Week of July 2, 2020

Celebrating 32 years of local news

STAFF VACATION: The Town Line staff will be on vacation the week of July 6, 2020. The office will be closed. There will be an issue published on July 9. The Town Line office will re-open on Monday, July 13, at 9 a.m.

Vassalboro’s Cates Family Farm celebrates 50 years

The big, three-story house at Cates Family Farm was completed in 1809. Its many staircases and doors tell of a time when farm families were huge — when the easiest way for a farmer to get cheap labor was to make it themselves. Ownership of the farmhouse and its surrounding lands has changed hands a few times. Built originally by a retired sea captain, the farm passed into the hands of the Cates family in the early 1900s. Benjamin Harold Cates Sr. and his wife, Annabel Ingraham Cates had a growing family (they eventually ended up with a dozen children!) and were running out of space… Submitted by Margaret Cates

Your Local News

Planners approve revised permit for daycare

CHINA — At their June 23 meeting, China Planning Board members unanimously approved a revision to Amanda Gower’s permit for her daycare business at 166 Tyler Road that lets her increase capacity to a maximum of 75 children and staff at one time…

Selectmen give retiring Lauchlin Titus a send-off

VASSALBORO — The centerpiece of the June 25 Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting was the going-away party for Board Chairman Lauchlin Titus, who is not a candidate for re-election on July 14. He has been a selectman for 12 years and previously served on other town committees…

Albion residents approve $1.99 M budget at town meeting

ALBION — The Albion town meeting was held on Saturday, June 27, 2020. This year, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the meeting was held at the Albion Fire Station, where social distancing was more easily attainable, as opposed to the normal location at the Besse Building…

What to expect at the polls in China on July 14

by Becky Hapgood — Welcome to 2020! The year of everything being different than what we are accustomed. On July 14, the town of China has a major election not because of the size but because of what you will be voting on and how things surrounding the election have changed…

LETTERS: Never give up

from Frank Slason (Somerville) — With my wife stuck in a lockdown Alzheimer’s facility, and all the negative news on TV and radio, with the editor’s permission, I would like, as I write this on Father’s Day, about a story my father told us young kids that we have always remembered…

An outside look: Independence Day and what it means to us today

by Gary Kennedy — On July 4, 2020, America will be celebrating her 244th birthday (1776 – 2020). The Fourth of July is also known as Independence Day. Unbeknown to many, on July 4, 1776, there were only 13 colonies. On this day in time so many years ago, the greatest country in the world was born by the writing of the Declaration of Independence…

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Local libraries begin to re-open with limitations

CENTRAL ME — Local plans for library re-openings in Palermo, Vassalboro, Albion and Oakland…

An open letter to Sheepscot Lake Association members and potential new members

PALERMO — In lieu of our normal annual meeting and get together we will be updating you all via this letter.  Hopefully next year we’ll all be together again and enjoy another great potluck dinner!  There are several items we’re focusing on this year… from Slater Claudel, President, Sheepscot Lake Association

Winslow Community Cupboard Food Bank seeks donations for much-needed cooler

WINSLOW — To be able to store enough quality food to assist food-insecure children, seniors, and other adults, the food bank is in serious need of a walk-in cooler. The all-volunteer staff is hoping to raise $4,000 to pay for the cooler and installation… Submitted by Dave Carew

Palermo Community Library annual meeting going virtual

PALERMO — The Palermo Community Library will broadcast its 18th annual meeting on Facebook Live Sunday, July 12, at 2 p.m. Trustee Andy Pottle will be filming/producing the online event…

Doing whatever it takes 4 Kids’ Sake

CENTRAL ME — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine is reinventing its largest annual fundraising event “Bowl for Kids’ Sake” to do “Whatever It Takes” to support the 435 kids the agency currently serves in eastern, central and midcoast Maine…

Camp Tracy alumni scholarships available

OAKLAND — Camp Tracy Alumni are ready to help you afford camp this summer! Apply for a partial or full scholarship for weeks 6-10 of Camp Tracy by the deadline of June 30, 2020…

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Kennebec Proprietors (New!)

MAINE HISTORY — This series has repeatedly mentioned the Kennebec Proprietors. It is now time to backtrack to the 18th century, to find out who they were and why they are mentioned in almost every history of the State of Maine and in most local histories of Kennebec Valley towns and cities…  [1845 words] by Mary Grow

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Maine governors

MAINE HISTORY — During discussion of the history of Albion for the June 11 issue of The Town Line, a friend mentioned “Albion” as a first name – unusual, she thought. The conversation reminded your writer that Maine had a governor whose first name was Albion: Albion K. Parris was sworn in Jan. 5, 1822, and left office Jan. 3, 1827, after serving five consecutive one-year terms…  [1649 words] by Mary Grow

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Palermo

PALERMO — Palermo is the only town in this series that is not in Kennebec County. The boundary line between China on the west and Palermo on the east is also the line between Kennebec and Waldo counties. It runs through Branch Mills, formerly Palermo’s main commercial center…  [1538 words] by Mary Grow

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Albion

ALBION — There is debate over names of the first settlers in what is now Albion, partly because records are incomplete, partly because current Albion once included parts of several other towns. For example, Nathaniel Wiggin’s and several other families’ holdings at the north end of China Lake’s east basin were in Albion before the Albion-China boundary was moved north and their land became part of China…  [1722 words] by Mary Grow

Webber’s Pond

Webber’s Pond is a comic drawn by an anonymous central Maine resident…

Local Town Meetings Schedule 2020

Local town meetings schedule for 2020 for Albion, China, Fairfield, Vassalboro and Solon. To add your town to this list, email us at townline@townline.org

Give the loons their space

CENTRAL ME — Remember, loon nests are built near the water line because loons are poor walkers and exit and enter the nests from water level. Any substantial wake from a passing boat will swamp the nest and could possibly wash away eggs or drown chicks. Maine law requires “headway speed” within 200 feet of shore…


BELGRADE – Rebecca (Becky) Jane Webster, 85, passed away on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, succumbing to the ravages of 15 years of Parkinson disease. Becky was born on February 13, 1935, in Winthrop, The daughter of Leroy and Evelyn (Frost) Barter… and remembering 6 others.

Common Ground – Round 18: Win a $10 gift certificate!

DEADLINE: Friday, July 10, 2020

Identify the people in these three photos, and tell us what they have in common. You could win a $10 gift certificate to Retail Therapy Boutique in Waterville! Email your answer to townline@townline.org or through our Contact page. Include your name and address with your answer. Use “Common Ground” in the subject!

Previous winner: Michael Bilinsky, China Village

Town Line Original Columnists


by Roland D. Hallee | As my battle with the brown tail moth caterpillars continues, I have seen a variety of other moths emerge over the last week. I was anxious for the brown tail moth caterpillar to turn into a moth so we can cut down on the floating hairs that have been irritating our skin…


by Jac M. Arbour | At this time of year four years ago, I gave a talk to 800 people at a Lewiston, Maine, elementary school. In it, I shared some ideas about how the students could create an amazing upcoming summer vacation for themselves…


by Peter Cates | Before his 44 years as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy served in Minneapolis from 1931-1936 and made a number of records for Victor between January 16, 1934 and January 16, 1935…


by Debbie Walker | Does anyone else notice that we are on one heck of a ride? No, it can’t be an amusement ride because the governor of Maine has shut down any of those for the foreseeable future. Right now, it can’t be blamed on icy roads either…


(NAPSI) — According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in the U.S., more than 12 million children receive free or reduced-price breakfast at school, and more than 29.7 million get lunch through the national school lunch program…