Waterboro Maine

Home of Merrill's Store ! North Waterboro – The right side of the tracks

May 17, 2015
by Waterboro
1 Comment

Lowering taxes ?

You want to lower your taxes?  Then getting out to vote should be high on your mind in another week, June 9th.

First, there is a bond issue to build a sand and salt shed, at the end of the Public Works Road that has no name , no road sign.  No bids, no review process, just a $750,000 bond.  A lot of wiggling and shaking, but no due diligence about the whole building.  Sorta typical for the Public Works Director. He does everything in his head, facts, figures, etc. The last “cheap building
he built was suppose to cost $35,000, instead it topped out at $150,000. All this for a building on a road without a road sign. It’s all about safety, safety, safety. Wonder what they say if an employee is injured and they call 911?  This has been an on going building request for years. There is no reason to rush. Vote it down until we get good figures.

 

The RSU Referendum is another tax raiser. All for athletic fields. We pride ourselves on having the lowest cost per student in the State of Maine. 3-4 million could be better spent. And it WILL raise you taxes.

May 17, 2015
by Waterboro
0 comments

The Annual Town Meeting Cycle

Here we go: The Annual Town Meeting is in two weeks, on June 13th. Voting is on the preceding Tuesday, June 9th.

There is the usual call going forth to get people to the meeting. It needs a minimum of 25 to start legally. Last year the Town Meeting part had about 35 people attend. And most of those were committee members that felt they should be there.

For those of you new to town, this IS NOT an old fashioned Town Meeting.  It is cut and dried, ho hum, little conversation, and more of a check box that needs to be done. Following the meeting, there will be about two weeks of chest beating, moaning and crying, all about the lack of attendance. There will be a review of the meeting. There will be discussion about how to solve the attendance problem, followed by many word about implementing Referendum Voting. Two weeks is all this will last. Then it will all be forgotten until next year.

 

May 14, 2015
by Waterboro
0 comments

All about ticks plus

Oh no! You’ve found a tick! Who ya gonna call? TICKSPOTTERS!

Hannah Foster

Maybe ticks haven’t started popping up in your neighborhood yet, but they probably will soon. That’s why it’s important to have what I like to call an “Emergency Tick Protocol,” or ETP. Here’s an example of a typical ETP I used prior to just a few weeks ago:

1) Suppress strong feelings of disgust and panic.

2) Frantically attempt to remove the tick using matches and tweezers, while taking extreme care to not rip the body off the head, for fear that the tick head will continue to suck my blood forever.

3) Dispose of the tick in the toilet with swiftness and agility rivaled only by Olympic sprinters.

This ETP was informed primarily by folk legend I learned as a kid; I never knew there could be a better ETP out there, but there is.

First off, nowhere in my ETP was there ever a step that included “Take photo of tick and save for disease testing.” In fact, if you asked me a few weeks ago if I ever saved the ticks I found, I would have thought you were a little bit crazy.

However, I recently learned that there’s a good reason to hold on to the ticks we come across — especially if we find them attached to ourselves or our pets. Different tick species carry different diseases, and their bites are associated with varying degrees of risk, even depending on the tick stage and how long the tick has been feeding. Thus, knowing the species of tick, its life stage, and the diseases it may carry can be critical for your health. But how does one gain such information?

Fortunately we have at our fingertips a resource with all the information we need to best protect ourselves from tick bites and tick-borne illnesses. Dr. Thomas Mather, director of the University of Rhode Island’sTickEncounter Resource Center (TERC), and his outreach team realized the importance of having a tool for people to gain accurate seasonally- and spatially-relevant information on ticks and the diseases they carry. To address this need, the group started the TERC in 2006. On this site, you can find information about tick biology, descriptions of the most common tick-borne illnesses, advice regarding the most effective methods of tick-bite prevention, step-by-step instructions for how to remove a tick (hint: it does NOT involve matches!), tons of interesting facts, a blog, and many other resources in case you want to know more.

A female deer tick, Ixodes scapularis.

TERC can also help identify ticks that you find (or that find you). In 2013 the group startedTickSpotters, an online service that allows you to submit a photo of any tick you find for identification. You may be able to identify the tick from TERC’s handy identification chart. However, tick identification can be really tricky, so TickSpotters uses the submitted photograph to identify the tick for you (or confirm your identification). They then send you a customized message about your tick and the potential pathogens it could be carrying. In addition, they advise you on how to protect yourself from further bites, and whether or not you might want to have the tick tested as a further assessment of disease risk.

In addition to identifying ticks to help individuals, the crowd-sourced data being generated by these citizen-scientist tick encounter submissions will be useful as support for tick risk-warning systems and for monitoring changing patterns in tick occurrence. In 2014, TERC received nearly 10,000 reports of ticks from every state in the United States, every province in Canada, and even countries in Africa and Europe. Currently, TickSpotters data helps inform TERC’s useful current tick activity application, which displays current tick risk levels in each region of the U.S.

