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Why leave?

When you live in a place as beautiful as Searsmont, one of the puzzles of taking a summer vacation is “why leave such a glorious place?” The weather is good. Mosquitoes and black flies are getting slower. Taking a planned trip to Canada, we will miss the accelerating production of garden greens and the first broccoli. There really is no time other than mud season when it feels good to leave.

A northern parula. It’s a warbler found in Searsmont. Source: Cornell Ornithological Laboratory

Walking Searsmont roads you are lulled by the aroma of fragrant bedstraw, and entertained by bird song. Ever use the Merlin bird identification app? With the help of modern technology we are learning to identify gray catbirds, song sparrows, northern parulas, ovenbirds, common yellowthroats and pine warblers. And that’s just in the past 10 days. So we’ll just have to see who’s calling out when we return. No column for the next few weeks, so we wish you all a happy and healthy Fourth of July.

Broadband news

On June 22, the Southwestern Waldo County Broadband Coalition made some decisions that will affect everyone in town. They voted unanimously to form a Broadband Utility District consisting of Searsmont, Liberty, Montville, Freedom and Palermo and set up the Waldo County Broadband Corp. Get ready for an upcoming informational meeting, followed by another special town meeting to consider an interlocal agreement among the five towns that will govern the utility district setup.

Using ARPA funds that the towns got from Waldo County, the new corporation will move ahead with choosing an internet service provider (or more than one). Then, so as not to use a penny of local taxes, the district will start working on getting grants and other sources of funding to get this high-speed, affordable and available-to-all broadband internet puppy built. Ever thought Searsmont would see the day this would be happening?

Town Office

Would you believe the selectmen talked about road repair, ditching and culverts, roadside mowing and brush clearing? Well, they did. They are also finishing up work on a large grant request from the state’s Land and Water Conservation Fund that should be going in this week to help pay for purchase of the McLellan Property. The request is large ($150,000) and so is the application. It’s 25 pages long, not including various spreadsheets, documents, documents about documents, and more than a dozen attachments.

Town Library

The June 25 Emilia Dahlin Quintet concert, free and “Live OUTSIDE the Library,” was well-attended on a gorgeous and really hot day. Next up, on Saturday, Aug. 6, 4 p.m., is the Mes Amis Quartet. They say they play “Gypsy Jazz.” Can’t wait to see what that’s all about.

And don’t forget that Saturday, July 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., is the umpteenth annual library “Book and Bake Sale,” sponsored by the library trustees and Friends of the Searsmont Library. No auction and no Grandma’s Attic this year, but you won’t want to miss cheap books galore, baked goods more galore, a raffle, kids’ activities, even a fly-fishing hands-on demonstration. Be there or be square.

Bits and pieces

Hard to believe, but there’s good news about brown-tail moth caterpillars. The wet May and June Midcoast weather fostered a fatal fungus (a little alliteration never hurts) and the hairy beasts are expiring right and left. If the fantastic fungus keeps working (dead caterpillars means no moths, no moth eggs, and no new caterpillars), Searsmont might have a break for a year or two. Go, fungus!

There is no caucus this year, so at the Community Building Thursday, July 7, 5:30 p.m., Searsmont Democrats will hold a local organizing meeting. Meet candidates, vote for local leaders (or run to become one), and get ready for the fall campaign.

The August Muzzy Ridge Concerts, the ones creating world-class chamber music, are creating a buzz. Get your tickets at robertsirota.com.

Have you noticed the little orange flags along Searsmont roads? It was driving us crazy making up stories about them. A parade route for miniature aliens? A national celebration for a country with an orange flag? A flight path for Baltimore Orioles? Alas, it turns out they are just marking underground telephone cable locations. They mean “don’t ditch or dig here.” We were rooting for the parade.