

House of Representatives

District #62


How would you improve or reform educational opportunities for residents of Maine?

Public Education should be just that. Public. Recently Maine’s public college/universities have been made free for recent graduates. It should remain free for all Maine residents. Many of the needed jobs in our state require certification. Whether that is a trade job or in healthcare. Opening up these training programs without cost to students will more quickly fill needed positions. There are plenty of college graduates who never found employment in their field and are looking to make a switch, but in this economic climate, the burden of paying for another training is not possible. Open up these programs and the benefit to society in quick employment into desired sectors far outweighs the cost. There are other avenues such as paid apprenticeships, which I desire to see expanded, but the burden for change in those areas falls to private businesses and not the Legislature as they are not publicly owned.

If you are elected, what will be your top three priorities in the Maine legislature?

Create a housing crisis task force. Identifying where housing shortages are around the state, hire qualified architects, contractors, tradespeople etc and make a plan to create affordable housing in those areas.

Deploy the National Guard as the extra labor needed to get buildings up in a timely manner to meet this crisis head on. At the current rate of building it will take 20+ years to build enough housing for the number of people currently seeking a home. One of the largest shortcomings in meeting the demands of the housing crisis is the workforce needed to build on schedule. This is a task perfectly suited to the National Guard, to help the state in a crisis. Outside of this task force build project, 75 percent of all new construction should be affordable housing until the need is met. Provide incentives for any rent-to-own apartments or single family homes.

Fund Education at higher levels on the state side to provide relief for local municipality budgets. Ensure educators and staff are supported in their wages and in their safety to be who they are and have control of curriculum in the classroom. Remove the burden of standardized testing to free more time for learning. Our teachers understand the needs of their students and we should trust the people we’ve hired to do this much needed job.

Equality for all. Codify the right to bodily autonomy into the state constitution. The right to choose the healthcare that’s right for you and your children? That’s bodily autonomy. You want control of when you wear a mask? That’s bodily autonomy as well!

How would you improve broadband access for underserved communities in Maine?

Currently there are tens of millions of dollars from federal and state funds being allocated to Maine towns to expand access, especially in rural areas. I would be in favor of expanding that fund if we see it is not going to fully cover the need. I would also give priority to any projects in which the public utility would be consumer owned. Please note that consumer owned utilities are not government owned, but are owned by the people that use the services. This brings cost down by not paying shareholders or foreign entities who have invested in them.

How would you work to alleviate the labor shortage in Maine and attract younger families to the state?

I am so very tired of this question being formed as a labor shortage. That puts all the onus onto workers. What we really have are a shortage of jobs that pay a living wage, especially now with record high inflation. Childcare services are hard to find, and when they are, the cost is out of balance with wages for parents, making the balancing act of working parents nearly impossible. I will never say that childcare is “too expensive” because it’s not.

Education is key when trying to attract young people to return, remain, or relocate to Maine. Public education at the University/specialty certification level like I discussed above will be a huge driver. For young families, having a strong public school system pre-k through 12th grade is a top deciding factor when moving. I have four children in the public middle and elementary schools, and I’m the only candidate in this election that will have children in public school during their entire term as legislator. Our education staff needs more support. This fiscal year Maine will finally be holding up it’s agreement for funding to our public schools. But we already know it’s not enough. By shifting most of school budgets to the state level it will create more equitable funding across the board for schools and lessen/remove the burden from local municipalities. The minimum wage for teachers and staff is not enough and doesn’t compete with other states. Lastly, having public schools that are a safe environment for children and educators to be exactly who they are, to teach and learn the truth of history and the world we live in, and have their creativity nurtured so that educators remain and students grow in knowledge and empathy for others, values sorely lacking in adults these days.

How would you provide for Maine’s aging population?

In the long-term the only way to take care of the generation before us is to strengthen the younger generation who no longer has the ability to care for parents and grandparents. Generations who will probably never see a return on the social security they’ve spent their life paying into or an ability to retire. In the short-term I would love to invest in mobile clinics which allow seniors to receive healthcare in their area. I would love to see Maine shift from mills and factories to manufacture needed medications, such as insulin, and bypass the greed of the pharmaceutical industry. Cost of medication is astronomical for everyone, but especially for seniors. Housing and safe living facilities for seniors is needed, which would be part of the Housing Crisis Taskforce I proposed earlier.

