Letters, Oct. 6, 2016
I was involved in a two-car crash with a fatality in Belfast on Route 1 on Sept. 11. I would like to thank Belfast Police Department, EMTs, Waldo County Hospital ER staff and LifeFlight for taking care of me.
It was a horrific experience to go from a peaceful drive home from work to a shattered body and totaled car within a millisecond. I am forever grateful to you all. But especially to the woman that stopped and came to my aid as I attempted to get out of my car, maybe in the middle of the road.
She said she was a nurse and she was the first person by my side. She didn’t have to even stop but she did, guiding me back to sit down, because I was about to pass out. I believe I heard her talking to her child, telling them to stay put while she helped me. God bless you and thank you. I am on the mend. And I am on Facebook if you want to contact me. I would love to say thanks in person.
Deb (Deborah) Brady
First women veterans luncheon
On Sept. 24, the first Midcoast Women Veterans Luncheon was held at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast. The American Legion Women's Advisory Board started this outreach as a way to connect Maine women veterans. There have been a total of five done throughout the state. The first three were held in Rumford by Tricia Thurston as host and one this spring in Augusta held by Deb Couture.
The luncheon was attended by 65 women veterans and various organizations were in attendance, such as American Legion Post 43, VFW Post 3108 of Belfast, DAV Chapter 1 based in Augusta, Betsy Ann Ross House of Hope, Women's Memorial Washington, D.C., Veteran Farmers Coalition and Honor Flight Maine.
Without the help of many, many people this could not have been done. I wish to thank Viking Lumber Inc., Sherwin Williams, Renys, Hannaford, Sam's Club, Dunkin' Donuts, T&T Nails, Mathews Brothers, McDonalds, Hamilton Marine, NE Otis Painting, Swan Lake Grocery, The Good Table, Floral Creations, Dead River, American Legion Post 157, VFW - Belfast, Buck Buckley (our photographer), Joyce O'Roarke, Thomas Peacock, Norman Otis, Tara, C.J., Maggie and John Harvey, Marian Hughes (our hairdresser), Barbara Cook, Ivy Heisen, Kathy Merrifield Lanphier (our massage ladies), Makin' Waves Hair Salon, Hutchinson staff: Kim Wilson-Raymond, Zora Merrill and Diana McSorley, Sonja Abbott (wonderful cupcakes), Faith Temple Church, First Congregational Church of Searsport, Searsport United Methodist Church, WCGH and WCGH Ladies Aid.
On a final note, I would like to thank three special women veterans who worked hard to bring this program together: Joy Asuncion (retired senior chief, U.S. Navy), Linda Withee (U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam-era veteran) and Madeline Littlefield (Korean War veteran).
Judy Otis, Commander
American Legion Post 157
Board seeks input
The Regional School Unit 71 Board of Directors invites all citizens to attend our regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at Gladys Weymouth Elementary School in Morrill. As always, the Board welcomes comments from all residents of the school district on any of its agenda items. For the 11th, the Board is particularly interested in hearing from the public on the various options the Board is considering regarding the Tri-Town elementary schools (serving the children of Belmont, Morrill and Searsmont).
In our meeting Sept. 26, the Board was apprised of the following information:
- WBRC (an architectural firm that RSU 71 has contracted to do several studies) has completed a draft plan for adding onto the Ames Elementary School in Searsmont (to accommodate students currently at Gladys Weymouth) at a projected cost of $7,643,752.
- WBRC has estimated a new Tri-Town school, which would house all pre-kindergarten through Grade 5 students from both current schools, would cost $11,405,714.
- A building analysis and a draft of potential renovations/additions to the Weymouth School were completed in 2004 and 2010.
- The Maine Department of Education will open the major school construction application process, which is a lengthy process of 10 to 20 years to possibly secure state funding and a final completed school.
