Letters, Feb. 28
Practice the Precautionary Principle
It's hard for me to imagine a decision by the Searsport Planning Board that would approve a permit for the proposed DCP gas tank. It would be neither good for Searsport nor the region.
I believe in what is called the "Precautionary Principle." What it means is that, unless you are sure something is safe and beneficial, you don't do it. I don't cross the road unless I'm sure there's no traffic coming that might hit me. Better safe than sorry.
With all the problems of health and safety, traffic and economic uncertainty, can this proposal really be safe and beneficial to Searsport?
There's also economic viability, logistics and aesthetics. Propane gas might be needed for a while, but it's not a carbon-free and long-term solution to our energy needs that cleaner renewables like solar and wind are.
I hope the Searsport Planning Board will practice the Precautionary Principle and decide not to approve this permit. Better safe than sorry.
Opening credits to the HBO series The Sopranos shows us the following:
Each morning Tony (of the Sopranos) returns home via the New Jersey Turnpike after a long night of "doing who knows what," drives past the ugly fuel storage tanks, the ones we all recognize from similar trips south. One or two of the tanks have been painted to try to erode some of the ugliness. The tanks are in an industrial area and still stand out as the ugliest part of that ugly, stinky environment.
And now, here in Searsport, we want to start the morphing process and become more like the ugliest part of New Jersey? For a few bucks? A few jobs? For what?
I live on a precious island, Swans Island, 6 miles out from Bass Harbor, Maine. The town fathers here would not hesitate to say "no" to the money and jobs and "For what?" Like Searsport, Swans Island offers impeccable beauty, extraordinary days of shifting color and light on the treed shore, on the ocean and the horizon filtered through meandering cloud formations. Sweet salty ocean smells come and go with the change of the wind. Seabirds fly in and out of the vista feeding, teasing and playing. Its a sensory blast.
Have the town fathers of Searsport really thought this through? Do they really want to put a stake in the ground and say to everyone, "We want to be more like New Jersey and less like Maine?"
In the middle of the extraordinary beauty Searsport offers every minute of everyday must it now bend to the industrial will and introduce into our daily lives, hour by hour, minute by minute.
1) seeing the huge metal ugly structure
2) smelling stinky exhaust from the tanker trucks feeding the ugly monster
3) hear the gear shifting tankers pound their way to and from ugly
4) waste time in never ending tanker traffic
Can't replace what is lost
I am writing to express my concern over the fact that DCP would like to place gas tanks in and around Penobscot Bay.
I am worried this will pass and the beauty of this region will be forever ruined. This part of the state depends heavily upon tourists. If these tanks are built it will take away the beauty and tranquility that this region has to offer. Thus, the tourists that spend their money, help promote this area, and stimulate the local economy will stop coming. Let's face it, who wants to look out on a bay that is full of gas tanks?
Belfast and the surrounding towns are not equipped to handle the kind of disaster that will come if there is an explosion or major gas leak. Do we really want what the Gulf Coast had to deal with when BP had their disaster? I realize that in this case it was oil, but gas can pollute Penobscot Bay just as badly, and ruin the clamming, fishing and lobstering in the area.
I hope the residents of Penobscot Bay think long and hard before voting on the tank issue. It is my hope that they vote this down. We will not be able to replace what is lost if the tank is allowed to come to town.
Our future is uncertain
All my life I have loved being on Islesboro. The exceptional beauty of Penobscot Bay is a rare and wonderful treasure. We built our home there with our four sons and our own hands, and now bring our grandchildren there, the sixth generation of our family to spend summers on the island.
We had planned to hire workers this fall to strengthen the foundation and put on a new roof. However, when we learned about the liquid propane tank proposed for nearby Searsport, we postponed those jobs. For the first time, our future in Maine is uncertain.
If the propane tank is built, I would not want my children or grandchildren to be there. The risk is unacceptable. To reside beside a tank that must be cooled to -42 degrees to avoid an explosion equivalent to multiple Hiroshima bombs, in a location where I’ve watched increasingly violent electrical storms and experienced frequent electrical outages, would be absurd.
