2012-12-26 / Irregular Regulars


by Laura Dunham

It seems like yesterday when a tall young man came through my door in Carrabassett Valley and sat at my kitchen table while I interviewed him as a new member of the Maine State Police and I thought, “Here I go again training another wet behind the ears kid.”

But you see that was over 28 years ago that I met this “big gentle giant of a man,” Scott Nichols. This week, Scott and I looked back at all those years while he sat in his office at Sugarloaf and I here in my home in Pennsylvania.

Through the first 23 years that Scott served as a Maine State Trooper, I covered many stories that he investigated. Then in 2008, after Scott retired from the Maine State Police, he became Carrabassett Valley’s Chief of Police, a position that he will give up Dec. 28 of this year.

“It’s a busy place,” said Scott, who said that the parking lots were full Saturday with skiers. There are six full time officers and three reserve police department officers at the resort. During a 24-hour period last Feb. 12, officers responded to some 52 calls.

During the five years that Scott has been at the helm I asked him what was the memorable event that happened under his watch, and he said without hesitation, it had to be when the Spillway chairlift broke injuring some eight skiers. The strange thing is, said Scott, just two months before the Dec. 28, 2010 accident, he and his officers had put together a training session just in case there was a chairlift accident. “The most impressive part,” said Scott, “is that everyone pulled together and using the drill practice everyone snapped to and did their job”.

Now Scott is looking forward to a new adventure as the High Sheriff of Franklin County beginning Dec. 31 and is excited about utilizing his plan for changes within the administration and the patrolling units. “I want to work with each shift and I want to create teams of deputies and Maine State Police Troopers who will work together for the best of the residents of Franklin County.”

“The color of the uniform doesn’t matter,” he said.

I hope I will be around to keep track of this man as he heads into yet another career. On Monday night in Carrabassett Valley selectmen made their final decision on a replacement for Scott out of some 14 applicants who were hoping to get the position.

I spoke with another of my Maine States Police “kids.” Mark Lopez was on his way to a New England Patriots game. Mark is due to retire soon from that position and told me late Sunday, Dec. 16 that he applied for the Carrabassett Valley Police Chief job. The following Monday night, Mark learned that he was indeed chosen to replace Scott.

For years, I worked with Lisa Bird as the Maine Special Olympic games came to Sugarloaf. Lisa said she wanted everyone to know that on New Year’s Day the 2013 Lobster Dip to benefit the Special Olympics will be held at Old Orchard Beach. All those raising over $100 will get a Lobster Dip tee shirt. Last Year over $100,000 was raised for state wide training programs for the Special Olympians from those who took the dip in front of the Brunswick Hotel.

David Miller of Lexington (who writes a very informative veterans column for the Irregular) told me this week about his experience in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy. David said he left the night of the Hurricane and arrived in Mahwah, N.J. in the middle of trees falling and the storm in full blast. It seems a Navy buddy of David’s from Louisiana called and asked David if he would come and work for him as he was taking 60 men from his company along with lots of equipment to help restore power lines and cut up fallen trees. David who stayed for three weeks said he worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week along with another buddy from Pennsylvania helping where they could during the disas- ter. I’m sure it was not an experience that anyone will soon forget.

David an avid trapper for the past 60 years said he had to pull his traps before he left for New Jersey but once home resumed trapping coyotes and other fur bearing animals. This is the first time, said David, that the State of Maine has hired trappers. David was assigned to the Dead River Deer Wintering area. This covered about 100 miles a day of traveling in four townships, said David. He trapped until Oct. 28 stating that there were a lot of trappers this year. Once the animals are obtained, David removes their glands to make scent and then sells their furs. David said he found this year that some of the coyotes in the traps had been shot by hunters and some of the traps were stolen.

In Stratton Saturday, Dec. 15, 17 women from the area gathered at the White Wolf where they enjoyed a cookie walk. Sharon Farnsworth from Coburn Gore was among the women who each made some two dozen cookies and supplied their recipe. What was left after enjoying the cookies were taken home by those attending. Hosting the event was Gail Steward and Sandi Isgro. They played Christmas trivia and according to Sharon she didn’t realize just how little she knew about Christmas.

What a wonderful surprise this week when we received the Memory Quilt from Lorraine Savage that was started by Lorraine, Diane Christen, Ruth White and Patsy Boyce when we left Kingfield over a year ago. More than 50 friends and neighbors had signed the quilt which is so special to us and will always have a special place of display in our new home.

Annette Falco said she was so pleased with the response to the Community Christmas party held at Chase Memorial Hall with over 80 attending from the New Portland area enjoying the music and potluck supper. It’s an event we sure will be planning for another year, said Falco. A big thank you, said Annette, goes out to the Lion’s Club who provided the hall for the event.

In Strong, Hugh Targett is recuperating at his home after a fall. Rocky Targett said she can’t wait for my column to come out and can’t thank me enough for encouraging everyone to get a shingle shot I hope everyone tries their best to get the shot as I still have the shingles on my shoulder after four years. In New Portland my prayers go out to Staci Rundlett for a quick recovery...please stay down off ladders Staci.

Bruce Marcoux of Coplin Plantation has returned home after spending a couple of weeks in Petaluma, Calif. visiting Pat Franz who is recuperating from a severe fall.

In Stratton Sunday, Dec. 16 the Stratton-Eustis Lion’s Club continued their 50-year-old tradition serving area senior citizens their annual turkey dinner with all the fixings. Arlene Flick, Lion’s Club member, said that over 100 dinners and take-outs were fixed for the seniors. The eighth grade students waited on the tables with the women Lion’s Club members making some 25 desserts for the dinner. King Lion Tony Arruda said that $100 realized from the 50/50 raffle was given to the eighth grade class. Hopefully, said Tony, they will become members of the Lion’s Club and carry on these traditions.

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