I hope everyone has been enjoying the glorious fall weather. I've been in Maine for almost nine years but had never visited Acadia National Park until this past week. I was absolutely awestruck by the natural beauty and breathtaking views. I'll return again in 2020. We also tried to visit Bar Harbor, but three cruise ships were docked and you could barely walk (let alone drive) through the town. Another time.

I also participated in another unique experience — rowing in the Belfast Harbor. Community rowing is sponsored by Come Boating! in Belfast. Sign up at the boat shed and go rowing in one of their six-oar Cornish Gigs. This was painless and the people were very patient with those of us who had never rowed before.

We rowed about a mile out and then back and were lucky enough to spot many harbor seals (some with fish in their mouths). I highly recommend rowing, but the season ends in about another month or so. Give it a try if you can. It was great!

Some exciting news: The Brooks Ambulance Service has been awarded a grant from the AFG Program (Assistance to Fire Fighters Grant Program). The grants are usually awarded to fire departments, but since the service has become an independent EMS 501(c)(3) organization, they were eligible to apply. The funds will be used to replace an aging 2005 ambulance and will have bariatric capability — that is, can more easily assist larger patients.

A search committee has been formed and they will explore all options. They hope to have the ambulance in the spring of 2020. The Brooks Ambulance Service serves the towns of Brooks, Jackson, Monroe and Knox. The new ambulance will be available for mutual aid as well.

I spotted the Brooks fox the other day, drinking from a puddle in a parking lot. He/she was quite beautiful and healthy looking. Our town clerk, Jane, has told me she has received a number of calls from people worried about possible health issues. Just because a usually nocturnal animal is spotted during the day, it doesn't mean it is rabid. Just use common sense and don't get too close or try to feed it. That can cause a wild animal to become "domesticated." It's also unlikely that it could take a cat — usually just rats and mice.

Reminder: The hands-free driving law is in effect. The law prohibits the use of hand-held phones and other devices while driving. No one can operate a vehicle "while using, manipulating, talking into or otherwise interacting with a hand-held electronic device or mobile telephone." Should be common sense, but….

Spotlight on a Brooks resident: Russell Lord

-How long in Brooks: 80 years on the same property

-Favorite color: Blue

-Favorite song: "I'll Fly Away"

-Favorite car: Fords

-Can you drive a stick shift: Of course.

-Favorite holiday: July 4th

-Tattoos: No

-Favorite animals: Dogs and horses

-First job: Haying for Merton Fog in high school; Penobscot Poultry after college.

-Hobbies/interests: Antique cars, politics, former private pilot.

-Favorite food: Lobster

-Quirks: Wife says too many to list!