Tisdale thanked for service

China Town Manager Dan L’Heureux and the board of selectmen recently thanked Mary Tisdale, above, for her service at the China Transfer Station, and wished her good fortune in her next endeavor.
Contributed photo

Erskine Academy inducts 22 Leo Club members

New members of Erskine Academy’s Leo Club. Contributed photo

Twenty-two Erskine Academy students were inducted into the Erskine Academy Leo Club at the Whitefield Lions Club, on October 12.

The new members joined an original 25, making the Erskine Academy Leo Club the largest in the state.

Leo Club members were presented with a banner supplied by the Whitefield Lions Club.

During the induction ceremony performed by District Governor Norman Hart, and past District Governor Paula Beach, members were awarded Leo pins by Whitefield Lions Club President Cindy Lincoln and Club Director and Leo Club organizer, Barry Tibbetts.

The Leo Club was formed last Spring in conjunction with the Whitefield Lions Club and Erskine Advisor Roxanne Malley.

Whitefield Lions Barry Tibbetts, Ron Kenoyer and Calvin Prescott have been instrumental in the formation and support of this club, which helps students conduct local civic duties and develop leadership skills.

Erskine Leos have attended Whitefield Lions Club meetings and helped with their local fundraisers including a golf tournament, fishing derby and working at the Windsor Fair.

The Erskine Leos plan a pumpkin painting and visitation day at the Country Manor Nursing Home, 132 Main Street, in Coopers Mills, on October 26, at 2:30 p.m. They are also looking for donations of pumpkins.

For more information about the Leo club or to make a donation, please contact Roxanne Malley at 314-9859/rmalley@erskine247.com or Barry Tibbetts 549-3109. To learn more about the Whitefield Lions Club and upcoming events www.WhitefieldLionsClub.com.

Week of October 12, 2017

Week of October 12, 2017

China to conduct survey for a Lifetime Committee

China community friends, we, the members of the China for a Lifetime Committee, want you to know that The Town Line next week will include a survey that we have developed. We hope you will take and return the survey. In the survey, we have asked a number of questions, the answers to which we think will assist us, with your support and participation, to facilitate China becoming even more a community that allows all of our citizens to have more of their needs met and to develop a greater feeling of community and acceptance. Our goal is to really live up to our name and transform our town so that you want to live in China “for a Lifetime”… [read more…]

Your Local News

Next year is China’s Bicentennial Anniversary!
Help us celebrate by sharing your stories about China History. Photos, too!

Send your story, with name, phone, or email, to townline@fairpoint.net or P.O. Box 89 Jonesbrook Crossing, So. China, ME 04358. FMI: 445-2234.  Town Line Contact page.

Town Line Original Columnists

Sheepscot Pond will benefit from alewives

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY

by Frank Richards
President Webber Pond Assn.

I read, with interest, the Community Commentary column about LD 922 in last week’s issue of The Town Line (October 5). This is legislation to open the fish way on Sheepscot Lake and allow sea-run alewives to return.

That column makes a reference to Webber Pond . . . “but, overabundance of alewives (as has been experienced recently in Webber Pond) can degrade water quality and cause other complications.”

I am the president of the Webber Pond Association. That commentary goes way beyond both the discussion at our annual meeting this August and the article in The Town Line about that meeting by Roland Hallee, published in September.

There has never been a recorded case of overabundance in a spawning run causing problems. Alewives have overpopulated in the Great Lakes. However, that is comparable to living in the ocean, not a spawning run from the ocean to an inland lake.

Webber has had alewives since 1997. The run has slowly grown over an approximately 20-year period. In 2014 the run plateaued at 350,000 spawning adults and seems to have stabilized at that number, way more than we ever expected.

The Webber Pond Asso­cia­tion is trying to learn about an academic model, which estimates inputs of nutrients from spawning adults and outputs of nutrients from out migrating juveniles. Evidently, it may be possible to estimate an optimum sized run for Webber, where the most nutrients would be exported.

It’s fair to say that the Webber Pond Association has questions about the size of the run. At least one person has undocumented suspicions that it has become so big that it may be degrading water quality. However, rumors about overabundance of alewives actually causing problems on Webber Pond are erroneous.

It is important for people interested in LD 922 to understand that Webber’s experiences with alewives have been positive and alewives are popular among its residents. The lake has cleared substantially following their return.

When alewife restoration began in the mid-1990s, we too heard about the studies, mostly from the Midwest, which warned of negative effects. However, nearly 30 years later none of those problems ever materialized.

