Fairfield issues request for qualifications for public drinking water infrastructure planning project

Fairfield Town Manager Michelle Flewelling.

The town of Fairfield has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to support civil and environmental engineering services for the planning and development of a public drinking water infrastructure plan. This initiative will inform the town’s assessment of existing municipal public infrastructure amid the town’s ongoing per-and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) concerns, including costs and build-out scenarios for the expansion of public infrastructure.

Identified areas throughout the town will be evaluated for potential infrastructure expansions, as the expected project area extends between Route 139 via the Norridgewock Road and the Ohio Hill Road near its intersection with Route 201. Fairfield’s town council will review qualified firms and/or teams of consultants to assist with developing a comprehensive Public Water Infrastructure Expansion Plan, which will include, but is not limited to, identifying the scale, scope, and costs associated with extending public water to the PFAS affected area(s).

“We are dedicated to launching a thoughtful and comprehensive process, which will incorporate engaging subject matter experts and reviewing success models. These efforts will focus on transparent and community-oriented input approaches as we evaluate RFQ responses that fit the needs of the municipality,” said Fairfield Town Manager, Michelle Flewelling. “The evaluation process will illustrate continuing efforts by the town to achieve safe and clean drinking water for the town’s residents and community.”

The town encourages interested parties to submit preliminary proof of concept(s) for how they believe their vision coincides with, and supports, the town of Fairfield’s stated objectives. Additional information regarding interested firms or teams of consultants will be especially helpful to Fairfield’s Town Council and should include relevant project management and planning experience, previously completed infrastructure projects, and preliminary design and engineering guidance for the future planning and potential construction of a new and/or expanded public water drinking system(s).

Please submit any questions and/or associated requests for information (RFI) to the Town Manager at mflewelling@fairfieldme.com, subject line: “Infrastructure RFQ”, no later than April 23, 2021. All RFI submissions will be answered by April 30, 2021. RFQ responses are due no later than 2:00 p.m. (ET) on May 7, 2021. The RFQ and more information about this development opportunity can be found on the Town of Fairfield’s website.

Submitted by Sabrina Jandreau, Development Coordinator, Central Maine Growth Council

TOWN OF FAIRFIELD NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

PUBLIC NOTICE

Town of Fairfield

TOWN OF FAIRFIELD NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

The Fairfield Town Council will hold Public Hearing via Zoom & in the Council Chambers at the Community Center, at 61 Water Street, on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 6:30 p.m., for the purpose of hearing public comments on the following matters:

To hear from the public on a liquor license renewal application (Class XI – Restaurant) submitted by Joda, LLC D.B.A. Meridians Kitchen Bar, 166 Main St, Fairfield.

A Special Amusement Permit renewal application for the purposes of entertainment, music and dancing submitted by the American Legion, Post #14, located at 86 Main Street.

Proposed revisions to the Tax Assessment Ordinance.

Copies are available at the Town Office. All interested persons are invited to attend the public hearings and will be given an opportunity to be heard at that time.

Signed: Christine Keller,
Town Clerk

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: The Grange – Part 1

Vassalboro Grange (photo: vassalboro.net)

by Mary Grow

The mother and father of all United States agricultural organization is the Grange, formally known as the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. The national Grange was organized in Washington, D. C., on Dec. 2, 1867, by a seven-person group headed by Oliver Hudson Kelley (1826 – 1913), a Bostonian who moved to Minnesota in 1849 to become a farmer.

A Grange historian quoted in Ruby Crosby Wiggin’s Albion history wrote that the organization was a response to the “depressed condition” of agriculture after the Civil War. The 1873 financial panic hastened its growth.

In 1864, Kelley, working for the national Bureau of Agriculture, inspected post-war farming conditions in the southern states. He realized the need to help farmers earn their living from their land, found like-minded friends and created the Grange.

Kelley intended the organization as “an agricultural fraternal order,” not unlike Masonry, with rituals, named offices, degrees and an aura of secrecy, Maine Grange historian Stanley R. Howe wrote in a 2010 article reproduced on line.

“Fraternal” was never accurate, however; Howe credited Kelley’s niece, feminist Caroline A. Hall, with gaining women near-equality in the Grange. They had voting rights from the beginning and four of the 16 elected offices in each Grange are exclusively for women.

