PHOTO: Fields of lupines in bloom

Gary Mazoki photographed this field of lupines, in Windsor.

Windsor select board OKs purchase of new tanker truck

by The Town Line staff

WINDSOR, ME — At their April 12 meeting, the Windsor Select Board unanimously gave the go ahead for Town Manager Theresa Haskell to sign the contract with Greenwood Emergency Vehicles LLC for the purchase of the new E-One/Freightliner Tanker for the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department.

In other business, Road Supervisor Keith Hall informed the select board that the public works department is preparing to begin shoulder repair on town roads. They will be fixing the culvert on Coopers Mills Road and do some ditching on Legion Park Road. Hall will also be contacting the state Department of Transportation about repairs on the end of the Crosby Road, since it is a state road.

Public works also reported the posted road signs have been removed.

Haskell reported the transfer station numbers for the month. Revenues are down $278.80 from the same time last year, and up $863.84 for this time in April of last year for a monthly total of $5,961.70.

The select board approved a blood drive be scheduled by KVCAP this spring.

The town received a proclamation from the Maine State Senate congratulating the members of the Veterans Memorial Monument Committee on being honored with a 2021 Spirit of America Foundation Award.

The select board went into executive session for approximately 23 minutes to discuss personnel matters.

The next meeting was scheduled for April 26.

Local residents named to Simmons University dean’s list

The following local students were named to the 2021 fall semester dean’s list at Simmons University, in Boston, Massachusetts. To qualify for dean’s list status, undergraduate students must obtain a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, based on 12 or more credit hours of work in classes using the letter grade system.

Allyson Cunningham, of Augusta; Kaili Shorey, of Vassalboro, Abigail Bloom, of Waterville, and Maddie Beckwith, of Winslow.

Windsor select board approves article to purchase firetruck

by The Town Line staff

By a vote of 3-1, with Ray Bates opposing (select board member Richard Gray Jr., was absent), the Windsor Select Board approved the purchase of a new E-One/Freightliner Tanker Truck including transaction costs and other expenses reasonably related for the sum of $354,000, with $54,000 being expended from the unassigned fund balance at the time of purchase, and with any shortfall or additional amount needed at the time of purchase in excess of $354,000, to be expended from the Fire Safety Capital Reserve Fund, and authorized the treasurer and the chairman of the select board to issue, at one time or from time to time, general obligation securities of the town, including temporary notes in anticipation of the sale, in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $300,000. Also delegated to the treasurer and chairman the authority and discretion to fix the date(s) maturity, denomination, interest rate, place of payment, call for redemption form and other details of securities, including execution and delivery of securities against payment, and to provide for the sale, and undertake such refunding as they may deem appropriate in the future.

By a vote of 4-0, the select board approved the draft Utility Scale Solar Facilities Moratoriam Ordinance and bring to the town for approval.

The board also unanimously approved to appropriate $22,500 from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds – aka American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA Funds) – received by the town from the federal government to provide premium pay for employees performing essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic who meet ARPA eligibility requirements and who work in the administration office, public works department, transfer station department, animal control department, codes enforcement department and cemetery department. The premium pay will not exceed $13 per hour in addition to the regular wages or other renumeration the eligible employee receives and not to exceed $25,000 in total over the period of the performance.

In other business, certificate of appointments for election clerk/ballot clerk were approved. For the Democrats, approved were Allane Ball, Stephen Ball, Nancy Fish, Theresa Haskell, Kathryn Kellison, Carl Pease and Margaret Pease. Republicans are Debra French, Diana Gardner, Carolyn Greenwood, Deborah Gray, Thomas Reed and Moira Teekema.

Animal Control Officer Kim Bolduc-Bartlett told the board that 75 percent of the unregistered dogs list is complete and no issues resulted from the serving of the letters for unlicensed dogs.

With Juneteenth (June 19) now being a federal holiday, the select board voted to close the town office on Monday, June 20.

Near the end of the meeting, William Appel Jr. asked if Andrew Ballantyne would be running for re-election since his term will expire this year. Ballantyne gave no definite response.

The next meeting of the Windsor Select Board was held on April 12.

Windsor select board awards roadside mowing contract

by The Town Line staff

WINDSOR, ME — At their March 15 meeting, the Windsor Select Board awarded the 2022 roadside mowing contract to Pierce Works, LLC, of South China, among the three select board members in attendance, Ray Bates, Ronald Brann and William Appel Jr. Absent were Richaed Gray Jr. and Andrew Ballantyne.

The contract calls for a one-time roadside mowing of all town-maintained roads in Windsor for $2,500, two-time mowing for $5,000, and both sides of the road for roadside brush cutting at $2,000 per mile.

Town manager Theresa Haskell presented the monthly numbers for the transfer station. Revenues were up $1,520.70 for February and up $1,142.64 from this time last year.

In other business, the property at 92 Barton Road is in foreclosure status due to unpaid taxes in the amount of $2,718.90, including all fees and interest. Craig Preo asked the select board to accept a cash payment of $2,718.90 to cover the current back taxes and interest. Select board members unanimously approved issuing a quit claim deed for the amount.

