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Snow stories

Not much fun moving snow around. Yet it leaves an artist’s canvas and blank book for pictures and stories. Tracks tell of deer coming from the woods and over the stone wall to the little beech tree to

Can anyone identify who made these mystery tracks? Photo by Mickey Sirota

nibble on buds, then turning back to the safety of the hemlocks. Tracks draw the portrait of a mysterious four-footed someone with a dragging tail. And snowshoe prints remind us of two-footed folks who enjoy the beauty of it all after a snowfall here in Searsmont.

Town Office

The weekly Feb. 7 selectmen’s work session considered the proposed Route 3 solar farm (the current owners may be selling the lease), possible refinancing of the new Fire Station loan and an appraisal of the old fire station (is there buyer interest?). They discussed a town meeting warrant item about electronic message boards, mowing on state roads (the state’s job) and the town’s legal reserve accounts.

On Feb. 8, after a short monthly selectmen’s meeting, only a handful of Searsmonters attended the 2022 budget hearing. Most were department heads. The selectmen have been frugal and the numbers are surprising. “Consolidated Department Budgets,” $1,190,000 last year, are projected to increase just 2% to $1,215,000. Even with $81,000 added to reserve accounts, the municipal budget presented to voters (not including expected revenues) will be less than $1,300,000. We will provide more detail soon, but as a preview of coming attractions: roads and bridges are expected to go up by $20,000, rescue up by $8,000, Fire Department down by $8,000, and transfer station down $10,000 with no bags to buy.

Town Library

The library will be closed Saturday, Feb. 19. Lots of appreciation for Lesia Sochor’s art exhibit, including “Series of Threads” oils, sewing pattern collages and “bodice” collection. Her works and greeting cards are on sale, with card proceeds going to the library.

Come in and enjoy recent acquisitions including “Apple Varieties in Maine” by Frederick Charles Bradford, Enric Sala’s “The Nature of Nature,” the last three Alexander McCall Smith “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” books, James Patterson’s “The Horsewoman” and “End of Days” by Brad Taylor. Kids will enjoy “The Lego Architecture Book” and “George’s Marvelous Medicine,” and the whole family will enjoy new DVDs, including “A Lego Brickumentary,” “The Four Complete Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Beatles,” and “Moana.”

H. Joyce Withee Scholarship

The library board of trustees is accepting requests through April 30 for the Withee Scholarship. It’s a $500 award for tuition or books, given to a Searsmonter studying library and information sciences or elementary education at any accredited program. The scholarship is named for the beloved Searsmonter who founded the library.

Send a letter to the Searsmont Town Library, P.O. Box 56, Searsmont ME 04973, and let the Trustees know who you are, what you are studying and where, the date you expect to complete your study and the cost of tuition or books. Include a “statement of purpose or career goals,” too. The 2022 award will be announced by mid-May.

Bits and pieces   

It was disappointing that so few Searsmonters came out to ask questions and voice opinions at the budget hearing. Selectmen have done a good job rubbing nickels together to keep taxes down, but here’s hoping for a more animated discussion at town meeting.

The Town Office reminds us that free salt and sand from Searsmont’s salt shed is limited to two 5-gallon buckets per resident per storm. Take from the small shed on the left, not the big pile.

What with snow, ice, sleet, slush, cold rain and wind, roads can be dicey despite the best efforts of Searsmont’s plowers and sanders. Dooryards and driveways are adventures, too. So be careful out there.