Windsor board carries over $300,000 in WVFD tanker truck funds

by The Town Life staff

Select board members, at their January 2, 2024, meeting, approved carrying over Windsor Volunteer Fire Department tanker truck funds in the amount of #300,000, which was approved at the last town meeting. Town manager Theresa Haskell said the tanker truck should be ready by the end of January.

Keith Hall, public works supervisor, reported that clean up work continues along Windsor roads from recent storms.

Hall also reported that a culvert will need to be replaced on Coopers Mills Road, an item that will be discussed more in the upcoming budget. The projected cost is $12,000 for the four-foot or five-foot culvert. This estimate does not include labor cost to install the culvert.

At the transfer station, Hall reported they had to disconnect the switch on the gate to one of the compactors, for now, because it wasn’t working properly. J&M Electric inspected the switch will take another look at it when they have time.

The annual inspection of the compactor has been done, at a cost of $1,995.65, an expense that is expected to increase next year.

In other business:

Haskell reported the town of Windsor has received $25,000 from Mark Scribner, for the NET Co Scholarship Fund for the 2024-25 school year. This will be the 11th year the town has received this donation.
The town’s assistant E-911/CEO/LPI has been working on updating roads and mapping. He will be joining the codes enforcement officer to look at some roads in the coming weeks.
Haskell also informed the board the town will be mailing, via certified mail, the impending automatic foreclosure notices to residents who sitll have not paid on property that has a lien.
Presidential primary voting will take place at the Windsor Elementary School on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. The budget committee is also scheduled to meet that day, at 6 p.m., at the town hall.

Windsor Cub Scouts Pack holds holiday party

Cubmaster Shawn MacFarland passes out pinewood derby car kits to the Cubs. Over the next few weeks, the Cubs and their parent or grandparent will carve and cut these blocks of wood into sleek racers.

by Chuck Mahaleris

Corbin Burdeck is a Webelos in Pack #609 and lives in Whitefield. “I love everything about Cub Scouts!”

Cub Pack #609 held their holiday party on January 4, at Windsor Elementary School. The event was delayed due to the “Grinch” storm that left many in the area without power for days. Families brought food to share and Cubs learned a new song. The highlight of the evening came when each Scout received a new pinewood derby car kit.

“We have a busy January and February,” said Cubmaster Shawn McFarland. “We have the Klondike Derby at Camp Bomazeen later this month, perhaps the China Ice Fishing Derby next month and then the Pinewood Derby after that.” The pinewood derby is the wood car racing event of Scouting.

Julia Hartwell, of Windsor is, in fourth grade at Windsor Elementary. She has been in Cub Scouts for a year and is one of the six original members of Pack #609 after it restarted this past autumn. She enjoys hiking and is looking forward to the Pinewood Derby.

With the help of adults, Scouts build their own unpowered, unmanned miniature cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine wood, plastic wheels, and metal axles. The Scouts use their imagination to come up with the design for their wooden car which ranges from Formula 1 racers to tanks to tractors to spaceships and even cartoon characters. Those cars are raced down the pack’s Pinewood Derby track and the fastest go on to race at the district level. “It is a lot of fun,” McFarland said. “One of the best parts is it is a great project for a kid to do with their parent or grandparent.”

Pack #609 had ceased operation before Covid-19 and only began this past autumn. “We started back up after the Windsor Fair,” McFarland said. Six youth and parents from Augusta Pack #684 who lived in Windsor were the nucleus but since then the pack has grown to 19 kids drawing from Jefferson and Whitefield. “I am glad to see it taking off. Scouting has a great opportunity to build character in these kids and it is a lot of fun,” McFarland said.

All photos by Chuck Mahaleris

Ivan Peaslee is a Lion Cub Scout and is in kindergarten, in Jefferson.

Pack 609

WINDSOR: Delta Ambulance chief gives select board presentation

by The Town Line staff

At their December 5, 2023, meeting, the Windsor Select Board heard Chris Mitchell, interim executive director for Delta Ambulance, speak about a variety of topics on behalf of the board of directors for Delta Ambulance.

