Mailloux, taxpayers deserve better

I was on the school board when Bruce Mailloux was selected to be superintendent. The district was in such chaos that few qualified applicants stepped forward. Bruce took the position to help the district he had grown up in and because his community needed him. He put in many extra hours and achieved a restored unity in the district that many felt was a superior performance.

When the district was combined with Searsport, Bruce put in the extra effort to achieve stability in Searsport, which has had a reputation of hiring superintendents from outside the district who put in a short stint and then leave.

In summary, Bruce Mailloux is an intelligent and decent person. One who, ethically and legally, deserves to have more than a secret meeting without him and then 8 of 17 directors vote to advertise for a new superintendent.

Bruce is very popular with the citizens and taxpayers of our district. It is a shame to have 8 people make a decision without addressing any deficiency of our present superintendent. Eight is not even a majority of the board.

What needs to be achieved is for the board to listen to the community at its next meeting on Jan. 12, and then have an executive meeting first — without Bruce — to discuss our future direction and legal obligations. After that meeting, the board has a responsibility to Bruce and to our taxpayers to talk in an open fashion and resolve any differences before advertising for a new superintendent.

Our board’s first obligation is to avoid legal repercussions which could be costly in letting go a superintendent — who is very popular and has been evaluated as competent — in order to pursue the unknown in a secret meeting with many board members absent. Hasty decisions often do not lead to the best financial solutions.

Bruce Mallioux is an upfront and proud individual. A minority of the board has slapped both him and the taxpayers, with the potential of a costly legal suit, which will happen unless the board acts with an about-face toward openness and accountability.

Alan Wood
Belfast

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Board exhibits ‘just plain ignorance’

In reading the letters to the editor [regarding Bruce Mailloux and the RSU 20 school board], it makes me think the outback towns’ members have their own agenda. I don’t believe that the outback members of the board really understand just how difficult it is to find a good, hard-working, community-dedicated person for such a lousy position.

The vote to advertise for a superintendent at a special board of director’s meeting sounds underhanded and, from articles, cowardly and probably not legal. [Board Chairwoman Jean] Dube should be the one replaced for letting [this happen]; it sounds like an unprofessional executive session.

What would warrant board members to cast such a vote? I guess just plain ignorance. Mr. Mallioux is completely correct about the busing.

Board members are going to find that the pasture on the other side is not green. You are making a huge mistake. I hope you are willing to pay for our recovery.

Ted Heroux
“Director of Honesty”
Belfast

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Some thoughts on ice safety

This is an open letter to all you brave men and women who think it’s OK to drive onto the ice in your cars, trucks, SUV’s, etc. to go fishing or just to have fun and also bring along family members and friends. I’m leaving out snowmobilers, as they seem to think that as long as you go as fast as you can, you can fly over ice and water safely.

If, on the other hand, you drive a car, truck or SUV on the ice may I be allowed to just offer a few safety tips?

First, before venturing out on the ice, unbuckle your seatbelts and close them after you take them off to stop the noise, as well as for safety.

Next, roll down all of your windows, front and back, for the trip. Also, open all your doors and be able to hold them open during your trip.

Next — and I know it will be hard, but — don’t exceed five miles per hour. This is very important as, if, God forbid, you go in, at least you won’t become a submarine and dive under the ice. With this and the other precautions you should be able to make a safe exit from the vehicle.

Once out, grab for the ice and kick hard in the water. This will lessen your weight as you move out onto the ice. Once on the ice roll — or if you can’t roll, then wiggle — your way onto thicker ice but don’t get up until a safe distance from your submerged vehicle.

I’d also suggest wearing life vests but I suppose that’s asking too much of all you brave souls. But then again, think of the safety of your families and others who may ride with you.

Hopefully, after you reach your destination of course, you can shut the windows and doors of your vehicle, but please don’t forget to go back to the safety procedures you implemented to get out there safely for your return trip.

It’s bad enough that people die just walking on ice and going in, but if you’re driving a vehicle with many lives at stake, please give this little advice some consideration, as it was meant to protect you and your loved ones and friends.

Frank “Smilin’ Jack” Slason
Somerville

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Hurry up, Belfast

On Oct. 21 the Belfast City Council voted to create a position of economic development director with funding for the position to come from unexpended surplus, specifically the funds left from closed-out capital projects, which totalled about $200,000.

It is now the beginning of a new year and I’m wondering if this recognized need and decision is going to disappear into a black hole of obstructionist tactics? At the glacial pace it is proceeding, it will be budget time before a job description is created and the position advertised, which does not inspire anyone to work hard on an issue just to see it disappear.

