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Fire and ice

Colder Searsmont weather means making sure the furnace works, wood is ready for the stove and the woodpile is holding up. When ice comes, it means putting on and taking off spiked ice walkers, finding something to hold onto going up and down steps and walking like a penguin over slippery surfaces. Unless you have a garage or the energy to put a tarp over your car, it means chipping ice off windshields and side mirrors in the morning. We still love living in Searsmont despite the challenges of fire and ice.

A diminishing winter woodpile in Searsmont. Photo by Mickey Sirota

Town Office

At the hour-long Jan. 10 selectmen’s work session, Searsmont’s municipal trio talked about posting signs to warn people away from the lower salt/sand shed, and a special town meeting about a possible new salt/sand location and land lease for a small broadband equipment shed. They set interviews for town clerk and auditor positions and talked about the town budget, personnel, a derelict Ghent Road property, an abandoned trailer on South Main Street, and road and pothole repair.

Searsmonters should bring trash, collapsed cardboard and returnable cans and bottles to the Community Building parking lot on Saturdays until further notice, as the Crie Road transfer facility is closed for the winter. Transfer station guys Neil and Lloyd thank the town for moving their warming shack down to the new location. Searsmonters should be sure the weight of trash bags is “reasonable” now that you need to lift them above your head.

Jesse Gogan says the Memorial Parade Committee meets Monday, Jan. 23, 6 p.m., downstairs at the Community Building. Find out more about this year’s parade or sign up to help. All are welcome. The Donation Advisory Committee holds its open meeting at the Town Office Wednesday, Jan 25, 7 p.m., to consider agencies’ town support requests.

Now, about those dog license renewals. Licenses are just $6 for a neutered or spayed dog, and $11 for an unaltered furry family member. You need to show proof of an up-to-date rabies vaccination, but you want one to protect your puppy pal. Wait to renew until after Jan. 31 and the state adds a $25 late fee. You and Fido do not want to pay that.

More sad news

Searsmont has lost longtime resident Barbara (Viano) LaRoche, who passed away Christmas Eve at the age of 87. Barbara married Army captain Raymond Laroche in 1957 and raised her three children (Brad, Brenda and Barbara Jean) while they were living in Germany. When they moved to Searsmont in 1972, Barbara ran Maple Brook Farm, an organic spread with vegetables, goats, sheep, laying hens and broilers, pigs and a horse.

The family says that Barbara was an avid reader. As her neighbors, we can attest to that and to her service to the town as library volunteer and board member and Planning Board member. Barbara leaves her children, Brad and Brenda’s spouses, grandchildren, two siblings and other family members. You may remember Barbara with a donation in her name to Friends of the Searsmont Library, and leave condolences to the family at Rest in peace, Barbara.

Bits and pieces

Save the date! On Saturday, Feb. 4, 5 to 7 p.m., the Searsmont Fire Department hosts a public supper at the fire station. It’s “all you can eat” American chop suey, hot dogs, baked beans, mac and cheese, coleslaw, homemade biscuits and dessert. Tickets at $10 (or $5 for kids 12 and under) support the department. Food and fun and a good cause. Be there or be square.

Lincolnville boat designer and builder Walter Simmons was the speaker at the Jan. 12 Searsmont Historical Society meeting. Twenty folks were treated to history and boatbuilding information about the Duck Trap wherry, a cunnin’ small boat used in the local salmon fishery. The questions were as entertaining and informative as the presenter and the presentation. According to SHS’s Sally Adams, the next speaker meetings will be announced soon. Don’t miss them or the fresh baked goodies.

Here’s a shout out to the Maine Celtic Celebration, led by Searsmont’s own Claudia Luchetti. Get a head start on the summer event at a Robert Burns dinner Saturday, Jan. 28, 5 to 9 p.m., at the Waldo County Shrine Club in Belfast. A whisky tasting is followed by a traditional Scottish dinner, complete with haggis, plus songs, pipes and poetry. It’s a rollicking good time and the $50 cost supports a great summer celebration. Tickets are available at the door or at