He started by answering questions regarding his relationship with Delta and his history with the corporation. He then reviewed some future financial and demographic goals for Delta Ambulance. He confirmed the rumors that Delta will be selling the Cony Street location, in Augusta, and relocating up to 80 staff and up to five trucks, emphasizing they have not been using the location at full capacity. The reduction of rescue calls and transfers were a couple of the big deciding factors. New locations have been discussed with other towns, Windsor being one of them. Delta covers 13 towns.

Mitchell reported that currently the town of Windsor pays $15 per capita and that will increase. What the increase will be has yet to be determined, but could go as high as $25 per capita, if not higher.

Delta currently pays operating expenses only at the Cony Street location. They have contacted a consulting group and meetings will be held soon. He pledged to keep Town Manager Theresa Haskell up to date with any financial changes.

In other business, Haskell handed out the monthly transfer station report. November was up from last year at this time by $642.89 making the overall total $4,595.95 for the year.

Acting as the Board of Assessors, they accepted the assessor’s agent’s 2023-24 supplemental tree growth penalty commitment in the amountt of $3,040, as presented by Assessor Vern Ziegler.
The Select Board accepted the three-year contract from RHR Smith Buxton & Co., for auditing services. Haskell sent out six bid requests and received two responses.
Haskell updated the board on renovations that could take place in the future at the town hall. The renovations include adding interior walls near the lift and adding office space and possible storage area. There was also discussion about heating and cooling in the office areas as well as upstairs. More information will be forthcoming.
It was agreed to sign the certificate of appointments for the Windsor Educational Foundation & Reed Fund member.
Haskell reported the Health Trust rates have increased by 4.25 percent. Dental rates didn’t change.

Windsor public works director applauds work crew

The Town Line staff

The Windsor Board Selectmen, at their meeting of December 19, 2023, heard Keith Hall, Public Works Director, report on the storm of December 18, 2023. He said truck #6 is still out of service.

He then praised the public works crew for working until 5 p.m., on December 18, during the wind and rain event, until they ran out of daylight. He said they did what they could do with the equipment available. With many downed trees and limbs, they were able to open all roads with at least one passable lane. There was no loss of roads nor bridges at the time, and flooding was held to a minimum. Town Manager Theresa Haskell has begun the FEMA paperwork for storm damages.

Tim Coston, Public Works driver and laborer, said that with the approval of the select board, effective immediately, the transfer station will no longer accept tires on rims.

Haskell reported the town received seven applications for the transfer station attendant position. They conducted six interviews last week, with one no show, and a decision will be made soon and training will begin.

In other business, Haskell handed out and reviewed the town’s 2023-24 three-month budget figures. There were no areas of concern.

The building code that was on the agenda will be reviewed in its entirety at a later date. Coston asked the other select board members to review page 6 closely when time approaches.
Haskell distributed nomination papers for the Spirit of America Award and asked the select board to think about possible candidates.

Windsor’s Elwin Hussey dies at age 100

Elwin Hussey at 100 years old

WINDSOR – Elwin F. Hussey, 100, died peacefully at home on Saturday, December 9, 2023, following a short illness. The only child of Harland and Mildred (Shuman) Hussey, he was born in 1923, the same year his parents started their new business, Hussey’s General Store.

He grew up around the store and on his grandparents farm just down the road, attended Windsor Corner one-room schoolhouse, graduated from Erskine Academy, in South China, in 1940, and from Colby College, in Waterville, in 1944. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as an aviation electronics technician.

After the war he returned home to the family business. He earned his pilot’s license and owned his own small plane for several years, taking off and landing in local pastures and touring up and down the Atlantic coast. In 1954 he married Shirley Avery, and he and his parents undertook a major expansion of their store to it’s present three-story location with many departments including radios, televisions and modern appliances.

Elwin and Shirley first traveled to Hawaii in the early 1960s. which began decades of wintering on the Big Island where they welcomed many friends and relatives over the years. He enjoyed tending his orange orchard there and making fresh-squeezed orange juice for every breakfast.

Elwin was an avid collector of 78 rpm records, phonographs and radios. He also bought, sold and collected books, especially books about Maine and by Maine authors, and books about military and war history. He did much research on Windsor history and genealogy of his ancestors and other local families.

