joycesirota@gmail.com; mickeysirota@gmail.com

322-7572; 322-5671

Changes

After two weeks away, you notice differences that are invisible one day at a time. Nights are cooler, trees are changing color and leaves are falling. And in Searsmont, houses are going up. One day there’s a field, half a month later the foundation is in, the frame is up, the roof is on and the Tyvek is nearly installed. Voilà! Instant neighbor. In the past 30 years, the town’s population has gone from 950 to just over 1,400. You can’t blame folks for wanting to live here.

Early autumn leaf fall in Searsmont. Photo by Mickey Sirota

Town Office

Selectmen prepared last week for the Tuesday, Sept. 20, 6 p.m. special town meeting. Searsmont is asking for voter support to use $110,000 in federal ARPA funds to buy 27 acres on New England Road from John Fasone. The town will use some of it for a new salt and sand shed. Looks like the old shed, part of the old firehouse property in the village, may soon be sold. Messrs. Redman, Milinazzo and Staples also talked about cemetery tree trimming and (you’ll never guess) work on Thompson Ridge and Moody Mountain roads and possible fall grading on some town gravel roads.

Property taxes are due Sept. 30. Assessors Agent Jim Murphy tells us that taxable values went up for about nine of every 10 Searsmont properties during this years’ revaluation, but that they are still below market value. As of last week, about 40 Searsmonters age 65 and older had filed for a property tax freeze in 2023. Get your request in by Dec. 1.

Searsmont is looking for a new Planning Board clerk. For more information on the part-time position, check with the Town Office.

And the Waldo Broadband Corp., the five-town business that will oversee broadband expansion here and in Liberty, Montville, Palermo and Freedom, just filed paperwork for state recognition. A Request for Proposals to start the work will be going out to internet service providers soon, and a request for state grant funding should be ready by November.

You still have time to get an absentee ballot for the midterm election on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Political races include those for congressional representative, governor, state senator and representative, and sheriff.

Town Library

Yes, Virginia, the new “Gentle Yoga” library program is available every Tuesday, 10 a.m., led by Searsmont’s own Janneke Zaadstra. She holds an RYT200 certification and the classes are free, with a donation welcome and suggested. Bring yourself, a yoga mat, and a clear mind.

To reserve free tickets to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for two adults and as many kids as you want, go the library and book a time to pick up your tickets.

The library is now linked to “Bendable Maine,” a new online learning, training and experiential opportunities experience created by and for Mainers. Startup categories are job readiness, crafting and making, personal finance, languages, personal wellbeing, and sales and service. Check it out at maine.bendable.com. The library is also linked with the Maine Job Link Career Center to offer free consultations for job seekers. Make your one-on-one appointment any Tuesday, Thursday or Friday during library hours by emailing Marie.Curis@Maine.gov or calling Marie at 707-2818.

Sarah Crosby and Bill Evans will be leading their famous “Waldo County Trails” hikes soon. To get on their information mailing list, leave your name, email and phone number at searsmont.town.library.@gmail.com.

The library gets grants to pay the performers who provide the music at its concerts. Granters ask for “public feedback.” If you attended any “Live Outside the Library” events, the library would be pleased to have comments, sent to the same email, that “reflect your experience, feelings and your sense of the value these concerts represent.” Your suggestions on how to make those performances even better are also very welcome.

Bits and pieces

Folks let us know that Ann LePage will be guest speaker at the Community Building for a fundraiser, luncheon and auction event Sunday, Sept. 25, 2 to 6 p.m., for her husband’s gubernatorial campaign. The tickets are $25 in advance.

We hear that people in nearby communities are testing their well water these days, not just for iron (everyone in Searsmont seems to have that) but also for PFAS. Homeowners pay for it and it’s not cheap. The good news is that we have not heard of any town wells testing positive for the “forever chemicals.”

Good to be home, though two weeks on an island in the Bay of Fundy, resting, reading, hiking, birding, whale and seal watching could not have been more enjoyable.