Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel Features news from the Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine and Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine. Tue, 30 May 2017 02:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Senate leader McConnell forced to juggle demands on health care bill Tue, 30 May 2017 00:10:38 +0000 WASHINGTON — For Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, writing a Republican-only health care bill that can pass the Senate boils down to this question: How do you solve a problem like Dean, Lisa, Patrick, Ted, Rand and Susan?

Those are some Republican senators whose clashing demands McConnell, R-Ky., must resolve. Facing solid Democratic opposition to demolishing former President Barack Obama’s 2010 overhaul, Republicans will lose if just three of their 52 senators defect.

In a report that complicated McConnell’s task, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office delivered a damaging critique last week of the Republican-written bill that the House approved May 4. It concluded the measure would create 23 million additional uninsured Americans by 2026, lower premiums for younger and healthy people by letting them buy more sparse coverage, and confront unhealthy, poorer and older consumers with exorbitant out-of-pocket costs.

As Republican senators try privately crafting a bill, here are some problems facing McConnell:


Seeing that many people lose health care coverage is a nonstarter for many Republican senators. It’s a campaign attack ad that writes itself.

Republicans have to defend just nine of their 34 seats on next year’s Senate election map. Of them, just two seem competitive – Dean Heller of Nevada and Arizona’s Jeff Flake.

“Twenty-three million people. That’s a good place to start,” Heller said of why he opposes the House bill.

Most of those losing coverage would be Medicaid beneficiaries. People buying their own insurance and others getting coverage at work also would be hurt.

The number can be reduced by spending more on Medicaid, fattening tax credits for people buying insurance and boosting government payments to insurers to help them lower consumers’ costs. But those steps are complicated and expensive.


The House bill would halt extra federal funds in 2020 that 31 states get – Maine is not one of them – for Obama’s expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for poorer and disabled Americans. The legislation would also give states fixed federal sums annually, ending the open-ended payments that Washington has always made to reflect growing medical expenses and caseloads.

This means an $834 billion cut over the coming decade that would produce 14 million, or 17 percent, fewer Medicaid beneficiaries than projected, the budget office said. This is a problem for Republicans from states with a heavy reliance on Medicaid.

Twenty Republican senators are from states that expanded Medicaid, and most oppose abruptly ending the Obama law’s extra federal payments. They include moderates such as Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, whose state Medicaid program has added 700,000 enrollees, and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Heller.

These senators are seeking a compromise that would phase out the extra federal expansion money for several additional years. They also want the overall program to grow yearly by a formula that’s more generous than the House would allow, and protect Medicaid money that states use to combat the growing problem of opioid abuse.

They also would increase federal payments to state pools for assisting low-earning residents, and federal tax credits that subsidize poorer people buying their own coverage.

Many conservatives want to curb Medicaid spending. In one proposal, they’d phase out extra federal Medicaid expansion money over a decade, but reductions would begin next year.

Sen. Patrick Toomey’s Pennsylvania has expanded Medicaid, but he’s also one of the Senate’s more conservative members. He’s seeking compromise with Portman on curtailing Medicaid, saying it “must be on a sustainable path.”


Conservative Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah want to erase Obama insurance coverage requirements. These include obliging insurers to charge the same premiums for healthy people and those with pre-existing medical conditions, and forcing them to cover specified benefits like maternity care.

Conservatives say without those requirements, people could buy less expensive though less robust coverage.

But many moderates are wary of a bill that would let Democratic opponents castigate them for snatching away coverage like maternity care. They also cite the budget office finding that letting states drop coverage requirements leaves many sicker and older consumers with untenably high costs.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has repeatedly criticized the House bill for subsidizing insurance companies and is considered a conservative wild card.


Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins have opposed past conservative moves to block federal payments to Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions. The House bill does that and bars the use of federal health insurance tax credits for policies covering abortion.

Murkowski and Collins have not said such provisions would cause them to oppose an overhaul health care bill, but neither is comfortable opposing Planned Parenthood.


With its remoteness, high living costs and small pool of residents, Alaska has had the highest premiums in the U.S. since Obama’s law took effect, said Cynthia Cox, an associate director at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. That means the House bill’s tax credits would be far smaller than Obama’s, which reflect premiums and incomes. That gap is a major problem for Murkowski.

]]> 0 Sen. Susan Collins said May 19 that her 13 Republican colleagues charged with drafting an ACA replacement plan are unlikely to succeed because it will be a partisan bill.Mon, 29 May 2017 20:15:20 +0000
Belfast man, 71, dies after being Tasered by police Mon, 29 May 2017 23:16:50 +0000 A 71-year-old Belfast man died at Waldo County General Hospital on Saturday after being Tasered during an altercation with police, Belfast police reported.

About 7:15 p.m. Saturday, police responded to the home of Dennis Ward on Lincolnville Avenue for a domestic incident where Ward had reportedly discharged a firearm several times. Gunshots were heard by the dispatcher who was receiving an emergency call from the residence.

When police arrived, Ward confronted two officers with a pistol in his hand, according to Belfast Police Chief Michael McFadden III.

Ward shot the pistol, aiming toward the ground as he approached the officers, ignoring repeated commands to drop the gun.

Ward raised his pistol as he was approaching Officer Benjamin Kolko, according to police.

Sgt. Matthew Cook then Tasered Ward as Kolko fired twice at the 71-year-old man.

Kolko missed, but Ward was immobilized by the Taser and transported to Waldo County General Hospital for observation. He experienced “medical complications” at the hospital and died at 9:30 p.m., according to police.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office was notified, and will conduct an examination. The Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the incident.

No further details were available Monday evening, and police said no new information will be forthcoming until the Attorney General’s review is completed.

A woman who answered the phone at Ward’s residence and who told a reporter she was his wife declined to comment Monday evening.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 May 2017 20:48:29 +0000
Readfield conflict of interest case appealed in court Mon, 29 May 2017 22:41:53 +0000 AUGUSTA — A Readfield contractor who served on the town’s road committee and then bid on the town’s snow plowing contract is appealing a decision not to open his bid and award him the work, even though he was lowest bidder.

Reay Excavation & Trucking Inc., owned by Linwood Reay Jr. of Readfield, had appealed a decision by the town manager not to open the company’s bid at the scheduled bid opening on Aug. 11, 2016, a decision that was later upheld by the selectboard. Reay maintains his bid was the lowest of the three submitted and he should have been awarded the four-year contract.

The town manager said at the time he refused to open it because he had concerns that Reay had a conflict of interest. Reay resigned from the advisory Readfield Road Committee several hours prior to the bid opening.

Attorney Stephen Langsdorf, who represents the town, said Thursday, “It is important to avoid appearance of conflict of interest. The town manager just didn’t think it was right. You either work on (the contract) on behalf of the town or on the other side and bid.”

Langsdorf said Reay told the committee he was not going to bid.

“A town has the right to expect that there will be integrity in the process and there won’t be an appearance of an insider deal,” Langsdorf said.

The appeal, filed in September 2016 in Kennebec County Superior Court at the Capital Judicial Center, names the Town of Readfield as the defendant and Cushing Construction, LLC, the winning bidder, as an interested party. An appeal of a final agency action, such as the Town of Readfield’s, is heard by a justice in the superior court.

Earlier this month, Justice William Stokes issued an order denying a request by Reay’s attorney, Phillip Johnson, for a trial and indicated oral arguments would be heard in September.

The order follows an April 5 hearing where Johnson presented his argument in favor of a trial.

There Stokes noted, “Frankly we’re supposed to give deference to the administrative decision.”

He also told the attorneys that he was aware the issue was time-sensitive, saying, “You need to get a decision here before the end of the summer.”

At the April hearing Johnson indicated he alleged discrimination by the town manager, Eric Dyer, against Reay.

“I referenced that the town manager retaliated against Mr. Reay because (previously) he had not gone through appropriate channels for communication,” Johnson said, adding that Dyer apologized in an email May 20, 2016.

Records submitted to the court, including a series of facts which both sides agreed to, show that Reay emailed the selectboard May 16, 2016, saying the committee had not met to provide input on the RFP.

Dyer replied, asking if Reay planned to bid on the winter maintenance contract because “if he did, he would have a conflict of interest.”

An email from Dyer to the selectboard members Aug. 11, 2016, about Reay’s resignation says, “The conflict came about because of his significant involvement with the development of a potentially $1.25 million snow and ice control contract under a false pretense. If he had recused himself from the contract development or honored his statement that he would not bid, then no conflict would exist.”

Stokes’ order says Johnson has provided “an offer of proof ‘specifically identifying what evidence of bias (Reay) is seeking to uncover . . . . ‘ ”

Attorney Kristen Collins, defending the town’s actions at last month’s hearing, said the town had the authority to reject any and all bids.

Johnson also said Dyer obtained an opinion from Maine Municipal Association regarding the bid opening, but did not share it with selectmen.

Contained in the court file is an email to Dyer from Breana N. Behrens, staff attorney in the Legal Services Department at Maine Municipal Association, and dated Oct. 20, 2015.

It says, “If a Road Committee member expects to submit a bid for a project, the safest course of action would be to avoid any appearance of impropriety and recuse themselves from the discussion and development of the RFP. However, since the Road Committee is an advisory committee, it generally would not be considered a legal conflict of interest for a member to bid on an RFP that they helped develop or review. This is because the committee is only responsible for providing technical advice and expertise and it ultimately is up to the selectboard to approve the RFP and accept any bid pursuant to the RFP.”

She says it’s important “to review all the facts in the situation” and directs Dyer to the MMA’s “Municipal Officers Manual.”

Behrens also says, “I am not aware of any state law or rule that limits or prohibits a former selectperson’s spouse from working for the town.”

Reay’s wife, Sue, was on the selectboard for three years beginning in 2012, opted against running for re-election in June 2015. She was chairwoman for her final two years in office.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

]]> 0 Mon, 29 May 2017 18:41:53 +0000
More than a number — war dead honored in Hallowell Memorial Day Ceremonies Mon, 29 May 2017 22:22:29 +0000 HALLOWELL — About 150 people came out to honor the sons and daughters of Hallowell who died at war, as well as six others, whose hometowns are unknown, who were “adopted” by the local legion post.

Solemn Memorial Day ceremonies took place at the Civil War Monument and Veterans’ Park in Hallowell Cemetery, as well as beside the Kennebec River on the small city’s boardwalk. A wreath was tossed into the river in memory of those lost at sea, including six of the 266 U.S. sailors killed on board the USS Maine when it blew up in 1898 in Havana Harbor, and who were never claimed by their hometowns.

Goodrich-Caldwell American Legion Post 6 member Steve Mairs said the names of the six sailors are known, but for whatever reason, it is not known what town, city or state they were from.

“So this legion post, here in Hallowell, Maine, adopted those six souls,” Mairs said, before Marine Corps veteran Ernie McPherson tossed a wreath made of vine and lilac flowers weaved together into the water.

Earlier, at Veterans’ Park, after the Hall-Dale High School band played “God of our Fathers,” local comedian and Vietnam veteran Gary Crocker, in his Navy uniform, spoke emotionally about the sacrifices made at war. He recounted an incident in the late 1960s when he was on rest and relaxation from the war in the Philippines, sitting around a table with other troops when someone asked where they served. Crocker and two others answered they served on the USS Boston.

“When we said that, four guys stood up on the opposite side of the table and raised their glasses to us — we were drinking beer,” Crocker said. “They said, ‘Gentleman, thank you for being where you were, because if you weren’t there, we wouldn’t be here today.’ That made my whole trip to Southeast Asia worthwhile. It turns out they couldn’t call in air support that day, they were surrounded, and they were almost out of ammunition, and it happened the USS Boston was in the right position. Our gunners’ mates were good. They called in the coordinates and we eliminated the threat.”

His voice breaking, Crocker said he shared that story because it means so much to troops that their brothers came home, and a reminder that so many didn’t.

“Even in Vietnam, I knew people who were lost,” Crocker said to a rapt audience. “People came to our ship for emergency refuel for their swift boats, and never came back down that river. So I thank everybody for being here today, for taking a moment from your life. This is more than a day off, more than a barbecue. This is a chance to honor and consider what these men and women did for us, so we could be here today and do exactly what we’re doing.”

Wreaths were laid at both the Civil War Monument, which lists Hallowell residents who died in that war, and the Veterans’ Park at the opposite end of the cemetery, which lists those from Hallowell who died in all wars.

Rabbi Erica Asch, in the benediction at Veterans’ Park, reminded attendees that each of the names on those lists was an individual person, not just a number.

“Soldiers are not nameless minions to be deployed,” she said. “But people with identities. Stories. Hopes. And dreams. As we gather together to remember those who died defending this country, it is vital that we remember that each person is more than a number. As we remember their service we pray that all soldiers be able to return to the loving arms of their families and of a grateful country, safely, speedily and in good health. Because of the courage of those who serve today, and those who served in years past, may we all be privileged to know and savor the blessings of true peace and security.”

The Hall-Dale High School band played several numbers, both during the short parade to the site and in the cemetery, including “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “America the Beautiful,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and the national anthem.

Joan Morgan and Jean and Don Davenport played and sang “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” at the Civil War Monument, and Nancy McGinnis sang “God Bless America” at Veterans’ Park.

The Maine State Honor Guard fired off three volleys at each of the two cemetery ceremonies, followed each time by a solemn playing of “Taps.”

“Seeing everybody here today reflects the heart and soul of our community and how much we care to honor the people who have died in service to our country,” said City Councilor George Lapointe.

Hallowell’s Memorial Day observances were among several in the central Maine area Monday.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

Twitter: @kedwardskj

]]> 0 by Elise Klysa Veterans, left to right, Ernest McPherson, Marine Corps; Roger "Buckie" Lord, Navy Reserves; Lewis Gipson, Air Force; and Gary Crocker, Navy, salute during Memorial Day ceremonies Monday at Hollowell's Waterfront Park.Mon, 29 May 2017 22:08:26 +0000
RSU 9 residents to weigh in Wednesday on first round of budget votes Mon, 29 May 2017 21:53:34 +0000 FARMINGTON — RSU 9 residents will have their first opportunity to weigh in on school spending in a preliminary budget vote on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on the Mt. Blue campus. The district-wide vote on the annual budget is scheduled for June 13.

The RSU 9 board of directors have put forth a $33.9 million budget proposal, a 3.5 percent increase over last year’s schools budget. The board decided on its budget May 2 after months of reviewing RSU 9 school programming and having meetings with teachers and administrators. In each of those meetings, board members and administrators weighed two sometimes contradictory questions: what is best for RSU 9 students and what will voters approve?

Complicating the board’s efforts, RSU 9 has yet to hear what it will receive in state funding. Gov. Paul LePage has proposed steep cuts to education in his budget proposal, including eliminating state support for system administration. If successful, LePage’s proposal could shift an additional $500,000 in administration costs onto RSU 9 towns.

For the last three years, Superintendent Thomas Ward said he has been forced to freeze the district’s budget partway through the school year when the district was repeatedly hit with unexpected costs after its budget was set. Those costs have included students moving into the district with $300,000 in special education needs in each of the past two years. By adminstrators’ accounting, the freezes have prevented RSU 9 schools from spending their annual allotted budgets resulting in years of deferred projects, materials purchases and grounds maintenance.

Unlike its towns, the RSU 9 district does not have back up reserve funds to draw on in the event of such financial blows. Typically, the contingency funds administrators request to help weather the unexpected are the first to go in budget cuts such as those over the past two years.

This year the district is requesting $30,008 in contingency money under article 2, or special services costs. Voters will note the special services line item, which includes special education mandates like one-to-one education technicians and summer programming for high needs students, has the largest requested increase from $4.6 million in the 2016-2017 school year to $5.2 million for 2017-2018.

More than half of that increase comes from the addition of 17 educational technicians to the 2017-2018 budget. Some of those technicians are already on the district’s payroll, having coming in with new students in the previous school year. Others were required as schools identified needs among the existing student population.

Other articles under consideration on Wednesday include a $204,027 increase in student and staff support with the hiring of three social workers, $45,000 in additional transportation costs for two new school buses, and $49,402 in additional hours for educational technicians in the district’s adaptive skills programs.

Residents also will be asked to approve budget cuts, including defunding the international student program at Mt. Blue High School, which would save the district $20,000; fewer transportation equipment purchases; and a decrease in a copier lease that would save the district $10,460.

Kate McCormick — 861-9218

Twitter: @KateRMcCormick

]]> 0 Mon, 29 May 2017 17:53:34 +0000
Even for sports traditionalists, Predators’ bandwagon an easy one to join Mon, 29 May 2017 21:42:04 +0000 To use a term introduced to me by a roommate in college, I am a sports conservative.

The way things were is better than the way things could be. Tradition beats innovation. Call me a grump, the sports version of a cranky old man on his porch, but I get more excited seeing Notre Dame, Ohio State or Michigan with their classic uniforms in a big game than Oregon and its 916 combinations of bright green, brighter yellow and chrome. The NFL Films die-hard in me would much rather see a postseason with the Cowboys, 49ers and Steelers as conference favorites than the Seahawks, Falcons or Texans. I scoff when I’m reminded that Maryland is no longer in the ACC, Nebraska has left the Big 12 and that UConn, Syracuse and Pittsburgh ditched the Big East.

And yet, despite this background, I can’t help but get into the captivating march to a potential Stanley Cup championship that is going on these days in Nashville, Tennessee. And I’d be surprised if anyone watching didn’t feel the same way.

The Nashville Predators should be the antithesis to a sports conservative’s interests. And for years, they were. I hated the expansion team that served as a face for the National Hockey League’s new wave, ripping hockey away from Quebec City, Hartford and Winnipeg and giving it to the likes of Phoenix, Atlanta and Raleigh. I hated the mustard-colored jerseys with the hokey saber-toothed tiger head logo. I hated the name; “Nashville Predators” seemed conjured up by some 10-year-old using the EA Sports “Create a Team” function.

And I loved when it all kept amounting to playoff failures. Year after year, the generic factory team fell short, never even reaching the Western Conference finals.

This year, however, things changed. The Predators were the ones pulling the stunner, sweeping the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. Nashville had our attention, and with wins over the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks to reach the Stanley Cup finals, they kept it.

Good thing, too. As it turns out, there is a lot to love about hockey in Nashville.

Start with the fans. I had Nashville pegged as one of those cities where hockey just didn’t belong, much like Miami, Phoenix and, years ago, Atlanta. What is hockey doing in Nashville, I thought. Country music and football fans don’t care about some game played on ice, I figured.

I was wrong. Nashville is obsessed with the Predators. Even before the Cinderella playoff run began, the honky-tonk hockey nuts were on board, selling out all 41 home games. The city has gained the nickname “Smashville,” and it’s well-deserved. The fans from one of the country’s loudest cities have turned the Bridgestone Arena into the game’s loudest rink. They go bonkers after goals and wild after wins, and the vibrant yellow of the shirts and hats they wear seems to add a decibel or two to the din. Most fans might celebrate after winning a championship; Predators fans flipped a car after winning a round.

The fans are noisy, but even better, they’re fun. I’ve never seen a sports environment that beat a college hockey crowd in terms of the all-out passion, energy and enthusiasm of the fans, and Nashville has brought that atmosphere to the NHL. Fans mock opposing goalies and participate in deafening chants. For Maine hockey fans longing for the chaotic clamor heard at Alfond Arena during Black Bear glory days, Bridgestone allows them to hear that familiar sound pouring from the television broadcast. The only thing missing is a fight song.

And then there’s the team, a mix of endearing blue-collar players and bright talents. Pekka Rinne is one of the best goalies in the league, and he’s been carrying the Predators these playoffs at the age of 34. Defenseman P.K. Subban, perhaps an eternal villain for Bruins fans from his Canadiens days, is nonetheless an exciting talent with the puck on his stick. Filip Forsberg is a gifted young player and a fan favorite with a penchant for clutch goals. Ryan Ellis has a big beard and a bigger game. And unlike Predators teams of the past, which were slowed by the big moments, this is a bunch that ramps it up, led by a coach in Peter Laviolette whose fiery and intense approach has now taken three teams to the Stanley Cup finals.

The Predators will probably never fit in among hockey’s old guard. They’ll never ditch that shine to them that is so refreshingly absent from the likes of the Blackhawks and the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings and the Bruins. But everything else about them is straight out of old-school hockey. They’re tough, they’re exciting, and their city is crazy about them.

So go Predators. Bring home that Cup. You, and your fans, deserve it.

Now please, get off my lawn.

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

]]> 0 Mon, 29 May 2017 17:42:04 +0000
Memorial Day parade and ceremony stirs up emotions Mon, 29 May 2017 21:25:42 +0000 SKOWHEGAN — It’s been a decade since the Veterans’ Park next to Town Hall was created, said Ambrose “Tom” McCarthy, Jr., who led the effort to build it.

Standing in the park on Memorial Day while waiting for the annual ceremony to begin, he said he feels “very good” looking back on the project.

“We’re still building, we’re still growing. We still need more members,” McCarthy said.

Dozens of people came to the park on Water Street after watching the parade, which came down Madison Avenue.

State Rep. Joel Stetkis, R-Canaan, was the keynote speaker at the park this year. He spoke about the true meaning of Memorial Day, which is a day to honor “those brave men and women” who served in the armed forces and “given their all since the shot heard ’round the world at Lexington and Concord.”

Stetkis also asked that people never forget “the cost of freedom,” which is not only a life cut short but also a loss of a spouse or a parent.

He ended with an epitaph from John Maxwell Edmonds that commemorated those who died at the Battle of Kohima in 1944: “For their tomorrow, we gave our today.”

Rev. Mark Tanner of the Skowhegan Federated Church also spoke, telling stories of people who faced war, including some who didn’t serve in the army.

He told a story of a man who came to the United States at 17 from Berlin, where he lived during bomb raids.

He talked about the father of a man in the community who fought in World War I and was captured and imprisoned by the Germans for three years.

He also told of a bugler in Augusta who knew of a woman in Paris who hid Jewish people during World War II.

“Stories like that leave a mark on every one of us,” Tanner said.

While Memorial Day is a time to think of veterans, Tanner said it’s also a time “to think of all of those men and women, too, who worked behind the scenes.”

“It was an effort of so many,” he said.

Among those who attended the ceremony in the park were commander Steven Spaulding and adjutant Bob Mercer of the American Legion Post 16, Town Manager Christine Almand, and Selectmen Darla Pickett and Betty Austin.

Karen Staples from Congressman Bruce Poliquin’s office also read a letter he wrote in lieu of attending the event.

The parade, which began at 10 a.m., included a few new features. The 195th Army band from Bangor led the music at the front of the parade for the first time in years, followed later by the Skowhegan Area High School band students.

Two Carrier 18-wheelers also took part in the parade, honking their horns for the kids on the sidewalks. The sides of one commemorated the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the sides of the other read “Support Our Troops.”

When Beatrice Powell, of Brighton, saw the trucks with memorial wreaths, she said she started to tear up.

Powell’s husband served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves for 34 years, she said, and events like this parade make her emotional. The small town feel is also special, she said, because those who are in the parade and those lining the streets know each other and will call out to each other.

“I’ve been to many parades, but there’s nothing like a small town parade,” she said.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

Twitter: @madelinestamour

]]> 0 veteran Dave Savoy salutes Monday during a ceremony following the Skowhegan Memorial Day parade.Mon, 29 May 2017 17:43:50 +0000
Kennebec Journal May 29 police log Mon, 29 May 2017 20:59:58 +0000 AUGUSTA

Sunday at 8:26 a.m., a disturbance was reported on Valley Street.

9:35 a.m., needles were reported found on Water Street.

1:10 p.m., a 35-year-old Hartland woman was summoned on a charge of operating while license suspended or revoked, on Cony Street.

1:56 p.m., disorderly conduct was reported on Edison Drive.

2:51 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Water Street.

8:09 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Cedar Street.

8:25 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Cony Street.

8:31 p.m., a suspicious vehicle was reported on Blair Road.

10:59 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Lees Court.

Monday at 12:29 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Quimby Street.


Sunday at 2:37 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Union Street.


Sunday at 2:29 p.m., a suspicious person or circumstance was reported on Main Street.

Monday at 2:03 a.m., criminal mischief was reported on Main Street.



