Not already

Wow. It didn’t dawn on me until a bit into writing this week’s column that school opening time must be drawing near. It’s closer than I thought. Maine School Administrative District 28 and the Five Town Community School District teacher prep and workshop days will be held this week, Aug. 25 and 26. Then comes the grand event with both Camden-Rockport Elementary School and Camden-Rockport Middle School classes beginning Monday, Aug. 30. The Five Town CSD freshman orientation will be held Monday, Aug. 30 and all CSD classes will begin Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Preview morning

The Ashwood Waldorf School will hold a one-day Early Childhood Class Preview Morning Thursday, Aug. 26 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the school. Space is limited and there is a $10 materials fee. The school is also enrolling a number of classes for the coming year. For registration and general information, call 236-8021.

Heating assistance

If you missed the chance to sign up for an appointment in Rockport with Penquis for seasonal heating assistance, you still have an opportunity. Call Penquis at 596-0361 to schedule an appointment at the town office for Thursday, Sept. 2. Remember you must have an appointment made directly with Penquis.

Bay Chamber

The final concert in the summer series on Thursday, Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. will feature the delightful First Chair All Stars with an evening of “Mostly Beethoven” at the Rockport Opera House. For more information and tickets, call 236-2823. The schedule for the fall/winter concert series is already available and that lineup looks to be as wonderful as this summer season was.

More politics

The Knox County Republican Committee continues to host Republican candidates at the Union Fair through the last day of the fair, Saturday, Aug. 28. Candidates may include Paul LePage, Republican candidate for governor; Dean Scontras, candidate for U.S. Congress; and Knox County Republican candidates: Wendy Pelletier, Rep. Wes Richardson, Helen Shaw, Steve Dyer, Sen. Chris Rector, Carol Emery, Mike Phillips and Deb Sanderson. Call 594-5118 or visit gopknoxcounty.com for a schedule of appearances.

Summer gardens

Friday, Aug. 27 from 10 to 4 p.m. the Belfast Garden Club’s open garden will feature the
Biebel Garden at 242 Fisher Road in Monroe, a great example of a large organic experimental and eclectic vegetable and flower garden created in the popular “lasagna style” from packing cartons, cow manure and grass clippings. (It never needs to be plowed or rototilled.) Tickets are available at the garden and directions and garden details are posted at belfastgardenclub.org.

Books, plus

The ever-popular Booklovers Cafe will be held Saturday, Aug. 28 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the library. It’s a great discussion about favorite books, all genres, both contemporary and classic. Wonderful coffees are provided by Foglifters Coffee, Teas & Spices as are homemade goodies.

Wednesday, Sept. 1, the RPL Book Group facilitated by Jenni Ruddy will feature a short story collection, “Ship Fever” by Andrea Barrett. Open to everyone, the group meets at 6:30 p.m. at the library. For more information about any programs or the library, call 236-3642 or visit rockport.lib.me.us.

Merryspring

Tuesday, Aug. 31 at noon, nursery owner Rick Sawyer will be the featured speaker. Rick will discuss ferns and mosses, a wonderful, natural way to enhance all those shady areas in your yards and gardens. Shade gardening is Rick’s passion and his wealth of knowledge in terms of the incredibly beautiful diverse plantings available is inspiring. Merryspring members and all children attend talks free; there is a $5 charge for nonmembers. For more information about Merryspring or any programs, call 236-2239 or visit merryspring.org.

Rockport Garden Club

Thursday, Sept. 2 the Rockport Garden Club’s program is a fascinating one with Chewonki’s Batmobile and “Understanding Bats.” Wait! Don’t tune out. Bats are among the most misunderstood mammals on our planet, yet one of our most valuable, particularly for harmful insect control. Come and let Chewonki staff take you on a journey through the world of bats, looking at their diversity in a variety of ecosystems, learning to understand the unique nature of bats with slides, touchable specimens and live bats. The free program, held at the opera house, will run from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. (following the 1 p.m. business meeting). All are welcome, especially children, for this great program. For more information, call Ellen McMullen at 230-1260.

Night skies

As summer winds down, Tuesday, Aug. 31, Venus, Mars and bright star Spica form a circle that makes up the closet trio of the year. The moon will be in its last quarter next Wednesday, Sept. 1.

Complacency shaken

I like to think of myself as attuned to the needs of others, especially in tough economic times, and carefully track various economic indicators nationwide as well as give annually to basic, local, human service organizations and provide monthly support for our church’s involvement with Area Interfaith Outreach’s food program. Nonetheless, somehow I’ve managed to have a blind eye to the ever increasing demands for basic human needs — housing, food, heating, medical — right here in every town in Knox County.

According to an in-depth report in the Aug. 20 Herald Gazette, the number of Knox County residents currently receiving some form of public assistance is 11,044, representing 28 percent of county residents, more than one in four. Individual towns range from 10 to 40 percent, with Rockport at 17 percent. The sad part of this is not knowing how or if individuals and communities can fix the situation. And it’s for sure that at the moment local, state and national politicians and candidates can’t get past their own need to win to come up with anything but mud-slinging at the other guys or empty platitudes and promises and right now begin to work on bipartisan, workable ideas to deal with the current economic problems. How sad.