Options for addressing deficiencies in the current Tri-Town school facilities and possible enrollment changes to come include the following
A. Renovate the Ames School and close the Weymouth School.
B. Renovate both the Ames School and the Weymouth School.
C. Build a new school, and close both Ames and Weymouth Schools.
D. Build a new school on the Weymouth School site, and close the Ames School.
While there was a general (non-binding) verbal consensus by School Board members about having one school in the Tri-Town area, the Board is eager to hear from the public about what is needed and preferred for Tri-Town elementary students.
Please join us on Tuesday, Oct. 11. The meeting will be held at the Weymouth Elementary School in Morrill at 6:30 p.m.
Caitlin Hills, Vice Chairman
RSU 71 Board of Directors
Sacred right to vote
The choice by some of us to vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, neither of whom has any hope of winning, or instead not vote at all, because we do not like either of the major party candidates is childish and indefensible.
Childish because it's "If I can't have what I want, then I don't want anything," and indefensible because, over the past 240 years, good men and good women have fought and many have died defending our sacred right to vote, and respecting their sacrifice requires more than having an American flag on our lawn and our hand to our heart during the national anthem.
Respecting their sacrifice requires that we exercise our right to vote whenever and wherever we have the opportunity to do so, and, more importantly, it demands that, when we vote, we do so maturely and responsibly. Anything else is disrespectful to America's servicemen and servicewomen, past, present and future. More, it's shameful.
Honor, humility, respect
I am writing to encourage the people of Senate District 11 to support and vote for Senate President Michael Thibodeau. I had the pleasure of serving in the Maine Senate with Mike and found him to be thoughtful, honest and extremely hard-working. When I left the Senate and became executive director of SAM, I was proud to see him re-elected and then elected by his peers as the Senate president.
Sen. Thibodeau has earned the respect of his fellow senators from all parties and those that work with him on a daily basis in Augusta. In what can only be described as chaos, Sen. Thibodeau has proven himself to be fair, level-headed and reasonable and carried himself the highest level of integrity the position deserves.
I was sad to learn recently that a politically liberal group from California with no ties to Maine has decided to dump at least $50,000 into the Senate District 11 race to support his opponent. I can only scratch my head because recently, the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, a Democrat, was reported in the Bangor Daily news as recruiting Sen. Thibodeau for governor.
According to the BDN, this is what Eves did: “Term-limited House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, campaigned for Thibodeau in a surreal exchange with reporters, saying Maine would be “better off” if lawmakers removed LePage and installed the Senate president, who is first in the line of succession and he would happy if Sen. Thibodeau was the governor of Maine.”
As the director of Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I am proud to endorse Sen. Thibodeau. He is a friend of sportsmen and gun owners, but I am also proud to support his candidacy as a citizen of Maine; I wish I could vote for him.
When elected to office, legislators are given the term “Honorable.” Your mail comes with this title and it follows you for the rest of your life. Some people understand that there is more to the word honorable than just a title. Sen. Thibodeau served his term with honor, humility and respect for the position, while many others in the Legislature didn’t. When tested, he put Mainers first and partisan politics second. He maintained Senate order and brought respect to the position of Senate president, even when criticized by members of his own party.
The president of the Maine Senate deserves to be called “the Honorable” Sen. Thibodeau, I hope the people of Senate District 11 reward him with another two years and reject out-of-state money.
David Trahan, Executive Director
Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine
Four-Term State Representative
Vote for Gerritsen
When Lincolnville was celebrating its 200th birthday over a decade ago it was mentioned at a celebration gathering that Maine’s greatest export was its children. Many of our sons and daughters in the Midcoast area leave the towns they were brought up in to pursue education and careers away.
But this historical trend may be changing. Over the last few years I’ve noticed many young people who have left the area are returning to pursue a life in Maine. They are community-minded.
One returning native son to Maine is Josh Gerritsen. He was raised in the Midcoast and is now living in Lincolnville. Josh is running for a Lincolnville selectman position and interested in our town and its future. He wants to work on issues regarding our harbor, dealing with municipal waste, and our energy needs.
