Same backward and forward

Monday was a palindrome. No, not the day that marks the start of the workweek but the date: 01-11-10. To write the day a little differently, the second day of the year also fell into the category: 01-02-2010. A palindrome is a word, number or sequence that reads the same backward as it does forward. Looks like the next one on the calendar is 11-02-2011.

Get cooking!

The Georges Valley High School project graduation committee and students are selling cookbooks to raise money for their whitewater rafting trip in June. The cookbook, with its cover designed by senior art student Ariel Harper and colored by Caitlin Schesser, contains more than 300 recipes collected from students, family, friends, faculty and community members. The cookbooks cost $15 each and may be preordered until Jan. 31; they are expected to arrive in May. Contact a Georges Valley senior or call Karen Lombardo at 354-6361 to purchase a copy.

Winter’s OK

Forget the tropics. According to the Miami Herald, Camden is the place to visit in the winter, with plenty to do (it just has to mention the set for “Peyton Place”), despite the drop in temperature. (And poor Florida, where it’s been just as cold as parts of the Northeast, and colder than the upper Northwest). The travel article mentions a slew of restaurants and inns, as well as activities, such as visiting the library, opera house, Snow Bowl, and Farnsworth Art Museum, and provides readers with a video clip of the toboggan nationals. Camden has retained its beauty and charm, even though it has become a year-round place to visit, the article said. “The summer appeal is obvious: A river and small waterfall flow and gurgle in the middle of the village,” wrote travel reporter Karen Hammond. “A tiny footbridge is bedecked with hundreds of flowers. Pleasure craft and schooners, including several members of Maine’s renowned windjammer fleet, bob in a picturesque harbor.” The winter scenery is no less extraordinary, she added, shrink-wrapped schooners and all.

The Miami Herald did get it right, though. Midcoast Maine is being lulled by a stretch of calm weather these days, following a stormy go-round just before Christmas. Sunny days and pleasant temperatures are sailing us right through January, knock on wood. The Midcoast is especially lovely late at night for those driving home on the quiet Route 1, with a glowing Penobscot Bay stretching into ocean and the towns still cheerfully sparkling with holiday lights. It’s not the same case in other towns around the state, which are more firmly socked into the grimness of a Maine winter.


Snickers came home

In Cushing, an e-mail alert circulated throughout the community about Snickers, a dark red retriever who failed to return home. But on Monday, Snickers appeared back home at the door, so all’s well that ends well.

Speaking of dogs: remember that January is the month when dog owners must license their pets at their respective town offices. Hurry up, or face additional fees.


For those who did not get the memo

An e-mail arrived from Maine Revenue Services reminding business owners that on June 8, the state will vote whether to change the tax laws. “That is, of course, if the Legislature does not change the law or repeal it themselves,” said the Maine Chamber of Commerce, which opposed legislative action last spring that enacted an overhaul of the tax structure, which in turn was overturned by a statewide petition. The tax reform legislation is not in effect, and voters will see a new ballot question come June: “Do you want to reject the new law that lowers Maine’s income tax and replaces that revenue by making changes to the sales tax?”

Stay tuned for another wild ride as heat builds around that proposed legislation.

Harmony and joy fill Strom Auditorium

The Strom Auditorium was packed for the recent Midcoast Community Chorus concert. Dubbed “Coming Home,” the program was a comfortable combination of familiar gospel-style music, folk rounds and weaving harmonies.

The Midcoast Community Chorus singers are an ever growing and ever changing population. As Director Mimi Bornstein pointed out to the singers just before the concert began, the exact group that sang on Sunday will never sing together again. When registration for the spring semester opens on Feb. 8 there will be new faces and new voices, and some who have been part of the fun since 2004, when Missa Gaia was performed, will have moved on to other things.

For those in the audience, Midcoast Community Chorus concerts are a chance to hear the full sound of their neighbors’ voices joined in song. For the 150 people whose months of rehearsal culminate on the risers on the Strom stage, these events are an opportunity for joy and giving and the communion of shared music.

The Midcoast Community Chorus is open to all who wish to take part. Watch these pages for an announcement of the upcoming registration.


SAD 40: A space odyssey

The Maine School Administrative District 40 School Board listened Jan. 7 to a presentation from Principal Harold Wilson about the high school’s 2010-2011 program of studies.

In mulling over the year, school board Chairman Bonnie Davis Micue asked, “When was it that we thought the year 2010 would sound like science fiction?”

“1984,” said Ann Donaldson.

Maybe Arthur C. Clarke and George Orwell should be required reading.