Dennis Strout and Kevin Ready were present to request approval to purchase a new firetruck for the town. Haskell will seek legal advice and provide an update at the next select board meeting.

Resident Jerry Nault discussed with the board the topic of the moratorium for solar farms and creating an ordinance. The planning board scheduled a meeting for March 21.

The town manager noted the Maine Legislature has a proposed LD 259 which would increase waste handling fees imposed on the landfilling of municipal solid waste, and construction and demolition debris. This would increase municipal solid waste from $1 to $5 per ton. Construction and demolition debris would increase from $2 to $10 per ton.

Haskell also informed the board of her discussions with the Maine Department of Transportation regarding the poor condition of Rte. 105. DOT responded the road is due for work in 2023. She has requested the DOT to take care of some of the bad spots before 2023 due to the extremely dangerous situation that needs to be addressed.

Jeffrey Murch was unanimously approved to be appointed to the planning board.

The next board meeting was scheduled for March 29.

Swift announces candidacy for House District #62

Pam Swift

PALERMO, ME – Pam Swift, MD, a Democrat from Palermo, has announced her candidacy for Maine’s House of Representatives in District #62, which includes the communities of Palermo, China, Somerville, Windsor, and Hib­berts Gore.

“With decades of work experience in both healthcare and agriculture, I understand that the well-being of our families is fundamentally tied to affordable healthcare, access to nutritious food, and the health of our soil, air, and water,” Swift said. “My education and lived experience will make mine a valuable voice in the Maine Legislature.”

Swift earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science with the intention of becoming a veterinarian, but later decided to pursue a medical degree. After graduating from medical school and completing her residency in obstetrics and gynecology, Swift joined a large practice that specialized in high-risk obstetrical cases, where she worked her way up to full business partner. After 23 years practicing medicine, Swift returned to her animal science roots and purchased a farm in Palermo with her husband, Don, where they raise grass-fed sheep, free-range organic laying hens, and acorn-fattened pigs.

Swift is serving her second term on the select board, in Palermo. Although the board’s three members span the political spectrum, they work together with the common goal of doing what’s best for the community as a whole. Most recently, the select board worked cooperatively with the Palermo Volunteer Fire Department and Liberty Ambulance to create a new service for Palermo residents that will provide a more rapid response as well as a higher level of emergency medical care.

As a representative, Swift would focus on ensuring her neighbors have access to affordable healthcare, reducing the cost of prescription medications, and preventing and treating opioid addiction. She is also interested in issues related to food sovereignty, supporting Maine’s small family farms, and dealing with the threat imposed by PFAS (or forever chemicals). Regarding the environment, Swift notes observable changes that concern her. Due to drought, there have been years where she’s had to start feeding her 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.

“In my previous work as a physician, and now as a member of the select board, I have a proven record of working effectively with people from all walks of life,” Swift said. “As a candidate, my goal is to help create and pass legislation that will lead to healthy, fulfilling lives for my fellow Mainers.”

Swift, who has qualified for the ballot, is running as a Clean Elections candidate.

LETTERS: Happy to support Smith

To the editor:

I am happy to write to support Katrina Smith for State Representative for District #62 China, Hibberts Gore, Palermo, Somerville and Windsor. Katrina brings a true passion for conservative values to this race with a deep understanding of the issues facing Maine. As the chairman of the Waldo County Republicans she tirelessly worked to engage with constituents and educated them on legislation within the state house. Over the past three years Katrina has spoken often and boldly against the policies that threatened the well-being of the people of Maine.

I’ve worked with Katrina for a few years and when Katrina says she will get things done you can absolutely count on her.

Anne Kurek

Albion, Palermo, Windsor, China talk merger (2022 April Fool’s story)

by Mary Grow

By 2024, central Maine might have a new town named Alpawich, combining the present towns of Albion, Palermo, Windsor and China.

The new town would have an area of 179.41 square miles, Maine’s largest town by far. Its population will be less than Augusta’s or Waterville’s, however.

The impetus for combining the four towns came from Palermo, as a proposal to merge with China to form a town to be named Chipal. Palermo officials had two motives:

  • The two towns share the village of Branch Mills, the West Branch of the Sheepscot River that runs through the village and Branch Pond north of the village (although China has only a small piece of the west shore); by contract, Palermo residents use China’s transfer station; combination into a single town government would simplify life; and
  • China, coming well before Palermo in the alphabet, beats Palermo in all kinds of lists, from apple sales through grant applications to zoos (neither town has one).

Windsor selectmen then expressed interest. Windsor too shares the Sheepscot, and alphabetically is more disadvantaged than Palermo.

A tri-town Combo Committee formed in the fall considered the issue alphabetically and recommended talking with Albion town officials. When the response was positive, the proposed town became Albchipalwin.

Too long, the members of the now-quadri-town ComboComm said. They proposed, and all four towns’ select boards accepted, Alpawich.

“We don’t mind being on the end,” China’s town manager said. “After all, we’re the largest town, in both area and population. You’ve heard of the tail that wags the dog, right?”

