Last weekend my cousin, Jenna, graduated from the University of Maine School of Law. As I was flipping through the program I saw a graduate, Alex Read, from Brooks. Excited to see another lawyer from Waldo County, I got this guy’s email from my cousin and sent him a congratulatory note. It turns out Alex is a 2009 Mount View graduate and soon to start at a Boston law firm. We mused that we were the only Maine Law/Mount View graduates we knew of. Let me know if you know of others — I would love to connect with them. Congratulations to Jenna, Alex, and the 74 other law school graduates!

Through various town volunteer committees, I’ve had the pleasure of working with long-time Freedom residents and recent transplants alike. I asked two of the new residents, Eli and Rene, for some thoughts on their new home and how it compares to where they came from.

Eli came to Freedom after her California home was destroyed in an August 2020 “firestorm” that was “so sudden and violent the fire department did not even attempt to fight it.” She lived in Solano County, which has a total population of 453,491 people,  about a third of Maine’s, despite being only 100 square miles larger than Waldo County. (Solano County has a population density of 552 per square mile, versus Waldo County’s density at 46 people per square mile. Hard to imagine, right?).

She spent a year planning her next move, ultimately deciding to come to Maine to be closer to her Belfast-based family. She jumped on a listing in Freedom, and loves living here. She cites the “beauty of the land and open roads” that make living here pleasurable. She is taking courses at MOFGA and “looks forward to (her) next adventure in land stewardship.”

My interview with Eli and Rene will continue in next week’s column.