Southport Column: Town meeting changes, broadband and more

Tue, 01/12/2021 - 10:30am

Last Thursday I returned from the Island Store and the Post Office with two newspapers. One, this newspaper, had Bruce Burnham’s close up photo of the snowy owl that has been hanging out at Ocean Point, covering the top half of the front page, and the other, The New York Times, had the a picture of the mob storming the U.S. Capitol covering the top half of the front page. Immediately I thought thank goodness I live here instead of in a former home just eight blocks from the Capitol building. Of course I had other thoughts too.

In other civic news, note the signs up around the island announce that instead of the first Monday in March, our town meeting will be held on April 5 with polls open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. to vote on the warrant. Since we normally consider over 50 articles, voting by absentee ballot will be much easier than voting in person, although “in-person” voting will be available. You can call the Town Hall to request a ballot or drop by to pick one up. Similarly you can return your ballot to a box outside the town office door or hand it to Donna Climo personally. We know how careful Donna is about election procedures so we can assume these absentee ballots will be counted accurately. Copies of the Town Report will be available in late February as usual, and there will be an opportunity for questions and discussion on the warrant, yet to be scheduled. Dig out your warm clothes because that discussion will take place outside!

There is still time to take out nomination papers for four positions in the town: (1) Selectman, Assessor, and Overseer of the Poor; (2) School Committee Member, (3) Fire Chief, (4) Tax Collector. Nomination papers must be returned no later than noon on Feb. 4.

The Southport Planning Board will hold a workshop via Zoom on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at 5:15 p.m. especially to review and discuss Section 4, Part 1E of the Southport Land Use Ordinance titled “Cluster Development.” This will be a technical discussion of the ordinance itself without reference to its application to any specific projects or applications. As always, the public is welcome to attend. Please contact Chairman Skip Simonds via email ( to request the login information for the meeting. Interested members of the public will need to have an internet connection, preferably broadband, and a device capable of supporting a Zoom meeting.

Nancy Prisk, chairperson of the Southport Community Broadband Working Group (Committee), got in touch to say that the committee is receiving an outstanding response to their request for Southporters to share their broadband story. If you have not already completed their survey, "Southport Internet Service Survey,” it is not too late to do so. To receive a link to the survey you can email the working group at, give them a call at 207-217-7743, or look for the link on the website:

The responses to this survey are providing the committee with the data they need to form an island-wide assessment of existing Internet service, a critical planning tool for the creation of a broadband network to assure all residents and businesses on Southport that going forward they will be able to obtain fast, reliable, and cost-effective Internet service. We are hearing from many of our year-round island residents telling us that they are wanting to stay in touch with family and friends on Zoom, and some are using this time to take classes online. We are receiving confirmation that the timing for this initiative is perfect. 2021 is here. Let's work together to
build a stronger and more sustainable island community. Thank you for your help.

Last week we began the column with a plea to look for a missing dog, Sam, who, so far as I know, is still missing. If you see Sam, the dog, please call 380-6247 or 380-3617.

This week we ask you to be on the look out for a very special gold cross on a similarly colored chain. From Emily Hurd, daughter-in-law of Nick and Joan Hurd, and from her family, comes this request. Her oldest son, Jack, aged 10 has lost his first communion gold cross necklace sometime the last two weeks somewhere on Southport. Jack has created a flyer and posted it at the YMCA, the Southport General Store, the Southport Post Office, and the school, so you can see what exactly you are looking for. Jack is offering a reward to whomever finds and returns it. You can call Jack or his mother at 415-595-8944.

Now here is a brave teacher or an understanding janitor or both. Mrs. Clarke’s second and third grade class were studying inertia through this experiment. A raw egg rested on top of a roll of toilet paper that rested on an aluminum pan that sat on top of a glass of water. The task was to get a raw egg into the glass of water below, without touching the egg. The kids discussed many ideas and made some attempts with no success. When inertia was explained, it became clear to the children that with the right touch, the lightweight pan and paper roll (with low mass) might be easy to push away, leaving the egg (high mass) to fall downward into the cup due to gravity. As you might imagine, some students found success, others a bit of a mess.

Now some sad news. Many of you know the Helming family whose home for many years has been on Marr’s Point. We were very sorry to learn that David Helming, the eldest of the six Helming offspring, died of the COVID-19 virus last Sunday morning in a hospital in South Carolina. He had been admitted Thursday after having received a positive test about two weeks ago. With his wife, Lill he lived in Bluffton, South Carolina. I am sure an obituary will appear in this paper, if not this week, perhaps next week.