Windsor transfer station needs to replace tire can

by The Town Line staff

At the November 23 meeting of the Windsor select board, Transfer Station Supervisor Sean Teekema noted that the tire can is in rough shape and will not last the winter. He suggested taking the existing Demo can and use it for tires, and replace the Demo can with a new one. It was also suggested to put a cement pad under the tire can. There is $25,840 in the transfer station reserve account, so Selectman Ronald F. Brann will research the cost of a new Demo can.

The Veterans Memorial Pie sale, held on November 20, at Hussey’s General Store, netted $1,111.11 in sales, and $111.11 from the cash jug. Currently there is $11,596.29 in the Veterans Memorial Fund. A question was raised as to whether they should add more money in the budget for next year to the Veterans Memorial Fund. It was agreed to discuss that at a later time.

To date, 24-1/2 miles of lines have been painted on town roads. Sixty-six percent of the lines are done. The stop bar for the Barton/Jones road was done on the Route 105 side, but not the Jones Road. Town Manager Theresa Haskell said she will contact Lucas Striping to look into it.

In other business, the Windsor School is asking the Reed Funding Group to reimburse a teacher directly for the four bean bag chairs that were agreed to be purchased for the school. It was unanimously passed that a manual check in the amount of $341.78 be issued to Windsor Elementary School for reimbursement of four bean bag chairs, and they would reimburse the teacher.

Discussion centered for the upcoming holiday schedule for the transfer station. The transfer station will be closed Friday, December 24 and Saturday, December 25, and Saturday, January 1, 2022. The select board agreed to let Sean Teekema, transfer station supervisor, to decide if the transfer station will be open on December 31.

A meeting of the Windsor Bicentennial Committee was held on November 15. The $313.55 remaining in the Windsor Days accunt will be used towards the bicentennial event.

Finally, it was reported that 16 accounts are impending auto foreclosure. Of those, 12 are repeat and usually pay at the last minute.

The next meeting of the select board was held on December 7.

Windsor receives plowing contract for $27,500

by The Town Line staff

At their November 9 meeting, the Windsor select board dealt with an abbreviated agenda.

Town Manager Theresa Haskell reported she has received the plowing contract from McGee Construction, in the amount of$27,500, and $94 per hour after 250 hours for the 2021-22 winter season. Selectmen accepted the bid unanimously.

The new insurance rates received for January 2022 show the health POS C plan went up two percent and the dental plan went up one percent.

In other business, it was reported that clean up at the transfer station, in preparation for winter, has been completed. Tires, air conditioners, television and metal can have been removed. The monthly financial report showed revenues down $1,585.78 from the same date in October of last year, and are down $2,483.26 for the first four months of the current fiscal year.

Animal Control Officer Kim Bolduc-Bartlett will be off from December 1 to December 14. Peter Nerber will be her back up.

The cemetery sexton, Joyce Perry, has reported the cemetery gates are now closed for the winter.

A meeting to begin plans for the Windsor Bicentennial was held on November 15. Haskell recommended a committee get started to include members of the town office, historical society, Windsor Fair Association, Windsor Elementary School, Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, Windsor Rescue, and the general public.

Assessors Agent Vern Ziegler sent the request for proposal to Haskell for the town valuation for her review. All bids need to be returned to the town office by January 2022.

Finally, Haskell circulated photos of the new fence that was completed through an Eagle Scout project, and would like to attach a sign on the fence to recognize the Eagle Scouts who did the project. The select board agreed to the sign.

The next regular select board meeting was scheduled for November 23.

Windsor selectmen hear request for medical marijuana business

by The Town Line staff

At the October 12 meeting of the Windsor select board, the members heard from Baylee Dresser who appeared before the body to inquire about renting a piece of property from the town to open a medical marijuana store front for sales, and seek the process to do so. He was informed by the board that Windsor is not an “opt in” town, and he would have to go through a petition type process. Dresser prepared and presented a draft for the select board to review.

In other business, the public works department reported on numerous complaints regarding the aggressive cuts on the Choate Road, where several survey and property line pins have been damaged. Town Manager Theresa Haskell responded, in the absence of Public Works Director Keith Hall, that the markers have been found and marked with orange paint, as well as having spoken with property owners.

Damage was also reported to the Central Maine Power Substation entrance on the Maxcy’s Mill Road. It looks like they are loading and unloading equipment and using a low trailer, scraping the new pavement and have tried to put back the new pavement. However, that has caused irregularities and raised bumps. Hall will contact the paving company to get a quote for repairs. Attempts to find who is responsible for the damage have been fruitless.

The revenues at the transfer station were down from last year in September ($1,621.45) and are also down for the year ($897.48).

Haskell presented a Department of Transportation letter for the 2022 Maine DOT Pavement Preservation Project which states that Route 17 will be paved from Augusta to Jefferson. The town manager’s concern was that it would be a problem if this occurred during the time of the Windsor Fair. She will forward that concern to the DOT.

Several suggestions were made regarding the distribution of the ARPA funds from the federal government. One idea is to use the funds to purchase radios for the Windsor Volunteer Fire/Rescue Department, to replace old analog radios with digital. Also suggested was purchasing personal protective equipment throughout all departments. The process to disburse the funds would come in the form of a warrant at town meeting.