As I pointed out in numerous Council meetings last year when I served on the Belfast City Council, the agricultural project I was working on needed a project manager and it was my inability to find Chris Shrum when I needed him and to get the work done that needed to be done that led me to push for this position.

I have been asked numerous times since election day if I would continue to work on making Belfast the hub of food processing and I can honestly say that this is a vision that few people understand. Without someone to write grants and work with the farmers, food processors and restaurants in the region, I do not see it happening any time soon.

If I were patient and could take the long view (that this is a project that could take 10 years to develop), then perhaps I would not feel so discouraged and dismayed at the slow pace. It is my own ingrained sense of urgency about finding solutions to aggravating problems (in this case unemployment) that challenges my sense of accomplishment and contentment.

What is the incentive to get involved if the window of opportunity is a two-year term for City Council and vital projects can be so easily obstructed and abandoned?

Jan Anderson
Belfast

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On the matter of mutual aid

Regarding the article “Brooks family loses home” in the Dec. 23 edition of The Republican Journal:

Another fire in the town of Brooks, and another account of volunteers from neighboring towns responding to the mutual aid call. This is a noble principle, upheld by many local men and women dedicated to sharing their skills, their time and energy, and to helping their neighbors in dire need.

In this recent account and others like it, one nearby town is never mentioned as a contributor: Knox. The town of Knox has no fire department. Only a small handful of Knox residents volunteer for fire departments in neighboring towns.

Yet the town of Knox is always ready to invoke the principle of mutual aid to fight a blaze or tend to a vehicular accident within Knox town limits. Knox calls out other volunteer departments under the banner of reciprocity, but Knox never reciprocates. It’s a one-way deal. Knox never gives mutual aid; its fire chief, its selectmen and its residents just take it.

Sound like a sweetheart deal? If you think this is less than fair, less than just, less than honorable toward the volunteers of neighboring towns, contact your local fire chief and/or selectmen, especially when your crew is called, again, for mutual aid to Knox.

Frederick Eickelberg

Brooks

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Playground Steering Committee says thanks

On behalf of the City Park Playground Steering Committee and the Parks and Recreation Committee of the city of Belfast, I wish to thank all of the taxpayers, individuals, organizations, contractors and hardworking volunteers for their generosity of time, money and effort this past year in building the new playground at City Park. It was Hurculean in scope.

As anyone who has visited the playground knows, it has been an unbelievable success — just ask any child you meet. As one little boy said, “Mom! I want to sleep here!”

Thanks to donors: taxpayers, city of Belfast; Friends of the Belfast Parks for the Castle; Menig Trust for the landscape; Dr. Michelle Morrow for the Toddler See Saw; Dr. Joseph Anderson and Belfast Pediatrics for the Big Swing Set; Josh Carle at JC Stone for the giant block of granite that is our stage; Bank of America for the Big Cool Slide; Viking Lumber for the Tunnel; Dutch Chevrolet; Lane Construction for the Caves.

Additionally, thanks to CMP for its help with the electrical service and setting poles all over the place; Bangor Savings Bank; Hannaford Supermarkets for their help with our fundraiser and their many other donations; Camden National Bank; Francesca and David Sinnott; Janet and Tom Duggan; The Good Table; Jane Sandford; Peter and Stephanie Taylor; William Brooks; Phyllis Coelho; John Whitlock.

Last, but certainly not least, all those local businesses that agreed to put jars on their counters entitled “Pennies for the Playground” — they have collectively accounted for more than $2,000. Thanks go to Bayside Country Store, Jack’s, Irving, Belfast Variety and Upper Cut.

Thanks also to our contractors: Joe Higgins at Tydall, Chris Corson at Tree of Life Woodworking, Dean Bartlett at Bartlett Construction, Pat Scribner at Doak’s Machine, Charlie Mala at Northern Iron Works, Lane Construction, Keith Thompson, Tim Hall and Zeb.

If I have missed anyone, please forgive me and know that we are so very grateful.

For those of you who did not get a chance to make a donation, please know that we are currently fundraising for the last two play elements: the Excavator and the Zip Line. This playground is truly the gift that will keep on giving.

Laura Richardson,

Chairwoman

City Park Playground

Steering Committee

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Mount View alum urges support for Future

I attended Mount View in Thorndike from kindergarten through graduation, and was always involved in sports in some capacity. I have many fond memories of sporting events, but was always envious of the sports facilities at schools around the state.

