Washington Challenge 5-K

This coming Sunday, Aug. 8, Washington Recreation Committee is sponsoring the annual 5-kilometer running race. This year, the start and finish point for the 5-K will be Gibbs Library. Registrations between 8 to 9 a.m. with races starting at 9 a.m.

The route is measured down Bill Luce to a turnaround and back. The 1-mile Fun Run will start at the Monument, go to Prescott Memorial School and come back to the fire station.

The registration fee is $5 for the 5-K and $1 for the Fun Run. The fees go to the committee for expenses. There will be door prizes, ribbons and tee shirts while they last.

For more information, call Peg at 790-0723.

Saturday’s super yard sale

Last Saturday, our little town was buzzing with seekers of bargains and eager supporters as several local non-profits presented a Community Yard Sale.

At individual yard sales at each group’s location, tables overflowed with interesting and useful items and lots of wonderful “stuff.”  The gorgeous summer weather made for a perfect day to roam among the venues with lots of stops to chat with friends and neighbors who are gradually coming out of the pandemic-induced stay-at-home habit.

Participating groups were Evening Star Grange, Gibbs Library, Washington Ladies Guild, Minnie Weaver Scholarship Fund, Washington Community Scholarship Committee, the Village Church and Washington Food Pantry. Each group kept the proceeds from their own tables and shared in the venture’s overall costs for posters, a mailed announcement and such.

All overheard comments and conversations point to a popular and successful project. The community yard sale approach grew out of the community auction of several past summers which was discombobulated by social distancing. Taking the event outdoors seemed to alleviate most of the concerns. The adaptation to a new way of holding this fundraiser is a great example of the spirit of our community to work through challenges and go for the goal in spite of hiccups.

Nice going, Everyone!  Thank you to everyone who pulled together to make this work and have fun, too.

How’d we do?

Last evening, the Town of Washington Select Board conducted a special Town Meeting to ask voters whether to spend $12,500 to plan for a higher speed internet system for our town. If you were not at the meeting, you can get results from the town website, washington.maine.gov.

As I write this (before the vote), I’m reviewing Stephanie Grinnell’s summary of the results of three surveys sent out to town residents over the past year since the Washington Broadband Committee was formed.  Stephanie’s review sums up the three surveys.

The first one, to the “Town of Washington,” received 109 responses, most from residential/primary homes, two-thirds of which rely on cell phone service, as opposed to a landline. A majority currently have DSL (with Consolidated Communications) with satellite and mobile hotspots trailing by a large margin.

Monthly internet costs range from $50 to more than $100, with a few paying lesser amounts. Preferred speeds are in the 25 Mbps to 100 Mbps range (which not many currently report having).  Most responders indicated a willingness to pay $75 to $100 per month for faster internet, followed by $50 to $75/month, then more than $100/month, then less than $50/month.

A large majority support a non-binding commitment with an Internet Service Provider [not determined at the time] to improve internet speed and also supported investigating options – of the majority support, responses were evenly split between “yes, by any way possible” and “yes, as long as property taxes are not raised.”

The second survey asked business owners many of the same questions. Nearly all reported having internet service, mostly DSL and use internet access to order business supplies, for social media/advertising purposes and for sales. A few also offer Wi-Fi to customers.

Business owners reported an average satisfaction rate of 2.9 on a scale of 0 to 9. Nearly all said improved speeds would benefit their business.

The last survey went to “Residents.” A majority of these 93 responses reported having internet access by DSL.  Most households use the internet for social interactions followed by education or work purposes, running a business, accessing telehealth services and faith-based services. The satisfaction rating from this group was 3.65 on a scale of 0 to 10.

Stephanie’s valuable summation of the community’s responses will be a good basis for understanding the outcome of last evening’s vote.

All of us – pro and con for faster internet – are indebted to the Washington Broadband Committee for their diligent investigation into possibilities and consideration of the towns needs for the future.

Thank you.

Coming next Thursday, Aug 12

Washington Lakes Watershed Association is combining its Annual Meeting with a public reception for it’s first Annual Photo Contest entries at the Corner Gallery in beautiful downtown Washington from 6 to 9 p.m.

In addition to a business meeting and photo exhibit, Holly Stone will relate her nearly life-long love affair with Medomak Camp, and Jeff Grinnell will talk about the dams of past and present on Medomak Brook.

This is a full evening so come and enjoy it all. More details next time.