A Palermo Select Board member replied, “Hey, no problem if China thinks they run the show. We’ve shared their transfer station for years without throwing garbage at each other.”

Rather than submit the proposed merger to town meetings on different dates, the ComboComm recommended a referendum vote on state primary election day, June 14, 2022. The ballot question in each town will ask voters to approve the concept of combining with the other three towns and to appropriate a soon-to-be-determined amount to let the ComboComm hire a merger consultant.

The members of the four select boards have agreed that a simple majority in each town will determine whether the town becomes part of Alpawich; and that a membership of two out of four will create the new town (with an appropriately adjusted name).

ComboComm members and the consultant will design the new local government, deciding how many select board members will run Alpawich; how departments will be combined; and how costs of new signs, stationery and similar essentials will be divided.

As the internet replaces in-person interaction, committee members envision a single, central municipal building. The site remains undetermined.

Alpawich Hall would have municipal offices in the center. The educational side wing would be the k-8 school, plus a public library, historical society quarters and a museum, if local organizations express interest in consolidating. So far, they have not.

The medical side wing would house a clinic, a pharmacy, a veterinarian and insurance offices. The rear wing would be home to Alpawich Public Works and the Alpawich Solid Waste Disposal Facility.

For now, the existing transfer stations in China and Windsor would serve Alpawich residents. Fire and rescue units would be left as they are, to avoid increasing response time.

Proponents cite many advantages of consolidation. Combined contracting – with town attorneys and auditors, for example — and purchasing should save money. Their combined road mileage should attract lower bids from paving companies.

Some members of each select board also anticipate a larger town having more clout with state regulators, like the Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation, according to a source who wished to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak on the matter.

County commissioners in Kennebec and Waldo counties have no idea what to do if Alpawich becomes reality. Albion, China and Windsor are in Kennebec County; Palermo is in Waldo County.

“Mostly the county lines run with town lines, like through Branch Mills,” one Kennebec County commissioner said. “Don’t know’s I’ve heard of a town that was in two counties.”

School administrators see many potential complications in the proposed change. Albion is in School Administrative District #49, based in Fairfield; China is in Regional School Unit #18, based in Oakland; Palermo and Windsor are in Regional School Unit #12, based in Somerville.

The RSU #18 superintendent is the least upset. “If there’s no more China, then there’s no more China in RSU #18,” he said. “They’re the geographic outlier. Talk about dogs and tails – they’re a detached tail.”

Assuming voter approval, the legislature would need to create the new town. Legislatively, since redistricting, China, Palermo and Windsor are in House District #62 and Albion is in District #63. The four towns are in four different state senate districts. “So if our reps pay attention to their voters, that’s four proponents in each house right from the get-go,” a committee member observed.

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WINDSOR: Mowing contractor to cut back on roadside mowing

by The Town Line staff

All members of the Windsor select board were present for the February 1, meeting except for Richard H. Gray Jr.

Keith Hall, road supervisor, reported that following the most recent snow fall, a culvert on the Legion Park Road was frozen, causing water to overflow. The public works department workers were able to chisel the ice to get the culvert unplugged.

Also, Town Manager Theresa Haskell receive a letter from Aggressive Cuts stating the company had arrived at the decision to cut back on roadside mowing for towns.

Resident Tom Reed spoke to acknowledge the public works department’s team in keeping the roads safe during the recent storms.

Animal Control Officer reported the deadline for registering dogs was January 31. There will now be a $25 late fee on future dog license renewals.

Haskell stated the special budget meetings began on February 8, and at the time of this meeting, was still awaiting quotes from the fire department. There was some discussion about using the ARPA funds for communications for the fire department.

On March 8, Howie Tuttle will be attending the select board meeting to present the RSU #12 proposed school budget for 2022-23.

The next meeting of the select board was held on Tuesday, March 1.

WINDSOR: Short, routine agenda at select board meeting

by The Town Line staff

Town Manager Theresa Haskell reported receiving a letter from Spectrum Generations asking if their letter to the town, requesting funding for an outside agency, could be included in the town report. Haskell suggested possibly putting the letter on the town’s website under Resident’s Services for outside agencies, so other letters can be displayed also. An informational page could be included in the town report to show where to find the letters on the website.

In other business, Road Supervisor Keith Hall reported there are approximately six loads of salt at the garage now with two more on order. He explained that because of delays in delivery, he immediately orders the next load as soon as the others are delivered so there would be no shortages. Currently, 50-1/2 hours of plowing time have been used of the contracted 250 hours with McGee Construction. He also reported the town trucks are running good, “and ready to go.”

Resident Tom Reed expressed his thanks to the public works department for keeping the roads clear and safe.

At the bake sale held on December 17, $1,157 were raised for the food bank.

Three candidates running locally for the state Senate and House of Representatives were present for the meeting. Abden Simmins in running for the Senate; Katrina Smith and Jennifer Tuminaro are both running for the House of Representatives, and state Rep. Richard Bradstreet was present to advise that his term of office for Windsor ends next year. He also informed those present the district he represents has been changed.

The next regular scheduled meeting of the select board was held on January 4.