Week of May 14, 2020

Celebrating 32 years of local news

Our office is currently closed to the public. Instead, please contact us by email at townline@townline.org or phone at 445-2234. Don’t worry, we will be publishing this week’s issue on Thursday like always!

South China’s Al Kramer to celebrate 100th birthday May 21

Atruly special man turns 100 years old on May 21, 2020! And a remarkable 100 years it has been for Alfred “Al” Kramer who currently resides at Woodlands Park Residences, in Waterville. Al was born and raised in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York City. World War II found Al a squadron leader in the 8th Army Air Corps, flying a B-17 Flying Fortress. He was shot down over occupied France, along with his entire squadron while returning from a mission over Stuttgart, Germany. Al was sheltered by the French resistance movement and over a period of several weeks, at times looking up at the soles of Nazi boots walking on floorboards under which he was hiding… [1167 words] by Craig Poulin

Your Local News

China Dine-ah closing permanently

CHINA — The China Dine-ah, a popular eatery in South China, will remain closed permanently, according to owner Lisa Wardwell. In a Facebook post, Wardwell declared, “It is with immense sadness that I am writing this message to let you all know that the China Dine-ah will not be reopening for the foreseeable future…”

Town meeting to be by written ballot only; warrant reduced to 24 articles

CHINA — At their May 11 regular meeting, China selectmen rescheduled and reformatted the annual town business meeting to meet current health requirements and approved reduced 2020-21 expenditure requests in anticipation of revenue shortfalls…

Planners study solar power application

VASSALBORO — Vassalboro Planning Board members reviewed two preliminary applications for solar power development in town at their May 5 virtual meeting. They expect one to be ready for a public hearing (if needed) and perhaps final review at their June 2 meeting…

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LETTERS: Time to stop bear feeding program

from John M. Glowa, Sr. (So. China) — The people of Maine now have an opportunity to try to resolve the bear debate by ending Maine’s bear feeding program. Since 2004, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has falsely claimed that bears must be fed in order to kill them to control their population…

Volunteers sought for Palermo community garden

PALERMO — With 32 raised beds, the Palermo Community Garden can offer volunteer opportunities in the fresh air with plenty of social distancing! There are two roll-around garden seats and a kneeler to make planting and weeding much more comfortable for all ages…

Instructional coaches link arms with teachers to navigate distance learning

CENTRAL ME — Our four instructional coaches have always fulfilled an amazing role in our district, analyzing student data, creating professional development, offering planning assistance, and supporting teachers and students in every way they can… by Mandi Favreau

Managing lands for high quality water: Kennebec Water District’s watershed management

CHINA — In an effort to ensure that KWD’s watershed land is managed to prompt the highest possible water quality in China Lake (or “the Lake”), KWD has contracted with Comprehensive Land Technologies, Inc. (CLT), of China, to assess the health of the forested land and develop a Forest Management Plan to help guide future decisions… by Robbie Bickford

Memorial Day parade canceled

So. CHINA — The Memorial Day parade, sponsored by Boynton-Webber American Legion Post #179, scheduled for Monday, May 25, has been canceled due to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandamec…

Camp Tracy to open June 8

OAKLAND — Camp Tracy, sponsored by the Alfond Youth and Community Center, in Waterville, will open on June 8, and run through August 14. All campers will be dropped off and picked up at the Camp Tracy Lodge/NO BUSES…

Stocks seminar to be presented at Winslow Library

WINSLOW — “Stocks: The Nuts and Bolts,” a 45-minute WebEx online seminar that can help you better understand stocks and how they can help you achieve your long-term financial goals, will be offered by financial advisor Sasha Fitzpatrick on Wednesday, May 20, starting at 5:30 p.m…

GHM Insurance’s Bill Mitchell wins Rough Notes Community Service Award

WATERVILLE — Bill Mitchell, President and CEO of GHM Insurance, was recently selected to receive the Rough Notes Community Service Award. Chosen from over 35,000 independent insurance agencies from across the country, Mitchell’s commitment to community service is reflected in the Rough Notes award…

School News

Kyle McLain receives University of Nebraska-Lincoln degree

FAIRFIELD — Kyle Alvin McLain, of Fairfield, was among 3,417 graduates who received degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in Lincoln, Nebraska, during a virtual graduation celebration May 9…

Celebrating Maine history

All of our recent stories about the local history of Maine!

Up and down the Kennebec River: Log drives and harvesting “frozen gold” (New!)

CENTRAL ME — In addition to the mills and factories described in the previous article in this series, two other uses for the Kennebec (and other Maine rivers) were transporting wood – long logs and four-foot pulpwood, for building and for pulp mills – and chopping cakes of ice for export all over the world…  [1447 words] by Mary Grow

Remembering ice houses (New!)

