LOCAL NEWS

 
Columbia
Falls News

By Chuck Hammond

 

Two Hundred Year Old Ledger Returned To Columbia Falls

A business ledger belonging to Nathan Bucknam who was in business in Columbia Falls some two hundred years ago was returned on Friday, September 12, 2014, to repose in the Ruggles House Society archives.  The ledger was given to the archives by Rebecca Crowell of Salem, Massachusetts and presented on her behalf by Gloria Allen Hayward, Columbia Falls Town Historian to Ellen Tenan, Ruggles House Society Secretary and Historian. 

 

Mrs. Crowell is a great, great, great granddaughter of Nathan Bucknam, creator of the ledger.  Nathan Bucknam was in the general merchandize business including hardware in the village of what was then the Town of Columbia.  It seems the ledger has been treasured and passed from generation to generation of his descendants.  Nathan Bucknam (1792-1840) resided in the house at 28 Church Hill Circle.  At Nathan’s death the house passed to his son Benjamin Franklin Bucknam (1835-1886) whose daughter Lucy Ella married Frank Ingersoll and resided at 126 Main Street until Frank’s death when Lucy Ella moved to Massachusetts to be with her daughter.

 

Mrs. Crowell wisely and kindly decided the ledger should be returned to place of origin and it will be in the archives at the Thomas Ruggles House in Columbia Falls, where it may be used by scholars researching the time in history when it was created.


 


  1. A business ledger belonging to Nathan Bucknam who was in business in Columbia Falls some two hundred years ago was returned on Friday, September 12, 2014, to repose in the Ruggles House Society archives.  The ledger was given to the archives by Rebecca Crowell of Salem, Massachusetts and presented on her behalf by Gloria Allen Hayward (left), Columbia Falls Town Historian to Ellen Tenan, Ruggles House Society Secretary and Historian. 



Selectmen meeting

Selectmen met on Monday, September 8th, 2014. Todd Emerson was absent. There was no financial information due to the vacant office of the treasurer. In old business the playground area has not been delineated for inclusion in the municipal building lease back by the town. Selectmen have scheduled interviews for the administrative assistant and the treasurer positions on Wednesday, September 10th and a special selectmen’s meeting for Monday evening September 15th at 7PM to hire individuals for these positions. Robin Santiago spoke for the Union Hall Committee. There will not be a quilt show this year – not enough quilts or vendors. An open house at Union Hall is scheduled for Saturday, October 18th. It will be an all day, 10AM to 3PM event including: white elephant tables, farm stands, food, crafts, and an unveiling ceremony for the National Register of Historic Places bronze plaque. Selectmen will be present as well as Richard Grant who was instrumental in obtaining the listing of Union Hall on the national register.

 

New business in Columbia

Iasco (pronounced eye-as-ko) LLC is a fully equipped general machine shop  conveniently located in the Morris Truck Sales – Morris Construction building on US Route 1 in Columbia. The business is owned by Steve Hersom and his wife Sarah Schuyler. They have over 25 years in machining and administrative experience. Hersom is originally from Bucksport and Schuyler grew up in Connecticut, but their business has been in Pelham, NH for about 18-19 years. Hersom’s machining experience actually goes way back to the 1960s working for other companies making products doing research and development. He has parts in artificial hearts, in the military missile program and actually has made parts that went to Mars. Two years ago Hersom retired and sold his equipment. After about five weeks he decided retirement was not for him and he started buying machining equipment again. They moved to Harrington and opened this business about two months ago. They brought their client list with them and still fill orders for hundreds of little plastic, composite or metal parts that go into other manufacturer’s equipment. They have a display set up to illustrate the various things they can make and do including: boat propulsion shaft rope cutters; small parts that go into solar panels, vacuum chambers, the EKV missile program and rocker arms for automotive racing engines; and a jig for repairing blueberry harvester cams. While we were talking a local man brought in a part for his blueberry harvester to be repaired or replaced. Some of the machining equipment Iasco has are: a CNC milling machine and a manual miller; a 12 ton press; two lathes; polish grinders; welding and brazing equipment; and inspection equipment. Their test and inspection surface plate is a solid granite block about 6” thick. Iasco is open 6am to 2pm Monday – Friday, phone - 207-483-4300, email - steve.iasco@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

Overheard at checkout between two customers at Four Corners Supermarket in Columbia “Did you hear about the Downeast Coastal (Press)?” “I know, what are we going to do? I’m going to miss it. My mother will die without it”. Also from Gloria Hayward Town Historian “Sad to see it go. I am going to miss it. I read the obituaries and then go directly to the Columbia Falls news.”

 

 

Wreaths Across America Store

WAA now has an online store complete with shopping cart where you can buy such things as: wreaths, centerpieces, pins & patches, shirts & hats, cards & DVDs and flags & clings. Go to: http://www.waastore.com/

           

 

Upcoming events

 

Selectmen’s meeting Monday, September 22, 2014 at 7 p.m., in the municipal center.

Open house at Union Hall Saturday, October 18th 10AM to 3PM

 

Email your local news items or history snippets to c.f.record-editor@roadrunner.com




  1. Steve Hersom and his wife Sarah Schuyler show a cross section of things they can make and do at their a new fully equipped general machine shop, Iasco LLC on US Route 1 in Columbia. Iasco is open 6am to 2pm Monday – Friday, phone - 207-483-4300, email - steve.iasco@yahoo.com.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Robin and Tony Santiago would like to thank all their family, friends and neighbors who supported them in the “SMA WALK” on August 23, 2014 in San Francisco, Ca. to help find a cure for SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) in memory of their grandson Rhys Anthony Santiago who passed away from SMA1 on August 23, 2013 at only 55 days old. Thanks to the generous donations Team “LiveRhysStrong” was once again one of the top fundraising teams. In fact, at this time they are in second place. So, thank you to everyone for your help and support. It is greatly appreciated and means a lot to them. Donations are still being accepted and anyone who wishes to donate can do so by going online at www.facebook.com/ LiveRhysStrong or by sending a check made out to LRS Foundation, c/o Robin Santiago, PO Box 294, Columbia Falls, ME 04623.

 

Roberta Hammond, docent for the Ruggles House reported that Dr. David Yarborough Wild Blueberry Specialist University of Maine Cooperative Extension “the blueberry man” had recently visited the museum while on his annual tour down east during this blueberry harvest. They mentioned that in the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration they had stayed with Grace and Mike Bucknam.

 

Glen Texter who lives in Columbia Falls and works alternately in both Columbia Falls Pottery stores reported that he had recently had the opportunity to meet with Senator Susan Collins in the Machias store. She was on a reelection campaign bus tour (she actually has her own campaign motor coach) downeast and made a stop in Machias on Tuesday September 2nd. She did a walking tour of the downtown area visiting some of the local businesses. Columbia Falls Pottery was her first stop. Texter had received a phone call from Sharon Stackpole on the day before saying the Senator would be visiting the store. Dave Burns, Richard Paul, Will Tuell, Joyce Maker and other candidates for state office were also along with Senator Collins. She greatly enjoyed her visit to the pottery shop.



Photo: Courtesy of  Glen Texter

Glen Texter from Columbia Falls had the opportunity to show Senator Susan Collins around the Columbia Falls Pottery shop in Machias on Tuesday September 2nd. She toured the Machias area on a reelection campaign bus tour downeast.




----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Transfer of the Municipal Building is a Done Deal 

C.F. Selectmen met on Monday, August 25th, 2014. There was no finances or agenda due to the vacant positions of treasurer and administrative assistant. Todd Emerson mentioned that tax payments are coming in and they are being set aside until these positions are filled. Cash is not being accepted. Alan Grant will see to getting old names off the town bank accounts and adding his name temporarily (approved 3/0).  Addison is not registering boats because they had not been authorized to do it by the town. Selectmen will send a revised letter of authorization. Several applications for the vacancies have been received; two for treasurer and five for the administrative assistant. The building conveyance Purchase and Sale agreement is finished and already signed by Wreaths Across America (WAA). The board accepted this agreement by a vote of 3/0. The town needs to change its insurance to renter’s insurance. The lease agreement has not been prepared yet and the playground area still has to be defined. The WAA and United Methodist Women (UMW) have reached a separate agreement concerning the kitchen equipment and tables. Road Commissioner Mike Bailey reported that two of the three owners on Richards Lane agreed to have three trees removed by the town. Bailey will get a quote for tree removal. One owner is taking responsibility for the trees on his property. Fire Chief Dave Perham reports that the new Epping Volunteer Fire Department (EVFD) paperwork is all signed, but they are still operating as separate departments until the EVFD has joined the Maine Municipal Association which is necessary for insurance. C.F fire department will be all moved out of the old building by the end of the week, August 30th. Traffic signs need to be moved. Phone needs to be disconnected. Perham will drain the water pipes and put the fuel in the Union Hall tank. Cloud Nine has volunteered their time for an electric project at the new location. Selectmen went into executive session to review applications.

  

An outdoor swim adventure

My grandson, Rufus (11) and I are attracted to water and swim together regularly. Our favorite swimming hole is Spring River Lake on Rte. 182 in Black Woods. We decided to explore something different and attempt to swim in at least ten different places in the same day. We packed our own lunches, took two bottles of water each, our snorkels and extra towels, and then set off from Columbia Falls wearing our swimming trunks at about 10AM on Thursday August 21st. (I noted the odometer reading when we left but forgot to check it again when we returned) The weather was warm and sunny. Rufus had his Kindle and was playing prerecorded music such as “Rock N Roll All Night”, ”Gangnam Style” and “Surfing Bird” very loud (I couldn’t wait for the batteries to run down).  Local and popular Montegail Pond (Township T19) was our first stop. The beach here is on private property owned by the Montegail Corporation. Swimming and picnicking is allowed as long as guests follow the rules posted on signs about parking, unloading and behavior. The pond is scenic, the bottom is a course sand and the water is clear. We took turns diving and retrieving a superhero dive stick. We got back into our car in wet swim suits sitting on damp towels and sped off to the next place, Pretty Pond T24. This small pond is indeed pretty with a sandy beach all around it. The water is clear, the bottom sandy and very shallow; you need to walk nearly half way across to get up to your neck; more swimming, diving and snorkeling.  We also found a lost white dive item or dog chew resembling a figure eight. Next we headed for Duck Pond and Barren Pond which we did not enter. Both small ponds have bushes all around the shore and did not look easily accessible for swimming. Lucky for me the Kindle batteries finally played out. We continued on toward Hadley Lakes, but on the way you have to pass the dreaded Serpent of Shadagee. Rufus was quite surprised and amazed to see it appear suddenly right in front of us. It is a huge rock shaped like the head of an enormous snake with mouth and all. It has been painted with white eyes, red lips and a darting red tongue. As we were leaving Rufus said “that was hilarious”. Next was the Hadley Lakes (still in T24) with its dozens of small travel trailers lining the shores. This is the first stop on our itinerary where we actually saw other people. We both went for a short swim. We had to pass through some floating dark leaves and bark to get into swimmable water. Rufus didn’t like it much. He said “on a scale of 1 to 10 this is an 8”. We crossed Route 9 to the next place which was Salmon Pond. It was pretty and looked like a place for fishing but not for swimming. There was a boat landing a small beach but the water had weeds growing for the first 20 feet or so. We decided not to go in. The next few places are in the public domain called “The Machias River Corridor”. The first stop was the “Log Landing” campsite. There are several campsites here and one was taken. The river water was waist deep with some current. I swam but Rufus didn’t. By now the sky was cloudy and it seemed to dampen our enthusiasm for swimming. It was about one o’clock when we reached the West Branch Campsite. This is a lovely place. The river bottom is smooth and nearly flat ledge, wall to wall. The ledge is exposed in many areas and the water is shallow where it is not. It is great for wading, picnicking and sunbathing (when the sun is out of course). There is a bridge there and downstream of it the current is fast. Several nooks allow one to sit in fast shallow water and enjoy the same soothing feeling as if it was a whirlpool bath. Rufus and I sat at the picnic table and had lunch. We had made our own sandwiches; Rufus had his favorite peanut butter and sliced banana; I had turkey, sharp cheddar, lettuce and tomato with ranch dressing. After lunch we continued to sit at the table talking. He challenged me to an arm wrestle. It was going nowhere and he said “you are not trying Grampy” so I put his arm down with enough effort that I could feel a pain in my shoulder. Our next stop was the “Wonderland Campsite” on the lower end of First Machias Lake. It was occupied by two people and their travel trailer. I went swimming, Rufus waded. The air was a little chilly without the sun. We reached the “Stud Mill Road” and crossed the Machias River to the east side. We drove to the south end of Second Machias Lake for another swim. The bottom had more clams than I had ever seen in a lake. They were half buried straight up and very uncomfortable when stepped on. We dived for the superhero dive sticks for a few times and the on to Third Machias Lake “East Arm”. This is very nice with relatively private individual campsites, scenic, wooded and sandy, but Rufus said “the bottom was yucky”. The last place we visited was Third Machias Lake outlet by the bridge. This is a lovely spot with space for many campers. It is a good launch site for boats, kayaks and canoes going up stream or kayaks and canoes going downstream. The launch area is shallow and only wading is possible. The bottom is gravely with many rocks. It was getting near four o’clock so we headed back home and then the sun came out again. We saw a hawk flying with a small animal in its beak. Rufus asked if it was dead and I said I couldn’t tell. He said “you know how to tell don’t you? If it is dead it will have X’s in its eyes”. Rufus found a Hard Rock station on the radio and played it loudly all the way home. We visited twelve places and swam in six of them so we didn’t make our goal of swimming in ten, but the day was priceless.

 

Rufus Hammond donning his snorkel for a swim in Pretty Pond as part of an all-day swim adventure with his grandfather.


Rufus was quite surprised and amazed to see the Dreaded Serpent of Shadagee appear suddenly right in front of us. It is a huge rock shaped like the head of an enormous snake with mouth and all. It has been painted with white eyes, red lips and a darting red tongue. As we were leaving Rufus said “that was hilarious”. Rufus is the son of Chad and Anna Hammond of Columbia Falls.



Hadley Lakes with dozens of small travel trailers set up for the season.



A collage of photos at West Branch of Machias River Campground




Rufus Hammond enjoying a sits bath in the current at West Branch of the Machias River.




Salmon Pond was pretty and looked like a place for fishing but not for swimming.



East Arm campground of Third Machias Lake



The bridge at the outlet of Third Machias Lake


Upcoming events

 

Selectmen’s meeting Monday, September 8th  2014 at 7 p.m., in the municipal center.

 

 

Email your local news items or history snippets to c.f.record-editor@roadrunner.com


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Nashville Country Band has ties to Down East Maine.

Recording Artist, Perley Curtis and his band are touring Maine again this summer. Curtis grew up in Alton, Maine. My wife Roberta, her sister Rosa and I went to see and hear them play at Jordan's Snack Bar in Ellsworth on Wednesday evening August 20, 2014. This was one of Jordan’s regularly scheduled weekly live entertainment “Cruise-ins” and the turnout was great. Our niece Kelly Morris Ellis is the female vocalist and her son Brian is the drummer for this group. Kelly grew up in Ellsworth and is the daughter of the late David Morris from Columbia Falls and Amelia Pinkham Morris of Steuben. Kelly and Brian live in Gallatin, Tennessee. 

Photo: by Chuck Hammond

The Perley Curtis Band playing at Jordan's Snack Bar in Ellsworth on Wednesday evening August 20, 2014. Kelly Morris Ellis (center front) is the female vocalist and her son Brian (center rear) is the drummer for this group. Kelly is the daughter of the late David Morris from Columbia Falls and Amelia Pinkham Morris of Steuben. Kelly and Brian live in Gallatin, Tennessee.

Columbia Falls’ Town Librarian retires

Loyce Worcester has a passion for books and reading. When the town received the elementary school building back from SAD 37 in 2010. Loyce saw an opportunity in the pre-existing school library.  She sprang into action, called some residents, formed a board and bylaws were written. Loyce was officially elected town librarian. She worked tirelessly at her labor of love: cataloging the existing books; she wrote and received grants; she got town appropriations; she sought and received donations; and she held fund raiser events. With the funds generated she purchased new books, a new rug, new furniture, book shelves, a librarian’s work station, and computers. She transformed the old children’s library into a comfortable, cozy space where people of all ages could relax, enjoy reading, check out a good book or surf the internet. Besides book and food sale events she organized Halloween parties, Easter egg hunts, and summer reading programs that involved other town libraries. She got the Tuscan lodge #106 of Addison through Steven Smith to donate two bicycles as a reward to children who read the most books in the summer reading program. Loyce trained her volunteer helpers and Sheri Thaxter the new Columbia Falls librarian. Loyce never received compensation for any of her volunteer work. In 2013 the selectmen authorized reimbursement for her mileage. Chairman of the board Hilary Pineo said “She is much appreciated”.  Loyce Worcester retired as of August 30th 2014.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

Local News

 

Passamaquoddy baseball

Tony Santiago reports that in the afternoon on Sunday August 10th he could hear loud cheering coming from the direction of the C.F. baseball field on Centerville Road. He decided to check it out. What he found was the annual baseball game between the Passamaquoddy blueberry harvest camps, New Brunswick’s Simon Camp vs Nova Scotia’s Googoo Camp. Santiago an enthusiastic baseball fan decided to stay and watch. The players and fans take this game as serious as any major league game. The Googoo camp won for the first time in eight years.  

 

Board of Selectmen Meeting August 11, 2014

Selectman Alan Grant was absent. There were no financials or warrant due to the vacant treasurer’s position and no agenda due to the vacant administrative assistant position. Todd Emerson said that tax money is coming in. Attorney Gilbert has informed the selectmen that the conveyance of the municipal building to Wreaths Across America is “good to go”; both lawyers have reached agreements. The board approved Ryan Fletcher’s request to use the gym for four evenings of basketball. The town of Addison has agreed to register vehicles for the town at $25.00 per week. Individuals will pay $5.00 for each re-registrations and $6.00 for each new registrations. No applications have been received for yet for the treasurer’s or administrative assistant’s positions. The ad in the Downeast Coastal Press runs for two weeks.

Tony Santiago spoke about Union Hall: a National Historic Register plaque will be hung at an open house planned for this fall; interior painting is expected to be finished before the annual quilt show in October; volunteers are still wanted; the yard sale held on August 9th and 10th was a success and raised $500.92; Santiago extended thanks to committee members and community volunteers – Pat & Jim Iley, Joe & Dawn Bragg, Leni Weaver, Joyce Grant, and Jolene Farnsworth for their time, baked food & hard work and to all the folks that donated items to this benefit.   

 


The Town of Columbia Falls has a new Librarian, Sheri Thaxter. She is shown here processing a large lot of children’s books donated by Dr. Jan Kristo, Professor of Children’s Literature University of Maine, Orono. The C.F. Library is open Wednesday and Saturday from 11:00AM to 4:00PM; Copying, Printing and Faxing available; 483-1255.

 

           


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

The following post was seen recently on the front door of the municipal building “The Columbia Falls Town Office will be closed until further notice. Posted at the Columbia Falls Town Office by Nancy Bailey on 7/31/2014 at 4:00p.m.”

 

From the facebook page Town of Columbia Falls - maintained by the Administrative Assistant

The time has come for this page to be taken down. Thank you to all who have supported my true intentions for this social venue”.

“I had planned to write a letter to the editor to explain my reason(s) for leaving the Town Office however I have decided against that. I feel no good can come from such correspondence even though there is so much I would like to say. Instead I will simply state a sincere thank you to those who have supported, appreciated, and complimented me for my work and dedication over the past three years. You all know who you are and I can not begin to express my gratitude to you. Thank you for your calls, your visits, your flowers, your cards and your kind words. There certainly are many kind people in our little town”.

“I am moving on and am looking forward to this next chapter of my life. I will be returning to MSAD #37 and am so excited to be working with the fine folks at the Milbridge Elementary School. They are a great group of caring, devoted individuals. I am looking forward to working in the office and to getting to know all of the fine students and parents in the area”.

“Unfortunately, the Town Office will be closed until further notice. Be assured that our competent selectmen are diligently working to get things up and running as quickly as possible. There will be an ad in the Downeast Coastal Press next week for both the positions of the Administrative Assistant and the Town Treasurer. If you are are interested in either, please watch for the posting and submit your letter of application and your resume. I am sure they look forward to hearing from you”.

“The very best of luck to our town. My wishes are, as they have been for the past three years, for peace, harmony, trust, patience, honesty, and faith. God Bless”.

“Nancy L. Bailey/Resident of Columbia Falls”





: Cathy VanVoorhis from Dexter Michigan painting the historic Union Hall across Pleasant River in the village of Columbia Falls recently. An avid naturalist VanVoorhis received a Master of Fine Arts degree from University of Michigan where she is currently a lecturer. She is staying at the Golden Apple Art Residency near the tip of Ripley’s Neck in Harrington.

 





------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

 

Town Officers Mother and Daughter Team Quit

Treasurer Lenora Weaver and her daughter Administrative assistant Nancy Bailey each resigned at the regular selectmen’s meeting on Monday evening, July 28th giving only four days’ notice. Both resignation letters were read aloud by selectmen Todd Emerson. The board accepted the resignations which are effective August 1st.  Bailey has been offered a position with benefits and insurance. Weaver’s letter states “I’m Done. They Win. It’s Over” and her letter goes on saying “The cluster of people that has harassed and hounded me for eight years is merely regrouping and forming yet another committee to carry on the work and malice of the previous groups. This newly formed Columbia Falls NOW Committee is made up of the same people as the others. It has renamed itself but obviously has the same focus. Note that it is stated in their ‘Press Release’ that anyone is welcome IF you agree with them.” [Apparently referring to this statement in Downeast Coastal Press Columbia Falls News July 22-28, 2014 “Columbia Falls Now is a group formed to promote honesty, transparency, civility, proactive and forward thinking throughout our town and within town government.  Starting this fall group meetings will be held in a public space, such as the Municipal Building, and any citizen of Columbia Falls will be welcome to attend if they wish to support the goals of the group as stated above.”] Both letters may be read on the internet at www.columbiafallsmerecord.org,

In other business taken up by the board: approved a warrant of $13,999.74; $68 was the cost to have old records shredded; Representatives of the Department of Labor inspected the office and found four minor issues which will be noted in a forthcoming report; Letters have gone out to the owners of property on Richardson Lane about the possibility of cutting the huge trees overhanging the street; and, Town Librarian Loyce Worcester resigned and Sheri Thaxter was appointed as the new librarian effective August 30th.

