joycesirota@gmail.com; mickeysirota@gmail.com

322-7572; 322-5671

It’s here

We thought Searsmont was safe, far from the delta variant of COVID-19. We were wrong. It is right here in town. The Maine CDC is looking into an outbreak of cases among at least 15 people linked to the Calvary Chapel Belfast on New England Road in Searsmont. It’s one of the reasons unvaccinated people in Waldo County are at “very high risk” now and it makes the town a disease hot spot. People are wearing face masks at the library and Town Office and post office (but not so much at the village store). They are hot and inconvenient, but may help us all protect each other.

She’s here!

Congratulations to Amy and Alden Robbins, and Record, Beatrice, Olivia, William and Liliane, who welcomed daughter and sister Helen Ann Robbins into the world on Aug. 6. It is a pleasure to welcome Searsmont’s newest, youngest resident.

1,421 and 39,000

Searsmont and Waldo County grew 2% over the last 20 years according to the U.S. Census, bringing the town’s population up to 1,421 and the county’s to nearly 39,000. Helen Robbins brings us to at least 1,422. What’s amazing is that about 1,100 Searsmonters are registered to vote.

Town Office

Want to be Searsmont’s bookkeeper? Jane McLaughlin is leaving the job. Check the town website (Searsmont.com) or get in touch with Clerk Kathy Hoey. The Select Board meets Monday, Aug. 30, 5 p.m. to consider bids for winter snow plowing and sanding. If you’re interested, get your bid in by 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26.

About 35 tax liens for unpaid 2020 property taxes go out Sept. 7. That’s down from about 50 for 2019 and most of those have been paid.

Broadband

Searsmonters have received the latest postcard from Southwest Waldo County Broadband Coalition, asking you to take the anonymous online survey to make it more likely the five towns (Searsmont, Liberty, Montville, Freedom and Palermo) can have faster and cheaper internet service going forward. Join more than 400 other folks who have filled theirs out at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SWCBCsurvey.

The more Searsmonters know about this, the better. So stay tuned for information about a public meeting in September. It will be the first of many, and a chance for you to find out what the SWCBC is doing, ask questions and make suggestions. Want to ask the Waldo County commissioners why towns are only getting $20,000 each out of the county’s $7,700,000 in federal infrastructure money for broadband? Call Betty Johnson, William Shorey and Amy Fowler at 338-3282 or stop bv the office in Belfast.

Library

The last free 2021 “Live OUTSIDE the Library” performance is 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 4, and features The Barn Dance Band’s “old time country and Downeast fiddling.’” Call 342-5549 or email searsmont.town.library@gmail.com to reserve your lawn seats. Funds provided by the Onion Foundation, Maine Community Foundation and Friends of the Searsmont Library have supported a very successful series so far, including Scott Ainslie’s fantastic music on Aug. 21.

Evening primrose on a Searsmont road, waiting to open at nightfall. Photo by Joyce Sirota

Bits and pieces

The first of Searsmont’s trees and blueberry fields are starting to change color and nighttime temperatures are dropping into the 50s. Asters and St. John’s wort and evening primrose are in flower.

The Aug. 15 Muzzy Ridge Concert was a selloutu, with an overflow audience enjoying some mighty fine chamber music. Composer Bob Sirota thanks everyone who attended, and tells us that with so many Searsmonters inside and outside on concert day, he is really glad to be a full-time resident.

Reminder about the Aug. 21 takeout lobster bake at the Methodist Church in the village, the one with the fancy new sign.