Franklin County commissioners set the tax rate for 2019-20 at $1.29 per $1,000 of property value, which was a 3-cent increase from last year.

Cayden Bate, 10, of New Portland at left and Maggie Cook of Chesterville go all in for the Kingfield Festival Days pie-eating contest on Saturday, July 20. Even though Bate faced stiff competition in the field of eight opponents, he was first to lick the plate clean. File photo

After scrapping plans to open a new family shelter on Main Street in Farmington, Western Maine Homeless Outreach began reviewing options with a new, perhaps unlikely ally: a local resident who objected to a WMHO application to the planning board to move the shelter downtown. John Moore said he and his wife, Jen, were committed to solving the crisis of homelessness, he said. “I will chair a board to raise funds and locate the shelter in a different, more appropriate site. I think there is a way we can all work together to get services to the homeless,” he said.

The addition of two baseball dugouts at Mt. Blue Middle School became a reality thanks to a group of volunteers and an anonymous $2,000 donation to help cover the cost of materials.

The Farmington Board of Selectmen voted not to waive a fire hydrant requirement for Sunrise Village Mobile Home Park. Caten Gabri, the owner of the subdivision, had asked selectmen to waive the requirement. An agreement between the town and former owners/developers stipulated the developer agrees to provide fire hydrants. It also requires each condition of the agreement may be waived by mutual written agreement between the two parties.


Mt. Blue High School students spent time learning about community service and the resources available to help those in need with Bags of Love. Working within a budget of $1,000, students selected items that would help people without a home survive on their own. Warm blankets, reusable water bottles, healthy snacks and personal hygiene items were stuffed into new backpacks.


EnviroVantage workers sort through some of the debris created during the demolition of the Forster Mill on Depot Street in Wilton, Monday, July 29. File photo

Blake Hart was named the new head coach for the NCAA Division III men’s soccer program at the University of Maine at Farmington. Hart had been serving as an assistant coach within the men’s team during the past three years.

Regional School Unit 9’s Education Policy Committee presented updated drafts for school bullying and cyberbullying policies.

Former Mt. Abram High School girls basketball coach Doug Lisherness was inducted into the 2019 Maine Basketball Hall of Fame. He won more than 300 games and two state championships while leading the Mt. Abram girls program. He retired in 2013.

Marcus and Heidi Corey and their three children Abishai, Hadassah and Jesse reached the summit of Mt. Katahdin and completed their family’s hike of the Appalachian Trail. Marcus, a Mt. Blue High School graduate, is chaplain of the Loon Mountain Ski Ministry in Lincoln, New Hampshire.


David Pike was concerned about the amount of land he has lost due to the changes in the flow of the Sandy River and Temple Stream. He feared more would be lost in the future and had no answers on how to stop the erosion.

Mt. Blue goalie Brooke Bolduc makes a save as Cony’s Taryn Crummett (5) looks for the rebound. Morning Sentinel file photo

Third-grader Andrew Bagley of Farmington planned to donate the proceeds from auctioning his three broiler chickens to the family of Hannah Webber, a second-grade teacher at W.G. Mallett School in Farmington who had been injured in a tractor accident.

Farmington Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell, Capt. Scott Baxter and firefighter Theodore “Ted” Baxter and LEAP Inc. maintenance supervisor Larry Lord remained in critical condition following the Sept. 16 explosion at LEAP central offices. Capt. Michael Bell was killed in the blast that flattened the building and damaged 11 nearby mobile homes.  Capt. Timothy “TD” Hardy, Chief Deputy S. Clyde Ross and firefighter Joseph Hastings were also injured in the explosion.

Farmington selectmen approved spending $4,991 from the cemetery infrastructure reserve account for work in Fairview and Riverside cemeteries and appropriated $320 from the special projects fund for sign improvements. “A couple of the Welcome to Farmington signs are faded, in bad shape,” Davis said. “It’s a project we’ve been planning for a couple of years, didn’t get around to. Signworks is refacing them with metal surface and skin. Sam Monahan recently completed that along with some other sign work.”


In the weeks following the Sept. 16 explosion at LEAP Inc., central offices, firefighters from across the state signed up for 12-hour volunteer shifts at the Farmington Fire Department. The goal was to ensure the community had the coverage it needed while firefighters injured in the explosion recovered.  “Community has a new meaning,” said Capt. Robb Couture, Public Information Officer for the South Portland Fire Department. “The Farmington community is not just Farmington anymore.”