He was predeceased by by his wife Shirley (2012).

He is survived by his three children, Roxanne Hussey, of Windsor, Rebecca Hussey, of Malibu, California, and Jay Hussey, of Windsor; three grandchilden, Kristen Ballentyne (husband Andrew), of Windsor, Jesse Reinherz (wife Jessica), of Juno Beach, Florida and Anna Reinherz, of New York City; and two great-grandchildren, Olivia Austin and Adeline Ballantyne, both of Windsor.

A graveside service will be held in the spring of 2024.

See also:

Windsor’s Elwin Hussey reaches the century mark

Hussey’s General Store: The history of a humble country business

A history of Hussey’s General Store

WINDSOR: Transfer station, town hall rentals top agenda

by The Town Line staff

At their November 21 meeting the Windsor Select Board was informed on a number of activities at the transfer station.

Town Manager Theresa Haskell reviewed in length the solid waste ordinance draft. Updates and changes were made. Haskell also noted the transfer station committee is discussing using stickers, again. More information will be available later.

Haskell then reviewed the Windsor recycling pamphlet. Updates and changes were also made to the pamphlet.

Haskell also reviewed the town hall policy with the select board. She would like to get suggestions from the select board on how to make the rules clearer to residents when using the town hall. Haskell noted it is a cost to the town when emergency response is needed. Haskell made note of an example: the heat sensors in the town hall are very sensitive. When fogging devices are used, they set off the heat sensors. The fire department will respond. The town pays a fee to each firefighter who responds. It is printed in the rules tha fogging devices are not to be used, but people still use them. A suggestion to revise the policy to charge a fee to residents for non-emergency calls might help cut down on some of these calls.

A question has come up about whether a minor could ride along with the town’s plow truck. There was discussion about minor or adult riding along in the public works vehicles, and how it would affect insurance and what waivers would or should be signed by the driver and rider. More information and discussion will follow.

In other business, Haskell reported the transfer station revenues were up for October from last year by $1,481.25, making the total for the year at $3,953.

There have been three applications received for the part-time transfer station attendant position. Interviews will take place after the holidays.

The select board also voted on a plan that would limit the hours Tim Coston, a public works driver and laborer, would spend covering at the transfer station. That would allow Coston to get rest for his role plowing and sanding the town roads. Haskell said other people will be available to cover at the transfer station.

The next meeting was scheduled for December 5.

WINDSOR: Rescue director addresses complaint of response time

by The Town Line staff

At the October 24 meeting of the Windsor Select Board, Raymond Chavarie, Director of Windsor Rescue, addressed the board about an article noting a resident unhappy with rescue response time for a certain call in Windsor. He noted response times recorded from dispatch services and logged of a certain call. The call came into the dispatch center at 5:20 p.m., and dispatched at 5:23 p.m., with the Windsor Rescue Unit leaving the station at 5:27 p.m. The rescue unit was on-site at 5:30 p.m.

Chavarie explained that all are volunteers and get there as quickly as possible. In any emergency, five minutes can seem like an hour to someone. It is the first responders’ job to get there and do what they can before paramedics arrive. Chavarie said he welcomes the younger generation to get involved, and be trained to fill some much-needed shoes.

Carol Chavarie asked the board if the town could post on the website asking residents to mark their mailboxes and houses more clearly. Fire and rescue units need to be able to find the homes in case of an emergency and some homes just aren’t marked. She also asked if the town has an ordinance on factory start times. She said the asphalt company in town starts work very early in the morning. Town Manager Theresa Haskell said she would look into the matter.

Haskell reported that the transfer station is still currently down one employee. Many town employees have been volunteering their time to cover at the transfer station, but she noted state restrictions on running certain equipment under the age of 18 have made things difficult. The select board proposed public works assume supervisory responsibilities until the transfer station is fully staffed and the role of a supervisor has been re-established. Currently, there are five members on the transfer station committee, Barbara Seaver-West, John Deeds, Tom Reed, Cheryl Pratt and David Coons.

