China police log for May 2017

Tues., May 2:

11 a.m., neighborhood dispute, Village Rd.
11:30 a.m., illegal burning complaint, Village Rd.

Sat., May 6:

3:15 p.m., property check, Thurston Park.
3:30 p.m., illegal dumping, Yorktown Rd., referred to state police.
4:10 p.m., traffic stop, Lakeview Dr., speeding warning.
4:45 p.m., radar detail, Windsor Rd.
5 p.m., traffic stop, Windsor Rd., speeding warning.
5:12 p.m., property check, Windsor Rd.
5:20 p.m., property check, Windsor Rd.
5:30 p.m., property check, Windsor Rd.
5:45 p.m., traffic stop, Lakeview Dr., speeding warning.

Sat., May 13:

9 a.m., suspicious vehicle, Alder Park Rd.
9:30 a.m., animal complaint, cow in roadway, assisted with movement into adjacent field.
9:55 a.m., property check, So. China boat landing
10:40 a.m., property check, Thurston Park.
11:25 a.m., traffic stop Rte. 3, speeding warning.
12:25 p.m., traffic stop, Main St., China Village, speeding warning.
1 p.m., traffic stop, Lakeview Dr., speeding warning.
1:15 p.m., traffic stop, Lakeview Dr., speeding warning.
1:40 p.m. community policing, Windsor Rd.
2:25 p.m., traffic stop, Lakeview Dr., speeding warning.
2:45 p.m., assist fire department with grass fire.

Wed., May 17:

9 a.m., speeding vehicle complaint, Parmenter Hill Rd.

Sun., May 21:

9 a.m., speed trailer set up on Lakeview Dr.
10:10 a.m., traffic stop, Weeks Mills Rd., speeding warning.
10:20 a.m., traffic stop, Weeks Mills Rd., speeding warning.
10:30 a.m., property check, So. China boat landing.
11:25 a.m., traffic stop, Lakeview Dr., speeding warning.
6 p.m., speed trailer taken down.

Tues., May 23:

1 p.m., suspicious person, Windsor Rd.

Sat., May 27:

9:50 a.m., traffic stop, Lakeview Dr., summons for unsafe pass.
11 a.m., property check, Thurston Park.
noon, traffic stop, Windsor Rd., speeding warning.
12:10 p.m., traffic stop, Windsor Rd., speeding warning.
12:25 p.m., property check, So. China boat landing.
1:06 p.m., assist motorist, Lakeview Dr.

Tues., May 30:

6:30 p.m., speeding complaint, Windsor Rd.

CHINA NEWS: China Community Days set to be the best yet

Economic and Community Development Committee, from left to right, Lucas Adams, chairman, Teretia Sikora, Tara Littrell, Kelly Gordon and Jason Grotton.
Contributed photo

by Eric Austin

China Community Days is just a week away, and the Economic and Community Development Committee of China has been hard at work ensuring this year’s event will be one to remember.

The festival is now a 14-year tradition, scheduled this year for next weekend, Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6. A number of activities are planned, including a scavenger hunt and fishing derby for kids, and a spectacular fireworks show on Saturday night.

There will also be local Maine vendors showcasing a number of unique wares you won’t find anywhere else. And locals interested in making a quick buck should definitely take note of The Bazaar, where anyone can bring items they’d like to sell.

Committee chairman, Lucas Adams, expressed surprise at how the event has grown over the years. “It used to be just a China thing,” he said, “but now we have folks coming from all over the state, and vendors from as far away as Lewiston.”

Asked if they were doing anything new this year, Adams laughed. “China Days has always been a blast for the kids, but this year we’re trying to include more entertainment for the grown-ups.”

The committee is also still looking for volunteers, so if you can help out please contact the town office at 445-2014.

Check out their Facebook page or the China Town Office website for more information, and be sure to pick up The Town Line in two weeks when we’ll have a complete schedule and breakdown of all the activities planned for the big weekend!

Nice bass

Mia Cobourn, 18, daughter of Chris Cobourn, caught this bass while fishing on China Lake on Saturday, July 1.

CHINA NEWS: Selectmen split on new truck purchases

by Mary Grow

China selectmen approved, barely, Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux’s recommendations on replacing two town trucks with new ones.

At the July 10 selectboard meeting, L’Heureux said he had two bids on a tandem-axle plow truck and three on a one-ton single-axle plow truck. He recommended the following:

  • An International tandem-axle, at a price of $125,000, minus $55,000 for trading in the 2008 tandem-axle, plus $78,995 for plow equipment to be provided by Howard P. Fairfield.
  • An International single-axle for $71,000, minus $25,000 trade-in, plus $55,500 for plow gear, also from H. P. Fairfield.

Selectman Ronald Breton said he talked with the mechanics who maintain China’s truck fleet and on the basis of his conversations wants to trade in a 2015 truck that he said the mechanics said is underpowered and already rusting, not the 2008 that he called “the best truck the town has.”

Breton had invited Bill Bickford or one of his employees to the July 10 meeting, but no one was able to come.

