Belmont

Town Office hours are Monday, 1-6 p.m.; Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.; and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The board of selectmen meets 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays.

The Town Office phone number is 342-5722, and the fax number is 342-2252. Code enforcement hours are 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays; the phone number is 342-3179. Availability is by appointment most of the time.

The Maine Warden Service is once again warning us about conditions that may be found on many ponds, lakes and rivers. It is safe to say that just about everyone saw at least 1.5 inches of rain and some up to almost 3 inches.

Our snow cover was reduced by up to 1.5 inches of water content or more, in combination creating a lot of runoff. Areas with a current are flowing faster and in many locations at least a portion of the runoff has flowed onto the existing ice cover and needs additional cold weather to freeze and stabilize it. Reports are that ice is only half as thick this winter as it was in 2009.

A year ago, from Jan. 24 to 26, we were between -20 and -24 each night. The coldest this winter is a -12 on the Jan. 23. I recorded a 45-degree reading on Monday, while to the south and west it got to the 50s for a real thaw. It has been in the 30s each day since, so exercise caution on the ice.

I was not notified in advance of the Belmont Democratic Caucus Jan. 31, so was not able to include it in this column. The Belmont Republican Caucus will be Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Room of the Town Office. The 2010 gubernatorial election could be one of the most important in the history of Maine and all of us should be taking interest.

The Belmont Fire Department still has smoke detectors available for Belmont residents who need one. Call Maxine Harford at 342-5192 for information.

That pileated woodpecker I wrote about was evidently just looking for a hearty meal of carpenter ants. However, the hole in the tree is sufficiently deep to put its head into, as I thought I had seen it do.

I have noticed over the past couple of weeks that the supply of sunflower seed in the feeder hasn’t been disappearing daily as it used to and a neighbor informed me that a loggerhead shrike has been seen in the valley. I suspect that the flock of chickadees has been reduced in size.

Last week in the Republican Journal there was an article about the 2009 loon count in Maine and the fact that the count of chicks was down, probably due to the volume of rain and high water that affected nests during the key time of the season, June and July.

While loons will re-nest on ocassion, the rainy season of 2009 was just too long to have helped the situation. The rearing (fledging) of chicks requires several months, putting an absolute time factor on the successful hatching of chicks.

All loons must be gone before ice-in, which can happen quite early depending upon the size of the pond or lake, and the onset of severe cold. Loons loose their flight feathers and must be gone while there is ample open water for take-off.

A few larger lakes (Sebago in Maine and Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire among them) may not totally freeze in warmer winters and during the winter of 2007, up to 17 loons got trapped in the ice of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Evidently they were younger loons that had overwintered in the open water of the Broads of Winnipesaukee in 2006, a warm winter, and got caught when the Broads froze late, in mid- to late January of 2007. Several of the loons were rescued successfully, but the rest were lost, victims of old Mother Nature.

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Brooks

The Brooks Booster Club is starting to organize for the 4th of July celebration this summer. The Club has also been working with the fire department to get a skating rink in the community park; the weather has really messed with the planning of the rink, and we all are looking forward to its completion. If you would like to volunteer or would like more information on the Booster Club contact Kim Thomas at bpb04921@yahoo.com.

Congratulations to Brooks’ own Linda Lord on her promotion to Maine state librarian. As you all know, Linda is one of our selectpersons and has been working hard on her vocabulary for many years, so her new job will no doubt put all those big words to use. Unfortunately for the people of Brooks, Linda, with her new job, will have to step down as one of our selectpersons this year. This will leave us with not one, but two, positions to fill, in what is an already difficult job to fill. So if you are interested in local politics, now might be your time to get involved.

The Brooks Townwide Celebration Committee is starting to plan for upcoming events, including the holiday celebration, as well as looking at new things to do in the community. This is a message to those in the group and those interested in joining, who expressed an interest in expanding and improving the group. The next meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 4 at the Town Hall in Brooks. The meeting is at 6 p.m. and end shortly before 7 p.m. All those interested are welcome.

Last week was the first meeting of the rug-hooking class, which is held at Betty Littlefield’s house Wednesdays at 7 p.m. The class is taught by rug-hooking artist and niece of Betty Littlefield, Susie Stephenson. The class is being taken by Susie Gowie, Audrey Muir, Jane McGlauglin, Betty Littlefield, Debbie Faulkner and me. On my way out the door Betty asked if I was going to put that the bunch of us were “hooking” up at her house every Wednesday in the paper. To which I said, “I will put just that.”

One of the Hannastock raffle items was a traditional Lebanese dinner cooked by Susan Heart. After a bidding war among a few people, Susan offered to cook for all of us if everyone donated to the cause. So this past Saturday we all met at the Hearts for a wonderful meal. After wandering through the beautiful studio, we sat down for dinner. Those who attended were the Champas, Shiessls, Leclercs, David Graham, Mike Switzer and our gracious hosts. The evening also ended up having a dual meaning for Susan Heart, and became a celebration of her mother, who, sadly, died last year.

I wish Betty Bedell a heartfelt get better. Many who know Betty will tell you nothing will stop her, but a few weeks ago she had an accident and she is now recovering in Belfast at Tall Pines. She is allowed visitors, and I’m sure she would love the company.