 

COLUMBIA FALLS NOW PRESS RELEASE

 

Once again Lenora Weaver has resigned her position as treasurer of the Town of Columbia Falls and is casting the blame for her departure on other citizens of the town.  This is Mrs. Weaver’s second resignation in four years and both have left the town in the lurch so-to-speak since a treasurer is a necessary component for the functioning of town government.  In 2010, Mrs. Weaver planned a surprise departure from the treasurer’s job shortly after she was re-elected to that position.  Her plan included Muriel Smith, then the town’s administrative assistant, town clerk, etc.  However, Mrs. Smith chose the high road of loyalty to the town and those who elected her and did not resign.  Lenora Weaver blamed her 2010 resignation on a so-called “Concerned Citizens” group that had been asking questions about town government operations, questions for which they had a right to know answers and which required little additional time to satisfy.  Now in 2014 Mrs. Weaver is blaming her resignation on another newly formed group, Columbia Falls Now, recently formed to promote openness, transparency and honesty in town government, principles of which Mrs. Weaver apparently does not approve.

This time Mrs. Weaver was successful in taking the town’s administrative assistant, her daughter Nancy Bailey, with her since both submitted resignations at the Selectmen’s meeting on Monday, July 28, 2014.  Thus Mrs. Weaver has at last fulfilled her grand scheme of shutting down our town government, which cannot operate without a town clerk / tax collector and treasurer.  At this time I am not sure what action the Selectmen can legally do to get the town operational again after August 1, when both resignations take effect.  One can feel sorry that Mrs. Weaver and Mrs. Bailey have so little respect or caring for a town that has spent tax money to train them for their jobs which they obviously took so lightly and with little regard to the consequence of their actions.  As we all know, this is the time of year when town funds are at their lowest and with the bills still coming in an early commitment of the taxes to the tax collector (so tax bills can be sent out) is to be hoped for.  This commitment cannot be made if there is no tax collector and therefore we are left with the possibility of the town running out of money to pay its bills.

It is this writer’s belief the Selectmen should look to the election of town officers which was held in March, 2013 and appoint as Treasurer Grace Falzarano who lost her bid to become town treasurer to Mrs. Weaver by only one vote.  As to finding a person to fill the job of administrative assistant to the selectmen, tax collector and town clerk, I can’t help but believe there are some people out there who could do these jobs well and maybe some who already have training for such jobs.  Now of course comes the question as to who would want to work for a dysfunctional operation such as the Town of Columbia Falls has been under the leadership of our selectmen.  These selectmen seem totally unable to keep the town’s house in order.  Witness Selectman Alan Grant’s response at a fairly recent selectmen’s meeting when questioned about the harassment which the Selectmen appointed 150 Celebration Steering Committee had to put up with from officers of the Town of Columbia Falls, he said almost gleefully, “You folks (meaning those citizens who ask unwanted questions) scrutinized us so we decided to scrutinize you”.  In other words here is the First Selectman of our town saying we town officers saw an opportunity to punish you volunteers who put on a great celebration for us and we took the opportunity.  What a sad and shameful statement of the actions of town officers.  Maybe it is time to do a good job of housecleaning and let the State of Maine run our town for a while until we the voters can step up to the plate and elect people to office who are devoid of drama and only want to do a good job for the people of the town.

Isn’t it sad that anyone would take pleasure in bringing town government to a halt as Mrs. Weaver and Mrs. Bailey have seen fit to do?  Apparently the town office was their stage and they wanted to play their last act as dramatically as possible! 

Now perhaps the town can heal, devoid of naysayers, mischief makers and drama queens.  All we ask is honest government, answers to our questions and transparency.  Is this asking too much?  Mrs. Weaver’s letter of resignation alludes to game playing and winning and losing; subjects she has conjured up in her own mind and which have no place at all in town government.  Also witness the personal insults she refers to in that letter that just never ever happened nor would they ever happen even from those citizens Mrs. Weaver’s husband calls “the little people”.  Even we “little people”, you and me, have manners and know right from wrong.  Won’t you citizens of Columbia Falls join me and the other members of Columbia Falls Now in demanding transparent government in our town and town officials who are open and honest in their dealing and in the handling of our town government?  It’s not the game of win or lose Mrs. Weaver thinks it is because when town officers act the way some have been acting these last few years only the Town of Columbia Falls has lost its pride, respect and place of honor among the other Washington County towns.  Now let’s all work together to fix this!

  

 

COLUMBIA-THEMED PHOTO PROJECT

Photographer Francis Smith will be photographing in Columbia and Columbia Falls from Tues., Aug.12 to Mon., Aug.18 for a project honoring a name of old for the United States, Columbia. Smith is photographing people and their surroundings in towns, counties, and companies called Columbia across the United States for America by Another Name, a photography exhibition and book that will document the lives of Americans today.  

 

Smith spent four days in Columbia Falls in Dec. 2013, meeting and photographing residents, their home interiors, and scenes of the area’s great beauty. The photographer returns for more of the same, with an especial interest in creating informal portraits of blueberry harvest workers.

 

Smith says: “Too often, photographers will only photograph one slice of our culture. With the area blueberry harvest, America By Another Name aims to tell the whole story——from the ancient Passamaquoddy, to those descended from colonists, on up to folk who may just be visiting as tourists or who may be migrant workers.”

 

It’s very important to him, says the photographer, that he represent this diversity without judgment, or commentary. He wants the person looking at his photos to form their own thoughts and feelings about the people they see.

 

During the American Revolution, the word Columbia became a name for America, and a symbol of liberty and progress. Connecticut’s Timothy Dwight wrote a popular marching song for the Continental Army; his “Columbia” envisioned our new country as a beacon of freedom, science, and literature. The song spread the Columbia name, and became an unofficial national anthem until the song ”Hail, Columbia” became our next unofficial national anthem.

 

“Columbia was a symbol of our hopes for liberty and progress,” Smith says. “Because we’ve rarely agreed on what is liberty, what is progress, American history has always been filled with conflict between different groups. Today is no different. Columbia, at least, reminded some that we had hopes in common, even if the ways differed. That’s what I’m looking for with my camera.”

 

About the Artist

For the past nine years, Francis Smith has been photographing homes and their art collections for two magazines: American Fine Art and American Art Collector magazines. The photographer studied art history at Vassar College, and grew up in Westport, Connecticut. New York City is home, and he resides temporarily in  Columbia Heights in the District of Columbia. More information may be found about him and America By Another Name at americabyanothername.com

 

National SMA Awareness Month

Local people Robin and Tony Santiago will be doing the “SMA Walk” on August 23rd during National SMA Awareness Month in memory of their grandson, Rhys and need your support to reach their fundraising goal. Donations may be made at the Columbia Falls town office by cash or check made out to “LRS Foundation”. Donations may also be made online at www.fsma.org/lwc/live. For more information and links on SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) go online at www.facebook.com/liveRhysStrong.

 

Upcoming events

 

Union Hall Yard Sale Saturday August 9th 8AM -3PM and Sunday the 10th, 8AM to 12AM, 2014. Donation of yard sale items are requested and may be dropped off at Union Hall daily or call Robin at 546-5464 or Nancy at 483-9767. All proceeds benefit the on-going and proposed restoration projects.

 

Selectmen’s meeting Monday, August 11th, 2014 at 7 p.m., in the municipal center.

 




------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Treasurer and Administrative assistant resignation letters




------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Balsam Valley Amphitheater Facebook Page – “We will be blessed with the sweet sounds of Collin Raye and Aaron Tippin - Hardest Working Man in Country Music on August 17th! Show to benefit Wreaths Across America - Official Page.
PLEASE --> "Share" to spread the word!!!”

 

ATM at 29 Main St?
While searching the attractions around town on my smart phone I discovered that there was an ATM at 29 Main St. and on the map it showed up at approximately where the C.F. fire station is. I knew that there was no ATM there so I called the phone number listed and a female voice answered “Camden National Bank”. I told her I could not find the ATM at 29 Main St. C.F. and she said it was a mistake and should be 29 Main St. Milbridge.



Municipal Building Negotiations

Selectmen met with representatives of Wreaths Across America on July 22nd. Town’s attorney Charles Gilbert chaired the meeting. There appeared to be just a few details left:

 

            The town will be leasing back the playground area and boundaries need to be set. WAA’s attorney Sarah Reinhart wants a professional survey and description. The location of the driveway should be considered while laying out the playground area. There was some talk of moving the playground to the fire station once the fire department vacates the building. If playground is moved the town could simply give up the lease back. The town may want to establish an Allen Memorial Field later since the land was donated by the Allen Family.  

            Each party’s responsibilities for maintenance must be delineated in the purchase and sale agreement as well as the lease. In the shared area particularly the gym there has to be priorities for the town in some instances such as town meeting and elections. WAA will however maintain the hall schedule. The town will be responsible for its own trash removal. The insurance responsibilities for each party must be decided and included in the agreements.

            The lease would be for 20 years with an option for another 20 years. The town would have the right of first refusal to purchase the building by matching an offer in the event that WAA decides to sell. If the building is sold it would be sold subject to the terms of the lease.

            WAA intends to make an agreement with the United Methodist Women for use of the kitchen. It was suggested that UMW keep their stuff locked up when others use the kitchen.

            WAA intends to install a new entrance door on the back of the gym and lock the front door when the town office is closed.

            Attorney Gilbert said “Overall I think we are pretty close”. The Purchase and Sale agreement is planned to be ready for signing at the August 11th selectmen’s meeting. The deed and lease would be done later.






Photo: By Chuck Hammond

Columbia Falls’ selectmen met with officials of Wreaths Across America on Tuesday July 22nd to finalize negotiations on conveyance of the town’s municipal building to WAA. Attorney for the town, Charles Gilbert (at far end of table) chaired the meeting. Starting at Gilbert’s left: selectmen, Alan Grant, Todd Emerson and Jay Look; WAA officers Joseph Tibbetts treasurer; Sarah Reinhart (attorney for WAA), Chairman of the Board Wayne Hanson, Executive Director Karen Worcester, and Project Officer/Vet. Outreach Services Director Wayne Merritt. Seated on the bench L to R, citizens Nancy Bagley and Richard Bedard; and Town Administrative Assistant Nancy Bailey.

 

 

POST Plan Survey results

Kevin Clark, Senior Manager of PO Operations in Northern New England spoke to a small group of local residents on July 22nd in the PO lobby. The post office surveyed the local community by sending out 472 letters. There were 152 returned. Of those returned 87% were in favor of the option to realign the office hours. After taking into account the post office operational needs the new hours are likely to be Monday to Friday 8:00AM to 4:30PM with a lunch break from 12:00PM to 2:30PM, Saturday 8:15AM to 10:30AM. Access to receptacles will not be reduced. The outside box collection time of 4:30PM will not change. It is planed that the PO lobby will be open 24/7 by January 10th, 2015 for post office box mail access. There will be no change to rural delivery.

 

 

 

Union Hall

The restoration committee met with Bion Tibbetts of the water company, Stan Foss and Randy Foss of Foss Excavation and the Selectmen on July 14th. Two actions that came out of that meeting are: 1. the water company will meet with their engineer in the near future for a feasibility statement. 2. Selectmen Jay Look will "poke " around and explore for ledge and other interferences along with locations of existing piping and tanks. Also discussed was the issue of getting from one side of the road to the other by means of drilling "sideways" under the road vs. digging up the road. This method of drilling/digging under the road has been accomplished previously in town with success. At this time cost has not been discussed.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
COLUMBIA FALLS NOW
A newly formed group of Columbia Falls citizens, COLUMBIA FALLS NOW, held a get-together at the Tibbetts' cottage at Montegail Pond on Saturday, July 12th as an opportunity to socialize with friends in the community and enjoy one of John Porter's famous pig roasts.  Around thirty-five friends enjoyed roasted pig and turkey as well as delicious hors-d'oeuvres, salads, desserts and good conversation on the lawn overlooking the pond.
While this gathering was non-political, its sponsor COLUMBIA FALLS NOW is a group formed to promote honesty, transparency, civility, proactive and forward thinking throughout our town and within town government.  Starting this fall group meetings will be held in a public space, such as the Municipal Building, and any citizen of Columbia Falls will be welcome to attend if they wish to support the goals of the group as stated above.  Nancy Bagley, Chair of COLUMBIA FALLS NOW, adds to this press release the following, "Our goal is to improve on what we have and not to destroy anything.  She says she just hopes that more citizens will take an interest in what is happening in our Town."



 
Selectmen at their meeting July 14th 2014 approved a warrant of $56196.68 leaving a balance of only $31985.08 in the checking account. Treasurer Lenora Weaver pointed out this balance is very low and the town has a county tax payment and the SAD 37 school payment of 30000 plus dollars coming up. The tax bills are expected to go out at the end of July but the town may be forced to borrow on the credit line at a cost of $1500.

Administrative assistant Nancy Bailey said there are seven totes of paper that needs shredding and it is to much for the town's shredder. The board authorized $150 for shredding by a commercial shredder.

A meeting has been scheduled with Wreaths Across America at 4PM on July 22nd about the municipal building conveyance. There was a brief discussion about marking out the area of the playground in its present location and the possibility of moving it to a new location.

The present owner of the Jacques property which is partially located over the Centerville line has inquired about an old tax lien on a lot in the middle. Does the town own it?  Bailey was instructed to check the Washington Country registry.

Selectmen authorized the hiring of an electrician to change an overloaded electrical circuit and find a location for an air conditioner in the town office.

The Downeast Salmon Federation will get their door back if the town decides to tear down the old fire station.

Tony Santiago said the Union Hall Committee has received a Davis grant for $10,000 to be used for water and sewer installation. The annual maintenance has been performed on the tower clock and it is running fine.

The Epping Fire Department merger is nearing completion.

Road commissioner Mike Bailey said the town had voted previously to make all town roads ATV accessible but Tibbettstown Road is a state aid road and needs special permission. Selectmen approved a letter starting the process. Bailey also noted the huge  trees on Richard Lane have dead tops and are a safety concern. Taking these trees down would have to be professionally done because of size and the power lines. The board authorized Bailey to investigate further.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Hurricane Arthur

Columbia Falls had its share of Hurricane Arthur’s damage with trees, power lines and flags down or destroyed, power outage, broken branches and littered streets. In the village electricity was only off for about 30 minutes but outlying areas were not so lucky. The John Michael Montgomery show at Balsam Valley Amphitheater was postponed from July 5th to July 6th due to the storm. From everything I have heard the damage was extensive but within 24 hours everything was ready again and the show went on with resounding success. Balsam Valley Amphitheater facebook quotes: “Great concert tonight! Really enjoyed the music and the people who attended! What a beautiful location! Looking forward to seeing what's up next! Thanks again”; All the event staff was very helpful”; “really can’t wait for pictures from the meet and greet had a great time thank you”; what a great time! Nice set up, easy to find your seats, loved the picnic tables in the middle & friendly staff! :); and many more.

 

Run to Home Base

Mike and Renee Worcester will be running to support veterans in this year's "Run To Home Base" on July 19th in Boston. Support Team Wreaths Across America on its mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach. Proceeds to the Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital Home Base Program to serve the needs of veterans with combat stress and/or traumatic brain injuries. For more information online go to http://www.runtohomebase.org/2014RunToHomeBase.

 

The Post Office “POST Plan”

The Postal Service has established a review process for certain Post Offices known as the “POST Plan”. The Columbia Falls Post Office was among the offices evaluated under POST Plan criteria. POST Plan customer surveys dated 6/12/2014 were mailed to zip code 04623 residences and businesses in June and are also available at the Post Office. The survey offers four choices (summarized as follows): 1. Keep the post office open with reduced hours 2. Conduct a discontinuance study and provide roadside delivery 3. Conduct a discontinuance study and find a suitable alternative location operated by a contractor or 4. Conduct a discontinuance study and provide P.O. Box service via another nearby post office. There is now a public notice posted in the post office that the Postal Service will hold a Post Office Community Meeting to answer questions and provide additional information about POST Plan. Local management will share the results of the survey and answer questions. This will enable the Postal Service to obtain community input and opinions from the surveys and the meeting before making a final decision. The notice states “unless the community has a strong preference (more that 60%) for conducting a discontinuance study for the Columbia Falls PO the Postal Service intends to maintain the post office with 6 hours of window service each weekday”. The Postal Service will not make a decision on the Columbia Falls post office until after the meeting. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 22 at 6pm in the post office.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Columbia Falls Cemetery Association
held its annual meeting on July 2nd, 2014 in the municipal center. President Rick Farnsworth presided. There were 13 members present (21 notices had been mailed). There was no meeting last year and no treasurer’s report this year. Farnsworth said unofficially that there was about $20,000 in CD’s. Since CD’s are only drawing .27% and .49% from banks John Tibbetts suggested contacting the Maine Community Foundation which invests funds for churches, cemeteries and other civic organizations which has a better return than CD’s.

 

Rick and Jolene Farnsworth had mowed both cemeteries prior to Memorial Day as a courtesy but members voted to pay them $240.00. Since then Farnsworth has contacted a couple of people about mowing and the members voted to pay $350.00 per mowing.  

 

Farnsworth said one lot of the new annex to the cemetery on the north side of the road has been sold. There will be approximately five rows of ten full size lots each 16 feet by 16 feet which could be sold in half lot sizes. Members voted to sell full size lots for $600 of which $150 would go into the general fund and $450 toward perpetual care fund. Half lots would sell for $400 of which $100 to be put in the general fund and $300 in perpetual care. Lot prices are to be reviewed and voted on annually.

 

Todd Emerson will contact Downeast Correctional Facility about the possibility of having inmates clean and reset stones. Members authorized $500 for expenses.

 

Amy Emerson will create a new Facebook page for the C.F. Cemetery Association.

 

Two new board members, Rosa Dykes and Todd Emerson were elected to replace Kendall Driscoll and Rick Farnsworth. The same slates of officers will stay in place for another year.

 

Contact Rick Farnsworth at 483-4178 for information on lot sales and to make donations.

  

55 Baby Blue Balloons Released

On Thursday, July 3rd at 6:54 am Tony and Robin Santiago and a group of friends, relatives and family met at the Santiago residence on Church Hill and released 55 helium filled balloons to celebrate the first birthday of their grandson, Rhys (pronounced Reeze) Anthony Santiago (July 3rd to August 26th 2013, 55 days) and spread awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Rhys was the son of Blaise and Monessa Santiago. Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a motor neuron disease. The motor neurons affect the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control, and swallowing. It is a relatively common "rare disorder": approximately 1 in 6000 babies born are affected, and about 1 in 40 people are genetic carriers. SMA is the most common genetic cause of infant death.

The Santiago’s have established the non-profit organization Live Rhysstrong Foundation.






--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Selectmen’s meeting June 23rd, 2014

Chuck Hammond spoke in reference to Town of Columbia Falls facebook page which Nancy Bailey administrative assistant had posted “Looking for someone to do some shredding as I weedle down and organize old records. These documents must be moved into a new storage area before the Wreaths Across America conveyance. Please contact me via facebook, an e-mail at townofcolumbiafalls@gmail.com or telephone at 483-4067. Thanks!!!!!” Hammond “shared” this post on facebook with the following comment: “I hope selectmen have an opportunity to review documents before any shredding.” Hammond addressing the chairman “Town records are a permanent history of the town and in my opinion none of them should ever be destroyed. Today I did look up on Maine.gov and found a 77 page document [Rules for Disposition of Local Government Records] on disposition of local government records.” Administrative assistant Bailey responded “I went to the class, that’s why I went; I learned what I can discard. Records may not have been the perfect word; however registrations from the 90s are not necessary; I’ve gone through paper piece by piece.” Hammond said “I am not saying you are not doing your job”. Bailey stated “There were some nasty comments on facebook. I am to tired of not being trusted to do my job, I really am, I spent a whole day in Bangor taking the class on this. I was not going to have a kid come in and go through a tote and shred anything. That [which is to be] shredded has been gone over one at a time“. Hammond further commented “It also says in there [Rules] that one individual can not make a decision [about what can be destroyed]. Bailey replied “90 registrations that are more than 5 years old, those kind of things, there’s a lot that’s listed. I have had to have this [Rules document] by my side.” Hammond said “Nancy, I am glad to hear that”. Bailey “but you have to post …..” The conversation ended abruptly when Chairman Grant gaveled down.

 

Union Hall Receives Grant

The Davis Family Grant for the sum of $10,000.00 has been received. Thanks to Tracey Gamache and Nancy Herr for preparing all the proper forms, literature and pictures which made the application complete.

Volunteers are planning on finishing the inside painting and staining this fall. The Historic Plaque Hanging and an Open house are also planned for the fall. A yard sale is tentatively set for August 9th & 10th.

 

Columbia Falls Alumni Held Annual Reunion  at the municipal center on June 28th. The evening began with a social hour at 5pm and a buffet dinner of roast pork, baked stuffed haddock, mashed potatoes salads, vegetables and dessert was served at 6pm. Honored classes were students who graduated from Columbia Falls and Narraguagus High School in 2014, the 25th class of 1989, the 60th class of 1954, the 70th class of 1944 and the 75th class of 1939. (There was no 50th class as no one graduated in 1964) There were four members present in the 25th class of 1989 and two from the 60th class of 1954.  Maryann Look memorialized the 15 alumni that passed away in the past year. The slates of officers elected are the same for the ensuing year.





Photo by Chuck Hammond

 

Benjamin Morris standing left, Clara Driscoll also standing right and Cecile Richards Thompson (absent) are the only surviving alumni of the honored 60th class of 1954 at the Columbia Falls Annual Alumni meeting on Saturday evening June 28th at the Columbia Falls Municipal center.






 Columbia Falls Annual Alumni meeting on Saturday evening June 28th at the Columbia Falls Municipal center.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 
Happy Birthday to Washington County
, 225 years old, incorporated on June 25th, 1789 previously a part of Lincoln County, Province of Massachusetts. 



Prying Up The Sun In Eastport Maine

Washington County is sometimes referred to as "Sunrise County" because it is the easternmost county in the continental United States and is where the sun first rises on the 48 contiguous states.

Snow birds arrived including Rosa Morris Dykes, Robert & Tanya Artinian, David Davison, Mary  Anderson and Don & Susan Roberts.

Vance and Hilary Pineo have a new greenhouse behind their house. Hilary is the one with the green thumb.

The Ruggles House museum is open for the season and free for Columbia Falls' residents, hours are 9:30 to 4pm Monday through Saturday and noon to 4pm on Sunday. Admission for non residents is $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children    

Recently seen on eBay; a wooden nickel with the following words "For good guns see Don Higgins Columbia Falls Maine".  This is referring to Donald S. Higgins Sr. (1910-1993). The price is $6.25. The item is located in Atchison, Kansas.

The boxes with flowers are up on the village bridge, thanks to Nancy and Charlie Herr.  
 
Town to Shred Old Records
Town Facebook page - A deal for any NHS student looking for a place to earn a few community service hours; shredding and organizing old records. These documents must be moved into a new storage area before the Wreaths Across America conveyance. Please contact Nancy Bailey via facebook, an e-mail at townofcolumbiafalls@gmail.com or telephone at 483-4067.
 