Sunday at 7:29 p.m., Tina M. Berube, 52 of Augusta, was arrested on charges of terrorizing and violation of condition of release.

8:54 p.m., Joseph Raymond, 75, of Augusta, was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence of alcohol on Civic Center Drive.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 May 2017 16:59:58 +0000
Litchfield man cries foul over cancellation of ‘secular’ invocation for Maine Senate Mon, 29 May 2017 20:55:50 +0000 AUGUSTA — Just about every session of the Maine Legislature begins with a prayer to a higher power.

In many cases, that higher power is God or Jesus. But this week, Thomas Waddell of Litchfield was hoping to deliver a different kind of message before the Maine Senate. Rather than invoke a spiritual deity, Waddell was going to ask the senators to look to each other for the strength to fulfill their shared, constitutional duties.

In February, Waddell delivered a secular invocation before the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats, and just a few weeks ago he was invited to do the same in the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans. Waddell is a champion of atheist causes — he also writes columns for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel — and as far as he knew, it would be the first invocation of its kind in the Senate.

But last week, Waddell says, he was informed that his May 30 reading had been canceled and that Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, would be reviewing its contents when the 128th Legislature ends.

Now, Waddell is questioning just how separated the church and state Legislature are in Maine. Based on what a Senate administrator told him, he thinks some lawmakers objected to his invocation in February and advised Thibodeau to reconsider the invitation.

“My take is, Senate President Mike Thibodeau is doing this just as a stalling tactic,” Waddell said. “He personally is not comfortable with having someone who is not clergy get up there in front of the Senate and not reference God or Jesus in their invocation, and that’s the bottom line.”

Waddell, who is president of the Maine chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, also called Thibodeau’s decision to “censor my words … fully and totally illegal.”

But the Senate President has a different take.

According to a letter Thibodeau sent to Waddell on Friday afternoon, Thibodeau has concerns about Waddell’s conduct toward Senate Secretary Heather Priest in a conversation he had with her.

Thibodeau said Priest indicated Waddell’s version of events “does not fully and fairly reflect your conversation with her. She has also advised me that you were confrontational with her and that you (were) verbally aggressive, demanding that she comply with your instructions, and concede to your account of the conversation you had with her.”

Thibodeau said he will ask Priest to provide a written account of the encounter with Waddell by June 9 and tells Waddell “if you would like to submit a written account of your own, please submit it by the same deadline.”

Thibodeau said he would reserve judgment about whether Waddell could give the invocation at a later date.

Another letter emailed Friday from Rebecca S. Merkert, attorney for the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, to Thibodeau says the organization sees this as “a serious constitutional violation.”

Merkert maintains, “Mr. Waddell is being forced to meet requirements that others are not. Requiring him to submit his remarks for review and approval is a constitutional violation. First, disparate application of rules based on your perception of Mr. Waddell’s religion is illegal. Second, when the government allows invocation speakers to deliver remarks, the government cannot censor or approve invocations based on their viewpoint.”

Merkert asked that Waddell “be invited back to give his remarks on Tuesday.”

Prayers have been read during federal and state legislative sessions ever since the U.S. Congress was formed in 1789, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Even though the practice would seem to violate the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and government, it was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1983, in the case Marsh v. Chambers, and 30 years later in the case Town of Greece v. Galloway, said Zach Heiden, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine.

Following the second case, Heiden said, the court “essentially expanded the ability of legislative bodies to engage in legislative prayer.”

But the court also indicated several ways that prayer could violate Establishment Clause, including a pattern of denigration of other faith systems, whether in the prayers themselves or in the decisions of legislative officers about which prayers to allow, Heiden said.

Heiden declined to comment on the merits of Waddell’s complaint, but said he doesn’t think a secular invocation is any different from a religious prayer, legally speaking.

Priest did not return a call seeking comment last week. But in her initial invitation to Waddell to deliver the invocation, she seemed receptive to the idea.

“On behalf of Senate President Michael Thibodeau, I want to thank you for your willingness to deliver the opening prayer in the Senate,” she wrote in May 10 letter. “Out of respect for the diversity of the religious beliefs of the Senators, a brief prayer that is non-sectarian and non-political would be appreciated.”

But according to Waddell, Priest called him last week to inform him the reading was canceled and, because of the length and content of his February reading, that Thibodeau would need to review its contents.

In that February invocation, Waddell told House members that each “was elected to represent the interests of a diverse community in terms of age, socioeconomic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and religious beliefs or secular principles. Representing diverse constituents requires one to be truly inclusive and tolerant.”

To help Mainers find “economic opportunity, decent housing, good schools and a health care system that meets the needs of all people,” he asked the lawmakers “to put aside any personal and political differences in these divisive times and to work together for the benefit of Maine as a whole. I ask you to use facts, reason and logic, tempered with compassion and empathy, in making your decisions, today and every day. I ask you to discard partisan dogma and to weigh, without bias, the merits of the various proposals being made, and to refrain from denigrating persons with whom you may disagree.”

He closed by reading a Buddhist homily.

Waddell was invited to read his invocation in the Senate after making a request to Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, former executive director of the ACLU of Maine, who passed it along to Priest.

Now, he’s hoping that Thibodeau will reconsider his decision to cancel the May 30 reading. He also said he’s hoping to get a better explanation of the reasons it was canceled.

He doesn’t think any part of it falls astray of the Constitution, and he pointed to the decision in Greece v. Galloway to explain why he thinks Thibodeau’s decision might constitute censorship. He also questioned whether Thibodeau or other lawmakers were resistant to allowing a message that wasn’t Judeo-Christian to be read in the State House.

In a written statement, Bellows said she has not been involved in the conversations with Priest and Thibodeau, but expressed hope they could reach a civil resolution that would allow Waddell to go forward with his invocation.

“Delivering the invocation before the Senate is an honor that should be bestowed upon Mainers of all faiths, or those of no faith at all, without discrimination,” Bellows said.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

Twitter: @ceichacker

]]> 0 ThibodeauMon, 29 May 2017 21:54:37 +0000
Alewife restoration group inches forward on dam plans Mon, 29 May 2017 20:42:10 +0000 A group hoping to connect China Lake to the Atlantic Ocean and restore the tiny herring species of fish called alewives has started drawing up plans for the six dams that stand in the way along Outlet Stream, which flows from the Sebasticook River through Vassalboro to the lake.

The Alewife Restoration Initiative, a partnership between a number of environmental groups, has progressed past some of the largest barriers in East Vassalboro, which included tearing down an old sawmill and relocating water pipes, but still faces large technical challenges at the Outlet Dam just before the lake and at a breeched dam by Oak Grove Road.

Alewives are eaten by nearly every other marine fish, mammal and bird, and they’re also commonly used as lobster bait. They spend most of their lives in the ocean, but migrate inland to spawn every year. The young fish, which grow to be up to a foot long, spend a few months in freshwater before heading to the ocean to continue the cycle.

“The fish are ready for us to be done,” said Landis Hudson, executive director of Maine Rivers, one of the partners in the alewife group. “We’re trying to find a balance of working as quickly as we can with doing the best, most professional and thoughtful work that we can.”

The alewife group’s permit to remove the Masse Dam in the area, which has been protested by some residents, was initially rejected by the state Department of Environmental Protection because of deficiencies.

The group later filed for an Individual Natural Resources Protection Act permit, which has been accepted as complete, according to department communications Director David Madore. The department has 90 days to approve or deny the permit, he said.

The work in that area has encountered some resistance from residents who say the dam removal will dry up the ponds in their backyards and lower their property values.

Hudson said they’re “doing their best to address the challenges,” and that they get “strong and consistent support” from people who are enthusiastic about the project.

She is not releasing the construction costs to the remove the dam at this time, she said.

The group is also designing a fish passageway at the Outlet Dam, which is where the stream and the lake meet.

The passageway will be a Denil-style fishway, Hudson said, but she didn’t yet have a cost estimate for the project.

The Kennebec Water District uses the Outlet Dam to manage the lake levels, which are mandated through an order from the Department of Environmental Protection, so it couldn’t be removed, Hudson said.

The fishway design has to be very specific for that reason, said Jeff LaCasse, general manager of the water district. They have to be able to adjust the water levels or let out water in the event of extraordinary weather, as well as perform maintenance safely, he said.

The public may also want to watch the alewives run through the fishway, he said, which poses a problem with this particular style.

The primary concern the water district had was how many alewives would enter the lake, LaCasse said, because overpopulation could have a negative effect on the water quality.

The designers were able to conceptualize a fishway that would allow in a maximum of one million, he said.

“We don’t want to get more than that number,” he said, “and I don’t think we will.”

Overpopulation could result in a fish die-off, which would mean more phosphorous in the lake and a potential odor problem.

Some people argue that alewives will improve the quality of China Lake, which has struggled for years with a reputation of being laden with phosphorous and algae blooms, by taking phosphorous out to the ocean during their migration.

While alewives may help a bit, LaCasse said he doesn’t expect they will export enough phosphorous to make a noticeable difference. The reason the water quality has improved in recent years is the lack of precipitation, he said, which has helped every lake in the state.

For this reason, the water district chose not to contribute financially to the alewife project, though it is sharing its data and its historical knowledge with the group.

The water district and the alewife group also have to discuss who will be maintaining the fishway, LaCasse said.

“It looks like it will be more time consuming than what we have available,” he said.

A fish passageway is also planned at the Ladd, or Mill Stream, Dam, which is further up the stream.

One of the most challenging sites is the Box Mill Dam, which is near Oak Grove Road and is the first dam on Outlet Stream heading toward the lake, Hudson said.

“It’s a breeched dam, so there are some remnants of a dam that are there,” she said.

Hudson said they believe that the whole stream was moved when the dam and other buildings, such as a factory, were built. It will require a lot of alterations to make the site work for the fish, she said.

Fundraising for the many projects is going alright, though, Hudson said. The alewife group has received support form the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, the Nature Conservancy in Maine, Patagonia, the Davis Conservation Foundation and the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program. The town of China also voted to contribute $20,000 in economic development funds to the project.

“We are doing alright on funding, and it’s because people understand the potential, the restoration potential, and the value that alewives bring pretty much to every part of the ecosystem that they live in,” Hudson said, adding that it is “a lot of work” to coordinate all of the different agencies.

The work, though, is worth it, Hudson said.

“There is something enormously inspiring and powerful about the idea of bringing life back to a river and a stream and a lake,” she said. “… Honestly, (alewives) are just inspiring. The drive, the persistence, the will to live is amazing, and that’s inspiring for a lot us that work on this.”

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

Twitter: @madelinestamour

]]> 0 Restoration Initiative project partners, from left, Landis Hudson, Maine Rivers; Fred Seavey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; and Nate Gray, Maine Department of Marine Resources take a break from data collection to interact with a local resident, an Eastern painted turtle. The goal of the project is to improve habitat and provide food for creatures including turtles, as well as eagles, osprey and mink.Mon, 29 May 2017 16:42:10 +0000
Morning Sentinel May 29 police log Mon, 29 May 2017 19:46:18 +0000 IN CANAAN, Sunday at 5:49 p.m., theft was reported on Hinckley Road.

6:12 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Cabin Road.

8:02 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Stoney Park Drive.

IN CORNVILLE, Sunday at 10:35 a.m., theft was reported on Molunkus Road.

1:22 p.m., threatening was reported on Huff Road.

IN DETROIT, Monday at 3:16 a.m., trespassing was reported on Brann Place.

IN EUSTIS, Monday at 10:49 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Flagstaff Road.

IN FAIRFIELD, Sunday at 11:41 a.m., theft was reported on Norridgewock Road.

2:17 p.m., a vehicle fire was reported on Valley Farms Road.

5:03 p.m., trespassing was reported on Kennebec Street.

9:19 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Liberty Street.

9:26 p.m., a bail violation was reported on Cashman Street.

9:33 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Hutchins Road.

10:51 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Main Street.

IN JAY, Sunday at 9:15 p.m., an assault was reported on Main Street.

IN MADISON, Sunday at 11:14 a.m., theft was reported on Old Point Avenue.

IN NORRIDGEWOCK, Sunday at 6:51 p.m., an assault was reported on Gilman Drive.

IN PITTSFIELD, Sunday at 9:15 a.m., trespassing was reported on Ryan Court.

IN SKOWHEGAN, Sunday at 11:46 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Leavitt Street.

2:19 p.m., a disturbance was reported on East Chandler Street.

4:20 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Mill Street.

6 p.m., a disturbance was reported on North Avenue.

Monday at 1:41 a.m., an assault was reported on North Avenue.

IN WATERVILLE, Sunday at 6:12 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Main Street.

9:32 a.m., theft was reported on Chaplin Street.

10:02 a.m., criminal mischief was reported on Louise Avenue.

10:40 a.m., criminal mischief was reported on Eustis Parkway.

12:13 p.m., theft was reported on King Court.

12:54 p.m., theft was reported on Ticonic Street.

1:46 p.m., a city ordinance violation was reported on Spring Street.

3:19 p.m., shoplifting was reported at Wal-Mart in Waterville Commons.

3:43 p.m., threatening was reported on Silver Street.

4:05 p.m., a drug offense was reported on North Street.

5:04 p.m., a domestic dispute was reported in Waterville Commons.

5:56 p.m., harassment was reported on Halde Street.

8:49 p.m., a domestic dispute was reported at Gray and Water streets.

Monday at 2:24 a.m., a car burglary was reported on College Avenue.

3:09 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Roosevelt Avenue.

3:16 a.m., an unwanted person was reported on Elm Street.

IN WILTON, Sunday at 12:48 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Main Street.

3:34 p.m., harassment was reported on Cemetery Road.

4:58 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on U.S. Route 2 East.

4:59 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on McLaughlin Road.


IN FRANKLIN COUNTY, Monday, Matthew Kerr, 26, of New Sharon, was arrested on a warrant for unpaid fines, as well as a charge of operating a vehicle after a suspension.

IN SOMERSET COUNTY, Sunday at 11:09 a.m., Don Michael James, 41, of Pittsfield, was arrested on charges of operating a vehicle after a suspension and violating conditions of release.

7:23 p.m., Brandon Brandy York, 26, of Minot, was arrested on three charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, as well as charges of assault and criminal mischief.

8:32 p.m., Scott David Frost, 30, of Norridgewock, was arrested on charges of operating a vehicle under the influence and without a license, violating restrictions from prior offenses.

11:17 p.m., Rebekah Lorraine Rodrigue, 25, of Skowhegan, was arrested on two warrants for unpaid fines.


IN WATERVILLE, Sunday at 3:19 p.m., Samantha J. Fitts, 19, of Pittsfield, was issued a summons on a charge of shoplifting.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 May 2017 16:39:33 +0000
York County deputies fatally shoot Arundel man Mon, 29 May 2017 14:12:18 +0000 A man was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies during a domestic disturbance at an Arundel home Monday morning.

The man was identified as Chad Dionne, 37, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to the reported disturbance around 2:15 a.m. Dionne confronted them with a firearm and deputies shot him, the sheriff’s office said.

Although police did not give an address of the confrontation, investigators closed off a portion of Old Alfred Road near Route 111, focusing activity on a home there. Dionne is the listed owner of a home at 267 Old Alfred Road.

The incident is under investigation by the sheriff’s office, which did not provide further details.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office is also conducting an investigation, which is standard protocol when a police officer uses deadly force.

Deputies Steven Thistlewood and Heath Mains were the ones involved in the fatal shooting, according to the sheriff’s office.

Thistlewood is an 18-year veteran and Mains has been a York County deputy for 2 1/2 years.

“We’re not going to put anything further out today,” York County Sheriff William King said Monday.

Police shootings have touched off a national conversation about whether police should be using body cameras to record such incidents.

In Maine, police in South Portland, Fairfield, Gardiner, Wilton, Farmington, Richmond, Monmouth and Winslow use body cameras, according to the Maine Chiefs of Police Association.

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling has advocated fast-tracking body cameras for the city’s officers, highlighting the issue after a man was shot by police in February outside a St. John Street strip mall. At the time, Strimling’s comments were criticized by Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck, who argued the mayor was politicizing the shooting.

The man who was shot and killed in Portland was carrying what turned out to be a rifle-style pellet gun, according to news reports. Witnesses said the man was walking around parking lots, screaming and pointing the gun at cars.

Meanwhile, in Arundel, Dionne’s home is two doors away from B&B Truck Repair. Mike Dentico, an employee at the garage, said Dionne was a mechanic who used to work at the garage, but had since opened his own business in Biddeford.

Dionne apparently owned Dionne Auto Service on Elm Street in Biddeford, near the Five Points intersection.

“He was a real nice gentleman” and “an excellent mechanic,” Dentico said.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

]]> 0, 29 May 2017 22:44:12 +0000
Our View: New Orleans mayor’s words ring true on Memorial Day Mon, 29 May 2017 08:10:00 +0000 Memorial Day is one of those times that reminds us that history is all around us and part of our lives.

The past is dead and cannot change, but history is alive and always changing because it is the record of the things we choose to remember.

Memorial Day is set aside to remember the men and women who gave their lives serving their country in war. We honor their sacrifice. We remember them, and we want our children to march in parades and listen to speeches so that they will remember, too.

This goes on, generation after generation, almost invisibly. But in the South right now, it is a process that involves earth movers and cranes, as southern cities discuss the removal of monuments honoring leaders of the Confederacy like Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T Beauregard.

In a moving speech last week, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu explained why it was time to remove these statues from public spaces in his city because of the message that honoring this part of the past sent to the people of today.

The statues were not relics of the Civil War itself, Landrieu explained, but from a later period in the early 20th century, when white supremacists held power in the majority black city.

They were a reminder of a social order in which only one race of city residents had full human rights.

“After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city,” he said.

As white man, Landrieu said he walked by the monuments daily without giving them and serious thought. But it was not until a friend asked him to imagine what it would be like for an African American father to explain the statues and their meaning to a five-year-old daughter that he really understood.

“Can you do it?” Landrieu asked. “Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?”

Confronting the monuments meant confronting their whole truth, not the one-sided version of history that had been passed on. It meant choosing to remember the parts of the story which had been left out.

“The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity,” Landrieu said. “It sought to tear apart our nation and subjugate our fellow Americans to slavery. This is the history we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered.

As a community, we must recognize the significance of removing New Orleans’ Confederate monuments. It is our acknowledgment that now is the time to take stock of, and then move past, a painful part of our history.”

Almost every town in Maine has a Civil War monument of some kind, and we can be proud of the cause that our Maine ancestors joined 150 years ago.

But even though we don’t have to endure the intense re-evaluation going on in the south, New Orleans’ experience shows the duty that we all owe to history.

It’s up to us to say what we want to remember and carve in stone what we want to make sure that we never forget.

]]> 0 prepare to take down the statue of former Confederate general Robert E. Lee, which stands over 100 feet tall, in Lee Circle in New Orleans, Friday, May 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Sat, 27 May 2017 08:54:13 +0000
Sanford students delving into mystery of child’s grave Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 SANFORD — In the early 1930s, more than six dozen coffins were exhumed from the overgrown Woodlawn Cemetery, carried a mile away and re-interred at the town’s new municipal cemetery.

The grave of one child was left behind, an apparent oversight that would not be discovered for more than 80 years.

For decades, children attended classes at Sanford’s Emerson School and ran on a playground that was created on the same grounds once occupied by the original town cemetery. Eventually, the school closed and last month was torn down to make way for a Cumberland Farms gas station and convenience store.

On a Thursday afternoon in early May, a construction crew digging near the new store foundation unearthed the remains of the forgotten child and the remnants of a Victorian-era coffin. The discovery halted the project and touched off a delicate process of excavating the grave, documenting the bones and cataloging each artifact found with the remnants of the coffin.

Students researching braces from the coffin have determined that the hardware is nickel-plated. They’re still researching a pair of rare, Victorian-era coffin keys that also turned up during excavation of the former Emerson School playground.

Now, local high school students born more than a century after the child was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery are helping city officials unravel the mystery of the child’s identity. After examining the remains and studying the artifacts, they are pursuing DNA tests to see if the child was the great-aunt of a Maine woman who reached out to city officials after hearing the child’s remains had been found.

“I don’t think anyone wanted to see whoever this person is just re-interred in Oakdale Cemetery in some anonymous plot when there is technology to find out who it is,” said Paul Auger, the local historian and high school teacher who exhumed the remains. “What a tragedy it would be if we had the opportunity and didn’t take advantage of it.”

On June 6, City Manager Steven Buck will ask the Sanford City Council to use about $4,800 from the proceeds of the Emerson School sale to pay for the DNA tests.

“I’m very positive we’re going to be able to identify who this is,” Buck said. “The great part of the story is we know where the family is and she could be re-interred in the family plot at Oakdale Cemetery. That’s our driver.”


The land’s history as Sanford’s first municipal cemetery was well-known to local historians and city officials, but finding remains there still came as a shock. Auger had asked the construction company building the Cumberland Farms to keep an eye out for anything unusual, but didn’t really expect them to find anything.

Buck was in a meeting on May 4 when he got a call on his cellphone from Pete Smith, the public works foreman. A few blocks down Main Street from City Hall, a construction crew had just unearthed the grave.

“This was a surprise because we had records showing everybody was moved,” Buck said.

Paul Auger stands in the pit at a Main Street construction site a day after a child’s remains were unearthed there May 4. He enlisted students to help clean the bones, study the coffin remnants and pursue clues to identification of the child. He estimates that the grave is from sometime between 1880 and 1906.

When the city sold the property to Cumberland Farms last year, the purchaser had raised concerns about the land’s previous use as a cemetery. But the city had records showing 77 bodies were exhumed and re-interred at Oakdale Cemetery by 1933, when Emerson School purchased the lot to build a playground. Everyone was satisfied with that and the city sold the property for $800,000.

The Emerson School, which closed in 2013 and needed extensive repairs, was demolished in April. Construction workers had just finished the new store’s foundation – inches from the remains, it turns out – and shifted their focus to excavating for a water line when they found the grave. The PM Construction foreman was watching every scoop of earth coming out of the trench when a piece of skull poked out of the soil. He halted work and called police.

“Within a few minutes, the entire police department and most of the fire department were surrounding the hole,” Auger said. “No one had ever seen this happen before.”

Sanford police contacted the state Medical Examiner’s Office and provided information showing the grave was found in a known cemetery. The ME’s office told the city the remains had to be hand excavated, the local historical society notified and the remains re-interred. Auger, a member of the city’s Historical Committee, was called in to help.

Auger, who was a police officer for a decade before becoming a teacher 19 years ago, remembers only one other time that an old grave was found during construction in Sanford. Back around 1980, a crew digging an elevator shaft at the Town Hall annex found a femur. Construction was stopped while the Historical Committee determined the area had once been a cemetery. The leg bone was reburied in an anonymous plot at Oakdale Cemetery.


To prepare for the exhumation, Auger found three coworkers willing to cover his classes at Sanford High School the next day, went to the hardware store for supplies to make a sifter and arranged to have a tent put over the grave because rain was in the forecast. By 7 the next morning, he was climbing into the pit.

For hours, Auger, Buck and Smith sifted through the dirt a handful at a time, pulling out shards of glass, pieces of metal and bones caked in dirt and encased in root hairs. A large root from a nearby oak tree had grown around the coffin, perfectly outlining three sides of the grave. Auger measured everything: the length and width of the grave, the placement of the bones, the size of the coffin braces, hinges and keys. They found ribs and finger bones and pieces of jawbone with a half-dozen teeth still intact.

Their work was halted for several hours in the middle of the day as Buck and the city attorney dealt with last-minute questions from the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Department of Health and Human Services, which has purview over cemeteries and cemetery relocations. The city clerk issued a permit to exhume and move the remains, and work resumed.

Late that afternoon, as the small group tried to finish their work before it started raining, Buck’s cellphone rang. It was his assistant back at City Hall with an urgent message to call a Maine woman who saw news of the discovery and had a story to share.

“She said she was always told in her family that when the cemetery was moved in 1931, they never found Grampy’s little sister,” Buck said.

The woman, whose name city officials aren’t releasing until the remains are identified, lives in southern Maine and is an avid researcher of her family genealogy, Auger said. She provided many details about her family, including names going back generations. Auger was able to research the family and discovered the mother of the child had five living children at the time of the 1900 census, but only four of her children are shown on other records.

“We don’t even know the name of this child,” he said.