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Freedom

Meetings
The Dirigo Grange 98 will hold its meeting Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Dirigo Grange Hall on Route 137.

The Budget Committee has been meeting with the selectors every Monday and Thursday evening at the Town Office at 6:30 p.m. Their next meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 4, then again on Monday, Feb. 8. These are public meetings and anyone is welcome to attend.

The selectors meeting will be held Wednesday, Feb. 10 at the Town Office at 6 p.m.

The Comprehensive Planning Committee and the Planning Board will meet at the Town Office Tuesday, Feb. 9.

This Historical Society Committee will hold its meeting Wednesday, Feb. 10  at the Freedom Fire House at 7 p.m.

Remember Election Day, March 12 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

I would like to emphasize that when you fill out the ballot, you must make an X or a checkmark in the square box alongside the name of the person you are voting for. Any ballots that are not filled out correctly will be discarded. Please do not write any kind of remarks on the ballots. They will not count.

Just exercise your right as a citizen and registered voter and get out and vote!

Basketball
Dylan Keller, son of Erna and Kevin Keller, is an all-around great sports player. Last week the Mount View Mustangs played basketball against the Camden Hills Windjammers and the Windjammers lost their first game in two years.

Camden Hills had a brief 47-46 lead, but Dylan converted on his first field goal of the night, a jumper from just inside the top of the key, with 46 seconds left in regulation to help Mount View regain a 48-47 lead. Keller also converted a free throw with about 20 seconds remaining to give the Mustangs a two-point cushion and Dylan also had three pivotal points.

Congratulations to you, Dylan, on a game well played.

Hockey
The Midcoast Ice Cats beat Lawrence this past Monday and it was the Ice Cats’ last home game. The score was 5-3, with Tyler Hadyniak scoring one goal.

Jan. 28 the Ice Cats lost to Orono 5-3. The Twin Towers, Tyler and Kyle Hadyniak, each scored a goal and Kyle had an assist.

Feb. 10 the Ice Cats play the John Bapst Crusaders at the Sawyer Arena in Bangor at 8 p.m.

If you have anything of interest to report, please contact me.

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Jackson

I don’t have much to write, but I get calls if I don’t have anything at all in the newspaper (which isn’t always my idea); so if you gave me some news and it’s not in, I’m sorry.

It’s nice to have four days off from driving the bus. It’s not good for my paycheck, but it’s great for the older kids, as they can snowmobile, ski, etc., and the younger kids can slide and ski. Hope they enjoyed it. Just be careful — there are so many accidents, be it falling through the ice or running into trees, etc. Be careful when crossing the roads. I have had two close calls while driving the bus. The next vacation is Feb. 13-21. Let’s hope we go to the tournaments!

There are so many fires recently; right now, I’m hearing about one on the Morgan Pitch Road (I have the scanner on). Also, there have been a lot of reports of people falling, both outside and inside. I’m sure there have been more than I’ve even heard of.

The B.U.M. League boys’ travel team played in Augusta on Saturday. I haven’t been to Augusta for a long time; we were at the YMCA down across from the Capitol. There are so many new buildings down there.

I talked to brother Robert in Florida this week to thank him for my box of oranges. He always sends us girls a box as soon as he gets there. We have a great brother. Anyhow, it’s warmed up there and was nearly 80 degrees. Robert said he and Sharon had the air conditioning on. He covered his grapefruit tree and thinks it is OK but the orange tree got a chill.

Pat Breau won a 50/50 raffle at a ball game at Mount View recently. She took the basketball team to Spanky’s Pizza for them to enjoy. I understand most of the girls’ teams went. What a nice thing.

Lucille and I went to Walmart last Sunday morning. I needed to get a new mailbox door, because mine comes off. Well, guess what. I forgot it. Sorry, Donna, I will get one soon. Sure my new vacuum won’t help any.

Polly Dodge went out to dinner with her uncle, Richard Webber, on Sunday. A.J. Ludden and Becca had a sliding and snowmobile party on Saturday. Becca’s folks were down getting fitted for tuxedos that day also, and all had a good time.

Did you see the episode of “Oprah” about texting on the phone? They say it’s like driving with three big drinks. Talking on the cell phone is nearly as bad. I see so many, as I’m up higher in the bus. Please pull over. Who ever invented texting, anyhow? Stop the car.

Janice Snyder is visiting her daughter, Lisa, and family in Texas.

As I finish this column (no school today) on Wednesday, I’m waiting for Chris to shovel my deck. I’ve gotta get the bus started so I can move it, and so Lisa can plow when she gets home. I am hoping that if they down-staff; she’ll put in to be the one. Nephew Bob plowed out our combings on the way back to Brooks. Thanks, Bob.

I have been listening to Marshall, Brian and Marcus on the scanner. They sure have hit every road, and they’re doing a great job. I also listen to the state crews, but I don’t know all their numbers, although I do have Kurt’s. Called A.J. last night to tell him he’d be going out at midnight, and while we were talking, his boss called him to tell him the same thing. I really enjoy my scanner.

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Knox

Sympathy
Sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Rosie Greeley Richardson who recently passed away. May she rest in peace. She used to live in South Freedom.

