Searsmont News

By Joyce and Mickey Sirota | Feb 14, 2020
Photo by: Mickey Sirota Ally Davis stands behind the counter of the Searsmont Post Office.

mickeysirota@gmail.com

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Special Searsmonter Ally Davis

Ally Davis is one of the people who makes Searsmont a special place. She has been with the U.S. Postal Service for nearly 20 years and has been Searsmont’s postal clerk for four of them. She is always cheerful. “It’s the people I enjoy the most,” Ally says. “I’m here to help, whether with special stamps for special occasions or advice on the best way to mail whatever you have.”

She’s good with people, good at her job (helped by Mike and Debbie) and knows just about everyone’s name. Look for her walking when the post office closes weekdays between 11 a.m. and noon. She also gardens, swims and enjoys jigsaw puzzles.

Ally makes you smile even when you have an unusual request or delivery. “Mailing firearms can be tricky, because there are lots of rules,” she says. “And I can’t always guarantee sending live lobsters means live arrival.” When she receives chicks in the spring, the little peepers stay warm in the back corner and Ally calls the recipient personally. Ally Davis is a Special Searsmonter.

Goings-on about town

After the Feb. 7 storm, there was ice on the porch, the car, the driveway and even (despite plowing, sand and salt) the roads. Searsmonters moved like penguins, grippers on shoes and hiking sticks in hand. We still haven’t gotten rid of some ice-covered snow the plow couldn’t reach. Walking to the mailbox was an adventure, but then the trees were some wicked gorgeous in the sunlight. Now we’re dealing with thaws, rain, snow and a zero-degree night. Makes you kind of dizzy.

Town Library

You won’t want to miss this one. Thursday, Feb. 27, 6 p.m., conservation biologist Geri Vistein presents “Coyote: American Song Dog,” a journey to discover the importance and resilience of our canine neighbor. It is also about us, because life on earth is interrelated and complex, and we share our lives with coyote.

Geri will touch on anthropology, archaeology, prehistoric and modern history, Native American life, poetry, psychology, belief systems, wildlife science, ecology and animal husbandry. This free Maine Outdoors and In program is funded by the Maine Community Foundation.

Town Office

The town budget hearing Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6 p.m., on the $1 million-plus 2020 budget is your chance before town meeting to ask questions and suggest changes. The Searsmont Memorial Day Parade Committee meets Monday, Mar. 2, 6:30 p.m. Call Chairman Jesse Gogan at 342-4133 or email jessegogan@yahoo.com with subject line "Parade" for more information.

Absentee ballots are at the office or Maine.gov (search “absentee ballot request”) for the primary and referendum election Tuesday, Mar. 3. There are separate Dem and GOP primary ballots, and you have to be registered as one or the other to vote for “your” party’s primary candidates. You can enroll or switch, right up to Election Day. Not sure if you’re enrolled? Call Kathy Hoey at 342-5411 with questions.

Anyone can vote on the referendum question. “Yes” means you want to repeal the law that eliminates philosophical and religious exemptions for required vaccinations. “No” means don’t repeal the law and leave it in place.

You can get two 5-gallon buckets of sand per storm at the small sand/salt shed building. The town warns that taking it from the big building could be dangerous.

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More about the post office’s Ally Davis

Ally Davis is the woman with green-hazel eyes, wearing comfortable sneakers, who has been greeting you cheerfully for four years from behind the post office counter. Officially a postal clerk, Ally does it all, from selling stamps to figuring out the best way to mail whatever to wherever. She works with Mike and Debbie, who sort and deliver mail, and are just as helpful as she is.

She’s a native Mainer, a Bucksport High School graduate who travels 40 minutes each way to serve Searsmont. Ally has worked previously at Maine Maritime Academy and as a travel agent, and has been with the USPS for 19 years. She served in Orland, Castine, Hancock, Ellsworth, Franklin, Bangor, Brewer and Belfast before coming to town.

It’s a people business. Ally knows it, and it shows. During a short interview, she sold stamps to one man, fetched parcels for a woman and helped another patron mail a tracked tax return to Missouri. She got a smile from all three.

Her work isn’t always simple. “Mailing firearms can be tricky,” she says. “There are lots of rules. And live items, like lobsters, can’t always be guaranteed to arrive the way you want them to.” When live chicks arrive in the spring, she puts them in the warmest spot in the post office until they’re picked up, still peeping away.

You may see Ally walking on Searsmont roads when the post office closes on weekdays from noon to 1 p.m., part of an arrangement that kept the facility open in Searsmont after the USPS almost decided to close it a few years ago. She is also an avid gardener and swimmer, and loves jigsaw puzzles. Most of all, Ally Davis is a Special Searsmonter, someone who makes this community a special place.

More goings-on about town and from the Town Office

Check out the story featuring Searsmonter Fred Wardwell in the February Maine: the Magazine. Seems Fred, keeping up a family tradition from his own mother, has been quite the iceboater since the 1920s – active on winter ponds for more than 90 of his 97 years. He’s built and raced iceboats, tipped over in them, and especially appreciates Chickawaukie Lake in Rockland. Thanks to Karen Withee for her tip about this article. You should check it out.

The March 8 Dem caucus at Belfast High School, after the primary, is being held because state law requires a caucus every couple of years to elect municipal, county and state members and delegates. We wondered.

Ever been to a Planning Board meeting? They gather on Tuesday evening twice a month, and what they accomplish will amaze you. Members are prepared, engaged and serious. They respect and listen to each other, are polite to anyone who comes to talk with them and have a detailed knowledge of the Land Use Ordinance (a moving target, as state rules change).

Chairman Jack DeGraff runs a good meeting and secretary Sarah Crosby records it all. Impressive all around. They’ve been working for months on a line-by-line Land Use Ordinance update to be voted on at town meeting. A free copy is available at searsmont.com.

Sounds like a Stephen King movie. Why take two 5-gallon buckets worth of sand only from the small sand/salt shed building? Because the large side pile can shift and collapse. And a reminder that commercial sand users are prohibited from taking town sand.

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