Haskell reported the collection of 2022 real estate taxes are coming in at a 52.79 percent rate, with 394 accounts paid in full, and the 2022 personal property taxes being paid at an 87.13 percent rate. In all, 21 accounts have been paid in full.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Windsor & Winslow schools

The second Fort School in Winslow was constructed on the east side of Lithgow Street during the summer of 1909 to replace the one-room original Fort School across from the church. The school had two very large rooms. In this image, the school is facing Lithgow Street. The school, the school lot, and land for a playground cost $4,500.00. It was part of the Winslow Public School system through 1937-38. In 1963, Waterville Window Company purchased the school and renovated it to serve their purposes.

by Mary Grow

Windsor residents are fortunate to have a well-researched town history by Linwood H. Lowden, published in 1993, that includes an equally well-researched chapter on schools by C. Arlene Barton Gilbert.

From this book, we learn that Windsor, like many other nearby towns, began funding primary schools early in the 1800s.

Windsor’s first teacher, and first resident preacher, was Rev. Job Chadwick, who had previously taught in China. In 1804, Lowden wrote, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel sought a teacher for two small settlements, Hunts Meadow (later included in Whitefield) and Pinhook (in the southern part of what became Windsor).

The Wiscasset minister who recommended Chadwick explained that he had experience and a good reputation, and added, “Through a variety of misfortunes he has lately been stripped of all his worldly property, & I imagine would keep school at as easy a rate as any.”

Chadwick, once he met the residents of the two settlements, commented on the difference between the two jobs. Windsor residents, he wrote, “appear fond of the gift of a school if they might have it separate from the Gospel which they discover an uncommon aversion to…& treat it with entire neglect & a degree of contempt.”

Gilbert wrote that Chadwick’s first term of school was two month long, with an average attendance of 15 to 20 youngsters.

The earliest record of a Windsor town meeting that Lowden found was on April 3, 1809, at Chadwick’s house. Voters approved a $50 appropriation for education – and $700 “to be wrought upon the road or highways.” The latter was supplemented by approval of paying $1 a day for a man’s work on the roads and 66 cents a day for oxen.

A year later, voters approved five school districts and appropriated $150. Gilbert copied from the town records: “this money for schooling be paid in lumber and produce.”

Another year later, in April 1811, Gilbert wrote that the appropriation went up to $200, and voters started rearranging the districts. Later in the century, Windsor had at least 16 school districts, and possibly 18. When Henry Kingsbury finished his Kennebec County history in 1892, there were 12.

The first free high school of which Gilbert found a record started in 1867. According to Kingsbury, town officials bought “seats and desks” for the second floor of the town house to open the school, with Horace Colburn the teacher.

(Kingsbury said that Colburn [1812-1885], left three sons. Two of them taught school, starting in their teens; and each of those two served as Windsor’s supervisor of schools, Joseph from 1871 to 1886 and Frank in 1888 and 1889.)

Gilbert wrote that after offering two high-school terms for each of five years, in March 1873 town meeting voters appropriated $200 to continue it, but rescinded the vote in April.

Nonetheless, she quoted from the 1877 school report that the prior year’s free high school terms, eight weeks in the spring and 10 weeks in the fall, were “very profitable to the district [District 1] and vicinity, giving the scholars who attended an opportunity for improvement that they could not otherwise have had.” The state subsidy amounted to $85.50, the report added.

The 1878 school supervisor’s report was equally enthusiastic. By then the free high school had 34 students, he wrote, “most of them being well advanced and quite a good number having had experience as teachers.”

Windsor’s free high school operated until 1902, Gilbert wrote. It was usually, but not always, in District 1. In 1902, there was a spring term, but the town was also paying tuition for students attending an out-of-town four-year high school (she did not say where the school was).

Winslow’s schools, at all levels, were of little interest to Kingsbury. He devoted one paragraph to the topic, talking about the situation in 1892. Fortunately, local historian Jack Nivison has approached the subject with more enthusiasm.

Nivison emailed that through his research, “particularly of very old Town Reports,” he found Winslow’s earliest schoolhouse for students up to eighth grade was the Fort School, built in 1819 on the west (river) side of Lithgow Street. Lithgow Street roughly parallels the Augusta Road (also Routes 100 and 201) along the Kennebec River, for a short distance south of the Sebasticook-Kennebec junction.

The 1819 school was named the Village School (and the area is designated on an 1879 map as Winslow Village). Nivison wrote the schoolhouse was diagonally across from and a little south of the Congregational Church, which was on the east side of Lithgow Street.

George Jones Varney’s 1881 Gazetteer of the State of Maine said Winslow had 15 schoolhouses by then. He valued them at $3,500.

In 1892, Kingsbury wrote, there were 16 school districts, but still only 15 schoolhouses, and only 11 districts held classes.

There were two free high schools in 1892, Kingsbury wrote. One was “at the village of Winslow”; the other was “in the eastern part of the town, near the Baptist church.” The Baptist Church had been built in 1850, he said, but he gave no more specific location.

