There’s a lot of things to think about these days while watching the news: Will we end up in a war over Ukraine? Is there PFAS in my water? Which billionaire will make a rocket ship next? Thank goodness for the calm of knitting. I have decided to do a “temperature throw.” This is a small blanket where each row is knitted with a different color — I chose 10 overall colors, each representing a 10-degree range from zero to 100. I was initially worried there would be big blocks of the same color, silly me! Climate change has allowed me great variation so far.

ATV trails

On March 1 at 6 p.m., please come join in a discussion about where ATV trails would be best suited along Jackson’s public roads. The Select Board will hold a straw vote at town meeting on March 19 to determine how the town is feeling about which, if any, or all, roads in Jackson should be open to ATV traffic. Join the discussion, get a better understanding for how ATV access routes in Jackson might impact your home.

PFAS in your town

Well, folks, I feel the time has come to engage in the now widespread and ongoing conversation surrounding PFAS in our community. Many of you no doubt will have learned already of how this, and related dangerous chemicals, have been applied to our fields through the state of Maine-sanctioned sludge dispersal over the last decades. Our town news column is not the place to pursue the issue for the state of Maine, or even the county, but Jackson is on the map. We are a Tier 1 town for amounts, and potential contamination, from PFAS and other forever chemicals.

There are numerous sludge application sites in Jackson and surrounding towns. Scott McCormick on Sullivan Road in Jackson was interviewed by WABI last week about his farm’s water contamination — many times over the state’s recommended safety levels. This is tragic for the McCormick family. It is tragic for all of us.

The state is in the process of rolling out testing in areas of expected contamination, with four levels of risk. They are beginning with those located on and near sludge spreading sites. This map is only a partial reflection of what was spread in Jackson. You can find online maps, continually updated, with information on where, and how much, sludge was spread, here.

If you are concerned about your particular location being close to a contamination site, you can request that the state come in and pay to test your water for PFAS. If it tests over the state DEP limit, my understanding is that they will install a water filtration system at no cost to you. To see if you are eligible for free state testing, please contact Victoria Eleftheriou P.E., deputy director, Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, at 530-4037 or  victoria.h.eleftheriou@maine.gov.

Town Office

The next Planning Board meeting will be Tuesday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. The next Select Board meeting will be Tuesday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m. Town Report should be ready to go out by Sunday, March 13, (also Daylight Saving Time!) for town meeting on the following Saturday, March 19. Positions to be voted on will include a three-year Select Board position, along with one-year terms for fire chief, sexton, EMA officer, and the town representative for the Unity Area Regional Recycling Center. Brenda would love some help assembling those Town Reports on Friday, March 11.