Washington’s municipal elections

The municipal elections will be held Friday, March 26. Voting will take place in the Bryant Room of Gibbs Library from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. The ballot includes a three-year Board of Selectmen term, one seat on the Maine School Administrative District 40 School Board and one referendum question asking for adoption of a revised Land Use Ordinance. The proposed Land Use Ordinance is the result of four years of review and revision by a group of Washington volunteers who made up the Land Use Ordinance Review Committee: Norm Casas, Bo Marks, Dave Martucci, Ed Rotch, Carol Sloane, David Studer, Bob Temple and Linda Wirtz, along with the Board of Selectmen, Wes Daniel, Kathy Ocean and Don Grinnell. At the public hearing on March 3, attended by 51 people, citizens had a chance to go over the new document. At the request of some residents, several points were referred back for clarification. So, following the meeting, the Board of Selectmen, committee members Martucci and Casas, resident Larry Esancy, and Town Clerk Ann Dean went to work on those details working until midnight. Another public hearing was held on March 15. Many thanks to all the folks who worked on this tedious but very necessary job. Copies of the updated ordinance are still available at the town office, online at washingtonme.govoffice.com and from Board of Selectmen members.

Spring session yoga begins April 5

Linda Shepard will conduct the spring session of yoga classes starting on April 5 and continuing until May 24. The eight-week class focuses on what Linda calls “slow yoga” that stretches and strengthens muscles while releasing stress and tension and aiding relaxation and flexibility. Men and women, beginners and experienced alike, are welcome. The cost is $96 for all eight weeks or $14 for each class. Mats are provided. Participants should wear loose, comfortable clothes. Linda has taught yoga for nearly 20 years and currently has classes in Thomaston and Camden. She is an aquatic therapist at Lilypond in Rockport. Linda said the winter session had a jovial community feeling to it, making it fun for everyone, especially herself. For more information or to register for the classes, contact Linda at 785-4319 or e-mail shepsimp@midcoast.com.

Village Church mission report

Sunday evening — it started with a yummy supper and outrageous desserts prepared by congregation members. Then Village Church Pastor Tim Lewis and member Liz Grinnell presented slides and narratives of their mission trip to La Romana, Dominican Republic. This is the Village Church’s third year of participation in this mission to serve the Haitian emigrants who work in sugar cane fields, and their families. Entities like the State Sugar Council, Vicini Mills, and Gulf and Western (whose largest mill is at La Romana) run huge sugar plantations and house workers in bateyes – villages consisting of housing, a store, sometimes a church and a school – provided close to the work site. There is a historical anti-Haitian feeling among Dominicans, which leads to lack of health care and other services. Because of this plight, this particular mission is dedicated to the people of the bateyes. Mission workers visit the bateyes on a rotation and provide checkups, prenatal care, vitamins and medical attention. Liz Grinnell pointed out that the clinics are held in whatever space is available and each work station is within only a few feet from the next. One of her diverse assignments was “traffic control” where she helped the people make their way through various lines. Pastor Lewis worked on construction of an addition to Good Samaritan Hospital. “Good Sam,” as it’s called, was begun in 1987 by the late Jean-Luc Phanord whose Haitian mother was denied admission to a Dominican hospital years earlier. Good Sam continues to grow under leadership from his widow, Elza Phanord.

Both Pastor Lewis and Liz Grinnell commented on the friendliness and generosity of these Haitians who smile so easily although their lives are extremely hard. The air quality is bad from huge sugar cane refineries spewing black smoke 24/7, and the periodic burning of spent cane fields. Water, which comes from a central cistern, must be boiled before use. And they are very poor. Tim and Liz’s many photos depicted the bateyes, scenes at the clinics and construction site, and charming shots of smiling children and families. Liz remarked that most of these people had never seen their own image, so children and adults alike giggled with pleasure at being shown their photos. Much attention has been given Haitians since the tragic earthquake there but their lives have been difficult for generations. For more information on this mission project, visit laromanadreamin.tripod.com/goodsamhosp.html and laromana.org or call Pastor Tim Lewis at 845-2623.

Official? Ice out

The ice went out of Washington Pond March 19, the earliest in memory. Does anyone know who keeps an official record of ice out? Saturday spring officially arrived at 1:32 p.m. We appreciate it.

Condolences

Artist Paula Green died Sunday morning after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Paula held this terrible disease at bay for eight years during which her creativity and spirit prevailed. Her family announces that there will be a gathering in Maine of family and friends this summer to honor and celebrate Paula’s life. Her complete obituary will appear in local papers. Contributions may be made in her memory to the Paula Green Memorial Fund for the Enhancement of Art, c/o Washington Library Association, 40 Old Union Road, P.O. Box 348, Washington, ME 04574.