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Searsmont News

By Joyce and Mickey Sirota | Jan 16, 2020


Outage outrage, or at least mutterings

We’ve had it with power outages. The one Jan. 8 had us saying some bad words. There has got to be a better way.

Town Library

You can (literally) be “Looking Up! The Searsmont Night Sky,” a free Keith Dunson-led astronomy program Friday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. It starts inside and finishes at a telescope outside. If it’s cloudy, Keith answers more of your questions and sets a future viewing date. Check the online version of this column for more information. And don’t forget Story Hour for kids Saturdays at 10 a.m., and “Movie Matinee” Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

Lunch at the Library returns

The Searsmont Historical Society and library are teaming up again to offer free lunch for seniors on the last Fridays of January through April. The first is next Friday, Jan. 31 (snow date Feb. 1) at 12:15 p.m. in the community building’s upper lobby. Enjoy homemade beef stew and biscuits, fruit, cookies, and coffee. We’ve been there, and the food is some good. Stay for games and good conversation. Sign up at the library, or leave a message at 342-5549.

Town Office

We absolutely refuse to say anything more about getting your 2020 dog licenses. We won’t pass along Contessa Mancini’s reminder that you need to register your dog. We won’t tell you that after Jan. 31 the state tacks on a $25 late fee. We just won’t do it.

This is serious, Searsmont. Your Fire Department and Ambulance Service need a few good people to help protect you and the town. More about this next week.

A shout out from Lake St. George State Park

Park Manager Charlene Hood says the 11th annual Youth Ice Fishing Derby will be held Saturday, Jan. 25, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m at the park on Route 3. The derby is free for kids 12 and under and $1.50 for kids 12 and up. Seniors are free, and adults ($1.50) are welcome. Park people are on hand to teach ice fishing. The park provides traps, bait, skis, snowshoes, skates, and sleds, food and cocoa, and every child gets a prize.

Goings on about town

Searsmont’s Regional School Unit 71 Director Catherine Robbins-Halsted wants you to know that the board will be meeting at the Ames School Monday, Jan. 27, at 5:30 p.m. The public can participate at the beginning of the meeting, speaking on any education-related matter. For more information, call Catherine at 322-3161 or email

Appleton Town Library’s “Souper Supper” is Saturday, Jan. 25, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Appleton Village School. Admission is $8 for age 12 and up, $5 for kids 11 and under, with a family cap of $25. Lincolnville’s Rosey Gerry runs the cake auction, and Callahan Bridge Music performs. Call 785-5656 or email for more information.

The Maine Celtic Celebration’s Robert Burns Dinner is at 6 p.m., optional whisky tasting at 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25 ( It’s Searsmonter Claudia Lucchetti’s project, and neighbor Chris Brinn will perform. Wear tartan or recite a Burns poem and you could win a prize.

Robbins Lumber is buying logs and biomass (call Mark at 322-1881 for log specs). The mill is hiring, too. See the online version of this column for details or call 342-5221.

More online

Want to read more about Searsmont this week? No problem. See the longer version at

More about the power outages

With memories of 1998 still very much in our minds, we’re glad the Jan. 12 ice storm passed us by, though the snow on Jan. 16 not so much.

The 3 ½- hour power outage on Wednesday evening, Jan. 8, had us saying some bad words a bit north of “dagnab it,” and then muttering to ourselves. “Here we go again,” said we as the two of us (almost) wordlessly went through the routine: find the headlamps, use them to get the lanterns and water, stoke the wood stove to keep the house warm, put water on said stove to heat for go-to-bed washing up, and try to remember what bulbs were on so we wouldn’t be awakened when power was restored. We missed three, including two lights in the bedroom. We know at least two Searsmonters who had to put off binge watching “Downton Abbey” when the lights went out.

Don’t you just love getting up in the middle of the night when the lights go on and the refrigerator cycles with a loud hum?

Most Searsmonters lost electricity (as did folks in Liberty, Belmont, Appleton, and some in Lincolnville and Morrill). CMP says it was because someone crashed into a utility pole. Hope no one got hurt, but why should one downed pole cut power (according to CMP) to more than 2,200 customers? Makes you wonder if it’s time to bury phone and power lines. Anyone have a few billion dollars to do that?