(Online information says in 1893 the Minnesota Grange elected a woman named Sarah Baird as the first female state Grange President [Master] in the United States. Minnesota’s current state Grange president is a woman, and so is the president of the national Grange, for the first time: Betsy Huber, of Pennsylvania, a Granger since she joined a Junior Grange at age five, has been national president since 2015.)

The name Grange comes from Great Britain, where the part of an estate used for agriculture was called the grange, Howe explained.

As the organization developed and spread, four main purposes emerged.

Economic improvement remained central. Means included cooperative stores, where the organization bought in bulk and sold to members at cost; discounts on things like life and health insurance; and spreading information about improved agricultural techniques, new machinery or seeds and other benefits to farmers.

Education, agricultural and general, was important. Granges published reports, newspapers and bulletins; many Grange halls had libraries; most Granges sponsored educational presentations on topics important to local farmers and the community; many hosted classes and workshops.

Having an organization that operated locally, state-wide and nationally gave Grangers political clout. One of the first national efforts was to pressure Congress to lower railroads’ shipping rates so that farm products could be sent to market more cheaply. Grangers also wanted grain elevators’ charges controlled.

The Grange lobbied for the postal service’s Rural Free Delivery system, so that isolated farmers would not have to choose between driving miles to the post office or paying a commercial carrier to pick up their mail. Grangers supported a variety of national cooperative farmers’ institutions; one source says they were instrumental in making the head of the United States Department of Agriculture a member of the President’s Cabinet in 1889.

Grange members lobbied for the Prohibition movement (implemented by the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, in effect Jan. 16, 1919, and repealed by the 21st Amendment, in effect Dec. 5, 1933). They helped implement progressive political ideas, like direct election of Senators (the 17th Amendment, in effect April 8, 1913) and voting rights for women (the 19th Amendment, in effect Aug. 18, 1920). Current national President Huber advocates expanding access to broadband service, especially in rural areas.

Complementing these economic, educational and political goals, at the local level the Grange became the social center for rural towns across the country, providing a community meeting hall and sponsoring suppers, dances and local and imported entertainments. One historian called this function especially important to rural women, who were more isolated than the men.

The Maine State Grange was organized in Lewiston on April 21, 1874, a year after the first Grange in the state was established in Hampden. Grange and state websites say there were 64 Maine Granges with about 2,000 members by the end of 1874; within two years, 228 Granges and 12,000 members; in 1907, 419 Granges and more than 55,000 members; and in 1918, 450 Granges and 60,000 members. Membership peaked at around 62,000 in the 1950s and has declined in recent years.

In 1918, according to that year’s Maine Register, W. J. Thompson, of South China, was Master of the state Grange. His wife held the position of Flora (one of three ritual stations, with Ceres and Pomona, Howe explained) and D. E. Foster, of Augusta, was Steward.

(Wikipedia says Ceres was “the Roman goddess of agriculture”; Flora was “the Roman goddess of flowers” and of spring; and Pomona was “the Roman goddess of fruit and nut trees.”)

Political positions the Maine State Grange took included supporting funding for local schools and the University of Maine and opposing the repeated efforts to move the state capital from Augusta. Augusta’s Maine Farmer newspaper, published from 1823 to at least 1900 (see The Town Line, Nov. 26, 2020), was a Grange publication.

The organization promoted causes that benefited not only farmers, but other segments of society. Howe mentioned sending care packages to soldiers overseas during World War II and building and supporting Grange Cottage to house orphans at Goodwill-Hinckley School, in Fairfield.

Since 1945, the Maine State Grange has been headquartered on State Street, in Augusta.

In the 1880s the state organization added county Granges, called Pomonas. Juvenile Granges started in 1944; Palermo’s Sheepscot Lake Juvenile Grange #106 and Augusta’s Capital Junior Grange #274 were active in the 1950s and 1960s.

A current on-line list from the Maine State Grange says there are 103 active Granges in Maine, counting both local and county Granges. Local ones listed are Benton Grange, Fairfield Center’s Victor Grange and Branch Mills Grange, in Palermo; Vassalboro Grange, in East Vassalboro, should also be on the list, according to its Facebook page.

Albion Grange #181 was one of the earlier local Granges, past and present. Maine State Grange Master Nelson Ham oversaw its organizational meeting on July 6, 1875, historian Ruby Crosby Wiggin wrote. There were 36 charter members: 34 couples, the son of one couple and an unmarried woman.

