View from a pew

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 3:30pm

About this blog:

  • Frank Barnako is a seasonal resident of Wiscasset at Clarks Point on the Sheepscot River.   His career in journalism included on air and news director positions with CBS and NBC Radio and TV stations.  He was a pioneer in the Internet, helping to create and co-found where he also developed a 200-station radio network and wrote daily columns focused on the stock market, business news, and technology. Barnako describes himself as “an aspiring photographer,” whose work can be seen at<>. He is a member of the town’s Investment Advisory Committee. Email him at

We went to church Sunday at First Congregational.  It was my first service since March. Different than before. Mask-wearing. Hymn-humming. Soloist-singing, Zoom-streaming, vacation subbing-preacher.  Real different.

Jim Nelon handled Webcasting the service on Zoom and Facebook.  Maybe 25 people signed on, joining the 20 people in the church.  Jim said that’s a pretty good turnout this time of year. 45 souls --- just about the same number of people who attended Thursday’s Walk Around Wiscasset.  Lucia Droby organized three of the Walks this summer and she is already planning for Art Walks next year.  Fingers crossed!

Also thinking ahead are the Friends of Wiscasset Village.  At a Friends meeting a week ago there was talk about what’s next for downtown and the sidewalks.  While the conceptualizing and construction is done, now comes the part where some guidelines are needed.  The Town ‘owns’ the sidewalks and so has to regulate them.  Will the shops be able to to put out tables and chairs? How about ‘sandwich board’ signs inviting customers to visit. Can anyone set up a card table and sell hot dogs?  Peter Wells, a key person with the Friends, has lots of experience with towns and “sidewalk management’.  He expects to be involved in managing this next step in Wiscasset’s development, and he expects lots of opportunity for public comments.

Something I learned a week ago is that next summer could be very big for tourism.  Before our honeymooning houseguests left last week, they booked a two-month house rental for next year.  It wasn’t easy.

They said inventory was low.  Whether it was AirBandB-properties, or rental agencies and brokers, rentals for next year are being snapped up.  I guess folk who got canceled this year just turned around and said “Sign us up for 2021.” Or people are making plans because who knows what next summer will be like so let’s get a backup plan for “Hunkering 2021”.

One more thing - I made a tentative effort at leaf peeping over the weekend.  Didn’t go north, kind of just drove around Wiscasset and Damariscotta.  I saw some trees beginning to turn color, and I also saw lots of  political yard signs.

My favorite was a series of hand-made signs on Rte. 215 near Damariscotta Mills. I parked my car on the side of the road and began walking toward the signs when I heard a woman shout.  I shouted back, “Hello!”  She re-shouted “Don’t take those signs.” I said, “I’m going to take their picture.” She said, “Good because otherwise I’ll go get my long gun and shoot ya.”