Town meetings

For some reason (although town officials are working diligently with the service provider), the online town calendar is not functioning and the provider claims there is nothing they can do about it. Hmmm. If you are interested in specific town government meetings, you may want to double check with the town office at 236-9648.

All meetings are at the town office unless otherwise specified. The Mid-Coast Solid Waste Board of Directors will meet Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. and the Zoning Board of Appeals will also meet at 7 p.m., but at the Rockport Opera House. The Ordinance Review Committee continues to meet on Tuesdays; the next meeting will be Feb. 2 at 7 a.m. The RES East Redevelopment Committee will meet Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. Citizens for Value In Education will meet Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House.

Citizens for Value In Education

The work Alex Armentrout and others did last year in regard to local school finances and budgets continues with Citizens for Value In Education and the mission to help find the best possible education at the lowest possible cost for local students and Rockport residents. Each year, it becomes harder and harder for town government officials to keep the overall town budget in hand as school budgets continue to eat up an increasing portion (currently more than 70 percent) of the total town budget. Town officials find it necessary each year to find cuts in every other aspect of town services, including always the possibility of cutting town personnel, or not providing more than the basic cost of living raises and increasing the employee cost share of various other benefits. Town employees don’t have the kinds of contracts school personnel do that guarantee regular increases in salary and continued benefit packages. Although not an official town committee, the work to be done by Citizens for Value In Education (working with school and town officials) could have a positive outcome on Rockport’s budget. If you want to know more, plan to attend next Thursday’s meeting or get on the mailing list by sending e-mail to Alex: paulalex@roadrunner.com.

Perfect!

Saturday, Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. skiers are invited to come and enjoy the full moon and a guided cross-country ski or snowshoe tour of the beautiful Aldermere Farm property. Cruise along the groomed trails that run through the large open pastures at the farm as well as wooded areas and at the end of the trail, gather round the small bonfire and enjoy hot chocolate and treats. The event is free, but RSVP is required at 236-2739 or jbeach@mcht.org.

Politics

What’s up with local Democrats? According to e-mails received from various groups, Democratic town caucuses are to be held around the state Sunday, Jan. 31. Anyone out there locally (such as Democratic representatives) know if that is so and if so when and where the Rockport caucus will be held? Too late for this column, but perhaps it can appear in later editions of the Herald.

Take me away

Merryspring’s winter and spring talk schedule continues Tuesday, Feb. 2 at noon with the armchair travel talk “Real Tuscany” with Nancy Harmon Jenkins, nationally known food writer with a specialty in Mediterranean and Italian traditions. Nancy divides her time between her native Camden and a small farm in the hills above Cortona in Tuscany. She plans to talk about her Tuscan neighbors and show slides that illustrate how family farmers continue to live and work close to the land and provide for themselves and their communities in much the same way their parents and grandparents did, preserving both agricultural and culinary traditions. Come and bring a friend and a brown bag lunch (tea and sweets furnished), but do come early. Nancy’s talks always draw large crowds and as you know, parking and seating spots fill rapidly. Merryspring members and all children attend talks free, with a $5 charge for nonmembers. For more information, call Merryspring at 236-2239 or visit the Web site at merryspring.org.

Fascinating topic

Ava Goodale, a certified birth doula, will present a talk titled “Journeys of a Doula,” a photographic tour from around the globe and throughout history on the role of childbirth support people, today called doulas. The talk, free and open to the public, will be held Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Camden Public Library. For more information, contact Ava at 701-8225 or visit mainedoula.webs.com.

Books, plus

Recently appointed children’s librarian Liza Walsh and the Rockport Public Library’s dynamic Youth Advisory Board will host a “Booklovers’ Cafe for Kids,” a perfect after school wind-down for children, on Friday, Feb. 5 from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. This is a great opportunity for children to share information about the latest, greatest book(s) they have read, learn about other books from peers and enjoy light refreshments. Free and open to all, this is a great, relaxing opportunity to just enjoy books for books’ sake, not for school assignments. Those of us who work with children and children’s books know that the disconnect between school assignment books and books in general is often pretty extreme and sometimes results in children turning off reading all together. The cafe is a great way to encourage children to read for the sheer love of it. For more information, call 236-3642 or visit the library Web site, rockport.lib.me.us.

Nature musings

Doesn’t seem possible, but Tuesday, Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day. Come on Pete! I still maintain that compared with much of our country and the world we have not had a winter to complain about. Nonetheless, bring spring on.

Night skies

The first full moon of the year will occur Saturday, Jan. 30. Have to laugh at the Algonquin name for this moon, the “Sun Has Not Strength to Thaw Moon.” Other names (take your pick — all seem appropriate for January) include Moon of the Popping Trees, Moon After Yule, Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice Moon, Winter Moon and Frostbite Moon.