Belmont Town News
By Richard Lenfest
Town Office hours are Monday 1-6 p.m., Tuesday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. and Wednesday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The board of Selectmen meets Tuesdays 7-9 p.m. Code Enforcement hours are Tuesday 7-9 .m., or by appointment. The Town Office phone number is 342-5722, and the fax number is 342-2252. Code Enforcement is 632-4741.
While we are in a thaw of sorts, it will not be a true January thaw with high temperatures in the 50s and a snow-eating heavy rain, possibly accompanied by a pea-soup fog. However, after the number of sub-zero mornings and one evening during the past two weeks, it is a welcome reprieve and makes for good skiing and snowshoeing weather that is not so warm that it removes too much of that still-precious commodity that I frequently refer to as white gold, otherwise known as snow.
We have to maintain a satisfactory depth to keep the winter economy in good shape locally. We still have not had enough cold weather to truly firm up the ice on most lakes, ponds and rivers. The state of Maine relies very heavily, perhaps too heavily, on the tax dollars generated by its tourism economy, and during the winter those dollars are generated by skiing, snowmobiling, sled-dog racing and ice fishing derbies; all dependent upon at least a reasonable snowfall and volume of cold.
Maine Agricultural Trade Show
I completed my round-trip to Augusta yesterday for my first visit to the trade show. During the years that I was code enforcement officer for Belmont, we had seminars planned by the state Planning Office during this period of January every year. Turns out that the trade show will have to be a two-day event for me, at least one time, if I really want to see it all. MMPA, the Maine Maple Producers Association, holds its annual meeting at the trade show on the Thursday designated as Maple Day, and combined with the luncheon the annual meeting takes about a full day.
By the time the meeting is over, mos vendors and exhibits are being packed up to head home. Thus, there is little to report about in 2013, and I will be planning for 2014 as soon as possible. Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb of Waldo spoke at the MMPA meeting, explaining some of the intricacies of combining the former departments of agriculture, conservation and forestry into one department.
Tom Seymour's 'What's It?'
Before this column I gave Tom Seymour a call with his Waldo column form Jan. 10 in hand. I had a very great hunch that proved to be correct! I've probably seen a few of these in my days (almost 72 years' worth), possibly without realizing exactly what the critter was. However, I was very aware of the sound that the male creates on those oppressively hot, humid days of summer and the name of the critter. Tom's tip about its being a creature of summer and that everyone hears them was the clue to the answer. It is a cicada.
322 days without snow
In Chicago a month ago there was rejoicing in the streets because the snow drought was expected to end at 290 days on Thursday, Dec. 20. Well, Dec. 20 has come and gone and the count is now up to 322. What happened? Chicago was a victim of reverse lake effect. here, we all know how the wind blowing off the Gulf of Maine or Penobscot Bay can change our snow to rain and slush. Well, in Chicago a breeze blowing just right off warmer Lake Michigan water can have the same effect. So, on Dec. 20 the snow started and promptly turned to rain before leaving so much as a measurable inch. The count goes on!