Special Town Meeting

Town of Washington voters are encouraged to attend a special town meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Bryant Room of Gibbs Library. The special town meeting is to see if voters will appropriate $18,000 from the undesignated fund balance to purchase liability insurance for the pole licensing process of the Broadband Project. This kind of meeting is part of the democratic process in which citizens have a voice in what the government does. The town treasurer can’t write checks without authority from the select board, which gets authority to spend the town’s money (yours and mine) from its citizens. The most influence we voters have is at this elementary level where we are actually directly affected by the outcome of local voter choice. The federal and state governments’ gnarly fingers reach very noticeably into our daily lives making it easy to overlook the importance of local issues and your votes. So, here’s a reminder: come permit (or not) the town to spend your money for the Broadband Project.

What about broadband?

Broadband is a special kind of electronic data transfer that moves information from one point to another very fast – like milliseconds. There are all kinds of technical words that go with the concept but the idea of wanting to have broadband internet service for our little town is to make our personal and business connections – conversations, exchange of financial records, photos, business proposals, purchases and sales, and everything – faster and more reliable. A year and a half ago, a group of local residents formed a committee to look into the possibility of upgrading current transmission system to the faster, more user friendly and efficient system. They are still the watchmen of the proposal but have settled on a company, Axiom, to do the necessary infrastructure and electronic transformations to bring high-speed internet to our town.

The vote announced above is to OK spending some town money so that work can continue on the new system. Payment for another part of the start-up work was voted favorable a few weeks ago. The agreement with Axiom includes repayment of the money the town “fronts” The Broadband Committee’s Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/417063773056823 and can be a helpful read. There’s a lot of information on broadband in general online and several news items are available about our own project. Questions can be directed to connectwa.me@gmail.com. So, please find out what you can about this big deal that our little town is taking on. Communities that are moving forward with acquiring high speed internet service are taking a long leap forward for their personal and business efficiency and success. Many thanks to the Broadband Committee and Select Board for getting us this far.

Ladies Guild outing

The Washington Ladies’ Guild is a group of women who get together every so often for sociability and fun while raising money for other non-profit organizations in town. They do several fundraising projects a year, notably the Strawberry Festival, and when they have a tidy sum, they turn around and give it to another non-profit in town. And each year, they also have themselves a social time with food and some kind of outing. This year their gathering included a delicious lunch at the summer cottage of Mildred Melgard. Following lunch, they were treated to a pontoon boat tour around Washington Pond. Two pontoon boats operated by volunteers for the job provided a view of the eagle’s nest, the outlet dam, a day-use island, and other sites. The perfect summer day was an ideal setting for the Ladies’ Guild’s much-deserved party in honor of their own good works. It’s really good to see this long-lived organization still going strong.