JULY

Jay hired veteran police officer Darin Gilbert to serve as the first school resource officer in Regional School Unit 73. Gilbert was hired to work 39 weeks as a school officer and 13 weeks for the Jay Police Department. To create the job, the town and school district each put $50,000 into their 2019-20 budgets, which were approved by voters earlier in the year.

Firefighters from Jay and Livermore Falls raise a flag Wednesday, July 3, along the Tri-Town Fourth of July parade route. Dee Menear/Franklin Journal

Residents of Jay approved an application for a $60,000 Micro-Enterprise Assistance Grant to help two local businesses expand services. Maine Dojo & Fitness Center secured an additional 1,000 square feet at the space it leases so it could expand the gym area. Its $30,000 grant would be used to purchase fitness equipment and help hire another employee. Barker Enterprises/Wood Pellett Warehouse would use the other $30,000 to help purchase a new delivery truck with a forklift attached to the back.

The Livermore Falls Class of ’49 held its final class reunion at LeFleur’s Restaurant. The classmates held their first reunion in 1991. “We had a wonderful time keeping in touch,” Meredith Dalessandro said. “We have had a lot of fun.”

After an hour-long discussion, Chesterville voters joined other towns in western Maine opposing Central Maine Power’s Clean Energy Connect transmission line. Plans called for less than a mile of transmission line to pass through the town, crossing Route 156.

AUGUST

After nearly 50 years of milking cows, Richard Corey and his wife Michelle Mosher, owners of Dunlookin Farm in Wilton, decided to exit the dairy business. Unpalatable trends in milk prices and profits, coupled with health issues, led the couple to decide to sell their milk producers and downsize their operation.

Kalli Mae Hand of Farmington holds a unicorn during the 37th Annual Wilton Blueberry Festival Saturday afternoon, Aug. 3 on Main Street. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden

After many years of planning and construction, Western Maine Play Museum in Wilton opened its doors on Friday, Aug. 9.

The fencing surrounding unusable tennis courts next to Spruce Mountain Elementary School was taken down Friday, Aug. 16. The courts were slated for upgrades using a $30,000 United States Tennis Association grant and $37,500 raised through the Hollandstrong Community Foundation. When completed, the three-court facility will be the site for RSU 73 home matches.

The second annual Maine Paper Makers Celebration was held at the Maine paper and Heritage Museum on Saturday, Aug. 24. Papermaking demonstrations, tours of the museum, a barbecue lunch and a large yard sale were part of the celebration.

SEPTEMBER

Rob Taylor, an RSU 73 teacher, was named by the Maine Department of Education as one of three 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year finalists. Taylor is a math and science teacher at Spruce Mountain Middle School and advisor for the school’s FIRST LEGO League program. He also teaches Advanced Placement Environmental Science at the high school, is advisor for the school’s Envirothon Program and is involved with the school’s FIRST Robotics Competition program.

Harper (5) and Charlotte (4) Wright of Rangeley pose with one of the sheep on exhibit at the Farmington Fair. Nicole Carter/Franklin Journal Buy this Photo

Livermore Falls selectmen voted 4-1  to set the tax rate at $22.60 per $1,000 of property value, an increase of $1 from last year. Prior to the vote, residents voted to use $150,000 from the town’s $1.9 million undesignated fund balance to offset the increase. In April, RSU 73 voters passed a $19.6 million school budget, an increase of more than $760,000. If the town’s share of the school budget did not increase as much as it did, the tax rate was slated to go down.

At 8:07 a.m. Sept. 16, Farmington firefighters were called to the LEAP, Inc. central office building on Farmington Falls Road for a smell of propane. Minutes later, an explosion leveled the building. Capt. Michael Bell was killed and seven other people — including six firefighters — were injured in the explosion. Thirty people were dislocated when their residences were destroyed or heavily damaged by the explosion.

Jay selectpersons voted 3-1 to no longer accept clear plastic or glass for recyclables at the transfer station. Selectperson Judy Diaz said there was no market for glass or clear plastic, which is any plastic except No. 2.

OCTOBER

The State Fire Marshal’s Office said the Sept. 16 explosion at LEAP, Inc., was the result of a propane leak. During the weekend before the explosion, nearly 400 gallons of propane leaked beneath its parking lot, some of it reaching the basement. Officials did not say what ignited the gas while four men were in the building’s basement.