What are Maine’s strengths and how could we leverage them to position Maine for the future?

Maine is one of the most independent states in the country. One of two with independent members in both state and federal government. That is a key strength which flows to all sectors of life in Maine. Independence breeds leaders, not followers. We’ve seen this with our scientists at UMaine getting ahead of research and solutions to PFAS chemicals and aquaculture solutions to climate change, something I was proud to see at many farms and facilities as the only candidate on the AGCOM event for future legislators. Mainers need to lean in to that Independence. Our district’s largest voting group is third-party/non-party voters. We know the two party system is not the solution and will not save us from the battles we face. Lean in! Continue to break out of the constraints placed on us that stifle growth, education, empathy, compassion, revolution. Lean in! Give yourself and your children, our future, the space to grow, become who they are, and find lasting solutions to the devastating crises we find ourselves in with corporate greed, climate change, and systemic racism and bigotry. Be who you are. Be different. Lean in to your Independence!


How would you improve or reform educational opportunities for residents of Maine?

A simple return to classical education will solve many of the problems we now face within our schools. Focusing on Reading, writing, science and Math and away from cultural issues and political ideologies will allow our children (and our teachers) to again concentrate on what is important and will take the rhetoric and disagreements out of the current equation. I would like to see Standardized testing greatly reduced to give time to the students to learn and teachers to teach. With a solid focus on education our children should continue to have the opportunities they seek in life. Increasing the Vocational Education track for students starting in Middle school also will increase the likelihood that all children can seek a career in the field that they feel most drawn to.

If you are elected, what will be your top three priorities in the Maine legislature?

  1. INFLATION: Mainers are struggling to stay in their homes, and provide food for their families and we must think fast and outside of the box to assist the people of Maine during this time. Immediately suspending the fuel tax to allow people to keep money in their pocket should be implemented, suspend tolls on trucks delivering food and fuel to Maine and implement an energy saving plan for people who have homes that are not efficient are a few avenues to start to address this problem. We must act NOW and not rely on further federal funds to get us through.
  2. Taxes: Maine ranks 4 within the nation for the highest tax burden and this is totally unacceptable. The Maine government has been funding pet projects with our hard earned tax money and we must refocus on what is important to Mainers and leave the special interest groups and private industry to fund their own way. We can eliminate and reduce the Maine people’s taxes with frugality and concern for people at the forefront of our minds.
  3. Lack of Industry. Maine is the 3rd worst state in the country to do business. Over regulation, taxes and a hostile legislative environment keep businesses away from Maine. This must change and we must do everything we can to ensure businesses want to come to Maine and want to stay here. Almost every problem in Maine (childcare, housing, health insurance) can be solved by our residents having high quality and good paying jobs.

How would you improve broadband access for underserved communities in Maine?

Mainers need to be connected, but government provided services are never the way. We must continue to research ways to bring internet access to our towns, but in a way that isn’t behind the times or overly cumbersome. I myself had 1.8mps service for 8 years and believe me it was horrible, but I believe the government should be pursuing private industry to upgrade and advance options. As a state we should be relentless in trying to solve this issue and if we have to provide incentives for private industry to continue to grow their products we must look at that as well.

How would you work to alleviate the labor shortage in Maine and attract younger families to the state?

The labor shortage in Maine is present due to many factors; the shuttering of numerous businesses during the extended lockdown during covid, continued funding of unemployment for able bodied workers and the lack of industry to provide good jobs. Overregulation, lack of license reciprocity and red tape keeps industry from setting up shop in Maine and working people see that and choose to leave the state to pursue a career. Prior to a Mills administration the sign leading into Maine used to say “Open for Business” and it will again after November 8.

How would you provide for Maine’s aging population?

Maine’s aging population absolutely needs to be watched over and cared for. I would like to see the Maine Council on Aging become even more prevalent and well run to ensure our Seniors and their needs do not get forgotten. The recent Property tax stabilization program was a bi-partisan bill passed to benefit seniors and their ability to freeze their property taxes, however this bill was federally funded and had no income cut off so I do worry about its long term ability to continue. We need to make sure that when we commit to helping our Seniors it is for the long term and truly gives them what they need.