In 1892, Kingsbury wrote, the town paid $250 to support the free high schools, which enrolled 80 students. There might have been additional state funding for the high schools; he said that the $250 was in addition to $1,400 “public money” and $1,500 from local taxes for 604 pre-high-school students.

Nivison says there were “attempts to formalize some post 8th grade courses in a couple of the existing schools,” perhaps the “high schools” Kingsbury mentioned.

Winslow’s Sand Hill School

The first Winslow High School, Nivison says, was in a disused Methodist Chapel on Birch (now Monument) Street, which runs between Clinton Avenue and Halifax Street (Route 100), along the top of the hill east of the Kennebec, parallel to Bay Street.

In 1899, he said, the Town of Winslow signed a lease with the Waterville Methodist Church “to renovate their unused Chapel” into a high school. He has a copy of the lease; as further evidence, he points out that Winslow High School graduation programs and the wall display in the present high school building date the school to 1899.

Nivison says the first freshman class had 18 students. By graduation in 2003, at the Congregational Church, the class was down to three students.

The original Fort School closed in 1909 or 1910, Nivison said, because more space was needed and because spring floods on the Kennebec had become a problem. A second Fort School, “built across the street on a higher level,” served as an elementary school well into the 1930s.

In 1904, Nivison continued, town officials had a three-story wooden school built on Halifax Street. The lower grades were on the first floor and the upper grades on the second and third floors.

“During the winter break in 1915 this school burned flat to the ground,” he wrote. It was replaced by a brick building that opened for classes in February 1916, again with lower grades on the first floor and upper grades upstairs.

The “new” Winslow High School, was built in 1928. It has since been replaced with a new building.

Winslow’s student population continued to grow, and in the spring of 1928, Nivison wrote, a new Winslow High School opened on Danielson Street. This school was about half a mile north of the previous ones; Danielson Street runs east off Benton Avenue, roughly parallel to Clinton Avenue.

Initially for grades seven through 12, the new high school quickly changed to grades eight through 12, Nivison wrote. The Halifax Street School became one of Winslow’s two brick elementary-school buildings (the other was the Boston Avenue School, built in 1921).

The Danielson Street site now hosts a complex that includes the current Winslow high and junior high schools and sports fields. Winslow Elementary School is adjacent, on the east side of Benton Avenue a short distance north of the other two schools.

Nivison says the Boston Avenue and Halifax Street schools were both demolished in the early 1990s. The Halifax Street School was considered as a new public library after the 1987 flood destroyed the Lithgow Street library building, but voters defeated the proposal.

Instead, town officials acquired the former roller-skating rink, also on Halifax Street, and converted it into the present library.

Rev. Job Chadwick

According to the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia, found on line, Rev. Job Chadwick was born about 1770, in Maine. An on-line Chadwick genealogy gives his birthdate as Dec. 4, 1756, “the fourth child of James and Ruth (Hatch) Chadwick.” The latter date matches his marriage date, also in the genealogy.

That source says James and Ruth brought their family to what would become China in the spring of 1782, establishing a farm at Chadwick’s Corner (near present-day Erskine Academy).

In 1796, according to the Biblical Cyclopedia, Chadwick “was ordained an evangelist” in Vassalboro, and a year later began eight years as pastor of China’s Second Baptist Church (once called the First Harlem Baptist Church), in South China Village at the south end of China Lake.

Another website, quoting Joshua Millet’s 1845 “History of the Baptists in Maine”, says this newly organized church was an offshoot of the Vassalboro Baptists. Starting with 19 initial members, who worshipped in a “neat and commodious brick edifice,” it grew slowly over the years, with Chadwick occasionally filling in as its preacher after he left in 1804.

Yet another on-line source records one of Chadwick’s actions: on Feb. 24, 1799, he “Joined in Marriage” Joseph Eveans or Evens (the Harlem clerk’s records have one spelling for the marriage intentions in January and the second for the actual marriage in February; your writer suspects the correct spelling is Evans) of Harlem and Jean Johnson of Ballston. (Ballston Plantation became the towns of Jefferson and Whitefield.)

The Biblical Cyclopedia says that after about 11 years as a missionary “under the direction of the Massachusetts Home Mission Society, in the destitute regions of Maine and on Cape Cod,” Chadwick took a pastorate in Gouldsborough, where he served from 1816 to 1831.

The genealogy says Chadwick married another emigree from Falmouth, Mercy Weeks (born Dec. 5, 1757), in Harlem (later China) on Sept. 13, 1784. They had a daughter and three sons. Mercy died in March 1826.

Chadwick died on Dec. 25, 1831, in Windsor, according to the Biblical Cyclopedia, or in January 1832, with no town specified, according to the genealogy. The latter claims he lived in China, saying nothing of missionary work or Gouldsboro. However, it also says he was the first and only teacher in town and was for years “the only spiritual guide the people of the town had of their own number,” making it clear all sources are describing the same man.

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)
Nivison, Jack, personal communications.

Websites, miscellaneous.

Cross Country Journey – Conclusion: The final leg to Edmonds, Washington

Steve reaching the top of Sherman Pass, highest point in Washington.

by Steve Ball

[Read part 1 here, and part 2 here.]

