Washington political party caucus
Last Sunday Washington’s Democratic Party held its caucus at Gibbs Library with 20 party members in attendance. State Sen. Christopher Johnson and his wife, Valarie, made a welcome appearance at the meeting. Sen. Johnson described his work as chairman of the Marine Resources Committee, and as member of the Education and Cultural Affairs and Government Oversight Committees, and spoke about the challenges facing our district and state. Independent candidate Jeff Evangelos made a courtesy visit to the caucus. Sharon Turner and Charlotte Henderson were selected co-chairmen of the town Democratic Committee and David Allen was voted secretary.
History of Beer presentation
Maine beer expert, Josh Christie, is coming home to Washington a week from Tuesday to present highlights from his book "Maine Beer: Brewing in Vacationland." Christie is guest speaker at Washington Historical Society’s meeting at Gibbs Library Bryant Room Tuesday, March 18, at 7 p.m. His book is a culmination of a long-time interest in craft beers from Maine’s micro-breweries. Josh runs a popular website brewsandbooks.com, which covers the worlds of books and of craft beer — an intriguing combination, don’t you think? Save the date!
We’ll tell you more about it next week.
Ladies guild organizational meeting
The Washington Ladies Guild will meet Wednesday, March 12, at noon at the Village Church. Following a soup and sandwich lunch (you bring your own sandwich, they provide the soup) they’ll begin plans for their 2014 annual Yard Sale and Strawberry Festival, which raises money to assist nonprofits that benefit our town. The Guild welcomes all women who are interested in its service and sociability. If you want to know more or need a ride to a meeting, contact Mildred at 845-3102.
It really is about us
Last week our select board hosted a meeting with State Sen. Chris Johnson and State Rep. Deb Sanderson to learn more about how municipal revenue sharing affects our town. Now this isn’t one of those state programs that make us tingle with excitement. It is, though, one of those programs citizens “should” understand because it hits our wallets through affecting the town’s property tax rate. By law, a certain amount of money the state collects from sales taxes and corporate and personal income taxes is supposed to be distributed back to towns and cities. If this doesn’t happen for some reason, town governments have to figure out how to balance their budgets without those funds.
The Washington budget committee and select board have managed to keep local tax rates (mil rates) quite even over the last five years at between .01375 - .0132 while income from revenue sharing has dropped by more than $25,000 in the same period. Selectman Don Grinnell outlined the numerous conundrums towns face when these funds can’t be depended upon. Johnson and Sanderson explained some of the situations that affect the state’s decisions about revenue sharing and the various approaches to dealing with the responsibilities of government toward the citizenry. Rep. Sanderson and Sen. Johnson described some of the duties of their committee assignments. Johnson said he believes the Legislature will find ways to fund the recently approved revenue sharing. Sanderson acknowledged that likelihood but cautioned not to count on it until it actually happens.
Be assured, I’m not up to speed on all the ramifications of being governed or getting my voice heard, and politics isn’t all that dear to my heart. Still, I valued this session that made so clear all the ways we hand over control of our governance to others. It’s a wake-up call for me to pay attention. I invite you to do it, too.
Ta-da! They did it again
Medomak Middle School Science Olympiad Team repeated last year's performance by coming in first place at the state tournament held at University of Maine. UMaine professors were very impressed with the students. David Sturm, the physics professor who oversees the tournament spoke about how exciting it is when a "little state" scores in the top 10 at the national tournament. Madelon Kelly, Medomak Middle School seventh and eighth-grade science teacher and team coach says that’s a very tall order but she and the team will be working hard and happy to have the faith and support of Dr. Sturm and his associates as well as the SAD 40 community.