Town meetings

Frustration sets in as the calendar section of the town Web site continues to not function. In this tech age it’s hard to figure out why the server can’t get it fixed. For now, check with Stacey at the town office for upcoming meetings. The Ordinance Review Committee is currently meeting on Tuesdays at 7 a.m. (next meeting Feb. 16).

Holiday closings

Presidents Day falls on Monday, Feb. 15 and the town office and the library will be closed in observance of the holiday. All local schools will be closed from Monday, Feb. 15 through Friday, Feb. 19 for winter break. Presidents Day replaces the real Lincoln (Feb. 12) and Washington (Feb. 22) birthday holidays. I recently learned that Lincoln was the first president not born in the original 13 states. I wonder if “birthers” were around then, too.

What are the chances?

It’s almost laughable to hear federal and state officials touting “no new taxes” while cutting aid that means local municipalities have to increase taxes. In an attempt to help minimize major tax increases for Rockport (and other affected towns), Citizens for Value in Education issued a request for 2010 budget parameters to Maine School Administrative District 28 and the Five Town Community School District. The reductions proposed would come mainly from absorbing the state’s school subsidy cuts and would result in an overall 9.7 percent reduction of the school budgets. At a time when town department heads are asked to prepare two budgets, one with 10 percent cuts, one with 20 percent cuts, the request to local schools to share the pain seems only fair and prudent.

Family Winter Ecology Festival

Merryspring will hold its annual festival Saturday, Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon. Wildlife rehabilitator Barbara Tomlinson of Wild Haven will work with live birds of prey (a barred owl, red-shouldered hawk and turkey vulture) at her presentations at 10, 10:45 and 11 a.m. and will display animal pelts and skulls. Forester Didier Bonner-Ganter will lead a walk on winter tree identification and fun tree facts at 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. and Maine Guide Mark DiGirolamo will lead walks on winter bird life and animal signs at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Children can make their own pine cone bird feeders, and if it’s a sunny day, Wayne Barber and Lys McLaughlin Pike of the Central Maine Astronomical Society will let you safely view our nearest star, the sun, through their solar scopes. Greg Dorr will demonstrate winter camping techniques, and if the snow is right, Paul Cartwright will demonstrate how to build an igloo. The event is free to all and it’s a great time to walk (or perhaps snowshoe) the beautiful trails at Merryspring and tap into the knowledge of these naturalists. There will be cookies and hot cider available in the Nature Center. See the full schedule on the Web site at merryspring.org.

Coastal Quilters

This group will meet Saturday, Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. and you’re in for a winter treat with this month’s program featuring Robinsunne, local artist and artisan, who will do a trunk show discussing techniques and showing a variety of the eclectic pieces she creates, both large and framed pieces and also small artist trading cards. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please call Karen Martin at 236-8038 or Louisa Enright at 236-6215.

Good deal

Bay Chamber Concerts, the Camden Snow Bowl and Farmers Fare have a special two-part offer. Tickets are still available for the Golden Dragon Chinese Acrobats performance to be held Saturday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Strom Auditorium and if you buy now, you’ll receive complimentary lift tickets to the Camden Snow Bowl for Feb. 13. Then, on Feb. 13, complimentary tickets to the performance will go to the first 100 full day lift ticket buyers. Call Bay Chamber Concerts at 236-2823 for more information. In addition, beginning at 4 p.m. on Feb. 13, Farmers Fare will offer complimentary hot chocolate to promotion participants (coupon required).

Politics

The Knox County Republican Women will meet Friday, Feb. 12 at noon at the home of Helen Shaw at 77 Pascal Ave. in Rockport to discuss assistance to local and state candidates this election year. Please bring a bag lunch. For further information, contact Vice President Helen Shaw at 236-2468.

The Knox County Republicans will hold their monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Trade Winds Motor Inn in Rockland. Steve Abbott, former chief of staff to Sen. Susan Collins and candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, will be the guest speaker. The meeting will be preceded by meet-n-greet starting at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit the Knox County Republican Web site at gopknoxcounty.com or call 594-5118. All Knox County residents are welcome to attend either meeting regardless of party affiliation or voter registration status.

Change of pace

Merryspring’s Winter and Spring talks continue Tuesday, Feb. 16 at noon with a special guest appearance by Cosi the House Bunny (along with his toys, litter box, food samples and cardboard castle). The program is sure to delight children and grownup children alike. Cosi’s “mom,” Wendy Andresen, will demonstrate the joys and challenges of having rabbits as house pets and parents need not fear that rabbits will be promoted as the perfect pets for children because Wendy will emphasize the special needs of bunnies and the associated expense. Merryspring members and all children attend talks free; the fee is $5 for nonmembers. For more information, call Merryspring at 236-2239.

Night skies

Mercury now appears low in the southeast a bit before sunrise and the thin crescent moon is to its upper right. On Valentine’s Day, Jupiter and Venus are grouped together with the new moon on the southwest horizon just after sunset.

Reflections

How sweet it is — just in time for Valentine’s Day I saw a great quote attributed to Willa Cather: “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.” This is good not only for Valentine’s Day, but also for New Orleans and those of us who rooted for the underdog Saints in the Super Bowl. Now, on to Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and Lent. Even before that (Feb. 11), Happy Birthday Hannah!