There was something about riding into Montana that gave me a sense that we were really making progress. Montana was our 13th state and I had completed over 2,500 miles on the bike. My bike was holding up well and I was feeling good – strong with no aches. The idea of finally getting into Montana, “Big Sky Country,” as it’s affectionately referred to, just sounded uplifting.

Allane and I left Medora, North Dakota, on a clear, hot day with a sense of accomplishment. The heat was increasing and I was now in the habit of getting up at around 4 a.m. and heading out on my ride. I had to get in a day’s ride before the afternoon heat set in. There weren’t many roads between Medora and Glendive, Montana. I rode the flat prairie with views of the Black Hills along either side of the road. Towns and settlements were fewer and farther between. I headed into Beach, North Dakota, a heck of a name for a town in the middle of the prairie. After a nice lunch with Allane in Beach I was about to embark on a new adventure, riding the Interstate.

A view of the Rocky Mountains at sunrise.

The only road running East-West was I-90 and I was going to try my luck riding along side streams of cars, RV’s, and semi trucks with tandem trailers all going 80 mph! Thank goodness the shoulder was clean and wide. After roughly 40 miles I was able to get off the highway in Glendive. I came to learn that in the West it is not at all uncommon for cyclist to ride on the interstate. It was new for me, and I was more than a little cautious. I hugged the far right side of the shoulder, put my head down and made some of the best speeds I would attain over the whole trip.

I carried on with the early mornings just to avoid problems with heat and it worked for me. There generally aren’t a lot of vehicles on the road at 4 a.m. and the views of sunrise and animals out for an early forage were stunning. From a distance the prairie can seem dull, empty and lifeless. I never appreciated the beauty of this type of terrain until I was able to spend hour after hour riding at 12 mph through it. I came to find the Montana prairie full of life, color and activity once I experienced it up close.

I rode through very small towns in Eastern Montana. I rode through the towns of Circle, Jordan, Winnett, and Stanford making our way Westward. We were met with cautionary news of grizzly bear sitings almost as soon as we entered Montana, but when we got to Stanford a nice gentleman in a diner showed us an article in the local newspaper about a cyclist who had been dragged from her tent and killed by a grizzly. This happened not far from where we were planning to ride. The warnings were all of sudden much more real. That evening, in our motel, Allane let me know that our days of tenting had come to a halt.

Probably the toughest day of riding on the trip came between Jordan and Winnett. The night before the ride I noticed that on the map it stated “No services for 74 miles.” I assumed it meant there were no gas stations, hotels or restaurants. But, in fact, it meant there was no sign of human life in this stretch between Jordan and Winnett. I left at approximately 4:30 a.m. and started out with a stiff headwind. If there’s anything that will demoralize a cyclist it’s riding into a headwind. Climbing hills or riding in the rain can be challenging, but fighting a headwind seems like you’re working constantly, making little progress and there’s no end in sight. On this day, Day 57 on the trip, I fought against a 20-27 mph headwind for 76 miles over eight hours. I averaged a whopping 9.5 mph and, when I finally made it to our stop, I was exhausted.

Thank God Allane was at the end. She had our accommodations and an iced coffee for me to recover and relax with.

I left Winnett without much regret. It was a desolate town with empty, dilapidated buildings and many abandoned houses. It really was a sad place. However, within 20 miles we came upon another tiny town called Grass Range. It was the polar opposite of Winnett, with nice houses, flower pots and green lawns. What a contrast! Our pancake at breakfast got our vote for the best on the trip.

The wind was now much more a factor than it had been on the trip thus far. The prevailing wind direction for the United States is from west to east. I knew this was the case before I left on my ride, but had not really appreciated just how much wind can impact a cyclist’s journey. I thought my biggest challenge would be the hills and mountains I would have to scale. I was mistaken.

I rode through the prairies of Montana for over a week getting to know this unique and, I would argue, mostly misunderstood, part of our country. We enjoyed the hospitality of very warm and generous people. In Great Falls, Montana, we met Brianne, a young woman who was so taken with the idea that someone would ride their bike across the country that she gave us a tour of “her” city and called her previous boss to get us a personal tour of the CM Russell Museum. CM Russell, a renowned artist whose works depicting ranch and cowboy life in Montana, sit in the Oval Office, the National Museum of Art and many other places. Great Falls was a memorable stop made all the more special because of the people.

We were both getting excited because we were getting close to Glacier National Park and the famed Rocky Mountains of Montana. The anticipation of the scenery and the postcard worthy views was real. I rode from Cut Bank, a small prairie town bordering the foothills of the Rockies. I saw the Rocky Mountain range from almost 50 miles away and it was amazing. Big, tall and vast, the range ran from north to south covering the span of my view. It would be my guiding feature for the next day.

Allane and Steve enjoying huckleberry ice cream in East Glacier, Montana.

We entered the Rockies at East Glacier Village, on the southern border of the national park. I anticipated hard riding, but after fighting the wind on the prairie, the mountains seemed pretty easy. I saw wildlife and enjoyed breathtaking views. I was frustrated that I couldn’t capture it all in photos. Every time I stopped to pull out my camera to take a photo, the scene changed or the animals ran away.

