Little by little, the sun has chipped away at the ice on Madison’s lakes and ponds, and the local wildlife has started to stir. Avid hikers and ones suffering from intense cabin fever have also emerged even with the temperature gauges moving up and down, similar to that of a heart monitor, and have begun to note the bear tracks they’ve seen in the remaining woodland snow.

Over the last few years, I’ve been made aware of such de-hibernation when the bird feeder is removed and its contents and debris are strewn about the yard.

For those that follow this column with avid and unwavering loyalty, you’re keenly aware that I am speaking of my nemesis, the neighborhood bear, who relieved me of my entire chicken flock last fall. This resulted in the manliest hissy-fit of the year in Silver Lake.

I’ve now replenished my flock with a whole new baker’s dozen of chicks, who have been basking in the warmth of a heat lamp in the garage. My ambitions of a chicken coop-turned-fortress are well under way, as I aim to be the victor in the latest round of “Bob vs. Bear.”

On Tuesday, April 30, 7 p.m., Madison Library will host "Returning North with the Spring," a presentation by John Harris of the four-month progress of spring from the Florida Everglades to the summit of Mount Washington.

Presented by the Friends of Madison Library and supported by NH Humanities, this program will take us along an epic journey made in 1947 and retraced in 2012 by Mr. Harris and his wife. All are welcome. There will be refreshments. Note that the program will be preceded by the Friends of Madison Library annual meeting — a fine opportunity to learn about Friends of Madison Library and its generous (and fun) support of our library.

I’ve been asked by the town clerk’s office to toss in a gentle reminder about the upcoming deadline (April 30) to register dogs. Folks, I’ve been gently reminding you to register your dogs since about the time Rob Gronkowski made his last (and spectacular) catch in the NFL during the Super Bowl.

Such a request from the town office means two things: 1. There are still dogs unregistered in town, and 2. Everyone in town doesn’t read this column (insert crying emoji here).

If your pooch hasn’t had his required shots, please seek out your vet or one of the numerous rabies clinics held throughout the county, that provide the shots at a bargain price.

If Fido has met his/her untimely demise over the last year, please contact town hall and let them know. This will reduce the writing cramps that Madison Police officers will suffer through while writing out the tickets for the remaining holdouts in town.

Since the town voting last month, the Madison Elementary school has been saddled with the burden of finding where to trim money from the budget to fall in line with the default budget that passed. Before the vote, the school board had already reduced the overall budget in an attempt to quell an outcry over tax increases and spending concerns, and the result was the one that was proposed, but voted down.

Unfortunately, some increases are beyond the control of the school board, such as SAU 9 tuition costs and special education expenses. Thus, when it comes to reducing a budget after the vote, it can only be done where the school board has control, such as programs and staffing.

One of the programs that has been virtually eliminated as a result of the entire budget situation is the Madison Recreation Department. Over the last several years, the recreation department, lead by Michael Lane, has facilitated school sports such as basketball and softball, before and after school programs, the summer rec programs and the popular “Be our guest” events, where the kids help put on an evening of food and entertainment.

I try my best to not divulge my own opinion in this column, so, I’ll just say this: It is regrettable that this department has ended, as it comes with the disappointment of the kids and their respective parents, but, the people have spoken.

Mr. Lane, an avid fan of all things Disney (hence the name for his event “Be Our Guest), will be departing the school, and has decided not to return following April vacation.

As a columnist, I thank Mike for his contributions to this column that kept the paragraphs flowing. As a parent, I thank him for his sincerity and care that he brought with him everyday, and which transcended down into the kids that had the privilege to be involved with this program. I hope you’ll join me in wishing him the best in the future. Thank you, Mike.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” — Walt Disney

Bob King can be contacted at rjking203@outlook.com.

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