55 Balloons to be Released
On Thurs. 7-3-14 at 6:54 AM, Robin and Tony Santiago will celebrate what would have been their grandson, Rhys Anthony Santiago's 1st birthday by releasing from their home 55 balloons, one for each day of Rhys's life.  They invite family, friends & neighbors wishing so to attend.
Rhys passed away from SMA1 (Spinal Muscular Atrophy), a genetic disease for which there is no cure.  On 8-23-14, Robin & Tony will again participate in the SMA Walk in San Francisco.  Last year Rhys was one of the top fundraisers.  They are asking again for your help to find a cure by donating to the "LiveRhysStrong" Foundation anytime from 7-3-14 thru 8-26-14.  Watch for more donation information.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Selectmen’s meeting June 9th
. Jay Look was absent. The town received a check from Cross Insurance for damages caused by an Emera power surge this winter. This covers that portion of the damage not paid by Maine Municipal Association’s deductable.

 

Tony Santiago updated selectmen on the Union Hall progress: suggests an open house in the fall; counter top being installed; Dick Grant donated tile for a back splash; committee wants a meeting with selectmen, Foss Construction, and Allen Water Co. to discuss water and sewer; recent yard sale raised $652.92; thanks to volunteers and donors; next meeting June 19th, 6pm at Union Hall.

 

A lost town check was found at the Union Hall.

 

Previously as authorized by the selectmen Machias Savings Bank found that the town recreation committee account had two withdrawals by Town Treasurer, Lenora Weaver, one for cash and one was a check with no apparent records. The selectmen held an executive meeting with Weaver but have never made public any explanation of what she did with the funds.

Nancy Bagley addressed the selectmen and stated that citizens have asked the board where the Recreation Committee money came from and where it went “but has anyone directly asked the treasurer where it came from and where it went”? Chairman Grant replied “I’ve asked her, I know where it went”. Bagley said “how would the general citizenry get the information except asking her directly”? Town treasurer Lenora Weaver responded “Had someone asked me directly before the lawyers were involved there would have been an answer and now that the lawyers have been brought into it – we went into executive session and now I can’t tell anybody. Nobody ever asked me. They called the lawyer and they called the auditor, one thing led to another and it became a legal issue, went into executive session, I presented them the facts, they accepted them, end of story”. Bagley summarized “so therefore because of the perceived previous actions the town’s people can’t find out any further information regarding the $1142.12.” Bagley went on to say “now on that same path, the balance that was in the account, $628 and change was according to bank records made out to an RBS. Can I ask what that money was spent for?” Treasurer Weaver said “I think that was all covered under the same thing”. Selectman Grant added “that was discussed in that executive session”.

Bagley changed the subject to the voting list and asked “when was it last updated? Does anyone know when it was last updated?”  Administrative assistant and registrar of voters, Nancy Bailey responded “It was last updated around town meeting time”. Bagley “well I have some questions regarding the list that was used at town meeting. There is a group of people in town that looked over the voting list and there appears to be somewhere in excess of 20 people on the voting list that are not legal residents of town”. Bailey said “when someone comes in to register it’s my responsibility to make sure they can, anybody who was registered before me, I have no control over. When I do new people I have to make sure they are residents, otherwise until I receive something in writing from those people, from the state, I can’t just change people on the list because I don’t think that they belong on there anymore. I know this for a fact because I did it when I first started my job, State told me otherwise. If I find somebody who – we have someone who has moved out – I know they have moved out of town, I know they are not here but I have never received documentation. I don’t have the authority to change somebody’s voting, that’s a very private personal thing. I can’t do that on my own just because I think they don’t live here anymore and I have cards in there from the state. I have somebody that’s moved to Jonesport and there is a box on there from the state ‘do you want your address changed to be on the voting list’ and they checked ‘No’. I am not changing that. That’s suitable for the state; I feel it ought to be suitable for our town”. Bagley “OK so how do we as citizens challenge these names that are on the list, we know do not reside here and do not have a permanent primary residence”. Bailey stated “you can challenge that voter before town meeting. That was made clear that anybody that disagreed with somebody voting. There’s a document you have to do before the town meeting. You are not allowed to call people out and embarrass them. That’s made very clear. You can challenge them, there vote is kept separately and then it would be a Supreme Court decision if that person chose to argue with you or anybody whether or not they were a resident. The Supreme Court would decide that not Nancy Bailey, not selectmen, the Supreme Court”. Bagley “that’s why I’m questioning, I don’t know and I think….” Bailey cut in “well this has been discussed many times, that’s why I seem so frustrated, it’s because it’s been discussed many times and I feel I’ve done my job the very best of my ability. I have researched this and like I’ve said when I first took this job up there was some people I new moved out of state but I thought well they don’t live here anymore and I was quickly told no that’s not what you do”.  Bagley said “Because I do as much research as I can I don’t have access to the information that you would have”. “Right” Bailey agreed. Bagley went on “but according to State statute title 21A chapter 3 under responsibilities of the registrar. It says maintenance of the voter registration information – the registrar in each municipality shall keep a central voter registration system current at all times for the voters in the registrar’s municipality. So I said hum, OK so how do we determine who is a legal, legally registered voter and so you start trying to decipher state websites and it says that to be a resident you must have established and maintained a voting residence in a municipality.” Bailey agreed “Right. We’ve gone over these, this is probably the 4th or 5th time I’m at a selectmen’s meeting that it’s been discussed”. Bagley “OK, so it has to be a fixed principal home”. Bailey said “I can not change it if that person claims Columbia Falls as their residence, then they have to change it. I can not. Somebody can challenge them, somebody can challenge them and call them out on it and then go from there. I take care of the new residents, the new people that register; the deaths in town. I take care of the cards I receive from the state. I receive a couple of those a week, people with address changes. I maintain anybody from Columbia Falls; somebody’s moved to Harrington, Harrington maintains it through that card, but if they’ve checked they don’t want their voting changed in the system then I can not do that and that came from the state. People will have to go above me because I have done it to the best of my ability”. Bagley said “Thank You”.

 

A doe with her fawn has been seen at the edge of the basin on the east side below the falls.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
The Ruggles House Archaeological Dig
During May 27th to 30th an archaeological excavation was done at the historic Ruggles House to try and find the shed, stable or carriage house that appears in an early (before 1890) panoramic photograph of the Columbia Falls village. In a very blurry blown up view of the area around the Ruggles House there is clearly a shed like roof on the east side. The Ruggles House Society hired Pamela Crane and Peter Morrison of Freeport who performed previous archaeological research before the new wing was built. Crane and Morrison who are listed on the Maine State Approved List of Historic Archaeologists picked up the site markers from their previous work and laid out a grid for the new dig. Squares of sod were lifted out of an area approximately one square meter and set aside by volunteers.  All of the dirt beneath was sifted one square at a time; each found artifact was cleaned, marked and identified; and the location where found was recorded. The team found the front west corner of the foundation. It was a very large boulder which appeared heavier than needed for a shed and suggested that a larger building such as a barn or carriage house might have occupied the space earlier than the shed. Ellen Tenan the Ruggles House Society secretary and historian said "the dig created more questions than answers, it was fascinating, a great history lesson". A lot of artifacts were found: a meat hook, oxen shoes, many pottery shards, animal bones and window glass. The professional archaeologists will catalogue all these items and make a report. The society would like to someday recreate whatever building was here.
In another area a rocked up well site was found, still in good condition filled with dirt and only the top stones has fallen in. Tenan said the house had never had piped in water until the society recreated the wing.



Photo by Leslie McSorley
During May 27th to 30th an archaeological excavation was done at the historic Ruggles House to try and find the shed, stable or carriage house that appears in an early panoramic photograph of the Columbia Falls village. Ellen Tenan is shown here cleaning the last bit of dirt and roots out of three sections before they were photographed.
Tenan is the Ruggles House secretary, historian and one of the docents.

Honey Bees abandon hive and take up residence at 163 Main Street. According to the home owner Grace Brophy and her guest Ed Mulqueen, both from New York, the bees arrived on Monday, June 2nd and gathered on the second floor front window frame.  They started waxing the screen and preparing a new hive on Tuesday. The swarm seemed to double in size each day. They formed a perfect letter "L" on the lower left corner of the window. The bees were captured on June 5th by the "bee man", Gordon Paul who scraped them into a box and presumably put them back to work pollinating blueberries. Brophy said she did not believe any of the bees got into the house.



Photo by Chuck Hammond
Honey Bees abandon hive and take up residence at 163 Main Street. They were captured on June 5th and presumably put back to work pollinating blueberries.



Union Hall shutters have been restored and replaced by the inmates at Downeast Correctional Facility.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Selectmen's meeting May 28th: Administrative assistant Nancy Bailey was absent. A warrant of $7558.47 was approved. The town did not have to pay for a mold inspection as authorized at a previous selectmen's meeting. Wreaths Across America got there own inspection. There will be a special selectmen's meeting on Monday, June 2nd at 4PM for a telephone conference call with Attorney Charles Gilbert concerning an update on the municipal building conveyance to Wreaths Across America. Jay Look reported that 35 flags have been put up on utility poles. The June calendar was approved with the town office closed on June 5th so the administrative assistant could have the day off. The board authorized Nancy Herr to spend up to $150 for flowers on the bridge. A new authorized ATV access route has been made for the Centerville road in the unorganized Centerville Township. Selectmen authorized an ATV access route sign to be posted on an existing C.F. sign post. The town has received a notice from Maine DOT that roadside spraying will be taking place on some roads in C.F. A Fire Marshall permit of occupancy has been received for the Union Hall.

Salmon Federation Atlantic salmon fry were stocked at Saco Falls, Columbia on May 21st with the help of students from local schools.
 
Memorial Day 2014, A Family Tradition Continues:
    Memorial Day has different meanings for everyone.  This weekend is used to open camps and celebrate the start of summer.  Family picnics are held, yard projects are underway and vegetable gardens are planted.
    As for my family we follow a tradition that began long before we were born.  My great grandmother participated in taking care of and placing the Memorial Flags on the stones of veterans in a small cemetery in Indian River on the Jonesport side of the river.  This tradition has followed down through the family from my great grandmother to my grandmother to my Dad and now to me and my little family.
    Other families have this very same tradition and we all meet at least once a year to say hello and catch up before taking up our duties for the day.
    Without interruption, folks have gathered at the Indian River Grange Hall, picked up their flags and walked to the center of the bridge where a small ceremony is conducted to honor the veterans who were lost at sea.  This wreath is a homemade wreath constructed of cedar and a child has the honor of throwing the wreath over the side.  Something of interest to point out here is that the few children who do attend and participate in our parade know each year whose turn it is to throw this wreath.  For them, this small duty is very important and they make sure each one has a turn.
    Next, we march the rest of the way across the bridge and up the hill to our little cemetery.  There are always folks at the top waiting for our little parade and we have a service up there at the top performed by Arthur or Dona Emerson.  
    Once the service is over, we have a line of children and a few adults that participate in placing a flag on each of the lots of the veterans.  
    Conversations around the entire cemetery are about the same each year with - remember this lot?  This person still doesn't have a stone and he is a veteran!  How do we go about getting a stone for him?  Remember this one; he is always at the end of this row?  Oh, look at this, the flowers that were planted last year have bloomed in time for this year!  Look how many veterans are here in this row - the flags are all lined up!
    When we are done placing the flags families and friends wish each other a good day and say goodbye 'till we meet again in this same spot for this honor of duty in yet another year. - Submitted by Grace Falzarano.
    While showing my daughter and her husband our family plot, my grandson Jacob asked if I was dying.  I told him no, not right now that I knew of.  So then he asked why we had a family plot in the cemetery - my answer was so that when I did die he could plant me in this place.  Jacob was excited at this point and said, "Oh good, then there will be two of you!"   
 This came about because we were talking about planting the garden and having food for the winter. - Grace Falzarano

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Ashley Santerre, daughter of Dawn and Joe Bragg of Columbia Falls and Steven Santerre of Cherryfield, graduated with honors from Husson University on May 11th; Earning two bachelors degrees, one in Criminal Justice and one in Psychology. Ashley is also a member of the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society and Psi Chi the International Honor Society in Psychology.

 
About 450 hives containing an estimated 16 million to 20 million bees headed to Maine from Florida were on a trailer truck that overturned on Route 95 in Delaware on Tuesday May 20th. The bees were intended for Allen’s Farms of Ellsworth which owns many blueberry fields around the Columbia and Columbia Falls area. According to the Portland Press Herald about half of the hives belonging to Pollination US Inc. based in Felda, Florida were salvaged.

 

The sign outside the Balsam Valley Amphitheater on Route 1 in Columbia Falls states “John Michael Montgomery, July 5, Reserve seats 812-3077”. From Wikipedia - “John Michael Montgomery (born January 20, 1965) is an American country music artist. Montgomery began singing with his brother Eddie, who is one-half of the country duo Montgomery Gentry, before beginning his major-label solo career in 1992. He has had more than thirty singles on the Billboard country charts, of which five have reached number 1”.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Local News 
Friday evening May 9th thirty-eight people came out to the Pleasant River Historical Society program in Columbia Falls to hear guest speaker Robert Hammond; folks from Addison, Columbia, Columbia Falls, Harrington, Jonesport and Milbridge. Hammond spoke about how fishermen from Europe kept the bountiful cod fishing grounds of the Gulf of Maine a secret for hundreds of years before America was “discovered” by Columbus. He also illuminated how shipbuilding in Maine’s Pleasant River area was due in a large part to its geology and geography. Hammond showed and narrated approximately 80 slides of early photographs of area shipyards, ship construction, and ships. Robert Hammond is the author of “An Era to Remember”, A historical sketch of the shipbuilding industry in West Washington County, published in 1972.   Ronie Strout gathered her first mess of dandelions for a meal last week and heard several other folks in the area had also gotten some earlier in the week.   Local government At the special town meeting on May 12th the voters elected Selectman Jay Look, Courtney Hammond and Bun Ward to the Board of Directors for the Epping Volunteer Fire District to serve until next annual town meeting in March 2015. All three of these men have been involved in the planning of the merger of the Columbia and Columbia Falls fire departments. The voters also approved raising $1000 for the Columbia Falls Alumni Association for their scholarship fund.   Selectmen’s meeting On May 12th:  The board approved a lawn mowing bid from Park Street Property Management (Milbridge) for $210 per mowing; authorized three mold samples to be taken from the municipal building by Eastern Mold Remediation at $75.00 each (A mold inspection had been suggested by Wreaths Across America); The date of the second selectmen’s meeting of the month was rescheduled to Wednesday May 28th; The Maine Commission for Community Service will be meeting with a representative of a federal fund agency that funds AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs active in Washington County on May 19th at the municipal center; and the board authorized the administrative assistant to attend a training session on Record keeping, Management and the Right to know law on Thursday May 15th  (Cost is $55.00) and an elections training session on September 24th and 25th (Cost is $69.00). Tony Santiago reported that the three fire inspection issues at the Union Hall (boiler room ceiling holes, boiler room door and handrails) have been fixed. Santiago recommended and selectmen authorized Quality Construction to build the Union Hall cabinets for a cost of $3700 and the money would come out of the fund raising account. Dale Smith will develop a proposal for a new Union Hall sign. Town treasurer Lenora Weaver asked who was going to pay the Attorney Gilbert bill concerning the Machias Savings Bank letter about the Rec. Committee passbook savings account. Selectmen authorized the town to pay this bill by a 2-0 vote with Jay Look abstaining. Selectmen signed the fire department merger agreement. The first meeting of the Epping Volunteer Fire District will be June 4th.


Approximately 26 people turned out for the Columbia Falls special town meeting in the municipal center on May 12th 2014. Voters shown here are electing Bernard (Bun) Ward to the board of the new Epping Volunteer Fire District. 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
FairPoint announced on May 7, 2014 expansion of Broadband service in Columbia and Columbia Falls
"Broadband access opens doors to the world for the residents and businesses in Maine and is fundamental to the state's future economic growth," said Mike Reed, FairPoint's Maine state president. "Our employees are working every day to build more broadband across the state. We are pleased to announce the availability of high-speed Internet for these residents in Columbia and Columbia Falls."  High-speed connection areas include portions of the following roads/streets in Columbia and Columbia Falls: Cross, Drisko, Epping, Grantville, Ingersoll, Meetinghouse, Saco, Tibbettstown and Valley.
To find out if you are eligible for FairPoint's high-speed Internet and to obtain information about prices and bundled plans, residential consumers can call 1.866.984.2001 and 1.866.984.3001 for businesses or visit www.FairPoint.com.

Local educators, students and volunteers attended the first annual Wreaths Across America (WAA) Educational Summit on April 25-26 at the WAA headquarters in Columbia Falls, Maine. Lisa Emerson of Harrington, Social Studies teacher at Narraguagus High School; Rep. Peter Doak of Columbia Falls, long-time educator and District 33 Representative; and Nancy Willey, long-time educator and local student Logan Staples of Cherryfield were all in attendance at the summit. Additionally, Rep. Doak was nominated to serve as the Chairman of the Education Committee. With a mission to Remember, Honor, Teach, WAA gathered teachers, administrators, Gold Star Mothers and volunteers at the summit to focus on the "Teach" arm of the mission. The goal of the weekend was to develop military appreciation-based curricula for schools across the country. Attendees were invited to participate in the committee for their commitment, both in and out of the classroom, to teaching younger generations the value of freedom and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms.

Pictured  (Left to Right), Back Row: Ruth Stonesifer, Nancy Willey, Gary Martinelli, Tobin Slaven, Mike Calenda, Mary Cringan, Brad Bentley, Meagan Jordan, Edith Nowels, Wayne Hanson (WAA Chairman), Peter Doak (Education Committee Chairman) Pete Peterson, Morrill Worcester (WAA Founder), Dr. Clark Granger, Karen Worcester (WAA Executive Director), Tom Jones
Front Row: Tobin "Duke" Slaven, Lorna Harris, Amber Caron, Carly Crouse, Logan Staples, Kelley Rose "Rosie" Conary, Byron Farley, Jill Marston, Kevin Haley

Wreaths Across America announced its specially-designed 2014 military appreciation thank you cards are now available to order. The organization has been designing and printing the cards since 2010, and is challenging every American to say thank you to a veteran or an active service member during the May National Military Appreciation Month. The cards are available for the cost of shipping and handling only, and can be ordered online at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
The business card-sized military appreciation cards feature a scene of remembrance wreaths placed at Arlington National Cemetery during the holiday season accompanied by words of thanks for the recipient. On the back of the card, below the organization's stated mission to Remember, Honor and Teach, is space for the card-giver to sign their name as a way to personalize the note. Many card-givers present several with each exchange, so the recipient may also share in the experience of giving.
The 2014 theme for Wreaths Across America is, "Don't say I should have. Say I did." This was the personal motto of Sgt. Jeffrey Kirk who was killed in action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq in 2004. A classmate, as a reminder of Sgt. Kirk's bravery and sacrifice, shared his words.
Special Town Meeting Monday, May 12th at 7 p.m.
From Town Facebook page "the 2015 ATV stickers are in and ready. As of today, May 1st, you can register your wheeler or side by side for the summer season! Don't forget those boats and trailers too. Better check your tags....time goes by faster than you think!
May 1st also means that your April registration has run out. I will be here until 4 today if you need to take care of that. Please make note that there will be a Special Town Meeting Monday, May 12th at 7 p.m. The selectmen will meet at 6 p.m. that night for their regular meeting. At 7 p.m., the town will need to chose a Selectman and two citizens to serve on the Epping Volunteer Fire District board. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact either the Town Office or Fire Chief, Dave Perham. On the 12th will also decide on a $1,000 donation to the Columbia Falls Alumni Association. This article was inadvertently left off the Town Meeting warrant so the issue will be addressed at that time. Please do not hesitate to contact the town office with any questions (483-4067)."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Columbia Falls Officials Vote to Put Recreation Committee Fiscal Accounting Issue Behind Them By Chuck Hammond Columbia Falls town administrator Nancy Bailey reported at the April 28 board of selectmen’s meeting that the town office has received a couple of right-to-know requests and that she was unable to respond to them because she does not have the information requested since they refer to discussions in an executive session conducted by the selectmen (See Downeast Coastal Press, April 1-7, 2014). “What would you instruct me to do?” Bailey asked the elected officials. “What is it that they want that we don’t have?” asked board chairman Alan Grant. Bailey said the requested information refers to documentation that substantiates the withdrawal [of $1,112.42 in cash from the recreation committee by Lenora Weaver] and also asks for any documentation from Machias Savings Bank supporting a statement made by Selectman Todd Emerson at the April 10 selectmen’s meeting. At that session, Emerson had referred to earlier statements by John Tibbetts, where he, Tibbetts, recalled seeing account balances for “less than $10,000 but nine or eight.” “We find this account was never in existence. We have a letter from Machias Savings verifying this very fact,” said Emerson. The only Machias Savings Bank letter released to the public makes no references as characterized and reported by Emerson. In regard to the recreation committee account Jay Look asked, “Has it been established that this is a town account?” Grant responded that the account had the town EIN [Employer Identification Number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service to municipalities and enterprises] and it was started with town seed money; he thought around $1,000. He didn’t know if there was any actual documentation. There is no written proof that they got the money or how it was spent, he said. Bailey said that there were 55 withdrawals since it was opened and no documentation for any of it. “No why, who, where, how; didn’t go through warrant process, opened September 1993.” “[Town attorney] Charlie Gilbert said it was a town account. [Town auditor] James Wadman said it was a town account,” said Look. “The real thing I think that many of us would like to know,” said John Tibbetts, [is] where did the $1,112.42 go? How it was used?” “I can’t answer that,” said Grant. “I didn’t withdraw it. Nor did I deposit it. And the answer to that was discussed in executive session and I can’t reveal it.”  “I respectfully agree with you,” said Tibbetts. “I understand executive session. But you are supposed to report back and put out your findings of fact and the decision that findings of fact led you to.” “I don’t believe it does, but that’s my opinion,” said Grant. Tibbetts told the selectmen that he would like to know what is proper from a legal standpoint and suggested that the elected officials check with the town attorney or Maine Municipal Association to determine whether these facts discussed in executive session can legally remain hidden from the public. Chuck Hammond stated “It has already been determined that the recreation passbook account was a town account and the townspeople have a right to know where their money went. Somebody has to be responsible for this account. Who was the treasurer?” “I don’t know, I am sure it changed over the years,” said Grant. Peter Doak said the account was set up in 1993 and that he was in charge. It was to sponsor an “Old Time Day.” There was a parade, barbecue; Cherryfield Band was there; A National Guard helicopter was there; a chicken wire jail was set up; and they sold T-shirts. Every cent was accounted for. Martha Black was treasurer. At the very first meeting when the 150 Celebration [Committee] was started the question was how we can raise money. “I said why don’t you check the Rec. Committee, because there may be some money there. I never said $10,000, which was in the paper.” “Sad thing, Pete,” said selectman Look. “There’s people here that know where the money is, where it went and nobody’s saying anything about it. I ain’t saying anything about your committee, Pete. There’s people involved and know what’s going on and ought to be men or women enough to get up and say something about it instead of letting you stand up and browbeat everybody about it.” Pam Look said she was the one who started all this by initiating the right-to-know request and was told twice that it was not a town account. “Of course we now know that it is a town account.” “We’ve given them all the information they have asked for,” said selectman Emerson. “We’ve had a meeting where answers were brought forward to answer our questions satisfactorily. I think its time to put that issue to bed and move on with the running of this town and the directive we have from the town which is to work on conveyance of this building to Wreaths Across America. We’ve been working in reverse; we are going backwards; don’t want to go backwards anymore; time to go forward.” “I guess I don’t know legally what I am supposed to do right now,” said Grant. “You can get a legal opinion whether or not the disposition of the money can be made available,” said Tibbetts. There was some discussion whether Look should have taken the subject to auditor Wadman and attorney Gilbert on his own. Bailey read an approved motion from the selectmen’s meeting of May 6, 2006, before Jay Look was elected to the board, in which all complaints and issues shall be presented to the board at a regular meeting for discussion and consideration before contacting other people. “That was the only problem I had with it,” said Grant. “You could have called one of us.” “Alan,” asked Look. “Why did you vote against us doing that? You told me you had already talked with the person involved.” “That’s right,” said Grant. “When were you going to let me know about it?” asked Look. “I sent you two weeks prior to the meeting [executive session meeting] all the information I got from the bank. You never called me once to talk about it. Working together has to go both ways, not just one.” Tibbetts said there has been a tradition with committees of doing business without going through the warrant procedure. This pattern was halted by elected officials when the 150 Committee was appointed, he said. Everything had to go through the warrant process. The 150 Committee was bedeviled from the beginning. “It was kind of hard to match up to the scrutiny that the people were putting the town through,” said Grant, “so some thought the 150 should match the same scrutiny in other words.” There were comments from Geri Moore, Tony Santiago, Dawn Robins and Robin Santiago about accepting the selectmen’s decision to not reveal the disposition of the $1,112.42 from the rec. committee bank account, putting it all behind us and moving on. A video of Robin Santiago’s comments at the recent meeting has been posted on the Bangor Daily News website. Emerson made a motion “to put this behind us. To my knowledge we were in agreement, that we’ve seen whatever documentation we needed and the rec. committee is behind us and we move forward in operation of the town.” It was approved 2-1; Look abstained.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Pleasant River Drive-In is open for the season in their new building at the same location on the east side of Columbia Falls on route one. The owners, sister-in-laws Lindsey and Angel Alley said the new restaurant will seat 25 to 30 people; take out orders may be taken inside or out; and the menu remains about the same including seafood, burgers, appetizers, soft and hard ice cream, and sundays. The hours are Monday through Saturday 11-8 and Sundays 12-8. This new building has been a fun project with about 15 family members and friends participating. The owners expressed special thanks to Bucky, Saundra and Adam Kennedy, Ronnie Oliver and Mike Farren.

