Searsmont News

By Joyce and Mickey Sirota | Feb 07, 2020


Ruts and holes

“The devil reaches up and grabs you” when you catch a rut left after a thaw and freeze. It’s just one of the joys of Searsmont life. Look how people drive like drunkards down the driveway or on an unpaved road, trying to avoid the worst tracks. It’s pretty much the same for potholes. There’s lots of wheel yanking, and the joy of a flat tire or bent rim if you’ve hit the Grand Canyon dead-on. Ah, the delight of moving everything to reach the spare and jack. Oh, the pleasure of removing lug nuts in the cold. Wow, the ecstasy of paying for a wheel alignment or replacing shocks. Ever wish you lived somewhere warmer? Florida only has hurricanes. And alligators.

Town Library

Cold Comfort Theater’s one-act “To Fall in Love” by Jennifer Lane is Thursday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m. (no snow date). Onion Foundation supports this and the Tuesday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m. (Tuesday, not Thursday, snow date Feb. 25) performance of Jordan Massan Benissan’s African Drum Ensemble, part of the Winter Concert Series.

Benissan, a Togo, West Africa native, received a B.A. degree there from l’Institut des Sciences Commerciales in Lomé. A member of the Ewe people, he was introduced early to music and dance through ceremonies and rituals, and received traditional music training from West African master drummers. He has taught and performed for students from elementary through college age, too. Should be a good time.

Between those events, the Maine Inside and Out Series continues Saturday, Feb. 15, 9:45 a.m. Meet in the parking lot for another “Explore the Wilds of Searsmont!” hike led by Sarah Crosby and Bill Evans. Dress for cold with trail footwear (snowshoes optional). Thank you, Maine Community Foundation‘s Moosewood Fund.

Town Office

The Town Budget Hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 2,5 at 7 p.m. is your chance to ask questions and suggest changes in the $1 million-plus tax-supported 2020 budget. Tuesday, March 3, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. is the presidential primary and state referendum election. Register by Feb. 13 as Dem or GOP to vote in “your” primary. More on this next week. And the Dems caucus Sunday, March 8, 2 p.m., in the Community Building.

Office phone lines at 342-5411 were down for two weeks because a hacker tapped in to make international calls. The lines were reprogrammed and are back up. Be it known that 342-2146 is an alternate number.

Need sand? You can take two 5-gallon buckets per storm from the small sand/salt shed building. The large building’s pile is hazardous, says Town Clerk Kathy Hoey, so don’t use it.

Goings-on about town

Scam alert! People in Searsmont and Belmont are getting phone calls saying they can get “$100 worth of groceries for just $2.28.” Just give them your checking account’s routing and account numbers. Don’t do it! The scammers take out small amounts ($4 and $14.95 or some such), then go for a big withdrawal. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

The mystery is solved, thanks to Christian Halsted. According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Board of Geographic Names, since 1891 the official name is the Saint George River. All other versions are fine, but unofficial. Thank you, Chris.

Want to be a firefighter, EMT, or ambulance driver?

The Searsmont Fire Department and Rescue Service are still looking to hire people who want to help protect the town. They will train you if you’re not already certified as a firefighter or ambulance driver or EMT. Call Interim Fire Chief Tracy Hanford at 322-9731 or Rescue Chief Dawn Bryant at 322-9411 to find out more.

More from the library

Karen Withee and JoAnn Robbins hosted the Friday, Jan. 31, “Lunch at the Library,” and it was a festive affair attended by more than 20 folks. The food was very good and the conversation was lively. We really liked Library Director Steven Brown’s biscuits, the fresh-baked cookies from Sandie Weagle and Elsa Chapin, and the hearty beef stew. The next lunch will be Friday, Feb. 27, at 12:15 p.m.

After dark on Jan. 31 (busy day at the library), Keith Dunson’s “Looking Up! The Searsmont Night Sky” program attracted another 20 people — kids, adults and retirees — who learned about the history of constellations, and the optics and workings of binoculars, spotting scopes and telescopes.

Then we moved outside to the parking lot with red-light flashlights and binoculars (we figured out how to turn off the bright building lights) and used Keith’s 8-inch scope to look at the moon, Venus, and stars before the clouds closed in.

At least one attendee thought he saw the little fuzzball of a comet near Cassiopeia and Perseus, but your correspondents’ eyes were not quite sharp enough for that. A good time was had by all, and Keith says he will host an additional astronomy program or two before year’s end.

As always, “Story Hour” is Saturday, 10 a.m., and “Movie Matinee” is Tuesday, 2 p.m. Call 342-5549 for information on all programs, and they’re all free.

More from the Town Office

The big bad world came to town when the office phone lines were hacked by someone using them to make international calls. There were enough of them to trigger a fraud alert and the phone company shut the lines down. It took two weeks to get a company tech to reprogram the system and plug the vulnerability. The “rollover” line at 342-2146 still worked, and you might want to jot that down just in case.

It’s worth a visit to attend a weekly Tuesday evening selectmen’s meeting. We’ll try to get to more of them. Like every official meeting in Searsmont, it’s open to the public (except for any “executive session” matters like personnel). You learn just how much the selectmen have to deal with. For example, it’s never too early to plan for Demo Debris days. This year, one will be May 9, and the other Aug. 15.

Town Office weather closures are listed on WLBZ-TV, WABI-TV, or the town website.


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