While waiting for incineration or asphyxiation, we’d live with intermittent ferry service, no access to a hospital whenever tankers were taking over the Bay, limitations on when we’d be allowed to sail and a life restricted by the gas company. With Route 1 congested with tanker trucks, travel on the mainland would be something to avoid. I’m sure we would not be alone in leaving the state.
For more than one hundred years, Maine has offered our family, residents and tourists the beauty of her land and Bay. We are waiting to see if Maine chooses to offer her land and Bay to Big Oil’s millions of gallons of Mideast propane instead.
If not, we’ll hire those workers and return with happiness to one of the most beautiful places on this earth.
Judith W. Gardner
Circus and clowns
After 11 days of public hearings the DCP circus and its legal Ringmaster are finally leaving town, now the clowns will deliberate on whether or not to permit a 22.7 million gallon LPG tank. I have never seen a circus work so hard at deception and recruit local clowns, nor have I ever seen so many clowns shamelessly drink the Cool Aid to join the circus.
The Ringmaster for DCP has brought deception: promises of transparency while secretly writing town ordinances, floating balloons instead of providing a scale model, promises of safety for a tank on a piece of land too small, with no comprehensive safety plan. Discovery has shown the less honorable side of clowns who support social media hate, do the bidding of the circus’ public relations team and exhibit blatant bias in public hearings.
The truly scary part of this circus is the side-show — acceptable risk. The public has heard countless statistics about the unlikelihood or minimal risk of any accident. One of the circus performers went so far to say the Good Harbor study was really “far out there” for noting potential terror risks associated with the tank.
No one dreamed 9/11 would happen or closer to home the February 2011 propane leak in Brewer. DCP pushed the Cool Aid of acceptable risk ad nauseam while the clowns bobbed their heads. Acceptable risk is akin to Russian roulette. There is always a loser in Russian roulette. Most of us refuse to drink the DCP Cool Aid, nor be conned by its circus freaks. Let us pray the clowns wake up.
Trust is central
Trust is central. After hearing much of what's been said about the tank, it seems DCP is not too trustworthy. If their proposal was for a gravel pit, you might say that's just the business of business, but this project is no gravel pit.
Jones votes against will of citizens
In a rare display of bipartisanship, our state legislature overwhelmingly approved LD 576, a “Resolve to Protect Concealed Handgun Permit Information on a Temporary Basis.” Waldo County legislators Jethro Pease, Erin Herbig, James Gillway and Senator Mike Thibodeau voted in favor of privacy. Thank you for listening to your constituents and voting for common sense.
My state representative, Brian Jones of District 45, voted no. It is very disappointing that he voted against the will of the citizens he represents on ideological grounds. The vote in the Maine House of Representatives was 129-11, and 33-0 in the Senate, a clear mandate in favor of those with concealed carry permits to remain secure against a mass harvest of their information. Though a temporary measure, it should be replaced with a more permanent law in the coming months.
Hopefully Rep. Jones will come to his senses and support LD 345, "An Act to Ensure the Confidentiality of Concealed Weapons Permit Holder Information." The vast majority of gun owners in Waldo County are law abiding, responsible taxpayers and sportspeople. I urge all residents of Burnham, Freedom, Knox, Montville, Palermo, Thorndike, Troy and Unity to contact Rep. Brian Jones and voice your opinion in support of privacy. Going against the will of your constituency, and the majority of citizens in the state of Maine, is contrary to a democratic representative republic.
Disappointed in Jones' vote
Representative Brian Jones' recent vote to not support the temporary ban on publishing the names of concealed weapon permit holders was very disappointing. As a hunter and supporter of gun rights, it is unbelievable that my representative, who represents rural small towns, would vote against the interests of his own constituents. Not only does the U.S. Constitution protect those rights, but our State Constitution states that every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.
