Letters, Aug. 1

Aug 01, 2013

Collins wrong on GMOs

I am proud to live in a state where we value our land and our environment, as well as the wonderful culture of small organic farms and the good food they provide for us all.

And I am proud of much of the work Senator Susan Collins has done for our state. So I'm very disappointed that she voted against a proposed Farm Bill amendment — intended to uphold states’ rights to pass GMO labeling laws — which would allow consumers to know which foods are real and pure and which have been genetically modified.

Maine has passed a law requiring the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). So it's even more concerning that Sen. Collins may not support that right, for Maine, or other states, to pass GMO labeling laws. Because Sen. Collins and 70 other senators voted against the Sanders Amendment, introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), the amendment was defeated.

Sen. Collins owes her constituents an explanation. Surely, her vote against the Sanders amendment did not reflect the wishes of the majority of Maine voters, whom she was elected to represent. I urge others who care about our health and our planet to let Sen. Collins know that we expect her to stand with her constituents in supporting Maine’s new GMO labeling law. Maine's Senator should not take the side of agribusiness lobbyists and work behind the scenes in Washington, D.C. to deny Maine, and other states, the right to enact GMO labeling laws.

Arielle Greenberg Bywater

Belfast

Good service, friendly spirit

On a very rare occasion, someone restores one’s confidence that the world is a good place where good things can happen because people genuinely care about each other.

It was starting to rain when I was at the Renys in Belfast in mid-July, hurrying to get some plastic Adirondack chairs into our car that I had purchased as a thank-you for my sister and brother in-law who let us use their cabin in the area. A store employee helped me carry three chairs to my car. I had other purchases in a big white Renys bag, which I must have dropped in the parking lot as we twisted and rotated, and finally finagled the bulky chairs into the back compartment of the car. I didn’t notice the bag on the ground as I drove away.

It was about 100 miles down the highway toward Boston the next morning when I asked my husband where he put the white Renys bag that was in the back of car when he loaded the suitcases. He said that he had not seen any bag and I started to wonder where I put it and, perhaps, if I had left it at the counter when I checked out the day before.

I called the Belfast Renys and the customer service desk seemed like they were waiting for my call. “Oh yes,” said Annie (the employee who answered the phone) when I described the contents of the missing bag. “A good Samaritan found it in the parking lot and brought it in to us. It’s right here.” When I explained that I had already left town, but my sister-in-law would be back in a week, Annie told me they would hold the bag for her at customer service until then. And they did.

Walking around the first day back in Los Angeles, with the picnic benches chained to trees and people yelling at each other on the freeway, I kept thinking about the generosity, honesty and kindness shown to me at the Belfast Renys. It first made me feel lucky, and then it began to infuse me with a glow of community. Instead of shutting myself out from the chaos, I wanted to share that caring spirit I had encountered. In short, I realized that I want to live in a world where that kind of nice was just everyday normal. So, you should know that the friendly spirit of Renys and the great state of Maine is currently being shared on the opposite side of the country on a daily basis.

Whitney McCleery

Topanga, Calif.

Another great Celtic Celebration

The seventh annual Maine Celtic Celebration is now behind us and it's safe to say that, despite some adverse weather, the weekend was a great success. The music was top notch, the games were fun, the cheese rolled perfectly, the donations were generous and even the dogs were well behaved! On behalf of the volunteer Board of Directors, I'd like to express our sincere thanks to all those who contributed to that success. I'll start with the local media which did such a fantastic job publicizing the event. They include The Republican Journal, WERU Community Radio, the Bangor Daily News, the Pen Bay Pilot, WABI TV, and The Free Press.

Next up for recognition is the City of Belfast for providing such a perfect celebration site and contributing financially, especially to the fireworks display. We particularly appreciate the assistance of the Belfast DPW and Parks and Recreation Departments in helping us adjust to the construction at the site. We can’t wait to see the whole Harbor Walk project done by Celtic Celebration 2014!

Then there are the many local businesses and organizations who supported the Celebration with sponsorship donations or goods and services, ranging from water for the 5K race, prizes for kids' games, rooms for musicians, a mini-truck to haul supplies around the site, folding chairs, or cabers to toss in the Highland Games. It really is a community effort from that perspective, with too many contributors to list individually. Be assured that we appreciate each and every donation.

As mentioned above, the 2013 Celebration will be remembered for the mini-hurricane that hit late on Saturday afternoon, taking the Maine Stage out of commission. We owe kudos to the sound engineers, musicians, volunteers and attendees who relocated the Celebration to the Steamboat Landing Stage in about 20 minutes. Many folks commented that it was fun watching the show in a more intimate setting! And thanks to so many more who helped us protect (or salvage) our tents and merchandise after the storm subsided. Finally, let’s not leave out the construction crew from Whitecap Builders who rebuilt the Main Stage tent so early Sunday morning, for what proved to be an idyllic second day. What appeared to be a major disaster instead became a moment of true community spirit.