Auger said the child was likely born between 1890 and 1895. The woman who contacted local officials also provided information about a second possible match, a different girl in the extended family who died in Sanford in 1902.


With a few clues about the possible identity of the child, Auger turned to a group of students at the high school to assist in the investigation. He sees it as a unique learning experience and way to connect students with history.

One student went with Auger to a local jewelry store to determine the metal hardware used for the coffin’s handle braces was nickel-plated. They’re still researching a pair of rare, Victorian-era coffin keys.

Paul Auger holds a nail and a bracket from a grave discovered at a construction site on Main Street. Staff photo by Derek Davis

Two honors students, both headed to nursing school in the fall, cleaned and sorted the bones with help from Auger’s two children.

“We wanted to learn as much as we could from the remains,” Auger said.

Seniors Kristen O’Connell and Sydney Littlefield had never held real human bones before the afternoon they arrived at Carll Heald & Black Funeral Home in Springvale, where the remains are being stored until they are re-interred. During their anatomy classes at Sanford High, they used plastic bones and photos to learn about the 206 bones in the human body.

Using soft-bristled toothbrushes, chopsticks and water, they spent several hours cleaning dirt and roots from the bones.

“We had to try to make them recognizable,” said O’Connell, 18.

They used their anatomy textbook to help identify each bone before laying them out on an examination table to form the skeleton. The pelvis was missing, making it impossible for Littlefield and O’Connell to determine the gender of the child. They were encouraged to see the teeth that could possibly provide DNA to confirm the child’s identity.

“It’s interesting to think you could help someone find a missing relative and help put someone to rest,” said Littlefield, 17.

Officials have not allowed the bones to be photographed because of privacy concerns for the family.

Auger turned to science teacher Beth Marras and her Advanced Placement biology text to make a DNA tree to show which living family members would have the same mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited through the mother. The woman who contacted the city cannot provide the sample because the family connection would be through her grandfather, but a first cousin twice removed from the child could, the students determined after reviewing a family tree provided by Auger. Students will perform the buccal swab to collect cells from the inside of the cheek of the cousin, who has agreed to provide a DNA sample.

George Pouravelis, who teaches anatomy and physiology at the high school, said it has been amazing to watch students be part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience that has generated a lot of interest in the community.

“This is an exciting statement about this community to do the right thing here,” he said. “If it was someone in my family, it would be nice to know that someone cared enough to do this the right way.”

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

Twitter: grahamgillian

]]> 0 Auger explains some of the coffin artifacts to seniors, from left, Shealyn Kane, Vanessa Hodge and Sydney Littlefield in his classroom at Sanford High School. Sanford students are helping to unravel the mystery surrounding the remains of a child found last month.Mon, 29 May 2017 10:59:03 +0000
Somerset County court for April 24-28, 2017 Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 SKOWHEGAN — Closed cases for April 24-28, 2017, in Skowhegan District Court and Somerset County Superior Court.

Sherron M. Bassett, 43, of Rochester, New Hampshire, operating under the influence Jan. 5, 2017, in Pittsfield; $1,000 fine.

Victoria J. Bavelaar, 45, of Fairfield, domestic violence reckless conduct March 26, 2016, in Fairfield, dismissed.

Travis L. Bickford, 42, of St. Albans, failure to register vehicle Feb. 18, 2017, in Palmyra; $100 fine.

Jacob J. Bizier, 26, of Winslow, unlawful possession of cocaine base Jan. 11, 2017, in Fairfield; $400 fine, three-year Department of Corrections sentence all but 90 days suspended, two year probation, $240 restitution.

Hans M. Boelsterli, 21, of Kingfield, unlawful possession of scheduled drug Feb. 17, 2017, in Solon; $400 fine, 364-day jail sentence all but two days suspended, one-year probation.

Domenic W. Cafarelli, 35, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, operating under the influence Nov. 23, 2016, in Mercer; $600 fine, 96-hour jail sentence, 150-day license suspension; refusing to submit to arrest or detention, physical force Nov. 23, 2016, in Mercer; four-day jail sentence; criminal mischief Nov. 23, 2016, in Mercer; four-day jail sentence.

Bernard C. Conner, 78, of Norridgewock, operating under the influence Jan. 6, 2017, in Canaan; $500 fine, two-day jail sentence, 150-day license suspension.

Douglas J. Chartrand, 51, of Waterville, disorderly conduct, offensive words, gestures Feb. 27, 2016, in Skowhegan; $300 fine.

Ross D. Correia, 26, of Canaan, burglary Sept. 24, 2013, in New Portland; 21-month Department of Corrections sentence; theft by unauthorized taking or transfer Sept. 24, 2013, in New Portland; 21-month Department of Corrections sentence, $9,800 restitution. Operating under the influence Feb. 1, 2017, in Cornville; $500 fine, 150-day license suspension; failure to stop, remain, render aid, personal injury Feb. 1, 2017, in Cornville; 10-day jail sentence; operating while license suspended or revoked Feb. 1, 2017, in Cornville; $500 fine.

Nicholas D. Denis, 20, of Winslow, gross sexual assault and assault Sept. 11, 2016, in Fairfield, dismissed.

Jimmy D. Dodge, 54, of Canaan, reporting snowmobile accident — injury or death Feb. 4, 2017, in Canaan; $500 fine. Reckless operation of snowmobile, same date and town, dismissed.

Lorie A. Feather, 53, of Skowhegan, operating while license suspended or revoked June 10, 2015, in Skowhegan; $500 fine, $500 suspended.

Timothy S. Finlay, 51, of Hollis Center, domestic violence assault Sept. 17, 2016, in Rockwood; 364-day jail sentence all but 60 days suspended, two year probation, $1,648.77 restitution; keeping dangerous dog Sept. 17. 2016, in Etna; $250 fine.

Jeffrey S. Gilbert, 29, of Skowhegan, disorderly conduct, offensive words, gestures March 8, 2016, in Madison; 24-hour jail sentence.

Aaron W. Holt, 30, of Skowhegan, operating after habitual offender revocation Jan. 21, 2017, in Skowhegan, dismissed.

Lynn M. Hudson, 59, of Plymouth, failing to make oral or written accident report Dec. 25, 2016, in Pittsfield; $100 fine.

Larry D. James, 29, of Skowhegan, assault March 10, 2016, in Skowhegan; $300 fine; refusing to submit to arrest or detention, physical force March 10, 2016, in Skowhegan; $300 fine.

Justin M. Leonhardt, 30, of Harmony, failing to report Feb. 24, 2017, in Madison; 30-day jail sentence; violating condition of release Feb. 24, 2017, in Madison; 30-day jail sentence.

Paris H. Morgan, 18, of Detroit, violating protection from abuse order April 26, 2017, in Detroit; 48-hour jail sentence.

Daniel C. Nordin, 52, of Madison, fugitive from justice April 22, 2017, in Madison, dismissed.

Marla J. St. Petere, 49, of Madison, failure to stop, remain, provide information Nov. 20, 2016, in Skowhegan, dismissed.

Christopher J. Shulenski, 30, of Madison, attaching false plates Feb. 3, 2017, in Madison; $200 fine. Operating vehicle without license, same date and town, dismissed.

Patricia A. Scribner, 69, of Skowhegan, theft by unauthorized taking or transfer Nov. 12, 2016, in Skowhegan; 180-day jail sentence all suspended, one year administrative release.

Jacob Stevens, 22, of Palmyra, domestic violence assault Nov. 23, 2016, in Palmyra; 364-day jail sentence all but 3 days suspended, two year probation, $2,659.50 restitution.

Clayton A. Turner, 22, of Winslow, unlawful possession of scheduled drug Dec. 2, 2016, in Fairfield; $400 fine; violating condition of release Dec. 2, 2016, in Fairfield; $400 fine, $400 suspended.

Mathew L. Woodard, 35, of Skowhegan, disorderly conduct, loud noise, private place April 22, 2017, in Skowhegan; 48-hour jail sentence.

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Maine Compass: Remember those who died this Memorial Day Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Born from the immense losses of the Civil War, Memorial Day is our national day to remember and honor those service men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country. Mottos like “Never Forget” remind us to pay tribute to the fallen, but the truth for those military families who have borne the loss of a loved one is that the pain is often too great, the sacrifice too real for them to ever have the luxury of “forgetting.”

Against their will, Gold Star families become members of America’s most exclusive club — a club that they would never wish to join, but nonetheless do so with phenomenal grace and courage. These Gold Star families carry the torch of remembrance and on Memorial Day, we honor those who sacrificed for us.

In Maine, we are remarkably fortunate to have torch bearers everywhere, as our state’s contributions to our nation’s defense are historic, extensive and deep. From the Civil War to the present day, 67 Medal of Honor recipients hailed from Maine. In total, 6,995 servicemen and women from Maine have died in combat, from the Civil War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our country’s latest combat casualty was Navy Seal Kyle Milliken of Falmouth. In 1993, Medal of Honor recipient Master Sgt. Gary Gordon of Lincoln was one of the country’s last casualties in Somalia.

Memorials across the state pay tribute to Mainers like Kyle, Gary and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice. In 1965, 110 miles of the Maine Turnpike was dedicated as the Gold Star Memorial Highway — a road that symbolizes the greatest toll allows us to travel the greatest distance.

This weekend, cemeteries across our state — including the four Maine Memorial Veterans’ cemeteries — will have American flags proudly waving next to veteran headstones. The Moving Wall has come to Maine nine times, including last year at the Knox Museum in Thomaston and earlier this month in Dexter. And almost every town in Maine has an honor roll etched in granite.

There are also ways to remember and honor Mainers’ sacrifice all year long, and they are worth your time. The Summit Project is a living memorial that hosts hikes and tributes to honor the fallen from the most recent conflicts. Annually, the University of Maine remembers Marine 1st Lt. James Zimmerman with a Community Fitness Challenge. In June, Gold Star Mom Nancy Kelley and the Old Orchard Beach community will be honoring her son, Army Capt. Christopher Cash, in the 13th annual Run for Cash. The Maine Fallen Heroes Foundation holds an annual run in August called Run for the Fallen.

But sometimes the easiest act has the greatest impact. If you know a service member or military family in need, please encourage them to contact the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services. Whether they are a veteran, a family member or currently serving and transitioning from the military, the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services is a ready partner to help them understand and navigate the benefits, services and programs available to them and their loved ones. We can be found at

With less than 1 percent of our country serving in uniform, the call to “Never Forget” is unfortunately carried by an ever-shrinking portion of our society. So on this Memorial Day — and throughout the year — I invite you to join me in actively choosing to remember those who have died in service to our nation.

Stop to read the honor roll in your town; visit The Summit Project stones at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Portland, or volunteer at a Maine Fallen Heroes Foundation event. And when you pay your toll on the Gold Star Highway, “Never Forget” to acknowledge the ultimate price paid by Maine’s Gold Star families to whom it was dedicated.

Adria Horn is director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services in Augusta.

]]> 0 Mills, president of the Maine Turnpike Authority, speaks at the podium during a re-dedication of the Veterans Memorial Park in Skowhegan on Friday.Sat, 27 May 2017 08:57:04 +0000
Another View: What freedom means Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 “Freedom is my decision, not to do what I please, but to do what I ought.” This sentence, written by Harold C. Case, brings to my mind all the things America stands for. I wonder how many of us take all the freedoms we enjoy today for granted. Not many of us really understand the full meaning of the word “freedom.” We are the fortunate ones, fortunate to be born into a free land and live day after day without giving a thought to the possibility of losing it. Unfortunately, the day has come when we must give thought and concentrate hard on how to keep freedom in our country and help other nations to realize that the only satisfying way to live is to live in peace.

First, let me tell you how freedom had its birth in our country. No, it did not just happen, nor was a miracle performed; it was planted by God in the souls of the people by the hardships of our forefathers down through the centuries. I wonder how many of us would leave our mother country, with all its customs, to venture to an unexplored, unknown land? American’s brave pioneers did just that. They looked towards making this new land all the things their mother country lacked and might never have. With God to help them, they safely arrived and settled our great country. Because of the prayers and the good intention of our forefathers to make this land a free and peaceful one, we have been able to obtain all the freedoms we now have. This goal, however, was not achieved by merely wishing for it. Many a brave man and his family died fighting for freedom, fighting for what they believed was right, and we might just read America’s history and be grateful to them all.

From the time the first pioneer stepped upon this soil, our country became known as “The Land of Opportunity.” It has continued to be a land where everyone is equal and free to strive for the position he wants to hold. Every opportunity is given him with no thought as to his race or religion. For instance, in school there may be in a history class several students all learning American history; they are of different races, religions and nationalities. Their only thought while learning American history is to strive to abide by the freedoms given them and to do only what they ought in order to keep them.

Probably the hardest problem yet to face is the problem of keeping peace in the world and sharing our freedoms with our neighbors. When this problem is solved — and with the help of God it will be — we may continue to be “The Land of Opportunity,” “The Free Land” — America.

Marie Ardito wrote this in 1952 as a high school student in Providence, Rhode Island, where she lived after emigrating from Italy at age 6. She lives in Augusta, where she was the co-owner of Ardito’s Restaurant with her husband, Ralph Sr.

]]> 0 supermoon rises over the Statue of Liberty in New York in 2013. Monday will have the closest full moon of the year, the closest the moon comes to us in almost 69 years.Fri, 26 May 2017 16:11:09 +0000
Commentary: The life-changing power of simply taking a person seriously Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Unlike with most of the important changes I go through, I can pinpoint the exact moment when I stopped grieving a recent traumatic event in my son’s life. This unexpected shift happened during one of those crazy-hot days we had in April. I had taken my son, Nat, home with me for the afternoon — he lives in a group home with other intellectually disabled adults. He’s supposed to stay at the home on weekends, to get used to this new house, to become independent of us. But on that sunny Sunday, I just wanted him with me.

On our drive to our house, I realized that I had no plans for him. That’s usually the case, though, and most of the time it weighs heavily on me. It is hard to know what to do with Nat because most of his happiness comes from within, and from unknowable things — not from engaging with others. Instead, he prefers to sit quietly in a sunny spot and talk to himself in his own language. I think that talking to others is Nat’s hardest task, and I believe he invented his “Silly Talk” — at the age of 5 — as a way to keep our words out. People see Nat chattering these apparently nonsensical words, and they conclude that he can’t understand them, that they shouldn’t even try to talk to him.

He cannot tell me so many things. He could not even tell me that his ribs were broken last summer, or how it happened. I found out when I saw the fist-shaped bruise on his chest. And I have been grieving, beating myself up ever since because I did not know, and because I failed to protect him. I could not stop feeling this way because I am his mother and somehow should have known.

I didn’t want to just sit around with those sad feelings on such a beautiful day, so I opted for the easiest solution: a trip to Starbucks. It is an easy thing to do with him. Going for treats is something we both like. It would get us outdoors, and I would get an iced coffee out of it. And of course Nat would have his favorite cookie — “chaw-chih coogie” is how he pronounces it.

Nat can order a chocolate chip cookie. Just like he can tie his shoes, or step on a scale at the doctor’s office. But still the nurse or the person at the counter speaks to me as if he is not even there. When they do speak to him, it’s “good boy!” He’s 27.

So when we got into line at Starbucks that afternoon and waited our turn, I was prepared for the usual twinge, the reminder of the chasm between Nat and the world. That, on every level, he is a stranger to most human beings.

The barista, a slim, pale young man with brown hair, looked over and asked what he could get us. Nat said, “Chaw-chih coogie,” and I got ready to translate, embarrassed for Nat, and for the barista. I was about to step in and help, when in that split second, I don’t know why, I just looked away. I could not do it. After all, Nat had told the guy loud and — well, kind of, clear. I waited.

So the barista simply repeated to Nat, “Chocolate chip cookie?” I glanced at Nat, my mouth still shut.

Maybe he sensed the guy was actually taking him seriously. Maybe he noticed I was holding back. Whatever it was, Nat answered him with a perfect, soft, “Yes.”

And off the guy went. Just like that, like nothing at all had happened. “Oh, you want it warmed up?” he shouted.

“Yes,” Nat said, again.

No one was even looking, no one cared. Why should they? It was just a guy buying a cookie. But to me Nat was like Abraham, stepping forward and saying to God, “Here I am.”

I fished a dollar out of my wallet and stuffed it in the tip jar, my meager offering of thanks. Nat collected his cookie and found us seats at the window. I floated my way over to him, so light, so proud. And hopeful. I hadn’t felt that way with Nat for so long. We sat side by side with too much sun in our eyes, not talking, because everything important had already been said.

Susan Senator of Brookline, Massachusetts, is author of “Autism Adulthood: Strategies and Insights for a Fulfilling Life.” She wrote this for The Washington Post.

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Today’s editorial cartoon Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 0, 26 May 2017 14:19:01 +0000 Maine Compass: Maine’s tourism industry faces a critical shortage of workers Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 As we approach the start of the peak season, Maine faces an issue that is unprecedented in our long history. It has the potential of derailing the industry’s growth this year, and for perhaps much longer into the future. This is not a problem with visitor demand or the traveling public’s desire to come to Maine, which continues to be strong. The issue is the state’s crucial worker shortage and the impact this is having on Maine’s restaurants and lodging establishments.

First, some background: Maine is experiencing a workforce crisis because of a convergence of factors.

• Maine is successfully drawing visitors like never before, and the demand trend shows no immediate signs of stopping.

• The state’s unemployment rate is at a historically low 3 percent, the lowest since records were established in 1976.

• We have the oldest workforce in the nation and we are not producing new permanent employees to replace the retiring ones fast enough.

• The 2017 nationwide cap of 66,000 H2B foreign temporary workers was reached March 13, shutting out many Maine businesses that rely on this program to hire workers during the peak season.

Last week I traveled to the nation’s capital, accompanied by three of our most experienced innkeepers: Jean Ginn Marvin from The Nonantum in Kennebunkport, Connie Russell from The Samoset Resort in Rockport and Bob Smith from Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg. We explained the situation directly to Sen. Susan Collins, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin. Sen. Angus King was at a hearing, but we met with his staff and later spoke with the senator by phone.

Four weeks ago, Congress passed the federal budget, which included a bill called the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act. This legislation was co-sponsored by Collins, King, Poliquin and Pingree, and many other senators and representatives signed on. It would effectively double the foreign worker cap, which would more than meet our needs in Maine.

But unfortunately, the celebration was short-lived, because even though the Department of Homeland Security now has the authority, the agency has yet to act on the thousands of Maine H2B visa requests backlogged in the pipeline.

Maine’s congressional members now fully understand the urgency for the federal government to act. Poliquin is personally calling his contacts at the Department of Homeland Security. He said he will not give up until it’s done. Pingree, who owns an inn on North Haven, understands the problem well and is doing what she can to influence other representatives. Following our meeting, Collins’ and King’s staffs met jointly with the Department of Labor. The Labor Department indicated that Secretary Alexander Acosta would be calling Homeland Secretary John Kelly about the urgent need to restart the H2B review process.

I am hopeful that all these efforts are going to be successful, and soon, because every day pushes the start date for H2B workers later into the season.

Maine’s hospitality industry has achieved back-to-back record years, and we are off to a good start in 2017. However, our fear is that this single issue has the potential to stop that growth in its tracks.

Daily we are learning of restaurants delaying their openings, or in some cases closing, because of a lack of cooks or servers. Historic inns like the Pentagoet in Castine and the Beachmere in Ogunquit are lacking housekeepers and chefs, and are not able to open all their rooms or dining areas. Entire communities like Bar Harbor are missing hundreds of needed workers, equally affecting large and small businesses there.

Ultimately, Congress needs to pass permanent H2B legislation so that this confusing, complex situation does not recur each year. But we also need to create our own home-grown workforce. Both the Maine Restaurant Association and the Maine Innkeepers Association are working closely with the state’s high schools, community colleges and the University of Maine System to establish stronger educational and employment programs that specifically support our seasonal and year round needs.

We are also focusing on less traditional worker sources, such as new Americans (immigrants), older Americans (presently retired) and gig workers (part timers). Our future employment issues will require multi-faceted solutions, and challenge leaders in business, education and government to come up with new ways of thinking.

Maine’s hospitality sector is one of the state’s strongest economic engines. We cannot allow a lack of available workers to be the cause of its decline.

Steve Hewins is president and CEO of the Maine Innkeepers Association in Augusta.

]]> 0, ME - MARCH 17: Tirsha Lizotte, a room attendant at the Meadowmere Resort in Ogunquit, wheels her cleaning cart down a second floor hallway Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Establishments like the Meadowmere hire many foreign workers in positions like Trisha's over the course of the summer on what are called H2B visas but there is currently a hold up on the issuance of these, causing a potential shortage in workforce for inns and hotels. (Photo by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer)Fri, 26 May 2017 15:29:04 +0000
Benefit dance, silent auction planned for June 2 Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 WINSLOW — A benefit dance ,featuring The Fossils and silent auction, will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, June 2, at Winslow Veterans of Foreign Wars on Veteran Drive.

Cost is $10. Tickets will not be available at door, but donations will be accepted.

Proceeds will benefit Brenda Gurney White, who lost her home to fire.

Tickets are available at The Olde Mill Place, 934 Main St., North Vassalboro, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; Prime Cut Salon, 33 Concourse E, Suite 4, Waterville; or by mail — Alphonsine Allen-Laney, P.O. Box 375, Manchester, ME 04351.

For more information, call Sue Cobb at 509-0620 or email

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St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church raffle set Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Men’s Club in Winthrop will hold its annual kayak raffle from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 3-4 and June 10-11, at Longfellow’s Greenhouses in Manchester.

First prize is an Old Town 111 kayak and second prize is a $100 gift certificate to Longfellow’s. Benefits from the raffle will support the club’s outreach program which includes the Winthrop and Mt. Vernon food banks, Good Shepherd Food Bank and school scholarships.

Tickets cost $2 each or $5 for three. For more information, call 685-7292.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 May 2017 07:04:52 +0000
Free boating education course offered in Smithfield Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 SMITHFIELD — A free boating education course will be offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at Fairview Grange.

The North Pond Association and Fairview Grange 342 will offer the Maine Department of Fish and Wildlife course. This is an interactive course with MDIF & W instructor Craig Gerry who gives examples of his own experiences and other accounts of boating incidents.

Participants are asked to share knowledge as well. Lunch is included or participants can bring their own. This is the only site in Somerset and Kennebec counties this course will be offered.

For more information or to register, call 362-1009.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 May 2017 04:00:00 +0000
Hall-Dale Empty Bowls event set for June 1 Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 The second annual Hall-Dale High School Empty Bowls Supper and K-12 Visual Arts Show is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Thursday, June 1, at the high school. The supper will be held in the cafeteria, with artwork set up in the hallway, gymnasium and cafeteria.

Proceeds will benefit the Hall-Dale middle and high schools’ in-house food pantry.

This year the supper will coincide with a K-12 art show showcasing creativity from Hall-Dale students. High school art students have made and donated clay bowls for the event.

The in-house pantry provides snacks throughout the day for students who would normally go without, and provides weekend and vacation meal bags for those in need.

Bowls donated by students will cost $10. Bowls donated by local artisans will cost $20.

For more information, email Kimberly Sellers at

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Andrew McLaughlin wins Coastal 200 Mon, 29 May 2017 00:05:50 +0000 WISCASSET — Andrew McLaughlin tows his race car nearly three hours each way to compete in Wiscasset Speedway’s weekly Late Model division. On Sunday afternoon, the driver from Washington County drove like he was in a hurry to get back home.

McLaughlin, of Harrington, led more than 180 laps from the pole en route to winning the Coastal 200 for the first time in his career after back-to-back podium finishes in the event. He took the lead for the final time with 48 laps remaining and was pulling away from the rest of the field all the way to the checkered flag — leaving runner-up Ben Ashline nearly three and a half seconds behind.

“I’ve won a bunch of Saturday night features and I’ve come really close in a lot of big races,” McLaughlin said. “It’s been a goal of mine to win this race. This is the highlight of my racing career, right here. I couldn’t be prouder.”

Ashline, of Fairfield, making his first Late Model start since 2014, rallied from a late spin to finish second. Wiscasset’s Nick Hinkley finished third, while Joey Doyon of Winterport finished fourth for the second consecutive year and Mike Hopkins of Hermon rounded out the top five. McLaughlin earned $5,100 for the win, including lap-leader bonuses and another bonus for leading at the halfway mark.