Wiggin said in 1875, only farmers and their families were eligible to join the Grange. Doctors, storekeepers and all other non-farmers were excluded.

In 1873, Albion residents had organized a local stock company to build a community hall. The hall was finished in 1874, and the first Grange meeting was held there.

Until January 1881 Grangers rented the hall only for meetings. In January 1881, the Stock Company leased it to the Grange at $35 a year, and in 1886 the Grange bought the building.

Beginning in October 1875 Grangers ran a cooperative store, buying a variety of items – coffee, salted fish, cloth, raisins, rock salt, cheese, sugar, chewing tobacco, grass seed – in bulk and selling them to members. Meetings included panel discussions, suppers and other forms of entertainment.

On Oct. 4, 1879, Albion Grange held its first fair, in conjunction with Freedom Grange. Independent Albion Grange fairs were held annually into the early 1950s, Wiggin wrote.

By 1892, Henry Kingsbury wrote in his Kennebec County history, Albion Grange had 150 members. In 1902, the Maine State Grange Proceedings says there were 252 members.

In 1903 Grangers added a dining room to their building, which they still used when Wiggin published her Albion history in 1964. On-line sources suggest the Grange had been re-established in 1957, probably after an interval of inactivity.

In Augusta, records show two Granges. The earlier, Capital Grange #248, was organized April 7, 1883, according to Capt. Charles E. Nash’s chapter on Augusta in Kingsbury’s history. The second Capital Grange Master was Samuel L. Boardman, who wrote the chapter on agriculture in the same book.

On Nov. 12, 1901, according to records of the national Grange, Brother Obadiah Gardner carried an invitation to those attending the national convention to visit Augusta on Nov. 19, traveling by train. The flowery letter was signed by Capital Grange Master G. M. Twitchell and Augusta Board of Trade President C. B. Burleigh.

Attractions included touring the city and the State House; meeting Governor Hill and his wife at “the mansion of the late Hon. J. G. Blaine, which remains as it was when he did his great work”; and visiting “the national home at Togus,” then caring for 2,600 Civil War veterans.

The Grange records say that Brother W. K. Thompson, of South Carolina, moved to accept the invitation. Discussion was postponed from the morning to the afternoon session, when Brother Thompson’s motion was “considered at considerable length and unanimously adopted.”

(Obadiah Gardner [1852-1938], a Michigan native who moved to Maine in 1864, graduated from Coburn Classical Institute, in Waterville, and farmed in the Rockland area, was Master of the Maine Grange from 1897 to 1907. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1908; was appointed to the United States Senate in September 1911, after William P. Frye died in office; and lost his re-election bid in 1912, leaving the Senate March 3, 1913. He was then appointed to the International Joint Commission to deal with boundary-water issues between the United States and Canada, on which he served until 1923.)

In 1902, M. F. Norcross, the Deputy of West Kennebec County, reported on his Nov. 21 visit to Capital Grange, which then had 60 members. He found there were “[n]ew rituals and badges,” and the members were much interested in “working the third and fourth degrees” under a capable Master. “Bound to succeed,” he summarized.

Later references to Capital Grange are hard to find. The on-line index to the University of Maine’s Raymond L. Fogler special collections library says the library has 110 years of Capital Grange treasurers’ records, from 1883 to 1993.

Capital Junior Grange seems to have been created in or before 1955 and to have lasted until at least 1961.

North Augusta Grange #348 was founded in or before 1899 and existed until at least 1973. In the 1902 Proceedings of the Maine State Grange, Norcross, reporting as Deputy for Kennebec County, said North Augusta Grange had 126 members and a Degree Team and appeared to be doing well.

Nineteen pages later in the same book, Norcross, listing himself as Deputy for West Kennebec County, reported on his Nov. 4 visit to the North Augusta Grange. The Master told him meetings had been suspended temporarily “on account of a drama.” Norcross gave no details, but commented, “It is hoped that the work that the Grange is designed to do is not made a secondary matter.”

19 Granges in the central Kennebec River valley, in the order in which they were founded (as nearly as this writer can determine)

Victor Grange #49, Fairfield Center; established 1874, still active.

Oak Grove Grange #167, North Vassalboro; May 11, 1875.

Albion Grange #181; July 6, 1875.

