joycesirota@gmail.com; mickeysirota@gmail.com

322-7572; 322-5671

Broadband

Six members of the Searsmont Broadband Advisory Task Force hosted an hour-long July 20 meeting to present information and answer questions about the town’s joining with Montville, Liberty, Palermo and Freedom to create a Broadband Utility District to be known as the Waldo Broadband Corp. Nearly two dozen people attended, in advance of a July 27 special town meeting to vote on joining the district.

The information session dealt with system ownership (the five towns), technical fiber-optic and funding feasibility (yes on both counts), effect on taxes and potential town liability (none), cost to subscribers (competitive with or less than current Consolidated Communications cost), high-speed broadband availability (to every resident and business in town that wants it), and more.

When the task force was formed almost two years ago, getting to this point seemed nearly impossible. Now Searsmont is “this close” to moving ahead with fund raising, system design and arrangements with one or more internet service providers to build the network. It may take a while but if Searsmont votes to join the district at the July 27 special town meeting, it will be easier for Searsmonters to work and study from home, download movies and games, use telehealth and do all the things that a high-speed broadband connection can provide.

Town Office

Selectmen accepted winter plowing and sanding bids, prepared to issue a Request for Bids for late summer and fall road work, and discussed putting out a Request for Bids to sell the old fire house, after an Aug. 2 Planning Board site plan review of the James Baum Restorations LLC proposal for the property. They also (surprise, surprise) reviewed ongoing road patching, repair, ditching and culvert work. Expect news soon about posting a notice seeking a new town clerk. That’s right, after more than 16 years, Kathy Hoey is looking ahead to retirement.

Town Library

Hundreds of people attended the 37th annual Book & Bake Sale on July 16, with nearly $3,000 raised in support of the library. Highlights included activities for kids, a Zumba session, demonstrations by Trout Unlimited, a Waldo County YMCA information table, thousands of books (Goodwill gratefully accepted unsold ones) and tables of baked goods from Searsmont kitchens. According to the Searsmont Historical Society, more than 50 people visited the SHS barn.

The July 24 Halcyon String Quartet concert was a success. It was hot, too. The multi-media event, funded by the Maine Community Foundation’s Moosewood Fund, explored the impacts of climate change on Waldo County and featured ecologist Janet McMahon as well as works by South African composer Monthati Mosebe, American minimalist Philip Glass, and excerpts from a new commissioned work by local composer Nathan Kroms Davis.

The next free “Live Outside the Library” concerts are at 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6 (a return visit by the Mes Amis Quartet playing “Gypsy Jazz”) and The Hot Suppers, a Midcoast seven-piece folk-rock band, Aug. 20, 4 p.m.

Historical Society

On July 21, the Searsmont Historical Society hosted an opening reception for Searsmont’s mysterious “Stone Face” artifact on loan from Old Sturbridge Village Museum in Massachusetts. A good crowd turned up and enjoyed great cookies as always.

On Thursday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m., the society presents Peter Dalton, whose family comes from here, speaking on Searsmont and Maine soldiers during the Civil War. Peter is a Shenandoah Valley battlefield guide and ought to know a thing or two about this.

Lobster Feed to Go

Searsmont United Methodist Church on Main Street will have its lobster takeout dinner Saturday, Aug. 13, from 5 to  p.m. $20 buys you one Maine lobster (1-1 1/4 lb.), fresh corn on the cob, coleslaw made by Angler’s restaurant, a generous slice of blueberry cake and drawn butter.  Extra lobsters or lobsters only $12 each. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 207-323-1236. If no answer, leave a message with name and phone number. Reservations must be made by 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11.

Bits and pieces

In a rush of unrepentant nepotism, we urge Searsmonters and other readers of this column to get their tickets to a performance or two of the second annual Muzzy Ridge Concerts. The first two, featuring our niece, concert violist Nadia Sirota and world-famous composer Nico Muhly, are on Saturday, Aug. 20, 7 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 21, 3 p.m. The second two, Saturday, Aug. 27, 7 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 28, 3 p.m., feature our sister-in-law and concert organist, the Rev. Dr. Victoria Sirota, nephew (and concert violist) Jonah Sirota and niece-in-law (and concert oboist) Regina Brady. These are quality chamber music concerts here in Searsmont. Tickets at $20 and $10 are available at robertsirota.com/muzzy-ridge-concerts. Bob is a composer and conductor, and our brother. We are mighty proud of him.

This is not Searsmont. Your correspondent is at the Fortune geological site on Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula, near St. Pierre and Miquelon. Photo by Joyce Sirota

 

We are back from a month away in Newfoundland. Searsmont may not be quite as wild, may not hold 600 million-year-old fossils, sea stacks with 10,000 Northern Gannets or icebergs. But Newfoundland does not have Lake Quantabacook, Levenseller Mountain, or Amanda’s doughnuts. Heat wave or no, it is good to be home.