Knowing the current tick activity can make you more aware of your likelihood of a tick encounter before leaving the house, so you’ll know how much protection you’ll need to ensure your safety. For instance, I had no idea that I should be watching for ticks by April here in Massachusetts, where the colossal snow piles from the winter have barely even melted. When I checked the tick activity for New England, however, I found that blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks) are out and about IN HIGH NUMBERS, and I imagine they’re hungry. This knowledge is valuable, since blacklegged ticks are the carriers of Lyme disease — the most common tick-borne illness in North America. Thanks to TERC, I now know that I need to guard myself better against ticks and begin flea and tick treatment for my pets, even if it still feels like winter.

The TickSpotters tool was created for ordinary people to gain critical information about ticks and the diseases they carry, but the data generated from TickSpotters may also turn out to be useful for public health workers. For instance, many doctors discount symptoms of Lyme disease if they live in regions where blacklegged ticks have historically not been found. However, submissions to TickSpotters reveal that people are finding the carrier of Lyme disease in areas where the tick previously was rarely or never observed. When doctors across the U.S. encounter symptoms of Lyme disease in a patient, TickSpotters may be helpful for determining whether or not the person is likely to have encountered a blacklegged tick and whether or not testing for Lyme disease is necessary.

Data from TickSpotters also reveals how tick activity is changing in various regions, as well as how much people in those areas know about ticks. This information could allow organizations to better target communities that need more information about ticks in order to protect themselves.

TERC and the TickSpotters service are most useful for people like you and me who just want to stay safe from serious illnesses. In fact, the information I’ve gained from TERC has led me to adopt a new ETP:

1) RELAX, everything is going to be OK.

2) Calmly remove tick using the method recommended by experts.

3) Photograph the tick and save the tick in a ziplock bag in case I need to have it tested.

4) Submit photograph to TickSpotters and wait 1-2 days to receive information about any further action that may be required.

Following these simple steps for dealing with a tick and checking out TERC for more information can help guard you, your family, and your furry friends from tick-borne illnesses.


Hannah Foster is a PhD student in molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University and a freelance writer. She studies protein biochemistry in microbes, and enjoys writing about science and non-science alike. You can follow her on Twitter at @Foster_HR and read her blog about boxing as it pertains to life at theblowbyblow.com. She is also a frequent contributor to Harvard Science in the News Flash and to The Bitter Empire.

April 7, 2015
by Waterboro
4 Comments

Waterboro and transparent government

Nice notice in the Smart Shopper from Selectman Sylvester in Alfred. He was thanking residents in Alfred for their vote, AND also saying he will continue to write about happening and issue in Alfred, to keep them informed. 

Alfred has three Selectmen and NO Town Manager.

Waterboro has FIVE Selectmen AND a Town Manager. And we get NOTHING from Town Hall about the town issues, nothing about the new budget, nothing about the upcoming Annual Town Meeting. Why?

Mostly because we don’t ask them to keep us informed, the Selectmen insist people watch the Tuesday Night Meetings on TV, OR come into the town hall and attend the meetings.  Why? Well, it is partially because writing and the English language are subjects they are not comfortable with. Of course, Selectman Gale occasionally  give us a Reporter ditty, something philosophical,  usually on a subject of morals or education generally. But that is it. The biggest reason we lack communications from Waterboro Townhall is they cannot agree on anything. Not all five of them, AND the Town Manager.

Pretty soon we will have the Annual Town Meeting, attended by 20-30 people, and then we will listen for a few weeks about how we have to change the type of government in town. And the issue of referendum voting raises its’ ugly head. That would mean the Selectmen And the Town Manager would either have to explain in detail what the budget issues are  OR stand a chance of getting voted down.  That is not going to happen, so the subject dies a quick death, and is forgotten until the next year.

Communication is not a Waterboro strong point.  We do not do it well.  Point in fact, look at the Waterboro website, right hand side. Among the various tidbits, and THREE mentions of the upcoming Road Driveway Ordinance. If you read it, and own land in town, you should be worried. But, we have NO mention in any newspaper, nothing for explanation on the town website.

I love the comment this morning that the members of the Planning Board that resigned last month, are running for Selectmen, to get revenge on the Public Works Director.  It s a good rumor, however, and maybe that will get some people to vote and attend the Annual Town Meeting.  It does identify the underlying problems with communications.

April 4, 2015
by Waterboro
1 Comment

Happy Easter and a positive outlook

Mornings at Merrill’s are interesting times.  And, being quiet and shy like I am, sometimes I am deep into the conversations.  This morning was no different.

“You need a positive attitude, Frank”.  Ok, I’ve heard this more than once in the last 40+ years in Waterboro. Generally, this means I am being critical of someone’s plans.  Waterboro has long been known as a gopher town for politics. Everything behind the scenes, under the covers, and from time to time, like a gopher field, the little heads come up look around, make a  comment or two, and down they go, under cover again !  That hasn’t changed much, still true, except no the players are more and more unknown, and pop up less often.  If you run a department where you don’t document anything, it is harder and harder to prove anything, and easier than ever to use “common sense and public safety” as an excuse.

