Speaker amuses, uplifts

Kate Braestrup, chaplain to the Maine Warden Service and nationally known author, held her audience captivated at last week’s Washington Historical Society meeting. Braestrup described her work as chaplain which led to her first book, "Here If You Need Me," and shared thoughts from two subsequent books "Marriage and Other Acts of Charity," and "Beginner’s Grace." She spoke of the leadership the Maine Warden Service has shown in dealing compassionately with its public and the forward thinking of the chaplain program. Braestrup went on to talk about her encounter with a young Maine National Guardsman and how it has led her to a strong interest in his unit’s exemplary service at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Her down-to-earth and animated style had her audience hanging on each word. These Guardsmen, Braestrup says, along with the wardens she works with, their families, and the people she meets as a chaplain and community minister have led her to believe that Mainers have a special quality of decency, courage and common sense that enables them to prevail in tough circumstances. Braestrup visited with members following the meeting. The next Washington Historical Society meeting will be April 16 with member Richard Lenfest relating some of his family history.

Last chance for free tax help

The final opportunity for free tax preparation assistance is Wednesday, April 10. Appointments are at the Washington Fire Station conference room (side door) and available by calling Liz at 845-2377.

Giant yard and plant sale

Gibbs Library’s major fundraiser is coming up next month on May 18. It might seem like there’s plenty of time, but to collect and organize everything takes many hours and much work. So, preparation is already well under way. Beth Connor (845-2611) and Rhonda Hamilton (485-3604) are heading up the yard sale. Amy Micklich (401-578-8348) and Peg Hobbs (845-2900) are in charge of the perennial plant sale. The yard sale includes just about all household items in good working condition. Clothing is not accepted. The plants to be sold are lifted or divided from local gardeners who donate them. If you’re willing to take a shift at the sale, help out with pricing and displaying, or if you have items or plants to donate, please give one of these women a call as soon as you can.

You just have to know the trick

This time of year, we like to have a few small “burns” as part of spring cleaning in the yard. We enjoy the brief visits with Don B. Grinnell for a permit. Occasionally, though, it’s tempting to get the permit online. A few days ago we spotted some dark clouds approaching. Ah, a shower’s coming . . . good time to burn out that thatch. So, to the website. What town, it asks. Washington, I type. Not allowed in Washington, it says. I sputter a moment then call the fire chief who assures me this should work. The operative word here is “should.” No luck. A few minutes later, the phone rings and a smiling voice says, “it’s Washington comma town of comma not county.” Great. And, happily, as soon as we type that in (with the actual comma not the word) it works! I thank Tom Johnston a lot for calling me back. That’s another amazing public service in my opinion. Somehow, through the magic of technology, as soon as the forms are filled on the webpage, our fire wardens get the message. It’s important to note that permits are free from one of the town fire wardens but cost $7 if they’re obtained online. And, of course, you have to know where you are: Washington, town of, not county.

Farmers’ market opens for season

Saturday, April 13, the Washington Grange Farmers’ Market will begin its 2013 season and be open every Saturday through late fall. The market operates from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Evening Star Grange Hall on Old Union Road across from the town office.

Book lady moves to coast

Karen Jelenfy, who for years ran the delightful Village Books in the heart of Washington’s downtown, is opening a new business on April 6 in Searsport. It’s a store for rare and used books, a gallery for Maine art and craft, and will feature yarns made by Maine spinners from Maine sheep. The store, called WORKS, is located at 21 East Main St. in Searsport. We wish our neighbor good luck in her venture.