It was as thorough a performance as you could find, including his pass of Hinkley on lap 153, when he went to the outside and motored off to the lead just 19 laps after pitting with the leaders on lap 133 for fresh right side tires.

“I knew in the long run that I was going to have a really good car,” McLaughlin said. “I could tell with like 50 laps to go, after I put the new tires on, that they were in trouble.”

For most casual observers, it was clear that the field was in trouble long before the final pit stops of the race. McLaughlin led all but one of the first 133 circuits and — once a rash of early caution flags wiped out a bunch of potential challengers — had lapped all but eight cars by lap 100.

As early contenders like defending Coastal 200 winner Chris Thorne, Jeff Burgess and Shane Clark — who three times charged from the rear of the field into the top five in the first quarter of the race — all succumbed to various mechanical ailments, Hinkley offered the most promising challenge to McLaughlin. Hinkley got to the lead on lap 139, but McLaughlin beat the local favorite at his own game, turning the tables and making the pass for the lead on the outside, a move typically favored by Hinkley himself.

All Hinkley could do at that point was tip his cap to McLaughlin.

“Honestly, all you can do is just ride and make sure you’re in a good situation if something were to happen,” Hinkley said. “When you have somebody like that that’s dominating, all you can do is put yourself in a great spot in case something were to happen to his car.”

Ashline found himself in the lead just five laps before Hinkley grabbed it from him, having until that point run a patient race as he waited for his pit stop. Pitting out of second position, Ashline won the race off pit road but spun out while leading when exiting turn four on lap 138.

“I was trying,” Ashline said. “Everything played out really good. I was just riding and conserving and running my own race, and my crew nailed the pit stop. I realized something went wrong, but it was too late. Usually, I have a good feel for things that way — but the left rear tire was flat. That’s not good.”

Still, for a driver who was back on track after a several-year absence, it was a successful day for Ashline.

“I can be nothing but happy about the run,” Ashline said. “It’s just that the competitor in me wants more.”

Only McLaughlin, whose final margin of victory was 3.335 seconds, was left with little else to want. All those long, late-night drives to and from the speedway over the past few seasons have been more than worth it.

His quickest trip of the day was the drive into victory lane.

“When traffic’s good, I can do it in two hours and 40 minutes — but that’s at midnight on the way home,” McLaughlin said said of his unusally long roundtrip for races at Wiscasset. “There’s so much energy here, it’s crazy. For me to be able to come race here weekly, there’s nothing I would rather do. The competition here, the respect in the pit area, the people I’m racing with — as a racer, you can’t ask for anything more.”

Reigning track champion Zach Audet of Skowhegan led every lap en route to his second 25-lap Outlaw Mini Stock feature win of the season earlier in the day. Audet, who also won his heat race to begin the afternoon, held off Tim Collins of Farmingdale and Brent Roy of Vassalboro for the victory.

Jonathan Emerson of Durham won the 25-lap Strictly Street feature over Kurt Hewins of Leeds, and Mark Lucas of Harpswell claimed the checkered flag in the 30-lap Modified event.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

]]> 0 photo by Travis Barrett Andrew McLaughlin of Harrington celebrates his win in the Coastal 200 on Sunday at Wiscasset Speedway.Sun, 28 May 2017 20:05:50 +0000
Norridgewock TIF committee continues eying downtown improvements Sun, 28 May 2017 22:53:01 +0000 NORRIDGEWOCK — The town’s tax increment financing advisory committee continues to explore ways to utilize TIF money to have a positive impact on the community.

The town has already issued a request for proposals for the redevelopment of the old fire station on Main Street, and Town Manager Richard LaBelle said the committee has now begun to talk about “gateway signage,” which he said is something the town should have but doesn’t at this point. He said it would be good aesthetically, but would also contribute to town pride. He said there had been some discussion at the committee level about a digital sign in town that could serve as a way to advertise the town to shoppers, but he said the committee wasn’t warm to the idea. He said the sentiment of the committee was a digital sign wouldn’t fit the aesthetic of the town and would have been too flashy.

Norridgewock’s TIF district, which allows municipalities to capture revenue for various municipal development projects from the tax value of improvements, is centered around the Summit Natural Gas pipeline. The committee has mainly been focusing on the downtown area around U.S. Route 2 and Route 39 for the TIF.

LaBelle said the committee had discussed the possibility of walking trails and paths to better connect the community, but that would require access over railroad tracks, so at this point it remains uncertain. LaBelle also said there have been talks of improving the boat landing on the Kennebec River. He said there have been struggles with keeping up with maintenance on the landing, and TIF money along with possible grants would allow for an overhaul of the landing.

“The hope is to make it a more attractive driver for folks to come into the community,” he said.

The committee is eying a vacant lot in the downtown area that was donated by a resident to the town. LaBelle said converting the lot into a green space would provide an attractive feature to draw people downtown. He said it could serve as a central meeting point for people and encourage wellness with stationary exercise equipment. He said a Christmas tree in the park would promote it as a community gathering space.

“The green space is an idea we’re looking at and something we can move on soon,” LaBelle said, calling it a “low cost, high impact” prospect.

LaBelle said the town has not received much feedback since issuing the RFP for the old fire station earlier this month. Voters at this year’s Town Meeting approved allowing the Board of Selectmen to dispose of the property, and the committee has been open to a wide variety of ideas for repurposing it. The fire station has been vacant for over a year, and LaBelle and the committee hope that whatever replaces the fire station helps grow the economy in the downtown area.

Proposals for the purchase and redevelopment project are due no later than 4 p.m. July 21, after which LaBelle will begin reviewing them on July 24.

“We’re hoping as we get closer to the deadline that there’d be an increased interest in the property and what folks could do with it,” LaBelle said.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

Twitter: @colinoellis

]]> 0 Sun, 28 May 2017 18:53:01 +0000
Victims who fought anti-Muslim rant ‘did the right thing’ Sun, 28 May 2017 22:50:35 +0000 Even before their names were released, one word repeatedly came up to describe the men who were killed in a stabbing Friday on a light-rail train in Portland, Oregon: heroes.

They had tried to intervene, police said, after another passenger began “ranting and raving” and shouting anti-Muslim insults at two young women.

That’s when the ranting passenger turned his anger toward those who sought to calm him down. He fatally stabbed two men and seriously injured a third, police said, before fleeing the train on foot.

“Two men lost their lives and another was injured for doing the right thing, standing up for people they didn’t know against hatred,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement Saturday. “Their actions were brave and selfless, and should serve as an example and inspiration to us all. They are heroes.”

Police on Saturday identified the two slain victims as 53-year-old Ricky John Best and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche.

The third victim, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher, is being treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.

“They were all attacked because they did the right thing,” Wheeler said.

Police arrested 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian, of north Portland. Local media reports described Christian as a “known white supremacist” in the area, and his Facebook page showed a long history of posting racist and extremist beliefs.

Christian is being held without bail on two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of intimidation in the second degree and one count of possesion of a restricted weapon as a felon.

The state medical examiner is conducting autopsies on Best and Namkai Meche, according to police.

On Saturday, Namkai Meche’s sister, Vajra Alaya-Maitreya, emailed a statement to The Washington Post, saying her brother lived “a joyous and full life” with an enthusiasm that was infectious.

“We lost him in a senseless act that brought close to home the insidious rift of prejudice and intolerance that is too familiar, too common,” she wrote. “In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed is the way forward.”

Namkai Meche was a 2016 graduate of Reed College in Portland who majored in economics, according to a statement by the college.

The mayor on Saturday identified Best as an Army veteran, a city employee and a father of four. “He was an Army veteran killed on Memorial Day weekend,” Wheeler said at a news conference, his voice breaking.

According to the Associated Press, the FBI and the U.S. attorney for Oregon will work with Portland police on the case. The FBI said it’s too early to say whether the killings qualify as a federal hate crime, but U.S. attorney Billy Williams said Saturday, “There’s a day of reckoning coming, a day of accountability,” the AP reported.

Christian’s mother told the Huffington Post that she couldn’t imagine why her son would be involved in such an incident, “unless he was on drugs or something.”

“He’s been in prison. He’s always been spouting anti-establishment stuff,” Mary Christian told the news site Saturday. “But he’s a nice person. I just can’t imagine.”

]]> 0 Sun, 28 May 2017 18:58:08 +0000
Repair of Maranacook Lake dam postponed after construction bids come in higher than expected Sun, 28 May 2017 22:35:21 +0000 Officials in Winthrop and Readfield were hoping to rebuild the dam at the outlet of Maranacook Lake this summer, a project that would allow the lake’s managers to control its water level better, and that a consulting firm estimated would cost $237,000.

But the construction bids for the project came in higher than expected, so it could be at least another year before the towns can go forward with it, said Wendy Dennis, chairwoman of a committee that’s focused on the dam.

Winthrop, in particular, is facing a difficult financial situation, Dennis said. To recover from a large deficit, officials there are delaying many capital improvements and considering borrowing $2 million.

Both of the bids for the dam repair were between $400,000 and $500,000. They came in high, Dennis said, partly because the contractors thought the project would take longer and require more labor than had been expected. It’s also a busy year for the construction industry, which can lead to higher project costs.

But Dennis also said those bids, even though they were higher than expected, were still relatively low for an infrastructure project that’s expected to last decades. She referred to a project on the Cobbossee Lake dam seven years ago, which cost more than $300,000 and replaced six gates.

“The bid price is not unreasonable,” said Dennis, who works as a lake scientist for the Cobbossee Watershed District. “It’s just more than what the towns are able to pay right now.”

The dam is at the outlet of Maranacook Lake, near the Winthrop Town Beach. The lake stretches from Winthrop to Readfield, and taxpayers from both towns must cover the bill for any repairs and renovations.

The construction project has been in the works since 2013. It would repair parts of the dam that have deteriorated while also improving its ability to release lake water quickly into the outlet stream. While the dam committee would prefer to stick with its original plan, it’s considering lower-cost repairs that could be made in the meantime, Dennis said.

Now that the larger repair is on hold, the committee also is considering a smaller project that would restore some of the land around the dam, which has been eroding.

Both towns already have raised some of the money for the dam repair. Based on how much lake frontage is in each town — 10.2 miles in Winthrop, 11.6 miles in Readfield — Winthrop would pay for about 47 percent of the proposed work and Readfield would pay for about 53 percent, Dennis has said.

In 2006, Winthrop and Readfield became co-owners of the dam after its former owner, Carleton Woolen Mills, had gone bankrupt a few years earlier. The dam was built in its current form in 1995, but it has deteriorated in the last 20 years and has proved itself incapable of letting water out of the lake fast enough to blunt the effects of flooding, Dennis said.

In the spring, Dennis said, lake levels can rise up to 2 feet, sending water onto lawns, causing erosion and damaging property such as docks.

The current dam lets water out through a gate that’s 5 feet wide, according to Dennis. The proposed modification would expand that width to 20 feet. The new gate also would be deeper than the current one, making it easier for the dam’s operators — currently the Winthrop Public Works Department — to release water ahead of rainstorms or spring melting.

“In between storms, it will also allow us to adjust lake levels to whatever is beneficial for that time of year,” Dennis said in February. “For summer, we could make it high enough for boating but not high enough that the waves create erosion. Some residents want more beachfront, but right now we can’t alter levels to reach those objectives.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

Twitter: @ceichacker

]]> 0 Heiss talks in February about construction plans at the Maranacook Lake dam in Winthrop.Sun, 28 May 2017 18:35:21 +0000
British police arrest 2 more in Manchester bombing Sun, 28 May 2017 22:34:09 +0000 LONDON — British police made two more arrests and stormed three more locations Sunday as they hunted for suspects in the Manchester bombing, while a government minister said members of attacker Salman Abedi’s network may still be at large.

Greater Manchester Police said two men – one 25 years old and the other 19 – were arrested in the city on suspicion of terrorist offenses. Eleven other men between the ages of 18 and 44 also were in custody.

Most of the searches and arrests since Monday night’s bombing have been in multi-ethnic south Manchester, where Abedi – the son of Libyan parents – was born and raised.

Police say that 1,000 people are working on the investigation, trying to track down Abedi’s accomplices and piece together his movements in the days before he detonated a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert. The explosion killed 22 people – including seven children under 18 – and injured more than 100.

Abedi died in the blast. Investigators say they have dismantled a large part of his network, but expect to make more arrests.

“The operation is still at full tilt,” Home Secretary Amber Rudd said, adding that some suspects could remain at large.

“Until the operation is complete, we can’t be entirely sure that it is closed,” she said.

British police now have 13 suspects in custody – including Abedi’s elder brother Ismail – and have searched properties across Manchester, a city in northwest England. Another brother and Abedi’s father have been detained in Libya.

Police have released surveillance-camera images of Abedi on the night of the attack that show him dressed in sneakers, jeans, a dark jacket and a baseball cap. The straps of a backpack are visible on his shoulders.

Authorities are appealing for more information about his final days. They say he returned to Britain from Libya on May 18, and likely completed assembling his bomb at a rented apartment in central Manchester.

There were prayers for the victims at church services across Manchester on Sunday. In Rome, Pope Francis led thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square in prayer, saying he was “close to the relatives and all those who are weeping for the dead.”

]]> 0 of the British Muslim Forum with religious leaders from Christian and Jewish faiths pay their respects to victims of last week's bombing, at St Ann's Square in Manchester, England on Sunday.Sun, 28 May 2017 18:53:12 +0000
Mississippi shooting rampage leaves 8 dead Sun, 28 May 2017 22:21:25 +0000 BROOKHAVEN, Miss. – A man who got into an argument with his estranged wife over their children was arrested in a house-to-house shooting rampage in rural Mississippi that left eight people dead, including his mother-in-law and a sheriff’s deputy.

“I ain’t fit to live, not after what I done,” a handcuffed Willie Corey Godbolt, 35, told The Clarion-Ledger.

The gunfire erupted Saturday night at a home in Bogue Chitto after the deputy arrived in response to a domestic disturbance call, and spread to two houses in nearby Brookhaven, about 70 miles south of Jackson.

The dead included two boys, investigators said. Godbolt was hospitalized in good condition with a gunshot wound, though it wasn’t clear who shot him.

No immediate charges were filed, and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said it was too soon to say what the motive was. Authorities gave no details on the relationship between Godbolt and the victims.

However, a witness and Godbolt himself shed some light on what happened, with Godbolt giving an interview to the newspaper as he sat with his hands cuffed behind his back on the side of a road.

Godbolt said he was talking with his wife and in-laws when somebody called authorities.

“I was having a conversation with her stepdaddy and her mama and her, my wife, about me taking my children home,” he said. “Somebody called the officer, people that didn’t even live at the house. That’s what they do. They intervene.”

“They cost him his life,” he said, apparently referring to the deputy. “I’m sorry.”

The stepfather-in-law, Vincent Mitchell, told The Associated Press that Godbolt’s wife and their two children had been staying at his Bogue Chitto home for about three weeks after she left her husband.

After the sheriff’s deputy arrived at the house, Godbolt looked as if he was about to leave, then reached into his back pocket, pulled a gun and opened fire, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he escaped along with Godbolt’s wife. But he said three family members were killed in his home: his wife, her sister and one of the wife’s daughters.

“I’m devastated. It don’t seem like it’s real,” Mitchell said.

The slain deputy was identified as William Durr, 36.

After fleeing his in-laws’ house, Godbolt killed four more people at two other homes, authorities said. At least seven hours elapsed between the first shootings and Godbolt’s arrest near the third and final crime scene, Strain said.

Godbolt said he did not intend for police to capture him alive.

“My intentions was to have God kill me. I ran out of bullets,” he said. “Suicide by cop was my intention.”

]]> 0 undated photo provided by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation shows suspect Willie Corey Godbolt in connection with several fatal shootings Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Lincoln County, Miss., officials said. (Mississippi Bureau of Investigation via AP)Sun, 28 May 2017 19:00:56 +0000
Kennebec Journal May 28 police log Sun, 28 May 2017 22:20:20 +0000 AUGUSTA

Saturday at 7:53 a.m., a stolen motor vehicle was recovered on Bangor Street.

7:59 a.m., needles were reported found on Edison Drive.

8:46 a.m., fraud was reported on Parkwood Drive.

8:56 a.m., a past burglary was reported on Fuller Road.

9:08 a.m., criminal mischief was reported on Water Street.

9:32 a.m., disorderly conduct was reported on Water Street.

10:01 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Court Street.

10:18 a.m., disorderly conduct was reported on Northern Avenue.

12:51 p.m., a 39-year-old Augusta woman was summoned on a charge of operating after license suspension following an accident, in which no injuries were reported, at the intersection of Western Avenue and Crossing Way.

2:19 p.m., disorderly conduct was reported on Middle Street.

2:44 p.m., disorderly conduct was reported on Washington Street.

3:35 p.m., a 27-year-old Augusta man was summoned on charges of theft, violation of a condition of release, and burglary on Washington Street.

4:33 p.m., theft was reported on Swan Street.

9:09 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Page Street.

10:01 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Northern Avenue.

10:50 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Middle Street.

11:40 p.m., a domestic disturbance was reported on Bond Street.

Sunday at 12:50 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Cedar Street.

6:37 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Middle Street.



Sunday at 12:16 a.m., Tyler Wayne Robinson, 28, of Augusta, was arrested on charges of unlawful possession of a scheduled drug, and violation of probation, on Water Street.

]]> 0 Sun, 28 May 2017 18:20:20 +0000
Thefts of oxygen bottles threaten safety of Mount Everest climbers Sun, 28 May 2017 22:14:52 +0000 Tragedy and a troubling mystery have enveloped Mount Everest as the mountain’s climbing season reaches its peak. The bodies of three Indian climbers were retrieved Sunday amid reports that climbers were being jeopardized by the disappearance of oxygen bottles. The two situations have not been linked at this time.

The bodies of Ravi Kumar, who died last weekend, and Paresh Chandra Nath and Gautam Ghosh, who died last year on the mountain, were brought down after being recovered by Sherpa guides near the summit. They were taken by a helicopter from a camp at a lower elevation to Kathmandu for autopsy.

The window for reaching the summit closes as May ends and conditions deteriorate. With the possibility of a successful climb becoming slimmer, there are reports that oxygen is disappearing.

“It is becoming a serious issue up there,” mountain guide Nima Tenji Sherpa told the BBC on Friday.

“I kept on hearing from expedition groups that their oxygen bottles had disappeared and that could be life-threatening – particularly when they have used up what they are carrying on their way up and they are still not on the summit yet, or they plan to use the stocked bottles on their way back,” added Tenji Sherpa, who had just returned from Everest.

While it’s possible to summit Everest without oxygen, it’s not recommended for most climbers because of the mountain’s extreme elevation. Soaring some 5.5 miles above sea level, Everest’s air at its peak can’t sustain life for more than a few hours. Without extensive training, lack of oxygen can bring on serious frostbite, as well as a condition called hypoxia that affects the brain, causing headaches, hallucinations and eventually death.

The first group of climbers summited the mountain on May 15 and it didn’t take long for reports of the suspected thefts to come in.

This isn’t the first year climbers have seen their oxygen go missing. The problem has become so commonplace this year that the Nepal National Mountain Guides Association called it “a trend.”

]]> 0 Sun, 28 May 2017 18:17:34 +0000
Oakland fire chief secures second largest grant in department’s history Sun, 28 May 2017 22:10:27 +0000 OAKLAND — The six-figure grant for the fire department announced Friday is the second largest the department has ever won.

The $130,096 will buy replacements for 13-year-old breathing equipment that is essential to a firefighter’s safety, said fire Chief David Coughlin.

He worked with firefighter Mark Stevens to apply for this year’s grant, which is highly competitive because it’s available to all fire departments nationwide, he said.

“We have somewhere close to 80 hours invested in the paperwork and the research and being able to put a successful project together,” Coughlin said. “It definitely is a time-consuming effort.”

During his time with the Oakland Fire Department, Coughlin has won nearly a million dollars worth of grants and donations.

In 2004, Coughlin worked with then-Chief Charles Pullen to win the largest grant so far for the department: $400,000 for a new ladder truck. As a firefighter, Coughlin helped the chief win a total of $517,995 in grant money.

Since becoming fire chief a decade ago, Coughlin has won $413,530 in grant money and more than $60,000 worth of donated equipment for the department from organizations like the Maine Municipal Association, Maine Emergency Management and Maine EMS, as well as private foundations.

The grants have gotten the department fire hoses, extrication equipment, gas meters and training classes, among other things, Coughlin said.

The most recent grant is from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

The assistance program was created to give funding to fire departments and emergency service organizations so they can buy equipment, protective gear, vehicles and training.

The federal grant, which required $6,504 in matching local funds, will buy 20 new self-contained breathing apparatuses. The equipment is eligible for a replacement through a grant after a decade, Coughlin said.

The breathing equipment provides a fresh, breathable air supply to firefighters when they enter a dangerous atmosphere, like a burning building, Coughlin said.

“Of all the protective equipment firefighters wear when entering an atmosphere immediately dangerous to life and health … a (self-contained breathing apparatus) is the most important,” he said.

The equipment is broken into parts, including an airpack that costs $4,500, a face piece that costs $275, and air bottles that cost $925. One full unit costs $5,700.

The grant was first announced in a press release Friday from the office of U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District.

“When our firefighters across Maine rush to the scene of an emergency, they must have the tools and resources they need to get the job done and to protect their own safety,” Poliquin said in the release.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

Twitter: @madelinestamour

]]> 0 firefighter Randy Marshall stands wearing the current breathing apparatus that will soon be replaced in Oakland on Saturday.Sun, 28 May 2017 18:10:27 +0000
American Legion in Skowhegan talks about recruitment struggles before Memorial Day Sun, 28 May 2017 21:48:31 +0000 On Memorial Day, members of the American Legion Post 16 will be marching in the parade through Skowhegan in honor of those in the armed forces who have died while serving the United States.

While many take the various veterans’ organizations across the nation for granted, those in the groups know that recruitment has become the largest challenge they face.

“I have a sales pitch I give the younger veterans,” said Steven Spaulding, commander of Post 16, while sitting in the legion’s hall on Waterville Road in Skowhegan. “If you can afford the dues, $35 a year, when you get to be our age, it will still be here.”

He might make that sales pitch after the parade, when the legion hosts a gathering with food and drinks. Sometimes a veteran who isn’t a member will show up, and they’ll sign up on the spot, he said.

“It’s a touchy thing, so I think it does spark a little interest,” he said about the parade and the ceremony.

Spaulding, 63, argues that as the veterans get older, they’ll be looking for the comradery that the legion provides.

“When they get to be 50s and above, they’re gonna be looking for this, guaranteed,” he said.

The legion, which meets the first Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m., focuses on providing community service and veteran support in the area.

The only necessary qualification is an honorable discharge, Spaulding said, and members don’t have to live in Skowhegan to join that post.

The organization works to support children’s activities and seniors in the area, as well as veterans, through both donations and volunteer work, Spaulding said.

Bob Mercer, the adjutant for the post, said they provide some funds for Lake George and the Maine Blind Camp.

The Legion also provides an event hall that’s free for other organizations in the area to use.

Right now, the post has about 110 members, down from about 150 or more a decade ago. While the total number is going down, the group still has a decent percentage that show up for meetings. Sometimes as many as 30 people attend a meeting, and the average is about 20, according to Spaulding.

“When I was a state officer, I went to a few meetings where there was one or two people,” he said.

When Spaulding became commander of the post, though, he had a goal of getting 200 members. They reached over 150 at one point, but the numbers started heading downward after a while.

“There are still so many veterans who don’t belong to any organizations in our community,” he said.

While neither Spaulding or Mercer said they had a definitive answer as to why the numbers are declining, what they hear the most from young veterans is that they’re too busy to join the organization. Spaulding said it doesn’t take that much time, and even if they can’t attend all of the meetings, if they can make the yearly dues, it will help the post survive for a day when they’re not as busy and looking to be a part of something.

Another reason may be the typical Mainer mentality.

“They aren’t joiners,” Mercer said. “That’s the Maine way, you know?”

They’re still optimistic that the members will come, though.