Representative Jones was one of only eleven legislators to oppose protecting the names of law abiding citizens being published in newspapers. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is an American issue. The excuse given is always that it’s public knowledge and newspapers have the right to publish the list of names. I wonder if Representative Jones would support publishing the lists of names of welfare recipients in Waldo County.
David A. Parkman
NRA has it right
We have had some awful mass shootings in this country over the last few years. The perpetrators, without exception, were mentally ill people or fanatics, often both. In most cases, the people who knew these murderers were not surprised to hear they committed unfathomable acts.
As a youngster, I had a classmate aim a gun at me in anger. This kid later murdered his entire family. I was horrified, but not surprised. Many people knew the kid was “crazy,” but that did nothing stop him from killing.
So what do we do?
Some folks think more laws are the answer. Really? Murder is already illegal. Our efforts to fix social problems through legislation have a dismal record. How is that war on drugs coming? Prostitution has been illegal for years — Zumba, anyone? Prohibition was an unmitigated disaster — unless of course you were in the mafia, in which case you became rich and powerful.
Guns are part of America’s culture — always have been and all ways will be. Unless President Obama has a magic wand, signing legislation limiting access to guns is a waste of ink. Criminals and crazies will always get the weapons they want and they do not submit to background checks.
A look at how we responded to 9/11 may be instructive. Air travel is much different today with body scanners, TSA pat downs, etc. Have you been to the State House in Augusta lately? Armed guards and metal detectors greet you at the door. So, why are we committed to protecting folks who fly and why are legislators entitled to better security than our precious children? The NRA has it right — we need armed guards at all our schools, not just some of our schools as is the case today. Maybe in the long term we can find a better answer, put in the short term we need to make all schools as safe as possible.
Unfortunately, the Congress and we, as a nation, will do nothing or pass another unenforceable, feel-good law. Then, in a few months or a few years, there will be another school shooting. I am lucky, my son is old enough that he is unlikely to be on the list of dead and injured. May God have mercy on those not so lucky.
Otis for Searsport Seletmen
I am writing to ask that you support a hard working, entrepreneur who is a candidate for the Searsport Board of Selectmen. Travis Otis was born and raised in Searsport. He knows our town, he knows how to run a business. Travis is the owner of Otis Enterprises on Prospect Street, a boat building and repair business, which he has operated successfully for several years. He also owns his own lobster boat, which is in the water each summer. So that makes him a lobsterman, too. If that weren't enough, he organizes the Lobster Boat Races in Searsport, which bring many visitors to town, raising more revenue for us. That tells me he cares about our community.
In this time of "mega" challenges — sky-rocketing oil and gas prices, economic instability and financial chaos — I think we need a person on the Board of Selectmen who knows how to make good decisions and acts on them. As a person with obvious good business sense, that tendency should work just as well for Travis as a Selectman.
Travis has a passion to serve Searsport — in addition to what he does already. Let's give him that opportunity and elect him to the Board of Selectmen.
Please vote on Tuesday, March 5, and support Travis Otis for Selectman.
Oits steering a Ccourse to our future
On March 5 the residents of Searsport will have the privilege of voting for candidates and filling a seat on the Board of Selectmen. In Searsport, Selectmen and the Town Manager oversee town water, sewage treatment, police patrol, fire protection, emergency medical service, public works, recreational programs and a library.
I urge the townspeople to review all candidates carefully, and then vote for Travis Oits. Travis is my friend, and I’ve had the opportunity to watch him work, and work with him at his boat shop building boats, working on engines, and on the bay tending his string of lobster traps and racing his lobster boat, “First Team.”
Travis is a perfectionist, and it shows in his work. He demands the best of himself and others, sets high standards and never leaves a job half done. Travis will bring these same standards and skills to the Board of Selectmen.
A lifetime resident of Searsport, he knows what the town needs to grow into the 21st century. He speaks his mind, but listens to others, using input to form opinions. He comes to this job with an open mind, a vision for tomorrow, and a desire to give back to the town he grew up in. Please join me in voting for Travis Otis, who will steer a clear course to our future.
