We had our Picard family Christmas on New Year’s Day; it’s usually crazy and crowded but with several people away, it was a small, but mighty, group. I received a surprise gift from my aunt Sharron and uncle Andrew Picard. A beautifully intricate carnival glass bowl that my parents (Linda and Charlie) had given to them back in the 1960s. It had originally come from the Judson House, the old hotel where Unitel sits now.

At the Town Office: Don’t forget dog licenses are due! Nomination papers are available at the Town Office for one, three-year term for municipal officer (selectman). They are due back in the office by Jan. 23. My term is up and I plan on running for reelection.

Sand has been dropped off at the Town Office. Limit two, 5-gallon buckets per Unity household. No filling of a truck bed! But if you’re also getting a bucket for your elderly/disabled neighbor, we’re OK with that. There are buckets and a shovel available.

The Town Office will be closed Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16. A budget meeting has been scheduled for Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Snowmobile clubhouse on Fisher Road. The meeting will be going over special appropriation requests and the Fire Department budget.  A meeting for the remaining town budget will be set for a later date.

I have reached out to the state regarding improvements that should be made to Prairie Road. A week after the big storm the water was still up to the side of the road in places. No promises here, but I think DOT engineers should seriously look at raising the road bed and bridges. With climate change we can expect that road to be more prone to flooding.

We’re still assessing damages from the Dec. 23 storm. Today (Jan. 5) a large section of Berry Road (on the Jones’s side about 10 feet from the bridge) became undermined and the road is now closed to through traffic until further notice.

Congratulations to Hannah Coolen, who made the fall dean’s list for Thomas College, where she also plays on the women’s basketball team.

Paintings and drawings by Amy Gagnon will be on display at the Unity Public Library during the month of January, Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. There will be a public opening reception on Wednesday, Jan. 11,  6-7:30 p.m. at the library. Amy’s current work is inspired by local history, flora and fauna and landscapes around the Sebasticook. Amy works in oils and watercolors, studying traditional painting techniques. She also does nature journaling, printmaking and mural painting.

If you’re looking for a friend … Humane Society Waterville Area is offering cat adoption for $20.23. (Cats over 1 year old.) Considering the price of vaccinations and spay/neutering, it’s a good deal if you want an older cat that won’t climb your curtains (no promises on the no curtain climbing!).

The Amish Community Market will be will reopening on Monday, Jan. 16.

Custom Pebble Art/Sea Glass Workshop Saturday Jan. 14, 4-6 p.m. Enjoy an evening of creativity! During this session you will create a custom piece of art using sea glass, pebbles, and other unique items! The workshop is only $35 and includes all materials needed as well as a glass of wine or hard cider from Stone Tree! Space is limited as it is held in the heated greenhouse patio of Stone Tree Cidery on Albion Road.

I got the results of the 2022 Christmas Bird Count (Dec. 17) from Tom Aversa. The count was during the fist Nor’easter of the year so it affected both bird counters and birds alike. “For the first time since 2019, no species new to the count were tallied, but despite the weather there were notable highlights. Evening grosbeaks established a record high count and thrilled most feeder watchers. These large, flashy finches have been increasing in the Northeast, wintering in larger numbers due to spruce budworm outbreaks bolstering their populations in Canada.

“Cardinals also established a record high. Song and Savannah sparrows, which are seldom found or even missed, posted record numbers resulting from the new snowfall increasing their visibility. Trends resulting from climate change included the red-bellied woodpecker exceeding their previous high and bluebirds matching theirs. The gorgeous little, blue-backed thrush, which did not appear on a Unity CBC until 2015, was most remarkable. Weather conditions masked the true extent of their explosion into our area as wintering birds. In addition to utilizing berries of invasive plants like bittersweet and multiflora rose, they have exploited another introduced species — the larvae of the large yellow underwing moth. Unity CBC observer John Yoder even noted one of these caterpillars walking on the top of the snow during the height of the storm!”

Side note: My feeder count was lackluster with the exception of the red-bellied woodpecker, who thankfully showed up. I had zero sparrows and doves! Other than that, it was about average. The Cooper’s hawk that had piled into my parked car and died didn’t count (as it happened earlier in the week).


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