March of Dimes – March for babies- On Sunday, May 4th, Tony and Robin Santiago will join family and friends in Portland, Maine to do the “March of Dimes – March for babies” walk in honor of their infant grandson, Rhys Anthony Santiago, who they lost last year to Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA1). The team, “Live Rhysstrong”, is hoping to raise money for March of Dimes in the name of the “Rhysstrong Foundation”. If you would like to sponsor the team or donate, go to www.marchforbabies.org/T2111814 your prayers and support are greatly appreciated. Columbia Falls’ government is a family affair . Town treasurer Lenora Emerson Weaver and administrative assistant Nancy Bailey are mother and daughter. Selectman Todd Emerson is a cousin to Lenora Emerson Weaver. Tax assessor Geraldine Emerson Moore is an aunt to Lenora Emerson Weaver and a great aunt to Todd Emerson and Nancy Bailey. Town road commissioner Michael Bailey is married to the administrative assistant Nancy Bailey.   Selectmen Executive Session April 10, 2014 – Chairman Alan Grant read “In regards to the concerns from Jay Look and Bernard Ward of possible wrong doing with the Recreation Committee Savings Account, the Board of Selectmen asked questions, reviewed letters from the bank, and spoke with the Town Treasurer in executive session on Thursday, April 10, 2014. The board was satisfied with the Recreation Committee Passbook Savings Account transactions, felt all questions were sufficiently answered, and discovered nothing out of order or concern.”  Signed: Alan Grant and Todd Emerson (Selectman Jay Look did not sign) dated April 14, 2014.  A statement read by Todd Emerson “ After an investigation by Bernard Ward regarding John Tibbetts’ statement that he saw and held in his hand a bank statement from 2010 for an Recreation account, with less than $10,000 (but nine or eight thousand), we find this account was never in existence. We have a letter from Machias Savings Bank verifying this very fact. The only Recreation Account to ever exist for this group is the passbook savings account.” “Therefore, I move that we vote to adopt the findings and conclusions prepared by Alan Grant on behalf of the board dated April 14, 2014. That document is hereby adopted by the board as its final written decision.”  Alan Grant and Todd Emerson voted in favor, Jay Look abstained. Maine’s right to know law in regard to executive sessions states that officials must set forth in writing the reasons for their decision and make findings of fact sufficient to appraise the individual concerned and/or the public of the basis for the decision. The only “findings of fact” is about the account John Tibbetts said he saw and this has nothing to do with the executive session. Recreation Committee Passbook Savings account – In a letter to Town of Columbia Falls dated March 11, 2014 Machias Savings Bank confirms that Columbia Falls Recreation Committee opened a savings account in 1993 and closed it in 2013. Copies of statements were enclosed from October 2002 thru November 2013. There was a withdrawal on March 13, 2012 in the amount of $1112.42 signed by Lenora Weaver (Town Treasurer). Weaver “received cash back for this withdrawal”. There was another withdrawal on March 16, 2013 in the amount of $678.24 signed by Lenora Weaver and was used to purchase a bank check which was made payable to RBS. The “findings of fact” should have stated what these withdrawals were used for and why Weaver took “cash back”. Quilt Show  It’s Spring…or at least we can pretend it is…and time for the second annual Academy Quilt Show. Saturday May 3 from 10-3 come and view a wide variety of quilts from miniature to king size, antique to contemporary, traditional to modern Shop for unique crafts and products from local artisans and see some of the recent renovations to the academy building. Don’t forget, Mother’s Day is Sunday May 11, and there will be plenty of items that would make a great gift. Admission is $3.00 and proceeds go towards the further restoration of the Cherryfield Academy Community Center. For more information contact Faye Hodgkins 546-7196 or Leslie McSorley 483-2131 quilting@TheCraftyUnicorn.com
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Selectmen’s meeting April 14th – The board approved a warrant of $64,038.33 and payroll warrant of $4524.55. Chairman Alan Grant read a statement about the recent executive session regarding the Treasurer and the Recreation Committee finances. Todd Emerson made a motion regarding the findings of the executive session and it was approved 2/0. Jay Look questioned the motion and then abstained. (Unfortunately my recorder malfunctioned and my request for copies of these two items was not fulfilled by press time. A form has been posted here to assist  Citizens of Columbia Falls in acquiring information about how our Town Officials have handled the Recreation Committee Passbook Account) The Board of Selectmen did not state either the reason(s) for their decision or the findings of fact to support their decision as required by Freedom of Access Act (FOAA). It was reported that the town is 9th on the list for roadside clean-up by inmates. A quarterly payment for the Code Enforcement Officer was approved. Administrative assistant Nancy Bailey reported that Wreaths Across America is expecting to have a conference call with their attorney soon and are close to having a second meeting with selectmen. Ads for requesting lawn care bids have gone to the Downeast Coastal press and are expected to be published this week and next so bids could be opened at next selectmen’s meeting. Selectmen authorized the purchase of steel shelving for the storage room at the cost of approximately $600.00. They asked Bailey to recommend the size of a safe to be purchased. A fifty cent per hour pay increase for Eleanor Dewey, the town office cleaning lady was approved making her hourly rate $10.50. New town letterhead is to be printed. Selectman Todd Emerson asked how the $1000 CFHS alumni article which was inadvertently left off the town meeting warrant could be reinstated. Administrative assistant Bailey will check in to this. Road commissioner Mike Bailey said that town snowplow contractor County Concrete has plowed for several years at the same contract price and suggested that the board offer them an increase to keep them for another year. An offer of $55,000 (an increase of about 2.5%) was approved and if not accepted the contract would go out for bids.  
Downeast Salmon Federation Fish Fry
April 18th
Driving through Columbia Falls village on Friday evening April 18th one certainly new something big was going on. There was barely room for a car to travel the one lane left between the rows of parked vehicles on either side of Main Street. The Downeast Salmon Federation was holding its annual smelt fry at the Columbia Falls Fire Station grounds. Over 250 people attended. The buffet included potato salad, green salads, whole chicken thighs, baked beans, moose meat chilly, rolls and blueberry buckle. The delicious deep fried to perfection smelts were delivered to your table. It was a delightful but chilly evening with conversation, socializing, and meeting new people for the adults and of course there was a bounce house and games for the children. The DSF fish house and hatchery were open to the public.     There was barely room for a car to travel the one lane left between the rows of parked vehicles on either side of Main Street Columbia Falls while the owners attended the Downeast Salmon Federation’s annual smelt fry on Friday evening April 18th.   Enjoying the fare at the Downeast Salmon Federation’s annual smelt fry on Friday evening April 18th are left to right Anna Hammond, her son Rufus of Columbia Falls, Norm Talbot of Franklin, Robert and Jewell Miller from Beals, and Lynn Hobsall of Eastbrook. Rufus bragged “I had chicken, chilly, smelts, and two blueberry buckles”. Robert Miller said he and Jewell come every year and this year brought their own mayonnaise and Tabasco sauce to “an event that could not be missed”.   Over 250 people attended the Downeast Salmon Federation’s annual smelt fry in Columbia Falls on Friday evening April 18th shown here under the tent   The bounce house was popular with children at the Downeast Salmon Federation’s annual smelt fry in Columbia Falls on Friday evening April 18th.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

Fish Fry Don’t forget the Annual Downeast Salmon Federation Fish Fry April 18th, 2014 5-9pm on the grounds of Columbia Falls fire department.
Free professional advice on the municipal building conveyance  Dick Bedard gave each selectman a letter concerning the transfer of the municipal building to Wreaths Across America with two enclosures (9 pages in all) from his sons, Patrick S. Bedard and Jonathan Bedard who were both raised in Columbia Falls. Patrick Bedard is an attorney practicing law in Eliot, Maine and he has provided a free legal opinion. Jonathon Bedard has a master’s degree in development from MIT and has spent his entire life in real estate investment and development and he offers advice and some thought provoking questions. The complete package may be read by clicking this linkScan0002.pdf
3.8 MB


The ice went out of the basin below the falls during the rain storm on Tuesday April 8th, 2014. Congratulations to D.W. Merritt School on becoming a High Performance Reward School as noted in a letter from the commissioner of education.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Special Selectmen’s meeting
on Thursday evening, April 10th  the board members Alan Grant, Jay Look and Todd Emerson immediately went in to executive session with town treasurer Lenora (Emerson) Weaver “to discuss the recreation (committee) passbook savings account”. The session lasted approximately 40 minutes. When they returned Chairman Grant stated “We have resolved the issue at hand and as far as I am concerned there will be nothing further to come out of this”. Nancy Bailey said “are we allowed to ask about the account that supposedly existed?” Grant replied “at another time”. Chuck Hammond asked “will the public get to find out about the Machias Savings Bank findings?” Grant responded “at another time”. The meeting was adjourned. The board did not follow the Maine Municipal Association’s procedural rule for an executive session -   No decision may be reached by the board.  No motion may be made.  No final decision may be made.  Right to know law may not be defeated by an executive session. When the executive session ends and the board returns to the public meeting to make its decision(s) Right to Know Law states that when the board makes a decision it must set forth in writing the reasons for its decision and make findings of fact sufficient to appraise the individual concerned or the public of the basis for the decision. Once the motion is made on the above it becomes public record.  So by not making a motion they defeated Right to Know which, as stated above, is illegal. That document is hereby adopted by the board as its final written decision.  (Once the motion is adopted it becomes public record). When the board came back into regular session it was obvious they had made a decision while in executive session and if so it was illegal. The only motion made when they returned to regular session was to adjourn when they first should have discussed their findings and made a motion to adopt their findings and state these findings of fact that would support that decision. Some attendees thought that Todd Emerson should have recused himself since he and Lenora Emerson Weaver are cousins.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
A special meeting of the selectmen was scheduled and posted for Wednesday evening April 2nd presumably to discuss the Rec. Committee finances as a result of the Machias Savings Bank research; however on Tuesday it was postponed until April 10th at 7pm in the municipal center.  

Strange Goings - on in Columbia Falls… (To obey the law or not to obey the law, that seems to be the question)
At the Selectmen's meeting on March 10, 2014 the Administrative Assistant / Registrar of Voters gave verbal assurance she understood the voting laws when she mentioned she would have to tell a 79 year old resident of another town he could not vote here in Town Meeting even though he had done so all his life according to her.  Eight days later at the Annual Town Meeting this same gentleman and, (I am told) his wife voted apparently not having been informed that right to vote in a town requires the person to have a domicile in the town which is defined as having a residence in that town, where the person carries on the activities of day-to-living (eating, sleeping, etc.) and to which the person returns after brief absence.  So what's this all about?  Is it about having enough votes to get a cousin elected? An explanation would be nice wouldn't it?  And, don't tell us the voter has to be challenged in the Town Meeting, not so, the law says may be challenged.  And who would want to embarrass someone in this way?  Is that what was wanted; to have someone embarrassed and the challenger look bad for doing it?  Also don't tell us that anyone can file a letter of intent with the town saying it is their intention to come back and live in the town someday and thereby vote here. That is beyond ridiculous thinking! It seems the voting laws may be interpreted here for convenience rather than bothering to get a legal opinion.  I am not bringing this up to hurt anyone.  My only reason here is to ask that things be done legally.  Is this too much to ask?
The law does say it's the Registrar's responsibility to keep the voting list accurate.  A copy of the voting list used to verify registered voters at the annual Town Meeting on March 18, 2014 was requested and received from the town office.  Three citizens well familiar with the Town of Columbia Falls have carefully gone over this list and have found roughly sixty (60) people on the list who have moved to neighboring towns or out of state or are dead.  Even a quick scanning of the voting list would tell you the Registrar, contrary to what she says, has made little effort to up-date it.  Is this the voting list used for State and Federal elections or do we have separate lists for separate purposes?  
Who is making these decisions in our town?  Are you, as a voter, happy about this?  Do you want one person making the legal decisions for our town in any way that best fits the moment?  In the case of the voting list isn't this tampering which is legally punishable? (There is another person, also a relative of the registrar, who has lived for years in a neighboring town and yet regularly returns to vote in our town affairs.)
At our annual Town Meeting on March 18, 2014, each of us, as we entered the room where the meeting was held, were checked off on the voting list and given a brightly colored card to hold up when "show of hands voting" was done.  However when it came time to cast ballots, the ballots were handed to anyone who wanted one with no check of any voting list.  Couldn't the colored card have served as ticket to receive a ballot?  Was this another ploy to get the cousin elected?  The cousin won by three votes.  Were these votes legal ones?  I guess one might think they were not.  And if anyone in town were to take this matter to the State and challenge the legality of ballot voting in our recent town meeting they would be verbally crucified by the Town Treasurer and the others who gather at the town office to plot and plan how they can manage our town and make anyone who dares make a suggestion or even a passing comment look bad.  A sad, sad state of affairs isn't it?
Now to the matter of the Selectmen requested search of the records of the Columbia Falls Recreation Committee account(s) with Machias Savings Bank.  In the first place, why in the world did the Chair of the Board of Selectmen vote against Selectman Bernard Ward's motion to have the accounts investigated?  What possible harm could be done by that investigation except to catch a thief if indeed there is one?  Now we are told the bank has finished the requested investigation and sent the results to the Selectmen.  Now it is up to the Selectmen to review what the bank has sent to them and begin an investigation if there is any evidence of possible wrong doing.  A special meeting of the Selectmen was scheduled for Wednesday, April 2, 2014, and canceled on Tuesday April first; most probably this meeting was to address the bank's findings. This meeting is rescheduled for Thursday, April 10th and what do you suppose will be the result?  Do you want any evidence of wrong doing, if there is any, investigated or swept under the carpet?  I find it very interesting that a former administrative assistant, writing from her retirement home in Florida, has been quoted following our town meeting, as saying on facebook she can now rest easy since the newly elected selectman will take care of everything.  Odd thing for her to say isn't it?  And for what reason would she say such a thing?  Is she suggesting she would like to see a complete forensic audit of all our town's finances?
In this year 2014 our elected town officers are running a municipal corporation for us.  We didn't vote to give the town over to them.  We entrusted these officers to manage the town for us, carrying out our wishes with honesty, openness and transparency not with cover-ups, half-truths and downright lies!
And now that I have said all of this, the steam will rise from Tibbettstown Road and elsewhere in and out of town and the crew will gather at the town office to find a new level of despicableness to put me in.  (Their laughable, childish A thru F citizen rating scale [Is this what we pay them to do at the town office?] surely will be too good for me!)  Facebook will be full of scorching remarks about me.  And do I care?  No, I don't because all I am asking for is honest, transparent, law-abiding government and all I am trying to point out is when we don't have honesty and transparency and don't follow the law in governing our town.  So have at me Town of Columbia Falls officers who so grandly hold sway over what the husband of one officer calls "the little people".  To quote my father, "If they are talking about us then they are leaving someone else alone, so we will put up with it".  
Thanks to certain town officers and their behavior the Town of Columbia Falls has become the laughing stock of surrounding towns.  If you don't believe it just ask.  Isn't it time for the foolishness to stop and an attitude of cooperation to once again be the order of the day?  Isn't it easier to stop the scheming and follow a legal path in town affairs and to be honest, respectful and cooperative?  Why not give it a try?
Oh, and one more thing, are you interested in the outcome of negotiations to give our fine Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America?  Do you want those negotiations railroaded to a fast conclusion or do you want time taken to consider what will be best for the town now and well into the future?  Only one negotiation session has taken place so far and I was sorry to see the change in Karen Worcester's attitude from one of concern about how everyone in town would feel (before the town voted to give the building to W.A.A.) to one of arrogantly dismissing the concerns of some residents as "Hatfield and McCoy" showing her complete misunderstanding or indifference to what is really happening in town - arrogance vs. humility, truth vs. lies and right vs. wrong.  We are making an immense gift to Wreaths Across America.  Don't we deserve a little consideration and understanding?  And if we aren't shown it don't we need a petition to rescind the "give away vote"? 
 John Allen Tibbetts, Resident taxpayer, Columbia Falls

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Selectmen’s meeting March 24th, 2014- The board approved a warrant of $19484.33 and payroll of $735.07. Alan Grant was again chosen as chairman. The Attorney Gilbert package pertaining to changes on the proposed contract to convey the municipal building have not been made public since newly elected selectman, Todd Emerson has not had the opportunity to review it. The town office has received its new copier and delivery personnel would not take the old one. Joanne Champney, secretary for the new Epping Volunteer Fire Department has requested a letter from the town stating that the voters have approved combining the fire department with Columbia. Citizen Grace Falzarano asked the board if there was any response from the Machias Savings Bank research on Rec. Committee finances. The board response was that they are still waiting on information from town auditor James Wadman and new selectman, Emerson has not had the chance to review it yet. Chuck Hammond asked “Do I take it that means something was found?” Grant responded “No comment”. Other business discussed – April calendar was approved. Administrative assistant was given a 50 cent raise from $11.50 to $12.00 per hour. (This was in the approved budget). There was discussion on how to handle the lawn care bids since the municipal building ownership will be transferred, but no decision made. Washington County sheriff’s office has offered free roadside cleanup with inmates. An “Ice out” contest was suggested but no action taken. Fire Chief Dave Perham reminded the board that the new Epping fire department will require three board members from the town, one selectman and two citizens. Retired board member will continue working until a decision is made.  Quality Construction’s bid of $17,200 (without cabinets) for final phase of inside construction on Union Hall was accepted. Pam Look asked “Are you working on this project Mr. Chairman? Chairman Grant replied “No.” Tony Santiago said that Union Halls funds available for improvements are $23,000 and estimates $44,000 is required to complete make the hall ready to hold functions. Applications for grants are being planned for submittal in 2014. John Tibbetts submitted the following letter dated March 24th to selectmen prior to the meeting via the administrative assistant: I concluded from Mr. Grant’s address to the citizens attending Town Meeting last week that he and at least some others of our town officers consider citizen’s requests for information, citizen’s concerns and citizen’s insistence in doing things legally to be a bother, an inconvenience and a totally unnecessary waste of time.  Be that as it may be, as long as he is a selectman Mr. Grant and those who share his views may just have to be contented with serving those who elected them as the law requires them to do.  Therefore I have two concerns for which I request answers.  Consider this a FOAA (Freedom of Access Act) request or just a simple request for information from a taxpayer which ever suits you best.   I am requesting to know why the information on voting requirements from M.M.A.  presented to the Selectmen’s meeting on March 10, 2014 by Mr. Look was not acted upon by the Registrar of Voters before the annual Town Meeting which was then a week away?  This failure on the part of the Registrar allowed persons who are not residents of this town to vote in the before mentioned Town Meeting.  I am sure the State of Maine officials who see that voting laws are adhered to will be willing to investigate this matter if you Selectmen are not.  A blatant violation of the voting laws took place here and this must be rectified.   It is public record the Selectmen voted to have Machias Savings Bank search their archives for any and all accounts having belonged to or belonging to the Columbia Falls Recreation Committee.  Therefore I request to know the results of the investigation (they found something / they didn’t find anything).  And I further request to know exactly what action you Selectmen are taking to investigate any findings the bank may have brought forth.  I am sure you realize your duty to protect the town’s interests and to investigate any evidence brought forth by the bank’s investigation.  
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Annual Town Meeting
At Town Meeting March 18th Board Chairman Alan Grant read a prepared report in which he said that town officers had wasted a lot of time caused by controversy and turmoil in our town apparently referring to citizen's requests for information, citizens concerns over voter registration requirements and citizen's concerns for the negotiations over the transfer of the municipal building. (I left a message at the Grant residence asking for a copy of his report for inclusion in this column, but there was no reply). There were two nominees for selectman with a three year term. Todd Emerson was elected over Nancy Bagley 46/43 votes. Dawn Tibbetts and Mike Bailey were reelected for assessor and road commissioner respectively with three year terms. The merger of Columbia and Columbia Falls Fire departments to form a new Epping Volunteer Fire Department (EVFD) was approved by both towns at their respective town meetings. The article for Columbia Falls Alumni Association's scholarship fund for students from C.F. and Centerville was left off the warrant even though the budget committee had recommended $1000 as in the past and that this article had been included in the warrant for many years. Most warrant articles were approved as written. Exceptions are: Article 11, Street lights, the recommended $9000 will be taken from the undesignated fund balance; 16, The recommended $12000 for operation of municipal building will be a roll over account; 17, the amount for Town Cemetery was raised from $500 to $650 to allow purchase of aluminum flag stands; 20, Pleasant River Ambulance Service money will be taken from the undesignated fund balance; 24 and 25, To borrow $300,000 and build a salt and sand shed was postponed indefinitely; 26, The recommended $1000 for animal control was increased to $2000; 31, The town voted to raise $27,257 for the operation of the fire departments (Columbia Falls Fire department until merger and EVFD after the merger expected in mid summer 2014); 46, Recall Ordinance was postponed indefinitely; 47, The requirement that all monetary transactions of town committees to be done through the treasury was postponed indefinitely. There is more information about town meeting online at http://bangordailynews.com/2014/03/19/news/down-east/despite-turmoil-in-town-columbia-falls-voters-reject-recall-ordinance.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Selectmen’s meeting March 10th, 2014-The board approved a warrant of $53224.08 and a payroll of 4758.12. Bun Ward questioned why it took the administrative assistant 14 hours to answer the freedom of access act (FOAA) complaint. Nancy Bailey’s response was to see if the Rec Committee was actually a town committee, to see if there were any town bank statements and there were a lot of phone calls. The Attorney General’s office stated in a letter to the town and to the citizen that the town had complied with the request. Ward said that in a December 2012 meeting about the upcoming 150 celebration he remembers asking where are we going to get the money and he remembers Pete Doak suggesting that the Rec Committee had a lot of money on hand and couldn’t we use that. Bun was told “hands off and forget it”. At the last selectmen’s meeting as a result of the citizen’s inquiry it turns out there is no Rec Committee money. Ward asked “where did that money go?” A motion was made and approved by 2-0 (Grant did not vote) to have Machias Savings research all accounts with town of Columbia Falls. Rick Farnsworth asked “how far back should you go?” John Tibbetts said that while he was treasurer when previous administrative assistant, Muriel Smith was away he and Joyce Grant were sorting the mail. There was a Town of Columbia Falls Rec Committee statement from Machias Savings Bank with a number of 1000s of dollars, under $10,000 perhaps $9000 or $8000. He brought this to Smith’s attention and she snatched it out of his hand saying “it was none of his business”. The board decided to ask the bank to research archives back to the beginning of 2010. Read more about this subject on the internet at http://bangordailynews.com/2014/03/11/news/down-east/bank-account-revelation-fuels-spat-in-columbia-falls/?ref=latest.             Bailey asked how was the change from five planning board members to three going to be handled. It was decided to have an article in the town meeting warrant to decrease the number to three and if approved then next year the town could elect three members with staggered terms.             The town has received a new package from Attorney Gilbert concerning the building conveyance to Wreaths Across America. Bailey will make copies for the selectmen to read before it is released to the public. Ward reminded the board that the town will need renters insurance.             Other matters discussed:              The administrative assistant presented proposals for a copy machine. The board decided to lease a reconditioned copier that will also do booklets. The monthly rent is $57.00 and includes a 5 year warranty and toner.             The librarian’s stipend has been coming out of buildings and grounds next year it will come out of library budget.             Selectmen visited the Union Hall work in progress on Saturday (one at a time). The new bid package was approved and will go to the same contractors as before.             Nancy Bailey personally thanked Bun Ward for his 3 years of service as selectman. There was applause all around.             John Tibbetts stated that voting laws are important and Columbia Falls should follow them. Residency is required. A voter must live in town, temporary assignment excepted. Tibbetts requested that the voting list be checked. Registrar of voters, Nancy Bailey said she had spent hours and hours researching this, has looked at the list and believes everyone is OK except one man 79 years old. Anyone else would have to be challenged at the voting time/place. I will have to tell this man who has voted here all his life that now he can’t. Tibbetts said whenever anyone complains or questions elected officials it is always brought down that it hurts someone. It is always pointed out how someone will be hurt. The law is the law we should not be thinking of the person.   ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 