L’Heureux replied that as town manager responsible for spending tax dollars, he considered financial factors over the life of each vehicle in making his recommendation. In general, he said, he tries to trade in a vehicle at about 10 years old to maximize value and avoid major repair costs.

Selectmen met July 10 in the old town house beside the town office. The idea was not a total success; although board members enjoyed looking at historic items before the meeting opened, they found the building too warm and, after dark, too mosquito-infested for comfort.
Contributed photo

The 2008 truck, he said, is at its peak for trading in; in another year, it will lose value, down time will increase and repair bills will mount, especially as outdated equipment becomes more expensive to work on or replace.

The 2015 truck was adjusted after the town bought it and now is “plenty strong enough to do the plowing that we do,” the manager said. It is also more fuel-efficient than an older truck.

Selectmen voted 3-2, with Joann Austin, Irene Belanger and Chairman Neil Farrington in the majority and Jeffrey LaVerdiere joining Breton in opposition, to accept the manager’s recommendations.

In other business, L’Heureux said road repaving is likely to start by mid-August. Work is to be done on Dirigo, Hanson and Bog roads and Parmenter Terrace. The manager said owners of two private roads piggy-backed on the town’s paving bid to get the lower price associated with a larger contract; the road owners will pay for the work done on their roads. Selectmen authorized the manager to sign necessary documents to complete two voter-approved actions: purchase of land adjoining town-owned land around the town office; and transfer of the former portable classroom, now stored on the town’s Alder Park Road property, to the South China Library Association, which will pay the cost of moving it.

L’Heureux said Jack Lord has designed a septic system for the first former portable classroom, set up near the town office as a future emergency shelter, and he has quotes for doing the work. Selectmen also plan a new well to serve the emergency shelter and, they hope, the town office. The current well is contaminated from the salt pile that stood behind the town office for many years; selectmen hope to find better water elsewhere on the enlarged property.

Selectmen appointed Robert Batteese a member of the Revolving Loan Fund Committee. L’Heureux plans to advertise for a secretary for the budget committee and members of the bicentennial committee that Farrington heads.

Farrington said he intends to add internet service and a handicapped ramp at the town-owned former Weeks Mills schoolhouse and use it as bicentennial headquarters.

At Farrington’s suggestion, selectmen met July 10 in the old town house beside the town office. The idea was not a total success; although board members enjoyed looking at historic items before the meeting opened, they found the building too warm and, after dark, too mosquito-infested for comfort.

The next China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, July 24.

Erskine grad sends message to arrive alive

Alexis Bonenfant

Erskine Academy graduate, Alexis Bonenfant, won first-place in the 13th annual Arrive Alive Creative Contest sponsored by the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein. The contest asks students to come up with a creative message about the dangers of drinking and driving and/or distracted driving.

Ms. Bonenfant was chosen as one of five first-place winners and received a new laptop computer for her “Book of Life” entry depicting how the decisions drivers make can both positively and negatively impact their lives. The Vassalboro native was honored among the top 20 winners statewide at an award ceremony on June 14.

The Arrive Alive Creative Contest is open to graduating high school seniors in Maine who may enter a creative project of their choice. First-place winners receive a new laptop, second and third-place winners receive a new iPad, and every student who enters receives fun prizes from the law firm. Since 2004, over 750 graduating seniors have entered the contest from 115 Maine high schools.

A complete set of rules and all past winning entries can be viewed online at: or on Facebook. In the past 13 years, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has given away over $120,000 in prizes to help educate teenagers on the risks of dangerous driving. The firm’s dedication to the Arrive Alive Creative Contest made them a finalist for the American Association for Justice Trial Lawyers Care Award in 2014.

CHINA NEWS: Planners approve heating business expansion

by Mary Grow

The three board members at the China Planning Board’s June 27 meeting unanimously approved the only application on their agenda, allowing Keith Knowles to enlarge his heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment business at 1097 Route 3.

Knowles said the small addition on the back of the building will provide more office space. He plans to increase the office staff from three to four people. Two abutters who attended the meeting expressed no objection to Knowles’ application.

Board members canceled the meeting that would have been Tuesday evening, July 11, because Codes Officer Paul Mitnik will be on vacation the week of July 3 and would not have time to process any applications that come in. The next regular meeting will be Tuesday evening, July 25, unless an urgent application requires an earlier special meeting.

Tom Michaud and Ralph Howe suggested two items for a future agenda: whether an Airbnb, a use not specifically mentioned in town ordinances, should be treated as a commercial operation, and how planning board activities can better be announced and explained to town residents.

Attention Erskine Academy Alumni

Beginning July 12, 2017, Erskine Academy will be destroying school records, including health and special education records, not stipulated as permanent by law, as these are no longer needed to provide educational services. This process will include records beginning with the class of 2009 and all previous graduated classes.

The federal Family Educational Privacy Act (FERPA) stipulates that rights to these records transfer to students upon turning eighteen. As such, records will only be released to students with appropriate identification (license, birth certificate, passport, etc.) or to parents of students who present both signed permissions from their student and appropriate identification.