We loved the new taste of huckleberry in everything from ice cream, to tea, to syrup. There were more people and we really appreciated the new sense of community that seemed to exist amongst travelers, hikers, and cyclists.

I scaled Mariah’s Pass outside of Summit, Montana, with an elevation of 5,216 feet, crossed the Continental Divide, and glided down into Kalispell, a lovely city nestled in the mountains and atop Flathead Lake. It seemed everywhere we looked we would catch our breath and say, “Wow!” The Rocky Mountain Range is a uniquely special place.

I finally had come through Montana just beyond the town of Libby after over 700 miles of cycling! I thought New York was long. Montana is nearly 1.5 times as long as New York!

From the Rockies I rode on through that part of Idaho that sticks up between Montana and Washington. It was mountainous and wild and very much worth the ride. We spent one day in Idaho, stopping in Sandpoint, a lakeside city near the border between Idaho and Washington. Idaho was our 14th state!

I entered Washington State on our 70th day on the road. Our goal of crossing the United States was getting closer and we knew it. We had some spectacular cycling ahead of us in the Northern Cascades, so we weren’t necessarily looking to hurry it up.

Our first real taste of the Northern Cascade Mountains was to scale Sherman Pass, the highest paved mountain pass in Washington at 5,575 feet. On this climb of Sherman Pass I rode 23 miles up to the peak and then glided down while enjoying breathtaking views.

We were looking forward to visiting with an old Army buddy, Hank Cramer, from Winthrop, and had his lovely town that sits nestled in the Cascade range in our sights. But forest fires were beginning to rage and people who lived in these parts were either fighting the fires, protecting their homes or getting ready to evacuate. I had never seen a forest fire up close and wasn’t eager to do so, but we saw several on this ride. It’s both overwhelming and scary. I was not close to worrying about my safety, but could see the forest engulfed in smoke. It was quite a sight.

Our visit with Hank in Winthrop was not to be. Instead, we met in Omak, Washington, about 40 miles southwest from Winthrop and off of my original route. We met for a nice dinner, but we were a safe distance from the fires that had closed the only road heading west out of Winthrop. My plan of riding the Northern Cascade Range from Idaho to the coast would have to be abandoned.

I re-worked my route traveling south along the Columbia River to the Southern Range of the Cascade Mountains. Although not my original route, it turned out to be an equally spectacular ride through mountain passes and scenic river valleys.

Steve standing next to the Brackett’s Landing sign, the final destination.

At this point, we needed to select our final route to the coast. Looking over the map for a reasonably safe and appropriate coastline to end this adventure, Allane came across a small beach in Edmonds, Washington. Brackett’s Landing sat on the northern side of the Edmonds Ferry that connected Bainbridge Island to the mainland. It seemed that fate determined Brackett’s Landing to be our destination. Allane’s maiden name is Brackett and what better place to end this epic journey than at a place with this name?

As it turned out, Edmonds was founded by George Brackett and, after some serious research, Allane determined that she is distantly related to George, whose father was born in Yarmouth, Maine.

People have asked what I liked best, or what was the hardest part, or what was most memorable about this journey. I have a hard time narrowing my experiences down to single days, or places. In fact, what I liked best about this epic journey was that I saw more, felt more and appreciated more about this country than I have ever before. I know now that true appreciation of anything can best be accomplished at a slow and deliberate pace. And finally, reaching a destination is rarely the most gratifying part of any endeavor, it’s the process of getting there that is most satisfying and most lasting.

Finishing the trip.

Cross Country Journey – Part 2 Stage Two: Defiance, Ohio, to Medora, North Dakota

Alane and Steve in Defiance, Ohio.

by Steve Ball

[Read part 1 here: Cross Country Journey – Part 1 Stage One: From Belfast to Ohio]

We left Cleveland with new found enthusiasm. Allane and I had made it 1,000 miles and our friends and riding partners, John Williams and Nancy Beardsley, joined us for our journey continuing to Davenport, Iowa.

We headed out of Cleveland on our way to Defiance, Ohio, a fabulous name for a town full of nice and welcoming people. Heading into Defiance we had a forecast of rain showers. Donning wet weather gear, we plowed through light rain with determination. In Defiance we stopped at the Cabin Fever Coffee Shop, made all the more wonderful because of the people who stopped by our table and engaged with us. Sam and Eric from the local Team Defiance Bike Club spoke to us for a bit, giving us some history of their club. After we conversed for a while, Sam brought us Team Defiance Bike Club jerseys as a gift and tribute to our transcontinental ride. What nice and generous people!

We rode through on-again, off-again rain showers for the next few days. It was not enough to dampen our spirits. On Day 24 we arrived in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. There’s something about crossing state boundaries when you’re traveling on a bike. It doesn’t happen often and when it did I tried to make a point of getting off my bike, celebrating a bit, and taking a photo to memorialize it all. We were entering our sixth state on the journey.

We took a Down Day in Ft. Wayne. I found down days are important for all sorts of reasons. Primarily it allows the body to recover a bit from the grind of pedaling all day on the seat of a bike. Also important is the pure enjoyment of stopping to take in more of your surroundings, to act for a moment like a tourist, and get to know, a little more deeply, the people who work and live in our great country. Ft Wayne was the perfect place for a Down Day.