Ursula Voisine of Fairfield passed away at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston from congestive heart failure. She was a very nice lady who used to own and operate the Fox Den Dance Hall in Skowhegan with her husband, “Foxy”. They had dances on Sunday nights and many good bands. Some folks went to dance, while others went to sit and listen to the music. It was a fun time. Sympathy is extended to her family and friends.

Visiting
On Sunday while at Ridgetop, I met up with Dick and Jackie Marriner from Swanville. It was nice to sit and talk with them. Hadn’t seen them in ages.

Cody, Sara, Katie and Gabe Doughty came to visit. Always nice to have the grandkids. Wish I had some of their energy.

Blood drive
The American Legion in Unity had 36 blood donors Tuesday at their blood drive. Thanks, folks.

Basketball
On Saturday Cody Doughty of Winslow played basketball on the sixth-grade team. Mount View sixth-graders won 34-28. Good job, kids.

Birthday sliding party
On Sunday Gabe Doughty had his seventh birthday sliding party at the Doughtys’ field by Ralph and Dee’s home. Kelsea Doughty also was celebrating her fifth birthday. Grampie Linwood and Grammie Karen Doughty made homemade ice cream. Great Aunt Linda Rolerson of Thorndike made the birthday cake. They all had a fun time.

Legion and Auxiliary meeting
Benjamin Berry Post 50 and Auxiliary will meet Friday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Legion Hall. Potluck refreshments. Please bring something.

Weather
All the rain we had and strong winds the first of the week sure leveled the snow banks. In places the fields have bare spots and green grass is showing. Good for us who shovel but not so good for snowmobiling. I’m told the ice is still not safe in many places. Use caution and beware.

Runner sled races
The Fourth Annual New England Runner Sled Championship Races will be Feb. 20-27 at Hogback Mountain in Montville. There will be two adult races. Feb. 20 is the first race, it will be timed trials with check-in at 8:30 a.m. on Hogback Mountain. This will be for half a day. The top 16 racers will be chosen. They will race on Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. head to head for a winner. The second adult race will be “Fastest Sled Down Over The Hill” from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The top cash prize is $400, plus other prizes for other places. The kids’ race will be 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 27, and there will be two different classes. There will be timed trials for the kids. A new runner sled will be the prize for each class.

There will be free hot dogs and hot chocolate for the kids all day long Feb. 27. Also Feb. 27 there will be Open Trail from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2-4 p.m. Any day between Feb. 20 and 27 will be sled week, anyone can just slide. There will be a “Shanty Town” where you can bring your ice shack Feb. 21. Call 342-5906 for more information; also check out runnersledding.com.

There is a brand new 100-car parking lot at the bottom of the trail. There is also a parking lot in the field at Bragdon Farm, where there will be a four-wheel-drive shuttle running all morning Feb. 27, to will get you up the hill. Come join us. Everyone is welcome, Adult donation $10 at the gate, come and have fun watching the race or join in. See you there.

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Lincolnville

Municipal meetings
All meetings are held at Lincolnville Central School unless otherwise noted.

The selectmen meet Monday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.; meeting televised on Channel 99.

The selectmen also meet Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 9 and 10 at 6 p.m.

The land use committee meets Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. followed by the Planning Board meeting at 7 p.m.

Town Office
Note that Presidents’ Day is early this year, Monday, Feb. 15. The office will be closed that day, as will the school which starts Winter Break that day.

Book fair
The school library’s annual book fair will be held next week, Feb. 8 to 12, from  8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily with a special Parents’ (and Grandparents’) Night Wednesday 3-7 p.m. All proceeds go to the library.

Five-town adult education
Some 90 classes will be starting after winter vacation, or the third week in February. Among classes that will start then are two knitting classes, stress management, geology and the national parks, salsa and swing dance, several cooking classes, everything you need to know about cars, solar photovoltaics, six gardening classes, a class in chi gung, Japanese calligraphy — and much more. You can check out the complete list and even enroll online at fivetowns.maineadulted.org or call 236-7800, opt 5.

Pancake breakfast
The first annual CHILLS (Camden HIlls – CHRHS) basketball pancake breakfast will be held Saturday, Feb. 6, 7:30 – 11 a.m. at the CHRHS Wave Cafe. The menu includes plain, blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit, and beverages for $5, tickets available at the door. Come for a good meal, have breakfast with the players and support the team.

Republican caucus
The Republican Town Committee (and if you’re a registered Republican, you’re a town committee member) holds its caucus Saturday, Feb. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Lincolnville Improvement Association building, 33 Beach Road.

The caucus will be electing delegates for the party’s May 7-8 convention in Portland. Call Janet Plausse, 789-5811 for more information.

Animal tracking workshop
Sunday, Feb. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., an animal tracking workshop will be held at the Newman Preserve on Beech Hill Road in Northport. Wildlife tracker Laura Sebastianelli will lead the group, the sixth year she’s done this for Coastal Mountains Land Trust. Advance reservation is needed; call 236-7091.

Thank you
The family of Judith York wants to thank everyone for all their support and kindness during the past couple of weeks; Mike says it’s meant a lot to him and the kids.

Lincolnville bulletin board
Or, What To Do In the Middle of Winter
A new online e-mail group was started this past week, the Lincolnville Bulletin Board. The LBB is meant to be a community listing service for all of us living in Lincolnville with computer access. Go to http://groups.google.com/group/lincolnville to join. Post news of an upcoming event, a public meeting, if you have something for sale, or some news to pass along.

