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 Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m.

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 Belmont town meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 15 in the Community Room of the Town Office. Place this date on your calendar.

Condolences to the Richardson family on the loss of Muriel. I apologize to other Belmont families who have lost loved ones, and I have not come across information soon enough to make a timely note of it. I feel it is important, because news of a death often travels in uncertain paths, missing some friends and family members who would have liked to know. This note comes from my own experience, upon the death of a cousin in West Washington in March 2009.

I commend Don Berry and the Waldo County Commissioners on the news of an expansion of Waldo County facilities, which is apparently not going to affect the tax base of county communities. Well done. An excellent example for other counties and the state of Maine.

The Ducktrap Coalition, an organization keeping watch over the Ducktrap River and its watershed, has essentially been out of operation for several years since it came out from under the umbrella, so to speak, of Coastal Mountain Land Trust. I, among others at the time, thought it would be beneficial and actually enhance its efforts in the future.

However, conditions at the time did not permit the writing of grants for at least minimal funding. I personally feel it is possible to put the Ducktrap Coalition back together in such a manner that it does not require the writing of grants to keep it going. There is evidence of resurgence in the population of our genetically unique Atlantic salmon.

The term “genetically unique” addresses the fact that while it is a population of Atlantic salmon, in the Ducktrap River, they have adapted to specific conditions of the river and its watershed. I have come to the conclusion that additional oversight of the river was never as important as it is today. There is the need to address some key issues, the restocking of alewives to Tilden Pond and the upper Ducktrap River, among them. If you, or your organization or business might be interested in the near future, in this very worthwhile effort, give me a call at 342-3179.

We have now gone to the middle of February without any worthwhile precipitation. The jet stream is keeping the storm track south of us, much to the chagrin of our friends and relatives south of the Mason-Dixon Line. This morning, it was Dallas checking in with a foot of snow, and the ground is expected to be white right down to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

While we are sufficiently cold, it is actually a bit above average. With each passing day, we are getting closer to the day when -20 and -25 will not be possible. With temperatures reaching the mid- and upper 30s, the sap is starting to run. It is time to tap the maples and set out the buckets and line and pray our weather will produce a good season.

An article in yesterday’s Bangor Daily News stated that the U.S. Postal Service has submitted a site plan for a new Post Office in Bangor. That reminds me of an article in the Boston Globe a few weeks ago. It seems that the great mail factory, the South Postal Annex in Boston, may not be in existence much longer. The state, or rather the Commonwealth, of Massachusetts, covets that site for an expansion of the rail terminal at South Station.

The postal service would likely move its operation to a new facility on the site of the South Boston Annex to the Boston Naval Ship Yard. In my younger days, I spent a few years at the South Postal Annex. The machinery required for moving that volume of mail each day was something to behold. The Star Routes from much of Massachusetts, and all of Maine and New Hampshire would start and end their daily runs there.

We have a covey of bobwhites and a sharp shinned hawk, seen by a neighbor, to report this week.

Yes, I do buy a Boston Globe on occasion. If you are into sports and want all the feedback on the Boston teams, the Bangor Daily News just doesn’t cut the mustard. The Portland Press Herald is an improvement, but no one does it better than the Globe.

If you still have your Feb. 3 Journal, keep it! I will finish my news conference held by Maine Natural Resources Council in the Feb. 24 edition.

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Brooks

The Marsh River Theater will hold auditions for the show “Our Town,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Thorton Wilder, Tuesday, Feb. 16 and Thursday, Feb.18 from 6-8 p.m. at the Monroe School. The show needs people of all ages, and has many small parts. Please call Mike at 722-3893 for more info. Anyone who would be interested in getting involved in the theater, there are many things that you could do to help — paint, organize, clean, help write grants and many other things. if you are interested in joining in on the fun call Mike at 722-3893.

Last week the ladies and I met again to “hook up” at Betty Littlefield’s house. The phrase “I’m going to hook at Betty Littlefied’s house” has given me many laughs. The five-week class has been a lot of fun. Everyone shows up and sits and hooks for a few hours. While everyone is hooking the group talks about everything you could think of. Before the class ends Betty, ever the gracious hostess, makes sure the group has a moment to have a cup of tea and cookies. Not only has it proven to be a great new skill to learn, but it has been a wonderful way to get to know these amazing ladies of Brooks.

Mrs. Stubbs goes to Orlando
This past summer Abby Stubbs, daughter of our town clerk Jane, put tubs out around town for people to help raise funds so that she could travel to Orlando, Fla., with the field hockey team The Majestix. The team did well, says Jane, and of course it was an amazing experience for the young girl from a small town in Maine. Abby and her mom would like to say thank you to all the people who helped her to be a part of such a great experience.

Brooks Republican caucus

Having grown up in several states that do not have the caucus system, I have always been fascinated by the process. Alas, every time one is being held it seems I hear about it after the fact.

A caucus, for those of you who don’t know, is a meeting of members of a political party or subgroup to coordinate members’ actions, choose group policy, or nominate candidates for various offices. A February 1763 entry in the diary of John Adams is one of the earliest appearances of “Caucas,” already with its modern connotations of a “smoke-filled room” where candidates for public election are pre-selected in private. The caucus is a solely American thing, and something we should all take part in when we can. If you are a Republican and would like to join your fellow partygoers, feel free to drop by the Brooks Town Office Saturday, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m.

Fireside chat with Betty Littlefield

I have asked Betty Littlefield, who is the president of the Brooks Historical Society and a fascinating woman, to do a series on the history of Brooks. I think it is so important to remember our history, to know where we came from and what people used to have to do and go through in daily life. I think the knowing is what makes us more grateful for all the hard work our fellow residents do for our town. When Delmont Clark died two years ago so much history went with him,

Betty has so much information that could fill volumes, and I thought it would be great to have a section devoted for Betty to share the wealth of information she has. While reading her tales, I think it best to have some hot tea and cookies, this way it’s like you’re really sitting down in Betty’s parlor as a guest of hers, enjoying the stories.

The Pilley House barn work has been suspended due to the weather. The task is being done by Scott Hanning of Maine Salvage Company of Rockport. Before the dismantling began, in cleaning out the barn, Jane discovered the original double front doors to the Pilley House, which are almost identical to those at the Fogg House, our new Town Office. The doors were probably removed when Louise’s mother, Esther Pilley, remodeled the house in about 1910. Other items found by Jane were hundreds of old bottles, wonderful celluloid and Bakelite buttons, and small wooden pill and needle containers.

Many other items relating to the history of our town have recently been donated to the museum. I am still sorting through memorabilia given by Delmont Clark’s niece, Meridith McCloud. Most of the items were from the Dow family, who lived in the corner house before the Clarks. In fact, Marcellus Dow had that house built in 1896 on the site where the Manter house, the second house in Brooks, had once stood.