We began the day at the local tourism center, where two very enthusiastic locals recommended places and experiences not to be missed. We also enjoyed a visit by friends Beth and Kevin, from my days working in Vietnam. They drove up from Indianapolis to catch up and enjoy dinner with us. What a treat!

Our continuing journey took us through increasingly expansive farming country where corn and soy bean fields are everywhere. The countryside in this area is vast and flat. As far as you can see there are row after row of planted fields, from horizon to horizon. There were fewer and fewer houses and more and more fields. I have a whole new understanding of what the locals called “corporate farming”. The roads framed the one-mile by one-mile sections in very orderly north-south, east-west lines. Farmers didn’t necessarily talk about how many acres they farmed, they talked about how many sections they worked.

After Ft. Wayne we hugged the Wabash River and came into Peru, Indiana, the birthplace of Cole Porter and the Peru Amateur Youth Circus, a town with Big Top architecture and large indoor circus training facility lining Main Street. At the Farmers’ Market, we were gifted with fresh apples by a supportive orchard owner. We left Peru to travel through more soy bean and corn fields. At one restaurant in Rensselaer, Indiana, Allane asked if there was anything interesting she should see in the area. The waitress answered, “ No.” and added, “Just corn and more corn.”

We made it into Illinois on another rainy day. The rain poured on this day, but we were elated to make it into state #7. We had reservations at a small farm Bed & Breakfast in the town of Kempton, Illinois, population 231. When they say small town in the Midwest, they mean small town. The B&B was in the middle of one of the many 1×1 mile grids and was one our favorite places on the journey. The proprietors were genuine and exceptionally nice. We rested up and enjoyed a wonderful home cooked meal and comfortable evening.

The rain cleared, the heat began to rise, and the headwinds started. Without trees to break some of the force of 20 mph winds and with the thermometer getting close to 100 degrees, the pace slowed a bit. One tough day included a 43-mile stretch with absolutely nothing in the way of services, stores, or shade.

We knew the next big sight for us would be the grand and massive Mississippi River. We pulled into Davenport, Iowa, situated along the banks of the Mississippi, and felt elated with what we had accomplished. It was Day 32 and time for another Down Day.

After a farewell to our riding partners, we left Davenport heading north for Dubuque. We spent the next week riding back and forth across the Mississippi, or the “Great River,” as it’s referred to in these parts, from Iowa into Wisconsin and finally into Minnesota. We rode through LaCrosse, Wisconsin, Wabasha, Minnesota, and up to St. Cloud. Riding along the river was spectacular. There was a nice breeze and there seemed to always be a nice restaurant on the route when we needed one. We enjoyed the beautiful (and familiar!) scenery of blue skies, bright blue lakes and green fields and forests.

Steve entering North Dakota.

We found our way into Fargo, North Dakota, on Day 45. Fargo is not the little, rural city you may think it is after watching the movie. It’s a bustling, active economic center that has quite a nice feel about it. The locals here have enjoyed some added notoriety and tourism as a result of big screen and TV show adaptations of Fargo, but everyone we talked to said it was really hilarious how inaccurate the media coverage of the city actually is. That said, Allane and I visited Fargo movie props and memorabilia.

North Dakota is really an interesting state. On our route we found it’s largely made up of small and very small towns with populations ranging between 112 to 800. On this route, except for Fargo, pop. 124,000, and Bismarck, pop. 73,000, towns were scarce and sparsely populated. We went through such places as Enderlin, Gackle, Napoleon, Hebron and Medora. None of these towns topped 800 people.

Steve, left, in Gackle, North Dakota, with Dean, a life-long resident, who also served as the historian, entrepreneur, and all-around good ambassador for the town.

The people we met were welcoming and generous. We tented in Gackle and met Dean, a life-long resident, who also served as the historian, entrepreneur, and all-around good ambassador for the town. He talked with us, gave us a bit of history and a souvenir from the Gackle’s 1979 Duck Hunting Capital celebration. I’m not quite sure what I can do with an empty beer can that announces the joyous event, but I sure wasn’t going to refuse the gift. We also met Nicole, second grade teacher and owner of the only bar/restaurant in town. The K-12 consolidated school graduated two students last year.

Starting in Fargo, people across the state asked if we planned to go to the Medora Musical. Medora, the most westerly town in North Dakota, is a beloved tourist trap. We were determined to stop and enjoy this unique event. Approaching the area, we experienced the incredible vistas of the North Dakota Badlands, an intricately eroded landscape of sparsely wooded canyons, bluffs, and buttes displaying layers of colors. Black veins of lignite coal, reddish bands of a rock called clinker, and a variety of creams and browns decorate the steep slopes. We also caught our first views of herds of buffalo and wild horses. After an early morning visit to the spectacular Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we finally had the Medora experience. Starting with a “Pitchfork Fondu” dinner of steak cooked on a pitchfork over a roaring fire and all the fixins’, we followed the crowds into a stadium and enjoyed a comic musical rendition of the history of the town. Many North Dakota families look forward to their annual summer pilgrimage to the celebration.