But, I am going to try to gather up a positive attitude. Don’t hold your breath though.

“Great things are happening in town. Lots of big things coming.” But, of course, no one can talk about them.  Gopher government again!

Hell of an election for Selectmen coming up this June. 6 plus people are running.  Senator Woodsome needed to spend more time in Augusta to do his job right and he resigned his position. Rightly so. Selectman Littlefield has his term expiring. So, that is the second open slot.  Did I take my papers out for one of those slots?  Yep, I did. One of the things Bob Fay taught me was ALWAYS take your papers out.  And I do.  Gordon would certainly be a good candidate for one of the slots, the three year term. And Tim Neill is certainly the smart choice for the two year term.

But, as we know, politics and smart are not always the same.  My favorite this year for the two year slot is TIm Neill. He was an outstanding Chair of the Planning Board\, does his homework, speaks well, and is not a follower, but a leader.  So, what do I hear?   “Frank, he is being associated with you, so he won’t win.”  There is politics, being smart, and then emotion enters the picture ! But, I do the same. One of the candidates is Chair of the Road Review Committee, a Public Works Director fanboy, and I wouldn’t vote for him because of that. One of the candidates is banned from half the stores in town, a smart person that goes off the deep end from time to time.  One candidate is an elected official, a member of the Planning Board, AND running for Selectman. Do one job and do it right. That’s my opinion.

There is a sane, practical vote, one that is good for the town, good for the taxpayer: Littlefield and Neill. Me? Sometimes I favor the entertainment vote, the one that will cause the most entertainment on the Selectman Tuesday Night shows: that would be the Dwayne and Dwayne vote.

Ok, I’m going to go into the woodwork for a bit to come up with a positive smiley attitude.

 

 

March 27, 2015
by Waterboro
1 Comment

Wasted years on a 20/20 and Comprehensive Plan ?

After years in the making, minor support from the Town Selectmen, it is time to print the new Comprehensive Plan. Only suddenly the Town Manager can’t find the money. Seems the Selectmen used the slush fund to pay the Town Manager Retirement Plan. The Selectmen should have put a halt to both committees five years ago, and saved the town a lot of money.

March 25, 2015
by Waterboro
3 Comments

Watch the two videos

Watch the Tuesday Selectman Meeting, and the discussion about both the driveway ordinances, both of them, ad the other issue of 2.08.  Then watch the next night Planning Board meeting , and notice NO communication from the Town Manager, or the Selectmen about the two subjects from the night before. None.  They just left the Planning Board swinging in the breeze wondering what was wanted from the Selectmen. This type of behavior is one of the reasons the Planning Board has three members resign.

March 22, 2015
by Waterboro
3 Comments

Things that we laugh at in Waterboro

It has been fun watching the legal antics of the new Public Works Department and the Town Manager, as they work hard to make sure nothing gets built for commercial use in North Waterboro.  Dollar General is certainly amused I am sure.  And the campground expansion is  the next target of these two.

But before you laugh too loud, you should read through the proposed new driveway ordinance. Because this affects every landowner in the town of Waterboro.  The link on the top of the page shows a few highlighted sentences.  Owning land n Waterboro just became more expensive. Oh, unless you want to donate your land to the Waterboro Land Trust. Then you suddenly have a waiver, and cooperation.

March 9, 2015
by Waterboro
0 comments

What does Waterboro need?

Interesting conversation about the types of business Waterboro needs. Someone brought up the “visioning sessions” that took place a few years ago at the High School. Remember those ? Thought so. Not many people remember them, not a large interest in town, not a talked about subject. Unless, of course, you were on the “Visioning Committee”.

One thing the town “needs” is a movie theater. That did come up. A movie theater?  This is high on the list of things Waterboro needs?  And a NAPA store. Well, we have that now. But I don’t see a large push to bring in a movie theater.

What do we “need” in town? Most of the working age people leave town in the morning to go to work. And they shop around where they work. That leaves the retired folks. What do they need?  What does the town offer?

February 23, 2015
by Waterboro
0 comments

Is it unmanly in Waterboro to recycle ?

For the second time in a while, watched an older man throw away four bags of cans, in the hopper, rather than recycle them a few steps away.  His reply to my question “Why?”?  Don’t worry about it. I pay my taxes.” And he stomped off.

Someone had clearly separated all the cans out, and bagged them.  His wife ? And he throws them away.

Is it embarrassing to recycle? Maybe he’s uncomfortable at the dump ?

Someone said maybe he is just one of those folks that never learned to read, and doesn’t realize he can recycle, or what it is.

$10 bucks worth of cash, thrown away. Strange, but it happens all too often at our Transfer Station.

Me? I’d put a camera up at the hopper, and put short video clips on the town website. Publicity sometimes works wonders.