Albion Grange #181, Oct. 28, 1957; suspended Aug. 26, 1998, for failure to file state corporate reports (according to an on-line source).

Sidney Grange #194; November 24, 1875.

Cushnoc Grange #204, Riverside (Vassalboro); January 13, 1876.

Capital Grange #248, Augusta; Apr. 7, 1883.

Windsor Grange #284; June 2, 1886.

China Grange #295, South China; December 29, 1887.

Clinton Grange #287; March 1888 (according to Kingsbury; this date is out of sequence).

Clinton Grange #287, July 15, 1949; dissolved Sept. 6, 2006, for failure to file state corporate reports (according to an on-line source).

Winslow Grange #320; in existence by 1894.

East Vassalboro Grange #322, 1895; still active.

Silver Lake Grange #327, China Village; 1895 or 1896.

Branch Mills Grange #336, Jan. 1, 1897 (organized in China, most of its life in Palermo); still active.

North Augusta Grange #348, in existence by 1899.

Sheepscot Lake Grange #445, in existence by 1905.

Benton Grange #458, 1906; still active.

China Lake Grange #578, also called China Grange; fall 1974-1976?, China Village.

19 Granges in the central Kennebec River valley, alphabetical by municipality

Albion (two) Albion Grange #181, 1875; Albion Grange #181, 1957.

Augusta (two) Capital Grange #248; North Augusta Grange #348.

Benton Grange #458.

China (three) China Grange #295; Silver Lake Grange #327; China (Lake) Grange #578.

Clinton (two) Clinton Grange #287, 1888; Clinton Grange #287, 1949.

Fairfield Center Victor Grange #49.

Palermo (two) Branch Mills Grange #336; Sheepscot Lake Grange #445.

Sidney Grange #194.

Vassalboro (three) Oak Grove Grange #167; Cushnoc Grange #204; East Vassalboro Grange #322.

Waterville had none, apparently.

Windsor Grange #284.

Winslow Grange #320.

Main sources

Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Wiggin, Ruby Crosby, Albion on the Narrow Gauge (1964).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Noah Lambert, of Fairfield, wins the 2021 Virtual Slam Dunk Contest

Noah Lambert, 16, from Fairfield (photo by Central Maine Photography)

by Mark Huard

Noah Lambert, 16, from Fairfield, is 6-feet, one-inch tall and was one of eight chosen in the Big Time Hoops Maine Dunking Competition.

He works out and practices two to four hours a day or more.

With post season all-star games and festivities being canceled last year into this year, Fort Kent Native Tom Bard wanted to try and put something together for the kids that allowed them to showcase their skills. With everything being virtual over the last year he came up with the idea of doing a virtual 3-Point & Dunk Contest.

Tom had posted a couple questions through social media asking those who follow the page as to who should be invited and send out the the invites based on that input. The kids selected recorded their dunks at their home gyms and sent them back once completed.

Once I had everyone’s videos, I edited and and packaged it as the Big Time Hoops 3-Point Shootout and Dunk Contests and put it up on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vp2U-wdE8M&t=2634s).

Fans voted on who they thought won the Dunk Contest, and Noah Lambert, of Lawrence High School, in Fairfield, was crowned champion. Lambert has been playing basketball now for nine years!

Town of Fairfield launches a community and waterfront planning survey for residents and businesses

Fairfield Town Manager, Michelle Flewelling.

The Town of Fairfield, in conjunction with the Fairfield Economic and Community Development Committee (FECDC), has launched a survey to determine current and prospective economic development opportunities regarding Fairfield’s community assets and riverfront amenities.

Initiated by the FECDC, the goal of the survey instrument is to prioritize community and economic development initiatives, identify new potential projects, and evaluate waterfront accessibility within the municipality. The survey will allow residents and business owners to express their opinions directly to the committee and the associated public input will inform future grant funding and project development possibilities.

“Fairfield’s central geography, direct I-95 access, and location within the Kennebec River valley provides the town with several unique growth and recreational opportunities,” explains Fairfield Town Manager Michelle M. Flewelling. “Feedback that is received will be used to prioritize and evaluate development initiatives and quality of life projects, including potential enhancements to riverfront open spaces, downtown vibrancy, and community connectivity. Our community and their suggestions toward bettering Fairfield’s characteristics is the key objective of this survey.”

