Town meetings

Initially (how many weeks ago?) it was just irritating that the calendar section of the town Web site didn’t work. Just call Stacey on Monday morning for the information or remember to watch the cable channel for meeting dates and times for this space. But this week Monday was a holiday and I didn’t feel like leaving my computer to go to the television. Ergo, other than the Ordinance Review Committee meeting Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 a.m. (posted earlier for every Tuesday in February) at the town office, I don’t have other scheduled meetings.

Irritation (both from a personal view and for getting information for this column) progressed to frustration, to anger and now to incredulity that town government can’t bring pressure upon the server (or change the server) to fix what should in this day and age be a simple tech function. Why did the calendar work before? Call the town office for meeting information and to perhaps gently suggest that fixing this Web site calendar problem might be a good idea.

Books, plus

February is Library Lovers’ Month. (For some of us, that’s actually every month!)

This Saturday, Feb. 20, the Artist Trading Card Club will meet from 2 to 4 p.m. ATCs are small works of art made and traded among artists of all ages and skill levels. The paper arts techniques learned are readily used in journaling, scrap booking and gift card making. This month Robinsunne will teach quilling (the art of rolling very thin strips of colored papers and combining the shaped rolls into flowers, geometric patterns and many other images), with assistance from Iris Eichenlaub. Club membership is open to all and basic art materials are provided at no cost. Participants may bring their favorite scissors, glue and personal ATC collection for trading at the end of the meeting. For more information about this or other programs, call 236-3642 or visit the library Web site, www.rockport.lib.me.us.

Camden Conference

Check the Feb. 17 paper for further information (schedule and ticket availability either for the Camden site or the satellite locations) about the Camden Conference, which happens this weekend, Friday, Feb. 19 through Sunday, Feb. 21. Once again, the conference theme, “Afghanistan, Pakistan, India – Crossroads of Conflict,” promises to be a timely gem.

It’s time!

Merryspring’s winter and spring talks continue Tuesday, Feb. 23 at noon with a sneak preview of “What’s New for 2010?” with Hammon Buck. Time to sit and dream (and take notes) as you watch this glorious slide show highlighting new annuals, perennials and shrubs for 2010 and also learn about some tried and true plants to make this year’s garden your best ever. Merryspring members and all children attend talks free; the cost is $5 for nonmembers. For more information, call Merryspring at 236-2239.

Politics

The next Knox County Policy Forum will be held Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 5:15 to 7 p.m. in the Picker Room of the Camden Library. The topic, “Maine Clean Elections – Impacts from the Outside,” will feature Malory Shaughnessy, executive director, and Ann Luther, co-chairman, of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. The forums are open to all people interested in engaging in civic conversation and action. RSVP to Erin Clark at 553-7157 or erin@engagemaine.org.

Not forgotten

Mary Ann Schierholt, executive director of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, reports that last December’s annual giving drive found supporters increased giving by 50 percent over the previous year. Many thanks to all for the generosity, and for believing in CMCA’s mission. Those connected with CMCA are working diligently to bring the organization back by opening day in May. A full calendar of exhibits is being scheduled including the 2010 Biennial Juried Exhibition, which begins on May 29 with more than 650 works of art already entered. Call CMCA at 236-2875 or go to www.cmcanow.org for more information about what’s happening or if you’d like to make a donation.

Reflections

Reading both local and state papers last week, it was interesting and scary to see all the stories about local budgets and how basic services such as health and education are making deep budget cuts to cope with revenue shortfalls and cuts in both state and federal funding. If you didn’t see it, look up Superintendent Pat Hopkins’ detailed letter to the editor in regard to the Five Town Community School District and Maine School Administrative District 28 budget in last Wednesday’s Herald Gazette. Particularly heartening and welcome was her recognition that like so many other organizations, this year there is no choice. Deep cuts will have to be made. Pat listed a wide range of things to be considered including staff reductions, increased class size, reducing or eliminating extra and co-curricular activities (I suspect alternative ways could be found to fund those), and modifying overall district operations.

Lots of us espouse our own ideas about where to save money. Why not attend upcoming finance meetings and listen and if appropriate, make your voice heard. The meeting for the CSD is the first Wednesday of the month at 5 p.m. at Camden Hills Regional High School and the meeting for SAD 28 is the third Wednesday of the month at 5 p.m. at Camden-Rockport Elementary School. Call the district office, Tina Swanson, at 236-3358 for additional meeting information, agendas or minutes.

Nature musings

The moon will be in its first quarter next Monday, Feb. 22. I found an interesting note in the Farmer’s Almanac that said, “One large log burns two to three times longer than the same volume of smaller logs.” And all this time I thought it was because our large pieces of stove wood are oak (which does burn longer), but adding the difference in size calculation, I guess next season we’ll just leave those other wood pieces larger, too. 

It’s wonderful to see the daylight hours increase by leaps and bounds! We have more than 10 hours of daylight now. And the ever-widening circles of bare soil around trees and shrubs indicate growth is happening. Actually, I’m hoping for more snow to cover up those bare spots for fear that if it gets really cold the lack of insulating snow might mean damage to some perennials, including roses.