What are Maine’s strengths and how could we leverage them to position Maine for the future?

Maine has a strong reputation for honest, hard workers and I believe any business would be happy to employ Maine workers and provide opportunities to live in a state in which the work life balance is unmatched. When we attract strong businesses to Maine we build a solid foundation for our people and our state. Higher paying jobs allow us to grow our tax base naturally which fixes infrastructure problems, funds schools and gives people quality healthcare, housing and childcare. We have to be laser focused on getting business to buy into Maine and we must elect a government that is fiscally responsible and focused on deregulation and growth. When business flourishes, all Maine people will flourish.


How would you improve or reform educational opportunities for residents of Maine?

The quality of a child’s education should not be determined by their zip code. Municipal funding of local schools is a huge portion of a town’s tax burden in rural Maine. I support the state continuing to fully fund their portion of educational costs at 55 percent. Perhaps it’s time to increase federal funding of schools in a manner that provides for quality education that is equitable for all.

I support making community college part of our nation’s publicly-funded education system. I also support programs that would make four-year College debt-free by a variety of options such as scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and service-oriented tuition forgiveness programs. I would also include more educational opportunities through vocational schools and apprenticeships.

If you are elected, what will be your top three priorities in the Maine legislature?

One of my top three priorities in the Maine Legislature would be to ensure access to affordable healthcare. I am a big proponent of universal healthcare. Without adequate healthcare, none of us can be our best, most productive selves. My vision of healthcare also includes dental, hearing, and eye care, lowering the cost of prescription medications, preventing and treating opioid addiction, providing care for mental health, and protecting reproductive rights.

Another top priority would be to address climate change. Our state’s average temperatures have already increased and this has created observable real-world concerns. On our farm, due to drought, there have been years where I’ve had to start feeding our sheep hay in August instead of December because the grass didn’t grow back after the first round of grazing. This dramatically increases the cost of production. Also, milder winters mean more ticks in the spring and fall resulting in a higher risk of contracting tick-borne diseases—not just for people, but for horses, cattle, and dogs as well. And Brown-tailed moths, the new scourge, are negatively impacting both quality of life and businesses—especially those involving tourism.

Addressing PFAS contamination would be my other top priority. Our understanding of the problem is only in its infancy and Maine is already a national leader in addressing this problem. Decades ago, farmers were encouraged to spread sludge and septage on their fields as “free fertilizer.” Now, as these forever chemicals have leached into the groundwater, contaminating people’s wells, their devastating health effects have become evident.

The state has launched a massive testing effort and is providing filtration systems for resident’s whose wells have been contaminated. My understanding is that the State is also offering to purchase contaminated farmland to provide relief for farmers whose livelihood has been destroyed. It is obvious, however, that we need to find a long-term solution to this problem, and the corporations responsible for the contamination need to be held accountable.

How would you improve broadband access for underserved communities in Maine?

The pandemic made it abundantly clear how important broadband internet is for all of our Maine residents. Access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet helps attract and keep young families and businesses in the area—this is crucial for sustaining rural Maine communities. High-speed internet’s top benefit is in providing greater opportunities for economic development. I see bringing broadband to all of our underserved communities as important as was the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.

Palermo, along with four neighboring towns have joined together to form a Broadband Utility District to build out a municipally-owned fiber-optic network. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a visionary team of volunteers, the newly formed corporation is in perfect position to take advantage of federal and state grants to make broadband for all our residents a reality. This model could be replicated all over the state of Maine.

How would you work to alleviate the labor shortage in Maine and attract younger families to the state?

First, the underlying problems pushing workers to leave Maine must be addressed. Employers will be unable to hire labor if potential workers cannot find affordable housing or adequate childcare. Once these barriers to employment are removed, the focus can be on how to attract younger families to the state and incentivize them to stay.
Many incentives could be employed such as signing bonuses, health insurance, flexible schedules, remote work options, or other benefits. Offering public community college, vocational school, and apprentice opportunities would create a homegrown well-educated, well-trained, and highly-skilled workforce. Another good long-term incentive would be to forgive student debt if the employee works for a predetermined number of years.

