‘Hate speech’ deserves no safe harbor

I’d like to add my take on the discussion between Mr. David Huck in his April 14 letter to the editor titled “The American Resistance” and Mr. Hal Halliday’s answer the following week, in his letter titled “A different view of history.”

David Huck claimed that Democrats are killing Americans (Republicans, actually), like the Nazis murdered Jews in Europe, and that the French Resistance turned the tide, just as Republicans must turn the tide now. Hal Halliday pointed out that the French Resistance amounted to no more than an irritant to the German occupation of France and that President Roosevelt and Gen. Eisenhower were the real cause of the Nazi defeat.

I have to say, “Really, Mr. Huck? Democrats responsible for a domestic Holocaust? President Obama — the ‘most affluent and mesmerizing liar in history’? Really? What stunning, unsupported claims these are!”

I think Hal Halliday’s letter did a wonderful job pointing out many of the fallacies and inconsistencies in Mr. Huck’s letter. However, I believe the issue of inciting violence as a remedy to political differences has not been addressed. This is today’s issue. To allow someone to imply that political differences are equivalent to war and occupation and that guerrilla tactics are an appropriate response could incite extremists to action. That is something we have seen too much of in recent times. As LBJ used to say, “Come, let us reason together.” Reason is the key.

I believe civil discourse should be a requirement for publication in your paper. The kind of hate speech in Mr. Huck’s letter, while protected, does not need to be amplified by publication in The Republican Journal.

John Nickerson

Belfast

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Commissioners need to ‘do their homework’

Along with other concerned Waldo County citizens, we attended the Belfast Planning Board meeting April 14. A brief outline was presented of the proposed 10,750-square-foot, $1.4 million EMA/sheriff’s offices that the Waldo County commissioners hope to erect in the midst of one of Belfast’s historic residential neighborhoods.

What followed was more than an hour of intelligent, articulate statements offered by Waldo County residents objecting to the proposed plan. Many concerns were raised, including the scale of the project, impact on abutting property values, increased traffic, lighting and noise, adequate setbacks, and the potential affect on wildlife.

We were made aware that noxious (and feared toxic) odors emanating from a sewer at the corner of Congress and Spring streets were recently referred to the Department of Environmental Protection for investigation.

There were questions and much concern raised about the county commissioners’ compliance with FEMA and Maine Historic Preservation Commission guidelines. In addition, and of no small consequence, is the fact that the Planning Board members indicated they were unaware of the DEP investigation and the county commissioners’ non-compliance with the Maine Historic Preservation guidelines prior to the presentations by members of the public that evening.

As reported by Ethan Andrews (“Plan for new sheriff’s, EMA building delayed by lack of plan for old,” April 21 TRJ), the Planning Board meeting stalled when it became clear that the county commissioners had failed to plan for the future of two historic buildings on the property, in compliance with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission’s guidelines. As a result, there was no discussion of the proposed EMA/sheriff’s building, as the entire issue was tabled and the commissioners were then sent back to the drawing board to do the work they should have done in the first place.

Having witnessed this course of events, we read with a great deal of surprise that county commissioner Amy Fowler told Mr. Andrews that she “didn’t hear anything bad said about the proposed facility, per se … it was just everything from the dragonflies to the 40-foot arborvitae bushes.” Ms. Fowler was also quoted as saying that she was “surprised at how little of the public comment at Wednesday night’s meeting was related to the aspects of the project that are within the board’s jurisdiction.”

We know that Ms. Fowler was at the meeting, but we wonder if she was listening. The proposed facility was never discussed, as the county commissioners didn’t even get step one right: dealing with the existing historic buildings, related setbacks and traffic patterns. Any discussion about the proposed facility was tabled. Further, Ms. Fowler’s gratuitous comments about the impact of the project on the surrounding environment and landscaping, both within the authority of the Planning Board, reveals Ms. Fowler’s and the other commissioners’ pattern of dismissing citizens’ concerns and simply misstating the facts as they occurred.