Columbia Falls'  Treasurer's Report has Four Math Errors

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

Town Auditor's report
Last year, 2013 I reported in the DCP Apr 30th to May 6th issue that Columbia Falls' auditor James Wadman's Management letter to the Selectmen dated March 15th lists three "Material Weaknesses" in internal control: 1. Segregation of Duties;
2. Reconciliation of Checking Account to General Ledger; and 3. Financial Statement Preparation. According to Mary Gingrow-Shaw CPA, Deputy Auditor of Maine Department of Audit Material Weakness is the most serious deficiency of the three categories being: Material Weakness, Significant Deficiency; and Deficiency. Columbia Falls has three Material Weaknesses and none of the less serious ones! Two of the same Material Weaknesses were included in Wadman's letters for three previous years. There was no improvement in four years and in 2012 the financial situation got worse by adding a third Material Weakness. Now James Wadman's letter dated February 10, 2014 for the town's fiscal year ending January 31st, 2014 reports two "Material Weaknesses" an improvement; however Segregation of Duties and Financial Statement Preparation are still there. It is unlikely that Segregation of Duties will be improved in the ensuing year because the town office staff is small and the treasurer and deputy treasurer/administrative assistant are mother and daughter. Both of their terms do not expire until 2015. The voters could change this next year at town meeting. The treasurer could and should eliminate the Financial Statement Preparation material weakness for this year ending on January 31st, 2015. The voters at town meeting 2015 could perhaps also change this by electing a new treasurer.
The selectmen are to be commended for eliminating one material weakness "Reconciliation (monthly) of Checking Account to General Ledger" from this years' audit with special credit to Bun Ward for his persistence.
The complete James Wadman's Management letter to the Selectmen dated February 10, 2014.  

Voter requirements
C.F. town registrar, Nancy Bailey informs us that residency is not a voter requirement as long as voters have lived in town, plan to return to town (even if it is as long as 40 years) and are not registered voters anywhere else. In response with the help of John Tibbetts I have found the following information: ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE IN TOWN MEETING AND ELECTIONS Title 30-A  M.R.S.A. section 2524(1) "Every voter in the town may vote in the election of all officials and in all town affairs."  In general, a person who is registered to vote in a town may vote in its meetings and elections, and one who is not registered to vote in a town may not. GENERAL QUALIFICATION TO VOTE
Title 21-A  M.R.S.A.  section 111
1.     Must be a citizen of the United States
2.     Must be at least 18 years of age
3.    Must have established and maintained a voting residence in that municipality
4.    Must be registered to vote in that municipality
VOTING RESIDENCE Title 21-A  M.R.S.A.  section 112  This section defines residence for voting purposes.  This section provides that the residence of a person is "that place where the person has established a fixed and principal home to which the person, whenever temporarily absent intends to return." The law clearly wants to see an actual fixed and principal home in the municipality where registration [to vote] is sought.  Thus when an applicant asserts that she or he is absent from the town in which registration is sought, the applicant must show not only that the absence is merely temporary, but that the person is absent from an actual home. Property ownership and taxpayer status is irrelevant. 

Managing Negotiations in the Conveyance of the Municipal Building

A special selectmen's meeting was held on March 3rd with Karen Worcester to negotiate the final terms of conveying the municipal building to Wreaths Across America. WAA at their expense prepared the draft contract for review and discussion by both sides. Worcester and WAA position seemed to be that negotiations were complete since the draft followed closely with her verbal proposal made at the informational meeting just prior to the special town meeting when the people voted to convey the building to WAA. But there was no negotiation at the town meeting. There was Worcester's proposal and there were questions from the town's people. The people by their votes left negotiations up to the selectmen. [At that special town meeting Philip Worcester attempted to delay the vote until the annual town meeting by making a motion and requiring the selectmen or an appointed committee to have all the details negotiated so the town would know exactly what the terms are before they voted to convey the building. This motion was seconded but voted down.] At the beginning of the meeting Ward asked Worcester why WAA wanted the gym. She responded Wreaths Across America needs the space to hold functions.
 Bun Ward asked town's attorney Charles Gilbert to read aloud the approved town meeting article "To see if the Town will vote to convey ownership of the Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America and to authorize the selectmen to manage all negotiations and legal matters involved with the transfer."  Ward said "aren't we negotiating now? The people gave the selectmen the right to negotiate". Ward had three areas of concern: 1. the gym's locker rooms are full of town files. WAA believes the gym and locker rooms to be one unit. The town needs new space for storage. Ward suggests the room across the hall from the town office now leased by WAA would be convenient for town storage; 2. People should have the same use of the community room (gym) as they do now; 3. Ensure the building is available to the town if WAA moves out. The building should come back to the town and the town should not have to pay for improvements. Chairman Alan Grant said storage is OK in the treasurer's office. Ward asked Grant "Alan are you working for Wreaths Across America or the Town of Columbia Falls?" Worcester says "we want the community to have use of the building as they do now. Attorney Gilbert stated the draft has a provision for the town to have first refusal if WAA decides to sell. If WAA dissolves then the building goes back to the town. WAA must take the Allen field with the same stipulations in the present deed. Worcester says WAA does not want to maintain the playground and it must be made safer by the town, preferably moved. It should be gated and have hours of operation posted. The draft agreement has the playground as part of the town's lease back with area to be agreed upon. Citizen Vance Pineo Sr. would like to have the gym be part of the town's lease. Worcester said "We had all these discussions, I don't know how many times". Pineo asked "are you saying negotiations are I told you what I want". Worcester said it was all discussed at the December town meeting when she was pounded around and berated by several speakers.
I find it hard to have sympathy for Karen Worcester feeling "pounded around and berated" when WAA is getting a free million dollar building. Worcester and Joe Tibbetts made it clear that they were here to negotiate but they were unwilling to negotiate anything that was brought up by Mr. Ward or Pineo at this meeting. Negotiations are not going well. Karen Worcester and Joseph Tibbetts insist that WAA get everything that was ever talked about. If this is what they want now, imagine how things might go after the building is conveyed.
 After about 90 minutes attorney Gilbert suggested the board go into executive session and they did without any motion. Representatives of WAA and the citizens all left the building. After pouring over my notes I could find no evidence that anything was accomplished or decided at this first meeting. You can read more about this meeting at the Bangor Daily News online edition: http://bangordailynews.com/2014/03/04/news/down-east/town-building-transfer-talks-between-wreaths-across-america-and-columbia-falls-officials-turn-testy/. Watch the video. Notice Grant's impolite and complete disregard for the matter at hand.
One has to wonder if Bun Ward and Vance Pineo had not raised some good questions if the draft would have been signed on the spot and "be done with it". People this is not a hamburger, they do not have to have it their way. Yes, we are giving the building away but the selectmen have leverage. Tell them to hold on to the things dear to you. Take an interest, get involved, and come to the meetings. The complete draft contract may be read here. (Its a PDF and takes a few moments to load) 

Verbal abuse of a citizen by an elected official
.
This article is about the verbal abuse a citizen suffered at the hands of Town officers because the citizen dared to pursue a quest to find out where Recreation Committee money went.  Therefore the citizen's name has been omitted.
At the Selectmen's meeting in Columbia Falls the evening of February 24, 2014, Lenora Weaver, the Town Treasurer, made a vicious, verbal attack on a citizen of the town in an attempt to discredit and intimidate this citizen for making a legal inquiry about the Recreation Committee finances. This vicious attack was allowed and encouraged by the Chairman of the Board, Alan Grant.
The citizen made the inquiry under the Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) for the financial records of the Recreation Committee which functioned for many years here in Columbia Falls, providing such things as Halloween parties for the young people, and supported in part by tax money raised at town meetings.  In the year 2010 this committee had thousands of unspent dollars and by 2013 the auditor was showing a balance of only fifty-five cents (rounded off in the audit to one dollar).  In the time between 2010 and 2013 there was no obvious expenditure of money by this committee other than the purchase of t-shirts which Mrs. Weaver sold at several events and from the Town Office.  Where did the Recreation Committee money go?  Reason enough, don't you think, for a citizen to make an enquiry!
The Town of Columbia Falls, in the person of Administrative Assistant Nancy Bailey, Lenora Weaver's daughter, told the inquiring citizen she did not believe the Recreation Committee was a town committee and therefore not subject to an FOAA inquiry.  Some discussion went on between Mrs. Bailey and the citizen but brought forth no financial records or information.  Mrs. Bailey suggested the citizen would have to ask a member of the committee, who would not have to comply and furnish the information since the committee was not a town committee.  
Being denied the requested information by the Town of Columbia Falls, and, after speaking with citizens who were on the committee who said they felt it was a Town committee, the citizen took her request to Brenda L. Kielty, Assistant Attorney General & Public Access Ombudsman.  In other words she went to the State office which is specifically there to help citizens when public access to records is denied. After considerable communication with Mrs. Bailey, the Ombudsman, Ms. Kielty, sent a letter to both Mrs. Bailey and the citizen.  This letter stated, in part, the following finding of fact, "…the creation of this committee [Recreation Committee] remains unclear".  In other words, from information she was given, she was unable to determine whether or not the Recreation Committee was a Town committee.
    Now comes Lenora Weaver's outrageous diatribe against the inquiring citizen, labeling her as a trouble maker, turning the request for information into a questioning of the character of her daughter, Mrs. Bailey, and chastising the citizen for taking up her daughter's valuable time and generally making the citizen out to be a very bad person.  Mrs. Weaver began her diatribe when called upon to speak, as listed on the agenda, under officers and committees.  So she was assumed to be speaking as the Town Treasurer and when objection was raised, Alan Grant, the chairman, gaveled her down.  However, toward the end of the meeting under the Citizen's Concerns agenda item, Mr. Grant gave Mrs. Weaver permission to continue her outburst even though she was not listed to speak.
Mrs. Weaver, as Town Treasurer, is in the Town Office parts of several days each week.  
1.)    It is easy to assume that she was aware of the citizen's request for information about the Recreation Committee.  
2.)    It is easy to assume she knew that most citizens serving on the Recreation Committee considered it a Town Committee.
3.)    It is easy to assume Mrs. Weaver knew where the committee money went since she was the one who handled the money after Muriel Smith left office. Mrs. Weaver was also the one who ordered t-shirts and sold them, and disbanded the committee.
So instead of berating a citizen who was simply concerned regarding the whereabouts of the Recreation Committee money, part of which was tax dollars, shouldn't Mrs. Weaver have been willing to answer any and all questions and put the matter to rest?  Why didn't she do that?  What difference did it make whether or not it was a Town committee? Why did she attempt to make the citizen asking for the information look badly - with the help and compliance of Mr. Grant, Chairman of the Select Board?
Was Mrs. Weaver using tactics she has used before to intimidate citizens who actually did no wrong and shift the focus from the real question (Recreation Committee finances) to the character of the citizen?  The citizen's request for information was first made October 31, 2013 and finally after the passage of three months Mrs. Bailey furnished the Attorney General's office and the citizen with a photocopy of a bank passbook showing deposits and withdrawals but not identified as belonging to any particular entity and therefore worthless.  Finally on February 26 2014 the Attorney General's letter quoted above was written.  Why did it take all this time to come up with no definitive answer?  Hasn't Lenora Weaver had the answer all the time but refused to give it?  What possibly could be her reason for avoiding answering the question and try to divert attention from the question?
Questions need to be answered such as:
1.)    Is it time to publically ask Lenora Weaver to come forward with the information about the Recreation Committee finances since she was so closely involved?  
2.)    Does a Town officer have the right to viciously, verbally attack a citizen in a public meeting?
3.)    Is it time to ask Mrs. Weaver and Mr. Grant to publically apologize to this citizen who was attacked so outrageously in a public meeting of the Columbia Falls Selectmen?  
4.)    If Mrs. Weaver and Mr. Grant refuse to apologize should they be asked to step down as officers of our Town?  
The Public Access Ombudsman, Ms. Kielty, ends her letter with the following finding of fact, "Public policy favors transparency and access to public records.  [The citizen] exercised her rights under statute and Ms. Bailey, on behalf of the Town, complied with the requirements of the law."  Therefore both the citizen and Mrs. Bailey acted legally.  
Isn't it time citizens of Columbia Falls stepped up to the plate and let it be known how they want citizens of their Town to be treated and how they want their town to be run by the officials they elect!  

A town meeting time appropriate quote - "I have faith in people in the end people elect the officials they deserve" Bob Schieffer CBS news 7-26-2013.



A special selectmen's meeting was held on March 3rd with Wreaths Across America to negotiate the final terms of the municipal building conveyance to WAA. Vance Pineo (standing) offers a citizens point of view. Sitting back-to is attorney for the town, Charles Gilbert, clockwise from his left are selectmen; Alan Grant, Jay Look, and Bun Ward; WAA treasurer, Joe Tibbetts; Attorney for WAA, Sarah Reinhart; WAA Veteran Outreach Program Coordinator, Wayne Merritt; and WAA Executive Director, Karen Worcester. There were also six interested citizens in attendance. 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Town Auditor, James Wadman's Letter to Selectmen

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Selectmen’s meeting February 24th, 2014 – A warrant of $4471.62 and a payroll of $735.07 was approved. Four bids were received for the foreclosed property on Centerville Road. Wendell Rockwell’s high bid of $1700 was accepted. After reviewing a proposal submitted by Tony Santiago the board decided to renew the town’s membership in the Washington County Council of Governments and pay the annual dues of $362.00. Administrative assistant Nancy Bailey provided copies of the state statute on “Right to Know” policy for the board to review before next meeting. She also announced that a meeting has been scheduled on March 3rd by Karen Worcester of Wreaths Across America to meet with selectmen and attorneys to discuss the transfer of the municipal building. The Town March calendar was approved with town meeting scheduled for the 18th. Dick Paul from Addison is running for State Representative District 33 and presented a petition from East Machias selectmen to prevent the Maine Corrections Commission from taking over the County jail as proposed by Commissioner Joseph Ponte. Warrant articles submitted by others for inclusion in the Town Meeting Warrant were discussed. 1. The board accepted and approved three articles about merging Columbia and Columbia Falls fire departments submitted by the committee. 2. An article for an ordinance of recall for elected officials was approved by a vote of two. (This is the 3rd year in a row that this ordinance has been presented to selectmen, finally the people will have the opportunity to decide on it at town meeting this year). 3. A planning board article was approved to change the bylaws of the five member board which will allow for electing members for staggered terms. 4. An article requiring all monetary transactions of town committees to be done through the treasury of the town was also approved. Two articles not approved were: 1. To see if the town will vote to require state law regarding applying for and expending of grant money to always be followed by any town committee or group when applying for or expending grant money. 2. To see if the town will vote to require all public meetings in the town of Columbia Falls to be held in a handicapped accessible public space; and further to require notice of such meetings to be posted in the town office 7 days in advance of the meeting date. This is to say no public meetings may be held in private homes because all citizens have a right to attend these meetings and should feel free to do so. This article is to take effect immediately if it is approved by the town meeting. Tony Santiago, chairman of the Union Hall Restoration Committee requested that the committee volunteers be allowed to deliver the annual town reports at a cost to the town of $120.00. This money would go into the committee account. (This was done in the last two years by the 150 celebration steering committee.) Santiago also said they were willing to put the Maine Municipal Association’s booklet “A Citizen’s Guide to Town Meeting” in the town report. The board approved the Committee’s request to use town raised funds for the remainder of interior work. A phase II bid package was presented to the board for review.    The Columbia Falls town budge committee met on Tuesday evening, February 25th and has agreed on two recommended budgets for 2014. If the people of towns of Columbia and Columbia Falls both vote to consolidate fire departments and form a new Epping Volunteer Fire Department the recommended budget will be $214,960, it will be slightly lower, $206,423 if fire departments are not combined. (These figures do not include county tax or SAD 37) Representatives from the fire department consolidation committee were present to answer questions. There are no significant changes from last year’s budget. Road commissioner, Michael Bailey presided over the meeting and moved it along rapidly with no nonsense.

