Planning Board public hearing

Rockport Granite Inc. is applying to the town to open a granite fabrication facility at 32 Augusta Road, formerly Tim Vigue’s Garage. The Planning Board will hear their comments next Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Bryant Room of Gibbs Library. The proposed facility, if approved, would use a water saw cutting machine, which cuts precise and intricate designs in metal or stone. The Planning Board considers matters of zoning, land use, public benefits and other factors affected by proposals and makes recommendations to the Select Board. Be there if you can. In case of bad weather that evening, the meeting will be the following Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Fishing Derby

Washington Pond will be the site Saturday, Feb. 17, of the 30th Annual SnowFest and Fishing Derby, the yearly event sponsored by the Hill & Gully Riders Snowmobile Club. The day begins at daybreak for ice fishing and snowmobiling on the lake. The club’s Snack Shack will be open at the boat launch area all day with hot drinks, snacks, burgers and other great edibles. There will be drawings for a $200 grand prize, as well as numerous prizes from local businesses. Raffle tickets are available at local businesses, and will be on sale at the Snack Shack on Derby Day.

The winner of the largest fish overall will receive a $75 prize, with $20 awards going to the largest fish in several species: pickerel, brown trout, brook trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white perch, and yellow perch. Weigh-in is at 3 p.m. sharp and all entries must be on the table by then. The SnowFest and Fishing Derby is a great activity and outdoor fun for everyone. Rain date is the following Saturday, Feb. 24. FMI, check out the snowmobile club’s Facebook page: facebook.com/hillandgullyriders.

School Board candidates

Two Washingtonites, Daniel Farrow and Stacy Bowman, have filed to be candidates for SAD 40 School Board. Each town in our school district is represented by two or more people (depending on population) who oversee management of the district’s finances, personnel, property and other business affairs. Many thanks to Dan and Stacy for running for this very important but pretty much unsung job.

Select Board candidates

There’s one candidate for a three-year term on the Select Board. Berkley Linscott is running for the one open seat. Berkley was elected in 2015, and with his term expiring this year, he’s decided to run again. Although the conventional nomination period is closed, any qualified and willing candidate can mount a write-in campaign for election day, which is Friday, March 23. Thank you to Berkley for his willingness to serve.

Gibbs book group

Kathleen Gross, the book group “communicator,” reports that last month’s discussion of the Paul Farmer biography, "Mountains Beyond Mountains," by Tracy Kidder, was an enthusiastic and awed approval of Farmer’s work in delivering needed medicines and supplies through the program, Partners in Health. Kathleen learned that PIH is supported locally by (at least) a couple of groups: a Camden First Congregational Church tag sale benefits them and a greeting card maker gives profits from handmade cards to PIH. The cards are available at Zoot Coffee in Camden.

"Manhattan Beach," by Jennifer Egan is this month’s book to discuss Thursday, Feb. 15. This is a colorful crime novel set in Depression-era New York. Reviewers have named it a “real New York” book, meaning that it catches the flavor of New York City. The March book will be "Parable of the Sower," by Octavia E. Butler, another among dystopian gems that we are recently drawn to. Everyone is welcome to attend the book group.

Musing on postage

Last week postage went up another penny making a first class stamp 50 cents. Which made me recall my funny postage adventure. At a yard sale last fall, I bought a little packet of 20, 3-cent postage-paid envelopes. Faded and partly stuck closed, they looked rather sad and I thought maybe I could use them. I bought them for a dollar, spent $9.20 to purchase additional postage, and patiently unstuck the flaps. Somehow it seemed like a good deed, and more importantly, piqued curiosity.

According to Wikipedia, and United States Potal Service website, The United States Postal Service Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George Washington Feb. 20, 1792. Benjamin Franklin had been the deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies and was appointed the first postmaster general of the United States. Early rates varied according to "distance zone." In 1863, a standard rate of 6 cents per ounce was put in place. Twenty years later it was dropped to 4 cents, then to 2 cents from 1885 until 1917. Postage for a first-class letter was 3 cents during the World War I years, between Nov. 2, 1917 and July 1, 1919, when Congress dropped it back to 2 cents. On July 6, 1932 the first-class stamp price was raised to 3 cents again, where it remained for 26 years until Aug. 1, 1958, when it went to 4 cents. After five years, the cost went up again and increases have occurred every two or three years since then – up to 50 cents and counting.