Holding history hostage?

[Editor’s note: Rep. Anne Perry, D-Calais, is sponsoring a bill, LD 1781, titled, “An Act To Allow Electronic Filing of Vital Records and Closing of Records To Guard Against Fraud and Make Other Changes to the Vital Records Laws.” Among other things, the bill would keep certain vital records — including birth certificates, death certificates and marriage certificates off-limits to the general public for 100 years from the date of the birth, death or marriage. Belmont resident Isabel Morse Maresh wrote the following letter to Perry, and sent a copy to the Journal as well.]

Dear Anne Perry,

I have been told, and read online, that you have sponsored legislation to ban the use of Maine’s vital records. I call myself a genealogical researcher and historian.

I have been involved in published old records since 1978, and have written and published a book called “Belmont, Maine — The First Hundred Years,” published by Higginson Book Co. of Salem, Mass., in 2002. My life is fully involved in research.

Perhaps you have never been involved in family history research. I have been told that your purpose in banning the use of public records is to prevent identity theft.

I have never, in all my years of research, heard of anyone having their Identity stolen from doing family research. With the advent of the Internet, anyone who steals another’s identity has many avenues to steal that identity if they are criminal enough to do so.

If this is not your area of expertise, then why punish all of us — and there are a lot of us, including many, many who are online tonight to see what we can do to protect our rights to research. And why, why, why was this done in secret? It seems that anyone who would or could help us didn’t know anything about the bill.

Most of us are pretty good with writing letters, and it is about time for each of us to flood the U.S. Postal Service. We’ve heard that they are in trouble, and they need our letters. Please reconsider banning and locking up the vital records of Maine. Other states are becoming more open, and up here in the backwoods of Maine, our records are in danger of being closed.

Isabel Morse Maresh


Historian feels honored

Searsport’s town meeting on Saturday was the best one I’ve ever attended. It began with my fifth-grade class leading the pledge of allegiance to the flag, followed by a ceremony in which I was named the first “Official Historian of Searsport,” received a wonderful gift from the town to commemorate the occasion and flowers from both the Searsport Historical Society and wonderful friends. What’s not to like?

All joking aside, I was both honored and humbled by the occasion and I want to thank Searsport’s town manager, James Gillway, and the Searsport Board of Selectmen for this day that I shall never forget. I was pleased to be able to have so many of my present and past students and members of my family there to see it happen and to receive so many words of congratulations from townspeople in attendance.

The office of Official Historian of Searsport comes with no specific job description, so I plan to just keep on learning more about the history of this town that I love and teaching it to as many children and adults as possible. Thank you, Searsport, for appreciating the work that I started 30 years ago to have our town recognized for the treasure that she is.

Charlene Knox Farris



A different view on abortion

Ivy Lobato’s 2/17 letter [“Thoughts on abortion”] has it backwards when she blames men for making laws that prohibit abortion. The fact is that every member — all nine of the 1973 Supreme Court which legalized abortion — were all men. The overwhelming majority of abortionists are men. The escorts outside abortion mills are male. Men are the backbone of the American abortion industry. Pro-aborts have no problem with the above men. The “bad” men to them are the ones who think women deserve better than abortion.

Polls consistently find that women oppose abortion at a higher rate than men. They are also more opposed to government funding of abortion, are more active in the pro-life movement, volunteering at 3,000-plus crisis pregnancy centers. The centers provide mothers with diapers, cribs, education, counseling, etc. — all from free-will, pro-life contributors. The Rachel’s Vineyard organization (rachelsvineyard.org), free of charge, helps women suffering from post-abortion syndrome, the psychological and spiritual devastation that often comes with abortion.

Many women do regret their abortions and thousands have joined the Silent No More Awareness campaign (silentnomoreawareness.org) or 800-395-HELP.

The pioneers of the women’s movement — Susan B. Anthony, Mattie Brinkerhoff, Sarah Norton, Emma Goldman and Elizabeth Cady Stanton — were outspoken in their opposition to abortion. Alice Paul, who worked 50 years for passage of the original Equal Rights Amendment, called abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women.”

U.S. abortion mills have killed 52 million babies by surgical abortion since 1973. All our wars up to and including Vietnam killed 1,352,000; both numbers are horrible, but as Pope John Paul II warned: “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.”

Claiming abortion as a means to prevent child abuse has also proven false. According to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in 1973 there were 167,000 cases of child abuse in the U.S. In 2002, after all these millions of aborted babies, there were 1,694,756 child abuse investigations, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. If legal abortion reduced child abuse, after we’ve executed over 52 million babies, where did all of the children who are being abused today come from? And how many millions more do we have to butcher before their scheme starts to work?

All the horrors that Ms. Lobato mentions have gotten much worse since abortion was legalized. Even women who refuse abortion are being killed in much larger numbers than ever before by those who impregnated them. If we are not all endowed by our Creator with the inalienable right to life, as proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence, no one is safe — born or unborn.

Ron J. Stauble Sr.



Questions on Belfast buildings

At my age I should know, but how exactly are new buildings funded, like an event center if approved and the emergency operations center and sheriff’s office?

If the Crosby school, which is an important part of this town’s history, is for sale, why is that building not being considered? It has been completely renovated. How are costs controlled? In my experience the price of public works always goes way over proposed budget. The exorbitant foot bridge is a case in point.

Who oversees costs and quality? Who prevents kickbacks? Who makes sure the buildings are green? The roof of the library had to be replaced at enormous expense. Why did that happen? Do these projects mean our property taxes are going to go up?

Just wondering.

Jane Sanford



Walker pledges to ‘put Freedom first’

On Friday, March 12, the voters of Freedom will elect a new selectperson. Other individuals had taken out nomination papers, but at the last minute all but one (the incumbent, Ron Price) withdrew. Because I firmly believe the citizens of Freedom deserve a choice, I have decided to run as a write-in candidate.

In the last several years Freedom has faced many challenges. Everyone knows that the wind turbine issue has divided the town and hard feelings have grown up among many residents. Decisions have been made which we must live with, but it is important that, whatever happens next, our residents and the town itself be treated fairly.

I believe Freedom will grow and more commercial development will take place. But that development must take place with guidance and must work for the benefit of the town of Freedom and its people. I love Freedom and have lived here in the same house for almost 37 years. Everyone who knows me is aware that I can always see both sides of an issue objectively and fairly. It is most unlikely that I would ever have to recuse myself. With only three selectpersons in office, we need all three individuals fully engaged and working on every issue that comes up.

The qualities I can bring to the position include energy, commitment, creativity, education, integrity and problem-solving ability. I have had experience working with people from all walks of life, grant writing and budgeting for a nonprofit organization (Literacy Volunteers of Waldo County). I am also a small-business owner (now part-time), so I understand the problems of the hard-working people of Freedom.

So I am asking the citizens of Freedom to check the box and write my name and town on the ballot. The amount of time required of a selectperson should not be taken lightly by anyone running for the position. I have the time and am ready to devote as much as is needed to do a good job. I promise to always put Freedom first.

Frances Walker