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Autumn blessings

Right now, the town’s clear skies bring us the planets Jupiter, dimmer Saturn and bright Venus in the newly dark-at-4 p.m. heavens with the Milky Way obscured some by the waxing moon. These are sights city folks with their lights cannot see, and ones for which we are grateful. The last flowers in the warmth of the porch say goodbye to the newly planted spring bulbs. Bare trees give us a glimpse of the woods hidden since the spring, with orange bittersweet and red winter berry lending splashes of color. The first frosts mean the woodpile has become a treasure instead of a muscle-reminding burden. Fall in Searsmont brings all these joys and more.

A woodpecker buffet and apartment tree, now visible in the Searsmont woods. Photo by Mickey Sirota

Town Office

At its last meeting the Planning Board decided to keep the now-year-old building permit fee structure, with fees reviewable at least once a year. The board also held a public hearing for and then approved a Route 3 automobile recycling site plan application. The recyclers still need state licenses.

The Select Board’s Nov. 8 work session considered gravel delivery for winter prep road repair for Magog, Muzzy Ridge and other roads in town; an Oak Grove Cemetery boundary matter; and Searsmont Rescue’s needs for upgraded communications and more volunteers. Did you know state guidelines call for a response time of 10 minutes or less? Thank you, Dawn Bryant and Sarah Tompkins for staying on top of this.

The next night, the Select Board decided to offer the town’s part-time bookkeeper position to a qualified applicant. Stay tuned to see if Searsmont will soon have a new person in the office. Don’t know how they keep on top of all of this and get ready to work on next year’s budget at the same time, but they do.

Town Library

Fall programs were plentiful last week and next time you will have a report on Bruce Robert Coffin’s author talk, First Nations Homelands Zoom program and the latest “Wilds of Waldo County” hike. It’s always something at the library.

The nonprofit Friends of the Searsmont Library elected Sandie Weagle president for the coming year. Charlie LeRoyer will be vice president, Marcie Porter, secretary, and Bob Delio, treasurer. The group’s endowment has grown from $15,000 in 2006 to more than $550,000 today. The all-volunteer group provided the library with nearly $10,000 in the past year, including $6,000 for books plus funds for new bookcases and music program grant matching. Well done, FOSL. The group raised nearly $8,000 during last year’s annual fund-raising campaign and hopes Searsmonters will be just as generous when year-end appeal letters go out in December.

Bits and pieces

Sherry Trundy and the Cemetery Committee remind you that it’s time to remove decorations and glass containers from gravesites before the first snow. To make maintenance easier, also please remove any perennials.

We were outside mulching leaves in the dooryard and could hear shooting over the noise of the lawn tractor. Blaze orange is the height of fashion in Searsmont these days.

A personal note to thank all those of you who have wished us both a speedy recovery from hand and oral surgeries. We are working on it. And while we are getting personal, please accept our sincere wishes to each of you for a happy Thanksgiving. Don’t save a drumstick or piece of pie for us, but you may want to share your thanks and gratitude with others.