E-mail me if you have any questions about how it works. Other towns have found such e-mail groups very useful for keeping people connected. If you sign up, you never have to post anything and can determine how you want to receive the group’s e-mails — a daily digest of all the traffic, or each individual e-mail, or merely a list of them. Anyone, signed up or not, can read the posts at the above Web site.

In the next weeks I’ll be sending out invitations to people to join, basically folks whose e-mail addresses I have. This includes all who attended last November’s visioning meeting.

Animals
Gizmo, a well-loved cat, has been missing from his Robbins Road (that’s just off High Street) home since November. He’s a solid gray, neutered male and “wicked loveable,” according to Bonnie Robinson, who would love to have her cat come home. Call her at 763-3032 if you have any information about Gizmo.

A goose on the loose on Belfast Road, in the vicinity of the Grange to about Dead Man’s Curve, is often spotted by Mary and Pete Anderson when they’re out in the middle of the night delivering the BDN. Efforts to catch it, a Toulouse-type domestic goose, have failed. According to Pete there were originally what appeared to be a small flock of these geese, but one by one they’ve disappeared. If you should come upon this lone survivor and it lets you near, just quickly grab it by the neck and hold on. It can’t bite you if you’ve got its neck. Then scoop up the rest of him, enfolding his wings to his body so he can’t flap. Stuff him in a sack, and if you don’t have a way to care for him, give me a call. I’ll send Wally.

Rug Frame Wanted
Here’s a perfect item for the new email Bulletin Board (if we had a larger number of members) — Phyllis Grotton, 763-3945, is looking for a rug hooking frame to buy.

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Monroe

Final meeting about Smith Bridge project
The Maine DOT will hold its final public meeting to discuss the replacement of Smith Bridge at the Monroe Town Hall, 8 Swan Lake Ave., Tuesday Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.

The bridge spans Works Brook, and is located 0.12 of a mile east of the Brooks town line.

Members of the department will be present to listen to concerns, receive comments and answer questions from anyone with an interest in the project. Inquiries may be made to Devin Anderson, project manager, by calling 624-3402 or by e-mail: Devin.Anderson@maine.gov.

The Monroe Town Hall is at the intersection of routes 141 and 139.

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Morrill

Moose permit applications are now available. Prices are $7 for one application; $12 for three applications; and $22 for six applications. The deadline for paper applications is April 1, and the deadline for online submissions will be May 14 at 11:59 p.m. If you do not have access to a computer at home, you can go to the Town Office with a credit card and use a computer there.

Take note that the early release day at school Wednesday, Feb. 10 is for pre-K through grade 5 only; it is not for the whole school system.

David Annis had been scheduled to go to Africa, but because of the disaster in Haiti, his orders have been changed. He will be part of the cleanup effort there through the Marine Corps. Keep him and his team in your thoughts and prayers, as I’m sure there are going to be some tough days ahead for them.

Kerenza Thompson, 15-year-old daughter of Nick and Sonja Salvatore, of Morrill and Joe Benjamin of Belfast, had a scary skiing accident last Saturday. She hit a tree so hard she had a concussion, a seizure, and blew out an eardrum. Thankfully, she was able to leave the emergency room that night, and she is now recuperating at home.

Where have all the turkeys gone? We were seeing them all around town before Christmas, and I’ve started to really miss them lately. Last year, in January and February, they were out under my bird feeders every day — in fact, 14 of them. I’d fuss and fret if there were only 11 or 12, hoping the others were okay. Not only are they missing on Poland Woods Road, I don’t see them anywhere on my various treks out and about.

My “Smile Awhile” from last week is continuing into this week. It was supposed to read: In a church bulletin under “Church Happenings”. Remember the youth department rummage sale to raise funds for summer camp. We have a gent’s 3-speed bicycle, also two ladies for sale. Both are in good running order.

A kind person at the Journal office apparently thought I left out the word “bicycles”, and wrote, “We have a gent’s 3-speed bicycle, also two ladies bicycles for sale.” But that missing word “bicycles” was what made the sentence so hilarious — it sounded like there were two ladies for sale, in good running order. Now we can smile, since everyone was wondering what was so funny about the church announcement last week.

I liked this quote from the book, “Leaves of Gold”: “The light of friendship is like the light of phosphorus, seen plainest when all around is dark.”

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Prospect

Want to wish all who are celebrating a birthday or anniversary this month a happy day and may you have many more.

Woops — did it again. Told you if you had questions about the Prospect Food Pantry to call Richard and Jerri Patterson but neglected to give you their number. It is 223-5757, sorry about that.

Congratulations to Steve Fuller on his promotion to editor of The Republican Journal. He is a very dedicated person and will do a good job.

Richard Herbest, son of Richard and Beulah Herbest, both deceased, has been a surgical patient at Eastern Maine Medical Center. He has an apartment in Brewer, but I am unsure if he will be able to return to it, as he had a colostomy and may not be able to take care of himself. He was in there for two weeks. I wish him a speedy recovery.