 



Facebook pages 
Wreaths Across America will be joining the Support Military Foundation as its charity of choice, on their race car Number 93 during Speed week (February 15th to 23rd) at Daytona. Morgan Shepherd is driving the SupportMilitary.org Toyota. Downeast Salmon Federation - spring is around the corner which means Smelt Fry! 2014 Annual Smelt Fry, Friday, April 18th, 5 – 9 on the grounds of the Columbia Falls Fire Department Main Street, Columbia Falls. The menu features many locally grown, regional foods and includes smelts, of course, deep fried to perfection, delicious dinner items and dessert! This is a wonderful celebration of DSF friends, families and supporters that turn out annually for this one of kind event. (There are now ten smelt fishing shacks on the Pleasant River Basin below the falls, the most I have seen in years.)   Local government From Maine Municipal Association’s publication A Citizen’s Guide to Town Meeting: “If you ask why town meetings are so poorly attended, people will tell you they go if there’s something exciting on the warrant. They’ve been watching too much television. When it comes to doing your civic duty (which is the key to accountability in self-government) there’s no room for channel surfing. On town meeting day, town meeting is the only show in town. “Or they’ll say town meeting is held at the wrong time, or that there are too many issues decided by secret ballot, or that the selectmen do what they want no matter what people say. Well, the way to get things changed (including town meeting scheduling and secret ballot votes) is to attend town meeting and put up a fuss. And it’s no wonder the selectmen and other officials take control of municipal affairs. Somebody has to…. “The purest form of democracy is participatory democracy, in which you put your butt in the chair at the meeting house or the high school gym and you have your say and you cast your vote on every last blessed item on the warrant…You might slip out for a coffee but you don’t slip out for the whole day. If you do, you’re part of the problem and somebody else is going to solve it….” The complete guide is available on the internet at http://www.memun.org/TrainingResources/LocalGovernment/AGuidetoTownMeeting. In Columbia Falls there is a small group of involved citizens who attend selectmen’s meetings regularly and volunteer for everything.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Republican caucus
Columbia Falls Republicans will caucus with Addison Republicans on February 19th 2014 at Mayhew Public Library Addison Maine beginning at 6 PM. The purpose of the caucus is to elect Delegates and Alternates to the State Convention, elect members to the Washington County Republican Committee, and organize for the upcoming elections. All Columbia Falls Republicans are urged to attend this event. The State Convention will be held in Bangor on April 25th and 26th at the Cross Convention Center. This is an excellent opportunity for local Republicans to meet and speak with those who are running for office. Local government Selectmen approved a warrant of $51,248.34 and a payroll warrant of $3825.48 at their meeting on February 10th, 2014. In other business matters: One of the two foreclosures advertised in the paper has been paid. Only one property is now being sold for unpaid taxes; the town has received a bill for annual dues in the amount of $362.00 from the Washington County Council of Government; Tony Santiago will prepare a statement by the next selectmen’s meeting to help them decide whether to continue membership or not; Administrative Assistant, Nancy Bailey said that the LHO position (Local Health Officer) still has not been filled. If no one is appointed then by state law this position falls to the chairman of the board. The position requires certification and training is available on the internet; Bailey said the C.F. “Right to Know Policy” last updated in 2010 is not up to date with state law. State changes include- requests’ for information may now be verbal, the hourly rate that towns may charge for research has been changed from $10.00 to $15.00, and elected officials are required to take training in the “Right to Know” law. Bailey will have more information for selectmen at the next meeting; road commissioner Mike Bailey suggested the selectmen might want an article in the Town Warrant to see if the voters want to build the sand salt shed now. Currently County Concrete has the snow plowing and sanding contract and they store C.F. sand at their facility. Should C.C.C. not get the contract in the future then C.F. would need to provide sand storage. The town has an approved site and preliminary engineered plans but no ground work has been started. As a minimum a platform would be required but a shed would allow any surplus sand to be held over for another year. Salt stored outside is spoiled by the elements. Bailey said there is no state money available for this project. He will prepare an article for selectmen to review at the next meeting; Tony Santiago, chairman of the Union Hall restoration committee said they have been invited to apply for the Morton-Kelly Grant, new subcommittees formed for water/sewer research, final interior construction bid pack preparation, and for planning future events. There are plans to have Downeast Correctional inmates back for shutter installation, painting and mounting the historic register plaque. Santiago said that he and Mary Lamoureux had both inspected the piano to be donated and are “pretty pleased” with it and decided that that they could save the town some money in that no professional inspection was needed but to have him just look at it to see if it needed a tune-up.   John Tibbetts addressed the selectmen with the following from a prepared paper: 1 - Voter eligibility – residency? I brought to your attention, at one of your previous meetings, the need to examine legal requirement for eligibility to vote in a Town Meeting and with our annual meeting weeks away I am wondering (1) what you have found out in that regard and (2) what plan you have to safeguard the voting in our upcoming town meeting to the legal voters. [Administrative assistant and registrar of voters Bailey responded: voters must be a citizen of the US, at least 18 years of age, have established and maintained a voting residence in that municipality, registered to vote in that municipality, and must be enrolled in a party in that municipality to vote in a caucus; a resident may register to vote regardless of whether he of she owns property; the registrar has the executive power to make the initial determination whether an applicant meets the qualifications required by law; Bailey has taken the required state courses to determine that; voters may register the same day as the election.]  Tibbetts said “I would understand that residency is a basic requirement and live in this town.” Bailey replied “if they don’t live in this town – they have to have the intention of returning to this town”. Tibbetts questioned “so if they been away 40 years?” Bailey continues “yes as long as they intend to return to this town”. Tibbetts argues “I would question that period. I have read the law about residency and I think residency is the basic requirement but the law is very confusing. I would question a person living away and coming here to vote”. Bailey “The biggest thing is the state wants to make sure that the people vote in one place wherever they determine their residency to be. A challenge must be made at the time of voting. Residency for voting is not the same as residency for registering vehicles”. 2 - Post audit report must (as required by law) contain among other things the “auditor’s comments and suggestions for improving the financial administration”.  I therefore request a copy of this report citing FOAA State & Federal once it has been received by the Town. 3 - Union Hall - I wish to clarify a possible misconception of what I said at the last selectmen’s meeting when I challenged the process for soliciting bids on work to be done in Union Hall.  In the first place I was challenging the process and not the bid submitted by Mr. Farnsworth.  Mr. Farnsworth has done excellent work for Bion and me in the past and I highly recommend him to anyone for similar work.  And, I need also to say I am always happy to see restoration work being done at Union Hall.  I have always been supportive of that. Questioning does not mean disliking or being against something. No one in the public arena is above questioning, that’s the beauty of a democracy. My question tonight is simply to ask how much the current construction inside Union Hall is diminishing the hall’s capacity regarding those attending functions there and to ask if the current inside construction plan has been signed off by an historic architect such as Chris Glass who, I believe, made the original plan for inside construction, so that the current construction meets the secretary of the interior’s standards for this construction? I also would like to know if the roadway from the street level to the level where the handicapped ramp is accessed has been certified to meet ADA standards? [There was some discussion on whether the driveway needed to meet any ADA standards or not. The pitch is less than the 1 in 12 ADA requirement. The driveway would seem difficult for a handicapped person to traverse without help and yet the driveway may not be safe for vehicular traffic without a guard rail. There are plans to widen it and surface it with reclaimed tar. Tibbetts said “please just get it ADA inspected before spending more money on it.”] Citizens wanting to bring up a topic for discussion at selectmen’s meetings are required to file a form with the administrative assistant by Thursday of the week before the scheduled selectmen’s meeting, however Columbia Falls’ selectmen conduct open meetings and allow citizens in attendance to speak on the subjects currently being discussed and it is appreciated. Many people will remember when Barbara Drisko was chairman of the selectmen. She welcomed citizens at each meeting, shook their hands and encouraged them to come often and participate in community affairs.    An appropriate quote for elected officials- Hillary Clinton told a packed auditorium of New York University students on Thursday February 13th that the most important tip she could offer women in public life was a lesson she took from one of her role models, Eleanor Roosevelt: “Grow skin like a rhinoceros.” Mrs. Clinton added “When you look at the challenges of being a change-maker and being willing to buck the establishment, it’s important to learn how to take criticism seriously but not personally, and to do that you have to be willing to hear what others who are your critics are saying and to evaluate where they are coming from.”  
Scat-fraid          
Recently I heard a term that I had not heard in a very long time, perhaps since high school. The term was scat-fraid, as in boy was it slippery, I was scat-fraid we would end up in the ditch.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reflections of 2013  

January 31st was the end of the 2013 fiscal year for the Town of Columbia Falls and what a great year it was. The town celebrated its sesquicentennial, 1863-2013.

(1) For the first time in years town meeting was held in the recently restored and historic Union Hall on March 25th.

(2) On April 6th there was a Grand Civil War costume Ball in Union Hall.

(3) The 150 celebration main event came on the last weekend in June. On the Friday the 28th  Civil War historian, Charles Plummer gave us a great presentation of civil war life by impersonating General Joshua Chamberlain. On Saturday the 29th there was a multitude of events including a breakfast at the Faith United Methodist Church, a footrace, festival parade, Salmon Federation fish fry, car show, historic house tour, art show and auction, Union Hall historic display, horse drawn wagon rides, vendors, crafts and children’s activities. The Schools Memorabilia Room, Town Library, Wreaths Across America Museum, Salmon Federation hatchery and Columbia Falls Pottery were all open. There were blacksmith, weaving and sawmill demonstrations. In the evening dinner was served at the municipal center, magnificent fireworks over the river, and two dances.  On Sunday the 30th events included Brunch served by the United Methodist Women, Church service at the United Methodist Church on the hill, a Service of Remembrance of Our Veterans at the bridge and an old fashioned 1863 period ice cream social.

(4) The Balsam Valley Amphitheater was finished in October.

(5) A Day of Honor & Remembrance Featuring Lee Greenwood on October 13th at Balsam Valley Amphitheater.

(6) The Schools Memorabilia Room was completed in November.

(7) At a special town meeting on December 3rd voters agreed to convey the municipal building to Wreaths Across America.

2014 begins

February 1st was the beginning of a new fiscal year for the Town of Columbia Falls. James Wadman, CPA is scheduled to audit the town’s books on February 10th. The town’s budget committee meeting will be on February 25th. This is a public meeting and committee “members” are basically everyone who attends. In the past this has been a well attended meeting moderated by the chairman of the board of selectmen. This is an opportunity for any reside nt to influence the budget to be presented to the people at the upcoming town meeting.

Maine Municipal Association (MMA) states on their website, http://www.memun.org that: “In general, municipalities in Maine are organized in one of two forms of government: (1) the direct, town meeting form of government where the legislative body of the community is the town meeting, or (2) the representational form of government where the legislative body of the community is the town or city council.”

Columbia Falls uses the town meeting form of government. Town meeting government is widely accepted as the purest form of democracy in action. MMA explains it this way “Municipal government in Maine enjoys a special authority called ‘home rule.’ This authority is given to the towns and cities of Maine in the state’s Constitution. Under ‘home rule,’ municipalities may govern themselves in any way that is not denied them by state or federal law. Home rule finds its origin in the state’s reliance on community, an historical tendency to devolve the power of government to its most local level, and a deep respect for the common sense and good judgment of Maine’s citizens. As its name implies, local government is run by and for its citizens. Whether as a selectmen, councilor, or school board member, people seek to be elected for municipal office out of a sense of civic duty and to make a positive difference for their community. This spirit of community volunteerism also applies to the people who agree to be appointed to the local planning board, appeals board, or the numerous other committees that collaboratively work together to make their local government what it is. From running for elected office to volunteering to assist in the publication of a municipal newsletter, there are numerous opportunities to serve local government”.         

Columbia Falls’ town meeting will be on March 18th at 7PM in the Municipal Center. Offices up for election this year are: one selectman for a three year term; one tax assessor for a three year term; and one road commissioner for a three year term. Philip Worcester chairman of the planning board expects all five planning board positions will be up for election also with new staggered terms but no official decision has been made yet.

The Columbia Falls Record, http://www.columbiafallsmerecord.org has had over 18200 visits since it went online in September 2011.

A blown transformer in front of the municipal center

At about 9:30 or 10:00 Monday night Philip Worcester said he heard a very loud boom and a few homes on Main and Point Streets were left in the dark. It turned out to be a “blown” transformer. The heat went off in the municipal building and there were some other electrical problems as well. Selectman Jay Look said that no one notified him of the emergency. 

Town Facebook page

All Financial Warrant Articles should be in to the Town Office no later than 4:00 p.m. Thursday, February 20, 2014. All Nonfinancial Warrant Articles should be in no later than 2:00 p.m. Monday, February 24, 2014. Please call the Town Office should you have questions.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Selectmen’s meeting
Selectmen approved a warrant of $18161.99 and a payroll of $10827.15 at their meeting on January 27, 2014. Administrative assistant Nancy Bailey reported that Karen Worcester has received the first draft from the Wreaths Across America lawyer concerning transfer of the municipal building. She found issues with it and sent it back. Worcester wants to meet with selectmen before the next regular scheduled meeting on February 10th. Rick Campbell told selectmen that he had received their letter concerning the problem of water pumped from his basement which floods the street and freezes. He has contacted the DOT and will be meeting with them soon to find a resolution. Irving Pinkham who is interested in the code enforcement officer (CEO) position was present to answer questions. He has been the CEO for Beals Island for two years. He said that state officials know that he is not certified but they did not tell him to stop working. Pinkham will be taking the test and expects to be certified by spring. Selectmen approved hiring Pinkham at a flat rate of $1200 annually. Administrative assistant Nancy Bailey stated that the last day of the fiscal year is Thursday, January 30th, 2014 and it was inadvertently left off the official calendar that the office would close at noontime so she could close out of Trio for 2013 and start the new year. She checked with Mr. Grant and posted the change a week in advance but this was found to be unacceptable. Chuck Hammond raised the issue that tax bills stated that taxes were due on Friday, January 31st but the town office is closed on Fridays. Will taxes be accepted on Monday, February 3rd? Bailey said only checks received in the mail with a postmark no later than the 31st would be accepted on time. John Tibbetts pointed out that there was a notice in the post office that said the town office would be closing at noon on January 30th but the approved calendar showed that it was open from 8am to 4pm. “Some taxpayers are likely to come Thursday afternoon and be disappointed they can not pay their taxes. To me the office ought to be open for the benefit of the taxpayers of the town. It would seem that there was ample time since there are ten days to next warrant to finish town books in order to make it convenient for the citizens of the town, the taxpayers.”  Alan Grant said “I think we are cutting hairs myself, but whatever. I think if you’ve waited up to the last 20 minutes you are cutting it pretty close, but I suppose there are people that can do that”.  Tibbetts responded “The point I was making Alan is that it was not officially announced in the paper, calendar or facebook.”  Treasurer Lenora Weaver chimed in “those same people if we close on Thursday would whine if we close on Thursday and would whine if we are not here on Friday”. David Weaver adds “what’s the worst that’s going to happen? You get your name in the book with a star behind it.” Tibbetts said “Mr. Chairman my point was that it has not been advertised and I think people have the right to be upset. I wouldn’t call it whining. I think the taxpayers have the right to speak and be served well and I don’t think it is serving them well by closing the office without notifying them that they have to be here before noon on Thursday. Some people don’t necessarily have the money to come much earlier. The taxes are due on the 31st and we know as citizens of the town that the office is closed Fridays but we don’t know that it will be closed Thursday afternoon.”  After some deliberation the selectmen authorized the administrative assistant and the treasurer to work on Friday January 31st at their overtime rate to do the end of year processing and keep the town office open all day on Thursday as scheduled. Checks received by mail after January 31st and post marked no later that January 31 would not be considered late.  There was further discussion that Bailey is the only one in the office that can do vehicle registrations, collect taxes and do computer work. It was suggested that the town have a policy or perhaps a deputy for lost time such as funerals, sickness and emergences.             There were five potential foreclosures due to unpaid taxes and now there are only three which will be put up for bid and sold.             The town has received James Wadman’s papers to be signed authorizing him to audit the books for 2013.             Three bid packages went out to local bidders as approved at the last selectmen’s meeting for interior walls of the Union Hall. Only one bid was received. The contract was awarded to Rick Farnsworth of Quality Construction in the amount of $4250. Farnsworth said there is about one week’s work and hopefully it will be finished before town meeting. John Tibbetts questioned the legality of only sending out three bid proposals and not advertising the work so anyone could bid. Nancy Bailey read the procedure aloud from the MMA manual and the selectmen were satisfied that they had acted properly. Pam Look asked Chairman Alan Grant if he works for Quality Construction and he said yes and then she suggested that this was a conflict of interest. Grant stated he was not going to work on this project.             Selectmen approved the February Calendar but changed the budget meeting date from March 3rd to Tuesday February 25th at 7PM.             Road commissioner Mike Bailey reported that the salt/sand volume was getting low and at some point soon a decision would need to be made whether to cut back on application or replenish the stock pile. New DOT village directional signs have been made and are expected to be put up before town meeting.   Calendar pictures wanted-Ronie Strout is looking for Civil War photos of people that served in the Civil War of the Pleasant River area (Addison, Centerville, Columbia and Columbia Falls) and their information on them for the next calendar for the Pleasant River Historical Society. 2015 is the last year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial. Call 483-4374.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Selectmen's meeting January 13th 2014

On January 13, 2014 Selectmen
approved a warrant of $65322.98 and a payroll warrant of $1419.03. It was reported that Karen Worcester of Wreaths Across America has authorized her lawyers to go ahead in preparing the necessary documents for the town to convey the municipal building. She also has said that she was willing to meet with selectmen at anytime if wanted. It was noted that the town office has storage in one of the lockers off the gym and that WAA will need this space. Several ideas for new storage were discussed.

            Administrative assistant Bailey has determined that a backup for General Assistance will be required to take a one day course.

            The board approved Dan Kane’s use of the gym for his basketball program.

            There are five property foreclosures due to unpaid taxes. Selectmen asked the administrative assistant to send one more letter to each owner before the town puts the properties up for sale.

            Road Commissioner Mike Bailey said that there is an ongoing problem of water on the street apparently from a home owner pumping his basement. This is more of a concern during winter when it freezes. The street is a state road but this is a town issue. Bailey asked that a town letter be sent to the owner asking for and suggesting other possible solutions. A permit could be issued to terminate the drain into the state owned storm drain nearby. Bailey also reported that the snowplow has dislodged a stone from a wall on Church Hill Circle. This happened once before and it was fixed at town expense and suggested the town fix it again. The selectmen approved both of these items.

            Dates have been set for: Financial Audit, February 10th; Budget Meeting, March 3rd; and Town Meeting, March 18th.

            Tony Santiago presented the interior specifications for the Union Hall and suggested a bid list which was approved by selectmen.

            A motion was made and approved that all meetings would be tape recorded.

Selectmen reviewed and signed the December financial report after the meeting.

The 150 Celebration Civil War style flags that were flown from utility poles this past summer may be picked up by the individuals who purchased them in memory of loved ones. Flags are worn and tattered as would be expected. Arrangements for pickup may be made by calling Grace Falzarano at 483-6647.

 
Combined Fire Department informational meeting
-
It all started when Columbia Falls’ selectmen got a notice from the insurance company that the fire station had some serious structural flaws. The design life has been reached. Chief Dave Perham started looking for alternative housing for the town’s equipment. The town of Columbia’s fire station had unused space. Out of talks between the two departments the idea arose that maybe there would be benefits to combining the two departments. Selectmen from both towns appointed representatives from the two towns to a committee to look into the matter.

            After more than a year of meetings the committee presented it proposed Columbia/Columbia Falls Fire Department Merger Agreement, Draft 8, 1/13/2014 to the public on January 15, 2014 at the Columbia Town Hall. The new organization would be a nonprofit, quasi municipal, 501(c)3 Corporation called Epping Volunteer Fire Department (EVFD). The contract was based on the Pleasant River Ambulance Service contract with modifications and additions from others as necessary to suit this application. This separate entity will be recognized by the Maine Municipal Association (MMA). The shareholders of EVFD will be 50/50.  Columbia Falls has more population but Columbia has more land area.

A list of assets will be kept for all equipment, gear and vehicles contributed by each town to EVFD. Columbia Falls will be contributing two fire trucks and Columbia will contribute four (two are forestry vehicles). All six vehicles are owned out right with no mortgage. Whatever was owned before the merger will be owned by respective towns afterwards if the corporation is ever dissolved.  Equipment purchased by EVFD will be valued 50/50. Both fire departments have had equipment deficiencies, have been under funded and under trained. Lumping together should help. The fire station belongs to the town of Columbia and will be leased to EVFD for $1.00 per year. It was suggested that the committee look into how a lease agreement might affect any grant applications for future building improvements. There are no immediate plans for improvements to the fire station, however a heating system and paving have been talked about for the future. The lease agreement has not been written yet pending approval of the merger agreement by voters of both towns at their individual annual town meetings. There are many issues to be resolved after town approvals and before incorporation, but the committee is hopeful that the merger could be complete by June or July.

The merger will give the combined towns a better chance of getting grants. Many times towns are vying for the same grant and grantors like to award grants where it will benefit the most people.

The fire department can expect a break in the cost of its insurance.

The new merged fire department will still have the same opportunities to get surplus forest department trucks.

The new merger may force updates in mutual aid agreements with other towns.

The combined EVFD may attract new volunteers and other towns may buy in.

See proposed draft of Merger agreement and photos below.
 



The Columbia and Columbia Falls fire department consolidation committee presents its proposal to citizens of the two towns at an informational meeting on January 15th at Columbia Town Hall.  Left to right moderator Mark Howe, Dave Perham, Jay Look, Courtney Hammond, Cecil Gray, Bun Ward, and JoAnn Champney.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 On Friday, January 10th the after school EdGE program held a special combined outing for area schools; Cherryfield, Milbridge, Harrington, Columbia, Columbia Falls, and Addison. Children had a choice of ice skating on the rink or snow shoeing the trails. EdGE (Ed Greaves Education) is an innovative youth development program of the Maine Sea Coast Mission for students in grades 4-8 in coastal Washington County, Maine. For more information on the internet go to: http://www.seacoastmission.org/edge.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Selectmen’s meeting December 30th 2013:
Financials; Chairman Grant opened the meeting by reading aloud the financials from the previous meeting on December 9th which showed a balance of $2181.34. He said “the town was darn near broke”. He was concerned that nobody mentioned it and there was nothing in the newspaper either. (There was no discussion on this at all and it is well known that the town has a line of credit for a tax anticipation loan when necessary). At this meeting a warrant of $17,314.87 and payroll of $2,286.41 was approved leaving a balance this time of $34,312.71 since taxes are coming in. Municipal Building Transfer; Administrative assistant Nancy Bailey read a summary of her conversation with Michael Stultz, attorney with Maine Municipal Association (MMA) about the legality of the warrant article conveying the municipal building to Wreaths Across America recently approved by the town at the special town meeting. Stultz said that since the people had voted on it there was nothing that could be done unless someone felt strongly enough to take it to court. It should have been discussed at the meeting not after the fact. Once the people have voted the decision was made. The land issue and the question about the selectmen doing the negotiation was discussed. Stultz said his interpretation of the article was to convey the building and the people clearly gave the selectmen permission to take care of details and legal issues. Even if the article was not worded perfectly the intent was there, nothing illegal about the wording. Stultz asked Bailey if she thought the people understood the intent and if there was a public meeting. She told him that there were two public meetings and both times there were great discussions about the transfer. The board decided that Alan Grant should ask WAA’s Karen Worcester for a written proposal for the transfer of the municipal building. In other business; The town has no code enforcement officer and there is a problem with raw sewage at a trailer on Tibbettstown Road. The board is considering an officer that is now working with the Town of Beals Island. The administrative assistant was authorized to attend a training session sponsored by the Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife. The administrative assistant will look into the requirements for a General Assistant backup individual. Road Commissioner, Mike Bailey said there had been a few snowplowing complaints about intersections downtown. The town is still having the complete parking lot plowed at the fire station/old community building as if it were still being used as a community building. Also the Town Landing Road is not being completely plowed. Bailey will resolve these issues. Tony Santiago talked about the Union Hall. The Belvedeer Grant was declined. The sewage holding system and water system is being studied, possibly drilling a well. The new National Register of Historic Places bronze plaque has been received. John Porter has offered a piano. The board authorized expenses for a professional to check it out. A motion was approved to solicit bids for interior work. Peter Doak said it was a shame that the Christmas Tree in the park by the fish hatchery was not lit this year. The tree was planted many years ago by the rec committee and was lighted every year until this year.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Local News  Professional photographer Francis Smith visited Columbia and Columbia Falls December 17th to 20th gathering information and photos for his project “America by another Name”. Fire chief Dave Perham showed him around the area on a four hour long tour. Smith visited with Roberta and I at our home for a couple of hours on Thursday evening which we enjoyed very much. Smith also attended a C.F planning board meeting and had impromptu conversations with Vance Pineo jr., Philip Worcester, John Porter and Chris Rackliff. Smith plans to return next year in August to photograph the blueberry harvest. You can follow his progress on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmericaByAnotherName. Francis Smith photographs homes and art in the Washington DC area for three art  magazines: American Art Collector, Western Art Collector and American Fine Art Magazine. The power outage caused by the great 2013 ice storm affected the village for only about 12 hours on Sunday, December 22nd.  Other areas were not so fortunate. Local people shopped in reduced light at Elmer’s Discount and Four Corners Supermarket as they were being powered by their own generators. Some folks were enjoying the ice as evident by the two smelt shacks which have recently arrived on the ice in the basin below the falls. Friends from Las Vegas sent us a newspaper clipping from the Las Vegas Review about Wreaths Across America. The complete article may be read below.             Town of Columbia Falls Facebook page- “December 23rd- The Town Office is closed for the remainder of the day. When I arrived this morning, there was no heat, no phone and no internet. The power then kept flickering and the computer went off and on. I am not a techy, but I am guessing this isn't good for it. It is raining and 29 degrees....I am not a meteorologist but I am predicting a bad situation out there on the roads. Therefore, I made the executive decision to close the office. The office will be closed until Monday, December 30th. See you then. Stay safe out there today. Have a very Merry Christmas!”             Also you can get the administrative assistant’s corrected version of my selectmen meeting reports on this Facebook page “I want to take a moment to add a weekly section to this web page. It has been brought to my attention that often times, in The Columbia Falls news section of the Downeast Coastal Press and on The Record, there are somewhat different interpretations of the Selectmen's Meetings printed than some citizens seem to remember; it also often differs from the approved minutes taken by the Administrative Assistant.” Chuck Hammond
Making the most of the ice storm: 7PM Sunday, December 22nd, 2013; 78 degrees in a candle lit kitchen warmed by a wood fire in a Kalamazoo cast iron cook stove; WERU playing vintage Argentine music on the battery powered radio; a glass of wine and a good book. 
From Las Vegas Review:  