Marcellus and Abbie Dow were important people in Brooks at that time. They operated a dry goods and millinery store in a building on their property, which in later years became a bank. Of special interest are many invoices listing in beautiful handwriting the many items that Abbie ordered: flowers, laces, ribbons, and all kinds of trims to decorate the hats of Brooks ladies.

Marcellus, who still operated his farm on Sprout Hill in West Brooks, was best known for his activity on behalf of temperance. He devoted much time to an organization called Independent Order of Good Templars, which had lodges in both Brooks and South Brooks. Also he was editor of Brooks’ newspaper, The Yankee Blade, superintendent of schools, representative to the Legislature in 1907-08 and a trial justice.

Our society is fortunate that Meridith has donated his briefcase with brass nameplate, his books and his trial justice docket. The trials, mostly for transients, were evidently held right here in Brooks with usually guilty parties being sent to Belfast jail.

The Dows had two daughters, Grace and Alice. Alice, nicknamed “Lute,” as a girl, saved beautiful trade cards of that era, some stamped with the name of her father’s store. These cards are now in our possession and will be displayed at the museum. One of particular interest advertises Burdock Blood Bitters. It is stamped with the names “Kilgore” and “Roberts.”

“Sketches of Brooks History” lists Kilgore and Roberts as druggists from 1890-1893. Also interesting are letters between the father and daughter Alice when she was away at school. Alice later married the first Earl Bessey.

The Brooks Historical Society will have a special exhibit of Dow memorabilia at our first open house this summer.

Thank you, and goodnight,
Betty Littlefield

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Freedom

The selectors will hold their meeting Wednesday, Feb. 24 at the Town Office at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend to see and hear what is going on in your town.

Remember, the town election, Friday, March 12 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town Office.

The elected positions that are on the ballot are as follows:

Town clerk, treasurer, tax collector, excise tax collector and three-year term for selectperson.

The nomination papers were turned in to Cindy Abbott on time. Only two people took out papers for the selectman’s position, but only one was turned in, and that was by Ron Price, whose three-year term is expiring.

Ron Price is looking to be re-elected selectman for a three-year term.

Cindy Abbott is running unopposed for town clerk, tax collector and excise tax collector.

Erna Keller for is running  unopposed for treasurer.

Write-in candidate

Ron Price is now being opposed by Frances Walker, who is running as a write-in for the three-year term on the Select Board. Frances made the announcement on Tuesday that she will be running as a write-in on the ballot.

She didn’t take out nomination papers because there was someone else besides Mr. Price who did. When she found out the nomination papers weren’t turned in, she decided to run for selector for a three-year term, and composed a letter and sent it out to all the residents of Freedom making the announcement.

Absentee ballots are available for pickup at the Town Office.

If you need someone to pick up and return your absentee ballot you must first fill out an application. You can also contact Cindy Abbott via e-mail at townoffice@freedomme.org.

The form is giving permission by you to have someone else pick up your ballot and return it to the Town Office.

I would like to emphasize that when you fill out the ballot, you must make an X or a check mark in the square box alongside the name of the person you are voting for, and remember, if you decide to vote a write-in. you must check the box, fill in the person’s name and also the name of the town. Those are three steps to follow.

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

Coming events

Dirigo Grange 98 will hold its meeting at the Dirigo Grange Hall on Route 137 in Freedom starting at 7:30 p.m.

The next scheduled budget meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Office.

On Sunday, Feb. 21 the Village Farm will  host some winter fun. The events are as follows:

1. Dirigo Grange 98 will host a pancake breakfast from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. The breakfast will consist of Maine blueberry pancakes, juice, sausage and more. The charge is $5.

2. The Village Farm will host area teamsters in the third annual Horse Drawn Sleigh rides from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations are appreciated for the teamsters.

3. The Freedom Volunteer Fire Department will be selling hot dogs, cookies, cocoa and coffee during the sleigh rides as a fundraiser for the department.

If the weather or snow conditions look iffy, call Polly or Prentice at 382-6300 or check their Web site (villagefarmfreedom.com) for a new date.

Voice of Freedom

To start off the week, I want to wish a Happy Valentine’s Day to all the readers of TRJ. I hope you will celebrate it in a very loving way with your better half, family and friends. Do something special because each and every one of you is special,

Happy birthday wishes go out to Cy Perry, Harry and Thelma Ledden, who were all born in February. Wish you all many more happy and healthy years and may all your wishes and dreams come true.

Don’t forget to put out your recyclables on the last Friday of the month which is Feb. 26. It’s a short month.

Get well wishes go out to Nancy Spaulding, who had surgery and is at home recuperating. She is the mother of Clint, our selectman.

Hockey

The Midcoast Ice Cats played their last home game and lost 5-2 to Hampden. The Ice Cats have 11 wins, 5 loses and 2 ties. Next step is the tournaments.

If you have anything of interest please contact me.

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Jackson

Guess our church should be the first subject, seeing as how there’s less than $100 in the checking account. About six ladies met today to see what can be done; one thing was to have the steeple fixed, as the weather comes right down through. It was suggested to put on a dinner at the town meeting as we used to, but we were told it has to be on the warrant, or something like that, so we can’t do that.

Decided to have a spaghetti dinner Saturday, April 10 from 5-6:30 p.m., also a Mother’s Day dinner Sunday, May 9 with turkey and all the fixings and have it done up nice for people with tablecloths, etc. Don’t know what time it will be yet, but will suggest an earlier time. We are also going to try to put a new cookbook together, so send two of your favorite recipes to Polly Dodge; we want to hear from a lot of our new citizens.

Also, on Tuesday, March 6 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be a women’s clothing sale, and on Saturday, March 13 there will be a children’s clothing sale. Tables are $10, call 722-3205 for more information. There is also a large box at the recycling center for your cans and bottles. Call Cheryl Moore at 722-3304 for complete details (she is the secretary). For the dinners, we will need help. All of these things should help the checkbook. Insurance has gone up, and there are always repairs to be done.

February birthdays are: Amanda Larrabee, Edwin Larrabee, LeeAnn Larrabee, Lucille Curtis and Becky Chadbourne; I’m sure there are others, but this is just my calendar. Happy birthday, everyone!

Have you looked at the CD of Jackson? How pretty it is.

My brother, Robert, was at a Lowe’s in Florida, and the clerk called him by name. He was surprised to see Lorraine Merrifield; she and Gary live in a trailer park that has 1,600 trailers, also three golf courses. I’m sure they like that.

Sympathy goes to the Wren family on the death of Francis Wren, who had been ill for some time.

Polly Dodge had visitors: Dean, Tara and Ethan Cunningham. They also visited with Doris Dodge and James and Barbara Dodge.

Congratulations to my granddaughter, LeeAnn, who was honored as student of the month for January for the sophomore class at Mount View High School; we’re so proud of you, LeeAnn. Ha, that’s two Jackson girls in a row — December and January.