Saw Sharon and Ken Pickering of Bowden’s Point at the movies last Saturday night and inquired about how she had been doing. She had a heart transplant two years ago in February and last September it was discovered that she had colon polyps and they operated to remove them. She is now receiving chemo for fourth- stage colon cancer. I was shocked, but being the fighter that she is, she is trying to keep a positive attitude about her sickness. Please say a prayer for her.

Jen McVeigh has returned from a two-week stay in California visiting her father and grandchildren. Said she had a nice, relaxing time and the weather was great. It started to rain the day she left so she was lucky not to have it change her plans, and got home after our last big snow storm — what perfect timing.

I’ve been hearing reports of strange cats and we have had some tracks in our driveway. If you have a stray cat or dog hanging around, call Dan Joy of Bucksport, 469-3788 or 974-8618, as he is the animal control officer for Prospect as well as Bucksport.

The girls in the Town Office are calling people to remind them to get their dog licenses before the list is turned over to Dan Joy to collect the fee along with a penalty. If you no longer have your dog and you had been having it licensed, call them and the dog will be removed from the list. Less frustrating that way and it saves needless calls.

The census people will be around in February counting our population for the government. They in turn use the figures to allocate funds for different programs based on population, so it is important to get the count as accurate as possible. They will have 10 questions to be answered and cannot ask any financial questions. So when they come to your door, make sure they show their ID. There is already talk of imposters — what next?

Feb. 2. was Groundhog Day —PETA is protesting the way they haul him out of his hole for that day — it’s cruel, according to them. I never hesitated to think about cruelty when they were invading our garden and eating the beans and so on. Did get a few, but they are quick for their size — had a partial albino groundhog around here three years ago and he would come up on the deck and eat the leaves from the plants there. He’s not around anymore.

Nomination papers are being circulated for elections in April for selectman, fire chief and road commissioner. They have to be returned to the Town Office by 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9.

I wish you all a safe and healthy week and please remember those who need a card or a prayer. God bless you all.

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Searsmont

Well another week closer to spring, I am all for that! It’s been a great week for correspondence, so thank you all who are helping to keep this article up to date and interesting. I think you will find this week to be very informative. A reminder: The deadline for submitting this article is no later than noon on Fridays, so please give me ample time to process the news, thank you.

Town Office news and info

If you need to do business at the Town Office during inclement weather, please call first to make sure the office is open.

The department head meeting will be held Monday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Town Office.

There will be a special town meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the meeting room on the lower level of the community building. The purpose of the meeting is to authorize the selectmen to expend money from the Road and Bridge Capital Account.

The budget meeting will be Monday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. in the meeting room on the lower level of the Community Center. This is a change from the date that was originally scheduled for the budget meeting.

This is the year the selectmen will appoint ballot clerks. The appointments are for a two-year period. The duties of a ballot clerk are monitoring the ballot box, checking in the people as they come in to vote, passing out ballots, or counting ballots. If you are interested in being a ballot clerk, notify Kathy Hoey at the Town Office.

There will be a $15, state-mandated late fee on all dogs not registered by 2 p.m. Jan. 28. This does not apply to dogs being licensed for the first time, as long as all requirements are met.

If you are concerned about pesticides sprayed near your home, you can be placed on the Pesticide Notification Registry. To be on the registry, your name must be submitted by March 15. To sign up on the registry, go to: thinkfirstspraylast.org. Or call the Board of Pesticides Control at 201-287-2731 for an application form. More information is posted at the Town Office.

Searsmont library

The Searsmont Town Library announces the opening of a new exhibit of “Watercolors & Metalwork by Mary Faith Morison.”

In both her fabricated jewelry and watercolors, the idea of spontaneity within the process is a prime directive of the artist. Trained as a printmaker, Mary Faith has increasingly favored watercolor, because that medium more readily enables working entirely in the moment. This exhibit will be on display through March 5. See attached photo of her beautiful and amazing jewelry, better yet, come to Searsmont and see it for yourself!

Historical society

The Searsmont Historical Society will meet Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 1:30 p.m. at the Community Center. The speaker this month will be Paul Sweetland, who won the special recognition award at the Knox-Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District annual meeting, last November in Nobleboro.

Paul has been involve in the blueberry-growing business for many years and will share his experiences in the field.

The Searsmont Historical Museum is open Tuesdays 4-7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come by and visit all the marvelous displays. Be ready to take your time because even though it appears small in size, there is a wealth of very interesting history there and the historians are always ready and available to share the history of Searsmont. Even if you aren’t a resident of the town you will find this most interesting.

Woodland management workshop

On Monday, Feb. 8 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Community Center, downstairs, there will be a short workshop for landowners on taking care of your woodlands. It will be led by the Midcoast District Forester Morten Moesswilde. There will be plenty of time for questions. The topics will include boundary lines, forest health, thinning and management plans.

This is available to all property woodlot owners, town forest commissions and interested citizens. Dessert will be provided. This is sponsored by the Georges River Land Trust. Call 594-5166 for directions and to register.

Food pantry schedule

Where? Crossroads to Calvary Church located on Rout 3, Morrill

When? They are open the second Saturday of each month from 1-3 p.m. The dates are: Feb; 13, Mar; 13, Apr. 10, May 8, June 12, July 17 (which will be the third Saturday), Aug; 14, Sept. 11, Oct; 9, Nov. 13 and Dec. 11.