If you graduated before 2010 and wish to obtain your cumulative records, please call the school (207) 445-2962 before July 12 to make arrangements to pick up your records or with your questions. Please note that the permanent high school transcript (courses, grades, credits, attendance, test scores, etc.) will be maintained in perpetuity, with copies available upon request.

CHINA NEWS: Thurston Park, Causeway bridge, 200th anniversary discussed

by Mary Grow

China selectmen again dealt with a miscellany of business at their June 26 meeting, including catching up with committee activities and appointing committee members, considering plans for the 200th anniversary of the incorporation of the town in 2018, getting a report on China Lake and beginning discussion of equipment needs and a new town office sign.

Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said the June 17 Thurston Park forestry walk, sponsored by the Thurston Park II Committee, drew an interested group, mostly of people from other towns wanting to see what China is doing.

Tom Michaud reported for the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee that its members are focusing on replacing the Causeway Street bridge at the head of China Lake’s east basin. They have one engineer’s suggestions and are meeting with other engineers in the next three weeks, he said.

Once plans are final, Michaud expects it will take several months to get necessary permits for the work.

The next step after the new bridge is parking, he said. Selectmen talked about the still-not-final purchase of the small lot where boat trailers now park across from the boat landing. L’Heureux said TIF Committee member Frank Soares suggested seeking to acquire land on the other side of Lakeview Drive that could accommodate overflow boat-landing parking in summer and snowmobile trail access parking in winter.

“There isn’t much land around the causeway, that’s the problem,” Michaud observed. Several people cited recent congestion around the boat landing. Selectmen appointed Leanne Hanson to the China for a Lifetime Committee; Amy Gartley and Dale Worster to the Revolving Loan Fund Committee; and Jamie Pitney to the Broadband Committee.

They decided to advertise for a budget committee secretary and for members of the China Bicentennial Committee.

Board Chairman Neil Farrington, who is also the de facto bicentennial coordinator, said the China Bicentennial History is available on the town website.

L’Heureux reported that the old town house beside the town office again needs the basement dried out. Selectmen unanimously authorized the work.

Farrington proposed publicizing the bicentennial by holding occasional selectmen’s meetings upstairs in the historic building, starting July 10. Since the TIF Committee is also scheduled to meet that evening and two selectmen are on it, its meeting was set for 6 p.m. (half an hour earlier than usual) in the town office, with selectmen meeting at 7 p.m. in the old town house.

Board members also approved Town Clerk Rebecca Hapgood’s suggestion that the Town of China website be updated. Part of the update would simplify access to bicentennial information.

China Region Lakes Alliance President Jim Hart reported on activities of his organization, the China Lake Association and the Alewife Restoration Initiative. CRLA and CLA are cooperating on work to reduce phosphorus run-off into China Lake, Three Mile Pond and Webber Pond through the LakeSmart program (which encourages shoreland homeowners to meet water quality protection standards) and the Conservation Corps (whose members plan and carry out shoreline improvement projects). Hart commended Kennebec Water District for supporting the efforts this year, after a break in assistance last year because of disagreement over the value of alewives to water quality.

Anecdotally, water quality has improved in Maine lakes, including Webber and Three Mile ponds, after dam removal allowed alewives to migrate into and out of the lakes. In theory, the small fish leaving the lake in the fall take phosphorus with them. Studies have not consistently supported a connection between alewives and water quality.

Hart said opening Maine streams to alewife migration is a state effort to encourage the return of the small fish. He mentioned annual alewife festivals in Damariscotta and Benton, and income to Vassalboro from trapping and selling the fish as they enter Webber Pond from the Kennebec River.

Town Manager L’Heureux proposed replacing two town trucks. If new trucks are to be ready for snowplowing next winter, selectmen need to buy them soon, he said. He plans continued discussion July 10.

Farrington and others said people have complained they cannot find the town office because it has no identifying sign. Board members will continue discussing what kind of sign they want at their next meeting.

In other business, selectmen unanimously awarded the 2017 paving bid to B & B Paving, of Hermon, the company that will do Vassalboro’s work as well after the two towns combined their request.

They unanimously approved renewing Wildwood Pawn’s pawnbroker’s license.

Farrington reported representatives of all three fire departments and China Rescue have signed the memorandum describing implementation of volunteer stipends approved at the March town meeting. The program begins with the new fiscal year July 1.

Boat inspectors back in action

Pictured here, from left to right, are Mallory Chamberlain (CBI Director), Gabe Ashey, Maggie Anderson and James Poulin.

The Courtesy Boat Inspectors (CBI) are on the job again. You will see them this summer at the boat launches at the Head of China Lake, the launch onto China Lake in East Vassalboro, and also at the Webber Pond and Three Mile Pond boat launches. Their mission is to inspect boats and boat trailers to look for invasive aquatic plant species such as milfoil, hydrilla, etc.

Photo courtesy of Scott Pierz