Watch out for deer, as they are out and about. Many are standing in the road; one stood beside the road and never moved as I went by with the bus. Nothing like last year’s hunt, but according to the TV, deer numbers are down.

I understand Phyllis Grant is finally home, Welcome home, Phyllis. She was at Harbor Hill for quite a while. Bobbie Riley is now there, also Beverly Stubbs is too, so if you’re near there, stop by.

Some Jackson residents are on vacation. Theo Stacy and Donna Nickerson are in Florida visiting relatives; Janice Snyder is in Texas visiting her daughter Lisa and family; Debbie Ludden is in Arizona visiting her folks on the last leg of her business trip that started in Chicago, then went to Texas and now to Arizona.

If you’re in Skowhegan, especially on Saturday or Sunday morning, go to Ken’s Restaurant for the buffet breakfast. Lisa and I did that last weekend when Chris had a ball game there.

Frank, I’m glad you got your computer fixed. Now we have the Brooks news again. I think he’s just enjoying time off from cooking.

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Knox

Belated birthdays

I wish belated birthday wishes to my nieces Kristen McKenney on Feb. 5 and her sister, Melissa McKenney-Hewins, of Chelsea on Feb.8. May you have many more, I love you.

Visitor

Alexis Bennett of Maine Maritime Academy in Castine visited with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. McKenney, and Kristen and great-grammie Evelyn Drew on Sunday. Lexi plays on the basketball team at MMA.

Birthday lunch

On Thursday I took Gloria Pacheco of Freedom to China Jade in Unity for her birthday lunch.

While we were enjoying Chinese I saw Jim Hitchcock of Unity and he is doing good and is feeling better now since his stroke; get all well soon, Jim.

To Bev Ludden

I don’t have a computer either, Beverly, but I print up what I want sent by computer and my daughter-in-law, April, submits it to the Village Soup Web site. I personally don’t even know how to turn on a computer and nor do I really have any desire to do so. I hear people say “my computer crashed, got a virus, etc.” That’s enough for me, thank goodness for April.

Get well wishes

Get well wishes to “Cookie” Carmichael of Unity, I hope you are feeling better. Also, I talked to Alice Orff of Montville and she is doing good. Don is waiting to have surgery. I hope you both are better soon.

Sick

Gabe Doughty has been home sick all week. Colds and some kind of bug going around. Rough on little ones who want to go to school and cannot go. They don’t want to miss their Valentine’s party.

Wood works

Stan McDonald of Freedom makes beautiful plaques and signs. I ordered three and have to wait because he has no heat in his garage.

Meeting

Our Legion Auxiliary and Legion in Unity canceled the Feb. 12 meeting. Some folks went to the Mount View basketball games.

Birthday wishes

Happy birthday wishes to Linny Doughty of Hogback Mountain, Montville on Feb. 19, Sara Doughty of Winslow on Feb. 20 and Ashley Poulin of Fairfield on Feb. 23. Love you all and I hope you have many more.

A wpecial belated birthday wish to Grammie Karen Doughty on Feb. 16 from Gabe, Cody, Sara, Katie and David Doughty. Hope your day was as special as you are. We love you!

Hello

Hello to Eileen Gage in Troy. Hope you are doing good. Hello to neighbor Freddie Bailey . Spring is coming.

Open door

Feb. 22-26 is the Open Door-Community Table Soup and Sandwich Program in Unity at the Community Center from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Donations accepted. Come and enjoy a nice lunch.

Bobcat hunt

A bobcat was spotted in Knox on Saturday, but it managed to evade the hunters. Better luck next time, boys.

Town meeting

The Knox town meeting will be held Saturday, March 20. The voting for first selectman is Friday, March 19 at the Town Office.

Fourth District

The Fourth District Ladies American Legion Auxiliary will meet Sunday, March 7 at Augusta Post 2. The meeting starts at 2 p.m. with refreshments after. Bring something for the silent auction.

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 different 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. There will be two different classes with 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 that day, 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 Feb. 27 anyone can just slide. There will be a shanty town where you can bring your ice shack Feb. 21st. 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 get you up the hill. Everyone welcome, Adult donation $10 at the gate.

Planning board opening

There are still openings on the Planning Board. Come to the Town Office for info or call 568-3907.

Valentine’s Day

Hope you got a Valentine’s Day treat from your hubby or significant other. Hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14. Enjoy your school vacation.

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Lincolnville

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

The selectmen meet Monday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.
The selectmen also meet Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. followed by the budget committee at 6:30.
The planning board meets Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m.

Public hearing
The planning board holds a public hearing at its Wednesday meeting, 6 p.m. on an application for a new building at the Cellardoor Winery. The building, to be built across Youngtown Road from the winery, will be the winemaking facility. Public hearings tend to be ho-hum affairs, with often only one or two people, if any, showing up to speak for or against an issue. This may prove to be the exception, with folks on both sides, some against the expansion and others supporting the winery’s growth. Check out the Lincolnville Bulletin Board, http://groups.google.com/group/lincolnville, to read some discussion on this.

Lincolnville Winter Carnival
The inaugural Lincolnville Winter Carnival will be held Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Bicentennial Bandstand at Breezemere Park. The festivities start at 10 a.m. and will include dog-sled rides, a bonfire, skating (if conditions permit) sledding, ice fishing demos and other winter activites. Everyone’s invited to enter the chili cook-off for Lincolnville’s best chili, judged by a panel of the town’s finest.

Bring a crockpot of your finest chili, a serving spoon, and an extension cord to the Bandstand between 10 and 10:45 a.m.; judging starts at 11. Chili that is left over after the judging will be sold for $1/cup and $2/bowl, the proceeds to help fund the carnival and to help with next year’s. To register for the cook-off, call Ed at 789-5234. Sounds like a great day for everyone. Hope to see lots of folks there!

Lincolnville bulletin board
Through Google Groups, an e-mail list is being compiled of as many Lincolnville residents as possible. By joining this list we can keep in touch on issues that concern us all — town events, meetings, etc. We can let our neighbors know when we’ve got stuff for sale or to barter or if we need something. The LBB can be a forum for respectful discussion of issues as well.

As a member you can choose to receive every e-mail sent to the group, or a daily digest of the e-mails. And of course, you can unsubscribe at any time. To join, go to http://groups.google.com/group/lincolnville. If you need help signing up or have any questions, contact either Bill O’Brien at obrien@williams.alumni.edu or me at ragrugs@midcoast.com.

And if you’ve already signed up, please send an invitation (the “invite members” button on the Web site) to your own Lincolnville contacts? So far we’ve got 41 members; and by the way, if you’d rather not sign up, you can still read all the posts by going to the Web site.

Tanglewood
According to a recent post on the LBB, the trails are now being groomed for cross-country skiers. The Camden Hills Regional High School Nordic ski team has lent Tanglewood their extra groomer. Jim Dunham says “We now have about three miles of new track to enjoy along the Tanglewood and Watertower roads and around the field.”