Animal Control Officer Ryan Carver has reported a lot of calls for animal control, some requiring the assistance of state police and sheriff’s department deputies. Haskell said she would be meeting with the Chelsea town manager in December to talk about options for coverage and back-up for animal control in surrounding towns.

In other business, Haskell noted:

  • Raymond Chavarie has resigned as a member of the Windsor Educational Foundation and Reed Fund, and that the position would be advertised.
  • The resident looking for information regarding the proposed new power line that may come through Windsor was given information by the town office staff and helped put “her mind at ease.”
  • The position of deputy clerk and transfer station attendant would be advertised.
  • Select Board member Chester Barnes Jr. and Codes Enforcement Officer Arthur Strout met with a resident to review what the requirements are for her property to be considered a residence. She was given a copy of the town’s building code.

NOVEMBER 7, 2023

At their November 7 meeting, the Windsor Select Board was told by Keith Hall, public works supervisor, that the new employee has been shown the plow routes and that all went well.

The department is currently down one truck, and is at the shop for repairs. The Western Star truck #5 is back in service following repairs at O’Connor’s, in Augusta, and the work cost $6,459.

Hall also reported that James Page would stay on as a fill-in driver. Resident Tim Coston mentioned the several years of service Page has given to the public works department.

Hall also noted that with good weather, the paving job will be finished on Vigue Road, completing this year’s paving contract.

There was some discussion about the cement wall at the transfer station. Town Manager Theresa Haskell mentioned she has tried to get Avery Glidden to come and fix the wall, but he hasn’t returned the calls. Hall has received a couple of quotes. No decision was reached.

In other business:

  • Haskell reported Delta Ambulance’s third quarter report. She noted that Tim Beals has stepped down as executive director for Delta and is being replaced by Chris Mitchell as the interim executive director. Haskell received information that Delta will be selling the Cony Road location, in Augusta, and there isn’t much more information on the closure or relocation, which is said to be taking place to a southern locale.
  • Haskell received the state of Maine check that Maine towns will be receiving to offset general assistance costs. Towns will be sharing $8.5 million, of which Windsor’s share will be $521.25. The money will go into a miscellaneous town revenue account.
  • Haskell noted that as of the November 7 meeting, there have been no applications received for the part-time transfer station attendant position.

The next meeting of the select board was scheduled for November 21.

WINDSOR: Trucks/equipment discussed at select board meeting

by The Town Line staff

At the October 10 meeting of the Windsor Select Board, there was discussion of the truck/equipment schedule. Public Works Supervisor Keith Hall spoke to the time line and the notes he made on a handout for replacing each of the trucks and equipment. He informed the board that two trucks – #5 and #6 – are currently in the shop for repairs. He noted the parts are expensive and the dealereship seems to be having problems getting the parts. His plan is to have the trucks back in service before snow fall.

The select board noted that with the cost of parts and repairs, it may be time to look at increasing the budget line for the public works department in the future.

Hall also told the board the quote to replace the 2016 International dump truck with plow would be upwards of $160,000. The board said it would have to be included in the 2024-25 budget. More discussion is planned.

Town Manager Theresa Haskell gave out the monthly transfer station report. September was up from last year with $2,471.75, making the overall today for the year to $6,644.45.

Transfer station committee member Tom Reed spoke about the solid waste ordinance that the the committee has already approved, and he has a few additional updates to be made to the wording before the final print of the ordinance is approved by the select board.

In other business, the select board unanimously accepted the resignation of Sean Teekema from the Windsor Transfer Station. Hall said that he and Tim from public works have been helping at the transfer station due to the short staff in the department. The position will be posted on the town webpage and on the town office sign, with the hopes of filling the position soon.

Monique Crommett was present on behalf of RSU #12. Haskell inquired about the electric bus. Crommett said the bus is not yet here and they are still waiting for it.

Sandra Grecrenko asked the select board what the requirement is for a property to be considered a residence. The select board answered to the best of their ability giving the answer the property would need to have a dwelling, water, septic and electric present. Following more discussion, the board felt they didn’t have appropriate answers or information. The board suggested she set up a meeting with Codes Enforcement Office Arthur Strout for answers.