Our students, their families and district residents all deserve to feel the community spirit, pride and excitement that can be fostered by the quality sports complex Future MSAD 3 has committed to help provide our district. Before this goal can be realized, however, we need to raise money for the infrastructure of this sports complex, including power, water, and sewer. These elements are neither glamorous nor exciting, but are vital to the big picture… and what an amazing picture it will be!

As a board member of Future MSAD 3, I urge MVHS alumni, parents, grandparents, and SAD 3 residents to support First Things First, the campaign to fund athletic field infrastructure at the new school.

Future’s mission is to raise funds to enhance particular areas at the new school not funded by the state or district.

We are working on this campaign for the benefit of all youth in SAD 3. We need support from alumni, parents and grandparents to keep this promise to Mount View. The next $5,000 contributed to Future for First Things First or The Heritage Fund will matched dollar-for-dollar by UniTel and the Unity Foundation.

When no one would fund the basic infrastructure for Mount View’s athletic complex, Future stood up and said “We’ll do it.” To meet the total obligation we must raise $66,000 as soon as possible. Join the 240 donors who have already supported this project.

Together, help keep the promise we made to Mount View’s student-athletes. Make a tax-deductible contribution today to Future MSAD 3, P O Box 151, Unity, ME 04988.

Monica Wing

Thorndike

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[Editor’s note: This letter should have appeared in the 12/23 edition]

The funny business of politics

A friend stopped me just before Christmas to commiserate over the election results and at the end of our conversation she said, “Politics is a funny thing…” and her voice trailed off and she had an apologetic and puzzled expression on her face; neither of us could explain more than that but it prompted me to think again about the funny business of politics.

First, I started thinking about all the people who have extended their thanks to me for my service to the city, their sorrow that I lost the election, and their request that I not abandon my involvement in community issues. I realized I have a lot of friends and supporters in the community who believe in me and respect me and value me and I understood once again that all that really matters in life is that relationship — the respect and valuing and friendship of people in a community.

So I need to say thank-you to my friends, acquaintances and supporters for believing in me. Together we make up a vibrant, dynamic and colorful community of immense value.

Secondly, perhaps because we were in the beautiful Christmas season, I was filled with gratitude that my experience of family is today much greater than it was before serving on the City Council, yet not as unwieldy and uncompromising. I am touched by the continued good will and thoughtfulness of the community.

I don’t have an answer yet to the request that I stay involved in community issues. But I honor those who ask and who do the work of the community. Today I am simply hoping to extend my thanks and my gratitude to friends and supporters and my commitment to a bright, healthy future.

Jan Anderson
Belfast

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Thank you seems so inadequate

United Mid-Coast Charities has just concluded a year with an exceptionally busy event schedule in December in Knox and Waldo counties.

The first event was Making Miracles, in collaboration with coastal downtown business groups. The 125 merchants that participated agreed to donate up to 10 percent of their sales on Dec. 12 to UMCC. To remind people to shop downtown, Bangor Savings Bank employee-teams assembled luminaries, distributed them in the downtowns and lit them. This event took place in Camden-Rockport, Rockland, Belfast, Searsport and Unity. An anonymous donor contributed $15,000 to match the success in each of these towns. We thank the Bangor Savings Bank employee-teams and the more than 125 merchants that participated in this important fundraising event.

The second was the 2009 Holiday Pops Concert, a first-time event for UMCC. Maine Pro Musica’s orchestra, Camden Hills Regional High School Women’s Choir and Chamber Singers, Penobscot Bay Ringers, and Rockport Dance Conservatory performed at Strom Auditorium in a concert described as a ‘smashing success.’ More than 100 musicians participated in this concert and the quality of the music tells us that along the coast of Maine, there are exceptional musicians eager to celebrate the holiday season.

The third event was the lighting of luminaries on Christmas Eve in Knox and Waldo counties. A small army of volunteers, from the Cub Scouts to high school students to seniors, assembled 2,000 luminaries. They were sold by street captains throughout both counties, lighting up the spirit of community and expressing hope to those in need of help.

There were 125 merchants participating in Making Miracles, in addition to the Bangor Savings Bank employee-teams. About 500 people attended the Holiday Pops Concert. And about 2,000 luminaries were sold to benefit the 50 agencies in our federation.

A mere thank-you to the hundreds of people who participated with us in December seems so inadequate, but it is offered with the warmest sincerity of our directors and officers.

Rusty Brace,
UMCC President