Animals on the move
From the number of tracks we’re seeing around our place, deer are moving all around. We watched two very furry-looking bucks the other afternoon, their winter coats reminding me of how our pony, Cocoa, used to seem much bulkier in the winter with his two-inch-long coat.

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Monroe

Italian trattoria is back in town

The Italian restaurant Trattoria Monroe is bringing forth a new and delicious-sounding menu at the Monroe Community Church Saturday, Feb. 27 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The local chefs have built a reputation for quality and presentation over the past 12 months of international cuisine dinners, managing to keep the ticket price at an affordable $10.

The menu will include escarole and bean soup, homemade Italian bread and focaccia, chicken cacciatore, soft polenta, and a variety of cheesecakes for dessert.

Reservations are advised. Call Joyce Hillman at 525-9908.

Kenny Cole runs for state Legislature

If you are a registered Maine Green Independent Party voter, Monroe’s Kenny Cole can use your help to get on the Maine ballot. He is running for the Legislature seat soon to be vacated by Mike Thibodeau.

Please give him a call at 525-6683 if you are willing to be one of the 25 necessary signatures.

Thanks and praise for Monroe Lions

Future MSAD 3 has received a $1,000 contribution from the Monroe Lions Club for First Things First, the fund drive to support the infrastructure for future athletic enhancements at the new K-12 Mount View School in Thorndike.

“On behalf of the Future board, we’re grateful for the support of the Monroe Lions Club for First Things First,” said Vicki Kupferman, Future board chairwoman.

Martha’s ‘Meet Monroe’ Profile: Martha Goodale

My story was written by two of my interview subjects who decided they would collaborate in the undertaking. In the interest of fairness and to encourage others to participate, I agreed. If I am asking people to publicly share their lives, I had best be willing to do the same.

This “Meet Monroe” profile was written by Lynn Biebel and Alison Rector.

Martha Sharon Goodale said her earliest memory is of herself chewing, chewing, chewing, her cheeks becoming pouches filled with the food she declined to swallow, as her exasperated father glowered with impatience. Might this incident have been a harbinger of the strong, determined, steadfast character of the woman who has come to be so central in the life of our town?

Martha was born May 17, 1945, a month before the close of World War II in Europe. Her father, Lawrence, returned home from the Army to baby Martha, her 3-year-old brother, Eric, and Martha’s mother, Virginia, who in addition to caring for her family during her husband’s absence, taught school.

In three years’ time, two more daughters, Deborah and Teresa, followed Martha into a lively, often boisterous, family life. Martha admits she might have been a rather naughty child, remembering having covered her new baby sister, face, eyes, mouth and all, stem to stern, with baby powder. She recalls another occasion when she applied a thick coat of talcum powder to the family’s bathroom floor, for which she was spanked and then forced to clean up. In later years there was a lot of roughhousing after lights out when one night Martha and Teresa collapsed the big double bed. This time, all three of them, including Deborah, who was asleep in another bed during the offense, were punished with spankings.

Life was in no way easy for Martha’s parents in the early years after the war. Their family responsibilities were as heavy as the expectations they had for themselves, and money was short. Martha’s mother continued to teach and go to school, and her father worked various jobs while attending college on the GI Bill. Both parents graduated from SUNY Cortland by the time Martha was in first grade in 1952. During these years two aunts helped take care of the children, and Martha and her brother learned how to work. She remembers standing on a stool to dry dishes by the age of 4 or 5.

Martha did not like school, but she loved to read and visited the town library frequently. The children attended the Campus School (attached to the university), where the librarian, Beulah Counts, organized games, projects and reading contests, which Martha and Rick often won. Rick and Martha both played the trombone and practicing was at least a different kind of noise from their bickering.

Martha’s mother, serious about the development of her children, made sure there were always materials at hand for creative play as well as field trips for enrichment. She encouraged her children to entertain themselves by playing together. The house was filled with the racket of four children chasing and shouting, or dancing and cavorting to some bombastic classical music, but there were also quieter activities like puppet shows for which the kids made the stage, the puppets and their costumes.

They also played a very quiet game in which all four kids gathered, after their parents were asleep, on a chosen bed where they played “surviving on a raft in the ocean.” A window was opened wide to a snowy roof which created a chilly ocean environment in which the children pretended to pick up useful items that happened to be floating by. The game ended with a miraculous rescue.

Martha changed elementary schools twice when her mother took new teaching positions for higher salaries and for career advancement, and she skipped fifth grade. She kept up well with her sixth-grade classmates, but struggled with math, and by seventh grade lost some confidence in her learning ability as her test scores dropped.

Academic confidence continued to elude Martha when she entered high school in Hannibal, N.Y. Feeling awkward with her height and not having money for clothes, her social confidence ebbed as well, but she and her siblings were encouraged to bring their concerns to the family dinner table each night. Social and political issues were also discussed at these times, and she often heard her father and uncles in heated discussion. Her later activism was perhaps born here.

Her mother, now the principal of a Hannibal elementary school, was a well established professional educator, while her father, after earning a master’s degree in school administration at Columbia University, became a guidance counselor, and years later, the Hannibal High School principal. Martha was solidly supported by her family and found other activities in which she excelled.

She came to love athletics: volleyball, basketball and especially softball. She gained the nickname “Slugger” and was renowned for slamming a ball beyond the field and over the bus garage. Another reason to go to school was to play her trumpet in the high school band. By her junior year she was on student council, and was elected president of the student council in her senior year. She also joined C.O.R.E., revealing what would become her lifelong concern for social justice.

Even though Martha did not want to go to college, she entered Long Island University-Brooklyn, in the fall of 1962. She took on too many extracurricular activities, had a less-than-successful first semester and was put on probation. Martha dropped out. She returned home depressed and took a job at 50 cents an hour as the first paid librarian at the Hannibal Village Library.

At this time she saw an ad in Seventeen magazine for the Weaver Airline Personnel Training School to which she applied, and was accepted. At 18, after three weeks of training in Kansas City, she was hired to be a reservations agent for American Airlines in New York City. Thus began Martha’s education in the wide, wide world. She and two roommates took full advantage of the city’s cultural opportunities — concerts, art museums, Broadway shows, films, and Central Park for daily runs. The airline offered employees free standby travel, which led to trips to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Acapulco. She attended the Olympic tryouts at Randall’s Island as a sprinter, but chickened out when she saw the other well-trained, club-affiliated runners.

During the second year of her job with American Airlines, in 1965, Martha went alone to visit her brother, Rick, then in the Peace Corps in Nigeria. Because she missed her flight to Lagos which Rick had traveled 400 miles to meet, Martha, took a flight three days later, which she was unable to communicate to her brother. So she had to travel across the country from Lagos to Opobo to Ikwa on her own. Rick was astonished, days after her expected arrival, to see his sister step out of a dusty taxi in front of his mud hut, where the villagers were being entertained by a unicycle demonstration.