Crommett suggested it would be helpful to residents if Strout have available a list when residents come to him, explaining “A-Z” what is needed when someone is getting ready to build whether it is from ground up or simnply putting in a new septic system. She feels it would cut down on confusion and questions by a lot of residents if they had a simple check list to which to refer.

F. Gerard Nault inquired about the upcoming public hearing. The hearing will be to see if the town would enact a Maine Site Plan Review Ordinance, set for November 1, with a special town meeting slated for November 9, at 6:30 p.m., at the Windsor Town Hall.

The next meeting of the select board was planned for October 24, 2023.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Inventions, agriculture & others

The Lombard log hauler, one of only six remaining, at its home at the Redington Museum, in Waterville. (photo by Roland Hallee)

by Mary Grow

Previous articles have talked about how agricultural work changed from the 1700s through the 1800s, as manpower was replaced by animal-power and then machines.

Other changes, too, helped farmers produce more or expend less effort or both. One example is the development of wire for fences. (Barbed-wire fencing was mentioned in the Sept. 7 issue of The Town Line, in the account of the skaters who burned part of a farmer’s stump fence for bonfires and redeemed themselves by putting up barbed wire as a replacement).

In his history of Windsor, Linwood Lowden wrote, “As early as the year 1861, it had been modestly estimated that an old-fashioned wood or stone fence takes a strip of land at least four feet wide out of cultivation.”

Losing a four-foot strip was not a problem while a farmer was battling to clear trees and rocks to make fields to grow food for his animals and his family. When he intended to sell some of what he raised, and when wood became scarce, he needed different fencing material.

Wire fences were the solution, Lowden wrote. Citing an 1882 Maine Board of Agriculture report, he said the first fence wire might have might have been made as early as 1815.

The industry was “still in its infancy” in the 1820s, with an individual worker “able to produce but from 15 to 40 pounds of fence wire per day.” By 1882, new technology made it possible for a single worker to “produce between 1,000 to 2,500 pounds per day.”

(There is an on-line controversy about who invented wire. The candidate list begins with Thomas Malham, Sheffield, England, in 1830; Jean Francois Martin, of France, about the same time; and other contemporary foundry owners, unnamed. Another historian calls their nominations “manifest nonsense.” He says Egyptians in the time of the pharaohs [3,000 B.C. and following centuries] made wire from gold, silver and copper, and wire made from iron “was achieved about 1450, in Augsburg [Germany].”)

Barbs came later. Wikipedia says Lucien B. Smith, of Kent, Ohio, got the first patent for barbed wire in 1867 and “is regarded as the inventor.” In 1874, Joseph F. Glidden, of DeKalb, Illinois, made enough “modifications” (or, another source says, “invented a practical machine for its manufacture”) to get his own patent.

The Board of Agriculture report said in 1874, the United States had 10 miles of three-strand wire fence (in 37 states). By 1882, there were 166,000 miles (in 38 states; Colorado was added in 1876).

* * * * * *

The invention of wire fencing, unlike the use of it, had nothing to do with any part of Maine. However, Maine had its share of inventors, including some from the central Kennebec Valley area.

Vassalboro historian Alma Pierce Robbins named two Vassalboro inventors who helped with farm and other outdoor work. One was the comparatively well-known Alvin Lombard (see below).

The other, more obscure, was Hanson G. Barrows, who, she wrote, invented a mowing machine & a snowplow; models extant in 1971 “go to prove what a true genius he was.”

(On-line sources on the origin of the mechanical reaper [which the web discusses in reply to requests for mowing machines] do not mention Barrows, focusing instead on the competition between Obed Hussey [1792-1860] and Cyrus McCormick [1808 or 1809 – 1883 or 1884] in the 1840s and 1850s. Colby College historian Earl H. Smith included both these inventors in his 2021 book, Downeast Genius: From Earmuffs to Motor Cars Maine Inventors Who Changed the World.)

Hussey was born in a Quaker family, in Hallowell; they moved to Nantucket, Massachusetts, when he was a child, and his work was done in Maryland and Ohio. Smith commented that Hussey realized Maine was an unfair place to test his reaper – not only was Maine farmland “hilly and difficult to plow, the real curse was the rocks, which often broke the shafts and blades of his machines.”

