joycesirota@gmail.com; mickeysirota@gmail.com

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So glad we live here

Among the joys of living in Searsmont are opportunities to access the rich environments in neighboring towns. It’s a treat to get fresh vegetables locally grown year-round from Bahner Farm in Belmont and probably helps us stay healthier. Belfast, “The Big City,” allows us to go to the harbor for lunch outdoors at Nautilus or see what boats are tied up.

It’s pumpkin time at Bahner Farm, the “fresh food and produce” folks on Route 3. Photo by MIckey Sirota

Last week we got to talk with a man loading a flatbed with eight huge drums of salted pogies (menhaden, to some) to take who-knows-where, presumably to use as bait fish. You just never know what you’re going to see and hear when you take the time to look and listen. Sometimes we pinch ourselves and whisper, “We get to live here!”

Pogies anyone? Loading bait fish last week at the Belfast city wharf. Photo by Joyce Sirota

Broadband expansion public meeting

Three dozen people attended Searsmont’s first Broadband Informational Meeting on Sept. 21, and another dozen on Zoom, with half of the hour spent answering Searsmonters’ questions. Members of the Searsmont Broadband Advisory Task Force and the five-town Southwestern Waldo County Broadband Coalition board said the object of the project is to provide “reliable high-speed internet at an affordable price” for every resident. “Five towns have more clout for getting grants and negotiating contracts,” was one comment.

There were data maps (96% of Searsmont’s 70 road miles are unserved or underserved by high-speed internet), resident survey results (81% of 140 respondents — a tenth of the town — use Consolidated Communications for education or work, for video meetings, movies or games) and the not-surprising news that very few people are happy about current service.

One huge fact: The broadband expansion will not increase taxes. The funds will come from government programs (Searsmont already has $140,000 from the feds, $20,000 from the county and $5,000 from the state) and revenue bonds paid for with subscriber fees.

Stay tuned for news about more meetings, more information, and a feasibility study (funds already in hand for that) before the end of the year.

In answer to attendee questions, we learned the project may take three years or more and cost $7 to $10 million for the five towns to set up a nonprofit municipal utility and roll out the fiber-optic lines to every home and business. It may take a while and cost a lot, but it looks like Searsmont has a decent chance of seeing this happen.

Library, Historical Society

The first 2021 Historical Society meeting features apple historian John Bunker on Thursday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m., at the Historical Society room in the Community Center. They’ll be happy to sign you up for a well-worth-it $5 family membership.

News from the library: Sarah Crosby and Bill Evans are starting up their popular Saturday hikes (Sunday rain dates) beginning the morning of Saturday, Oct. 16, and meeting at the library. Sarah tells us they’re expanding their range and the new outdoor series title is “Exploring the Wilds of Waldo County.”

Bits and pieces

A shout out to Kyle Cox at Cox Machine on Route 3 in town. It’s a guy’s dream place, filled with gear and grease, and a local resource to fix just about anything made of metal. He certainly has helped us out a few times.

Waldo County Triad, dedicated to safety for seniors, is offering reflective house signs for sale, cheap. The two-sided green numbers are $10 without a post, $15 with a post. Call 866-426-8555 or go to triad@waldocounty.gov to order yours.

While we’re on the subject of “people of a certain age,” Aging Well in Waldo County and the Masons Elder Outreach program can do small home repairs for you. Call them at 218-0207, option 2, and leave a message to let them know what you need done around the house. And Window Dressers, the no-cost or low-cost custom insulating window inserts folks, are still taking orders. They’re looking for volunteers, too, to help make the inserts in Belfast starting Nov. 8. Call Corliss Davis at 930-3562 to find out more.