Spruce Mountain Middle School students Maddie Goodwin, left, Brooke Douglass, Jenna Farmer, Ethan Egdall, Lily Fortier and Wyatt Foss have helped collect 57,000 pencil erasers for the “Erase Hate, Write Tolerance” project. The goal is to collect six million erasers. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Three sophomores, three juniors and one senior at Spruce Mountain High School were inducted into the National Honor Society Oct. 17. Ella Plourde, Sara Henderson, Drew Delaney, Katelynn Ladd, Hannah Coates, Courtney Hogan and Matthew Fenlason took the pledge to maintain high scholastic standing, hold an untarnished character, endeavor to be a leader and give freely in the service of others.

Spruce Mountain Middle School students are on a mission to remember the victims of the Holocaust, one pencil eraser at a time. Students are collecting 6 million erasers, one for each Jewish Holocaust victim, in the “Erase Hate, Write Tolerance” project.

Members of the Livermore community who need a helping hand now have access to ‘magic boxes’ that provide free food, reading materials and seeds thanks to the efforts of Ryan Bergman.

NOVEMBER

The Spruce Mountain High School football team squared off against Mountain Valley in the Class D South quarterfinal. The Phoenix came out on top with a 37-12 victory. The win secured the team’s placement in the semifinals where they met up with the top-seeded Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale team.

During a veterans program put on by local veterans on Nov. 6, SMES fourth grade student Zachary Foss answered the question “What is a veteran?” Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Members of local veterans organizations and auxiliaries were among those paying tribute to veterans past and present on Monday morning, Nov. 11. “We stand here today to pay tribute to the brave men and women, living and dead who have served their country in the armed forces,” Larry Bilodeau said in prayer at the Livermore Falls Memorial Bridge. “Accept our thanksgiving for their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their families to purchase us a free land.”

Spruce Mountain High School announced it would be looking at making a significant change to its football team next year to combat dwindling participation. “We need to do something, eight-man or a cooperative team,” Athletic Director Marc Keller said. “We need to sit down and talk with parents.” He anticipated the number of players returning next year to be in the mid- to high-teens, down from the 50s a few years ago.

Livermore Falls Town Manager Stephen Gould told selectmen that a special town meeting would be necessary to cover a $24,500 increase in workers’ compensation insurance. The premium increased from $23,500 to $48,000 because of an extremely expensive injury, he said.

DECEMBER

When SMHS Athletic Director Marc Keller was told the Lord family couldn’t organize the 8th annual Jake Lord Play It Safe Foundation basketball fundraiser, staff from the school and LEAP stepped in and made sure the event took place. The foundation was established in 2012 in memory of Jake Lord, a star athlete and Jay native who took his life at the age of 18 after enduring multiple sports-related concussions. Jake’s father, Larry Lord was critically injured in a propane gas explosion Sept. 16 at the LEAP central offices in Farmington where he served as maintenance supervisor.

During the second Olde Fashioned Christmas held at Boothby’s Orchard and Farm Winery in Livermore, Emmett and Finnegan Mason of Livermore Falls enjoyed snacks in front of a campfire-themed Christmas tree. Organized by the Jay-Livermore-Livermore Falls Chamber of Commerce, 22 decorated trees were raffled off to support local non-profits. More than $1,300 was raised on the first day of the three-day event. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Santa, a Grinch or two, a shelf full of elves, Cindy Lou Who and a whole bunch of Whovians set “A Storybook Scene” on Main Street in Farmington Saturday, Dec. 7 for the 43rd annual Chester Greenwood Day parade. The parade was the highlight of a celebration paying tribute to Chester Greenwood, a local man credited for inventing the earmuff.

When Brandon Coates of Livermore Falls decided to start working on an Eagle Scout project, he didn’t have to put much thought into where he wanted to focus his efforts. He knew the diesel fuel tank at Spruce Mountain Ski Slope needed to be replaced, and he knew the project would be a costly but necessary expense for the local ski area. By mid-December, Coates had a new 1,000-gallon tank installed on a concrete pad. He was raising funds to cover the remaining expenses and planned to build a structure over the tank in order to shield it from weather.

Curriculum Coordinator Chris Hollingsworth gave RSU 73 directors a comparison of that district’s and RSU 9’s latest state evaluation numbers. The Department of Education recently released the 2018-19 emPowerME, Maine Education Assessment and Scholastic Aptitude Test data. “Except for one area, the information pretty much mirrored that for RSU 9.” he said. Hollingsworth also said the number of RSU 73 students meeting or exceeding state expectations as compared to the 2017-18 school year increased 12% to 43%.


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