It was Day 53 and we were raring to go. North Dakota had been our 12th state along the journey and the next big adventure lay ahead in Montana. I had covered roughly 2,500 miles.

Cross Country Journey – Part 1 Stage One: From Belfast to Ohio

Riding along the Erie Canal Trail.

This is the first of a three-part series on Steve Ball’s trek across American on a bicycle. Steve is from Windsor.

by Steve Ball

This is a story of a trip across the United States, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The idea of making the trip was crazy. Ride across the country on a bicycle. Are you nuts? I am one of those riders who peddles along our local roads, streets, and byways: Lake View Drive, Rte. 3, Rte. 32, Rte. 17… and the list goes on. It’s how I find my inner peace.

Steve starting out in Belfast.

Riding can be a lonely endeavor. Cycling without anyone or any device talking gives me time to think, to ponder on all sorts of happenings without interruption. The focus quickly becomes where I am and what’s around me. I also get to see the world at 12 mph, a pace that lets me take it in, to see the detail missing when traveling at 65 or even 25 mph. This for me is near bliss.

It was on one of my local rides around China Lake that the idea of riding across the country first popped into my mind. The idea of taking on the nearly 4,000 mile bike journey seemed almost too grand not to give it further thought.

After many miles and rides I convinced myself that I needed to take on this challenge. It would be a trip to remember and I’m certainly not getting any younger. It was after this clear realization that my rides took on a greater purpose: get myself ready for the ride of a lifetime.

Our plan was for me to ride my bike and Allane would travel along as my trusty and able assistant and partner. In the cycling world she would be my “SAG”; Support and Gear. Whew, was I glad for that. She drove our truck with clothes, camping gear and everything else we would need to make the journey. She was the best partner I could have asked for, always there and ever positive.

The ride started on May 10, 2021, in Belfast. I was joined for the beginning stages by three good friends: John Williams, Judd Thompson and local rider, John Benziger. All are either avid bike riders or outdoorsmen with a similar insatiable appetite for getting outside of the normal flow of life and interacting with nature. On Day One we rode from Belfast to our homes in Central Maine, 35.7 miles. We were off and biking.

It was a good start. No one got hurt, no flats, nice weather and the hills manageable.

We rode through Auburn, Bridgeton, and Fryeburg. Maine seemed even more beautiful than ever. I knew the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont would present the perfect beginning for this transcontinental challenge. Our first big trial was coming up – climbing the Kancamagus Highway. On Day 4 we woke up in Center Conway, New Hampshire, and headed for the mountain. The day was clear and traffic was light, conditions seemed perfect. As it turned out, the thought of climbing the ‘Kank’ was more daunting than the actual ride. All members of the team made it! In retrospect, this would turn out to be a relatively small mountain at just under 3,000 feet, but conquering the ‘Kank’ on this day felt like quite a feat!

We rode on through the spectacular mountains of western New Hampshire into Norwich, Vermont. Norwich was a timely and wonderful stop after riding over a string of mountain passes that tested us. The views were spectacular. After Norwich we peddled through the quaint, picturesque towns of Quichee and Woodstock, Vermont. If you want to visit some of the best of New England culture and tradition, these towns are worth the trip. John and Judd had to turn back in Woodstock. Jobs awaited them.

John Benziger and I peddled on. Once we scaled the mountains that frame Killington and Pico Ski Resorts we were headed into New York.

We rode through Whitehall, along scenic Rte. 4. We were at Day 8 and felt good. I had my first flat tire coming into New York. This certainly wasn’t a big problem, but I hoped it wasn’t an omen of things to come. After patching my tube we continued on to Glens Falls, a small town on the Hudson River.

Until we got to Rochester our riding in New York was largely a journey along the Erie Canal Trail, a multi-use trail that runs from Albany to Buffalo. We entered to the Erie Canal Trail, in Amsterdam, New York, and would end up hugging the active waterway until we got to Brockport, New York. We met Lock Operators opening and closing the locks allowing barges, personal fishing boats, and kayaks (!) to travel up and down the Erie Canal. We saw local groups having rowing regattas and plenty of tourists and locals enjoying the pleasant, peaceful pace of life along this historic waterway. To be honest, I had no idea the Erie Canal was as active as it is today.

Steve outside Russo’s Grill, in Amsterdam, New York.

Amsterdam, New York, sitting on the Mohawk River, is an old mill town with a lot of personality. Families are out on their porches, children are playing, kicking balls, and riding bikes in the old style neighborhoods. Tucked away in a small working class Italian neighborhood was Russo’s Grill. The charm was palpable. We were greeted by Marie, our waitress who didn’t hold back in recommending specialties and telling us a bit about this post-WWII restaurant/pub. The food was out of this world. Marie was one of 16 children, all by the same mother and father! Wow! She was charming in a warm Italian way and packaged up our leftovers with the care of a mother wrapping her children’s lunch for school.

John Benziger had to return home to South China once we hit the campground in Lyons, New York, near Rochester. Allane and I were on our own.

We traveled from Lyons to Brockport and headed south toward Lake Erie. We were now on Day 16, having already spent just over a week in New York. I had no idea New York so long!