How would you provide for Maine’s aging population?

Most of our elders would like to age in place. The best way to assist in achieving this goal is to remove the preventing barriers. Transportation is often a major limiting factor to independence for the elderly. Seniors, especially in rural areas, would benefit greatly from a small, affordable, reservation-based public transportation system. Access to healthcare is another crucial element. Attracting more healthcare providers to rural Maine, as well as increasing access to telemedicine would be a big help. Lowering the costs of prescription medications is of paramount importance and can be achieved through legislative means. Providing heating oil assistance and real estate tax relief would also provide security for Maine’s aging population. Implementing these measures would go far in keeping our elderly independent and able to age well in their homes.

What are Maine’s strengths and how could we leverage them to position Maine for the future?

Maine’s greatest strength is its natural beauty. The great outdoors is what attracts people to our state and what entices them to stay. Yankee ingenuity is another strength that allows Mainers to flourish. We can leverage that strength by bringing broadband to rural areas which will allow for greater entrepreneurship. Natural resources are another strength; harnessing them to advance clean energy such as solar, wind, hydropower, and tidal energy will enable Maine to become energy independent while using homegrown, renewable sources.

I see Maine finding the sweet spot in life—balancing the necessity of industry with preserving the beauty of the natural world, understanding the importance of meaningful work and the value of recreation and time with family. The future of Maine will be what it is today—the way life should be.

House of Representatives

District #65


How would you improve or reform educational opportunities for residents of Maine?

I believe we need to prioritize getting back to basics. As a result of COVID, kids lost too much time in the classroom and test scores are declining. I believe our schools need to get back to the basics and focus on math, reading, writing, history and civics. Parents need to be empowered to engage in education and deserve a voice if they have concerns about what is being taught in the classroom. I would advocate for more transparency in our schools as well as more opportunities for after-school care for working parents.

If you are elected, what will be your top three priorities in the Maine legislature?

The most immediate thing we can do as a state is focus on reducing the overall cost-of-living by addressing the high cost of home heating oil, groceries, and electricity. Our elected officials need to stop bickering about partisan politics and roll up their sleeves and get to work. Too many Maine families are facing tough choices this winter, and I am. committed to doing everything Maine can to ease the burden of inflation.

How would you improve broadband access for underserved communities in Maine?

Broadband is critical for a state like Maine, especially after the pandemic. During the pandemic we saw people moving to Maine with the shift to remote work. I believe that is likely to continue and the workplace is changing. I believe state government should be a partner to the private sector to expand broadband to those areas that both want and need it. Government has a role in the effort, but the private sector must lead the charge.

How would you work to alleviate the labor shortage in Maine and attract younger families to the state?

First and foremost, if you are able to work – you need to work. I am a small business owner. I know firsthand how damaging the long-term impacts of the pandemic have been on the workforce. We need to stop promoting policies that pay people to stay home. For example, this administration removed work requirements for welfare benefits for able-bodied individuals. I support reinstituting those requirements. I also support investing and promoting career and technical education to younger ages to ensure those kids who don’t go to college have ample opportunity to learn a skill and build a good paying career.

How would you provide for Maine’s aging population?

I am very worried about Maine’s elderly population, especially those on fixed incomes this winter. We must address the high-cost of living including providing resources for those who need them most. For example, I support efforts at the state level to ensure we have robust resources for heating oil assistance. I also support efforts to increase the public assistance resources we have to ensure that those on fixed incomes have access to quality food. Lastly, we need to be neighborly. Check on your elderly neighbors this winter and donate to food pantries, if you can. We can get through this together.

What are Maine’s strengths and how could we leverage them to position Maine for the future?

One of Maine’s greatest strengths is its people. For example, Maine fishermen represent an iconic industry here in Maine. Our lobster industry is under attack by the federal government. We must push back on these burdensome regulations to protect our lobster industry. Our lobster industry is a critical component of Maine’s economy, and right now faces the biggest threat. We must do everything in our power to protect it.