If you are in need of assistance feel free to drop by on these dates.

Fun and games

Cribbage on Fridays, Feb. 5 and 19 at 7 p.m. at the Community Center, downstairs.

Swag will be held Monday, Feb. 8 at 1 p.m., at the Community Center, downstairs.

Historical society meets Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. at the Community Center, downstairs.

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Searsport

Sunday, Feb. 7 at 10 a.m. Boy Scout Troop 215 invites all current and former scouts, scouters, and scout families, to a very special Scout Sunday Service at the First Congregational Church on Church Street in Searsport. The minister is the Rev. Dr. Arlin T. Larson. All are welcome to attend. Help them celebrate the 100th anniversary of Boy Scouts in America, Feb. 8, and the kickoff of Scout week with this special service. There will also be a weekly Scout meeting at 3:30 p.m. that day. All boys ages 12 to 17 are welcome to attend. For more information call Jessica at 323-4512.

Monday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. the monthly Planning Board meeting will take place in the Town Hall. This meeting will be televised.

Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. the Searsport Historical Society will meet at Curtis Hall on Church Street. Its first program of the year will be “Show & Tell”. Everyone attending is asked to bring one or two items to display and talk about their origin, history, use, how they came to be in their possession and any interesting anecdotes. Items can be “What is it?” and folks displaying items do not have to be from Searsport, nor do the items.

As always the public is warmly invited to attend and participate. A social period will follow the meeting and refreshments will be served.

Free tax assistance with e-filing will be offered Tuesday, Feb. 16 and Friday, Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Carver Memorial Library. Thursday appointments will be available in March and April at the library. For a tax appointment, call Pat Snyder at 567-3137.

A volunteer who has passed the IRS certification test will be on hand to assist low- to moderate-income taxpayers. This program is sponsored by the AARP Foundation, and is offered to taxpayers of all ages (no membership in AARP required).

Please bring photo ID, social security cards, a copy of last year’s return, and all 2009 tax documents and itemized deductions.

The Searsport Police Department received 1,944 calls for service in 2009. Chief Dick LaHaye Jr. will supply more 2009 information to us in February.

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Stockton Springs

Haven’t heard from anyone this week, so there isn’t much to tell.

Meetings for the week are: Planning Board, 6:30 p.m., and Recreation 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3; Selectmen, 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4; Budget Committee, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8; Harbor Committee, 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11.

Free tax assistance with e-filing will be offered Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Stockton Springs Community Library on Main Street, February through April 10. For an appointment, call Pat Snyder at 567-3137. A volunteer who has passed the IRS certification test will be on hand to assist low- to moderate-income taxpayers. Please bring photo ID, social security cards, a copy of last year’s tax return, and all 2009 tax documents and itemized deductions. This program is sponsored by the AARP Foundation, and is offered to taxpayers of all ages (no membership in AARP required).

I know I keep putting some of the same things in week after week, but it is important for everyone to know that heating assistance is available for those who need help heating their homes through the Keep the Heat On fund. Red Claws, Blue Paws is still accepting pet food donations. Pet food is available at the Town Office for those who need help feeding their pets. There are mittens available at the Town Office (mostly children’s sizes) for anyone who needs a pair.

Don’t forget to drop your spare change in the “Pennies for Steeple” jars at the Town Office, Wyman’s General Store and Perry’s Store to help Stockton Springs Community Church raise money to replace the steeple on their church. They have collected more than $60 from the jars so far, which proves that pennies do add up. If you would like to donate more, you can send your check to Save Our Steeple, c/o Seaboard Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box G, Bucksport, ME 04416-1207, Attn: Darlene.

Janice Shute has also asked me to remind everyone that the senior luncheon at the church will not be held during the winter months but will resume some time in the spring. I’ll let you know the date as soon as I hear from her.

The winter parking ban is now in effect on all town roads. Please park your vehicles off the roadway, especially during a snowstorm, so that the way is clear for the plows.

All dogs were required to be licensed by Jan. 31. If you have not licensed your dog, you will be subject to a late fee.

Harbormaster Dave Estes has mailed all mooring owners information regarding the renewal of their mooring location, harbor related matters, inspection requirements and a survey asking what other services you would like to see made available at the harbor. Mooring fees are due by March 31, with a grace period until April 30. After April 30 you will be assessed a late fee. If mooring fees are not paid, the harbormaster will enforce the ordinance which states: “If the annual fee has not been received at the Town Office by April 30th, a ten percent (10%) penalty will be assessed weekly until an amount equal to the outstanding mooring fee is reached. At that time, if the fee is not paid, the mooring or dinghy location will be considered abandoned and will become the property of the Town of Stockton Springs.”

Congratulations to Steve Fuller, the new editor of The Republican Journal. Steve grew up in Stockton and has attended and reported on many events and meetings in Stockton and the surrounding towns over the years.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the Prospect Food Pantry is experiencing some difficulties and needs everyone’s help. The Food Pantry has to relocate because the Historical Society wants to use the building. A piece of land has been donated and now they need to raise money so that a building can be built. If you want more information contact Richard and Jerri Patterson 223-5757. This is a valuable service to the community and we can’t afford to lose it.