Smith connected Virginia-born McCormick with Maine only through his “War of the Reapers” with Hussey, which covered much of the United States; in 1851 was part of London’s Great Exhibition, “the first world’s fair”; and later moved to France and elsewhere in Europe.

Robbins wrote that Hanson Barrows (1831-1916) was the oldest of three sons and two daughters of Caleb Barrows and his wife (whose name your writer cannot find). She called Caleb an early settler in Vassalboro; Henry Kingsbury, in his Kennebec County history, said he moved to Vassalboro from Camden in 1830.

Hanson Barrows spent his life on the farm he inherited from Caleb, named Twin Oaks, on Barrows Road (Kingsbury said the farm was “on the pond road,” probably meaning Webber Pond Road). In 1971, Robbins wrote, the Barrows family home still stood, with a view across the golf course to Webber Pond.

(Barrows Road ran west from Webber Pond Road to the section of Old Route 201 named Holman Day Road. On May 13, 2010, the Vassalboro select board ordered the road discontinued, without retaining a public right-of-way. Voters at the June 7, 2010, town meeting ratified the decision.)

Hanson Barrows and his wife, Julia E. (Wood) Barrows (1854-1942), are buried in Vassalboro’s Union cemetery. Their son, Leon Martell Barrows (Oct. 24, 1888 – March 5, 1956), in 1911 married Bertha May McCloud (1892-1913).

(Hanson’s brother Edwin [April 2, 1842 – April 20, 1918] was profiled in the article on Civil War veterans in the March 31, 2022, issue of The Town Line.)

* * * * * *

The Lombard house in Waterville, today, across from the public library. (photo by Roland Hallee)

Alvin Orlando Lombard was born June 15, 1856, in Springfield, Maine. Various sources say by the age of eight he was at work in the family mill – a shingle mill, in Lincoln, Maine, Smith wrote, where the “[s]toutly built, inquisitive, and energetic” boy “quickly mastered every woodland task from lumberjack to river driver and from stacker to mill sawyer.”

The child also built machines. Several sources mentioned his miniature water-powered sawmill (or wood-splitter – sources disagree) that he demonstrated by cutting up cucumbers.

Later, Lombard and his younger brother Samuel operated a blacksmith shop, in Waterville. Wikipedia said Alvin designed “sawmill and logging equipment” and Samuel supervised manufacturing.

Smith wrote that in the summer of 1899, Lombard, age 43 and already known as an inventor, shared a streetcar ride with his wealthy Fairfield friend, E. J. Lawrence. Lawrence “bemoaned the cost and cruelty” of using horses to haul harvested trees out of the Maine woods in the winter and asked Lombard if a machine could be used instead.

Two days later Lombard showed Lawrence a wooden model of a tracked vehicle. Lawrence liked it. The two built a full-size sample at Waterville Iron Works, “and on May 4, 1901, U. S. Patent #674,737 was issued for the Lombard Log Hauler, arguably the most significant invention ever to come from the State of Maine.”

Lombard’s machine was powered by “a steam engine with an upright boiler” and ran on steerable front skis and rear caterpillar treads. Here is Smith’s description: “A continuous belt of hinged steel lags (treads) was fitted over two pairs of geared wheels, allowing the heavy machine to pull itself along on a rolling carpet of steel…, like a caterpillar.”

These machines replaced “the work of 50 lumber-pulling horses,” one source said. Another called the log-hauler the model for “every snowmobile, tank and bulldozer ever built.” Even after trucks succeeded tractors in the Maine woods in the 1930s, the caterpillar tread continued to expand its uses world-wide.

The Maine Forest and Logging Museum website lists the six known Lombards remaining of the 83 built between 1900 and 1917. Two are at the museum in Bradley, the website says.

In addition to the log hauler for which he is best known, Smith wrote that Lombard’s commercially successful inventions included “a device for tossing (de-barking) pulpwood, and an apparatus that separated knots and sawdust from ground pulp.”

Smith said Lombard was most proud of an 1893 invention, “an automatic mechanical device…that maintained the speed and power of water turbines.” Lombard made and sold this useful regulator for six years before selling the patent and, according to Smith, dividing his time between his house in Waterville, where he had a basement workshop, and his country house in Vassalboro.

