Some letters go too far

I’ve been a regular TRJ reader since 1980 and I’d like to ask you a question: how do you decide which letters are fit to print? If you have guidelines, will you share them? Do you see a fine line between promoting open discourse and providing a venue for hate speech? Are some letters chosen because they provide comic relief? How do you distinguish between an expression of opinion and a rant? Making these decisions can’t be easy.

Each week, some letter writers make points I agree with, and others hold views different from mine. Thoughtful people exchanging ideas help make life (and newspapers) interesting. From Walmart to wind turbines, I enjoy learning about what people on each side of a local issue are thinking.

And then there’s Donald Violette of Brooks, in a class by himself. His statements about women and homosexuals and what God thinks of them offend me deeply. I don’t share his views and neither does my church. I’m surprised by your ongoing choice to print his letters, which I think fall on the wrong side of the line.

Try substituting ‘black’ for ‘female’ in the following sentence by Mr. Violette in the April [7] edition [from the letter, “Discrimination: A great need”]: “Hence, all who support female preachers or vote for female politicians are opposing God and ruining society.” I think that with that change, you’d deem it to be bigoted speech and would not print it. Am I correct? His letters do not relate to any local issues and are only interesting for the writer’s belief that he channels God, who apparently has it in for gays and uppity women.

Yet you continue to publish them.

I look forward to learning how you handle the challenge of deciding which letters are offensive and which ones are fit to print. As Maine’s oldest weekly newspaper, you have a high standard to uphold and I’m certain that you take questions about ethical journalism seriously.

Gina Cressey

Belfast

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WCAP deserved better

I commend your paper for preparing and running the informative chart [“Social service spending by the numbers,” which accompanied the article “Service agencies anticipate needing more, getting less” in the April 7 edition] listing social-service spending by the various communities in preparing their annual budgets. We all know that times are tough everywhere, with states and communities trying as best as they are able to prepare modest budgets.

Even still, I was disappointed to see how little respect some communities gave to a very valuable service, Waldo Community Action Partners. WCAP provides the residents of Waldo County with a large variety of services. To find out what they are, you can look at their Web site at: waldocap.org.

All communities are of course trying to cut their budgets as much as they can, but some communities, such as Searsport, met [nearly] the [full] WCAP request … [by giving] $15,000… . Some other communities, such as Belmont, tried to give something, even though it was less than requested. They gave $2,283 of the $4,565 requested.

But other communities reneged entirely, even though their citizens use the services of WCAP. Swanville, for instance, gave nothing, Unity gave nothing [and] Waldo gave only $250 of the $3,982 requested.

I worked as a driver for Waldo Transportation for about two years. During that time, I got a firsthand look at how valuable that service is in transporting people, particularly seniors and young people, who are unable to drive themselves to and from doctor, hospital, or drug treatment appointments. The uses of Waldo Transportation’s services, at virtually no cost to the citizens, are much too long to list here, but if ever there was a service which is worth much more than it costs, Waldo Trans is it.

Stephen Allen

Belfast

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Thanks for social-service article

[Editor’s note: This letter was addressed to TRJ reporter Ethan Andrews, who wrote the article “Service agencies anticipate needing more, getting less” that appeared in the April 7 edition.]

I want to thank you for the article you wrote last week on town funding and its impact on social-service agencies. It isn’t an easy subject to discuss, and I appreciate the opportunity you provided to bring it to the attention of our communities.

Kathleen Morgan

Executive Director

New Hope for Women

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‘The American Resistance’

“Is the last word said? Has all hope gone? No. Believe me, I tell you that nothing is lost…”

With these very words, the French Resistance against the German defeat and occupation of their country was launched by a French Army officer named Charles de Gaulle. He said it on the darkest day, but it sparked a light and ignited a belief that the oppressor could be overthrown — and it was.

Nazis and Democrats have much in common. The Nazis thought of themselves as the “Master Race” — superior in every way; people who need government to make important decisions for them. First came government health care. Does that remind you of the Democrat[ic] elites?

The Nazis needed a group to blame their country’s problems on. They chose the Jews and killed them in prisons to silence their voices. Democrats chose Republicans, with special interest on seniors, their sharpest critics, whose Medicare support they will reduce.

