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Small town, big parade

There are certain moments of life in Searsmont that really get to you. Being sworn in as a ballot clerk on Election Day. Voting at town meeting. And marching in the Memorial Day parade.

Both of us marched in our hometown parades as scouts but that was somewhat south of here. In Searsmont we can meet and greet neighbors and talk to town, county and state office-holders. Selectmen and state officials and a chief deputy sheriff not only listen, they greet you by name. That’s really special.

It was a beautiful day with a moving ceremony and we hope everyone enjoyed the parade and barbecue that raised a couple of thousand dollars for Waldo County Woodshed. They do great, important work all year-round.

Did you say $102,500?

We told you Selectmen Arlo Redman and Pete Milinazzo did a bang-up job in Augusta last month presenting Searsmont’s case for Land for Maine’s Future support to buy the 64-acre McLellan Property. LMF has awarded every penny the town asked for, all $102,500 of it. Congratulations all around.

Town Office

Last chance to get your absentee ballot for the June 14 primary election and school budget vote. Polls are open at the Community Building from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. All candidates in the major parties are on the ballot, even those running unopposed. The Republican U.S. representative primary between former Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Caratunk’s Elizabeth Caruso will decide who will run against incumbent Democratic Rep. Jared Golden in November.

At their June 1 work session, selectmen discussed road repair, possible repaving and tree trimming on Thompson Ridge, Ghent and Moody Mountain roads. They may receive a one- or two-year road repair and repaving plan from a Belmont contractor by the end of June. A $2,400 low-bid for summer roadside mowing beginning by early July was accepted, and a foreclosed property on Morrow Hill Road is going out to bid for a minimum at or near its assessed value. It was a busy meeting.

Watch this space for a report on the June 7 special town meeting.

Town Library

The library’s June calendar of free events says that “Tea@Three” will host a social hour on Friday, June 17 (at 3 p.m., of course). Saturday, June 25, 4 p.m., is the next “Live Outside the Library” concert, featuring the jazz-inspired Emilia Dahlin Quintet. Ongoing are tickets to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, and the Maine Job Link Career Center’s consultations for job seekers. Make your Career Center appointment by calling Marie Curtis at 707-2818. And through June 30, books are being accepted for the July 16 library Book and Bake Sale.

There has been a change in circulation time frames. Books, DVDs and CDs are now circulating for two weeks, with a limit of seven items per individual and twelve per family account. Renewals can be made in person or by phone, if no one has requested the books.

To get an online copy of the monthly library newsletter, go to and click on the “Subscribe” button.

The Three Searsmont Graces at the Memorial Day Parade: left to right, Sarah Evans, Joyce Sirota and Jana Herbener. Photo by Mickey Sirota

Bits and pieces

A huge shout-out to Jesse Gogan, whose persistence resulted in Searsmont’s Memorial Day Parade this year, and to the many “constables” and other volunteers who kept it moving along and safe for everyone. A job very well done, and the town is better for it.

The speeches, remembrances, rifle volleys, anthem, flag raising and playing of “Taps” were touching. The Woodshed’s barbecued chicken and pork were delicious (the potato and orzo and cucumber salads and baked beans and corn muffins, too).

Highlights of the parade included the “living soda cans” on M’s Bottle Redemption float, the wonderful antique cars, the Belfast Area High School Band dressed all in black, and the woman leading a dog on one leash and a miniature goat on another one.

There were Little League baseball kids, military appreciation marchers and floats, firetrucks and a million pounds of candy tossed to waiting children (and a few adults). Not your Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, to be sure, but all the better for reflecting the heart and soul of Searsmont.

Searsmont’s mosquitoes posted a flash mob alert, and about 1,234,567 showed up. They were served bloody Marys and we hear they got quite rowdy. The brown-tail moth caterpillars called the cops.

A benefit of writing this column is the chance to go public with birthday wishes. One of us is turning 75. The other one of us thinks he’s proud of it, even though neither of us can believe it.

Blue-eyed grass along a Searsmont road. Photo by Joyce Sirota