At long last, Temple Post Office has a new permanent clerk. James Nicholas has been hired as a PSE, a Postal Support Employee, and has been with us now just over a week.

James, who grew up in the area, joined the Marines shortly after graduating high school in 2009. After serving four years, he stayed in the Jacksonville, NC, area to work for a while and then went to Texas for a job in contracting. He returned to Temple this past January, having found that he missed the support of his extended family.

James has a strong connection with Temple. His grandmother, Christine Woodward has lived here since his mother, Jennifer Fletcher, was a small child. His father and step-mother, John and Sarah Nicholas, have lived on Maple Street since his brothers and sister were babies. Now that he’s back, James is staying with his grandmother and singing with his Uncle Dan in Northfield, a local group specializing in Renaissance, Early American a cappella music.

James and I talked recently about the difficulty many servicemen and women find in making the transition from military life back to civilian life. Having enlisted so soon after graduating high school, James sees that all of his adult life so far was grounded in the military. It’s a community with pretty clear boundaries, unlike a small town where people may come and go as they choose. There are a lot of rules in the military and in many ways the rules make life simpler. You always know where you are supposed to be and what is expected of you.

Having family and community can make a big difference for returning servicemen and women. Not just for the sense of belonging and structure, but also for encouragement in reconnecting with the parts of self put aside for the sake of being a committed and effective soldier.

The new split schedule at the Post Office will work well for James. Two hours starting at 8 a.m. in the morning and two hours in the afternoon starting at 3 p.m., will leave him with five hours during the day in which, come fall, to start college at UMF. He will be majoring in social sciences and cultural studies with a goal of eventually transferring to the New York Film Academy where he wants to study film and stage production.

James, we’re glad you have returned to Franklin County and pleased to have you staffing our Post Office. And pleased as well that now Betsy Graves is able to once again retire. Welcome back!

You may recall that the US Postal Service’s plan for our own post office is to have the lobby open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. To that end, a new door has been installed between the lobby and the “office” area, and the small windows above the boxes has been secured, discreetly, with mesh.

What has delayed the transition is a lack of security for mail in transition. The mail truck swings through Temple in the mornings just before 8 a.m. with deliveries, and then again about 4 p.m. to pick out going mail. In the morning and on Saturday afternoons the mail is left in the lobby. According to Tammy Morgan, the Post Master who now supervises our office, we won’t be able to make the change to a 24 hour lobby until they figure out how to secure all that mail.

The Comprehensive Plan Committee is continuing to work through the various inventories that the State feels are essential to a good plan. These include population and demographics, economic information, housing, and natural resources, among others. Once these inventories are completed, the Committee will be looking to Temple residents for input regarding our vision for the future. Do we want growth? What sort of growth would we want? Or not want?

No in its early planning stages is a visioning meeting that will involve residents from all parts of Temple, in all its geographic and demographic variations, to consider a wide list of topics that could affect our future. A meeting date has not been set, but will likely be sometime in August or September. More to follow.

The Temple Historical Society had both the Red School House and the Archive Room at the Town Hall open for the Franklin County History Tour on June 6th. Although not very many people stopped in, there was plenty enough opportunity for conversation about family connections and the history of our churches and civic clubs. A second tour, with open museums and archives from Rangeley to Jay, is planned for October. It’s a nice occasion to visit your own historical society or one of the many you have not yet had the good fortune to visit.

At long last this week, Farmington is finally repairing that little nasty two-tenths of a mile stretch of Route 43 in West Farmington that most of us have to travel on our way in and out of town. It runs from the 4-way stop at the Town Farm Road to the edge of the Village Corporation boundary where the State took up the responsibility for repaving last year. The area getting fixed now, known locally as Clay Hill, has been jarring our bones for some time and only been getting worse.

Farmington will also repave Porter Hill Road this summer. With such drastic improvement to the two major routes in and out of Temple, we might almost come to think we’re living in an up-scale metropolitan area.

Temple residents, please feel free to call me at 778-3856 with news or announcements, or if you see your neighbors greeting our new Postal Clerk.

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