FECDC’s community planning questionnaire examines various topics with regard to the surrounding water bodies, public boat launch accessibility, the enhancement and maintenance of the playground on Mill Island, and the construction of a concert venue space. Currently, Mill Island park is owned and managed by the town for public-use during the day, and can be reserved for various purposes, including recreational activities, after-school programming, and family gatherings.

Garvan Donegan

“Public engagement and robust community input data are vital to designing projects and implementing the long-term success of development initiatives,” says Garvan Donegan, Director of Innovation, Planning, and Economic Development at Central Maine Growth Council. “This survey will allow FECDC to broaden public input from the community across key planning themes and will assist in identifying prospective projects and grant possibilities.”

The Town Council and FECDC hope to use the survey results to prioritize (re)development plans, which will result in attracting, expanding, and/or encouraging businesses and residents to participate in the town’s development efforts. All Fairfield residents and business owners are encouraged to respond to the planning survey, which can be found here.

“We greatly appreciate the feedback from residents, and we look forward to incorporating their views into our community and economic development planning efforts,” says Flewelling.

About the Fairfield Economic and Community Development Committee (FECDC)

The Economic and Community Development Advisory Committee is a “citizens” committee with open membership to all Fairfield residents, business owners, and educators who have a vested interest in community development. Meetings are open to the public, and the committee typically meets monthly at the Fairfield Community Center; go to Fairfield’s online calendar of events for a meeting schedule.

Local woman publishes her second children’s book

Sharon Hood displaying her new children’s book, Who Stole the Snowman’s Nose? (photo by Mark Huard)

by Mark Huard

Sharon Hood, local musician and radio personality of Cruisin’ Country 93.5, recently published her second children’s book Who Stole the Snowman’s Nose? this past November and it has been very well received. The book, a fictitious story about her son Anderson, tells the tale of him and his dog, Dallas, and the mystery dealing with who or what stole the carrot nose off of the snowman they had made while on February vacation from school.

Sharon says she has received many messages and emails from customers who gave the book to their children or grandchildren for a Christmas gift telling her the kids love to read it. It is geared to toward children ages 3 to 8. Elementary school teachers say it’s a perfect fit for their classroom.

“I’ve always wanted to write for children and especially read to them,” said Sharon. “When you’re reading a book to a child and you emphasize certain things – that’s when they are drawn into the story. I really hope, after the pandemic is over, that I can bring my books to libraries and classrooms and read them aloud. I want to see their faces when they discover who stole the carrot nose!” The book along with her previous, Anderson Gets a Puppy, is available on Amazon. You can also contact her on Facebook or her website for an autographed copy. She will gladly deliver those personally while also practicing social distancing.

Fairfield’s façade improvement program strengthens local economic resilience

Fairfield Town Manager Michelle Flewelling.

Fairfield’s Façade Improvement & Marketing Assistance Program (FIMAP), which launched in 2018, has continued to stimulate investment and enhance the visual aesthetics of the town’s districts and corridors. Entering its third year in operation, with similar programs previously utilizing Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the FIMAP is supported by town Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues. The distribution of funding is spearheaded by the Fairfield Economic and Community Development Committee (FECDC) and has continued to increase in popularity.

The grant funding can be used towards a diverse array of project costs, including redevelopment initiatives and the renovation, restoration, and preservation of privately-owned business exteriors within Fairfield. FIMAP also provides marketing assistance to businesses via print media, radio advertising, social media platforms, website enhancements, and other options. Successful grantee applications can be reimbursed up to 50 percent of the cost of façade improvement and marketing projects.

“We are pleased to be in the midst of offering a third funding cycle for Fairfield businesses and property owners, and we are thrilled with the applications we have received in the past,” states Michelle Flewelling, Fairfield town manager. “Despite unprecedented difficulties faced by companies and property owners during the past year, local businesses have maintained an admirable commitment to the community, including moving forward on a focused range of restoration projects to launching e-commerce platforms that drive online sales. In turn, FIMAP projects are creating a strong foundation from which we can assist the local economy as we continue to invite growth and development.”

Fairfield has deployed seven grants totaling $67,591.50 since the program was originally conceived in late 2018. The FIMAP grants have stimulated more than $137,850 in direct investment into community businesses in less than three years.

