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Searsmont news

By Joyce and Mickey Sirota | Jul 23, 2020

joycesirota@gmail.com; mickeysirota@gmail.com

322-7572; 322-5671

Close to home

Neighbors have commented on a strong crop of bee balm in our front yard this year, and it really is something. We don’t know how it got there, but it keeps coming back. Hummingbirds also pay a lot of attention to the flowers, and reportedly it has medicinal properties. The other perennial brightening the yard now is goose-neck loosestrife, which over the years has spread from a 1-square-foot clump to cover a 4-by-10-foot space.

Town meeting

There was a good turnout for the July 18 town meeting, rescheduled from early April. Because of the COVID-19 restrictions on indoor gatherings, the meeting was held in the new town Fire House which, with the emergency bays wide open, allowed for combined indoor and outdoor seating to accommodate everyone. The meeting’s start was slightly delayed because folks were still lined up to check in. The town elected three selectmen: Chris Staples for another three-year term, Arlo Redman III to fill the remainder of a two-year term resulting from a resignation) and Pete Milinazzo for the remainder of a one-year term (also because of a resignation).

Also elected were two members of the Cemetery Committee (Sherry Trundy and Barbara Jean LaRoche), three members of the Library Board of Trustees (Geri Winslow, Brad LaRoche and Maria Salvaggio), two members of the Planning Board (Sarah Crosby and Jack DeGraff) and one member of the Board of Appeals (Charlie LeRoyer). A revised municipal budget for this year was passed, and included an additional $5,000 for the transfer station to cover unforeseen increases in operating costs.

Selectmen and Town Office

The Selectmen’s meeting for July 21 was an informal meet and greet at the Town Office, not broadcast via Zoom. Check the town website (townofsearsmont.com) or call 342-5411 to find out how to “attend” the July 28, 5 p.m., meeting.

Summer hours for the transfer station are Wednesday (3 to 6 p.m.) and Saturday (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Trash bag fees are due to increase this week: five bags for $8 (orange, with drawstring); blue bags will be 10 for $8; disposal of contractor bags will cost $6; and trash in unmarked bags will cost $3 each. Remember to break down any cardboard boxes you bring to the station, as space is tight.

School budget referendum

A virtual public hearing on the RSU 71 school budget will take place Aug. 4 at 5:30 p.m. and may be accessed at rsu71.org. The school budget referendum has been rescheduled for Aug. 18, from noon to 6 p.m. in the Community Building meeting room. Absentee ballots are available from the Town Office in person, by phone request, or by mail. The absentee ballot request form is available online at searsmont.com. Since the school assessment is a large part of the tax commitment, the delay in the referendum, coupled with a vote at town meeting means that taxes are due Oct. 31. As always, you can prepay if you don’t want to wait. Call the Town Office for more information.

2020 Census

Because of COVID-19, local response numbers to the request for census data are down, and this information is critical, as it sets regional funding and legislative representation for the next 10 years. Do your part and complete the census questionnaire by going to 2020census.gov if you have not already done so.

Food that’s in when school is out

Free grab-and-go breakfast and lunch bags for kids and teens 18 and younger are offered at Ames School Mondays and Thursdays from 8 to 9:30 a.m. All meals must be eaten off-site, and no application is required. While you’re at the Ames School, look for the free vegetables offered by local gardeners with extra produce. Grower drop-offs are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to noon at the Ames School foyer. Produce pickups are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more info: searsmont.com/searsmontgardengrowth.

Searsmont Town Library

If you wish to use the library in person, 30-minute appointments can be scheduled on Thursdays (2 to 5 p.m.) and Fridays (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Face coverings are required. The Library Bandito will continue to help patrons who prefer parking lot delivery. Borrowing times are extended to 28 days, and there are no late fees. The librarian is available by phone Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the blue drop box is now open for returns 24/7.

And, as always…

Practice physical distancing, wear your mask to protect other people, stay safe and be well.

Bee balm grows well in the Sirotas' yard. (Photo by: Joyce Sirota)
Mickey Sirota harvests lettuce to share at Ames School. (Photo by: Joyce Sirota)
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