joycesirota@gmail.com; mickeysirota@gmail.com

322-7572; 322-5671

August thoughts

This is the month when Searsmonters cannot imagine living anywhere else. Biting bugs are gone, ticks are (mostly) sleeping, long days make it feel like summer and if you have your own swimming spot, there is nothing more you need. With the hot days and nights recently, keeping hydrated and ratcheting down strenuous activities are often the way to go (sorry, lawn mower). And are we the only ones shocked to see back-to-school ads? Hard to believe, with August so great, that it’s almost time to watch out for school buses on town roads.

Town Office

It was a busy Aug. 9 monthly meeting for Searsmont’s selectmen. They awarded Appleton Ridge Construction a road improvement contract through September for Magog, Pond, Morrow Hill, Thompson Ridge and Borough roads. They chose high bidder Jake Boyington as purchaser of the old fire station for a price of $211,000. They awarded a salt and sand contract to Jacob (Jake) Leeman and Sons. They signed the broadband Inter Local Agreement, looking ahead toward building out high-speed internet in town. They accepted, with regret, the resignation of Patti Chapman as Planning Board clerk. And they approved the Certification of Assessment for 2022-23 at 15 mils, down 16% from 17.8 mils this past year.

If you pay property taxes, are a permanent Maine resident, have owned a homestead for at least 10 years as of next April 1 and are 65 or older, find an “Initial Application for Property Tax Stabilization for Senior Citizens” at maine.gov/revenue/taxes/property-tax. Complete and take it to the Town Office by Dec. 1. If approved, “the tax billed for your homestead will be frozen at the amount you were billed the prior tax year.”

Yes, you have to do this every year but it’s a gift that older Searsmonters might want to take advantage of. The downside is that the town doesn’t yet know how it’s supposed to get the difference back from the state.

Town Library

A crowd of 50 people attended the Aug. 6 Mes Amis Quartet’s back-by-popular-demand performance. It was wicked hot, and everyone moved inside. They played jazz favorites and new pieces for nearly 90 minutes and filled the room with great music. Nobody could sit still.

“Live Outside the Library” continues Saturday, Aug. 20, 4 p.m. with The Hot Suppers, a seven-piece all-Waldo County band playing rock, blues, country and Americana, and finishes the summer season Saturday, Aug. 27, 4 p.m., with the MoJO Mondaynite Jazz Orchestra. Bring a camp chair or blanket, and a picnic if you like.

Thanks again to Friends of the Searsmont Library and the library board of trustees for funding the concerts so they are free to Searsmonters and everyone else.

Local athlete makes good, does good

Searsmonter John Strassenreiter, president of the Quantabacook Lake Association, did it again. He won the 1,500-meter power walk for his age group (75-79) at the recent Maine Senior Games, which qualifies him for the 2023 nationals in Pittsburgh. He also came in fourth in shot put and javelin.

Searsmont’s local champ John Strassenreiter after a bike ride to Belfast.

 

As if that were not enough, he is teaming up with the Kids Cancer Network for the KCN Great Cycle Challenge USA. John will be biking from Searsmont to Belfast every day in September. Every day. Rain or shine. Heat or more heat. You can support John and KCN with an online donation at greatcyclechallenge.com/Riders/JohnStrassenreiter. Good thing they repaved Back Belmont Road.

Bits and pieces

Tickets are still available for Muzzy Ridge Concerts. The first set of Searsmont performances Saturday Aug. 20, 7 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 21, 3 p.m., features composer and pianist Nico Muhly and violist Nadia Sirota. The second set, Saturday, Aug. 27, 7 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 28, 3 p.m., features violist Jonah Sirota, oboist Gigi Brady and pianist Victoria Sirota. The $10 and $20 tickets can be ordered at robertsirota.com/muzzy-ridge-concerts.

Dozens of folks heard Peter Dalton’s Searsmont Historical Society talk on Aug. 11. Peter knew a lot about the 4th Maine Volunteer Regiment and the local men who served in it during the Civil War. The cookies served afterward were delicious, as usual.

Need help with heating oil this winter? Go to waldocap.org/WCAP-programs/energy or call 338-3025 for information about federal LIHEAP fuel assistance and other WCAP heating assistance programs. Priority is given to seniors, veterans, families with young children and people with disabilities.

Searsmont United Methodist Church sold out of “bugs” at the Aug. 13 Lobster Feed to Go event. Congratulations to everyone at the UMC for making this drive-through event a success.