Washington news

By Charlotte Henderson | Feb 08, 2019
Connie Johnston, Washington’s oldest citizen and holder of the Boston Post Cane, will be honored for her birthday Saturday, Feb. 9.

Fishing Derby and SnowFest

On Saturday, Feb. 16, Washington Pond will come alive for Hill & Gully Snowmobile Club’s 31st Annual Fishing Derby and SnowFest. There are prizes for the overall largest fish and for the largest pickerel, brown trout, brook trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white perch and yellow perch. There are raffle drawings for door prizes from local merchants and a $200 cash grand prize. Raffle tickets are available from Hill & Gully members and several local businesses, as well as the Hill & Gully Snack Shack on Derby Day. The Snack Shack sells hot (and cold) beverages and food all day long to warm our insides and there’s a nice bonfire and even a warming room to heat our outsides.

The SnowFest and Fishing Derby is a really fun outdoor activity for families and individuals. Even I, with no fishing gear or snowmobile, dress up in my warmest duds and join in the activity. The bonfire gets lit around dawn so fisherfolk can come early and stay late – or as long as you want. Final weigh-in is at 3 p.m. sharp. Don’t miss that. It all happens at the Public Boat Launch on Razorville Road (Route 105 West). For more information, go online to facebook.com/hillandgullyriders.

Chickadees program begins

Chickadees, a reading project for Maine children, is under way at Gibbs Library. The program serves more than 21,000 Maine kindergarten to fourth-grade students from 133 schools, including Prescott Memorial, and is funded by the Maine Association of School Libraries. Begun in 2005, the Chickadee Project complements the Maine Student Book Award program for grades four through eight. Chickadees is a picture book reading program. At each session, illustrated children’s books from a nominated list of current titles are read aloud. Then the kids do an activity related to the story.

At the end of the five-week program, students may vote for their favorites and the most votes determines the Chickadee Award book of that school year. Gibbs Library offers Chickadees for Prescott Memorial grades two and three Monday afternoons and for Kindergarden and grade one Tuesday afternoons. It takes many hands to make this all work. Among them are Chris DeGroff, Carolyn Rasmussen, Len Lewis, Hazel Kopishke and others at Prescott and Gibbs whose names I’ll ferret out before this annual activity ends next month. For a listing of the books that have been put forth in the program over the years, go to https://sites.google.com/site/thechickadeeaward/past-winners.

A traffic light? Here?

At a recent Select Board meeting, a suggestion was made that a blinking light on Route . 220 southbound across from Sweet Season Cafe would be helpful in slowing down traffic entering the village area. That notion reminds me of an incident a several years ago. There was an event in the village – maybe Washington Day – and Elsa Seeger, longtime Washington Fire Department volunteer, was stationed near the top of that same hill stopping traffic. Someone came flying down the road, not seeing the cars stopped ahead (or Elsa, either, it would seem), and in order to avoid hitting them, braked and steered off to the right into the williwacks.

I travel that stretch almost daily, and for me, the curve-and-turn at the top of that hill and the recollection of that vehicle against a tree is still a reminder that something I don’t know about might be down there. At any rate, the selectmen agreed to add an item to the warrant at town meeting in March for a one-time expense warning light. There’s already a 25 MPH sign there, that tries to mean what it says.

Long-life festivity

Constance Raynes Johnston will be honored at her 96th birthday party Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Washington Fire Department conference room. Connie, as she is known to everyone, is here in Maine this winter – a change from her several snow-bird winters in Zephyr Hills, Fla. – giving her community a chance to do a party. Friends and family are invited to stop in from 1 to 3 p.m. to greet her. Connie and her husband, Talbot, and their three children came to Washington following his employment in several different places. They decided to purchase the family farm where Talbot grew up.

Connie took to the farming life and soon learned how to grow and can vegetables and make Grammie Blanche’s delicious doughnuts, among many other things. Connie and Talbot had three more children during these years. Besides raising six children and farming, Connie was involved in many local organizations, including Eastern Star, Grange, PTA, Cub Scouts, the church choir, Hill and Gully Riders snowmobile club, Schooner Belles chorus, Ladies’ Guild, and 4-H Club.

After her children had grown, she delivered mail throughout Washington and part of Burketville, helped with the census, and volunteered for just about every worthwhile cause in town. Happily, she and Talbot did some traveling together and spent some time in Florida. After he died in 1993, Connie purchased a place in Florida and spent many winters there, but came home for the summers with her family, friends and activities. We are looking forward to enjoying her birthday with her this year! Please, no gifts, but greeting cards are welcomed. Bring cards with you or mail to: 403 Liberty Road, Washington, ME 04574.

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