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Selectmen’s meeting December 9th, 2013 – The board approved a warrant of $43,285.88 and a payroll of $4122.11. The minutes of the last meeting of the proposed fire department merger were reviewed. Fire Chief Dave Perham said the proposed name is Epping Volunteer Fire Department. The Epping Road runs through both Columbia and Columbia Falls. It was felt by the committee that this name was meaningful and brief. The next meeting will be December 18th. A combined town informational meeting will be held at Columbia Town Hall on January 15th. The proposal is expected to be voted on by each town at their individual annual town meetings.             Selectman Bun Ward said the town is a member of Washington County Council of Governments and he and Tony Santiago have been attending the meetings. Ward questioned whether the town needed this as the dues are $250 per year and may go up.  No decision made.             Administrative assistant, Nancy Bailey said she had been blamed recently in public for not providing information to selectmen and she believes that it is because selectmen do not regularly check their boxes at the town office. Selectmen approved a motion to have her send their mail to their homes once per week by US Postal service. In a previous meeting the board had decided to review monthly financial reports at the first meeting of the following month as was suggested by the town’s auditor, James Wadman. Selectmen paid over $900.00 of town’s funds to have Wadman come recently to a selectmen’s meeting and explain the needed reports.  Tonight’s meeting is the second month since the decision was made and it was not on the agenda. Chuck Hammond brought this to their attention and they did review financials which the administrative assistant had prepared, but they did not sign them as they did last month.             Bun Ward stated that the special town meeting warrant “To see if the Town will vote to convey ownership of the Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America and to authorize the selectmen to manage all negotiations and legal matters involved with the transfer” approved by the voters authorized the selectmen to convey the municipal building to WAA. Ward said this gave the building away, negotiating is all done. Dick Bedard agrees “Voters gave the store away – took negotiation away”. Bedard inquired who wrote this article? Was the town’s attorney and MMA consulted? These questions were not answered. Selectman Alan Grant said he expects that WAA will submit a written proposal to be reviewed by the selectmen and details to be negotiated. Rick Farnsworth said he believes that Karen Worcester feels the same way based on her announcement at the truck driver’s dinner on Saturday evening December 7th.  Bedard said he thinks Philip Worcester at town meeting tried to get a motion passed that would have the details resolved before the public voted. The building is what is to be conveyed per the warrant. This is personal property and not real estate, perhaps the town still has some leverage if negotiations do not go as expected. John Tibbetts said he believes two people voted at town meeting that have not lived in Columbia Falls for a long time. The law on voting and citizenship should be investigated.             The board authorized Fire Chief Perham to have the state fire inspector look at Union Hall and the proposed plans sometime in January.             Tony Santiago asked if the board members had looked at the proposed plans for the new kitchen and toilet in the Union Hall that he had presented at the last meeting. Selectman Jay Look suggested that the committee should be looking into the ground work for getting water and sewer service first. There is all ready a bag sand filter system on the Union Hall property that serves a neighbor’s home. How are we going to get a water line and a new sewer system around this? John Tibbetts said no one has contacted the water company yet either John Porter stated that the possible free fire truck that was mentioned in a previous selectman’s meeting is off the table for now. John Tibbetts presented a news clipping from the Downeast Coastal Press November 12-18, 2013 about the proposed transfer of a cemetery in Jonesport to the town of Jonesport. It outlines the legal aspect of such a transfer as researched by Jonesport’s administrative assistant, Sondra Alley, working with the town’s attorney and the president of the cemetery society. By law the town must have a public vote. Tibbetts said “I bring this to you tonight in case you might want to reconsider and change the way the cemetery on the Tibbettstown Road was accepted by our town.”  The selectmen agreed to contact Maine Municipal Association for advice. Tibbetts stated that the information the town’s auditor, James Wadman requested for the 150 committee’s finances is available and requested that the selectmen authorize him and Grace Falzarano to meet with the auditor to explain. This was approved and costs to come out of 150 celebration surplus funds. Grace Falzarano asked the board if the town was keeping the same auditor for this year’s audit. (James Wadman has been the town’s auditor for over 20 years) Chairman Grant said yes we keeping the same auditor. Tibbetts asked who paid for the new directional sign at the intersection of Tibbettstown Road and Montegail Road. Town road commissioner, Mike Bailey  who is also the state sign coordinator for the DOT said that the Tibbettstown Road is a state aid road and the new sign is part of a sign project he is working on for the state to fix areas with confusing intersections. It is a state sign erected with state money, our money coming from fuel tax. Santiago suggested that a new similar sign should be erected at the crossroads of US Route One and Tibbettstown Road. Bailey said that could be done if authorized by the selectmen. The board took no action on this. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

Friends, old and new, gathered in Columbia Falls on Sunday Dec 8th for the Ruggles House annual Christmas Tea. President Larry Smith greeted visitors at the door and invited them in for a bit of holiday cheer. Visitors were treated to the house decorated in period style. Greenery and ribbon decked the halls, mantles, doorways, and balsam garland wound up the elegant flying staircase.

Thank you to the members of the Pleasant River Garden Club for their hard work and decorating talent; to Charlie Herr for collecting much of the greenery; and Worcester Wreath Company, who donated the garland and window wreaths.

 

Guests were served tea by Peter & Kathy Winham of Teas of Cherryfield; nibbled on cookies, cake and other goodies made by the volunteers and toured the house at their leisure.

 

The music of Susan and Stephen Sanfilippo added to the festive atmosphere. The duo performed seasonal songs and music from the early American period.

 

Attendance was excellent. It was most enjoyable to connect with long-time supporters as well as meet first-time visitors to the Ruggles House. The Christmas Tea put a holiday bow on the season and now begins the planning and scheduling for next year, starting with the plant sale in May. By Leslie McSorley




Visitors enjoying tea in the dining room served by Kathy & Peter Winham of Teas of Cherryfield



Susan & Stephen Sanfilippo providing entertainment from the landing of the flying staircase.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
(Columbia Falls, ME) Photographer Francis Smith will be photographing in Columbia Falls from Tues., Dec. 17 to Fri., Dec.20 for a project honoring America’s poetic name, Columbia. Smith is photographing people and their surroundings in towns, counties, and companies across the United States named Columbia for America By Another Name, a photography exhibition and book that will document the lives of Americans today.  
Places named Columbia are found from Alaska to Florida, from Maine to Hawaii. Smith has a list of over 100 Columbias nationwide, and so far has photographed in 21 of them.   
Smith says his goal for America by Another Name is to show our nation’s diversity, looking at people of all income and educational levels, of any ethnicity, religion or politics; those descended from Native Americans and European colonists to those who have just arrived. “I represent this diversity with no judgement, without commentary. I want the person looking at my photos to form their own thoughts and feelings about the people they see.”
During the American Revolution, the word Columbia became a symbol of American liberty and progress. Connecticut’s Timothy Dwight wrote a popular marching song for the Continental Army; his “Columbia” envisioned our new country as a beacon of freedom, science, and literature. The song spread the Columbia name, and became an unofficial national anthem until the song ”Hail, Columbia” became our next unofficial national anthem.
“Columbia was a symbol of both liberty and progress. In today’s political environment, where it seems conservatives claim liberty as their specialty, and liberals claim progress, it’s cool that Columbia represents both,” Smith says. “But because we’ve rarely agreed on what is liberty, what is progress, American history has always been filled with conflict between different groups. Today is no different. Columbia was a name that used to remind us of what we held in common. That’s what I’m looking for with my camera.”
About the Artist For the past nine years, Francis Smith has been photographing homes and their art collections for two magazines: American Fine Art and American Art Collector magazines. The photographer studied art history at Vassar College, and grew up in Westport, Connecticut. New York City is home, and he resides temporarily in Columbia Heights in the District of Columbia. More information may be found about him and America By Another Name at americabyanothername.com


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

Columbia Falls votes to Convey Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America. At 6pm on Tuesday, December 3rd there was a well attended informational hearing on the possible transferring of the town’s municipal building to WAA. The meeting was moderated by Courtney Hammond. Karen Worcester fielded most of the questions for WAA. She said “I don’t have a master plan. There is no point of us being here if it is not good for the community. We want to work with the community.” If WAA owns the building they intend to put a new main entrance to the gym on the back so attendees at functions do not have to come through town offices. They would also install a fire escape in the office so that passing through the schools memorabilia room will not be an issue. WAA would leverage the building and borrow money to fix the immediate concerns of the roof and heating system. Clarence Tabbutt asked if a bank had been contacted for the figures in the informational “letter to Taxpayers” in which $200,000 was suggested as necessary for the town to make immediate repairs to the roof and heating system. Selectman Alan Grant said that Machias Savings had been contacted and the figures were their best estimate of what it would cost to borrow this amount. Mike Bailey suggested the town could save $12,000 annually by giving the property to WAA and it could cost the town $34,000 more if the town still owns the building and WAA moves out at the end of the present lease. Pam Look asked if the building would come back to the town or would WAA be allowed to sell it? WAA wants full ownership. If WAA were to sell the building the rent free space occupied by the town would still be in place and passed on by deed to the new owners. If the town vacates the office building the space would revert back to the WAA or whoever else owned the building at the time. If WAA, a nonprofit organization should dissolve then the building would revert back to the town. If WAA sold the building it could go to anyone. If WAA outgrows the present leased space they would occupy the Worcester Resources space first. If they should outgrow this space also then they could sell and move or possibly expand the building. If the town keeps the building and the rent goes up to much when the lease is renegotiated in a couple of years WAA must consider a possible move. They have been offered another building in the area. Shelby Greene “we don’t want to loose our building or our tenants”. Shelby Greene asked “What is the value of the building?” Selectman Grant responded that the insured value was in the neighborhood of 1.4 to 1.6 million. Pam Look noted that the playground is in the deed and wondered if this restriction would be transferred with a new deed. Selectman Grant said it may be for the courts to decide. John Tibbetts stated that the town’s attorney told the building options committee that the playground could be moved. Peter Doak said the playground is unsafe and suggested it be moved to the area behind the fire station.  Worcester does not care if the playground stays or moves she just wants it to be safe. Shelby Greene has a young family and wants an outdoor playground. She says the town should expend “more effort in fostering youth”.     Over 90 people attended the special town meeting at 7PM. Courtney Hammond was elected moderator. There was a motion to accept article 2 “To see if the Town will vote to convey ownership of the Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America and to authorize the selectmen to manage all negotiations and legal matters involved with the transfer” which was quickly seconded. Dick Bedard addressed the townspeople on whether it was worth it stressing that once the building is conveyed the town loses control of it. There was more discussion from various individuals. Philip Worcester made a motion to delay the vote until the annual town meeting and requiring the selectmen or an appointed committee to have all the details ironed out so the town would know exactly what the terms are before they voted to convey the building. This motion was seconded but voted down. Residents cast their ballots on Article 2. There were 51 yes votes and 32 no votes.  The Columbia Falls Municipal Building will be conveyed to Wreaths Across America.   Statue of Liberty Wreath- On Wednesday, December 11th, for the first time, Wreaths Across America will be presenting and placing a wreath at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The ‘Freedom Wreath’ is an extension of the Wreaths Across America program whose mission to Remember, Honor and Teach has been carried out partly each year through the placing remembrance wreaths on the headstones of fallen soldiers for more than 20 years. This first Freedom Wreath (measuring 7ft) will be placed at the Statue of Liberty in a simple ceremony on Wednesday - veterans, Gold Star mothers and volunteers from Wreaths Across America will be present.  Upcoming events Selectmen’s meeting Monday, December 30th   2013 at 7 p.m., in the municipal center. Email your local news items or history snippets to c.f.record-editor@roadrunner.com    Columbia Falls residents at special town meeting on December 3rd queuing up for voting on whether to convey the Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America.


Back to, Courtney Hammond moderator stands by while Karen Worcester responds to questions from Columbia Falls’ residents at the informational hearing before the special town meeting on December 3rd to determine whether the town should convey the Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
At the selectmen’s meeting on November 25 the board approved: a warrant of $34,527.02; a payroll warrant of $961.85; the wording of the warrant article for the upcoming special town meeting on December 3rd, “To see if the Town will vote to convey ownership of the Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America and to authorize the selectmen to manage all negotiations and legal matters involved with the transfer”; the December calendar, changed the date of the second selectmen’s meeting from Monday the 23rd to Monday the 30th; and voted “to send out pertinent information regarding the proposed conveyance of the Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America. Due to the magnitude of this decision, which could mean either a significant property tax increase or decrease”. This letter may be seen in its entirety on the internet at www.ColumbiaFallsMeRecord.org.  Also at the meeting Administrative assistant, Nancy Bailey stated that Trio is offering a credit/debit card acceptance system with their program. Tony Santiago presented phase 1. “rough in” plans for interior of the Union Hall’s cloak room/ticket booth, kitchen and rest room.   High winds and a fallen tree on Wednesday, November 27th caused a downed power line on Great Hill by Sally and Erland Thompson’s house. The road was blocked while Bangor Hydro restored the electricity.   Excellent Christmas gift idea - A HISTORY OF COLUMBIA FALLS by Gloria Hayward, 2nd edition @ $30 per copy / $35 if mailed. Send your order to: History book P.O. Box 133 – Columbia Falls, ME 04623. Include your check for books ordered, delivery instructions & your phone number. More info 207-483-2245   The Facebook page “The Town of Columbia Falls through the eyes of the administrative assistant” has been changed to “The Town of Columbia Falls-maintained by the Administrative Assistant”.   Wreaths Across America- December 8th the 2013 Escort of the wreaths from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery will begin its annual trek down the eastern seaboard. Each year the wreaths, escorted by Patriot Guard Riders, veterans, Gold Star families, and many other supporting groups rally at schools, veterans homes, and community events along the way. A new addition this year will be the inclusion of the National Chair of Honor program, started by Rolling Thunder and supported by Hussey Seating. Through the hard work of Joe D’Entremont and the MA chapter of Rolling Thunder, the practice of reserving a unoccupied seat at events in honor of the over 91,000 POW/MIA is becoming a new and cherished tradition by groups dedicated to our veterans and their families. See more on the internet at: http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/chair-of-honor-to-travel-with-escort/#sthash.mkdVuOuW.dpuf   Upcoming events   Special town meeting on December 3rd at 7PM in the municipal building, informational meeting preceding at 6PM.   The Ruggles House, 146 Main St. Columbia Falls will present their annual Christmas Tea Sunday, December 8th from 1-4 p.m.   December 8th the 2013 Escort of the wreaths from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery will begin   Selectmen’s meeting Monday, December 9th 2013 at 7 p.m., in the municipal center.     Email your local news items or history snippets to c.f.record-editor@roadrunner.com


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 






-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
TOWN WARRANT - Posted 11/26/2013

STATE OF MAINE COUNTY OF WASHINGTON

Greetings:
In the name of the State of Maine, you are hereby required to notify and warn the inhabitants of said Town of Columbia Falls, qualified to vote in town affairs to meet at the Columbia Falls Municipal Building at seven o’clock in the evening of
December 3, 2013, and act on the following articles to wit:

ARTICLE 1

To elect a Moderator to preside at said meeting.

ARTICLE 2

To see if the Town will vote to convey ownership of the Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America and to authorize the selectmen to manage all negotiations and legal matters involved with the transfer.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Given under our hands the 25th day of November 2013.

Signed by: Alan H. Grant and Jay Look Bernard Ward/Absent

Selectmen, Town of Columbia Falls

A True Copy, ATTEST:

Municipal Clerk of Columbia Falls, Maine

Nancy L. Bailey
Municipal Clerk
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

RETURN

Pursuant of within warrant, I have notified and warned the inhabitants of the Town of Columbia Falls, qualified as herein expressed to meet at the time and place for the purpose therein named by posting this day an attested copy of the within warrant at the Columbia Falls Town Office and at the Columbia Falls Post Office, the same being public and conspicuous in said Town.

Signed by:
Alan Grant
First Selectman, Town of Columbia Falls
November 25, 2013


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
The Craft/Food Sale at the Columbia Falls municipal building community room on Saturday, November 16th went very well. There was a good selection of crafters and a constant flow of shoppers.              The Columbia Falls assessors website http://columbiafallsassessors.info has been abandoned and is for sale according to GoDaddy.com.   Facebook pages: C.F. Administrative Assistant “Just a quick reminder that dog tags are in. You can license your dog anytime from here on out - but try to remember to do it by the end of the year as there is a $30 late fee that will be attached to the cost! Our animal control officer is out and about doing his job and just so you are aware, I do get copies of rabies shots here in the office from local vets. Therefore, we know there are pups out there that are not licensed. It is the law - not just a Columbia Falls rule. The price for a fixed dog is $6 and $10 for a non spayed or neutered pet. It is a smaller price than the fine. If your mutt is more than 6 months old, stop by and get your tags today!!!! Your pet, the animal control officer and your Town thanks you”; Pastor Jan Lynn Rhenow “fell from the steps trying to go to a meeting in Bangor and broke my leg. Waiting to go to the hospital.” “Here for the second night at the hospital in Ellsworth. They probably will keep me one more night before sending me to rehab. Bad break for the bone kept disintegrating as the doctor put in the plate and screws on both sides. I'm afraid I'm in for a fairly long recovery”; and Wreaths Across America “We will be teaming up with our friends from  Truckload Carriers Association and Pilot Flying J to launch the trucking industry's first annual rolling tribute, Trucking's Patriot Pair. This event will be held at the Pilot Travel Center in Milford, Connecticut on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. For more information on this event, copy this link. http://www.truckload.org/index.asp?bid=10&nid=395&archiveyear=2013.   The Ruggles House, 146 Main St. Columbia Falls will present their annual Christmas Tea Sunday, December 8th from 1-4 p.m. Enjoy tea, mulled cider and homemade baked goods along with live music and holiday cheer as you tour one of Maine's best examples of classic Federal architecture. The house, including the famous flying staircase, is never lovelier than when it is decorated in period style for the holidays. Find unique gifts for friends and family, including the "Ruggles House" book in the gift shop. Tea will be served by Teas of Cherryfield and live music will be provided by Cole Creek. Admission is $3.00 For more information contact Leslie McSorley at RugglesHouse@gmail.com or visit www.RugglesHouse.org   Union Hall: Nancy Herr will be picking up the new Historical Register Plaque while in Pennsylvania.             The committee is looking into a 25' flag pole.  Pam Look is getting a firm price for a white fiberglass pole with a gold colored ball and external works (rope & pulley system). The Committee is going to look into a approximately 9" x 7" bronze plaque commemorating the 150th celebration. Roberta/Chuck Hammond are tasked with coming up with wording that this committee could review. Tony Santiago will speak to the monument folks in Milbridge about a piece of granite to hold the plaque. If anyone knows of a nice piece of granite or a nice stone that may be available in town please let the committee know.             Robin Grant has stated he will provide service to upgrade our handicap ramp next spring as we have discussed in past meetings.             There was some discussion on forming a sub-committee to work on planning and setting up events for the Hall.             The Campbells have graciously offered their piano to the town. The Informational Hearing ad placed by the Town in the Downeast Coastal Press issue November 19-25 in my opinion does not satisfy the legal requirement for public notice of a special town meeting. Having seen no other ad I am assuming that this ad is the notice of the Special Town Meeting. The title of the ad is “Town of Columbia Falls Informational Hearing”. It states that “a special town meeting will follow at 7pm”. I also believe that there is a requirement to post the wording of the warrant to be voted on. This ad simply says “The issue to be discussed: Should the Town of Columbia Falls relinquish ownership of the Municipal Building to Wreaths Across America?”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Selectmen’s meeting on November 12th. CPA James Wadman’s bill for confirming that the 150 committee finances and the town records actually agreed, explaining the treasurer’s monthly reports  and coming to the last selectmen’s meeting was $907.75.

The board accepted Jonathon McCloud’s bid of $2825 for snowplowing of town building driveways and parking areas.

The town has received a quote of $38,000 from Maine Controls/Mechanical services for installing digital controls and valves to the municipal buildings heating system and an estimate of $116,000 from Richard Poirier for a complete new roof. This information is needed to help residents determine whether to keep and maintain the municipal building or give it to Wreaths Across America and let them maintain it. Dawn Robins asked if the town could borrow this money and pay it back over 5 to 10 years and the selectmen agreed they could. A special town meeting has been set for December 3rd at 7PM with an informational meeting before hand at 6PM to determine whether the town wants to pursue negotiations with WAA or keep the building.

The controversial petition presented by Richard Farnsworth at last selectmen’s meeting to move the Schools Memorabilia room was discussed. Richard Farnsworth read a letter he had received from Jessica Potts who had signed the petition and was questioned by Pam Look and John Porter about why she had signed the petition. (The complete letter is available at the town office.) Charley Robins looking straight at me and seemingly very angry said he resented being associated with a hate group – obviously he was referring to my editorial in the Columbia Falls Record, www.columbiafallsmerecord.org. Bun Ward reread the petition. The last sentence reads “We feel if this public room can not be open for public events, it should be removed”. John Tibbetts pointed out that the selectmen at their last meeting approved a policy recommended by the Schools Memorabilia room committee which provided for the room to be open for public events. Several citizens present objected to the requirement that public events not sponsored by Columbia Falls’ residents would require that the room be staffed. Charley Herr suggested “change the rules not the room”. Selectmen approved a motion to make the room open at all public events. There were a surprising number of compliments made about the room: Rick Farnsworth said “I will be the first to admit the committee did a fine job on that room”; Dawn Robins “I think it is a lovely room too, I do”; Lenora Weaver “They did do a great job”; Nancy Bailey “It is a lovely room, a lot of time and energy has been put into it”; and Charley Robins “I think the collection is really nice”. It is unfortunate that none of the volunteers were present to hear these comments.

Paper Talks Magazine will feature C.F. on the front page in its next issue. Selectmen approved an ad for $204.00 to be run simultaneously.

Fire Chief Dave Farnham said that it was the goal of Columbia and Columbia Falls fire departments to have warrants in the respective town meetings for citizen approval of combining the fire departments.