More about the library’s Night Sky program Jan. 31

You can (literally) be “Looking Up! At The Searsmont Night Sky,” a free astronomy program on Friday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. It starts in the warm library with a basic introduction to what we will see in the Searsmont winter sky. You will learn the basics of an astronomical telescope, and about identifying constellations, which are guides to celestial events.

Participants then can select a constellation to find before going out into the cold (so dress for a half-hour outside). If the night is clear, an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector scope will already be set up outside. If there are clouds, we will stay indoors and learn a bit more about the night sky and telescopes. And there will be time for questions based on what interests you – and set a future viewing date. We hope that skies are clear, because we hear there’s a telescope-visible comet up there.

Your guide to the Searsmont night sky is Keith Dunson from Belfast, who built his own telescope as a kid, went on to a career as a herpetologist (yes, he’s a snake expert) and worked as an entomologist and lepidopterist (insects, moths, and butterflies) before becoming a science teacher to middle- and high-school students.

Keith says “No one should grow up without viewing the stars, the moon, and a planetary neighbor up close and for real. This has a profound effect upon how we view our own home in space.” As amateur backyard astronomers ourselves, we couldn’t agree more.

More about Youth Ice Fishing Derby

Park Manager Charlene Hood tells us the 11th annual Youth Ice Fishing Derby will be held Saturday, Jan. 25, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m at Lake St. George State Park on Route 3. The derby is open to kids 12 and under (for free) and kids 12 and older (just $1.50). And grownups are invited, too. Seniors are free. Adults at $1.50 are welcome to be there with their kids, but park staff is available to teach kids how to ice fish.

So it’s in Liberty, not Searsmont. Close enough. If you haven’t been there in a while, it’s worth a visit. Especially when they offer food, cocoa, equipment, and prizes.

Truth to tell, your correspondents have never understood the attraction of standing on the ice in the cold, waiting for a trap to spring up. We know a lot of people think this is quite the good time. For us, it’s fishing you bet – ice fishing not so much.

But this sounds like a pretty good event. Their sponsors think so, and we’re impressed that they lined up 19 of ’em (way to go, Charlene!). The whole shebang is supported by Downeast Credit Union, Hannaford, Hammond Lumber, Wicked Joe, Kittery Trading Post, and 14 local sponsors including B&M Market, Lori’s Café and Peavey’s Store, Morrill General Store, The Other Place, Tobey’s Grocery, Maritime Energy, Art’s Old Man Birdhouses, Jack Traps, B&B Septic Services, Hydraulic Solutions of New England, Monkey Boys Construction, Rob’s Hardware, Maine Alpaca Experience, and Chris Jaeger – thank you, Chris.

And more Town Office news and goings on about town

Pretty please, call Contessa at 342-5411 if you’ve changed your phone number in the past year and you have town business (such as … um … getting a dog license). And don’t forget that Town Office weather closures are listed on WLBZ-TV, WABI-TV, or, the town website.

Searsmonters have talent. Searsmont’s Brad LaRoche offers the “Aging in Place Handyman Service.” You need it done around the house, inside or out? He can help, he’s a bargain at just $25 an hour, and his phone is 975-5161. And Harold (last name a mystery, phone 323-1520) is a local handyman, too, who also does tree and tractor work.

Speaking of work, we hear Robbins Lumber is buying logs and biomass. Have any logs? Call Mark at 322-1881 for log specs. The mill has openings for a licensed boiler operator, lumber graders (they train you), and last week they were looking for night shift security people and watchmen. For those positions (competitive salary and benefits including paid vacation, health and dental and life insurance, 401k retirement plan and more), stop in at the mill at 53 Ghent Road, call 342-5221 for an application, or fill one out online at

A shout out from Georges River Land Trust

Searsmont is the lucky home to many miles of Georges River Land Trust trails including Ridge to River, Canal Path, Gibson Preserve, Georges Highland Path, and St. George River Canoe Trail. GRLT needs volunteers to create them and help keep them cleared. To report blowdowns or become a trail volunteer, contact the GRLT at

While we’re at it, is it Georges River? St. George River? St. Georges River? Or all three?



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