With compact and asset rich commercial districts, Fairfield’s continued efforts of revitalization demonstrates a dedication to promoting growth, both from its current resident business owners and prospective entrepreneurs who are looking to expand operations. Recent recipients of grant funding have been Belanger’s Drive-In, IBEW 1253, Meridians Kitchen & Bar, Sunset Flowerland & Greenhouse, and Maine Avenue Auto Sales.

“The vitality of Fairfield’s downtown, commercial corridors, and residential neighborhoods has continued to catalyze positive growth and create tangible change,” states Garvan D. Donegan, Director of Planning, Innovation, and Economic Development at Central Maine Growth Council (CMGC). “Fairfield’s investments into the community and local businesses emphasizes the importance of stimulating local impact and creating conditions of economic resiliency.”

Eligible projects may apply for $3,000 to $25,000 in funding; FIMAP is funded by Fairfield Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues. Interested applicants may access a FIMAP application at http://wwwfairfieldme.com/town/pages/business-resources or by contacting CMGC at 207-680-7300 or gdonegan@centralmaine.org.

About Fairfield’s Economic and Community Development Advisory Committee:

The Economic and Community Development Advisory Committee is a “citizens” committee with open membership to all Fairfield residents, business owners, and educators who have a vested interest in community development. Meetings are open to the public, and the committee typically meets monthly at the Fairfield Community Center; go to Fairfield’s online calendar of events for a meeting schedule.

Shane Savage named CMGC developer of the year

Shane Savage (contributed photo)

Central Maine Growth Council has presented its 2020 Developer of the Year award to Shane Savage, R.Ph., co-owner of Savage’s Drug. The award was presented at Central Maine Growth Council’s Annual Meeting, sponsored by Central Maine Motors, Kennebec Savings Bank, MaineGeneral Health, and New Dimensions Federal Credit Union.

Shane has always had a passion for serving his community. Beginning his career as a pharmacy technician at the age of 16 at LaVerdiere’s drug, he worked for LaVerdiere’s through both college and high school. Savage is a graduate of Lawrence High School in Fairfield and Northeastern University’s College of Pharmacy, where he graduated with a B.S in Pharmacy. In 2012 he completed the Comprehensive Compounding Course at the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA) in Texas.

Savage has opened pharmacies in Fairfield, Oakland, Winslow and Unity. Beginning in 2004, Shane and his father purchased Unity Pharmacy and opened Fairfield Pharmacy later that same year. In 2005, Savage’s Drug opened their Oakland location, formerly True’s pharmacy, which followed with the Winslow location being built in 2009. Within the span of 5 years, Savage’s drug was able to expand into four locations throughout mid-Maine.

A second-generation pharmacist, Shane works alongside his father, John “Bud” Savage in their Fairfield store. Today, Savage’s Drug employs over 40 employees and provides a variety of local services, including vaccinations and on-site flu clinics, online prescription refill services, and local prescription delivery. In their Fairfield pharmacy, Savage’s Drug is home to a state-of-the-art compounding lab, where it has the ability to produce custom medications and doses for both pets and people.

More recently, Savage’s Drug has acquired Buddie’s Grocery, on Main Street, in Oakland. By opening their new location in Oakland, Savage’s Drug is expanding its operation and offerings on Main Street during an exciting time for the town. The downtown district welcomes heightened interest and investment, including undergoing a revitalization process that necklaces Main Street. In turn, Savage’s newest business operation is already making contributions to the downtown and will serve an additional draw for residences, visitors, and businesses.

Shane hopes to expand upon the custom medication aspect of his business, giving Savage’s Drug the ability to advocate for more customers from different medical backgrounds or needs. Savage’s Drug services Colby College through their Winslow location, including over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. His commitment to his community and customer service earned him the title of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year in 2014. Shane’s dedication to helping those in need is exemplified through his passion for expanding his service locations and consistently working to improve the lives of those around him.

“We are delighted to acknowledge Shane’s business expansion, impact on local and regional public health, and recent investments in Oakland’s downtown”, said Garvan Donegan, director of planning, innovation, and economic development at the Central Maine Growth Council. “Shane’s tireless work has proven to be a powerful engine for community health and revitalization by continuing to spark the importance of healthy and vibrant communities while preserving the character of an iconic downtown Oakland location. During these challenging times, Shane’s operation is a model for the dual commitments of community and economic health, which will be key to sustaining economic vitality in our commercial districts and improving quality of life during the pandemic recovery process”.