Rick and his Peace Corps partner were helping villagers to organize a cooperative for their oil palm plantation, as well as raise chickens and other projects. Martha stayed two weeks, enjoying her brother, his cohorts, the villagers, and only one bath for the duration. Swimming in the rivers was not advised. On the return to Lagos, she rode crammed with eight other people in a battered Peugeot taxi tearing across the 400 miles. She boarded her plane to the United States, relieved to be safely on her way, but also embarrassed, unwashed as she was.

Except for the rare occasion when someone famous like Steve McQueen or Shelley Winters called about their tickets, Martha found her job tedious and was ready to return to school. She was admitted to Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. Just as she was beginning to get on her feet academically, she met Roger Pretzer, a building construction technology major. They married in 1966 and moved to Akron, Ohio, where Roger took a well-paying job.

He also began work on his dream, a 35-foot trimaran, in their Akron apartment where visitors met the boat’s looming bow just inside the front door. The boat was moved to a barn in Medina, Ohio, where construction progressed. Martha continued school, completed her bachelor’s degree in English literature at Akron University in 1968, and she and Roger commenced another adventure. They bought an old bread truck in which to live and travel to the Olympics in Mexico City.

In September of 1969, the couple at last launched the trimaran for its maiden voyage across the unpredictable and often hazardous waters of Lake Erie to Detroit, through Lake Huron to Mackinac Island, and down Lake Michigan to Chicago. With their mast taken down, they proceeded on the Chicago River through the center of town. In her journal Martha wrote, “Hundreds of people were watching and waving to us from bridges, office buildings, tour boats and construction sites. The Chicago Sun-Times windows were filled with faces intrigued by the unusual boat design.”

Along the way difficult, even imperiling situations arose. With the river at flood stage, they became fatigued and stressed, and sometimes tempted to end the adventure. But they persevered, traveling down the Mississippi to New Orleans, along the Intercoastal Waterway, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida, over Lake Okeechobee and south to Miami, where they tied up on the Miami River.

Living on their craft, Roger worked for a boat building company while Martha wrote the tale of their trimaran adventures. When the company failed and Roger’s job ended, the couple sailed on across the 3.3-mile-an-hour currents of the Gulf Stream to Bimini, Andros Island, Nassau and the Exumas, where the water was clear, the beaches pristine and empty of people. The journey finally came to its end when Martha and Roger returned to Florida.

Looking back on her years of adventure on the trimaran, Martha says, “There were some perfectly beautiful days on the boat, with incredible sailing and places that I would love to revisit. But in bad weather, there were many times when Roger and I wondered why we were living this way. Three days of howling winds at the end of an anchor line can really bring you down.” They sold the trimaran in 1971 and invested the money in a 50-acre former tree farm in Bradford, N.Y.

For the next six years, Martha and Roger migrated between summers in Bradford and winters working jobs in Florida. During the growing season, they were planting, landscaping and building a house on their land. Martha earned her teaching certification and worked two years as a teacher, thus continuing the family tradition, but she gradually realized from her early teaching jobs that this was not really a profession that suited her.

In 1974, she decided to make a career change and undertook studies in library science at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Life had its challenges at this time. Money was tight and they traveled where they could find work. In May 1975, Martha’s son, Jack, was born. That winter, the family of three drove to Houston in their truck where Roger had heard there were plenty of jobs.

Martha remembered, “All we had was $35 in quarters, which I kept carefully stored in empty film canisters. We lived in that truck on the street for two weeks while Roger worked construction. Baby Jack and I could see Roger at work from the truck.” Finally, the first paycheck arrived, and they were able to move to an apartment with their sleeping bags, a highchair, and two lawn chairs. Martha was 31. She worked the night shift at UPS unloading tractor-trailers, and cared for Jack during the day when Roger was at work.

During these years of early married life and motherhood, Martha continued her lifelong passion for athletics. She played her first league softball in 1972, and her team won the city championship with Martha as catcher. Martha was strong from her years on the boat, working the land, and lifting UPS boxes. Physical work has always given her a sense of satisfaction, something she attributes to the chores her parents assigned to their children. “Once I start a job, even a difficult one, I like to finish it,” she said.

“In 1978, I remember feeling like I wanted something more in my life, something I could do better than other people,” she said, something where she could excel and make a mark. So she decided to take up competitive wrist-wrestling! During 1978 and 1979, she trained by arm-wrestling with Roger. Her goal was the National Wrist Wrestling competition in Atlanta. Her sister-in-law traveled with her, and they loved the trip, laughing to exhaustion all the way.

The championship drew a wonderful mixture of athletes, from pig farmers to plumbers, and beer flowed freely in the audience. Martha came in fourth in the nation in her class division, later earning additional awards in competitions in New York State. “Wrist-wrestling was an experience. I tried to hold my own in the national competition, fighting to stay in it when my arm was just inches off the table.” This sense of sticking to a challenge has been a recurring theme in many of Martha’s endeavors.

By the early 1980s, Martha and Roger were growing apart and went their own ways. Martha’s father became ill and died in 1984, a loss she mourned for many years.

This period marked the beginning of greater political activism, with Washington, D.C., protest marches against nuclear proliferation, for women’s rights, and later, several times against the Iraq War.

Martha relocated to Oswego, N.Y., where both her mother and brother, Rick, lived, starting a new project of renovating a house of her own while working as a high school and college librarian. She became librarian at Hannibal’s Cayuga Street School, the same school where her mother had been principal years earlier. Martha worked there from1989 until her retirement in 2001. She enjoyed creating challenging and fun educational activities for the K-6 students. She also was elected president of the Hannibal Public Library board of trustees. She enjoyed hiking the Adirondack Mountains, started making pottery, and continued to play league softball.

In1992 she remarried, cultivating an interest in alternative health issues with her new husband, Tim.

The approach of the year 2000 (and concern for Y2K) found Martha growing a huge garden of her own for food, even taking a leave of absence from work. She and Tim separated eight years later, and when her mother became ill, Martha moved in with her until her mother’s death in 2001. Martha searched for a new home that summer and fall in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and finally Maine, settling on Monroe.

Retirement has been a busy time for Martha. Soon after her arrival in Monroe, Marge Sheridan recruited her to work in the Monroe Community Library, where Martha catalogued the library’s entire collection. By 2006, she was elected president of the library’s board of trustees, a position which she continues to hold.

In March 2002, she helped build the Cornish pilot gig, Belle Fast, a boat for Belfast’s “Come Boating” program. The Monroe Farmer’s Market, another of Martha’s projects, will open for its third season this coming summer. She also works on the Web site for the town (monroeme.com), and writes the town news column for the Republican Journal. Martha’s son, Jack, a writer, lives with her in Monroe.