In November please vote for Josh Gerritsen for selectman to bring a fresh perspective to the town of Lincolnville. He’ll be knocking on doors this October. Please invite him in.
In touch with Maine
I met Jonathan Fulford decades ago on a bus to Washington, D.C., to try to stop the Gulf War. I had left a career designing and marketing military electronics after learning first-hand the horror of war. Our conversations focused on how to build a sustainable society.
Jonathan Fulford has the ethics, vision and temperament to replace the out-of-place, out-of-time Mike Thibodeau who scored a rating of 25 percent with the League of Conservation Voters, 0 percent with AFL-CIO, and 100 percent with Maine’s Right to Life Committee.
I’ll buy one of the snow shovels Mike Thibodeau manufactures in Maine to see if it can make it through a season, but I don’t buy his antiquated ideas about controlling women’s bodies, and his cut-and-run conservatism. I was raised conservative, but in my family it had a different meaning than Thibodeau’s conservatism.
First, conservatism meant getting government out of our bedrooms. Thibodeau thinks he should decide who you can marry and how a women controls her fertility. How can a man think he has anything to say about a women’s decision on when to bring another life to earth? Fulford’s clear respect for women’s reproductive freedoms and LGBT rights demonstrates not only an understanding of basic civil liberties, but also a commitment to get government out of our bedrooms!
Second, conservatism meant conserving nature — the “Way Life Should Be.” Sure, with Thibodeau, we could keep Maine “Open for Every (Dirty) Business,” send our forests up the smoke stacks to generate a bit more cheap dirty power, and offer our rivers and air as receivers of toxic industrial outputs, but Maine deserves better.
Jonathan has been investigating the back room plans to run fracked gas pipelines through Maine, and he fights for renewable and clean energy alternatives that will deliver more dignified work to citizens.
This past weekend at the Common Ground Fair I had to pinch myself, feeling so fortunate to be raising a family in Waldo County. I don’t think there is another event of this scale in the world that features organic and sustainable ways of life. There is a new crop of young wholesome, fiddle-playing organic farmers taking the place of massive smelly chicken houses that delivered life in a trailer and guts in the river.
There are people coming to hike, bike, boat and enjoy the beauty of Waldo County while they spend some money in local businesses. And when they leave, we still have a great organic quality of life.
Fulford has been living this organic lifestyle since I met him nearly two decades ago. This new life resonates with even more than the estimated 60,000 fairgoers. Maine’s beauty deserves Fulford in the State Senate — I just wish he’d run for governor.
Knows kids are key
As a teacher and coach at the Dedham School for over 30 years, I appreciate seeing dedicated public servants who put our kids first. And our town and our House District 131 (Dedham, Orland, Stockton Springs, Penobscot, Verona Island, Prospect and Otis) are fortunate to have just such a person working for their kids in Augusta — State Rep. Karl Ward.
After graduating at the top of his UMaine engineering class, he taught there for 11 years and still serves as an industrial curriculum adviser. As chairman of the President’s Advisory Board at Eastern Maine Community College, he helped create their civil engineering program. For seven years now, he has served as trustee at John Bapst where he helped develop their highly successful international boarding program.
Through his construction company, Nickerson & O’Day, he has created several permanent scholarships and here in Dedham, helped outfit classrooms with smart technology and provided a new batting cage. Much of our local Little League field has been built with donations from Karl.
When he ran two years ago, Karl pledged to donate all of his legislative take-home pay to schools and youth programs around his district. And he’s made good on that pledge — installing a sound system at the Beech Hill School stage in Otis, providing iPads for first and second graders at the Penobscot Community School, pitching in to build a new community center playground in Orland, funding six college scholarships to Prospect and Verona Island students, adding to the Children’s Library in Stockton Springs and erecting a wonderful new electronic field scoreboard at my school here in Dedham.
