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Bye-bye, 2020

One of the indulgences of late December is a look back at the year. This one has been a doozy, from pandemic to the election. Perhaps what each of us has been through in Searsmont gives us an opportunity to look at what we’ve gained, rather than what we’ve missed.

We appreciate this beautiful place where we can mark the changing seasons. For the ability to walk our roads at high noon and in the moonlight, in midsummer heat and crisp autumn air. Watching the landscape change from the first spring flowers to the most recent snowfall. We are grateful to know the wonder of whatever is going on right now and accept the challenge to pay attention before it changes again.

Town Office

On Dec. 22, selectmen dispensed with town business in 21 minutes. They approved a new personnel policy, created with the help of Kenn Ortmann, and tabled the Threshers Brewing Co. liquor license renewal until next meeting. The Searsmont Scholarship received no applications this year (another COVID-19 casualty?) and half the allocated amount will be added to endowment, with the other half kept on hand “if an applicant comes forward.” We’ll report on a special Dec. 29 meeting next week.

Don’t say we didn’t let you know that the deadline for 2021 dog licenses is Dec. 31. Pay $6 (spayed or neutered) or $11 (if not) now, or $25 more after Jan. 31.

The Planning Board is planning (of course) for a Jan. 7, 2021, public hearing to consider site plan review of the Dingley and Lorenz subdivision at 1327 Moody Mountain Road. Masks and social distancing will be required, with limited seating. Call Nancy Weser at 342-5411 or email and leave your email for a seat.

The library reopens Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, after the year-end holidays.

RSU 71 School Nurse Food Pantry

It’s hard to learn if you’re hungry. Last week we told you about the Grab & Go meals available at local schools. Ames and Weymouth schools nurse Shannon Robbins tells us there’s another way Searsmont students’ families can get food this academic year. Regional School Unit 71 School Nurse Food Pantry offers backpacks of food as a supplement for people who want it.

The district purchases much of the food from Good Shepherd Food Bank. Robbins reports this idea started as a pilot program at East Belfast Elementary in 2018 and it now runs districtwide. Donations to RSU 71 Food Pantry (check or cash) can be sent to or dropped off at Ames or Weymouth. Anyone wanting to access this food can call either school for details. And if RSU 71 ends up going all-remote, a box of food can be delivered.

Hooray for the plow guy

He may live in Belmont, but we’re fans of our Searsmont plow guy Travis Hamilton. Wearing his ArborTech hat, he also cleared large tree debris from our dooryard when it looked like pick-up sticks (does anyone remember them?) out there after that awful April storm. Congratulations to Travis, wife Quincy and daughter Sofie as they anticipate an addition to the family.

Year-end wishes, coming attractions

We hope your Christmas was as enjoyable as you wanted it to be. A happy new year to one and all. Even if we’re still masked and waiting to be vaccinated, it just has to be better than 2020. And we’re going to stick our necks out and make some Searsmont predictions for the new year. Stay tuned!