Martha believes that for our community to thrive in the coming hard times, “We need to know each other, we need to be open to each other and we need to help each other.” Yes, retirement has been busy, not as relaxing as she imagined. Martha’s mother always said, “Make your own small space better. If you don’t act, nothing’s going to change.” Martha has clearly taken those words to heart.

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Montville

Annual Runner Sledding Championships

Feb. 27,  more info at noumbrella.com/runnersled. Email questions, comments and concerns: sappail@hotmail.com

Saturday, Feb 20: Timed Trials. Arrive at the runner sledding course landing by 8 a.m. The landing is located at the end of Bragdon Road off Route 220 in Montville.

Sunday, Feb. 21: Shanty Town Sunday. Set up your ice-fishing shack and get your parking spot for the races.

Friday. Feb 26: Volunteer meeting held at the landing at noon. Potluck lunch. Duties for race day will be discussed and assigned.

Sat. Feb 27: Race day

• Open Trail from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., kids’ timed trials will occur during this time. This will also be the opportunity for adults to try the course and compete for the $400 cash prize for fastest sled of the day

• If you want to be in the big race, you must quality in the timed trials Feb. 20.

Key points to keep in mind:

• This is a family-friendly event. We do ask for donations at the gate, as a lot of work and money go into making this event possible. However, no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

• The trail will close to the public at 12:30 p.m. so that grooming for the finals can take place. If you want to go sliding, get there early enough to do so.

• There is a new 100-car parking lot for 2010, bringing the total capacity for automobiles up to more than 250. With that said, please carpool, as it will get tight.

• New for this year, there will be a horse-drawn sleigh parking lot shuttle, there will be much more spectator room on the course, and a special parking area for snowmobiles.

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Morrill

The Town Clerk’s office hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the first and last Saturdays of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. Please note that the selectmen/assessors’ and treasurer’s hours are now Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment.

There will be a 100’s Day Celebration at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22 in the Weymouth School Cafeteria. Those students who have read 100 books in 100 days will receive a book and a certificate. Parents are welcome to attend.

Save the date notice: The Tri-Town Parent Teacher Group will host a murder mystery dinner, “Murder at Midnight Hour,” Saturday, March 6 at the Ames School. Watch for further details concerning this popular annual event.

Congratulations to Katherine Cox, daughter of Jon and Anna Wood-Cox, on making the dean’s list. Katherine is a freshman at the University of Maine, Orono. It is so encouraging to report uplifting news about our young people — Katherine this week and Emily Ambrose last week. I’m sure there are others. Just let me know.

As an update on our two guys who have had the Whipple procedure done for pancreatic cancer, Bob Dutton is continuing to do well except for some digestive problems, not unusual with this surgery. Pastor Mike Peterson of Morrill Baptist is now having post-operative chemotherapy in Portland, traveling from his home in Warren. Upon rising last Sunday morning, feeling pretty well, he said to Debbie, “Let’s make our way up to Morrill.” Their church family was delighted at the unexpected chance to greet and visit with them.

There was a large attendance in the lower level of the church following the morning service for a luncheon with Romanian-type food. It was prepared and served by seven members who will be going to Romania in April to do missions work there. We have a sister church in Lugoj and an orphanage in Jdioara, both cities in western Romania, that we help support through working, praying and giving. The ties grow even stronger as we get to know them and they get to know us.

I found out where some of the turkeys are hanging out. There is a flock seen frequently up around Cooper Road, and John Peeler counted 49 in his field recently on Weymouth Road. For some reason they have abandoned us up on Poland Woods Road. My bird food lasts a lot longer without them around, and I don’t miss the turkey droppings, but they are fascinating to watch. Company always sat in the kitchen rocker to watch the entertainment out the back window.

Speaking of wildlife, there was a pair of young bobcats up on the bog but now there’s only one. What happened?

Isn’t it ironic that Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and New York have all this snow, while Maine has so little? The snowmobilers and businesses that benefit from the sport are missing out big time. I wonder if we are going to pay for this in March.

“Simplicity is the secret to seeing things clearly.” — An excerpt from the book, “My Utmost for His Highest,” by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917).

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Prospect

Not much snow left around here but the wind is blowing a gale today. Suppose we can’t complain as the storms hitting Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York and New Jersey have been fierce and keep coming and today Texas is going to get snow also. This has been an unusual winter so far.

My worst memory of so much snow was back in 1962-63, the New Year’s Eve storm that lasted three days and blocked Route 174 for almost a week and the roads out back of town. The National Guard had to buck the snow to open Route 174 and I developed muscles shoveling it to keep a path to the house. I was hauling water in a milk can and melting snow on the oil stove for dishes, washing up, etc. Thank God I was younger.

Sympathy is extended to Callie and Fred Grant of town. Her father, Shirley M. Perkins, passed Sunday, Feb. 7. He lived in Holden and Frankfort. He had been in the hospital for two months after surgery with complications. Wish you all peace and happier memories.

Got an update on Mary Staples of Stockton Springs. She is gaining back some of her strength, but after family meeting with administrator and nurses at Tall Pines in Belfast, they feel she will need another two to four weeks more of therapy before she will be able to return home. She is in Room 104 and her address is: Mary Staples, Tall Pines, 34 Martin St., Belfast, ME 04915. I know she would be glad to hear from you. I’m taking her a Valentine Saturday.

Do hope that you all have a good surprise on Valentine’s Day. Just a call or a card would mean a lot to your loved ones.

Remember when Abraham Lincoln and George Washington’s birthdays were celebrated Feb. 12 and Feb. 22. respectively? I certainly do, but I bet anyone under the age of 20 never realized they had their own days. Glad I’m not famous — I like my birthday in May when the lilacs are out. Anyway, enjoy the President’s Day Monday, especially if you have the day off.

I mentioned this before but think it stands to be repeated. Joe-4-Oil is now taking applications for 100 gallons of heating oil. Call 877-563-4645 if interested and they can tell you if you qualify or not. You may have seen Joe Kennedy’s commercial on TV. I sure hope that people around here can get some help.

Also found this notice in a magazine about Merck patient assistance program. If you are having trouble paying for your Merck medicine, they may be able to help. Call 800-727-5400 or visit merckhelps.com — it’s a free call and it might help you.

Remember Coffee Time is held every Wednesday from 1-3 p.m. in the Community Center dining room. We have coffee, tea and a snack with no cost. Come join us.

If you have any news to put in the column, I would appreciate hearing from you. Sometimes I think I’m talking to myself.

I want to 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

[Editor’s note: Janette Brewster’s column was inadvertently omitted from the Feb. 10 edition of the Journal. We regret the error.]