The good experiences on Webber have been replicated locally on Three Mile Pond and Togus Pond. Further north, Sebasticook Lake, Pushaw Lake, Chemo Pond, and Davis Pond have also had the same good experiences.

Last year, I was invited by a representative from the Natural Resources Council to testify in favor of LD 922 at the initial hearing. The committee seemed to already know about the positive effects of alewives on several inland lakes. As one might expect, it also seemed well aware of the economic development benefits of alewives to the lobster industry as bait and to the ocean fishery as forage.

The committee has probably been advised that the fish ladder passed alewives for many years without creating problems for the rearing station. They seemed openly skeptical about both lampreys and rearing station issues.

Several people with scientific credentials testified in favor of LD 922. No one with credentials testified in opposition. If it had been a fight, they would have stopped it.

A legislative committee will listen respectfully to any citizen. However, on something like this, at some point there needs to be confirmation by a scientist, before the committee will give those views much weight.

The Sheepscot Lake Association has been engaging in a political campaign to defeat LD 922. They are acting in good faith, out of concern for the lake’s welfare.

I wish they had reached out more to get a broad range of ideas and professional advice. I will assert that they have arrived on the wrong side of history and are actually opposing something that has worked well on other lakes and that credentialed scientists believe would benefit Sheepscot.

Alewives are the means by which nutrients are exchanged between the ocean and inland lakes. There is more involved than simple clearing of lakes, such as Webber, with phosphorus imbalances.

I predict that LD 922 will be reported out of committee as “Ought to Pass,” possibly by unanimous vote. I predict that a few years down the road, after gaining experience with alewives, Sheepscot’s residents will be as happy as the residents of any other lake that has them.

Post-harvest tour at Thurston Park

Hikers on Bridge – Photo courtesy: Town of China

This post-harvest tour of Thurston Park in China is being held as a follow-up to a June pre-harvest tour on Sunday, October 15, from 9 a.m. – noon. It is co-sponsored by the Thurston Park Committee and the Two Rivers chapter of Maine Woodland Owners. The park is a 400-acre, town-owned forest with waterfalls, hiking trails and cultural and historical landmarks.

Directions: From Rte. 202 at the head of China Lake, turn onto Pleasant View Ridge Road. Travel 0.4 miles, veer right, then another 0.3 miles, and left on Dutton Road, which becomes Libby Hill Rd, one mile. Right onto York Town Rd., one mile to parking.

For more information, contact Jeanne at jeanne@mainewoodlandowners.org.

China Planners begin work on potential ordinance changes

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members started working on potential ordinance amendments at an Oct. 10 workshop meeting.

Retiring board Chairman James Wilkens brought copies of the first few pages of four other towns’ ordinance definitions, covering those beginning with the first two letters of the alphabet. Board members reviewed China’s parallel definitions.

They proposed no major changes. As the meeting wound down, they talked about adding new definitions, including “Airbnb,” “adult business” and “boathouse,” but made no decisions.

They also considered deleting one or two definitions, either because they might be obsolete or because they seemed irrelevant to China’s ordinance and to past and potential land use issues in town.

Codes Officer Paul Mitnik said he reviewed the entire definitions section in China’s land use ordinance and found fewer than half a dozen possible places to amend, mostly minor.

Any ordinance changes require voter approval. Planners have not decided when they will be ready to ask selectmen to schedule a vote if they do recommend amendments.

Board members plan to continue ordinance review at future meetings. Their next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Oct. 24.

China to conduct survey for a Lifetime Committee

by China Lifetime Committee members

China community friends, we, the members of the China for a Lifetime Committee, want you to know that The Town Line next week will include a survey that we have developed. We hope you will take and return the survey. In the survey, we have asked a number of questions, the answers to which we think will assist us, with your support and participation, to facilitate China becoming even more a community that allows all of our citizens to have more of their needs met and to develop a greater feeling of community and acceptance. Our goal is to really live up to our name and transform our town so that you want to live in China “for a Lifetime”.

All information in the survey will be anonymous so please feel free to answer the questions accurately. If you choose to fill out the page offering to volunteer in the community or want to participate in the raffle discussed below, that page is submitted separately and will not be linked to any of your answers.

In addition to the version of the survey that will be included in The Town Line next week, the town website and Facebook page will have the survey posted. Some of you will receive a copy in the mail and the survey can be picked up at the transfer station. Our goal is to have all the surveys returned by the 30th of November. Surveys can be returned to: the town office, the transfer station, in the mail to the town office or by either of the electronic means referenced above.