An online genealogy says Lombard and Mary Etta Bates (Sept. 8, 1856 – April 13, 1931) were married June 13, 1875, in Webster Plantation. They had one daughter, Grace Vivian Lombard Vose (Dec. 8, 1876-Aug. 24, 1947).

Alvin Lombard died Feb. 21, 1937. He, his wife and their daughter are buried in Waterville’s Pine Grove cemetery.

Online sources list two memorials to Lombard. Mount Lombard, in Antarctica, recognizes his contribution to driving over snow; and his Waterville house, now an apartment building, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Your writer, and Vassalboro Historical Society president, Janice Clowes, add Lombard Dam, on Outlet Steam, in Vassalboro, recently removed to allowed alewives to migrate into China Lake, and Lombard Dam Road.

Who invented the snowmobile?

Earl Smith nominated O. C. Johnson, of Waterville, who, inspired by Alvin Lombard’s log hauler, “is said to have built one of the first snow machines in 1909. It was ten feet long and powered by a ‘one lung’ engine.”

Your writer failed to find additional information on O. C. Johnson. On-line sources say early versions of the snowmobile were invented in 1911 by Harold J. Kalenze, of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada; in 1915 by Ray H. Muscott, of Waters, Michigan; in 1917 by Virgil D. White, of Ossipee, New Hampshire; in 1922 (much improved by 1935) by Joseph-Armand Bombardier, of Valcourt, Québec, Canada; and in 1924 (patented in 1927) by Carl Eliason, of Sayner, Wisconsin.

A snowmobile history found on the Volo Museum’s website credits White, Eliason and Bombardier, and agrees with Smith. The website says: “One of the earliest snowmobile ancestors is the steam-powered Lombard Log Hauler….”

Appeal to our readers

An appeal to our readers, especially those in Windsor, to help an out-of-state historian.

Peter Pettingill, from Barrington, New Hampshire, is seeking local information on an event in Windsor that he described as “the death of Charles Northey, Jr., which occurred in South Windsor, in October, 1905, resulting in the sensational six-and-a-half-week trial of resident Alice Spencer Cooper.”

He added, “It was the longest trial in Maine’s history at the time and was in the press from Maine to California and involved countless folks from your area and a lot of prominent Maine characters.”

Mr. Pettingill has done a lot of on-line research; he visited the area this past summer to check out graveyards and remaining buildings. He would appreciate more information from local people – does anyone have an ancestor in the Northey or Cooper family, or perhaps one who was involved in the trial?

In 2022 he published Porter: The Murder of David Varney (your writer found favorable reviews on line). His second book, titled The Murder of Mattie Hackett, is due out by the end of the year, he said.

For anyone with relevant information, Mr. Pettingill’s email address is His postal address is 58 Waterhouse Road, Barrington, NH 03825.

Main sources

Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Lowden, Linwood H., good Land & fine Contrey but Poor roads a history of Windsor, Maine (1993).
Robbins, Alma Pierce, History of Vassalborough Maine 1771 1971 n.d. (1971).
Smith, Earl H., Downeast Genius: From Earmuffs to Motor Cars Maine Inventors Who Changed the World (2021).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Windsor residents unhappy with rescue response time

by The Town Line staff

At their September 12, 2023, meeting, the Windsor Select Board heard from Douglas Hamm and Karalyne Rideout to speak of an incident that occurred on Saturday afternoon, September 9. Douglas was very upset that it took rescue units upwards of 45 minutes to arrive at his residence, responding to his wife having a serious medical event. He called 911, then called his mother-in-law, Karalyne. His mother-in-law arrived before rescue. Karalyne stated she called 911 for a second time and repeated the address. A state trooper arrived before Delta and began CPR with the first responders. They were both very upset with the response time and performance of rescue crews. Haskell said she will follow up on the incident.

Public Works Supervisor Keith Hall informed the board about the cost of obtaining safety signs with blinking LED lights to add extra safety for public works employees while working along the roadsides. The cost is estimated at $700. More discussion will take place. There was also a quick mention about future public works truck expenses and needs.