I hope you all had a great week. It’s amazed me to watch the weather going on all around us this past week and we have been spared the “Eastern Blizzard” this time! I have really enjoyed the sun and watching the melting snow. I hope you all had an awesome Valentine’s Day and got to do something special with your loved ones. I attended a Valentine Dinner at our church with a great friend, as my husband had to work. The month will be over quick as there are only 28 days this month, so it will be a short one. If you have something you want printed in this article contact me before noon on Fridays. I want to personally apologize my article did not get in this past week. I called the Journal and it had just got passed by, so I will add any news this week that hasn’t gone by.

Town Office news

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

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.

As voted on at last year’s Town Meeting, this year’s Annual Town Meeting will be Saturday, April 3 at 9 a.m. This change will allow Searsmont residents to participate or watch the annual canoe race.

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.

If you are concerned about pesticides sprayed near your home, you can be placed the Pesticide Notification Registry. To be on the registry, your name must be submitted by March 15. To sign up, 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.

There will be limited services available in the Town Office on Wednesday, Feb. 24, due to staff training. The following services will not be available: New motor vehicle registrations, vital records, and IFW licenses and registrations (including boats, snowmobiles, ATVs). Those wishing to register a new vehicle should come another day, or they may pay the motor vehicle excise tax in the Town Office, and complete their registration at a motor vehicle branch office. IFW licenses and registration renewals are available online by going to searsmont.com and clicking on the menu item “online services,” then following the appropriate link. Those requesting vital records may complete the request form on Wednesday, and their record will be ready for them to pick up on Thursday, Feb. 25.

Searsmont library

Story hour for the kids is on Tuesday mornings at 10. Also be sure to come in and see the awesome exhibit of “Watercolors and Metalwork” by Maryfaith Morison. It will be on display through March 5.

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Searsport

Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m., the Mass Communications Committee will meet in the Town Hall.

Thursday, Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m., the Recycling Committee meeting will take place in the Town Hall. This meeting will be televised.

Thursday, Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m., the Historic Preservation Committee will meet.

Sunday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m., the 6th annual Meet the Candidates event will take place in Union Hall. This meeting will be televised. This year, there is one candidate, Roland LaReau, running for the Board of Selectmen. He will tell us why he is running and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.

James Gillway, town manager, will be present to give a brief State of the Town talk, which will be of special interest to us in these challenging times. Light refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m., the Economic Development Committee will meet in the Town Hall. This meeting will be televised.

Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m., the Recreation Committee will meet in the Dan Rich Public Safety Building.

The second annual “March Madness” Cribbage Tournament will start Monday, March 1. Matches will be scheduled to fit each player’s schedule. Each match will be three games, with the winner of two games moving on to the next round of play. A trophy will be awarded to the winner. Signup sheets for the tournament are available at Coastal Coffee House, or you can call Brian Callahan at 548-0281.

Tuesday, March 2 at 10 a.m., municipal elections will take place in the Dan Rich Public Safety building. This year there is one candidate (Roland LaReau) for the Board of Selectmen, a three-year term. No one has taken out papers for the three-year term on the RSU 20 board of directors. We need a representative to fill that spot.

There are nine openings for the budget advisory committee (two-year term) with six members choosing to run again. There are lines on each section of the ballot for you to write in the names of others if you choose. For write-in candidates, you must indicate the full name. Example: D. Duck must be written as Donald Duck (no endorsement intended).

Friday, March 5 at 6 p.m., the Searsport Republican caucus will take place at Union Hall.

Many of you may have seen the red ribbons and stakes in the ground and attached to the telephone poles on Route 1, Mt. Ephraim Road, Porter Road, Howard Street, etc. Central Maine Power Company has restarted its line inspection program. When this program enters an area, it takes three years to complete. The first year is an inspection of all poles etc. to see what has to be done on a particular circuit. The second year (now) is the marking and planning of what changes or repairs have to be made. The third year (2011) will be the year to do the work. As usual, all this is subject to change.

On Feb. 7 between 1 and 6 p.m. the Searsport Police Department put its new speed board out in front of the Dan Rich Public Safety building. 176 vehicles passed by during that time (heading south) and 152 of those vehicles were traveling over the 25 mph speed limit. The police plan to move the board around the community to remind everyone to slow down.

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Thorndike — by Tina Durand

I am sorry I have not added any stories in the last few weeks, I had surgery and had some issues from that and my daughter had the stomach bug.

There is no school the week of Feb. 15-19.

The Unity Food Pantry is undergoing some serious changes. Some are the deliveries and pickups and who is now going to work. There is a very huge problem with people going to several pantries. If you go to Unity they would like it if they were the only pantry you went to. There are some issues of people taking too much and leaving a mess behind. They do serve a lot of towns and people. If you have any food that you don’t want always remember the pantry and donate it.

I have a list of happy birthdays to send out, no ages listed! I have been already told to leave those out. Mykenna Grotton, Lynn Hadyniak, John Gibbs. Last week was Valarie Tweedie.

The Muddy Paws Grooming has moved from Depot Street to Annette McCormick’s home on the Hunter Road in Unity. If you have a pet you want groomed contact Annette at 322-6044. I have to say she is very good at what she does; my dog enjoyed it very much.

The Mount View Elementary cheerleaders had a fundraiser at Dysart’s and they made $56.32 ! Way to go, girls! I am so proud of you.

The Thorndike Fire Department is looking for some new volunteers. Are you interested in joining a great group of people? Looking for some adventure? Want to donate some of your extra time? The Thorndike Fire Department is for you.

The Thorndike Volunteer Fire Department has elected new  officers for 2010. They are: Peter Quimby, fire chief; Clyde Rolerson, deputy chief; Jake Gurney, captain; and Clayton Tebbetts, lieutenant. Linda Rolerson, treasurer and secretary.

What a great group of people helping. The officers and members of the fire department welcome anyone interested to stop by the fire station. The meetings are the first, third and fourth Mondays of the month from 7 to 9 p.m. or information, fire permits, or to discuss becoming a new member of the department. The department is recruiting volunteer firefighters, junior firefighters ages 16 to 18, and ladies auxiliary members.

Your town’s fire department needs your support. Chief Quimby can be contacted by telephone at his home at 568-3706 or by cell phone at 323-0664. The department’s e-mail address is thorndikefire@gmail.com .

Thorndike’s town meeting will be Saturday, March 20 at 9:30 a.m.. If you have moved in town and need to register to vote, come to the Town Office during office hours. The Town Office hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday 1to 6 p.m. and Friday 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

If you have anything you want to add contact me at 568-7172 or shyshy@uninets.net.

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Unity

In my world

Last summer I bred my rabbit, Lucy, to someone’s buck. Once the babies were old enough, I let them loose in our yard and kept a female to bunk with Lucy for the winter. Recently, I mentioned to Bill that Lucy, who’s normally very sweet and docile, had nipped at me and seemed quite grumpy. Last weekend, I went to give the rabbits water. I noticed a bunch of pulled fur in the girls’ hutch. Normally, this is indicative of a birth. I opened up the hutch to find one frozen baby rabbit. I checked Lucy’s daughter only to find that she was, in fact, a male. Whoops. I must have grabbed the wrong baby last summer. Anyway, I set him free in the yard and Lucy seems very, very happy.

