freedomtownnews@columnist.com

993-2031

Greetings from the edge of Freedom! On my way home from a job last night (Sept 17), I had to detour around the intersection of Greeley and North Palermo roads. Sadly, but not surprisingly, there was a fatal car wreck at that intersection. I say not surprisingly because I have multiple times had to slam on my brakes coming down the hill to avoid T-boning someone who failed to even slow down, let alone stop, at the stop sign on Greeley Road. I hope the cause of the accident wasn't someone being in a rush and not bothering to check for traffic. Whatever the circumstances, my heart goes out to those who lost a loved one, and I hope that the injured parties recover quickly.

The Freedom Board of Selectmen meets every Monday night with few exceptions. If you are curious about attending, you can witness the meeting via Zoom. I do not say attend via Zoom because the selectmen actually are meeting in person, while members of the public are prohibited from attending in person. This is very upsetting to at least four Freedom residents that I have personally talked to about this topic.

So, this week I called 23 town offices in Waldo County, and I discovered that Freedom is the ONLY town in Waldo county where the selectmen are meeting in person while the public can only attend using Zoom. Swanville and Belfast are conducting their meetings 100% via Zoom, while Jackson has canceled its meetings for the time being. Every other town has the selectmen's meeting in person and the public can attend in person.

I tried calling the Maine Municipal Association, but they would not tell me what they are advising towns to do regarding public attendance of meetings. A 2011 law requires meetings of government to be open to the public with the exception of executive sessions.

I talked to a current Maine legislator and was informed that he cared more about whether I personally would be wearing a mask and social distancing at said meetings than whether the board's actions were lawful. I received essentially the same response from Freedom Selectmen Elaine Higgins, Ron Price and Stephen Bennett. Essentially, "It doesn't matter what the law says, we are all in the high risk categories and we do not feel comfortable allowing the public to be around us."

Freedom Treasurer Alyssa Brugger relayed some thoughts on her children returning to school. She said it was a little sad at first to see them lined up, socially distanced, but that overall her children seem happy to be able to go back to school from the longest summer vacation ever.

The Freedom Board of Selectmen did approve, albeit tentatively, a Halloween party and a hunters' breakfast. If you are interested in Zooming in to selectmen's meetings, you can do so by calling the Town Office on the day of the meeting to get login information.

The Freedom Congregational Church has services on Sunday at 10 a.m. Check their Facebook page for other events and updates.

Have an easy fast.

"That which unites us is greater than that which divides us." — Al Gore, paraphrasing Adlai Stevenson.