Karl knows that our kids are the key to building a better future for our state. He’s dedicated his life to this notion. On Nov. 8, I’ll be voting for Karl Ward and I urge you to do the same.
Listens, then acts
State Rep. Karl Ward’s work in this region, from helping a local family who lost their home to fire, to his incredible support of Holbrook Little League and the Dedham School, to getting a local widow’s house re-roofed, is well-known. If there’s a tough problem or someone in need, turn to Karl, and it gets done.
That’s why I went to him with a unique problem. All across America, over 15,000 people play in the American Cribbage Congress. We play for points and tournaments are held across the country. But not in Maine. For some reason, Maine considered it “gambling” (it isn’t) and it was prohibited. Well, that was until Rep. Karl Ward got involved.
I contacted him, we met, I described the problem and Karl began his research. He found the statute and how we could fix it to allow ACC tournaments in Maine, wrote the bill, reviewed it with me, lined up key co-sponsors and it was assigned to a committee for hearing.
Then he helped coach me through the preparation of my testimony, explained the hearing process and even met me at the door of the State House to take me to the committee room. He led off the hearing with his own testimony and then I and others spoke. A couple weeks later, Karl informed me that the vote was unanimous to approve the bill and a few weeks later, it passed in the House and Senate and the governor signed it in to law.
This year, we held the first tournament in Maine in over 10 years in Bangor. Karl kicked off the event with a short speech. Two local TV stations covered the story. Players from all over the U.S. attended and it was estimated to have brought over a half-million dollars' worth of economic activity to Maine!
District 131 (Dedham, Orland, Stockton Springs, Prospect, Verona Island, Penobscot and Otis) is well-served by this man. He listens, then acts. He works very hard for his towns. For these reasons, I urge you to join me and vote for Karl Ward on Nov. 8.
Stands for lobster industry
When I think of Penobscot Bay, I think of lobsters. Although lobstermen and women around the bay are doing well this year, they are worried about threats to their livelihood if industrial wastes are discharged into this watershed. We're still living with the legacy of mercury pollution left by the firm, Holtrachem (now Mallinckrodt) over 20 years ago. In 2015, Searsport was the center of a white-hot debate over how to dredge its harbor for commercial shipping.
The U.S. Corps of Engineers wanted to dredge over 900,000 cubic yards of spoils, barge down the bay, and dump it off the northern tip of Islesboro. I kept waiting for my senator, Mike Thibodeau, to lead the effort to nix the Corps’ plan and implement a better alternative known as the “Dawson Plan.” But he did not.
It took a grassroots push by citizens to write letters to Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Department of Environmental Protection. Citizens spoke out at public meetings to persuade DEP to table the proposal and require additional testing of the sediments to determine actual levels of contamination.
Jonathan Fulford publicly supported the Dawson Plan and argued strongly for it. He understands the long-term consequences of short-sighted solutions that do not protect the productivity of Penobscot Bay.
I will be voting for Fulford Nov. 8 because we need a person of vision and courage to do what’s right for our region. Lobsters don’t vote. But I do!
Brings passion, energy
I was delighted last winter when Stanley Paige Zeigler Jr. announced he was running for the Maine House District 96 seat! After retiring from a 35-year career in the Merchant Marine, Paige jumped into serving our local community with dedication and enthusiasm. He is vice chairman of our local School Board, on the Unity Area Recycling Board and convened our local caucus for the presidential election. He's repeatedly stepped up to the plate and done the research necessary to be an informed participant.
As a deck officer in the Merchant Marine, Paige worked 24/7 with men and women of different nationalities, views and temperaments. Out there on the oceans of the world he learned the necessity of working together to keep their ship afloat. I believe these skills will serve him well as our representative in Augusta.
Paige has been interested in politics as long as I have known him, and I strongly believe he will bring that passion and energy to the Maine House to best serve his constituents. He attended all the town meetings of our district, which includes Belmont, Liberty, Lincolnville, Montville, Morrill, Palermo and Searsmont.