The monthly transfer station report for August was up from last year by $1,212.45, making the overall total of $8,623.25 for the year.

Richard and Jane Crecco came before the board to speak on their own behalf about a small community grant for a new replacement septic system they need, and would like the town to partake. The couple has done research and found a small community grant through the state of Maine that could reimburse the town, if the town pays for it up front. It wasn’t clear if the pay back was a full reimbursement. It looks like the town may not get the money at all if the grant ran out of funds before the work was completed. Following much discussion, not only at the board meeting, but through phone calls and letters between the small community grant program, lengthy discussions and meetings with Town Manager Theresa Haskell and talks with select board members, the board concluded this small community grant isn’t something they can partake at this time. There are many reasons this isn’t something the town is able to do currently.

In other business:

  • Selectman William Appel Jr. made a motion to sign an abatement tax warrant for Anthony N. and Katherine L. Trask in the amount of $2,860.85, with one supplemental tax warrant to Cynthia Trask, personal respresentative for Catherine M. Trask in the amount of $2,853.60, as per Assessor Vern Ziegler’s recommendation;
  • Road name changed from Bernier Lane to Landwork’’s Lane;
  • Haskell handed out a draft copy of the emplyee manual, indicating some changes and updates made on paid timeoff. A float holiday was discussed with no changes made.
  • Haskell asked the board if there were any changes to be made to the compensatory time off agreement time for the two public works employees. With the now approved employee manual, these two public works employees will need to sign up for the 2023-2024 year and then yearly in July thereafter.
  • Ray Bates presented Richard H. Gray Jr. with the Spirit of America Award for his many years of dedication to the town of Windsor. Gray served 15 years on the select board, 16 years on the budget committee, cemetery committe. Among many other things he continues to have unwavering dedication to the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Ray Bates read a letter from Clean Energy Connect, summarizing the construction that may happen, what it will entail and what it may look like, and sound like for surrounding communities.
  • Andrew Ballantayne spoke about his day spent in Bangor speaking with legislative bodies. He gave a presentation about underground high voltage D/C. He wants to separate the transmission line from Clean Enerey when he speaks, feeling it is important.

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At their September 26, 2023, meeting, the Windsor Select Board heard from Public Works Supervisor Keith Hall about the Coopers Mills Road culvert that was recently caved in, and will need to be looked at and possibly redone. Hall spoke with Maine-ly Paving and they said they would take care of it.

Town Manager Theresa Haskell said Central Maine Power Co. has been working on getting road entrance permits dealing with the proposed lines within the corridors. Hall has been meeting with them.

Arthur Strout has informed Haskell that the Windsor Fair is possibly working on an agreement to have the field area across from the fair and next to the newly-paved transfer station used by a company with big trucks and equipment for a lengthy period. Strout suggested the town put some gravel shoulders on that side of the newly-paved road and Hall said he is planning on that, and will also meet with the company to make sure they use a different entrance with heavy equipment.

Planning board members Jerry Nault and Carol Chavarie said they have approved the building code and have brought it to the select board. With much discussion it was suggested by the select board to bring this back to the planning board with the proposed revisions.

Haskell handed out the 12-month budget for 2022/2023. The actual budget ended at 90.52 percent out of the 100 percent, but will still need to be finalized with the audit.

Haskell received a letter indicating the town of Windsor is in compliance with the General Assistance Statutes and the Department of Health and Human Services General Assistance policy. The state recommended designating a fair hearing officer in the event an applicant requests a hearing. Haskell said China Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood had agreed to be Windsor’s fair hearing officer, with Haskell becoming China’s fair hearing officer.

Selectman Andrew Ballantyne said local towns are writing a letter to the office of the public advocate in seeking assistance for receiving access to documents from the Maine Public Utilities Commission regarding the Aroostook Renewable Gateway’s proposed high-voltage transmission corridor that could impact about 41 towns, including Windsor. Ballantyne is asking to have the select board of Windsor to also join in and sign, along with Palermo, Unity, Albion and Thorndike, in requesting assistance in accessing the necessary information to protect the health, safety, wellbeing, welfare and livelihoods of residents. Select board members agreed unanimously.