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Making a small town work

For more than 30 years we have volunteered to serve on various Searsmont boards and committees (Library, Cemetery, Planning Appeals and Assessment Review) and as library volunteers and ballot clerks. It seemed like the right thing to do and allowed us to feel more like a part of this town we love so much. But we and the people who serve alongside us are getting older and we wonder where the next generation of volunteers will come from.

The recent Searsmont Historical Society talk about the history of the town’s mills drew 20 folks. The library’s latest snowshoe hike had nine more. That is just fine. Yet it’s worth noting that the selectmen’s budget hearing attracted only five Searsmonters and the town still needs people to join the Fire and Rescue departments. It takes a village to make a village work for all of us.

Historian Donovan Bowley (center, in blue jacket), Karen Withee (standing, right of center) and some of the Feb. 10 Searsmont Historical Society meeting crowd. Photo by Mickey Sirota

Town Office

Mud season has come to Searsmont early and will stay for a while. So the Crie Road transfer station will be closed for a few weeks. Until further notice, take your trash and cardboard to the Community Building parking lot.

The Valentine’s Day selectmen’s work session, with Hershey’s Kisses for all, considered ditching, early road posting (mud again), and potholes. Searsmont’s town roads are less hole-y than state roads (that means you, routes 3, 131 and 173), but drivers should be careful, especially where puddles are hiding car-eaters.

Searsmonters at the April 2 town meeting should expect Planning Board warrants tweaking the “subdivisions and mobile home parks” sections of the Land Use Ordinance (“mobile homes” will now be called “manufactured/tiny homes”), shoreland zoning permit extensions and expirations, a new “Energy/Power Generation” land use definition, solar project decommissioning plans and bonding, and electronic message boards.

Back by popular demand, 2022 town budget details include a $10,000 increase in the Town Office line due to salary and insurance costs and a $10,000 decrease in the cost of the transfer station. Those no-longer-used town bags were expensive.

Memorial Day Parade

There will be a Parade Committee meeting Monday, Feb. 28, 6 p.m., downstairs at the Community Building. Call Jesse at to give him a hand, volunteer at the end of May, or offer your group or vehicle or creative float.

Bits and pieces  

Historian Donovan Bowley’s Feb. 10 Searsmont Historical Society talk on “Waterpower and Settlement in Midcoast Maine” was a big hit. Twenty people attended, including folks old enough to remember many of the town’s and area’s mills and the people who ran them and worked there. There was lots of information, great pictures and (as always) really good after-meeting cookies. The SHS next meets Thursday, Mar. 10, 1:30 p.m. at the Community Building.

Sarah Crosby and Bill Evans led a library-sponsored walk along the Bog Brook Trail in Montville on Feb. 12. It was two hours on snowshoes up hill and down dale, across a ridge, past a frozen pond and beaver dam. We were sore but happy at the end, and enjoyed the company of about a dozen people and dogs. The next hike is scheduled for March 12.

Bog Brook Trail snowshoers Feb. 12 with hike leaders Bill Evans and Sarah Crosby, third and fourth from right. Photo by Mickey Sirota

They have been in Searsmont for years, but last year Augusta finally figured out that brown-tail moths were a problem when the itchy creatures hit the Maine capital and Bangor. The state is throwing $150,000 at the problem, which is just about enough to pay for clearing 5% of the roads here in town. Cut those nests out now if you can.