“You have to wait for people to reach a certain age,” Spaulding said, and Mercer added they’re hoping veterans from the Iraq War will soon become interested. “We have to wait it out. We’re not gonna quit … Everybody’s in the same boat.”

Spaulding said no to joining the legion at first, too, he said.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps toward the end of the Vietnam War, he said, and served on the Navy ship USS Guadalcanal. When the war was over, Spaulding said a lot of Vietnam veterans weren’t eagerly welcomed into groups like the legion and especially the local Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, and both suffered from that.

“The guys from World War II felt that they were more seasoned,” said Mercer, 78, who was in the U.S. Navy between the Korean War and the Vietnam War and as a result never saw combat.

But not all of the Post 16 members felt that way. One, Royce Knowles, who has since died, cornered Spaulding in a hardware store and handed him a piece of paper.

“He said, ‘Here, sign this,’ so I said OK and signed it. He says, ‘Congrats, you’re a member of the American Legion now,'” Spaulding said.

Mercer uses Knowles’ strategy for recruiting new members, and contacts people one-on-one, he said.

“(Knowles) was one of those quiet, soft-spoken (people), but when he talked to you, you got the message,” Mercer said, adding that if they ever renamed the legion, it would be after Knowles.

It was still hard for a new member to get his ideas heard, and Spaulding remembers that. He thought the legion’s building should get new doors and windows, but had to wait until he became a commander to even get the group to vote on the idea.

Post 16 now is open to new ideas from younger veterans, especially if they think it will help draw in more members.

“Things change with time, so let the new ones bring in new ideas,” Spaulding said. “(…) They could teach us how to use a smartphone.”

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

Twitter: @madelinestamour

]]> 0 Legion Post 16 Commander Steven Spaulding, left, and Adjutant Bob Mercer speak about the need to recruit new members at the Legion hall in Skowhegan on Sunday.Mon, 29 May 2017 16:00:42 +0000
Morning Sentinel May 28 police log Sun, 28 May 2017 21:24:18 +0000 IN BENTON, Saturday at 8:59 p.m., suspicious activity was reported at Asher Farms Mobile Home Park.

IN CANAAN, Saturday at 7:40 p.m., an assault was reported on Salisbury Road.

IN CHESTERVILLE, Saturday at 7:37 a.m., trees were reported down on Pope Road.

IN CLINTON, Saturday at 10:34 a.m., a disturbance was reported on Canaan Road.

10:50 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Morrison Avenue.

IN FAIRFIELD, Saturday at 2:26 p.m., vandalism was reported on Maple Street.

IN FARMINGTON, Saturday at 11:16 a.m., a disturbance was reported on North Street.

11:54 a.m., a hazmat incident was reported on Wilton Road.

2:24 p.m., theft was reported on Wilton Road.

7:39 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Broadway.

7:39 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Moore Avenue.

10:22 p.m., juvenile offenses were reported on Whittier Road.

Sunday at 9:33 a.m., trespassing was reported on Voter Hill Road.

10:11 a.m., harassment was reported on Bridge Street.

IN JAY, Saturday at 12:43 p.m., theft was reported on Main Street.

6:53 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Marcello Street.

7:25 p.m., harassment was reported on Bucklin Drive.

IN NEW PORTLAND, Saturday at 11:38 a.m., theft was reported on Gilman Pond Road.

IN NEW SHARON, Saturday at 2:37 p.m., criminal mischief was reported on Cape Cod Hill Road.

IN OAKLAND, Saturday at 11:47 a.m., a protection order violation was reported on Sawtelle Road.

IN PITTSFIELD, Saturday at 11:24 a.m., mischief was reported on Livingston Street.

9:09 p.m., theft was reported on Hartland Avenue.

IN RANGELEY, Saturday at 11:51 a.m., a hazmat incident was reported on Main Street.

IN SKOWHEGAN, Saturday at 11:24 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Alder Street.

11:26 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Turner Avenue.

11:51 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Sesame Street.

3:40 p.m., theft was reported on Spring Street.

10:12 p.m., an assault was reported on McClellan Street.

Sunday at 12:36 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Madison Avenue.

3:23 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Canaan Road.

7:26 a.m., mischief was reported on Madison Avenue.

IN SOLON, Saturday at 7:12 p.m., an assault was reported on North Main Street.

IN WATERVILLE, Saturday at 8:39 a.m., harassment was reported on Oak Street.

9:35 a.m., a domestic dispute was reported on College Avenue.

9:54 a.m., a report of a disturbance led to an arrest on College Avenue.

11:22 a.m., theft was reported at Advance Auto Parts on Main Street.

3:01 p.m., shoplifting was reported at Wal-Mart in Waterville Commons.

4:28 p.m., shoplifting was reported at Wal-Mart in Waterville Commons.

4:29 p.m., theft was reported at Sally Beauty Supply in Waterville Commons.

5:08 p.m., juvenile offenses were reported at Head of Falls on Front Street.

9:24 p.m., a burglary was reported on Main Street.

9:44 p.m., a domestic dispute was reported on King Court.

10:17 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on High Street.

10:38 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Hathaway Street.

Sunday at 1:27 a.m., a fight call was taken on Main Street.

2:21 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on High Street.

2:33 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Johnson Heights.

IN WILTON, Saturday at 2:57 p.m., a domestic disturbance was reported on Main Street.

Sunday at 10:13 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on U.S. Route 2 East.

IN WINSLOW, Saturday at 5:15 p.m., juvenile offenses were reported at Norton Park on Joe Avenue.

9:38 p.m., an assault was reported on Hallowell Street.

11:46 p.m., an unwanted person was reported at Cumberland Farms on China Road.


IN FRANKLIN COUNTY, Saturday, Robert Warnock, 55, of Strong, was arrested on probation hold.

Jesse Anderson, 25, of Farmington, was arrested on probation hold.

Ramsey Wellington, 26, of New Sharon, was arrested on a charge of operating a vehicle under the influence.

Michael Michaud, 30, of Chesterville, was arrested on probation hold.

Christopher Siddall, 47, of Vienna, was arrested on a charge of operating a vehicle under the influence.

Sunday, Hope Schultz, 29, of Jay, was arrested on a charge of operating a vehicle under the influence.

Joshua Osborne, 36, of Farmington, was arrested on a charge of operating a vehicle after a suspension, as well as a warrant for failure to appear.

IN SOMERSET COUNTY, Saturday at 6:29 p.m., Zachary Allen Harrington, 32, of Madison, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear.

8:04 p.m., David Harley Recore, 22, of Skowhegan, was arrested on a warrant for unpaid fines.

9:18 p.m., David Lee Libby, 46, of Canaan, was arrested on a charge of failure to sign a summons and complaint after being ordered to do so.

Sunday at 2:14 a.m., Jared Adam Snell, 37, of Madison, was arrested on a charge of operating a vehicle under the influence.

8:08 a.m., Keith Allen Bolduc, 58, of Waterville, was arrested on charge of operating a vehicle under the influence.

IN WATERVILLE, Saturday at 10:30 a.m., Allan T. J. Nunnally, 29, of Waterville, was arrested on a charge of domestic violence assault.

6:05 p.m., Miriah Jo Casey, 21, of New Portland, was arrested on charges of domestic violence assault and obstructing the report of a crime.

10:05 p.m., Danilo Guthro, of Waterville, was arrested on a charge of violating conditions of release.

Sunday at 1:45 a.m., Catherine Josefa Gross, 28, of South China, was arrested on a charge of operating a vehicle under the influence.


IN WATERVILLE, Saturday at 3:01 p.m., Jennifer A. Eldredge, 43, of Fairfield, was summoned on a charge of shoplifting.

4:28 p.m., Brandon Dyer, 20, of Dover-Foxcroft, and a 14-year-old were both summoned on charges of theft.

IN WINSLOW, Saturday at 9:38 p.m., Diane B. Cornforth, 56, of Waterville, was summoned on a charge of assault.

]]> 0 Sun, 28 May 2017 17:24:18 +0000
Climate changes across Maine likely to bring more severe weather Sun, 28 May 2017 20:57:10 +0000 AUGUSTA — On April 2, 1987, Rick Fontaine was hanging above the Kennebec River in North Sidney.

Fontaine and a co-worker at the U.S. Geological Survey were attempting to capture the river’s peak flow with a rig that consisted of a heavy cable, a reel, a current meter and 200 pounds in weights mounted on an open platform suspended over the river on a cable.

Below them, the Kennebec was swollen with a combination of runoff and snow melt that resulted from heavy rains falling in the last days of March across the nearly 6,000-square-mile watershed in central Maine.

There was also debris.

“We saw two complete houses, intact, floating down the river. Complete houses,” he said. “One of them hit the cable while we were on it. That was pretty scary.”

No one knew it at the time, but by the time the data was compiled and the calculations were completed, the Kennebec River flood of 1987 was the largest measured in Maine’s recorded history, a rare 1,000-year flood. While damages properties and infrastructure were tallied at what would more than $210 million today, no lives were lost during the flood.

Technology advances have made data gathering during floods less risky, and analyzing that data less time-consuming. But with climate conditions changing, experts can’t say when the next great flood will happen, only that it will.

At a broad level, Sean Birkel, Maine’s state climatologist and a research assistant professor at the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, looks at what’s been happening in Maine over time.

“The historical record shows that in the past century, the total amount of precipitation that falls on an annual basis has increased, and more so in the last 15 years,” Birkel said. “And the mode of delivery has changed — we’ve had more extreme rainfall events.”


Forecasting is a risky enterprise.

Even with volumes of data, a precise understanding of what will happen in the future — and not even that far into the future — is not possible.

That’s as true for weather as it is for anything else.

“Forecasts are only good for so long,” Gregory Stewart said. Stewart is the supervisory hydrologist for U.S. Geographical Survey, in the Maine office of the New England Water Science Center, and he’s based in Augusta. “Seven to 10 days is about the maximum.”

The U.S. Geological Survey is the federal agency that collects and crunches data about surface water flow in the United States over time. Because of their nature, rivers change over time, and data has to be verified constantly. With that, the U.S.G.S. determines discharge information for rivers that’s used to develop models to envision what would happen under certain flooding conditions — how high the water would be, what areas would be inundated, and what the impact on bridges, culverts and buildings would be.

It doesn’t issue flood statements or advisories; that’s the job of the National Weather Service, based on data from the U.S.G.S. and other sources.

Even with enormous data sets and sophisticated models, pinning down the date of the next major flood is still out of reach.

“We have done a lot of trend work for climate change, looking at the past to predict the future,” Stewart said. “The variability between years is so noisy, you cannot make predictions.”

After studying vast amounts of data, he said, the scientific community is coming to a consensus that the sea level is rising and at what rate it is rising. But that same level of consensus is not possible to reach about river flows, because not enough consistency exists in the data. Part of the problem, Stewart said, is that so many variables are in play.

“We’re a snow-melt dominated system here,” Stewart said.

Measuring the chance of a flood occurring in any given year depends on factors like how much snow has fallen during the winter, how saturated the soil is, and if rain starts falling, how intensely it falls. Because the U.S.G.S. collects a great amount of data over the course of years, it can create rainfall run-off models and plug in different variables to get an idea what would happen at warmer or colder temperatures, for instance, or with more or less rain falling.

With that, scientists can calculate the annual exceedance probability. It’s a measure of the probability of a flood of a certain magnitude occurring in any given year. Most people know the result of that calculation as a description: 100-year flood, 500-year flood, 1,000-year flood.

That description is problematic because it leads people to believe that a 100-year flood, for instance, happens once every 100 years.

What 100-year flood really means, Stewart said, is that a 1 in 100 chance exists in any year that a flood of that discharge rate could occur.

For a 500-year flood is there is a 1 in 500 chance that a flood of that discharge rate could occur. It’s possible to have floods of that magnitude in successive years or 10 years apart.

Expressing the measure as a 100-year flood was an attempt to simplify it, Stewart said, but it doesn’t always work.

And while the calculation can describe what happened, as it did for the 1987 flood, it can’t say when the next one is going to happen.

Birkel is one of the authors of Maine’s Climate Future — 2015 Update. The document, released in late April by the Climate Change Institute, reflects what’s changed since the original Maine’s Climate Future — An Initial Assessment was released in 2009.

“The climate is in disequilibrium,” he said, and it’s trying to find its balance.

The analogy Birkel uses is water flowing into a bucket with a spigot at the bottom. If water is flowing in and flowing out at the same rate, the amount of water in the bucket is stable. But if more flows in than flows out, the level will rise. If more flows out than flows in, the level will drop.

That’s the case with energy; more energy is flowing into earth’s atmosphere than can flow out, and the climate is warming. During the Ice Age, he said, more flowed out than flowed in.

Changes in weather patterns have been observed over the last 100 years. Because the observation of that last couple of decades are so different from those that came before, Birkel said that’s where his focus is.

“Probably, it’s the new normal,” he said.

Projections of future climate conditions show that Maine will probably be wetter in coming decades and possibly be subject to more intense storms. If conditions line up as they did in 1987, another major flood could happen.

“We’re grappling with uncertainty, and it’s not easy,” he said.

While the picture isn’t very clear, Stewart said progress is being made. Twenty-five years ago, predictions like the annual Atlantic hurricane forecast that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued Thursday weren’t possible.

“The science is getting better,” he said. “In the distant future, we may understand our climate to a greater degree and forecast that out.”

Even with advances in high-performance computing, the capability to consider all the variables and all the conditions that form weather doesn’t exist.

“We can do normal, above normal and below normal, but we can’t do more with some level of accuracy,” he said.

The NOAA forecast predicts that an above-average is most likely this year. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.


To get to the point where scientists can build models and run scenarios as they do now has required the collection of a lot of information over a long period of time.

And the Kennebec River flood of 1987, later calculated to be 1,000-year flood, was a rich opportunity freighted with unforeseen problems.

“The challenge for us was to get out and get measurements,” Fontaine said.

Although floods are serious, they tend to be short-lived. The goal is to measure the peak flow, which may not last long. Creeks and streams will peak first; then the rivers they feed peak in turn.

After the obligatory jokes about it being April 1, the teams dispersed across the state.

“The event was happening in a pretty large area, and we have a pretty small crew,” Fontaine said.

Fontaine and a partner headed out to Dover-Foxcroft, where measurements on the Piscataquis River were traditionally taken from the covered bridge. When they arrived, the bridge was gone. By the time they reached the next possible bridge, water was flowing over its top, and emergency responders had closed it to traffic of any kind. Fontaine and his co-worker were turned away.

They weren’t able to capture those live measurements, so it was a failure for the team, but Fontaine said it was a learning experience.

“It was so out of the realm of our experience. You don’t really think about how you get to your gaging stations,” he said.

The cost of missing the live measurement is spending the time and resources needed to make the calculations after the fact. It’s possible, it’s time consuming and it’s not as accurate.

“I can’t even remember all the sites I went to,” he said. “I remember chasing all around getting to stations.”

By the next day, April 2, the peak flows had subsided in streams and tributaries, and the focus was on the Kennebec. Fontaine and a co-worker were tasked with measuring the flow at the North Sidney gaging station.

That stretch of the Kennebec is below the line of sight on Route 104. Only the tops of the trees on steep banks are visible to passing traffic. Thanks to those steep banks, access to that gaging station wasn’t a problem.

In the technology of the day, researchers used a platform mounted on a cable system strung between towers on the river banks to make flow measurements.

“It’s open to the elements. It’s pretty bare,” Fontaine said. To capture data, they had a rig with a reel, heavy duty cable weighted with 200 pounds to hold the current meter in place. Fontaine said as the meter rotates, it generates an electrical signal. The rotations per measure of time indicate how fast the water is going. These measurements are taken at intervals across a river or stream and plugged into an equation that results in a number that is the river’s discharge.

“The crazy part about how we measured back in those days is that when you are dealing with a big flood like this, there’s a lot of things in the water,” he said. “You can see the floating debris and you can move yourself back and forth on the cable and crank your weight up.”

The hazard comes from the debris you can’t see.

“We were snagged on debris that was not visible to us twice, pretty significantly,” he said.

They were able to make the measurement and capture historic data.

The peak flow at that site was 232,000 square feet per second, an immense volume of water.

After the floodwaters subsided, Fontaine and Joseph Nielson compiled a water supply paper for the agency that described the conditions that lead to the historic flood and the analyses they were able to perform.

The initial draft was published before Fontaine transferred to Hawaii, where he retired from the U.S.G.S. in 2008. In an arrangement with that office, he still contributes part-time and during summers he’s able to do that from Maine, where the Augusta office has provided him with a desk and a computer.

The agency deemed the paper to be noteworthy enough that it was included in the library of water supply papers.

“A lot of the activities like I went through making measurements in North Sidney spurred the need to come with safer ways to do what we do,” he said. “I thank my lucky stars that they have made those advances, but we had what we had.”

Now, those measurements are captured with acoustic Doppler technology mounted on a pontoon boat operated by pulleys.

As it happens, in the months after the flood, the Kennebec was flowing at a very low rate, about 600 cubic feet per second.

Fontaine and another U.S.G.S. employee traveled to North Sidney to take a look around. Fontaine said when the equipment became snagged during that April 2 measurement, they lost two sets to submerged debris before they were done.

Poking around on the exposed banks of the river, they were able to recover one of them.

Fortunately, on the day of the historic measurement, they had three sets.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

]]> 0 April 1987 file photo Sumner "Sam" Webber, left, and John Jacques paddling a canoe on Water Street just past Central Street after the Kennebec River flooded downtown Hallowell.Sun, 28 May 2017 21:58:23 +0000
Murals coming to fill downtown Augusta Sun, 28 May 2017 20:27:32 +0000 AUGUSTA — Downtown Augusta has plenty of historic architecture, but when it comes to public art, it is a relatively blank canvas.

Multiple groups of people, each led by at least one artist, plan to change that this summer, by painting several murals on some of the most highly-visible, if now pretty plain-looking, building walls in the downtown.

What the murals will each feature for artwork is still being finalized. Organizers said they are intentionally avoiding having a common theme running through them, favoring, instead, variety they hope will bring some vibrancy, and visitors, to the downtown, which was named to the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year.

“Study after study has shown arts and culture are a great vehicle for economic development,” said Michael Hall, executive director of the Augusta Downtown Alliance. “If you improve the way your downtown looks, it improves the way people see it. And we need a little bit of vibrancy downtown.”

In 2013 a visiting team of downtown experts was brought to Augusta through the Main Street Maine program and spent three days in the city’s downtown, seeing what was there and, importantly, what wasn’t, and made recommendations for how to help spur economic and community development there.

One of the things lacking downtown, team members told local building and business owners and others at the end of their visit, was some public art. Team member Malcolm Collins, a preservation architect and former director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission said, at the time, he had a “glaring realization for me there really is no public art in downtown Augusta. Which for a capital city, is not good.” He suggested the University of Maine at Augusta would be a good partner to help bring some art downtown.

Which is pretty much just what is happening now, with UMA students and artists, who are based in a downtown building, heavily involved in the new mural project, though with other groups and artists as well.

Peter Precourt, an artist and professor of art at UMA who also oversees the small art gallery Pop-up 265 at 265 Water St. in Augusta, is combining his interest in installing art where it will be easily accessible to the public with his interest in seeing downtown Augusta succeed and his interest in showing students at UMA how to embark on public art projects where they live, in the downtown murals project.

This year Precourt created a new, four-week intensive art class at UMA focused on teaching students the many aspects involved in creating public art, and those students are currently working to select designs for two proposed murals in the city’s downtown, which, in about two weeks, they will start painting, if everything goes as planned.

One is planned for the wall of the building at 179 Water St. overlooking the intersection of Bridge and Water Streets, a tall wall where part of the corrugated metal portion of it will be covered with an approximately 12-by-18-foot mural to be painted by UMA students.

For that mural, they had a general design theme chosen for them, by the Augusta Downtown Alliance and the building owner, Steven Goedeke, that the mural would be similar to a nostalgic postcard welcoming people to the city, with large letters spelling out “Augusta.”

The other UMA piece for the mural project is less certain. Precourt said it would be on about half of the upper wall, and thus visible from around Hartford Fire Station, of the old Odd Fellows Hall, owned by Karen Hatch, at 333-339 Water St. He said the students will come up with potential designs for that mural, with the owner, downtown alliance and others picking the final design to be installed.

However it is not yet clear whether that mural will be painting permanently, or temporarily installed, possibly in wheat paste.

Downtown building owner Tobias Parkhurst, chairman of the Augusta Public Art Committee, a collaboration of the city of Augusta and Augusta Downtown Alliance formed to bring more public art to the city, said it hasn’t yet been decided whether that piece will be temporary or permanent.

He said one issue with permanently painting that wall would be it is brick and, generally, historic preservation guidelines discourage people from painting historic building walls if they weren’t painted before.

Precourt said the idea of his class is students in it will not just learn better painting skills, but also learn the details of how to work on public art projects, including working with building owners, municipal officials and others with a stake in such projects. He sees UMA students as especially good targets for such lessons because, as non-traditional students who usually live in the immediate area, they are likely to remain in and around Augusta after they graduate. So they’ll have an interest in playing a role in creating art that will be seen by the public, where they themselves live and work.

The students will receive college credits for their work. And the downtown will get one, and maybe two, murals installed for only the cost of the materials.

Precourt said the class and involvement in the murals go along with his growing interest in creating art that is accessible to the public.

“I feel like public art is so important, that there is this growing disconnect where people go into a contemporary art space and they feel intimidated, or feel like they won’t get it,” Precourt said. “It’s important to me for art to be in more public spaces, where people can respond to it more like they respond to music. So you don’t have to feel like you need to have this expertise to appreciate it.”

Another mural is planned on the wall of the Riverfront Barbecue building at 300 Water St, overlooking the city’s Market Square Park which underwent extensive improvements last year.

That mural, according to Parkhurst, will be done by Will Sears of the Portland Mural Initiative, who is also art director for Maine-based Oxbow Brewing.

“We want to use the talent available to us here and also reach outside of Augusta’s boundaries to find other talent to bring in,” Parkhurst said. “Will has a lot of experience with murals, and he was willing.”

Parkhurst said Sears is doing that mural “at a drastically reduced rate” for which he will be paid through the Augusta Downtown Alliance with funds raised by the alliance and by the public art committee. Parkhurst said about $10,000 has been raised, privately, and earmarked for the murals project this year.

Finally, another mural is planned for the Kennebec River-facing city-owned retaining wall in a vacant lot between Water and Front Streets, roughly across Water Street from the Downtown Diner.

Members of the current class of the Kennebec Leadership Institute, last weekend, scraped, power-washed, primed and painted the surface of the wall, which is visible from across the river, to prepare it for a mural, according to Alyra Donisvitch, a member of the class and an organizer of efforts to paint a mural there.

Augusta artist Clint Pettengil, a UMA graduate, has created a few different designs for the mural for the city and art committee to choose from, for the wall.

Once a design is selected and approved, Donisvitch said Pettengil will paint the outline of the artwork on the mural wall, but not complete the painting. That, she said, will be done by members of the public, who’ll be invited to paint in the design.

“It’s kind of a paint by numbers concept, minus the numbers,” Donisvitch said.

She said the mural will have a theme of welcoming and community and celebration. She said that idea sprung from conversations with Kennebec Leadership Institute participants that Augusta could benefit from a more welcoming, community feel.

While the painting date hasn’t yet been set, Donisvitch said they’re targeting the end of June and hope to have it done as part of the Whatever Family Festival.

Precourt hopes the murals will spread and become something bigger, perhaps becoming like murals in other cities such as Philadelphia and Cincinnati where numerous murals have been installed and where people walk around the cities to view the murals.

Parkhurst said Augusta has many of the pieces needed to be a world-class city, and public art is one of the pieces that is missing.

“This is part of a larger effort to look like the city we are,” he said. “Augusta has a lot of the pieces already there but if you’re going to be a world-class city you have to look like a world-class city.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

Twitter: @kedwardskj

]]> 0 of Maine at Augusta students Sierra Meservey, left, and Marcea Crawford work on their designs for the Augusta mural project last week in Handley Hall in downtown Augusta.Sun, 28 May 2017 21:59:29 +0000
Class of 2017 graduates from Bates Sun, 28 May 2017 19:21:35 +0000 Bates College awarded diplomas to 458 students on the historic quad of its Lewiston campus Sunday.

