Don’t forget

A public information meeting about Rockport Library will be held May 25 at the library. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the recently conducted public survey and in-depth study and the services currently offered and the library tomorrow and beyond. The survey results and other documents related to this project are available at rockport.lib.me.us/planning.php. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

Town

All meetings are held at the town office unless otherwise noted. The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet May 25 at 7 p.m. at the Opera House. The Library Committee will meet Thursday, May 26 at 5:30 p.m.

Memorial Day

The town office, the library and all local schools will be closed Monday, May 30 in observance of Memorial Day. Nice this year that the “observance” occurs on the original date set aside for Memorial Day (see below). That won’t happen again until 2016.

Books, plus

Booklovers’ Cafe will be held Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m. at the library. Gather at 9:30 a.m. for wonderful homemade refreshments and gourmet coffee from Foglifters and informal book chats. At 10 a.m., share your favorite(s) book(s) of the month. All are welcome, any time. The library Book Group facilitated by Jenny Ruddy will be held next Wednesday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m., new members always welcome. The book to be discussed is “The Great House” by Nicole Krauss. For more information about the library or programs, call 236-3642 or visit rockport.lib.me.us.

Merryspring

Tuesday, May 31 at noon at Merryspring (just in time to help you plan summer visitor activities!), local authors Tony Oppersdorff and Kyril Schabert will discuss their new book, “Best Nature Sites of Midcoast Maine: Route 1 Corridor Brunswick to Belfast.” Their talk will highlight some of the 40 selected sites mentioned in the book (of course Merryspring is included!). Copies of the book will be available for purchase with a portion of the sale price to benefit Merryspring. Admission free to MNC members and children; $5 for non-members.

And! If for some reason you missed Merryspring’s plant sale last weekend, there is still a wide variety of perennials, shrubs, and herbs available. Stop in during open hours and shop at your leisure. For more information about the plants or Merryspring in general, call 236-2239 or visit merryspring.org.

School budgets

The proposed SAD budget is just over $12 million and the CSD just over $11 million. (Rockport’s “share” is approximately $8,661,650 or approximately 63 percent of the total municipal budget). Detailed yet succinct information about both proposed budgets (and other information including demographics, test score results, etc.), appear in the Superintendent’s report mailed to residents last week. The report also breaks down the budgets’ revenue sources by dollar/percentage amounts (including Camden/Rockport for SAD 28 and the five CSD towns for the CSD), and shows the percentage/dollar increase for each town if the budget is passed as presented. Rockport’s share of the SAD budget would increase by over $253,000 (5 percent) and the CSD over $77,000 (4.22 percent). The estimated increased tax impact for Rockport for the two budgets would be over $54/per $100,000 valuation.

I don’t pretend to understand how the two-tier way the budgets are “voted” on is truly a representative process with the only way to “vote” on individual budget categories/articles is by voice vote at a “public” meeting, generally attended by only a tiny percentage of eligible voters. The only secret, ”Yay” or Nay,” paper ballot vote registered voters get to cast is on the bottom line/entire budgets on Election Day. This year’s timetable: Tuesday, May 31 both the SAD 28 (6 p.m.) and the CSD (8 p.m.), proposed budgets will be presented, article by article, at the “Community Wide Budget Hearing” The simple referendum to appear on the ballot on Election Day, to “pass the budget in total” comes from this hearing. The hearing is your only “minuscule” opportunity to advocate for any changes in the individual articles which would change the bottom line, so do plan on attending the hearing if you want any voice in the process before voting on the total $23 million budgets.

Rockport Garden Club

The club will meet next Thursday, June 2 at 1 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House. Following the business meeting and refreshments, the 2:30 program, “Summer Success in the Garden” will feature Lynette L. Walther, gardener extraordinaire and Herald Gazette feature writer. Lynette will discuss the basics of getting ornamental and vegetable gardens up and running for a successful summer. Great timing, great challenge Lynette given the month of May so far! (I know what I’m thinking as I sit here on the ninth consecutive day of clouds, rain, fog, cold, damp weather with nothing yet planted!) The program, free and open to the public is held at the Opera House. For more information call Patti Peace at 594-1919 or Melody Schubert at 236-2162.

Night skies

Sunday, May 29, about 30 minutes before sunrise you’re in for a rare treat! If you look to the east, you’ll find Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter in linear ascending order with the Moon above and slightly to the left. (Even rarer would be clear skies to see it!).

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed in 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. New York was the first state to recognize the holiday (1873). The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days. After World War I the holiday changed to include and honor Americans who died fighting in any war and is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (National Holiday Act passed by Congress in 1971 to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states still have a separate day to honor Confederate war dead.

In its 2002 Memorial Day address, the VFW stated, “Changing the date merely to create a three-day weekends undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”

To help remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution (December 2000), asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a “Moment of Remembrance and Respect,” pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps.” In some ways, the specific last Monday observance may actually help. At least here in Midcoast Maine with “holiday” closures, our observances (parades, etc.) seem well organized and attended.