Richard Bradstreet (R)
Amy Davidoff (D)


Scott Cyrway (R)


Colleen Madison (D)
Ruth Malcolm (R)


Bruce White (D)
Tammy Brown (R)


Alicia Barnes (D)
Robert Nutting (R)


Storme St. Valle (D)
Matthew Pouliot (R)


David LaFountain (D)
Michael Perkins (R)

LETTERS: Harwath defender of the underdog

To the editor:

I have known Lindsey Harwath for more than 10 years, and I would characterize her as hard working, deeply principled, and a vehement defender of the underdog.  She is a farmer and has four children who attend the China public schools. She is passionate about education and is actively involved in the China Parent Teacher Organization.  Lindsey is not one to sit and watch others do the work;  if she sees a need, she speaks up, gets involved, and acts, which is why she has repeatedly run to represent the people of her community and why I support her candidacy.  Consistent with her independent nature, she does not affiliate with a political party, avoiding any commitment to vote a certain way based solely on party affiliation.

I am confident that Lindsey would represent her constituents with the same energy she has put into raising her family and fervently defending the causes she believes in – quality education, affordable healthcare, and equal rights for all people.  I urge you to support Lindsey Harwath to represent District #62 (China, Palermo, Somerville, and Windsor) in the Maine House of Representatives.

Janet Preston

LETTERS: A vote for any other party is a vote for facism

To the editor:

Fascisim didn’t die in the 1940s. There are candidates on our ballots who brag that they will be voting against human rights on their campaign platforms. To avoid abuses of power in the future, we need to vote for candidates who value democracy, human rights and know the difference between fact and fiction.

We can’t afford to ruminate – when we have our futures at risk. It is completely understandable if you’ve been disappointed by a party. Now is the time to stand in solidarity with the party that has the greater ability to weaken the fascist foothold at every level of our Government.

Please vote for Democrats that support equality for all, social security, healthcare, and our planet. A vote for any other party is a vote for facism. This is a critical year to protect our Democracy and your vote could help save our future.

Megan Marquis

LETTERS: St. Valle understands rural Maine

To the editor:

Important issues are at stake in this election that will affect our access to healthcare, housing and equal justice. Storme St. Valle is the candidate for Senate District #15 who is best suited to guide us through the 131st session. As a local nurse, mental health advocate and parent, he knows of the human struggles and the systemic obstacles we face.

Storme also understands rural Maine, when so often our leadership in Augusta ignores us. Storme and his wife both grew up on their family farms and know firsthand the obstacles and joys of agriculture. Abigail, Storme’s wife, described their farm connection, “I grew up on a farm, and Storme and I used to help on the farm during summer breaks. Storme has thrown hay in the summers, and stacked and split cords of wood in the fall/winter. My family has lived and worked in rural Maine since they immigrated from Scotland in the 1700s. Storme grew up in rural Guyana where his dad is a farmer/artist currently. Which is one of the reasons that he moved to Maine. It’s rural and reminds him of his first home. Storme has a green thumb and spends whatever spare time he has in his garden.”

St. Valle will be the change we need in both the rural and urban Senate District #15. St. Valle has committed himself to make sure politics works for Maine workers and families. As a Clean Election candidate, St. Valle truly represents us. Please vote for Storme St. Valle for Maine Senate.

Jeanne Marquis

LETTERS: Confident in Pam Swift’s abilities

To the editor:

I am writing to express my support for Pam Swift as the candidate for Maine House of Representatives District #62. Although I did not know Pam prior to the last few months, I have been extremely impressed with her credentials, demeanor and commitment to the citizens of this district. Her Maine roots provide a strong sense of our culture and heritage.

With more than two decades of experience as a health care professional, she is obviously aware of the need to maintain adequate and affordable access to medical and health services for all of us. As an organic farmer, she knows the importance of healthy and sustainable agriculture and the need to protect our environment.

In her time as a member of the Palermo Select Board, she has stressed the need to communicate and work with her partners on that town’s needs and requirements. She understands the need for cooperation regardless of political or party affiliation. I have driven Pam to meet a number of registered voters in her district and was very impressed with her ability to communicate with and listen to their thoughts and questions.

