SKOWHEGAN — Incumbent Selectwoman Darla Pickett was re-elected to the Skowhegan Board of Selectmen in voting Tuesday, as was high school physical education teacher and Planning Board Chairman Soren Siren.

There were five candidates running for two seats on the Board of Selectmen.

Pickett, with 404 votes, was challenged by Lake George Park manager Derek Ellis, with 263 votes; developer Christopher Kruse, with 314 votes; Siren, with 366 votes; and real estate broker and assessors Chairman Ronald Blaisdell, 262 votes.

The term of office is three years. Pickett and Siren will join Betty Austin, Donald Skillings and Paul York on the board.

Among the key issues noted by all five candidates is the future of the Sappi Fine Paper North America mill and its valuation for taxes.

The Skowhegan Board of Assessors in April denied a request from Sappi to cut the property tax value of its paper mill on U.S. Route 201 by more than $137 million, which would have resulted in the loss of $2.3 million in revenue for the town. The paper mill is assessed for taxation by the town at $463,630,900. The company says the property should be taxed based on a value of $326,343,426.


The difference — the amount by which the company says the valuation needs to be cut — is $137,287,474.

In voting for road commissioner, 23-year incumbent Greg Dore was re-elected with 483 votes. Dore, of East Madison, faced opposition from two challengers, Donald Kinney Sr. (381 votes) and former Highway Department employee Paul Murray (60 votes) for a three-year term.

Dore, 60, said the experience of two-plus decades on the job made him qualified for another term.

“I’m very dedicated, I’ve got a lot of experience and I’ve got a good educational background to manage this department,” he said.

All three candidates on the ballot for four vacant school board seats on the School Administrative District 54 school board were elected, as was write-in candidate Harold Bigelow. On the ballot for a three-year term, incumbent Director Jane Arthur (488 votes) was reelected. Former Skowhegan selectman and Somerset County commissioner Lynda Quinn was elected with 697 votes as was Amy Rouse (457 votes). Bigelow (74 votes) also was elected.

There were three candidates for four vacant seats on the 23-member school board with incumbent directors Liz Anderson, the chairman, and Noella DesPres, whose terms expire this year, choosing not to seek re-election.


Anderson and DesPres said at the district budget meeting in May that the contentious debate and school board vote to not change the name of the high school sports mascot — the Indians — didn’t factor into their decision not to seek re-election. Both women voted to drop the name “Indians” in a final 11-9 vote that resulted in the school keeping the name.

There also was talk that if the school board voted to drop the name and image of the Indians mascot, the proposed budget for the coming year would not be adopted at the district meeting.

Incumbent director Jessie Roderick of Skowhegan, whose term of office is up, was not at the school board vote on the Indians nickname and was not on the ballot for re-election.

Incumbent Town Clerk and Treasurer Gail Pelotte was re-elected unopposed for a three-year term.

John Grohs was re-elected unopposed for a three-year term on the Board of Assessors.

Michael Lambke was running unopposed for a five-year term as Coburn Park commissioner, and Deborah Jones was running unopposed for a three-year term for overseer of the poor.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.