It was the college’s 151st commencement.

Geoffrey Canada, an American educator whose work has transformed the lives of thousands of young people, delivered the commencement address and received an honorary degree.

Honorary degrees were also awarded to Sen. Susan Collins, actor and Lewiston native Patrick Dempsey and Wanda M. Corn, an American art historian and member of the class of 1962.

]]> 0, ME - NOVEMBER, 7: Students walk past Hathorn Hall in the Bates College campus in Lewiston where flyers were circulated that some consider an attempt at voter suppression. Monday, November 7, 2016. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)Sun, 28 May 2017 16:31:52 +0000
Fiddlehead picker perfects his art Sun, 28 May 2017 18:46:00 +0000 Shaun Caron won’t brag and say he knows everything there is to know about fiddleheads, but he’s darned close to being an expert, at least in my view.

Caron, 30, is a fourth-generation fiddlehead picker who sells them on the street in Waterville from about the first of May when he starts picking to just after the first of June when the season ends.

“My family’s been doing this since my French ancestors came down from Canada,” he said. “My great-grandmother learned how to blanch them and freeze them. It’s not difficult to learn how to do it. It’s difficult to learn how to perfect the blanching technique. My grandmother lived on the Kennebec River, on Water Street, and all she had to do was go out back, right down to the river, and pick them. That helped the family a lot. They used to pick a lot and can them and blanch and freeze them.”

Caron sat in a folding chair on Main Street Thursday morning, a large plastic tote box next to him full of water and plump green fiddleheads. A card table was set up next to it with a sign advertising $4 a pound. With Caron was 59-year-old Dan Hamilton, a friend who helps Caron and his fiancee, Candace Ferguson, pick fiddleheads.

The picking season has been pretty good this year, though in the Waterville area the fiddleheads weren’t perfect because of the rain and some flooding, according to Caron.

“What happened was, the water took so long to recede, they were really small. That kind of messed up the picking here, so I had to go west and north. My fiancee’s stepmother and father picked over 4,000 pounds this year. They shipped them right out of state to Massachusetts and Connecticut. There, they get $12 to $20 a pound.”

When Caron picks fiddleheads around the Waterville area early in the season, he charges $3 a pound, but then he has to follow the fiddleheads as they grow. When he travels to Unity and Albion to pick, he increases the price to $3.50.

“And when I have to go to Farmington, Wilton and Abbot, I go to $4 a pound. I’ve probably got another week-and-a-half of picking if I continue to go north and west.”

It is backbreaking work but worth it, as Caron averages 1,500 to 2,000 pounds a season and says he can make $100 in three hours.

“It’s tedious trying to find fiddleheads, and bending over, unless you’re in a good spot, like my spots that are hidden in the woods. Trying to find them is the hardest part. You’ve got to have a water source. It can’t be super wet, but it can’t be too dry, and if you can find any that grow in or around sand, they’re super size. The incubation of it is insane. They become monsters.”

But that is a good thing — people love them, he said.

“You want big fiddleheads. I average around a 1 1/2-inch stem. Some people like stem, but some people only like the head of the fiddle. Some people come in and say, ‘I don’t want to pay $4 a pound because there’s too much stem.'”

There are a lot of ways to eat fiddleheads. Some people steam them and sprinkle them with vinegar, salt and pepper; some cook them with garlic; and others use them in salads or as a green vegetable in casseroles, according to Caron, who has his own favorite fiddlehead dish.

“The only way I’ll eat them is cook up some B&M beans, steam the fiddleheads, chop up franks and cook them and then mix everything all together. People who have never had them ask me, ‘What’s the flavor of fiddleheads?’ The only thing I can say is if you’ve ever had spinach, it’s kind of similar but better than spinach, if you ask me.”

Caron is the ultimate fiddlehead entrepreneur. He invented a special wash station to clean them, using electric fans, a grate, water and chicken wire.

“It makes it easier to clean, if you have major poundage of fiddleheads,” he said.

He follows a fiddleheading regimen, which he has perfected over 15 years.

“I like to leave before the sun comes up, get to where I’m going right before dawn, get into the woods, pick till the sun goes down, go home, clean them all and I’ll be out here the next morning, selling. I try to get my fiddleheads to my customers within 24 hours of picking them. I’m very big on the quality. I don’t want to give people bad stuff. I don’t want people pushing legislation that proposes we get a permit to pick, a permit to sell and take a 30-hour course on fiddlehead safety. I don’t need a 30-hour course.”

Caron works for landlords doing building maintenance when he’s not fiddleheading. The jobs help to pay the bills as he has a 4-year-old daughter, Kylie, in addition to his fiancee.

As he speaks, his cell phone rings and it’s someone from Troy who wants five pounds, he said. He has loyal customers who come back year after year. Caron advertises his fiddleheads on social media and does well with that. Next year, he’ll improve the sales part of the business even more, he said.

“My goal for next year is, I want to get a card reader so I can go debit. The last three years or so everyone’s been asking if I take debit cards, so I think that’s going to be my next investment.”

The business is like any other in that it depends on circumstances, such as the weather.

“Last season we had an excellent start, and then it seemed like the entire part of central Maine got hit with frost. That’ll end the season — frost will end the season.”

Caron is proud of his work and the fiddleheads he sells. Unlike other vendors who sell them in pre-packed plastic bags, he keeps them in water so they stay fresh until the customer comes by, and then he puts them on the scale to weigh them before placing them in a bag.

“Every time I’ve ever had anybody stop, they always compliment me on how clean they are. I’m not trying to brag, but I think we have the best washing station, for sure — and the best fiddleheads.”

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter for 29 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to

]]> 0 Hamilton, left, and Shaun Caron sell fiddleheads along Main Street in Waterville on Thursday. Caron said he is part of a fourth generation of fiddlehead pickers in his family.Sun, 28 May 2017 16:35:29 +0000
Kennebec Courts May 18-24, 2017 Sun, 28 May 2017 18:33:12 +0000 AUGUSTA — Here is a list of cases closed May 18-24, 2017, in courts in Augusta and Waterville.

Keith Alexander, 58, of Belgrade, failure to register vehicle April 29, 2017, in Oakland; $100 fine.

Jesse P. Anderson, 25, of Augusta, domestic violence assault March 23, 2017, in Augusta; 364-day jail sentence all but 60 days suspended, two-year probation. Violating condition of release March 30, 2017, in Augusta; 30-day jail sentence.

Samantha D. Bass, 20, of Winslow, theft of services May 7, 2017, in Waterville; $400 fine, $400 suspended, $15 restitution; violating condition of release May 7, 2017, in Waterville; 24-hour jail sentence. Theft by unauthorized taking or transfer April 2, 2017, in Waterville; $400 fine.

Amber L. Berube, 34, of Auburn, driving to endanger Dec. 13, 2015, in Monmouth; $575 fine, 30-day license suspension. Operating under the influence and refusing to submit to arrest or detention, physical force, same date and town, dismissed.

Douglas L. Blaisdell, 75, of Rome, assault March 12, 2016, in Rome, dismissed.

Nicholas Bosse, 28, of Chelsea, operating while license suspended or revoked Jan. 14, 2017, in Randolph; $500 fine.

David Bowring, 26, of Clinton, violating protection from abuse order May 4, 2017, in Clinton, dismissed.

Connor M. Brann, 19, of West Gardiner, operating under the influence Feb. 4, 2017, in Pittston; $500 fine.

Johnathan C. Bresnahan, 28, of Whitefield, failure to register vehicle April 8, 2017, in Gardiner; $100 fine.

Elizabeth J. Brown, 54, of Scarborough, operating while license suspended or revoked July 12, 2016, in Augusta; $750 fine.

James P. Carey, 28, of Hallowell, assault Sept. 23, 2016, in Augusta; $300 fine, 96-hour jail sentence.

George A. Chartier, 34, of Winthrop, operating under the influence Oct. 10, 2016, in Augusta; $700 fine, 10-day jail sentence, three-year license and registration suspension.

Aleksandr Chernogor, 45, of Far Rockaway, New York, criminal trespass March 17, 2017, in Waterville, dismissed.

Perry E. Cole, 49, of Skowhegan, operating under the influence May 20, 2017, in Oakland; $500 fine, 48-hour jail sentence, 150-day license suspension.

Stephanie A. Cunningham, 24, of China, theft by receiving stolen property Feb. 22, 2017, in Augusta; two-day jail sentence, $390 restitution.

Michael A. Cyr, 26, of Augusta, operating while license suspended or revoked March 11, 2017, in Gardiner; $500 fine.

Darrell Dall, 59, of Augusta, motor vehicle speeding more than 30 mph over speed limit March 20, 2017, in Monmouth, dismissed.

Alesha Davie, 45, of Waterville, operating after registration suspended March 28, 2017, in Winslow, dismissed.

Francis T. Desmond, 49, of Winthrop, motor vehicle speeding more than 30 mph over speed limit March 20, 2017, in Monmouth, dismissed.

Eric J. Fitzpatrick, 31, of Augusta, gross sexual assault Jan. 5, 2017, in Augusta, dismissed.

Carl W. Greenwood, 46, of Shag Harbor, commercial vehicle rule violation: operation with false duty status April 10, 2017, in West Gardiner; $500 fine.

Meagan Hasson, 32, of Waterville, obstructing public ways Dec. 11, 2016, in Waterville; three-month jail sentence. Violating condition of release Feb. 23, 2017, in Waterville; three-month jail sentence.

Julia Holmes, 20, of Augusta, theft by unauthorized taking or transfer Dec. 20, 2016, in Augusta; $250 fine, $607.95 restitution. Theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and misuse of public benefits instrument, same date and town, dismissed.

Barbara A. Hughes, 71, of South China, driving to endanger March 12, 2016, in Waterville; $575 fine, 30-day license suspension. Operating under the influence, same date and town, dismissed.

Joseph S. Hutchings, 35, of Readfield, operating while license suspended or revoked Dec. 29, 2016, in Manchester; $250 fine.

Ryan Weit Hutchinson, 35, of Oakland, unlawful possession of scheduled drug Aug. 15, 2015, in Winslow; $400 fine, $400 suspended. Unlawful possession of scheduled drug and unlawful possession of oxycodone and attaching false plates, same date and town, dismissed.

Tyler Daniel Koether, 24, of East Winthrop, unlawful possession of scheduled drug Sept. 3, 2015, in Augusta; $400 fine, two-year Department of Corrections sentence, all suspended, one-year probation, $120 restitution. Violating condition of release Jan. 3, 2017, in Winthrop, dismissed.

Tasha M. Lemay, 31, of Litchfield, outdoor burning violation April 14, 2016, in Litchfield, dismissed.

Dominick A. Lewis, 37, of Sidney, operating under the influence May 18, 2017, in Sidney; $500 fine, 48-hour jail sentence, 150-day license suspension. Violating protection from abuse order, same date and town, dismissed.

Melanie Marston, 44, of Farmingdale, allowing dog to be at large March 26, 2017, in Farmingdale; $100 fine.

Violet L. Norris, 41, of Monmouth, keeping dangerous dog April 10, 2017, in Monmouth; $250 fine.

Vanessa L. Ouellet, 29, of Brunswick, operating while license suspended or revoked June 30, 2015, in Farmingdale; $500 fine, 14-day jail sentence. Operating after habitual offender revocation, same date and town, dismissed.

Joanna R. Pearl-Traussi, 45, of Sidney, failure to register vehicle April 2, 2017, in Hallowell, dismissed.

Anthony G. Perry, 53, of Augusta, operating while license suspended or revoked March 1, 2017, in Windsor; $250 fine.

Mark A. Rideout, 46, of Chelsea, criminal trespass May 19, 2017, in Chelsea; 48-hour jail sentence.

Kelsey Ring, 21, of Augusta, assault March 10, 2015, in Chelsea, dismissed.

Amanda L. Rodrigue, 27, of Augusta, violating condition of release April 1, 2017, in Chelsea; 24-hour jail sentence.

Russell D. Rollins, 33, of Augusta, unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs Sept. 30, 2015, in Augusta; $400 fine, six-year Department of Corrections sentence, all but nine months suspended, three-year probation; unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs Nov. 9, 2015, in Augusta; $400 fine, $400 suspended, two-year probation; unlawful furnishing scheduled drug Nov. 9, 2015, in Augusta; $400 fine, $400 suspended, five-year Department of Corrections sentence all but nine months suspended, two year probation.

Jed Ian St. Hilaire, 38, of Augusta, burglary Oct. 18, 2011, in Augusta; eight-year Department of Corrections sentence, all but 253 days suspended (credit for 253 days served), three years’ probation, $3,800 restitution; and theft by unauthorized taking, same date and place; 253-day jail sentence. Five counts of burglary April 17, 2015, in Winthrop; 253-day jail sentence on each. Two counts of theft by unauthorized taking, same date and place, six-month jail sentence on each. One count of criminal mischief, same date and place, 253-day jail sentence.

Angel L. Stilkey, 29, of Waterville, operating vehicle without license Feb. 22, 2017, in Waterville; 24-hour jail sentence.

Meaghan K. Strickland, 28, of Augusta, use of drug paraphernalia Dec. 12, 2016, in Gardiner, dismissed.

Natalie M. Tortorella, 24, of Augusta, passing stopped school bus Nov. 1, 2016, in Augusta, dismissed.

Jessica Nicole Truman, 32, of Gardiner, theft by unauthorized taking or transfer May 8, 2015, in Augusta; four-day jail sentence. Unlawful possession of scheduled drug Sept. 4, 2016, in Augusta, dismissed. Theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and two counts violating condition of release, Sept. 27, 2016, in Gardiner, dismissed; misuse of identification Sept. 25, 2016, unlawful possession of scheduled drug Oct. 1, 2016, theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and violating condition of release, Sept. 25, 2016, all in Augusta, dismissed.

David M. Walsh, 26, of Fairfield, operating after habitual offender revocation Jan. 3, 2017, in Waterville; $500 fine, 90-day jail sentence. Operating after habitual offender revocation and attaching false plates, same date and town, dismissed.

Aaron Wiedemann, 35, of Augusta, criminal trespass March 24, 2017, in Augusta; four-day jail sentence.

Chelsea A. Wyman, 25, of Waterville, operating while license suspended or revoked March 26, 2017, in Augusta; $250 fine.

Alexis C. Yashin, 22, of Unity, unlawful possession of scheduled drug June 21, 2016, in Benton, dismissed.

]]> 0 Sun, 28 May 2017 14:33:12 +0000
Lawmakers: Law should be changed to make sure ‘permanent’ license suspension is forever Sun, 28 May 2017 18:12:09 +0000 Two state senators from central Maine say they will introduce legislation to eliminate a section of state law that allows someone whose license is permanently revoked to reapply for a driver’s license 10 years after release from prison.

The proposal comes on the heels of a ruling in Kennebec County Superior Court this month that allows a former Skowhegan man convicted in a drunken driving, triple fatal crash in 1996 to reapply for his license, even though his license had been ordered suspended for life. The court ruling highlighted an apparent contradiction in state law that on the one hand allows a license to be revoked “permanently,” yet also outlines an appeals process for getting a license back.

Sen. Scott W. Cyrway, R-District 16, and Rep. Thomas R. W. Longstaff, D-Waterville, both members of the Joint Standing Committee Criminal Justice and Public Safety, said in separate interviews that they want to take out the language in state law that allows a person to petition for license reinstatement.

“This is upsetting to me to think that ‘permanently’ does not mean permanent,” Cyrway said. “I am sorry, but in the dictionary it has a meaning — forever — no change. This may have to be changed to ‘permanent with no chance for appeal.'”

The question being asked for the last 10 years — and again this month — is how Bryan Carrier, 39, of Fairfield, who was convicted and ordered by the court to permanently surrender his driver’s license, could be allowed to reapply for his license.

The license ban was intended to be permanent, a lifetime punishment, say family members and friends of the victims in the deadly crash.

But it wasn’t permanent and the fallout from the ruling last week by Superior Court Justice William Stokes was palpable.

While perhaps difficult to understand, there is no contradiction in existing Maine law, says E. James Burke, a professor of law at the University of Maine School of Law.

Burke said Justice Stokes was correct under Maine law to allow Carrier to seek license reinstatement despite objections from family and friends of the crash victims. He said Stokes appropriately interpreted the statute.

“I don’t have any problem with what Stokes did. I think that the statute is not irrational and wrong and internally inconsistent,” Burke said.

Cyrway’s colleague, Longstaff, also said the statute is clear, but he reads it differently: that the permanent revocation of license is imposed.

But two paragraphs down in the law, there is a provision for the person to be able to try to get a driving license reinstated. If there is another offense after the license is reinstated, then the revocation becomes permanent without possibility of appeal — but without that, the possibility remains open.

Longstaff said the answer to correcting the contradiction in state law would not be to remove the word “permanent” — because it would weaken the law — but rather to remove the entire section for appeal from the law.

“My own feeling is I don’t think that the person’s license ought to be reinstated,” he said. “So rather than remove the word ‘permanently’ when it doesn’t mean ‘permanently,’ what I would say is remove that section of the law; to have an act to remove that provision so there’s no way to get another hearing; to remove the possibility of that option.

“I would work with Scott (Cyrway) to sponsor or co-sponsor a bill to delete that provision from the law. That option of getting it reinstated would be gone. It’s something I could be comfortable sponsoring, that’s for sure.”

Yet the revision to the statute, if it passes, would probably not apply to Carrier. He would only be subject to the provisions according to the law in effect at the time of the crime.

Cyrway said he would have to send a title request to the reviser’s office and then have language added to the proper section to get the law changed. It would be sent to Legislative Counsel as an emergency request for this upcoming session, he said.

If approved, the revision would have to go to the Senate to get referred to a committee. Once passed, it would go to the Senate for a vote, then to the House and back to the Senate, and then to the governor. If not vetoed, it would become law.

“It is not a simple process, but it is important,” Cyrway said.


In the 1996 crash, Carrier drove a pickup truck at high speed through a stop sign on East Ridge Road in Skowhegan and slammed into a van that was heading east on U.S. Route 2.

Killed in the fiery crash that Nov. 22, 1996, night were Arlyce Jewell, 42, and her 10-year-old son, Alex, and Elbert Knowles, who was 15. Also injured was Nicole Johnson, 17, of Skowhegan. Carrier’s blood-alcohol level after the crash was 0.11, over the legal limit of 0.08.

He pleaded guilty in 1997 in Somerset County Superior Court to three counts of manslaughter and three counts of aggravated operating under the influence. Carrier was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but two years suspended, six years of probation and 2,000 hours of community service on the manslaughter conviction. On the OUI charge, Carrier was sentenced to two years in prison to run at the same time as the manslaughter sentence and ordered to pay $6,000 in fines.

In addition, his driver’s license was ordered to be permanently suspended, per state law that applies to vehicular manslaughter cases in which the driver is intoxicated.

Carrier was released on March 30, 1999, from the Charleston Correctional Facility.

He has appealed his lifetime revocation three times, including during an emotionally charged Bureau of Motor Vehicles hearing in September. But each time, Carrier’s request to reapply for a license has been denied.

He can now try again, according to Stokes, who said that state law does, in fact, permit re-application for re-licensure. The law, passed by the Maine Legislature in 1993, is clear, Burke — and earlier, Stokes — said.

“People can grow and change and learn from mistakes,” Burke said in an interview. “And if that happens, perhaps we should let them now live the life they have earned to live.”

The criteria for reinstatement involves the convicted person’s life since the initial revocation: Has he or she shown that he has not re-offended? Is he a working member of the community? Has he sufficiently proven that he is deserving of reinstatement?

Burke said the politics are such that the family says, “‘My person is dead’ — there’s no way around that conundrum.”

Stokes said in the order dated May 18 that if the Legislature intended to limit the number of times someone could petition for reinstatement, it would have done so.

Timothy Feeley, spokesman for Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, said the office will be reviewing the decision and consulting with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles about their options and would not comment further. Mills herself did not respond to a request for comment on the Carrier decision.

Another professor at the University of Maine School of Law, Jeffrey Thaler, said the license revocation is “permanent” under the law only until it’s reinstated. He said there is no contradiction in the law because “it doesn’t say ‘for life.'”

“It’s permanent under the section until a petition for reinstatement is granted,” Thaler said. “I know what the word ‘permanent’ means, too, and technically, if somebody doesn’t seek reinstatement, then it is permanent. You have to read the whole statute, including all the subsections.”

Thaler said misunderstanding of Maine law happens all the time, which is why he teaches a course in interpreting statutes and regulations.

“I teach how important it is. Every comma, every semi-colon, every period, every word is important and that if you have ambiguity, then that creates problems in enforcement and in court,” he said. “Certainly the Legislature could seek to change (the statute) and it could remove the subsection, but for the moment, the subsection is in there and you can not ignore it.”

Burke said, citing the statute, that a person who is permanently banned from having a driver’s license is allowed to petition for relicensure after 10 years. It is not a contradiction, he said.

“To me, no, although I understand the victims’ families hurt,” Burke said. “They are not inherently contradictory.”

He said if the driver can show why that permanent suspension ought not to continue, he has a right to try and get his license back.


A total of 115,607 drivers have been convicted only once of driving drunk, according to state records on OUI convictions which date to 1980 and include out-of-state drivers who offended in Maine. More than 16,000 drivers have had four or more drunken driving convictions since 1980, and one driver has been convicted of OUI 18 times, an analysis by the Maine Sunday Telegram found.

Maine, like the vast majority of states, does not permanently revoke driver’s licenses — no matter how many OUI convictions a driver has on his or her record — except in cases where a fatality is involved and the person was under the influence of intoxicants.

Kristen Schulze Muszynski, director of communications at the Department of the Secretary of State, said in an interview that because Maine does not have a “permanent revocation and lifetime ban” law for a driver’s license, there is no way to know how many people have been ordered to have their licenses suspended permanently under the statute that applied to Carrier.

Department database administrators do not have that type of “flag” in its driver license database, she said.

“So, it is not a searchable item,” she said. “We do note license suspensions with ‘no eligibility date,’ which is how Mr. Carrier’s license is denoted, but this notation could mean a number of things that are not similar to his situation, such as an open-ended license suspension until a fine is paid.”

At the September hearing with an officer from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Carrier said he was sorry for the accident and members of his family were there for support.

“I am truly sorry for what I’ve done,” Carrier said, adding that he cannot take away the pain the families continue to feel. “I hope that someday you can forgive me.”

Carrier, who still works for the family business, Carrier Chipping, said he is not the same person he was 20 years ago. He said he is married with two children and relies on his mother to take him places and often rides a bicycle to work. He said he has undergone counseling.

But family members, including Tracey Rotondi, of Athens, whose mother, Arlyce, and brother, Alex, were killed that night, said the crash also put a distance between her and her father, Royce Jewell. She said the family was never the same after the accident.

Contacted last week about the court ruling and language in state law, Rotondi said that Carrier accepted the agreement of a lifetime license suspension when he took the deal and he should live with it.

“He did hardly any jail time for the lives he took,” she said. “If he didn’t agree with it at the time, that’s when he should have said something. Not now. To keep putting us through this is awful. He doesn’t care about us or the lives he has changed. I think that when you take a deal, you should have to stick to it no matter what the law says. It was a judge’s order.

“Yes,” she added, “I guess it should be changed because basically the sentence from the judge meant nothing.”

Burke was firm in his opinion that state law isn’t contradictory, even knowing the pain the family continues to feel, but added that state law that applies to this case is not “internally inconsistent.”

“I understand why it may read that way to a layperson who says that if it’s permanent, how come you can get it taken off?” he said. “But the law, generally speaking, doesn’t condemn somebody to a lifetime restriction with no chance to change it if the circumstances clearly shift.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


]]> 0 Carrier, right, and his attorney, Walt McKee, confer during a hearing Sept. 26 in Augusta at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, where Carrier asked to have his driver's license restored.Sun, 28 May 2017 21:40:22 +0000
Fryeburg officer remains in critical condition; canoeist still missing Sun, 28 May 2017 12:29:34 +0000 A 38-year-old South Berwick woman was missing on the Saco River in Fryeburg after her canoe capsized, and two police officers who were trying to find her were seriously injured.

One of the officers, 20-year-old Nathan Desjardins, remained in critical condition at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston on Monday afternoon.