At one of these meetings a man said to him, “I won't shake the hand of a politician.” Paige said that he was just a candidate, but hoped to be elected so that he could indeed be a voice in Augusta.
I hope you will join me in voting for him to accomplish this. I think he will be great!
Commonplace for him
Two years ago, when Karl Ward first ran for the Legislature to represent District 131 (Verona Island, Prospect, Stockton Springs, Orland, Penobscot, Dedham and Otis), he met my mother, Gerry Baxter, at her home on Verona Island. Karl is a great listener, and he asks questions. He stayed for over an hour. I hear this is commonplace for him.
My mom was suffering from terminal cancer. He shared that every member in his own family has had cancer except for him. It took his own father.
A few weeks later, Karl explained that if elected, he would push for a new law — called “Right to Try” — to give Mainers with terminal illness a chance to try Tier One-level FDA-approved drugs that were not currently permitted in our state. Several other states were pushing for this as well. Karl had done his research and felt confident we could pass it in Maine.
After his landslide victory, he co-sponsored the bill with a Democrat (this is commonplace for him, too) and my mom wrote testimony for him to present in Augusta for her. The local NBC affiliate even came and interviewed them at mom’s home! In an inspirational floor speech in the House of Representatives, his voice cracked with emotion as he spoke of those the bill might help.
It passed overwhelmingly in both chambers and is now law. His only regret is that Mom didn’t live to see it happen. We lost her last December.
Last spring, Karl had Mom formally acknowledged in the House of Representatives. Shortly afterward, he presented to me a beautiful “Legislative Memoriam” signed by the House speaker and Senate president. I hear he has done this a few times, as well. He told me that my mom was, is and will always be an inspiration to him.
We are lucky to have a man like Karl Ward willing to serve us in Augusta. He truly cares about Maine and its people. Vote for him Nov. 8 so he can continue working for us.
Gail Baxter Creath
Vote Republicans out
Here in Belfast we have done very well. We’re alive with businesses hiring, Mainers and tourists love visiting, and locals enjoying a “real” town that is recognized and cheered statewide.
As mayor of Belfast for eight years and now a four-term City Council member, I’ve watched as Maine fell far behind the region and country. Six years ago the state elected Gov. Paul Le Page and two years later we elected a Republican Legislature. Most of Maine, other than the coast and southern Maine (which the governor dismisses as Northern Massachusetts), have suffered badly under this governor and his Legislature.
The latest outrages by LePage camouflage how badly his administration and the Republican senators and representatives have failed Maine. Instead of talking about the deep harm caused by their radical experiment, we’re talking about a foul-mouthed loose cannon.
This November we have one last chance to begin to right the state. If we miss this one chance we’ll be another three to four years before we can begin to straighten out all the damage LePage and the Legislature has done.
The Republican majority needs to be thrown out. In Waldo County we must elect Jonathan Fulford to the Maine Senate. In every district and county of Maine, every Republican must be voted out of office. No matter what they have done individually, as a party they have failed Maine. If you care about Maine’s future, we need to vote the Republicans out.
Vote: The future is on the ballot.
I met Owen Casas outside of his house, where he was simultaneously making wooden campaign signs and playing with his kids (who thought his signs would be better if they were purple, but I digress). I was there taking an PSAT/SAT prep class through the Study Hall, a business run by his wife Marci. I had arrived early, so he and I had plenty of time to talk about all sorts of topics, ranging from his time in the armed forces to what we thought about the current events of the Middle East.
When he came to Islesboro, where I live, to campaign, he gave me a call. We enjoyed meeting people and they enjoyed hearing more of what Owen Casas thought about issues that Maine faces, hearing his personal philosophy and his vision.
Now attending Harvard University, I still look back on the time we spent driving around in his pickup meeting people and distributing signs. It wasn’t that we agreed on everything, in fact many of the conversations that I remember the most were discussions on things that we did not agree on. Through meeting him I learned what I thought both a politician and a member of any community should be.