A vote for Otis, a vote for common sense
I am writing in support of Travis Otis' candidacy for Searsport Selectmen on March 5. As a lifelong resident and graduate of the Searsport school system, Travis is committed to the town of Searsport, running the family business Otis Enterprises Marine building and finishing fiberglass boats, lobstering out of Searsport Harbor and, as chief organizer of the annual Searsport Lobsterboat Races since 2001, bringing tourists and lobsterboat racers alike to Searsport.
On the statewide level, Travis is vice-president of the Maine Lobsterboat Association, coordinating race schedules, facilitating discussion of racing guidelines and class designations and is known on the circuit for his level-headedness and ability to soothe tensions.
As a Coast Guard-approved captain with a 50 ton license, Travis is professional and can handle stressful situations. A man of few words, when he does speak his words are thoughtful and perceptive, one can tell his is paying attention to everything that is said and weighing the discussion carefully before making a pronouncement. A vote for Otis is a vote for common sense, thoughtful reflection on the issues at hand and levelheadedness.
Supports Otis for Searsport selectman
I am writing to you today to support Travis Otis for selectman of Searsport. Travis is a smart, energetic young man born and raised in our town. He has gone to our schools and works from our shores as a lobsterman. He grew up in scouting and is good at working wiht groups for the common good. I believe he would be an asset to our Board of Selectmen, bring with him the energy of the young and the love of the town he has grown up in. People of Searsport, invest in our future and consider Travis as a viable choice in the upcoming race for selectman.
John E. Moran
On Belmont veterans memorial
I am writing in response to the Letter to the Editor in The Republican Journal of Feb. 7, 2013, entitled “Belmont needs a veterans’ memorial” by Jennie Clark. Jennie makes a valid point in requesting a memorial or monument to veterans in the Town of Belmont.
Local towns have been sending men and women to fight in wars back through World War II, World War I, Spanish American War, Civil War, back to the Revolutionary War, and up to the present, through the Korean conflict, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraq. All those years back Maine towns have honored their veterans. Many towns and cities have a statue of a Civil War soldier in their Town squares. Monroe and Appleton have their Soldier statues in a cemetery. Camden’s soldier used to be at the point where Route 52 meets Route 1. After a few accidents causing some damage, the ‘soldier’ was moved down to the park.
After World War II monuments such as the one at Lincolnville Center were erected. As they began to fall into disrepair, one by one the monuments disappeared. A few years ago, Lincolnville’s monument was headed in the same direction until a group of Veterans whose names are on the monument raised money and repaired it.
Cemeteries, by law, are supposed to honor and protect the monuments of veterans of any war. An example of disrespect to veterans going back to the Revolutionary War is the so-called Hannan/Moody Cemetery on Route 22 below the pinnacle in South Liberty, which looks like a war zone.
As far as I can discern, Belmont has never had a Veterans’ Monument. If it did, I would like to hear about it. Jennie shared with me the letter that she received from the Town of Belmont Selectpersons in response to her letter to The Republican Journal.
A quote from the letter from the Town of Belmont Selectpersons, dated Feb. 12, 2013, is this paragraph: “At this time, we would like to thank you [Jennie] for your interest in a Veteran Memorial Park at the Town Office. We currently have a local Eagle Scout working on designing and creating a Veteran’s Memorial similar to what you have mentioned. He approached the town several months ago and has been working diligently on this project. We feel that he should be given the opportunity to complete the project before making any further plans to do something different. All veterans will be honored with the project.”
I think that it is well and good that an Eagle Scout recognized a need for a Town Veterans’ Monument. What if the memorial he designs is not acceptable to the veterans or citizens of the town? Perhaps there could be a contest of several Eagle and Boy Scouts to see whose design is the best and most suited to the need. Perhaps the Scouts could work with some area veterans, to interview and include the veterans in this project. Perhaps there are local Townspeople interested in the project. It should not be given to one single person, but as a Town project. It is a thought, as the Memorial is to honor local veterans, and it is about time that Belmont honored its veterans of all wars.
Isabel Morse Maresh