I am absolutely confident in Pam Swift’s ability and desire to provide outstanding representation for the voters, and indeed all residents, of the towns of Palermo, China, Windsor and Somerville and Hibberts Gore; please give her your support as well.

Bob Bennett
South China

CHINA: Delta official explains proposed fee increases

by Mary Grow

At their Oct. 24 meeting, China select board members heard a presentation from Delta Ambulance executive director Timothy Beals about proposed fees to be charged municipalities the organization serves.

There are 14 municipalities, Beals said, and Oct. 24 was his fourth presentation; he had previously been to Windsor, Smithfield and Vassalboro (see the Oct. 20 issue of The Town Line, p. 2).

He summarized the history and activities of the non-profit organization, emphasizing its high-quality service. Delta Ambulance provides emergency services in response to 911 calls; it also uses its vehicles for transports from one medical facility to another, locally and out of area as needed.

Financial support has come entirely from insurance payments, which fall steadily farther behind expenses, he said. Recently Waterville and Winslow have started their own ambulance services, decreasing Delta’s call volume and therefore its revenue. Delta has responded by reducing staff, but still cannot make ends meet; hence the need to start charging municipalities.

The planned $15 per resident charge – lower than the fee charged by any other Maine service he mentioned – will cost China taxpayers about $66,000 in the next fiscal year, he expects. In recent years Delta has been averaging more than 400 China calls annually.

Delta’s governing board plans to start the fees Jan. 1, 2023, but they will be adapted to each municipal fiscal year. China will be asked to include funding in the 2023-24 budget that takes effect July 1, 2023.

Board members and Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood had many questions. For example:

  • Wayne Chadwick asked if the $15 per resident charge was negotiable. It’s “pretty firm,” Beals replied; and, he added later, likely to increase in 2024-25.
  • Hapgood asked if Delta’s board of directors could have more municipal involvement than the current five out of 13 seats. A possibility to be discussed by the board, Beals replied.
  • Select board chairman Ronald Breton asked about multi-year contracts, to simplify municipal budget planning. Another board of directors’ decision, Beals said.
  • Hapgood asked if the fee would increase if some of the 14 municipalities did not pay. Yes, Beals said, but by an unknown amount, because non-paying municipalities would not be served, reducing expenses.

No dollars, no emergency ambulance service. “It’s a hard thing for me to say,” Beals said, “but you can’t charge one town and not charge another.”

Beals said the response from other boards has been “understanding.”

In other business Oct. 24, select board members considered proposals from B. R. Smith Associates (BRSA), of Presque Isle, for building plans for a town office addition (see the Sept. 15 issue of The Town Line, p. 2). After discussion of options, they voted unanimously to spend up to $11,000 to have the company design a records storage building plus prepare a concept plan for a second addition in the future.

Municipal Building Committee chairman Sheldon Goodine explained that the storage building will be a “vault,” climate-controlled and fire-protected. Combining the full plan and the concept should help prepare for future interconnections, for example in electrical and heating systems.

Goodine predicted the additional expansion would be needed within two or three years.

“Not if I’m still on the board,” Chadwick replied.

By another unanimous vote, select board members sold the unneeded office trailer (former portable classroom) to the only bidder, for $50.

Hapgood issued another reminder that absentee ballots for Nov. 8 voting are available at the town office. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Thursday, Nov. 3.

The next regular China select board meeting will be Monday evening, Nov. 7. It will be Breton’s last meeting, as he is not a candidate for re-election.

New fee on brush at transfer station

by Mary Grow

Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 15, people disposing of brush at the China transfer station will be charged a fee of two cents a pound. Vehicles carrying brush will enter and leave over the scale so the weight can be measured.

Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood explained at the Oct. 24 select board meeting that China used to get rid of its brush for free: a company would chip it and haul away the chips to sell. This year, she said, because of changing economics, the company charged a $4,000 fee.

By combining China’s and Vassalboro’s brush piles, China’s charge was halved, to $2,000 – still more than she appreciated paying, Hapgood said.

Now that disposal costs the town money, select board members voted unanimously to pass the cost on to transfer station users.

Hapgood said experiments in anticipation of the new fee showed most people will pay between two and five dollars.