Broadband: up or down

Nearly a year ago, the Washington BroadBand Committee began exploring options for high-speed internet service for our little town. Through a survey distributed to everyone, discussions with broadband users and providers, contacts with agencies at local and states levels, and continuous contact with the select board, the committee equipped the community to decide on broadband’s future here in Washington.

The select board has set a special town meeting date Wednesday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m. at the “open air” Fire Station. A warrant for that meeting will be issued when documents are final. More details here next week.

Faster internet speeds are increasingly necessary for individuals, students, and businesses to transmit data, hold meetings, pay bills, acquire medical services, connect with classrooms, play games and much more. Make a plan to follow updates on the town website and, double please, attend the Aug. 4 special meeting at the Fire Station at 7 p.m.

Public Sunset Paddle

Washington Lakes Association invites everyone to join in their first annual Sunset Paddle on Washington Pond tomorrow evening (Friday July 23) from 7 – 9 p.m. Paddlers will meet at the public access park on Razorville Road in time to be on the water just after 7.

In case of bad weather, the paddle will be postponed to the next night. FMI: 542-1836.

Artist’s Reception at Gibbs Library

Gibbs Library’s art gallery is open again after the Covid-induced hiatus and is presenting the work of Palermo artist Kay Sullivan. Sullivan’s work will be displayed at Gibbs until Sept. 1. The theme of her show is the passage of time and is ably reflected in scenes from nature at different seasons and even times of day. The light touch of the pastels seems to underscore the fragility of each passing moment. A beautiful show and a treat to spend time with.

A reception for Kay Sullivan is scheduled for Friday, July 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. Everyone is invited.

Community Yard Sale

Coming up Saturday, July 31, is the Washington Community Yard Sale. This is the event that has happened for several years at the Community Auction. In order to work around masking and other COVID-19 concerns, the planners moved it outdoors to the various venues of the participating organizations.

More info next week.

Cicadas and other things that bug

I’ve been reading about the emergence of the “17-year cicadas” that came out by the billions in some parts of the country earlier this year. Those aren’t found in Maine (fine with me!) but here, the genus “Tibicen” are emerging. They are the ‘annual’ or ‘dog-day’ cicadas whose loud ringing buzz from high in the trees signals a hot day. The males’ mating calls make the sound my grandparents (and I, still) considered a weather indicator.

You may hear them for a few weeks. Cicadas are a harmless species. In contrast to cicadas, browntail moths, which are emerging now as well, can be very harmful if allowed to develop. We can all help prevent their prolification.

Slowing the spread of browntails

One day last week, on the wall of my back porch, clung 13 pretty little white furry looking browntail moths. I grabbed a jar, cupped the moths, tossed them in, and slapped on the cap. By that quick gesture, about 50-bazillion caterpillar hairs were prevented from making us itch next year.

Here’s how. Around now, these little (1-inch-ish) “butterflies” (Note: not butterflies) will lay clusters of eggs on the upper sides of leaves. Eensy-weensy caterpillars develop from the eggs, wrap webs around themselves in their leaf, and overwinter. In spring, they feed on the new leaves and grow. Then they run around munching and shedding itch-producing hairs and finally cocoon themselves, become moths and start the whole thing over. I believe the browntails have no redeeming qualities.

So, I invite those so inclined to join me in my murderous intent to reduce their numbers. I cruise my yard a couple of times a week and snip the web-wrapped leaves or the cocoons or the caterpillars (in season) into a widemouth container of soapy water.

A few years ago, I started the same routine with Japanese beetles and, honestly, I have very few of those in my yard now. So, I hope the same will happen with the browntails. P.S.

Do I realize I might be shoveling sand against the tide? Yes. Will I continue? Yes.

Sainio remembrances

Back in April, when it was first announced by the family, I promised a reminder of the memorial service for the Sainios, Henry (3-1-1929 to 2-24-2021) and Dorothy (4-3-1932 to 11-14-2020).

The service will be held in Bangor Wednesday, July 28, at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 703 Essex St., Bangor. The service will be available via Zoom: facebook.com/BangorFirst. Donations to the Washington Fire Department or to the Minnie Weaver Scholarship Fund in honor of them are being accepted.