Volunteers are another group the Celebration could not do without. We are so grateful to the 100 or so folks who come forward to help out before, during, and after the weekend of the Celebration. We depend on you for everything from setting up stages and tents, collecting donations and hauling trash, to running kids' game and other events.

Finally, our loudest and clearest vote of thanks goes to those of you who came to enjoy the Celebration and showed your support with generous donations. Thanks to you, we are already planning next year's festivities!

Bob MacGregor, President

MCC Board of Directors

Thank you from Rotary 5K committee

The Belfast Rotary Club 5K Race Committee would like to thank the many people involved in making the inaugural Kilted Canter 5K Saturday, July 20, a terrific success. 112 runners braved the heat — many of them in kilts! The overall winners were Doug Wich in the men's division and Christine Larrabee in the women's. Many thanks to the roughly 30 volunteers along with the Belfast Police Department who gave up their morning to ensure the safety of the athletes. And finally, thanks too to the following local businesses that generously donated prizes:

All About Games, Bella Books, Bell the Cat, Brambles, Chocolate Drop, Dockside, EBS, Key Bank, Makin' Waves, Mary Mortier, Nautilus Seafood and Grill, New Wave Salon, Rollie's Bar and Grill, Scallions, Three Tides, T & T Nail Spa and Traci's Diner.

Together all these people helped us to raise about $2,500 for Belfast Rotary's youth programs, such as the college scholarships, youth exchange, the 100 Fund and more. We are grateful to them all.

Christine Beacham, Brian Beaulieu, Leonard Kalinowski and Su Wood

Kilted Canter 5K Race Organizers

Searsmont Town Library fund-raiser a hit

It takes a lot of people to make a successful fund-raiser. Thanks to all the volunteers, donors and patrons who contributed. This year’s Searsmont Town Library Book and Bake Sale on Saturday, July 20, was a huge success. We raised more than $7,000 to help support the programs of the Library, making this 24th annual event the most profitable ever.

The day is co-sponsored by the Board of Trustees of the Library and the Friends of the Searsmont Town Library. We would like to thank the following residents and friends, and I personally would like to beg the forgiveness of any whose names are inadvertently omitted: Claudia Luchetti, Dan Kennedy, David Sprowl, Elsa Chapin, Amy Laroche, Peggy Frees, Mike Frees, Barbara Jean LaRoche, Carol Robbins, Jenness Robbins, Stacy Benjamin, John Benjamin, Constance Delio, Bob Delio, Amy Robbins, Alden Robbins, Bobby Ward, Earl Eichin, Anne Eichin, Kathy Hoey, Edith Shepard, Evelyn Weggler, Sally Shure, Caroline Lindt, Sharon Soule, Kathy Butler, Jennifer Kulis, Tom Beauregard, Janette Brewster, Lesa Weggler, Edith Laroche, Barbara LaRoche, David Wight, Ruth Herz, Sarah Nelson, Holly Calhoun, Tom Neely, Lisa Neely, Mickey Sirota, Bob Weggler, Fraternity Village Store, Dave Marceau and George Hodgkins of Searsmont Methodist Church, plus dozens of people who baked (in that awful heat!) for the sale, the more than 100 donors to the Silent Auction, and all those who donated books for the sale, and other treasures for Grandma’s Attic.

Also, a huge thank you to my fellow board members who did everything asked of them and more: Jan Austin, Sandra Weagle, Roger Quehl, Larry Cunningham and Emma Beaudry.

Joyce Sirota

Searsmont Town Library Board of Trustees

Thanks for a great first season

Last summer a Waldo County Babe Ruth team that included young men from outside the Belfast area did not exist.

With the efforts and dedication of parents a new team was created that allowed players, ages 13 to 15 from around Waldo County to play in the Babe Ruth League.

Coaches Mel Grant and David Smith agreed to guide the team through the season, so it was "Play Ball!"

Of eleven teams that competed this season, Waldo County took first place after two close playoff games. First Waldo County bested Belfast in a hard fought scrappy rivalry. Then Rockland Cafe lost the championship game in the drizzle under darkening skies in extra innings. Two very tough and worthy opponents.

Many thanks go to Mel and David for their time, experience and love of the game and to all the parents that supported the team and the players in a thousand ways.

And lastly to all the local folks, both individual and businesses, that contributed financially: Camden National Bank, Cold Mountain Builders, EBS, Freedom General Store, GO Logic, Hamilton Marine, Horton Painting, Inner Sense, John"s Ice cream, Just Barb's, Liberty Graphics, MAC Electric, Mac's Hardware, Magnum Manufacturing, Price Consulting, Price Insulation, R.D. Steel, ReVision Energy, Ridgetop Restaurant, Searsport Motor Co., Sherwin Williams, Steamboat, Ten Four Store,Tozier's Family Markets, and Viking Lumber.

And a big thank you to all the players for some great baseball that teaches so much more than just who wins and who looses.

Bill Horton

Montville

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