CENTRAL ME — As a young lad growing up in the early 1950s, I can still remember my parents having an ice box* in the kitchen of our home in Waterville. That predated us getting a “new fangled” electric refrigerator later in that decade… by Roland D. Hallee

Up and down the Kennebec River: Water power and industry on the river

CENTRAL ME — Another use for the Kennebec, and for its tributary streams, was to provide water and water power for a variety of mills and other industries, beginning in the 1790s and continuing well into the 20th century. Kingsbury, in his History of Kennebec County, says sawmills came first, with lumber used locally and exported down the river…  [1843 words] by Mary Grow

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Shipping on the Kennebec River

CENTRAL ME — The Kennebec River that has been an important feature of the towns and cities so far discussed in this series runs from Moosehead Lake to the Atlantic Ocean, a distance of about 170 miles. It served as the first route to the interior for Europeans, and as a known landmark in a largely unknown area…  [1315 words] by Mary Grow

Benedict Arnold’s Québec Campaign came up the Kennebec River

CENTRAL ME — The Second Continental Congress authorized an invasion of Québec, in part on the urging of Arnold—but he was passed over for command of the expedition. He then went to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and suggested to George Washington a second expedition to attack Québec City…

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Crossing the Kennebec River

CENTRAL ME — The Kennebec River was a highway into the interior of Maine, but it was also a barrier to travel. The Native Americans found safe places to cross; European settlers did the same, learning either from the Natives or by trial and error…  [1465 words] by Mary Grow

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Fairfield

CENTRAL ME — Fairfield, the southernmost town in Somerset County, differs from Augusta, Vassalboro/Sidney, and Winslow/Waterville in being surveyed and settled only on the west bank of the Kennebec…  [1442 words] by Mary Grow

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Waterville – Sidney

CENTRAL ME — As previously described, what is now the Town of Sidney, on the west bank of the Kennebec River north of Augusta, began as the western half of Vassalborough, now a separate town on the east bank of the river…  [1553 words] by Mary Grow

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Winslow, Benton, Clinton

CENTRAL ME — Winslow is the next town north of Vassalboro along the east shore of the Kennebec River. According to Henry Kingsbury’s History of Kennebec County, its location was determined by the junction of the Kennebec with the smaller Sebasticook River…  [1385 words] by Mary Grow

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Augusta & Vassalboro

CENTRAL ME — What is now, and has been for 200 years, the State of Maine, was first explored and settled by Europeans by way of the Atlantic Ocean, and ocean transportation has been important in its history and economy ever since… [1288 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

Please help support your local restaurants!

During these unusual times, local restaurants are closed for dine-in services. However, many of them are open, offering take-out, drive-up or delivery services. PURCHASING ONE MEAL A WEEK FROM YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT WILL HELP IN THEIR BEING ABLE TO SURVIVE DURING THIS CRISIS!


BENTON – Linda Reynolds Ogren, 72, of Benton, passed away on Sun­day, May 3, 2020, from complication due to COVID-19. She was born May 16, 1947, to Theodore Linwood Reynolds and Barbara Chace Reynolds, of North Kingstown, Rhode Island… and remembering 10 others.

Common Ground – Round 17: Win a $10 gift certificate!

DEADLINE: Friday, June 5, 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: Keith Richardson, So. China

Town Line Original Columnists


by Emily Cates | Are you just itching to plant a garden this year? For many, this is the year, no doubt about it! Faced with COVID-19 uncertainty, droves of folks are inundating seed companies with orders, creating backorders and out-of-stocks to the moon and back. So what’s a gardener-in-waiting to do?…


by Peter Cates | Columbia Musical Treasury was an offshoot of the Columbia Record Club, later known as Columbia House, and it released numerous, moderately-priced record sets of best-selling artists, such as Percy Faith, Dionne Warwick, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir…


(NAPSI) — With new procedures and protocols from the impact of COVID-19, mushroom farms around the country are building on their strong foundations of safety. Consider Maria. Before she begins her shift at the local mushroom farm’s packing facility, she pulls essential items from her locker: facemask, hairnet, gloves and a smock…


by Debbie Walker | This is another one of those columns I must ask you to not blame The Town Line editor. This is just my thoughts on a subject and my curiosity how you would want to react. And I said ‘would want to react’ because there are situations we might want to say or do __whatever_____ but we maybe we are shy or, whatever…

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & PercySOLON & BEYOND

by Marilyn Rogers-Bull | This morning I have some e-mails to share with you, and as always, I thank the people who send me some news. The following is from Angie Stockwell. Dear Readers: COVID-19 has not stopped the presses from running nationally, locally, or at the Margaret Chase Smith Library…

Dan CassidyINside the OUTside

by Dan Cassidy | Natalie Terry, a local ski legend at Sugarloaf Mountain, died Wednesday, April 22, 2020, at her home, in Waterville, of natural causes, at the age of 96.  She was born in Portland, on July 14, 1923…