Emergency crews wrapped up their search for Jennifer Bousquet by late Sunday afternoon as treacherous river conditions made their efforts difficult.

The search was expected to resume Monday, but the Maine Warden Service was considering it a recovery effort.

Bousquet disappeared after the canoe she was riding in with Wayne Demers, 62, of Somersworth, New Hampshire, capsized about 3:50 p.m. Saturday near mile 8 of the Saco River.

A second canoe paddled by Brian Day, 54, of South Berwick, who was riding alongside them, also capsized in the roiling waters.

Demers and Day made it to shore with the help of another canoeist, but the woman disappeared, said Maj. Chris Cloutier of the warden service.

The two Fryeburg police officers, Desjardins and 51-year-old Dale Stout, were hurt as they searched for the woman in a police boat. They were thrown from the boat after it hit something on or near the shore, the warden service said.

They were taken by LifeFlight helicopter to the Lewiston hospital. On Monday afternoon, Desjardins was still in critical condition and Stout had been released.

Stout is also a firefighter/paramedic with the Biddeford Fire Department.

Biddeford Fire Chief Scott Gagne released a statement Monday saying that the department’s peer support team have been working with Stout and his family as he recovers.

“Dale has been a valued career member of our department for the past 11 years. We wish him a speedy recovery. Our thoughts also go out to Officer Desjardins and his family,” Gagne said in a statement.

Fryeburg police were receiving support from across the state Sunday, including from the Yarmouth, Bridgton and Westbrook police departments.

“As you can imagine, this has been a difficult and exhausting day for Fryeburg police staff,” Fryeburg Police Chief Joshua Potvin said in a Facebook post.

“The Westbrook Police Department sends thoughts and prayers to our brothers and sisters with the Fryeburg Police Department,” said the Westbrook police Facebook page.

The Desjardins family released a statement to WCSH-TV saying that Nathan Desjardins suffered “intensive head trauma” and that his “mother, father and older brother are by his side 24/7.”

“Nathan is the most caring and compassionate person,” the family statement said. “He has a genuine concern for the well-being of those around him and of all other living things. He has a strong sense of right and wrong and always tries to live up to high moral standards. We couldn’t be more proud of him and all the things he stands for.”

The warden service used its dive team, K9 team and aviation crew to try to locate Bousquet.

Cloutier described the river as extremely high, fast and cold because of recent rains, which complicated the search.

River conditions were expected to be about the same Monday, Cloutier said in an email response to questions Sunday evening.

“There is a significant amount of underwater debris that the divers have been contending with, making progress extremely slow,” Cloutier said.

The water temperature was about 50 degrees and hypothermia could set in quickly, Cloutier said. He said it is not clear whether the woman was wearing a life jacket.

The search was based at Walker’s Falls Campground in Brownfield, on a remote stretch of the river that is part of the Sanborn Wildlife Management Area.

The area can be accessed down a long dirt road or by canoe. A search by airplane was also conducted Sunday afternoon.

Some of the canoeists making their way downriver stopped at the search staging area, where the American Red Cross was handing out water and snacks to the searchers. The Fryeburg police and rescue departments were also helping in the search.



Staff Writer Joe Lawlor contributed to this report.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

Twitter: QuimbyBeth

]]> 0 Warden Robert Johansen returns from diving in the Saco River on Sunday during a search for Jennifer Bousquet, whose canoe flipped in cold, churning water.Mon, 29 May 2017 19:09:31 +0000
Our View: Mary Mayhew’s history of misplaced priorities Sun, 28 May 2017 08:10:00 +0000 During her six years as Maine commissioner of health and human services, Mary Mayhew liked to talk about “the truly needy.”

She would roll out the phrase when she was explaining why Maine should offer less help, pay for fewer services or step back from its responsibilities to some people so there would be enough to pay for supports to others whom she considered more deserving.

Mayhew announced her resignation Wednesday at a “news conference” during which she refused to answer questions, so it’s still unclear what truly needy group she had in mind.

It certainly couldn’t have meant children: The rate of children living in deep poverty, or $800 in income a month for a family of three, has skyrocketed under her watch, growing eight times faster than the national average.

She couldn’t have meant low-income senior citizens. She pushed through cuts to the Drugs for the Elderly program, which had helped thousands of needy Mainers buy prescription medications.

And she must not have meant people with mental illness or intellectual disabilities, because she promoted cuts to reimbursement rates for their care, limiting community-based options that were already inadequate to meet their needs.

Mayhew called all this “welfare reform,” but that would be accurate only if tearing down a house could be called “remodeling.” Maine is less healthy and less humane after Mayhew’s tour as the official in charge of the state’s health and human services.

Using the phrase “truly needy” was one of the ways that Mayhew pitted Mainers against each other. She and her boss, Gov. Paul LePage, were able to exploit the notion that rampant welfare fraud was responsible for the high cost of human services, feeding prejudice against the poor.

And she promoted the convenient fiction that providing basic services like food and health care was bad for people’s character, and would prevent them from making themselves self-sufficient. Instead of being an advocate for people in need, she became their chief accuser.

Mayhew’s signature effort has been her leadership in the fight against accepting federal funds for Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act. Maine has turned down $1 million a day in federal health spending over the last three years, denying coverage to as many as 70,000 people who have no insurance and can’t afford to see a doctor.

Mayhew was instrumental in awarding a nearly $1 million no-bid contract to partisan ideologue Gary Alexander to “study” Maine’s welfare system, and provide bogus “facts” about the cost of accepting the federal expansion funds. The report turned out to be crudely plagiarized, and although LePage blocked partial payment to the author after he was caught, the governor and Mayhew continued to cite the report’s highly suspect projections as fact.

Maine’s stand on Medicaid expansion has not made Maine people more healthy, but it has driven up health care costs by putting pressure on providers who supply charity care, shifting costs onto fees paid by other patients with private insurance. It has reduced the number of people who receive what Mayhew has taken to calling “medical welfare,” which is her only acceptable yardstick of success.

The clearest consequence of this stand against expanding health coverage has shown itself in Maine’s slow and inadequate response to the opioid crisis, which erupted and metastasized under her administration.

As soon as she took office in 2011, Mayhew championed limiting state support for methadone treatment. She also pushed 14,000 parents and 10,000 “able-bodied” adults without children off MaineCare (Maine’s Medicaid program). As the overdose death toll climbed, treatment options receded because providers like Mercy Hospital could not keep their programs running without a revenue stream.

Last year, Mayhew sat on $500,000 earmarked for more treatment, claiming that providers had not demonstrated that they needed it. 2016 turned out to be the deadliest year on record for drug overdoses, with Mainers dying at a rate of more than one per day. Who knows how many of those lives could have been saved?

There is nothing wrong with thrift, and managing the biggest department in state government requires making tough choices. But if, as rumored, Mayhew plans a career in elected office, Mainers should not forget where she placed her priorities.

Looking out for Maine’s “truly needy” was the job for which Mayhew was hired. Many of those people are worse off today as a result.

]]> 0, ME - MAY 24: Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew reads a statement to reporters on Wednesday May 24, 2017 at the department headquarters in Augusta. She took no questions during the brief news conference about her departure from the DHHS. (Staff photo by Joe Phelan/Staff Photographer)Fri, 26 May 2017 16:12:56 +0000
Fun Hyundai Elantra Sport holds its own amidst the crowd Sun, 28 May 2017 08:00:30 +0000 Spring weekends: When dreams of race tracks and winding backwoods roads come crashing down under the domestic weight of lawn care and countless family chores. Such obligations can feel less obligatory if you have a fun enough car.

The Hyundai Elantra Sport is fun enough.

The Elantra has long been a best buy for being roomy, fuel-efficient, and well equipped at under $20,000. The challenge for the Sport is to distinguish itself enough from its namesake while not daring to take on value performance benchmarks such as the Golf GTI or Subaru WRX, which cost at least 10 to 15 percent more on average.

The compact Sport sedan is more of a consideration against the Mazda3 Grand Touring or Honda Civic Touring, and costs about $1,500 less.

It retains its value despite being the priciest of three Elantra models, which includes the $17,150 base model with a 2-liter turbo four, or the $20,650 Eco with a 1.4-liter turbo that gets 40 mpg highway. To stay competitive in this contracting compact segment, Hyundai redesigned the 2018 Elantra GT hatchback to hit dealer lots this summer.

The Sport is not just some badging and fancy flourishes. It comes with 18-inch wheels and a dual exhaust that buff up its edges. The rocker panels on the doors are more pronounced, and the hexagonal grille extends at its widest point into horizontal LEDs.

The long wheelbase and low stance reminded us of the Subaru Impreza. The Galactic Gray paint is like a mood ring, mercurial under cloud cover, brash in daylight, sleek at night. Getting in and out of it in a crowd evoked a modest sense of pride – it’s sharp without being flashy.

The biggest change over the pokey Elantra is the turbocharged engine, which boosts torque from 132 to 195 pound-feet. There’s plenty of punch, without hitting sport mode.

Turbo lag from a stop takes some getting used to, but otherwise the throttle is responsive. Sport mode delays shifts on the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The transmission is smooth but gets a little muddled the harder you hit the throttle.

Using the more responsive paddle shifters gave us a chirp or two going into second. We didn’t get to test the six-speed manual ($1,100 less), which would have given us a better idea of how it stacks up against the lovely Mazda3.

Handling on the Sport is crisp, without the roll of the Sentra SR. It handles closer to the Mazda3 than the Civic, which is larger, comfier, but not as fun to drive. The flat-bottomed sport steering wheel feels good in the hands, though the steering doesn’t pick up everything from the road. There was some minor torque steer – the steering wheel pulled to the left when flooring it from a stop.

On the highway, the Sport stretches out in a quiet, efficient ride. At 60 mph, we averaged 34 mpg.

The blacked-out interior complements the sense of looks good, feels better. Seat bolstering is firm without being tight, and the black leather everywhere has subtle red stitching showing an attention to detail. There’s plenty of room for 4 adults.

A few years ago, Hyundai’s Blue Link infotainment system was one of the best mainstream models. It hasn’t changed much, so it’s starting to lag behind the competition. It relies too much on the touch screen. The navigation buttons are narrow and the screen layout and defaults take some getting used to. Voice commands are slow to respond. Apple CarPlay is better across the board.

The Elantra Sport holds its own in a crowded class of well-appointed compacts, priced just below the competition. It’s a comfortable highway cruiser and nimble around town.

The base price: $22,750. As tested: $25,275.

]]> 0 Mon, 22 May 2017 09:30:54 +0000
Homans Path brings Acadia fans home Sun, 28 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 BAR HARBOR — Nowhere around the Sieur de Monts Nature Center at Acadia National Park is there a mention of Eliza Homans.

So people hiking here two weeks ago from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Maine did not know the person who gave the first parcel of land to what eventually became the 47,000-acre national park.

They didn’t know the donor was a woman, nor that the unusual stone path that winds up toward ocean views was named after her by George Dorr, who led the effort to create the national park. Many Acadia visitors didn’t even know where Homans Path was located.

Lynette Gumbleton, 19, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, hiked toward it with her family on the way down Dorr Mountain. But she didn’t know. Gumbleton said the rangers suggested one of the tougher hikes over Dorr Mountain, and she and her two brothers jumped at it. But she said there was no talk of the remarkable century-old stone staircase they might find at the end.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said local hiker Marc Fawcett-Atkinson, a senior at the College of the Atlantic. “Those stoned stairs are all wedged into place. It’s amazing. It’s really intricate construction.

“My guess is many people out hiking go up the mountain on the Emery Path just because it’s the first one you see after you park there. I’ve seen more people on Emery than I have on Homans.”

In 1901 the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations became just the second land trust in the nation when summer residents Dorr and Harvard president Charles Eliot founded the trust to protect the stunning landscape around 1,500-foot Cadillac Mountain.

In 1908, Eliza Homans of Boston became the first donor in the effort when she gave 140 acres on Beehive Mountain.

“She was an unusual woman for her time,” said historian Ronald Epp, whose biography of Dorr was published last year.

“She had a lot of conviction that what she was doing was the right thing. It was the first substantial gift. And in her letter she said, ‘I’m doing this because I’ve learned the lesson of conservation. I think that unless we do this, Mount Desert Island is going to turn out to be an amusement park. And I want it to be a place my grandchildren can enjoy.’ ”

The gesture inspired Dorr to go after Cadillac Mountain and within four years the Trustees had preserved 5,000 acres around the mountain.

In 1916, Dorr gave 6,000 acres to the U.S. government, and President Woodrow Wilson established the Sieur de Monts National Monument. It became a national park in 1919, the first east of the Mississippi and the first to be created by private citizens.

Dorr was the park’s first superintendent. In that role he honored the island residents who helped create the park by naming memorial trails after them. Homans Path was built with six other memorial trails between 1913 and 1916 under Dorr’s direction, Epp said.

“What you can say about Mr. Dorr is that there are dozens of trails he had a dominant hand in building,” Epp said. “And what is clear is that Dorr wanted to honor some of the individuals who not only gave money or gave land but played a significant role in the development of the communities that make up the island. As park superintendent he was given a lot of latitude to do what he thought best.”

Homans was lost for 50 years after the fire of 1947, until park rangers rediscovered it and reopened it in July 2003.

And yet Homans Path is not listed in the main Acadia brochure. The signs at the nature center tell how “many trails in this area are named after residents who found inspiration from the landscape and helped finance the trails.” And there is a kiosk panel that shows Homans’ primitive century-old steps.

But nowhere does it provide details about Eliza Homans.

Her path starts from a trailhead that is camouflaged among the maple, birch and beech trees. Nothing indicates this path is significant to the park’s history, nor that the journey is unlike many others.

It leads 30 yards into the woods before the primitive steps appear. From there the path rises another 338 steps along boulders and through natural stone archways to panoramic views of treetops and, eventually, Frenchman’s Bay. The stone steps hug and blend into the mountainside, but on purpose.

“They used pickaxes and brute force,” Epp said. “The original pathmakers were looking at the immediate landscape and saying: ‘What can we take out of the earth and position so it looks as thought the trail has always been here?’ ”

Beverley Guay of Millinocket, a guide in the College of the Atlantic outing club, didn’t know it.

And as Victor Liu of Dublin, Ohio, and Adit Sinha of Pleasanton, California, climbed down Dorr Mountain toward the Homans a few weeks ago, they said they didn’t know it was there. They were awestruck at the views from Acadia’s trails. But they knew nothing about the stone path or its story.

Fawcett-Atkinson, of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, thinks tourists often miss Homans on their way over Dorr Mountain. He is more familiar with Homans than most, he said, because his morning run goes by it. But even the local college student had no idea where the path got its name.

“That’s crazy she owned the Beehive. That’s amazing,” Fawcett-Atkinson said. “I go up that trail a lot. Now I’m thankful to her in multiple ways.”

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: FlemingPph

]]> 0 HARBOR, ME - MAY 13: The view from Homans Path in Acadia National Park Saturday, May 13, 2017. (Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)Sat, 27 May 2017 22:34:38 +0000
Dine Out Maine: Trattoria Fanny’s chef keeps it intentionally, intelligently simple Sun, 28 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 David Levi doesn’t care how you pronounce the name of his new Portland trattoria, as long as you’re talking about it. For the record, he chose the name to honor his grandmother, a flamboyant character who, along with her husband, fled Milan to escape Mussolini’s fascist regime in 1938. Her name was Fanny (rhymes with “La KNEE”). “She was a brilliant woman, charming and elegant – and also a competitive runner who just happened to hang out with opera singers. I didn’t get to spend many years with her, but I grew up with the recipes she passed on to my parents,” he said.

Levi is also the chef/owner of nearby Vinland, a strictly conceived, philosophy-driven fine dining restaurant that sources 100 percent of its ingredients, from sirloin to salt, from the local area. Trattoria Fanny, on the other hand is all about traditional, casual Italian cooking: “It’s not food as art, or food as idea. It’s food as food, and food as culture,” as Levi describes it. “A trattoria is supposed to be a place with no pretension, no frills, like an Italian version of a diner.”

That folksy perspective informs the uncomplicated interior, sketched out in off-white walls and dark wood that Levi salvaged from his family’s 18th century farmhouse in upstate New York. His is an intelligent species of simplicity, though, one achieved through a little well-deployed sleight of hand. Take the induction cooktop-powered open kitchen – with no whoosh and rumble from gas burners, it is so quiet that it almost fades into the rough-hewn woodwork. Or the long, 16-seat, lacquered communal table, fitted with chairs on one side and bar stools on the other. You might never notice it, but that asymmetry cunningly erases the awkward step-down that runs along the equator of the room.

Similarly, Roman Executive Chef Siddharta “Sid” Rumma sneaks a few of his own quiet flourishes onto the menu, transforming a humdrum Northern Italian rice salad ($8) into a quintessential warm-weather dish, full of golden raisins, red peppers, capers and torn shreds of mint. It’s also visually arresting – a perfect circle of pignoli-topped Black Venus rice (Riso Nero Venere) on a stark white dish – something you might be served if Robert Longo were working the pass.

There is also a subtle artistry in Rumma’s contorno (side dish) of garlicky, wine-sautéed oyster mushrooms ($6), plated diagonally into an organic, curving form that resembles clustered flower buds on a wilting stem. It is, at once, somehow both modest and gorgeous.

Not all of the menu’s embellishments are visual, though. Take the addition of toasty brown butter to the roasted cauliflower with capers, anchovies and thyme ($7). It lends a magnificent, saturated savory intensity to a plate that is, technically, just a side dish. If I were a pescetarian, I would order two (OK, maybe three) servings of this and a glass of wine, like the fruity, delicately fizzy Santa Giustina Bonarda red ($8), and consider myself very lucky.

Actually, eating that way isn’t too far off the mark from what Rumma and Levi have in mind for visitors to Trattoria Fanny. Rather than follow the typical American template of creating composite main dishes made up of some kind of protein and a few small accompaniments, entrées are generally served plain. If you want side dishes, you order a few contorni. Staff do sometimes forget to alert guests to this rather important detail, as happened to a woman at the next table to me. When her lonely-looking monkfish with beurre blanc ($19) arrived, she glanced down at her plate, then back up to her grandson and asked, “Did I do something to make them angry?”

That said, there are one or two entrées that include their own extras, like octopus ($18), served with rough, slightly undercooked potatoes. The kitchen braises the Spanish octopus in a regionally appropriate “kind of ‘sangria liquid’ we make with water, red wine, carrot, cinnamon and pear,” Rumma said. Unfortunately, after it is seared to order, some parts of the octopus end up dried out, some mushy and yet others rubbery.

On a recent visit, I also encountered occasional seasoning problems. An appetizer of brown-skinned polenta wedges ($7) and baccala mantecato (a whipped mousse of salt-cured cod) was, by some miracle of overzealous soaking, bland and undersalted. On the other hand, guanciale-striped spaghetti alla carbonara ($13), despite the clever tweak of using a single, perfectly proportioned local duck egg in place of two chicken egg yolks, was salty in the extreme.

Riso nero salad. Staff photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

It’s hard to imagine that those dishes came out of the same kitchen that prepares a world-class rigatoni ($13) with a slow-braised oxtail tomato sauce underscored by the racy astringency of cocoa powder. “You get it especially in central and southern Italy. It gives something bitter to go against the freshness and sweetness of tomatoes in the sauce,” Rumma explained.

And while there’s nothing quite so complex about the dessert menu, it does feature an excellent torta della nonna ($6), a short, sweetcrust pastry shell filled with a lemon-infused pastry cream, punctuated across its surface with apostrophes of toasted pine nuts. Fittingly for a restaurant that so actively explores Levi’s relationship to his family’s Italian roots, the dessert’s name means “grandmother cake,” and as Rumma says, “It’s the most typical sort of dessert you get for a Sunday lunch with grandma. Everyone does it differently, but it is always simple.” Fanny – no matter how you pronounce her name – would very likely approve.

Andrew Ross has written about food in the United Kingdom and in New York, where he co-founded NYCnosh, a food website. He and his work have been featured on Martha Stewart Living Radio and in The New York Times. He is an Internet researcher and higher education consultant. Contact him at:

Twitter: @AndrewRossME

]]> 0 with potatoes.Sun, 28 May 2017 14:19:29 +0000
Bill Nemitz: Tending to veterans’ graves still important Sun, 28 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Some families celebrate Memorial Day weekend with a cookout.

Others may take in a parade.

Then there’s the progeny of Henry Rivard.

“I want these flags standing straight,” Ron Rivard, 82, told the two dozen people, just about all of them relatives, gathered Saturday morning in the parking lot of the Southern Maine Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Springvale.

Behind Ron on the bed of his pickup sat bundles upon bundles of small American flags. Next to them rested a pile of “pokers,” simple tools designed to make a perfectly vertical hole exactly 16 inches out from the left-front corner of each headstone.

Holding up a poker, Ron instructed, “When you have it in there, do not wiggle it around because you make the hole bigger and the flag won’t be straight.”

Jerry Rivard, 92, Ron’s older brother, couldn’t resist.

“Do you have any levels that we can use?” he asked, tongue planted firmly in cheek, while the rest of the clan erupted in laughter.

Deadpanned Ron, “You don’t know how to read one, so …”

More laughter.

And with that, the family got to work. They had an entire cemetery to honor.

In a 2011 report titled “The Military-Civilian Gap: Fewer Family Connections,” the Pew Research Center found that American families with a direct connection to the military are at their fewest since the peacetime era between World Wars I and II.

The study also showed that veterans tend to beget more veterans and that the more tethered a family is to the military, the more likely they are to go out of their way to help – or honor – others in uniform.

This is not news to the Rivard clan.

Born on March 18, 1892, Henry Rivard served in the Navy during World War I. He came home to Maine after the Armistice of 11 November 1918, bought a 100-acre farm in Springvale and, along with his wife, Laura, raised 13 children – seven boys and six girls.

All seven boys went on to join the military. Twenty more of their offspring did the same.

None died while serving, although oldest brother Don was twice wounded and twice taken prisoner during World War II. An Army infantryman, he and several comrades finally managed to escape and hid high up in a cherry tree while the Germans searched for them below.

“The Germans never looked up,” Ron said. “They were up there for three days in the tree. And when they saw that the Germans weren’t coming back, they climbed back down and hiked 10 miles to Rome.”

Ron served in the Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga during the Korean War and was spared the horrors of combat – most of his tour was spent in the Mediterranean.

Now, more than half a century later, he’s made it his late-in-life mission to honor veterans – from all branches, from all eras, for as long as he can be of service.

“I’m 82, going on 40,” Ron quipped. “When I get old, I’ll probably join the Y and play shuffleboard. But until then, I’m going to be out here working.”

In his hometown of Shapleigh, Ron and two younger local veterans – Dick Langlais and Curtis Mills – mow, weed-whack and otherwise care for the veterans’ plots across 59 private cemeteries throughout the community. Some sit as far as a half-mile from the nearest road.

One grave dates all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Another holds Earlsworth Pillsbury, who fought in the Civil War and soon will be honored with a granite headstone now in the back of Ron’s truck – one of three markers awaiting placement and dedication.

“The pastor of the Baptist church helps me with the genealogy,’ Ron said. “He does the brain work and I do the bull work.”

But for all Ron’s labors, it doesn’t get any better than the last weekend in May.

Since its opening in 2010, the Southern Maine Memorial Veterans Cemetery has seen 935 interments. As the World War II, Korean and now the Vietnam veterans reach their final years, it’s not unusual for the cemetery to host five burials in a single day.

That’s a lot of flags. But Ron, who serves as secretary of the all-volunteer cemetery association, has a lot of boots on the ground.

“We’ve made it a family affair,” said Theresa Ouellette, 90, Ron’s older sister, as she planted flags alongside her niece, Cecile Frye.

Theresa’s two sons were in the Air Force. Cecile’s father (Theresa’s brother-in-law) was in the Army, her younger brother was in the Air Force and his son chose the Marines.

What draws them here when they could be out ringing in the summer?

“It’s a time to get together,” Theresa replied. “And to thank God that all our family came back.”

Marianne Theriault, 85, another sister, paused between flag bundles just long enough to share another incentive.

“We keep busy,” Marianne said, her smile as bright as the morning sun. “We don’t have time to die!”

But time does march onward. As Henry Rivard’s children and great-grandchildren darted from gravesite to gravesite fulfilling the family legacy, Betty Rivard stood by herself off in the distance for several moments, staring at one plot in particular.