Tony Santiago reported that the Union Hall Restoration committee netted $613 for the yard sale and $492 for the quilt show after expenses. The Libra grant was denied- still waiting on the Belvedere grant. Selectmen approved purchasing a National Register bronze plaque for $307 using restoration funds. Dick Grant has donated a vintage original play poster to be hung in the Union Hall.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Voting  results Columbia Falls and Centerville:

Bond Issue #1 - Maine Army National Guard 44 Yes, 41 No
Bond Issue #2 - University of Maine System 32 Yes, 52 No
Bond Issue #3 - Transportation Bond 53 Yes, 37 No
Bond Issue #4 - Maine Maritime Academy 28 Yes, 57 No
Bond Issue #5 - Maine Community College 38 Yes, 47 No   Condolences to the family of Branden Look who was struck by a vehicle and killed while lying in the road in Kenduskeag, Maine on November 2nd. Branden was the grandson of Douglas Look who was raised in Columbia Falls and graduated from Columbia Falls High School. Douglas’ parents were Horace and Annie (Huntley) Look.   Homes for sale There are approximately twelve homes for sale in C.F., four of them are in the village and two more in the village that were previously for sale, still vacant and with no “For Sale” sign.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Town Auditor Speaks at Selectmen’s Meeting Selectmen’s meeting October 28th, 2013 – Selectmen had invited the town’s auditor James Wadman, CPA to the meeting Monday night to explain the monthly reports that he had recommended the town treasurer provide for selectmen review each month. There was a large turnout of townspeople to hear what the auditor had to say. Selectman Bun Ward had on several previous occasions asked the treasurer and administrative assistant for the monthly reports that the auditor had recommended in his annual audit report. Ward said that after the last selectmens’ meeting he received a packet in the mail from the administrative assistant of monthly reports dating back to the beginning of the fiscal year (February – September). These reports were (1) General Ledger Detail Report for Accounts G 1-100-00-G 1-100-00 (2) the General Ledger Detail Report - All Accounts and (3)  a balance sheet of the checking account to the General Ledger for the Checking Account. Wadman did not mention any problems with these reports and suggested that two more reports be provided to the selectmen each month – a revenue summary report (budget vs actual) and an expense report for a total of five reports. Administrative assistant Bailey said this is not a new development; this has been required for at least 3 years. Courtney Hammond stated that he thought it was the responsibility of the selectmen and had a motion ever been made to request these reports. The answer was no, but a motion was made and approved to require these five reports for review at the first meeting each month.   Wadman had also been requested by Selectman Bun Ward to do an audit of the 150 committee finances. Mr. Wadman found that the 150 committee final report and town records agreed. He had not been furnished the backup receipts for the several petty cash accounts that the 150 committee had used and the cash withheld at some events to pay out of pocket expenses. He suggested these receipts should be made available when the next annual town audit is done.   Free Fire Truck John Porter suggested that there was a very real possibility for the town to receive a free 1997 fire truck from southern New England with free delivery to C.F. The truck would have to be insured for the trip and a donation to the generous donor fire department would be appreciated. The truck is loaded with goodies – air pacs, jaws of life, thermo imaging camera, etc. A motion was approved to accept this gift and write an acceptance letter.   Wreaths Across America requested permission verbally to convert one of the bathrooms into a storage room at WAA expense. Selectmen postponed pending receipt of a written request.   Harris Computer Company has offered data backup service for their Treo program at over $900 per year. This proposal was not accepted since Bailey backs up her work daily on memory sticks and takes them home at night. John Tibbetts suggested a motion that all committees be treated the same since the 150 committee has been scrutinized in greater detail than any other town committee. Charlene Hammond suggested that the board set up a procedures policy that all committees would follow.  Pete Doak recommended a policy for all committees – a standard operating procedure. The board took no action.   The November calendar was approved and the selectmen’s meeting date that fell on Veterans Day was moved to the 12th.    Schools Memorabilia Room Controversy Selectmen Ward read a proposal from the Schools Memorabilia Room Committee suggesting the open viewing hours of the newly completed Columbia Falls Schools Memorabilia Room. A motion was made to accept and it was approved. The complete recommendation may be seen here.   Jolene Farnsworth read a long dissertation reprimanding the selectmen for allowing the Schools Memorabilia Room to be closed on Sunday the 13th during the WAA luncheon.   Roberta Hammond responded to the anonymous post on the Schools Memorabilia Room door “THIS HALLWAY HAS BEEN CLOSED TO VETERANS AND ALL LOCAL TRAFFIC BY ROBERTA MORRIS HAMMOND ONLY. IT WAS ALLOWED BY THE SELECTMEN BUT IT DOES NOT REFLECT THE OPINION OF ANY OTHER CITIZENS OF THE TOWN OF COLUMBIA FALLS. WE ALL WELCOME YOU AND HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR VISIT AND YOUR MEAL!” “This statement was aimed solely at me, insinuating that I was against Veterans. Not True! I had asked at a selectmen’s meeting on the Thursday before the event, could I close the doors to the Memorabilia room and put up a sign, this was approved, and since at that time there was still no lock on the doors, may I place a table in front of the doors, also approved. This had been done before on one other occasion. My asking for the room to be closed off had to do with a large group of people coming into the building that day – nothing to do with Veterans. Since such a large Event was new to everyone we didn’t know if 100 or 500 people would be at the Town Municipal Building for Lunch. I would like to add, that many irreplaceable artifacts have been donated by Family members of Columbia Falls Schools Students and High School Alumni, knowing that the Selectmen had authorized the doors to be locked. My intentions and words have been deliberately misconstrued. Veterans are most welcome to the Columbia Falls Schools Memorabilia Room. Last year I put a large display of items at the Wreath Across America Museum in Honor of my two Uncles [Brothers] who were killed in World War II. My Father-in-law, now deceased, went into Normandy, D-Day + 6. I had a Great Great Grandfather who served in the Civil War and several ancestors who served in the American Revolution. My husband served as a Merchant Marine Officer during the Vietnam War, delivering ammunition by ship up the Saigon River to Saigon. I have been an active member of The Daughters of the American Revolution for the last 32 years, holding both state and local chapter offices. I am also a member of the Mayflower Society, 11th generation from Miles Standish. DO NOT QUESTION MY HONOR TO VETERANS OR TO MY COUNTRY!” Roberta’s complete response may be read here.   Petition to Remove Schools Memorabilia Room Richard Farnsworth presented a petition signed by over 40 citizens titled “Petition to have the Memorabilia Room removed from the municipal building”.  Our selectmen appeared to be shocked. Courtney Hammond suggested that the board did not have to act on this petition immediately and they didn’t. I am shocked that anyone would want to destroy this lovely museum of photos, artifacts and displays for all the schools that ever existed in Columbia and Columbia Falls. Most of the petition signers attended schools in Columbia Falls. This was a laborious three year volunteer effort by Roberta Hammond, Hilary Pineo, Sally Peterson Cooper, Julia Worcester and many other part time volunteers. The complete petition with signatures as well as pictures of this great room may be viewed here.   Wreaths Across America Another response about the Veterans Forever Lighted Tree: THANK YOU for doing what Bar Harbor wouldn’t!  Accepting the CHRISTMAS tree for vets was a wonderful thing to do.  Why Bar Harbor wouldn’t allow it to remain in their fare town any longer is beyond me!  You have earned my respect as well as that of many other patriotic Americans, I’m sure! Sincerely, Elaine Logan    In the Ruggles House Society fall newsletter Ellen Tenan remarks “The town of Columbia Falls did a super job of celebrating their 150th anniversary in June. If you have not seen the new ‘History of Columbia Falls’ by Gloria Allen Hayward, which was published for the event, then you have missed a very enjoyable book. Gloria and her committee are to be congratulated for such an asset to the town”.  By Chuck Hammond --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
To:      The Columbia Falls Selectmen
  Re:      A Recommendation from the Memorabilia Room Committee   Date:  October 28, 2013   This is a recommendation to the Selectmen as to the open viewing hours of the newly completed Columbia Falls Schools Memorabilia Room.  This recommendation is prepared for you with consideration for preserving the artifacts and history of our schools for generation to come.  Many people have donated their time, energy, money and artifacts to this three year project.   We recommend the Memorabilia Room be open as follows:   During the Town Office business hours   During the hours the Town Library is open   During Town Meetings when they are held in Municipal Building   During the Columbia Falls High School Annual Alumni Banquet when it is held in the Municipal Building   To be open when a benefit dinner is held for any Columbia Falls town resident.   The Memorabilia Room should be closed and locked when other event are held at the Municipal Building.   At the request of a party holding an event the Memorabilia Room can be open if a volunteer is available to supervise it for a reasonable amount viewing time (no more than two hours).  If a volunteer is not available it will not be open.   Respectfully submitted by:     Roberta Harriet Morris Hammond, Project Head & Coordinator, Class of ‘65   (Mrs. Charles Henry Hammond)             and Committee Members: Julia Worcester, Class of ‘49                                                         Sally Peterson Cooper, Class of ‘61                                                              Hilary Pineo, Resident

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Response to unauthorized sign to Schools Memorabilia Room It seems that the public has all become quite aware of bullying, whether it is by Social Media, threatening phone calls or letters in the mail, of course always unsigned. The bullying goes on I encountered such unkind childish aggression and it’s not being done by children.  On Sunday Oct. 13 2013 at a public Luncheon held at the Columbia Falls Municipal Building in coordination with “The Day of Honor & Remembrance” for Veterans to be held at the new “Balsam Valley Amphitheater” in Columbia Falls a sign appeared inside the Municipal Building on the double entrance doors to the new Columbia Falls Schools Memorabilia Room. This is how it read in bold black uppercase letters on bright yellow paper “THIS HALLWAY HAS BEEN CLOSED TO VETERANS AND ALL LOCAL TRAFFIC BY ROBERTA MORRIS HAMMOND ONLY. IT WAS ALLOWED BY THE SELECTMEN BUT IT DOES NOT REFLECT THE OPINION OF ANY OTHER CITIZENS OF THE TOWN OF COLUMBIA FALLS. WE ALL WELCOME YOU AND HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR VISIT AND YOUR MEAL!” This statement was aimed solely at me, insinuating that, I Roberta Morris Hammond, was against Veterans. Not True! I had asked at a selectmen’s meeting on the Thursday before the event, could I close the doors to the Memorabilia room and put up a sign, this was approved, and since at that time there was still no lock on the doors, may I place a table in front of the doors, also approved. This had been done before on one other occasion. (Over two years ago in January of 2011 the Selectmen had approved a motion that the double doors to the Memorabilia Room be locked.) I barely got the words out, when the Town Treasurer protested, why would I not want the Veterans coming through there. My asking for the room to be closed off had to do with a large group of people coming into the building that day – nothing to do with Veterans. Others chimed in, wasn’t it a Public Space? I was caught off guard. The Town Library is a Public Space, but they didn’t ask for that to be open. That is locked when no one is there. Karen Worcester of WAA understands the work that has gone into that C.F.S.M. room.She does not plan to use it as a hallway. This building has double handicap accessible doors. I have had this conversation with her myself. Since such a large Event was new to everyone we didn’t know if 100 or 500 people would be at the Town Municipal Building for Lunch. I would like to add, that many irreplaceable artifacts have been donated by Family members of Columbia Falls Schools Students and High School Alumni, knowing that the Selectmen had authorized the doors to be locked. Still no Lock! Now back to the sign in Bold Black Letters! I was the only one given approval to put up a sign on the double doors to the Memorabilia Room. So who would take it upon themselves to put up such a cowardly despicable message? The other interesting fact is that both the Administrative Assistant and her Mother, the Town Treasurer where there that day. Personally, I would have thought that, with two employees of the Town on hand, that one of them would have seen it fit to remove such a distasteful piece of paper work. Of course if this document had materialized within that office, they would have no reason to think that it should be removed. This seems to be quite a mystery! The lengths people will go to to defile a person’s name, this was again unsigned. I had been told that the Town Treasurer had posted on her personal face book page, that I did not support the Veterans! My intentions and words have been deliberately misconstrued. Veterans are most welcome to the Columbia Falls Schools Memorabilia Room, come any day the Town Office is open, right now the hours are Monday through Thursday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. My family is full of Veterans; last year I put a large display of items at the Wreath Across America Museum in Honor of my two Uncles [Brothers] who were killed in World War II. My Father-in-law, now deceased, went into Normandy, D-Day + 6. I had a Great Great Grandfather who served in the Civil War and several ancestors who served in the American Revolution. My husband served as a Merchant Marine Officer during the Vietnam War, delivering ammunition by ship up the Saigon River to Saigon. I have been an active member of The Daughters of the American Revolution for the last 32 years, holding both state and local chapter offices. I am also a member of the Mayflower Society, 11th generation from Miles Standish. DO NOT QUESTION MY HONOR TO VETERANS OR TO MY COUNTRY! Yes, this is a free Country and we can have free press, also freedom of speech. We have freedom of political views and the right to vote! It is a shame that Social Media can’t be used as it was intended. A friend of a friend puts up a derogatory remark and another face book friend seems to think this is the truth. Look at Dale Smith’s Youtube video (alias John Truth), you will see that I never once mentioned the word Veterans. If this poster was created or put up by any employee of this town, personally I think the selectmen should ask this person or persons to resign. I am saddened to think that I have had to write this in defense of my actions and my good name! The Day of Honor & Remembrance to our Veterans at the new Balsam Valley Amphitheater was a wonderful event. I was there! Roberta Morris Hammond Columbia Falls Me. Tel. 483-4120  
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
The Bill O’Rielly show’s Watters’s World on Monday evening October 21st made the Bar Harbor city council look pretty foolish for voting to remove Wreaths Across America’s “Perpetually Lighted Christmas Tree” honoring Veterans for “The Christmas They Never Had” during WWII. Waters actually went to a city council meeting. I especially liked the ending of the video. O’Rielly said “where is Columbia Falls?” Waters replied “It’s just a town where they celebrate Christmas and respect Veterans”. The video is on the internet and may be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxa8eG0pWjA.   Messages of appreciation: The town office received a call from a lady in Georgia. She wanted to share her appreciation to the town of Columbia Falls for taking the tree Bar Harbor did not want. Emails received by the Columbia Falls Record: “Thank you for the wreath tree for the vets. Mike from Chicago. You are true Americans. I have been to your town about 30 years ago and am happy to say so. Please pass it on”. Mike W. Chiodo;  “Thank you for taking in the memorial Bar Harbor shunned.  You are Patriots!”  Victoria Tucker, San Francisco, CA   Special Town meeting: About 16 individuals showed up at the special town meeting on October 22nd and unanimously approved taking $90,000 from Excise Tax and applying it towards Snow removal, salt and sand.   Septic System Replacement Grants: The town office has been notified that the DEP has grant assistance available through the Small Community Grant Program (SCG) for low and moderate income property owners to correct malfunctioning septic systems which pollute water bodies or cause a public nuisance. The program can pay 25% to 100% of the cost to abate qualifying problems dependent on property owner’s income. The selectmen voted not to participate but state law requires that municipal officers act to insure all malfunctioning systems are corrected regardless of funding availability.   Wreaths Across America escort to Arlington- Starts December 8, 2013 in Harrington Maine, finishes at Arlington National Cemetery on December 14, 2013, National Wreaths Across America Day.   History of Columbia Falls book: Gloria Hayward is having a limited second edition of her HISTORY OF COLUMBIA FALLS printed to be ready by the first of December.  Due to increased printing cost the price will be $30.00 and you can reserve copies by sending a check in the amount of the book(s) you want made out to Gloria Hayward and mailed to: HISTORY BOOK, P.O. BOX 133, COLUMBIA FALLS, ME 04623.  Include your phone number so we can call you when the books are available.  Please add five dollars for each book to be mailed to you and your address.  Book(s) will be reserved when payment is received.  Reserve right away if you want one as already many books have been spoken for and only fifty are being printed for the second edition.     Union Hall Restoration: The Downeast Correctional inmates have returned all the completed window shutters that could be restored. There should be enough to do the east side. Installation will be the first job on the list for 2014 inmate work request.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Town Facebook page: 2015 dog tags are available. The fee is $6 for a neutered/spayed dog or $11 for a "non fixed" pet. Dog owners must present a current copy of the animal's rabies shot or have it on file at the Town Office. For more information call Town office 483-4067. The town office was observed open on Sunday October 13th. A day of Honor and Remembrance on Sunday October 13th was certainly a day for us to remember. Roberta and I and our grandson Rufie went with Roberta’s brother Benjamin Morris (a veteran) and his wife Anita. I have never been to an event that inspired the spirit of patriotism in everyone as much as this one did. We met and talked with the people sitting around us. There were so many stories and many moments when tears welled up in our eyes. The music was great. Lee Greenwood was fabulous. Miniature United States flags were passed out. Everyone was chanting USA, USA, USA in unison and waving the flags. The tree lighting was momentous and the fire works awesome. Invest in property on Route 1 in Columbia Falls because Balsam Valley Amphitheater is going to be big! New Facebook page Balsam Valley Amphitheater  Off limits to Veterans? On Sunday there was a public lunch at the municipal building sponsored by Wreaths Across America and catered by the United Methodist Women. Roberta Hammond had authorization from selectmen to post a note at the entrance to the Schools Memorabilia Room asking people not to enter and to set a table there as a further deterrent since the lock that the selectmen had authorized way back in January 2011 still had not been installed. It was not possible for her to staff the room that day and there are many irreplaceable, priceless artifacts on loan and donated from many individuals. Someone posted an anonymous (again), unauthorized, unscrupulous note on the doors (next to Roberta's) in bold upper case letters on bright yellow paper “This hallway has been closed to veterans and all local traffic by Roberta Morris Hammond only. It was allowed by the selectmen but it does not reflect the opinion of any other citizens of the town of Columbia Falls. We all welcome you and hope you enjoy your visit and your meal!” Obviously the sole purpose of this note was to incite anger in the veterans and Mrs. Hammond. I know that some deceitful individuals feel that upsetting Roberta (unfairly) is a way to retaliate against me for writing C.F. news, but why would anyone want to upset the veterans? The most disconcerting thing to me is that many of Roberta’s friends (and church members) were there and apparently so intimidated by these unsavory people that they wouldn’t take it down or speak up in her behalf. On the other hand we are so pleased that townspeople are beginning to see who these individuals are and how malicious they can be. I was not there to see for myself who posted this malicious note, but Roberta and I have been told by several people who were there that it was Lenora Weaver, the town treasurer.  
This is the unauthorized post that insinuates that Roberta Hammond does not support our veterans. Roberta has a large exhibit in the Wreaths Across America museum about her two uncles that were killed in WWII. I have some items also displayed there about my father who went ashore in Normandy on D-Day plus 6. Both of us have always supported the veterans. I myself made two trips on government charted ships to Vietnam. One trip we were were loaded with ammunition and went up the Saigon River as far as possible to Saigon. We have many veterans in our families. In the summer we fly a very large American flag in front of our home. Roberta has been a member of the Daughters of American Revolution for 32 years and held both state and local offices. I have written several articles about our veterans for the Downeast Coastal Press.


Condolences to the family of Audrey Look Luce (86) who passed away on Saturday, October 12th in Winthrop, Maine. She was the youngest and the last surviving child of Lester and Lillian Look from C.F. She graduated from CFHS class of 1945. She was a resident of Readfield.  Audrey was predeceased by her husband, Rex Luce. She is survived by three children and three grandchildren.   Resident eagles, Sam and Samantha are keeping a wary eye on the new osprey nesting pole erected next to the DSF hatchery by perching on different trees closer to the pole.  
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
C.F. 150 Celebration Tee shirts. The town still has some celebration Tee shirts for sale at $8.00 each. They were turned over to the Union Hall Restoration committee. Call Roberta Hammond 483-4120   Town Office Facebook page: Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, October 22 at 7 p.m. to see if the Town will take $90,000 from excise tax to apply it to sand, salt and plowing. This item was inadvertently omitted from the Town Meeting Warrant this year. Dog tags for 2014 will be available on October 15th. The price for documents sent to the Registry of Deeds has increased from $13 to $19. This fee increase will be automatically added to liened account(s). Call the Town Office (483-4067) for more information.

Selectmen’s meeting October 10th: The board approved a warrant of $45,074.42, payroll warrants of $1965.63 and $723.53 and the wording of the warrant for the upcoming special town meeting on October 22nd “to see if the Town will take $90,000 from excise tax to apply it to sand, salt and plowing”.   The check to the town historian Gloria Hayward approved at the September 9th meeting is in the warrant approved above.   John Tibbetts presented a Columbia Falls 150th Celebration financial report updated 9/12/13 that resolves the $60.00 discrepancy and agrees with the report received from the town office showing a surplus of $5359.94. The selectmen voted to accept this report (two in favor, one opposed). Tibbetts asked the chairman why he was opposed. Mr. Grant said “well, I could have made a $60.00 correction to it at any time. That is why I’m opposed. I don’t disagree with it but I am opposed”.   Selectmen approved including the new report in the annual town report instead of the one presented on September 9th. Snow plowing bid requests for town properties (not roads) will go out and will be opened on the first meeting in November.   Selectman, Bun Ward read a paragraph from the town auditor’s letter dated March 15th in which Jim Wadman recommended “that the Board of Selectmen perform a review of the financial transactions on a consistent basis. We recommend that monthly financial reports and bank statement reconciliations be reviewed by the Board of Selectmen to identify financial fluctuations of an unusual nature”. [This is the letter to the Selectmen which lists serious “Material Weaknesses” in internal control and makes corrective recommendations]. Ward says all he has received is a ledger each month. Administrative Assistant Nancy Bailey said that is all she was ever asked to provide. Ward replied that he asked for the reports that were specified in the auditor’s letter. Ward said “why are you responding to this? Why isn’t it our treasurer? Does our treasurer know what she is supposed to be doing?” Town treasurer, Lenora Weaver replied “evidently not”. Bun Ward looking at Weaver said “do you know the meaning of this statement?” Weaver replied “I’ve read it, it was a recommendation not an order”. Ward stated that it’s been more than six months since receipt of the auditor’s letter and he hadn’t seen any of the required reports. The other selectmen concurred and approved a motion to have Jim Wadman come and explain his recommendations at the selectmen’s meeting on October 28th. Also a motion was approved to review these financial reports at a selectmen’s meeting once a month.   Roberta Hammond’s request to paint a sign above the double doors to the schools memorabilia room was approved. She asked about the installation of the door lock that had been previously approved by selectmen and still hasn’t been installed. Bailey said the locksmith had offered to come on Friday a couple of times but the office is closed. Bun Ward and Roberta Hammond both offered to meet the locksmith on a Friday.   DSF has erected a pole and platform on the east side of the hatchery building in anticipation of occupancy by a nesting osprey family. Installation equipment and men provided courtesy of Bangor Hydro Company. A “starter nest” of twigs was installed by Dennis Smith.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Annual Harvest Quilt Show  was held at Union Hall on Saturday, October 5th
, 2013. There were 27 quilts on display. In addition there were many craft vendors and refreshments by the United Methodist Women.  







-





 

 



 

 











.










 










 


                                                               
                                               






------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Website Builder