To encourage you to return the survey we will have a raffle drawn from those that are returned. The following list makes up the prizes, one of which you may win if you choose to participate:

1st prize — one $150 gift card from Hannaford,
2nd prize — one $100 gift card from Tobey’s Grocery. There will be three.
3rd prizes — one $25 gas card from Fieldstone Quickstop. There will be two.
4th prizes — one $25 gift card to be redeemed at the 32 General Store. And finally,
5th to 36th prize will be your choice of a $25 Gift Card to one of the following (Choice dependent on drawing order and quantity of each): 32 General Store, Tobey’s Grocery, Fieldstone Quickstop, Hannaford.

We hope you will find the survey thought provoking and will see the value it can offer to all of us who live in China.

Post-harvest tour to be held at Thurston Park

This post-harvest tour of Thurston Park in China is being held as a follow-up to a June pre-harvest tour. It is co-sponsored by the Thurston Park Committee and the Two Rivers chapter of Maine Woodland Owners. The park is a 400-acre, town-owned forest with waterfalls, hiking trails and cultural and historical landmarks.

Directions: From Rte. 202 at the head of China Lake, turn onto Pleasant View Ridge Road. Travel 0.4 miles, veer right, then another 0.3 miles, and left on Dutton Road, which becomes Libby Hill Rd, one mile. Right onto York Town Rd., one mile to parking. 

For more information, contact Jeanne at jeanne@mainewoodlandowners.org.

CHINA: Beauty salon gets OK from planners

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members unanimously approved the only application on their Sept. 26 agenda, giving Randy Pottle permission to open a two-chair beauty salon in part of an existing garage at 650 Route 3. Approval comes with two conditions, both of which Pottle said he will meet: the wall separating the beauty salon from the garage must meet the state fire code, and the septic system is to be upgraded.

Pottle told board members there are no residences close enough to the building for people to be disturbed by the minimal changes the project will create, like slightly increased traffic.

In other business, board members and Codes Officer Paul Mitnik briefly continued their ongoing discussions of potential ordinance amendments and board procedures, but with only three board members present, they postponed decisions.

The next planning board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Oct. 10.

Transfer station presents five year plan

by Mary Grow

China’s Transfer Station Committee presented a five-year plan for transfer station improvements to the board of selectmen at the Oct. 2 selectmen’s meeting.

Committee Chairman Frank Soares said the committee recommends one major expenditure to be proposed to voters at the March 2018 town business meeting, a request for about $32,000 for a new forklift. The forklift now in use is old – Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said the town bought it used five or six years ago – and getting decrepit, Soares said. The committee recommends buying a new, larger one. For 2019, the committee plan suggests buying a second hopper to be used primarily to compact demolition debris and large items like mattresses and a new tractor to be shared with the Public Works Department for snowblowing, mowing and sweeping. Committee members further recommend an addition on the main transfer station building to create more recycling space.

Soares said the plan will be revised annually, so after the first year or two it should be considered tentative.

The Oct. 2 selectmen’s meeting included two public hearings. The first, on three local ballot questions, drew a small audience and a few questions; the second, on amendments to the maximum amounts allowed as general assistance, brought no comments.

The Nov. 7 local ballot questions ask voters to:

  • Appropriate up to $8,500 from surplus to build a fire pond on Neck Road;
  • Approve a requirement that non-profit organizations requesting town funds provide current financial statements for the selectmen and budget committee to review; and
  • Authorize selectmen to rent out space on the town’s communications tower at the town office.

In response to questions about the fire pond, Codes Officer Paul Mitnik said it does not need approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection, and Selectman Neil Farrington said willing landowners are cooperating; the town is not using eminent domain.

The town’s tower might be competing with privately-owned towers in the area, but, Farrington said, usually location is a major consideration when companies seek to rent tower space; if the town’s provides coverage where they need coverage, it would be preferred, but not otherwise.

Selectmen have not discussed what to charge or other details, since they need voter approval to proceed.

Voters will also elect town officials on Nov. 7, selectmen and planning board and budget committee members. There are contests for three openings on the Board of Selectmen and for the District 1 Planning Board seat (northwestern quarter of town). Mitnik attended the Oct. 2 selectmen’s meeting to present three enforcement issues to the board. Selectmen accepted his recommendations on two, granting an extension of time to finish cleaning up a Route 32 North property and approving a consent agreement, with fine, concerning a garage foundation on Fire Road 4 that was put in without the required inspection. They postponed action on the third, on Dirigo Road, because it has been referred to the Board of Appeals.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, Oct. 16.