Cascade Brook School students, from left, Reese Ney, Brianna Hill, Sophia Moody and Hannah Waldrop pose for the photo booth at the Cascade Brook School Fall Festival on Friday, Sept. 27. File photo Buy this Photo

Farmington Fire Chief Terry Bell was escorted home from Maine Medical Center in Portland on Oct. 8, more than three weeks after being critically injured in the LEAP Inc. propane explosion that killed his brother, Capt. Michael Bell.

Pending the eventual relocation of the Town Office, Phillips Food Pantry volunteers were scrambling to find a new home. Even though the town has provided space for the pantry, they are separate entities. Heating the Russell Street building for just one room for the food pantry would not be cost-effective. New space was not secured by the time the town office moved to Main Street in November however, volunteers and selectmen reached an agreement to allow the food pantry to stay through the winter.

Wilton Congregational Church UCC served a soup luncheon to LEAP Inc. employees to welcome them to town. LEAP staff moved into the former Bass factory following a propane explosion that destroyed its central offices in Farmington.


Tom and Annette Stephenson of Seattle, Washington stopped at Western Maine Play Museum to see the museum’s train room. The Stephensons donated a train table, wooden train cars and other items to add to the existing collection.

Mt. Blue High School senior Mary Parker, right, gives sophomore Brittany Bailey advice on selecting glaze during a ceramics class Monday, Oct. 28. File photo Buy this Photo

The Wilton Board of Selectpersons decided to review the town’s purchase policy at the suggestion of Chairperson Keith Swett. “We did a couple of pretty good-sized purchases,” he said. “At the time, when we were getting all the information, I asked how we were doing with the purchase policy. We never followed the policy correctly, from what I am reading.” Swett referred to the Oct. 15  approval of purchasing a 2020 International HV-507 for $163,324 using $30,000 from the highway department capital account and $133,324 from the Comfort Inn TIF account. The purchase price includes $22,000 for a trade-in. The policy recommends obtaining three quotes for purchases between $2,500 and $10,000.

Dozens of people turned out to pay respect and honor veterans during Veterans Day services in Farmington and Wilton.

Friends of Wilson Lake President Rob Lively said climate change is affecting the water levels of the state’s lakes. FOWL members have been monitoring the Wilton lake for years. Lower water levels are related to Metaphyton algae being found in the Wilton lake over the summer but fall rains which raised the level of the lake and cooler temperatures reduced or eliminated water quality concerns for the time being.

Everyone’s Resource Depot at the University of Maine at Farmington turned 40. The depot supplies a variety of inexpensive materials for projects and holds holiday workshops throughout the year. It was founded when a group of people in 1979 liked the reuse concept offered by the Children’s Resource Center in Portland and decided it would be well worth developing something similar in Farmington.


Regional School Unit 9 Superintendent Tina Meserve announced Susan Pratt of Strong would be filling in on a part-time basis for Curriculum Coordinator Laura Columbia beginning in January. Columbia will be on maternity leave, Meserve said.  Pratt previously served as the assistant superintendent for RSU 9. She also held top administrative positions for RSU 78 in Rangeley, RSU 40 in Union and what was RSU 36 in Livermore Falls. Pratt was most recently Superintendent for School Administrative District 58 in Phillips. She retired from that position in June.

Members of this year’s Mt. Blue Middle School Civil Rights team, pictured in no particular order, are Aliza Decker, Azalea Shanti, Henri McCourt, Nora McCourt, Avery Jessen, Addie Colello, Maya Kellett, McKenzee Wheeler, Anndee Gardner, Joseyr Bunnell, Carly Greenleaf, Patti Sico, Sadie Burnham, and Haley Sico. File photo

Students and teachers at W.G. Mallett School teamed up with students from the University of Maine at Farmington to collect 1,473 pounds of nonperishable food for the 29th annual Helping Hands Food Pass.

Aaron LeBlanc of Canann is expected to receive a new kidney on Jan. 7. Aaron became ill while visiting his grandparents, Mike and Amy Frances LeBlanc, in Wilton last December. The medical crisis led to the discovery that his kidneys were extremely small, atrophied and full of scarring. With a zero percent chance of his kidneys recovering, dialysis treatments were started. Months of appointments and tests followed to determine if Aaron was a candidate for a transplant.

Farmington firefighters Stephan Bunker and Patty Cormier were headed to Pasadena, California to take part in the annual Rose Bowl Parade.  Their all-expenses paid trip to ride on a special float in the Jan. 1 parade was an unexpected surprise given through the generosity of the Maine Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is a national organization that promotes personal and social development and the principles of friendship, truth and love. The Rebekahs are a branch of the organization.

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