By next week’s column, I’ll be able to report whether I’m going to be a first-time auntie to a niece or a nephew. Very exciting stuff here, folks…

In your world

Cabin Fever Reliever — Friday, Feb. 19

Join friends for a potluck supper at 6 p.m. with music to follow at 7 p.m. at the Friends of Unity Wetlands Education Center, 93 Main St. Benefit performance by Curt Carter, singer, songwriter and environmental educator. Suggested donation $5/person, children 12 and under admitted free.

Unity Community Market — Saturday, Feb. 20

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Unity Community Center. Good food to eat there or take home, good company, crafts, used books, flea market spaces and basketry workshop from 10 a.m. to noon. $5 for basket materials, or just watch for free. (Use your basket for the annual Community Egg Hunt — see below) Admission to the market free. Call 948-5912 to reserve a table for $5.

Organic Grains Event — Friday, Feb. 26

“Producing Quality Organic Grains for Maine: Disease Management and Grain Cleaning, Drying & Storage”

MOFGA Common Ground Education Center, from 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Preregistration required by Feb. 17. Cost: $10 per person per event, includes lunch. For information, contact: Ellen Mallory, UMaine Extension, 581-2942

Just outside your world

Items of possible interest

Waldo

Beginning Farmer Series.  Four-week series running Feb. 25, March 4, 11 and 18, all from 6:30-9 p.m.

Find out how to get started and where to get help. Hear from successful area farmers and begin your business plan. For more info or to register, call 800-287-1481 or e-mail regkenn@umext.maine.edu Being held at the UMaine Extension on Route 137 in Waldo next to the Waldo County Technical School.

Fairfield

Maine Grass Farmers Network 6th Annual Grazing Conference

Saturday, Feb. 27 at Kennebec Valley Community College

This year’s speakers will be focusing on critical topics for all livestock owners currently utilizing pasture and grassland in their farming operations. Featuring keynote speakers Troy Bishop, Rachel Gilker and Seth Wilner. There will also be a Grazing Conference Grassfed Cook-Off. For more information, call Extension Educator Rick Kersbergen at 800-287-1426 or visit UMaine Extension’s Maine Grass Farmers Network at umaine.edu/umext/mgfn.

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Waldo

A fondness for February is growing deep in my soul; it is an acquired taste. While winter is in full swing with her cold, stark white, my seclusion is allowing me to explore ideas I’ve been avoiding.

Last night’s rented movie viewed here in Waldo at the Hungry Heron Farm, “11th Hour,” concluded that the environmental mess human beings have wrought here on Earth is a reflection of our isolation as a species. The makers of this movie believe that air and water pollution have resulted from separating ourselves from nature. Fight her as we will for dominance, they believe her balance will right itself in the end. And they project that her solutions have already started, such as Hurricane Katrina.

I learned that the world population has tripled in my lifetime. When John Kennedy was alive there were half as many people on the planet as there are today. And, we’re still growing in numbers, edging out other species quickly. (Why did nature make mice and deer flies, anyway, and why couldn’t they disappear?) I have a lot to learn as a human being sharing the planet with scary, offensive critters. I need to change my attitude. It’s especially difficult to think that having grandchildren might not be the best idea I’ve ever had: I was so looking forward to being a grandmother! Am I being selfish here? I think so.

I am actively seeking awareness and clarity in facing the coming challenges and hope that the citizens of Waldo County are preparing for a new, sustainable future too. Love is the answer and getting to know one another is a start. Come on by the Waldo Town Office on Saturday, Feb. 20 and take supper with us here in Waldo. Bring money for Debbie Bowden, who is battling cancer. We’ll be having turkey pie, shepherd’s pie, beef stew and chili.

Last Wednesday night, Marshall and I went our separate ways — he to a book discussion group at the Belfast Free Library. (I just couldn’t take any more awareness.) The group is discussing “The Transition Handbook, from Oil Dependency to Local Resilience” by Rob Hopkins on three Wednesday evenings in February: the 3rd, 10th, and 24th.

On Wednesday I went to the Captain Albert Stevens school in Belfast for an African drumming class (thanks to an invitation from Belfast resident Alex Chaplin). The drumming was intense and the perfect antidote to the heady information I am getting about global warming, overpopulation, air and water pollution, and oil depletion. It was hard to focus on all the African history presented by our intelligent leader for the evening, Michael Wingfield. I just wanted to hit the drum and howl, which we did get to do. It was great.

Then, on Thursday night we had supper and were trounced at Spades (a card game played every weekday morning at the Belfast Co-op) by Belfast resident Linda Best and her card partner for the evening, Lief Weaver. Lief’s wife, Becky, is happy to be visiting her family in Austin, Texas, especially as her architect husband renovates their kitchen while she is gone. Way to go, Becky!

Last weekend you may have seen Marshall and me at Hannaford’s in Belfast. We have become professional models for Big Orange Productions, doling out samples of new products to shoppers. This is an amazingly fun job. One little boy hung back before coming to Marshall’s table to sample the Hershey chocolate. He was intent on watching the spectacle and only after seeing many others enjoying the free treats did he finally approach the table. As the chocolate melted in his mouth, he looked up and cocked his head asking, “Do you get paid to do this?” Marshall laughed and said he sure did. The boy shook his head and walked way in wonder, possibly considering future career opportunities.

Take good care of yourself and try doing something differently today to conserve energy. If you have a success, write to me and I’ll pass on your good ideas here.

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Winterport

Census-takers are still needed. High school students, 18 years old and with a driver’s license, can apply. The pay is $13.25 an hour and reimbursment for gas mileage. For more information call 692-7595.

The benefit potluck supper and silent auction for Pete DeGennarro is gaining items for the auction. Among them are : passes to the Winterport Dragway, $100 worth of studio time at My Thrill Studio, one hour of computer cleaning from Maine Bytes, an afghan made by a lady from Frankfort , plus the ones I listed last week.

Remember the date, Thursday, Feb. 25 at the Smith School in Winterport 5-7 p.m. Bring a dish , a friend ,and a donation. Donations are also being accepted at Camden National Bank, 58 Main Road North, Hampden, ME 04444 in care of the Peter DeGennarro fund.

Pete is the son of Rosie, owner of Rosie’s Diner in Winterport and he is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant in Boston March 5. A big thanks goes out to the business that have donated to the auction.

Let’s all say a big prayer for our boys who are regaining their health, Baby Fin, who is in the Eastern Maine Medical Center now, Gabe, who is in Boston area for rehab, and Pete, who is being treated for leukemia.

Sports fans will have excitement now with the Olympics, NASCAR and high school basketball tournaments starting. Other people may like “Survivor,” and the “Amazing Race.” Me , I like ’em all.