I wish everyone an enjoyable week. Stay warm and stay safe. Remember those who are less fortunate than you and check on your neighbors.

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Unity

In my world

The combination of gardening catalogs I’m receiving in the mail and the couple days of “warm” (i.e. above freezing) weather has got me wanting to dig out one of my raised beds and put a makeshift hoop house over it. Although it’s highly likely that I won’t follow through, the idea of it is pleasant to daydream about, although it has waned quickly as I write this now that we have subzero wind chills. If you are more ambitious than I, you can start your petunias from seed about now.

You’d never know we have four cats, but we do. I keep them brushed and they have an insulated double cat door that they’ve always used to “go” outside and we’ve never had a problem. Until, after our two weeks in Florida, we came home to a bathroom rug that one of the cats had peed on. Although neighbor Richie was keeping an eye on them, I thought the cat door might have gotten snowed in or frozen at one point and perhaps one of them couldn’t get out. I thought this until I saw our 2-year-old neutered male cat Bichu (pronounced bee-shoo) pawing at the freshly washed bathroom rug. Naturally, I yelled at him and tossed him outside.

Since then, we’ve found a cat-pee spot in the utility room, and we’ve had to keep the dog kennel closed during the day when the dogs are gone with us because there have been cat-pee incidents in the dog kennel. So, we have an appointment at the vet see if he’s got a urinary tract infection or something else going on. Will update again (of course).

In your world

Peggy Turner recently contacted me tell me that her family were recently the beneficiaries of a wonderful benefit dinner here in Unity and she’d like to publicly thank all who helped in any way.

“Winnie and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in our benefit dinner. The benefit dinner was very successful and Winnie truly enjoyed this wonderful day. After the long hospital stay, and all Winnie went through, this was greatly appreciated. We were able to visit with many friends, community and family members. Thank you for the great support everyone has given us through prayers, kindness and thoughtfulness both before and for the benefit dinner. Winnie is now at home and doing better. Thanks again for all the support! The Turner Family”

From the recycle center

Unity Area Regional Recycle Center is going to be making changes on the items you can recycle.

They will now accept all plastic, No. 1 through No. 7, with the exception of the Styrofoam-like meat trays that have a No. 6.

There are four paper categories that you should sort separately. They are:

1. Newspaper: only newspaper but includes all material which accompanies the newspaper (glossy ads, etc.);

2. White: white (non-colored) office paper and white envelopes without windows;

3. Corrugated cardboard;

3. Mixed: Magazines, phone books, cereal boxes and everything else that doesn’t fit into the other three categories.

Also accepted are any electronic devices including TVs, computers, printers and game consoles; fluorescent bulbs and any other mercury-containing device, and all battery types. If possible, tape the ends of batteries with electrical or packing tape.

The Recycle Center will also be taking freon containing appliances (like refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, etc.) The Recycle Center does not have the ability to pick up these appliances. The fee is $5, and the freon must be intact; if it s not intact they will not accept the appliance.

All glass and aluminum and tin categories remain the same.

The Unity Area Regional Recycle Center hours are Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you have any questions contact Aaron at 568-3117.

Coming events

17th Annual Rural Living Day

This event was formerly known as Spring Garden Celebration. Save the date — it’s taking place April 10.

A day of fun and educational workshops presented by the Waldo County UMaine Extension. Being held on the Unity College campus. More details to come.

Triplet Park Anniversary

Saturday, Feb. 6 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 12 marked the 10-year anniversary of the tragic fire in downtown Unity that resulted in the loss of three very special young triplet boys and a local firefighter. Since that time, Triplet Park has been created with outdoor learning station, interpretive trail, beautiful flower gardens, and interactive food gardens for kids has sprung up. Unity Barn Raisers will host a Community Meal from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Unity Community Center. All proceeds from the meal will be used to help support Triplet Park. Please join us.

Winter Tree ID

Saturday, Feb. 6

Join Morten Moesswilde from the Maine Forest Service to learn how to identify trees and shrubs without their leaves. Participants will meet at the Friends of Unity Wetlands office at 93 Main St. to begin the workshop and learn easy tips on how to identify trees in the wintertime. Then, head outside to the Connor Mill trail and identify the different vegetation along the trail. Preregistration is encouraged; call the office at 948-3766.

Maine’s Largest Environmental Career Fair

Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The environmental career recruitment event is open to the general public, though focused on recruitment of recent or anticipated college graduates from across New England. This will be an opportunity for individuals to explore career options, seek professional advice and secure positions for employment. Also, individuals will have the opportunity to secure internships in traditional as well as emerging environmental fields. Employers seeking to participate or job seekers who are interested in more info may contact the Unity College Career Resource Center at 948-3131, ext. 213 or ncollins@unity.edu or visit unity.edu/CareerServices/CareerResourceCenter/CareerFair.aspx

Food Safety for Farmers

Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

At the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners’ Common Ground Education Center — Federal and State food safety legislation and rules are affecting how farmers grow, harvest, process, package and market. These workshops will help you understand the regulatory situation and develop a food safety plan for your farm or food-processing business. Bring a brown bag lunch. Registration: $30 per person.

