My condolences go out to Dottie Jenson’s family in the death of Dottie’s daughter, Karen. I erroneously reported that it was Dottie who died; my sincere apologies.

I have many memories of Dottie and Bruce, as they were my maternal grandmother’s landlords when my grandmother rented out the little rental cottage the Jensons had attached to their house. Dottie would normally be outside when my brother and I would arrive after school, tending her flowers or cleaning up her front yard. Dottie’s house on North Palermo Road is now up for sale.

Speaking of properties up for sale, I recently asked the town code enforcement officer if she knew how many new people have moved to town since March 2020 — the beginning of the pandemic. While exact details are unknown, she said that according to Registry of Deeds records, about 20 houses have changed hands during this time frame.

Assume that if someone buys a house they come from out of town, and assume an average of two people per household. That’s around 40, or conservatively let’s estimate between 30 and 40, new people in town over the past year and a half. That would be insane!

For comparison, according to recently released 2020 census information, Freedom had a net loss of 8 people between 2010 and April 2020. Compare this with Waldo County on the whole, which gained 821 people, or 2.1% of its population, between 2010 and 2020.

Such a rapid increase over the past year and a half — even if only half of what we assume — reinforces my belief that we really need to focus on keeping Freedom an attractive place to live. Those of us who live here already know this, but newcomers need to see that the town prioritizes getting stronger, more reliable internet; fixing and maintaining our roads; and making taxes as manageable as possible. Those are three of my priorities. If you have others I would love to hear about them!

OK, soliloquy over. Finally, remember that Freedom Field Day is Saturday, Aug. 21. The theme is “Happy Birthday Maine!” as last year we could not celebrate the real 200th anniversary of when Maine became a state.