There lay her late husband, Urbain, Henry’s fourth son. He served on a Navy destroyer during World War II and passed away a year ago in April.

“It’s hard. It’s been a long year,” said Betty, who met her husband while he was working in the Dominican Republic. “He was a good person – and this is an unbelievable family. Such wonderful people.”

Henry’s sixth son, Richard, who served in the post-World War II Army, is also gone.

As is second-oldest brother Paul, a Seabee in the South Pacific during the war. A heart attack took him in 2011 while he cleared brush from Soldiers and Sailors Park across the street from his home in Sanford.

In addition to Ron, that leaves brothers Louis, another Army vet, and Jerry, who rode as a bombardier on a Navy seaplane in the South Pacific. He remains with his wife, Theresa, on the old family farm, where they still grow and sell fruits and vegetables.

“I was 2 when my father bought it and I’ve been there ever since,” Jerry said with palpable pride. “Ninety years …”

Atop the nearby hill, not far from the entrance to the cemetery, a stone memorial to Henry Rivard awaited its flag.

The large slab notes that Henry left this world on Nov. 11, 1958 – 40 years to the day after the end of World War I. Now known as Veterans Day.

“And he died at 11 a.m.,” said Ron, the hour the armistice took effect.

Ever the organizer, Ron had one more instruction for his small army of flag planters.

“For you who are looking ahead to next year, mark your calendar,” he said. “May 26, 2018, at 9 a.m., we’ll be planting the graves again.”

Jerry, now the family elder, couldn’t let such an order go unchallenged.

“And what if we’re not here?” he called out to more laughter.

His kid brother didn’t miss a beat.

“If you’re not here,” Ron promised, “we’ll be sure to flag your grave.”

Correction: This story was updated at 10:37 a.m. on May 28 to correct the spelling of Cecile Frye’s name.

Bill Nemitz can be contacted at:

]]> 0 Frye, left, and Theresa Ouellette place flags at veterans' gravestones at the Southern Maine Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Springvale on Saturday.Sun, 28 May 2017 10:37:04 +0000
Laura Faure’s final season at Bates Dance will be one of celebration Sun, 28 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Try as she might, Laura Faure will have a hard time avoiding the spotlight this summer.

This will be Faure’s last as director of the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, which for 35 years has provided a training ground for emerging dancers and a place where established dancers can develop and refine new work. The festival also presents a summer-long series of public performances.

Faure has directed the festival for 30 years. She will leave in the fall with a sense of relief “that we’ve built this thing into a monster, but a really good monster.”

“The time is right for me. Thirty is a good, round number,” she said. “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done, and I feel we’ve done it as a community.”

Many members of the dance festival community will be in Lewiston this summer to celebrate. Longtime collaborator David Dorfman will bring his latest piece, “Aroundtown,” to Schaeffer Theatre on the Bates campus July 13 and 15, and several festival favorites and alumni will participate in the 35th Anniversary Gala on July 28-29. Among those returning to Lewiston for the party are Doug Varone, Bebe Miller, Larry Keigwin and Michael Foley.

The program on July 28 will be dedicated to the late Marcy Plavin, the festival’s founder. The program on July 29 will be dedicated to Faure.

On Aug. 3-4, site-specific choreographer Stephan Koplowitz will present “Mill Town,” which Faure describes as “a love letter to Lewiston” at the Bates Mill Complex. Among the festival’s legacies is its history of commissioning new and experimental work. It’s always attracted choreographers to Lewiston to create, because the festival is seen as an incubator for new ideas, Faure said.

“Mill Town” is an example. Inspired by the geography, industry and culture of Lewiston and Auburn, the piece will involve more than 50 dancers, a live score by violinist-composer Todd Reynolds, multimedia components, including video filmed in and around Lewiston, and artifacts from Museum L-A. This will be an audience-immersive piece with dancers moving about the mill complex. It is promoted as “a site-specific performance installation.”

It feels appropriate to present a bold, new piece during her final festival, Faure said. “I like to think of the festival as a safe haven,” she said. “We’re a sanctuary.”


‘El Lobo y La Paloma’

Portland flamenco dance artist Lindsey Bourassa created her full-length performance, “El Lobo y La Paloma (The Wolf and The Dove),” after her father died in 2015. Bourassa, who lives in Portland, uses flamenco dance, Arabic music, poetry and images to tell a story of loss and what Bourassa calls “the mystical connections between physical and spiritual worlds.” She will premiere the piece June 3 at South Portland High School.

Megan Keogh, left, and Lindsey Bourassa in “El Lobo y La Paloma (The Wolf and the Dove),” a full-length piece created by Bourassa, a Portland flamenco dancer, in response to the death of her father in 2015. Photo by
Dale Bourassa

While inspired by the loss of her father, Bourassa wrote this piece to represent universal loss – of a loved one, a homeland, a freedom, an ability – and the grief and healing that follows.

Bourassa has been performing and teaching flamenco dance in Portland for a decade, during which time the community has grown and is beginning to flourish. Her performance embodies that growth. The project is a collaboration with Canadian-Iranian painter Khosro Berahmandi, Arabic singer Talal Alzefiri, oud player Thomas Kovacevic and flamenco dancer Megan Keogh.

The piece includes a seven-stanza poem that Bourassa wrote about her father, as well as poem that he wrote about the loss of his mother, which Bourassa discovered after her father died.

“It’s a visually rich show, with a music and poetry and dance,” Bourassa said.

“El Lobo y La Paloma (The Wolf and the Dove),” 7 p.m. June 3, South Portland High School; $12 and $18;

‘No Plan B’

Choreographer Alison Chase had so much fun creating a traveling performance piece last summer, she’ll do it again this year. “No Plan B,” a hybrid of performance art, installation, film, physical theater and movement, will premiere Aug. 24 at Fort Knox State Park in Prospect and move to Thompson’s Point in Portland for four performances beginning Aug. 31.

It’s presented by Alison Chase/Performance, Chase’s vehicle for collaboration with other artists. She is founding artistic director of Pilobolus Dance Theater and lives in Brooksville.

“No Plan B” mixes art and technology, and grew out of a research residency at the University of Maine’s Intermedia MFA program. Chase collaborated with Gene Felice, director of the CoAction at the University of Maine, to create projections and surround sound for this piece. Franz Nicolay created the music.

8 p.m. Aug. 24-27 Fort Knox State Park; 8 p.m. Aug. 31-Sept. 3, Thompson’s Point, Portland; $25;

Contact Bob Keyes at 791-6457 or:

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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Organist Ray Cornils ready for last official summer concert on Kotzschmar Organ Sun, 28 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 As Portland’s municipal organist for the last 27 years, Ray Cornils has taught thousands of people about the power of the mighty Kotzschmar Organ.

He’s demonstrated the incredible range of its 7,101 pipes by playing it, and he’s explored its 105-year-history hundreds of times through pre-concert lectures and with periodic organ tours.

But the whole time Cornils was teaching Mainers about their treasured Kotzschmar Organ, the impressive instrument has been teaching him. He hopes to show what’s he learned Aug. 22 when he performs his last summer concert on the Kotzschmar before retiring. Cornils’ performance will be the finale of Orgelfest17, the annual concert series featuring organists from all over the country taking their turns on the Kotzschmar.

“It’s such a creative instrument, and it’s enticed me over the years to work with all the colors and possibilities it offers. For this concert, I’ll try to put on display some of the things I’ve learned,” said Cornils, 61, of Woolwich. “Its sounds range from the faintest whisper to a heroic roar. So even when I play something I’ve played before, it can sound new.”

Cornils said he’s not sure yet what he’ll play during the concert, though the playlist likely will include some Bach and a piece called “For All the Saints” by John Weaver, an organist and educator whose resume includes being chair of the organ department at the Juilliard School in New York City. Weaver traveled to Maine each summer between 1957 and 2007 to play the Kotzschmar during the summer series. The piece is a combination of the jazzy “When the Saints Go Marching In” and church music, Cornils said. He also hopes to play some songs he has not played since the organ was reconstructed in 2014.

The annual Orgelfest draws organists from all over the country to Portland each summer. Other performers scheduled to play the Kotzschmar Organ during this year’s Orgelfest include Monica Czausz, organist at Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral in Houston, Texas, on Aug. 1; Richard Elliott, organist at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Aug. 8: and Nathan Avakian, New York-based organist and theater lighting designer, on Aug. 15.

On Aug. 12 the organ itself will be the star, during Kotzschmar Organ Day, when people can take free tours of the organ and its pipes at Merrill Auditorium.

The summer concert series focusing on the Kotzschmar began soon after it was installed in Portland’s City Hall Auditorium, in 1912. It’s been called Orgelfest (orgel is German for organ) since a $2.6 million reconstruction of the instrument was finished in 2014.

The organ is named for Hermann Kotzschmar, a German native who lived in Portland from 1849 until his death in 1908 and became one of Maine’s best known musicians. The organ was a gift to the city from publishing magnate Cyrus H.K. Curtis, a longtime friend of Kotzschmar’s.

Cornils is one of just two municipal organists in the country, with the other being in San Diego. He is the 10th person to hold the position in Portland. Cornils, who also serves as minister of music at First Parish Church in Brunswick, announced last summer that he’d retire at the end of 2017. His last concert as municipal organist will be his annual holiday concert, “Christmas with Cornils.” The nonprofit Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ is searching for a new municipal organist and the group hopes to announce the new person sometime this fall.

Before his Orgelfest17 performance, Cornils will give a talk in the rehearsal hall. He’ll talk about how the organ works and what makes it special. He’ll also talk about his years of experience in a very rare kind of job. And he’ll answer questions.

“Over the years, I’ve been able to get to know both this instrument and the people of Portland,” said Cornils. “Watching how they respond to the organ has been a real joy for me.”



Some people say classical music is freeing: It frees the mind, frees the soul. At the Bowdoin International Music Festival, much of the music itself is free. The festival, founded in 1964, includes some 80 free events throughout the summer. There’s the Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music, the Young Artists Series featuring festival students, the Festival Insights series featuring lectures and performances, and Community Concerts held in local breweries, libraries and other locations. Other concerts offer world-renowned musicians, including members of the Jupiter Quarter and the Ying Quartet.

Bowdoin International Music Festival, June 24-Aug. 5, $45 for subscription concerts, at two main venues: Studzinski Recital Hall at Bowdoin College, 12 Campus Road South, Brunswick; and Brunswick High School’s Crooker Theater, 116 Maquoit Road.


Bach, beer and bowling? In its second year, the Portland Bach Festival is continuing to prove that Bach pairs well with just about anything. One popular event from last year’s inaugural festival, Beer & Bach, is back with a micro-brew tasting while festival performers play, June 19 at the Ocean Gateway marine terminal. A new event this year is BachTails on June 17, on the rooftop deck of Bayside Bowl. People can eat and drink on the deck and enjoy periodic interludes of Bach music by the festival orchestra. At both events, the music is free, food and drinks are for sale. Also new this year is Bach on a Blanket on June 18. There will be a live ticketed concert inside the Episcopal Church of St. Mary in Falmouth, but it will be broadcast outside the church on a big screen for free.

Portland Bach Festival, June 14-25, $5 (students) to $40, at six venues: Episcopal Church of St. Mary, 43 Foreside Road, Falmouth; Etz Chaim Synagogue, 267 Congress St., Portland; St. Luke’s Cathedral, 143 State St., Portland; Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., Portland; Ocean Gateway, 14 Maine State Pier, Portland; East End Community Center, 195 North St., Portland.


In its 23rd season, Salt Bay Chamberfest’s theme this summer is “Move Me.” Works will explore music’s power to move us, emotionally and physically. Performances include a work by Iannis Xenakis for six percussionists, who surround the audience. Another performance will show movement, specifically the movement of nationally known dancer Edwin Olvera. There will also be lectures, a masterclass, a children’s concert and smaller benefit concerts and events.

Salt Bay Chamberfest, Aug. 7-19, $5 (students) to $30, at Darrows Barn, 3 Round Top Lane, Damariscotta.


Want to take your teenagers to a classical concert but aren’t sure they’ll like it? No problem at the Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival, where all five Tuesday evening concerts are free for those 21 and younger. The festival is in its 45th season, with a program designed by music director and pianist Mihae Lee.

Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival, July 11-Aug. 8, $25. free for 21 and under, Deertrees Theatre, 156 Deertrees Road, Harrison.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 210-1183 or at:

Twitter: @RayRouthier

]]> 0 organist Ray Cornils at the Kotzschmar Organ at Merrill Auditorium. Cornils plans to retire at the end of this year.Fri, 26 May 2017 17:21:43 +0000
What’s the best Adirondack chair for your backyard lounging? Sun, 28 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Adirondack chairs are emerging from hibernation all over Maine. Cheery reds, peaceful pastels, natural woods, classic dark green, all each wide enough for both a book and a drink. Sitting in them, a person’s forearms naturally assume the position of royalty on a throne, the garden or lawn the domain.

Garden thrones can come cheap. At a big-box store, or even beloved Maine chain Renys, you can pick up one of these chairs in molded plastic for as little as $17.98. Maybe even made in America. Or you could order a chair from Rob Lemire’s Vassalboro-based company, Maine Adirondack Chairs, for $110. Which would get you something handmade from a durable wood, white cedar that’s most likely from Maine or Canada, but in any event, not far away. Or you could buy a more expensive version ($299) made out of a form of recycled plastic “lumber” at say, L.L. Bean, also made in the United States.

In honor of Memorial Day weekend, the marker in time when even the ultimate late-snow-fearing pessimist drags out the garden furniture, we set out to answer a nagging question: What’s the better choice, sustainability wise? Should those of us who fell for the allure of a cheap plastic Adirondack chair feel guilty?

We had a strong hunch about what the answer would be, and uncovered some math and Life Cycle Analysis to substantiate it. But more than once we were told that this is an easy question to ask but a hard one to answer, and we heard some surprising opinions from experts, including that how much we like our chairs, be they plastic or wood, is a factor in the sustainability equation.


First, a quick history lesson. The first Adirondack chairs were, like Lemire’s, wooden, unsurprising given the era. According to the museum of the Adirondack region in upstate New York, the Adirondack Experience, a man named Thomas Lee invented the basic shape in 1903.

Frustrated by the lack of comfortable chairs at his family cottage on Lake Champlain, he began nailing boards together. He had his extended family try out the different versions right there on the lawn before arriving at consensus as to which slant was most comfortable in terms of back (and bottom) support. Lee used just a single, wide pine board for the back and made wide armrests.

One of Lee’s hunting pals, a carpenter in Westport named Harry Bunnell, needed work to get through the winter, and Lee suggested he try making and selling the chairs. Bunnell went into the chair business and built what he called (and patented) the Westport chair until 1930, using hemlock boards for the back rest. After that, others picked up the basic shape, but used slats for the back instead of a single board – slats being cheaper. The chairs were made widely throughout the Adirondack region and then spread to other parts of the country. By 1938, a New Jersey man had laid claim to a patent for what he called a lawn chair, which looked identical to today’s Adirondack chairs. Today there are patent holders for various versions, including a plastic folding version made by Adams Manufacturing, the Pennsylvania-based company that makes a “resin” chair sold by Lowe’s. Resin is a different way of saying plastic.

Rob Lemire does not have a patent. What he has is a well-worn pattern, which he’d bought, he doesn’t even remember where from, about 30 years ago. He moved to Maine in 2007 with plans to retire (foiled by gigs at Fedco and farming ventures with his partner, seed expert Roberta Bailey) but maybe do some woodworking.

“I thought I was going to be building kitchen cabinets,” he said. His plan was to be selective about what jobs he took. But he found a limited market for higher-end kitchen cabinets in Central Maine, so he pulled out that old pattern, which featured a nice soft curve in the seat. Almost “ergonomic,” he said. He and his staff, which has grown to three, all women from the area, developed some modifications along the way, like a slightly smaller version they called the Adirondack 90, which was downsized by about 10 percent to be more comfortable for women.

He hasn’t tried to drum up business, but an Instagram account got him some attention, including from Maine’s own Chilton Furniture, which asked him to build a custom version for their Freeport showroom. In 2016 he and his crew at Maine Adirondack Chairs made 400 chairs (and a lot of picnic tables, footstools, benches and the like).

Naturally, he prefers his chairs, made of cedar that he says is ultra durable and local. Or relatively so, he says it could be from northern Vermont or Canada but in all likelihood is from Maine (most of what he uses is milled here anyway, by Dewey’s Lumber and Cedar Mill in Liberty). Lemire would tell you to buy local, from Maine craftspeople whenever possible. “That is pretty important to me.”

Also pretty important to Matt Prindiville, the Maine-based executive director of Upstream Policy, a national environmental organization that focuses on such issues as ending plastic pollution.

“Maine wood chairs equal local renewable resources going to make durable products,” Prindiville said in an email. “That’s my kind of outdoor furniture.”

His understanding is that many plastic chairs are made from low-value plastic materials, that is, mixes of different types of polymers that have limited uses. It’s good to do something with those plastics, he said, but the chair represents the end of the road. It can’t be melted down and turned into some new object; it’s “one and done” because of that mixed polymer material it came from. Moreover, a “cheap” plastic chair is only as “cheap” as the price of oil, Prindiville said.


A life cycle analysis by the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources & Conservation supplied us with the most useful data we could find to settle our debate on wood versus plastic Adirondack chairs. Part of an exercise intended for educational purposes, it compared the environmental costs of three different sets of outdoor furniture (each containing four chairs and a table), including a plastic resin set, cast aluminum and pine.

Adirondack chairs also come in the plastic variety Photo by Peggy Grodinsky

It breaks down the greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) from each kind of set, factoring in the oil and natural gas extraction to make the plastics, the refining of those fossil fuels and then the environmental cost of manufacturing polypropylene – the little pellets of plastic that are then melted into a mold to make the furniture – and then of maintaining and disposing of it at the end of its life cycle.

It did the same for wood, including sustainable wood production (versus, say, the toll harvesting exotic woods like teak often takes on natural resources), lumber production, pressure treating the wood, maintaining it (with wood or stains) and disposing of it.

Running the numbers without using the data on pressure treating wood – since Lemire’s wood is not pressure treated – wood was the clear winner on carbon dioxide emissions, producing only 53 percent as many kilograms of carbon dioxide as the plastic resin set.

Andy Whitman, Director of Sustainable Economies Program for Manomet, the New England–based nonprofit that specializes in sustainability solutions, said he wasn’t surprised that wood “won” in the greenhouse gas emissions analysis but was somewhat surprised that the difference wasn’t more stark. “It’s sort of comparing apples and oranges, and you don’t always get the results you would expect. With all that petroleum in those chairs, you’d think the footprinting must be enormously different, like five times the greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s not.”

Whitman is considering some new lawn furniture purchases himself, and he said the study gave him pause because he’d thought of buying a metal set for durability and aesthetic. In the manufacturing stage alone, aluminum furniture had three times the emissions of the plastic and 20 times that of the wood. But it can be recycled, almost endlessly.


Left out of that life cycle analysis is another kind of outdoor furniture, that’s made with what is called HDPE lumber, high-density polyethylene. This is a product made from post-consumer materials that include old milk jugs and plastic bottles that once contained everything from water to detergent. It’s so durable that some companies that build furniture with it give multi-decade guarantees on their Adirondacks. There’s even an Amish-owned company in Kansas that sells Adirondack chairs made from this material, which it calls “poly lumber.”

L.L. Bean sells both wooden Adirondack chairs and its version of the HDPE chairs (which come from an Indiana vendor, according to a customer service representative). The HDPE chairs are more expensive and described as eco-friendly and with the promise that they will not “rot, warp, crack, splinter, absorb moisture or ever need painting.” They’re heavy enough to not tip over and if you browse the more than 100 reviews on L.L. Bean’s website, pretty popular (although some complain about the material and say the chair isn’t comfortable).

If the high-density polyethylene material had been included in that University of Florida life cycle analysis, Whitman said it would probably have beaten out wood for the title of “greenest” furniture. That’s because the original impacts of extracting fossil fuels and making plastics from them don’t “count” in this kind of life cycle analysis.

It should count, says Stephen Shaler, the director of the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine in Orono. “The environmental burden is still there. You could argue that the impact of the milk jug is reduced, but you can’t ignore that all that extraction that created the milk jug wasn’t used for the chairs. The fact of the matter is, you still extracted the oil. And you are going to still have to dispose of the plastic, even if you are going to get a longer time of utility out of it.”

Shaler brought up another factor that needs to be included in a well-rounded life cycle analysis: how much use it gets.

“You have to define what the functional unit is,” Shaler said. In this case, it wouldn’t be the chair itself, it would be the number of hours of use the chair gets. Or the number of enjoyable hours you spend in the chair. Assume you buy two chairs, one plastic, one wood. You find the plastic one less comfortable, and therefore less functional.

“You never use the plastic one, so maybe it gets used for three hours, and the wood chair gets used for 30 hours,” he said. It’s getting ten times the use, and that increased functionality should be a factor in the overall equation about the chair’s impact. The chair you love will probably stick around the property longer than the chair you merely like. Shaler by the way, has metal, upholstered outdoor furniture. And “four Aubuchon plastic chairs that were on sale for $14 each,” he said. They’re for overflow crowds. Low cost, minimal use. “I didn’t look at the environmental cost,” he said. “That wasn’t part of my decision. Even though I do these things for a living.”

It’s Whitman’s hope, and a Manomet goal, that the world focuses on making more sustainable choices about materials up front in the future, planning for a circular or what’s known as a “cradle to cradle” economy. That is, we’ll invest in virgin materials only when we know they can be recycled, and reused endlessly, making a better decision about our resources upfront, rather than repurposing a bad one further down the line.


Glen Brand, director of the Sierra Club’s Maine chapter, is no fan of the plastic chair, on multiple levels. There’s the pollution involved in how plastics are made (“highly toxic”) and the issues with environmental standards in many of the places they are made. “Many of them are made in China and India, and those are places that do not have environmental standards generally.”

“Then there is the pollution associated with transporting them to market,” he added. “And if they are cheap and they don’t last well, there is the problem with dealing with the garbage in Maine. They certainly can’t be burned.”

Interestingly, the University of Florida life cycle analysis turns the fact that plastic typically doesn’t break down in landfills, at least not for hundreds of years, into something of a plus. The greenhouse gas emissions data for the disposal of used treated wooden garden furniture is twice that of the resin set. While it’s true the resin, sitting inert in a landfill, produces less carbon dioxide as it decomposes (or rather, doesn’t decompose) that’s not exactly a long-term plus. The question there is, would you rather have something take up space in a landfill for hundreds of years, or break down more quickly while emitting more greenhouse gases? Brand would go with the wood, the more local the better. He has a pair of Adirondack chairs, wood, painted green, that he got on special at an L.L. Bean outlet some 10 years ago.

“There is nothing like the feel of wood, the aesthetic of it,” he said. “It’s a sensory pleasure.”

There’s that functionality that Shaler was talking about.

But as Brand drags them from the porch to the yard and back again to protective cover, every time he’s used them to soak up a day’s sun, he gets it. And his family does have a plastic table that they move around as needed outside. “I hate touching that table,” Brand said. But “I realize the convenience of just leaving the plastic stuff out all the time.”

“There are no pure choices when it comes to these products,” he added. “There’s no free lunch. Every product has some environmental downside.”

That’s the challenge of the modern age for the sustainably inclined, Manomet’s Whitman said. “You have these conundrums. You cannot fight every battle.” In terms of the battle of the lawn chair, there is one easy way to be more sustainable. Sit in whatever kind of chair you’ve got, plastic, poly lumber or wood, until it falls apart. Then replace it with something that took a lower toll on the environment to make and is still durable. Like wood. Rob Lemire says he’s got a pair of his old cedar chairs that have been outside 24/7 for 27 years. He tips them up on the wood pile in the winter, to keep the legs out of the wet.

“White cedar is a relatively soft,” Lemire said. “But it has unique properties because of its internal oils. It’s disease and rot resistant.” Pay attention to it and it can last, he said. But about his cheap competition? “I don’t think there is a plastic chair out there that you are going to see still standing in 25 years.”

Mary Pols can be contacted at 791-6456 or at:

Twitter: MaryPols

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