Learn about pesticide requirements

Do you want to know more about understanding and complying with the Federal Worker Protection Standard and Pesticide Record Keeping on your farm? Then mark your calendars for Wednesday, Feb. 10, for a meeting from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center. Annual gathering of certified producers and those interested in certification. Join Gary Fish, Maine Board of Pesticide Control, for an in-depth training to help farmers comply with the Worker Protection Standard as well as how to implement pesticide recordkeeping.

Our Growers Meetings provide an opportunity for staff from MCS to interact with and receive feedback from its constituents. It also gives growers a chance to gather and discuss issues as a group. Growers who are not yet certified but are planning to apply for certification are encouraged to attend. Further details at: mofgacertification.org or call 568-4142.

Just outside your world — items of possible interest

Skowhegan

Skowhegan Winter Carnival

Sunday, Feb. 7 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Skowhegan Community Center, 39 Poulin Drive. Games, bake sale, sleigh rides and more. For more info call 474-6901.

Fairfield

17th Annual Fairfield Chocolate Festival

Saturday, Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Community Center, 67 Water St.

The Salvation Army Waterville Corps & the Town of Fairfield invites your family to the 17th Annual Fairfield Chocolate Festival. Proceeds from the benefit will be used for area residents; the day will feature live entertainment, children’s events, luncheon and refreshment items, door prizes, a silent auction, plenty of shopping, and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! More info at fairfieldchocolatefestival.org.

(Spaces for crafters, vendors and non-profit groups still available. To reserve space contact Antonia Smith at 465-7411 or antonia.smith@earthlink.net.)

Hallowell

Mardi Gras in Hallowell

Saturday, Feb. 13. Maine’s smallest city celebrates Mardi Gras in its own special way. Activities at Mardi Gras Hallowell include a community mask contest, a trivia contest, face painting, a Mardi Gras Parade and a Mardi Gras Ball. For more info and event times see the Web site link below or contact the Hallowell Area Board of Trade at 620-7477. hallowell.org/2010/01/mardi-gras-february-13-2010.

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Waldo

It’s such a beautiful, sunny morning up here at the Hungry Heron Farm; it’s hard to believe a raging storm was pummeling our home with rain and wind the other night so hard that it blew open our front door at the scariest possible moment in a psychological drama so that my poor dear husband, Marshall, nearly died of fright.

We were snuggled up on the couch, Marshall and I, thoroughly engrossed in the latest version of “Wuthering Heights” to arrive from Netflix (we’re committed to watching every single movie of this story ever made). On screen a similarly dark and miserable night had captured the wretched Heathcliff in his castle. He was howling into the darkness for his darling Cathy, his obsession since childhood, dead so many years that her casket held only bones. The sound of lightning cracking emerged from the surround-sound speakers. Cathy’s ghost appeared as a pounding at the door of the castle chilled our bones. Terrifying music held us enraptured when, “Wham!” our front door burst open and a blast of rain blew in the door, soaking the living room floor.

Marshall airlifted from the couch, making his own 3-D version of a local Waldo horror movie. Slamming the door shut, he came back to the couch, his eyes round, his hair standing on end, his limbs extended straight out like boards, his face white as Cathy’s ghost. And they say life in the country isn’t exciting.

Last night, we went to a free movie at the Belfast Free Library called “Kilowatt Ours,” a different kind of horror show. Turns out that half of the electricity in this country comes from coal, air pollution is getting way worse, and more American children are getting asthma. Conservation is an easy solution and turning off lights and computers when not in use, buying energy-efficient light bulbs, refrigerators and other appliances, and improving home insulation were offered up as good ideas.

Marshall and I have discovered a snowmobile trail near our house that is packed down and makes a nice walking trail in winter. The only drawback is the stinky, loud snowmobiles that keep coming by; they are ridden by the nicest people, though. We encountered Belfast resident Bob Gordon riding by the other day on our walk and had a nice chat. It is fun to visit neighbors outdoors.

Volleyball is becoming the sport of choice in Waldo this winter. I ran into a player at County Copy this week and she told me that they had another great game last weekend. When the group gets a regular schedule, she promises to let me know so I can help spread the word.

I wanted to let you in on a little secret here because I don’t want you to be left behind when it comes to the technical backdrop at Village Soup. I have access to how many people read this column online and last week’s column had nearly 500 hits. That tops my most popular column to date, which got 170 hits. Holy Moses! It’s great to have you all here. Feel free to correct me when I’m wrong, or to add your two cents to the Waldo news.

February is right around the corner. Watch out for Valentine’s Day. You don’t want to get caught unawares.

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Winterport
First off, congratulations to Steve Fuller on becoming the editor of the Republican Journal. I am sure he will do an excellent job.

Let us not forget the “Cabin Fever Day” at the Ellingwoods Corner United Methodist Church Saturday, Feb. 6 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free coffee all day. Games to play, puzzles to put together, and friends to chat with, A pancake breakfast at 7 a.m., all you can eat for $ 3.50 and a luncheon at 11 a.m. with soup, sandwich and dessert for $5.For more info call 234-2762. From Feb. 6 spring is only six weeks away.

Winterport Historical Association will have its next meeting Monday, Feb. 8 at the Victoria Grant Civic Center at 6:30 p.m. with a potluck. Jean DaSilva is the committee chair. The program is “Maine Fishing Industry ” and will be presented by Jon Johansen, publisher of the Maine Coastal News.