The Nazis killed millions, just as the Democrats kill millions of innocents, and we have just temporarily escaped being charged for the abortions. The common characteristic between Nazis and Democrats is the absence of a moral foundation. Democrats lie with impunity and enthusiasm. They have Obama, the most affluent and mesmerizing liar in history, as their leader and lying instructor.

I have a sign made from a white bathroom rug with a frilly edge. The center is painted white and big black letters say, “Democrats Lie Like Rugs.” I take it to Tea Party Patriot rallies. It’s the truth and the truth will become the resistance that will defeat the lying Democrats.

David Huck

Swanville

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Go vegan for Earth Day

Forty years have passed since the first Earth Day, and although many environmental problems have gotten worse, there is still hope for our planet. We now better understand what we need to do to conserve resources, curb water and air pollution and combat climate change: Go vegan.

Switching from a meat-based diet to a vegan one will reduce one’s carbon footprint even more than switching from a standard sedan to a hybrid car. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency believes that if everyone ate a vegan diet, climate change mitigation costs could be reduced by 80 percent.

Fortunately, more and more people are going vegan. Officials in places as diverse as San Francisco, Israel and Ghent, Belgium, are even encouraging people to choose plant-based meals, at least for one day a week. Schools in the U.K., Helsinki, Finland and Baltimore City are observing “Meatless Mondays,” and New York City schools are currently considering a similar initiative.

If you’re serious about saving the planet — and animals — please visit GoVeg.com for more information and free vegan recipes.

Heather Moore

Research Specialist

PETA Foundation

Norfolk, Va.

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Waterfall Arts says thanks

April 1 has come and gone and a very surprised and enthusiastic Jill Porter from Gardiner got a call that wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. Jill’s winning ticket was drawn from over 100 raffle ticket holders in the Waterfall Arts, “I Love Belfast” raffle that commenced on March 1, at our second annual Pastabilities fundraiser.

Porter will receive a night at The White House Inn, a night at the Belfast Bay Inn with breakfast, a gift certificate to Darby’s, 18 holes of golf at the Northport Golf Club, a foot detox bath at Getaway Spa, two Belfast T-shirts from Purple Baboon, two tickets to the Colonial Theater, a chair massage from “Pull Up a Chair (or a Table)” and a guided art gallery tour by Alan Crichton, Waterfall Arts Co-Founder. Congratulations, Jill!

Waterfall Arts would like to thank the above raffle sponsors as well as everyone who contributed to the silent auctions. We are grateful for the support of everyone who spread the word, who helped prepare, execute and clean up, and to those who gathered for a convivial evening of good food, good music and good friends. Special thanks to our chefs, the young musicians, the culinary students at the Waldo County Technical Center and to our hosts at 96 Main St.

Our Pastabilities 2.0 successfully raised funds to match an Innovative Production Grant from the Maine Arts Commission to document our collaborative efforts with the city, the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition, youth groups and the Maine Birding Trail in addressing the stewardship and site-specific art installations at rangeway sites this summer. Collective efforts to enhance the public pathways to Belfast Bay is an essential and dynamic eco-art project for Waterfall Arts.

Everyone’s continued support for Waterfall Arts’ events, classes, and exhibits keeps us vibrant, involved and committed to our local, regional and statewide cultural, environmental and creative economy interests.

Elaine Bielenberg

Board President

Waterfall Arts, Belfast and Montville Centers for Art and Design

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Calling the class of 1965

We are planning a 45th reunion [for the Crosby High School class of 1965] on July 24. We need some help in finding some classmates: Eugene Henderson, Michael Jackson, Shirley Prescott Moulton, Robert Kroesser, Micella Geaney Perry, Francis Buck Powell, Janice Phillips Brown, Larry Foster, Josephine Cook Nickerson and Herman Reynolds. Contact Mike Gallant at 342-3779 [if you have any information]. Come join us at Stonecrest in Waldo — it should be a great get-together, and we’ll also have more info. later. See you there!

Mike Gallant

Class of ’65 — “The last class”

Morrill