Central Maine Growth Council thanks Shane Savage for his contributions and looks forward to further expansion of Savage’s Drug from the region’s 2020 developer of the year.

Fairfield Cops Care For Kids goes on COVID style

Members of the Fairfield Police Department, from left to right, Officer Shanna Blodgett, Officer Casey Dugas, Sgt. Matthew Wilcox, Sgt. Patrick Mank, Chief Tom Gould, The Grinch, Det. Capt. Paul St. Amand, Officer Dakota Willhoite, Officer Jerico Champagne and Officer Nolan Allen. (photo by Tawni Lively, Central Maine Photography staff.)

Text by Mark Huard

Even though the Cops Care for Kids program looked slightly different this year, the officers from the Fairfield Police Department didn’t let that stop them from making sure the boys and girls of the Fairfield Community got their annual delivery of toys. The Fairfield Police Department carries on the memory of Kingston Paul and delivered presents on December 23 to the smiling faces of all the great children of their community. They look forward to this event all year long and feel blessed to be part of this program.

Changes are happening at Fairfield Center’s Victor Grange

The dilapidated house that was razed. (photo contributed courtesy of Barbara Bailey)

Although it is not the first in its 146 years of existence, it is probably one of the most visibly noticeable.

Submitted by Barbara Bailey

Victor Grange has taken on another challenge. Although it is not the first in its 146 years of existence, it is probably one of the most visibly noticeable. As people drive through the Fairfield Center area they will notice that the house next to the Grange has been demolished. The house had been in a state of disrepair for many years and needed to be torn down. After a long battle and lots of negotiations with many parties, this has finally been accomplished.

The boot scraper that was located at the front door of the house above. (photo contributed courtesy of Barbara Bailey)

In 2015 the house was taken by the bank in foreclosure after the owner passed away. The lack of size for the land and setback restrictions from both the stream and road limited its potential. The bank put it up for auction twice but it never sold.

This area is a busy part of the Fairfield Center, and the house was located in the same block as the Volunteer Fire Dept., two businesses, and The Victor Grange – all quite active. With the need for parking in the area and restrictions on this lot, it was suggested that the bank turn the property over to the town to be demolished and used as a parking area/green space. The town received the property in December of 2016.

After three-and-a-half years of the house continuing to deteriorate, no action by the town, and no money in the budget to proceed, Victor Grange proposed that the town turn the property over to them. They too wanted to create parking and green space but felt with the help of the community and Friends of the Grange they could accomplish it faster.

Map of what is now Fairfield Center in 1860. Here, the intersection with Rte. 139, Fairfield St. and Ohio Hill Rd. (photo contributed courtesy of Barbara Bailey)

Though the demolition was inevitable, it is important to recognize that this area has such a rich history. Through research, it was established that in 1860 the house belonged to H.S. Toby, the local blacksmith; this was evident with the front step which consisted of a large piece of granite with an elaborate boot scraper embedded in the stone. This stone has been moved to the Grange until permanent placement, possibly in the new green space.

The surrounding area also has an interesting history. Through deeds, hand-drawn plans, and receipts in the Victor Grange records we know of purchases of the store, the schoolhouse, and the conversion of the Grange Store to the ell of the present hall.

On the 1860 map, this area was known as “Fairfield”, not Fairfield Center as it is now. It was a bustling village made up of the Town Meeting House (where all town business was conducted), church, parsonage, one-room schoolhouse, hotel, two stores, doctor’s office, blacksmith, carriage, tanner, and sleigh shops.

The legend of the business owners at the time for the 1860 map above. (photo contributed courtesy of Barbara Bailey)

From 1874 to 1899 Grange rented the “Old Town Meeting House” for their meetings until the current hall was built. In 1878 The Grange purchased one of the village stores to run as a Grange Co-Op, where members could purchase supplies at bulk pricing. When renting the Town Meeting House was no longer an option, the decision was made to build a new hall. At that time, the Grange Co-op/store was rotated 90 degrees and attached to the new hall, for use as the entrance/foyer, stairways, kitchen, bathrooms, coat and junior rooms

In the 1960s the state removed the old dam and fire pond and rerouted the Norridgewock Road thus making many new changes to the layout of the land in Fairfield Center. This meant the water from the pond was redirected behind the Grange and the house next door, each losing land to the new state road.