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Ice

Searsmont escaped the worst of the mid-January storm, but the short thaw and rain, followed by another cold snap, brought us an icy winter challenge. For days the slick surface has made even short walks with poles and grippers an adventure each time, and the glare off driveway ruts hurts your eyes. There was a run on melting crystals and it looks like Jack Frost is going to be with us for a while.

Selectmen in the spotlight

Nearly a dozen members turned up on a cold day for the Searsmont Historical Society’s January meeting to hear about “the trials and tribulations of small town governance.” Arlo Redman and Pete Milinazzo, selectmen who each spend about 20 hours a week working for the town, were the featured speakers.

Their presentation, kept lively by questions from the group assembled, started with the town budget (“we’re always trying to keep the mil rate down”) and the fact that the school budget assessment for Searsmont (“about two-thirds of everything the town spends”) is not decided by the town.

It moved on to roads and potholes and then to personnel policies and future use of $150,000 in federal ARPA funds awarded to the town (“in the bank until the town makes a decision”). Ten minutes of the hour were taken up with talk about broadband expansion in Searsmont (“really important for everyone to have high-speed internet,” said one attendee), with Pete saying it might take “two to three years” to get there.

Everyone was rewarded with cookies after the meeting. They were really good. The next SHS meeting, free to all, will be on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 1 p.m. There will be cookies.

Town Office, woof

Need sand? Searsmonters can get some at the shed behind the old fire station across from the village store. Road crews ask you please not to park in snowplow turnarounds, especially during storms. Let’s help them do their jobs.

Like a dog with a bone, we hate to let go of this for the year. You have until Monday to register your dog for 2022 for $6 or $11 and avoid a $25 late fee. Next week’s column is going to be pretty short without this valuable item.

Intrepid library program walkers cross the ice to Quigg Island on Stevens Pond Jan. 15. Courtesy of Searsmont Town Library

Bits and pieces      

The Jan. 15 Walk in Waldo County, led by Sarah Crosby and Bill Evans, attracted quite a crowd. Twelve people and two dogs made the trek. And after a stretch of zero-degree nights, the bright sun and double digit were perfect for a walk across Stevens Pond in Liberty to Quigg Island. The next walk is scheduled for Saturday, Feb.  12.

There was a lot of slipping, sliding and skating going on this week, but not the ice skates kind. Getting to the mailbox and the wood pile and the left-outside car was an icy adventure for many Searsmonters, even with grippers and a ski pole. Stay safe and upright, neighbors.

Speaking of neighbors, two of them got back this month from a trip to visit a kid studying in France. Seems getting tested for COVID was quite an adventure in both directions. Welcome home.

Your town correspondents will take credit for Searsmont not losing power in the snow, sleet, ice and rain so far this month. It has been a year since the generator was put in at quite the cost. It has only been used for two hours after a thunderstorm came through last summer. You’re welcome. Again.