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Helloooooo from Panama! I am writing to you from the beach, a small bay, 2 miles wide, called Playa Venao, on the Pacific Coast of Panama. Like Groundhog Day, every day is 85 degrees and mostly sunny. There are waves every day for surfing. Ceviche and dorado are on every menu, along with fresh papaya and mango in the smoothies. It is glorious to feel the heat dissipate those winter blues. But, the upcoming town meeting is on my mind ….

Paul Toumayan catches a wave at Playa Venao, Panama. Photo by Meredith Toumayan

ATVs on Jackson roads

It is looking like opening ATV trails in Jackson may be a “hot button” issue at the March 19 town meeting. If you have strong feelings about opening up any or all of Jackson’s roads (town, state (Route 7), or town non-maintained) you’ll want to mark your calendar for the upcoming town meeting.

The March 1 informational meeting was held with about 35 attendees. I was unable to attend, so am sharing onward information that was shared with me. The attendees were from the Jackson Wheel & Ski Club, along with Thorndike Trailblazers ATV Club, as well as Jackson residents.

A number of ATV club members spoke out in favor of opening up all of Jackson’s Town roads, plus Route 7, for ATV use with no restrictions on number of vehicles or speeds. It seems that surrounding towns have ATV riders interested in doing the same in their towns. Having all Jackson’s roads open would allow riders to connect — from Thorndike, Dixmont and Brooks — and open up, for instance, heading up Hog Hill Road to anticipated CMP power line trails.

If anyone would like to reach out to me and share more on this issue, I am happy to include more points in my column for March 17. Or, of course, you are always welcome to write a letter to the editor! If you are a Jackson resident, please come to town meeting where a straw vote will be held to allow the Select Board to hear the townspeople’s wishes regarding opening the first, of possibly many, roads in Jackson to unlimited ATV use.

Please note: The petition for an ATV ordinance — signed by 54 residents last week — is still under review by the Select Board. It is unclear at this time that said ordinance will be available for the March 19 warrants. In the meantime, let your voices be heard at town meeting!

Real estate tax assessment

We will be voting on a warrant article at town meeting to appropriate approximately $15,000, from surplus budget funds, for a townwide assessment of real estate values. The state of Maine requires towns complete this process every 10 years. It has been nearly 18 years since Jackson last did a complete assessment. Every property will be reviewed for improvements and assessed against market value. To better understand, and read more about this process, here’s an excellent Maine.gov website link.

Don’t forget to “spring forward” your clocks an hour next Saturday night for Daylight Saving Time!