From Brockport I made it to Chaffee, arriving just seconds before the skies opened up with a fierce thunderstorm. We then headed west toward Pennsylvania. This took me along the southern border of Lake Erie through vineyards and orchards, miles and miles of grapes and apples. Once I could see Lake Erie I felt like I might possibly find my way out of New York. I rode 465 miles from the eastern end of New York to the western end, making up nearly 10 percent of the trip. Whew! I have a whole new respect for the Empire State.

From New York I rode through Erie, Pennsylvania to Conneaut, Ohio. We intended to spend the night in Conneaut and then ride on to Cleveland, but Mother Nature had other ideas. I pulled into the small resort town of Conneaut with mostly sunny skies. Allane and I rested up, I got my bike ready for the next day’s ride and we ate at a nice Italian restaurant. The weather started to turn and, just like in Maine, it can go bad quickly. The winds kicked up, rain came in and there was a serious storm churning the lake’s waters. By the time we awoke the winds were at 50 mph and the temperature was 47 degrees. It was pretty clear I wasn’t going to be able to ride my bike. The nice proprietor where we were staying suggested we stay another day and we readily agreed.

The day following the storm was beautiful. I enjoyed my ride to Cleveland. As it happened I rode into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame parking area and decided this was a good place to stop. Allane and I were looking forward to arriving in Cleveland since John Williams and his wife Nancy Beardsley were meeting us there to ride with us for a week. This was our 20th day on the road and I’d cycled over 1,000 miles.

[Read part 2 here: Cross Country Journey – Part 2 Stage Two: Defiance, Ohio, to Medora, North Dakota]

Windsor selectmen approve three tax abatements

by The Town Line staff

Windsor selectmen approved three tax abatements at their August 31 meeting.

Abatements were awarded to Heather Vannah in the amount of $141.70, which was assessed to the deleted account; James A. Donnell and Melissa L. Blodgett, in the amount of $1,404, which as assessed to the wrong owner; and Augusta Rockland Rd., LLC, in the amount of $52, which was assessed to the deleted account. A supplemental tax was approved for Benjamin Powers, in the amount of $1,404, which was omitted from assessment. All passed unanimously.

Town Manager Theresa Haskell also presented the 2021 municipal valuation return (MVR) for the board’s signature.

In other business, Selectmen Chairman Ray Bates asked about the poverty abatement that was mentioned at the last board of selectmen meeting, and Haskell said she left a message to schedule a date. This matter will be held in executive session.

Also, Haskell reported she sent an email to China Town Manager Becky Hapgood and advised her that Bates was available to have a discussion regarding the China Region Lake Alliance (CRLA).

Haskell also informed the board that Keel Hood, the auditor, was at the town office the week of August 23 and needed only two days to complete the audit instead of the normal three days.

In the absence of cemetery sexton Joyce Perry, Haskell reported that Jaime Carle, of J.C. Stone, donated two granite stone benches for the Veterans Memorial. The new flagpole, which looked slightly crooked, has been straightened by Nor’East Flagpole Co.

Selectmen unanimously approved holding a public hearing to adopt the MMA Model Ordinance and GA Appendices (A-H) for the period of October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, September 28.

Selectmen also approved the naming of a non-town road as Country Lane.

The next meeting of the Windsor Selectmen was held on September 14.

2021-’22 Real Estate Tax Due Dates


Tax year runs Feb. 1 to January 31
Taxes due September 30, 2021


September 30, 2021
March 31, 2022


Four quarters

August 25, 2021
November 10, 2021
February 9, 2022
May 11, 2022


October 31, 2021


September 1, 2021


Four quarters
September 27, 2021
November 22, 2021
February 28, 2022
April 25, 2022


Four quarters
October 8, 2021
December 10, 2021
March 11, 2022
June 10, 2022


September 30, 2021
March 31, 2022


Four quarters
October 8, 2021
December 10, 2021
March 11, 2022
June 10, 2022

To be included in this section, contact The Town Line at

Share the Road with Carol bicycle ride set for September 19, 2021

The fifth annual Share the Road with Carol memorial bike ride will take place on Sunday, September 19. Share the Road with Carol is an all ages commemorative bike ride planned for Sunday, September 19, 2021, in Windsor and Whitefield. The ride, which has 12-mile and 27-mile options, starts and ends at the Windsor Town Office.

This annual ride honors the memory of Carol Eckert, M.D. Carol was tragically killed as a result of a bike accident that occurred in Windsor, on October 10, 2016. Biking was Carol’s passion and everyone is invited who feels the same to join in remembrance of a life well pedaled and to further the cause of bicycle safety in Maine.

The registration fee is $20 for adults, and $10 any person under 15 years of age accompanied by a parent or guardian. Register online ( or at the event from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. (pre-registration is encouraged). Ride organizers will be following any Covid-19 safety precautions that are still required or recommended by the Maine CDC at that point and participants are asked to wear face coverings inside the Windsor Town Office.

There will be one rest stop on the 27-mile ride. Please join us after the ride at the Windsor Town Hall for fellowship, remembrances and light snacks.

Whether you knew Carol or not, this ride is a wonderful opportunity to explore the lovely rolling hills along the border of the Kennebec and Lincoln counties.

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