After the fiasco at that meeting, the county commissioners would do well to take note and do their homework. The citizens of Waldo County will be happy to review their revised plans when we gather again at the next Planning Board meeting.

Leslie Umans, Brooks

Brenda Bonneville, Belfast

Neighborhood group coordinators

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Building debate ‘not just about neighbors’

Thank you so much for your fine editorial [“Go back to the drawing board,” p. A10] and Ethan Andrews’ excellent article [“Plan for new sheriff’s, EMA building delayed by lack of plan for old,” p. A1] in the April 21 issue regarding the proposed county building — it will be a county building, by the way — which would house the Sheriff’s Office and the EMA. The presentations were fair, representing a variety of points of view and emphasizing the need for planning with foresight and thoughtfulness. I also thank the Belfast Planning Board.

This is not just an issue about neighbors being concerned about a possible decrease in property values, nor residents on Congress and Miller [streets], nor the city of Belfast. This proposal is coming from county officials who are pushing for a solution for Waldo County. Please, residents of Waldo County, follow this proposal closely. We need much more information. We deserve being informed.

Evie Tinker

Belfast

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Thanks to Music Man Mike and pals

Congratulations to Mike Hurley for his newest entrepreneurial venture. With a nod to the past and a wave to the future, we had our first Belfast Free Range Chicken Music Festival. He pulled it off with the help of his talented pals, including Roots and Tendrils Gallery owners Meg and Bub Fournier.

Thank you, Mike, for bringing us everything from bears to boogie and making Belfast the coolest city by the sea.

Jane Phillips
Northport

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Learn from Little Bighorn

At the battle of Little Bighorn in which General George Armstrong Custer met his demise, the Indians’ side of the story has finally come to light through such publications as American Heritage magazine. In it they describe how many of the soldiers just stood there, rooted in fear, and simply waited to die and it was somehow “sad” for the Indian warrior. Custer, it is written, had been shot under the heart and a bullet hole was found slightly to the left of his ear going into his left temple, and his brother’s body was found a mere 15 feet away. Assisted suicide, by implication?

It’s the same way today in politics. Why do the Republicans just seem to mill around while the leaders hold saddle talks while standing in their stirrups and peering at the political landscape through a pair of looking glasses? Don’t they know that the opposition is upon them again? Other than parroting the opposite line and finger-pointing, do they themselves have something to offer us other than the standard, “We’ve got to win more seats!” line?

Perhaps what they need is a new generation of new Republicans with fresh ideas and the tenacity that comes with pursuing a dream. The old leadership needs to release its chokehold on policies and procedures and show flexibility.

Here in Waldo County there are several individuals whom I have met and they should be given a chance to put their words into action: Wendy Pelletier, [who is running for the House] District 44 [seat]; David Parkman, [who is seeking re-election as] county treasurer; Mike Thibodeau, who is running for the Senate District 23 [seat]; and Peter Rioux, [who is running for the House] District 42 [seat].

They all have a few things in common that I would like to point out. Vote “Yes” on 1. Bring the unrestrained spending spree back under control — i.e. in balance, stop the state takeover of county responsibilities, produce family-friendly policies and reduce the poverty level in Waldo County by promoting business without taxing them out of business.

Sounds reasonable to me, what about you? So inform yourselves as to the nature and policies that govern each party and make the choice that pertains to you. Remember this: If Maj. Reno had helped Gen. Custer instead of hiding behind a sandbank; the outcome could have been different.

Edward L. Ordway

Northport

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Tea parties: 1773 vs. 2010

In 1773, American patriots (in Boston and Maryland) went to the harbors in both Boston and Maryland to protest the British demand that we buy part of their excessive 17 million pounds of tea. So the patriots in Boston dumped the tea into Boston Harbor. This was in protest of a foreign government trying to force the Colonists (United States) to be controlled by them.

In 2010, we have so-called “Tea Parties,” citizens in the United States to undermine their own government’s effort to have universal health care like all other industrialized nations.

It seems there is a monumental difference between the patriots of 1773 and the so-called Tea Partiers of 2010. The 1773 protesters were protesting a foreign government (the British) while the right wing in 2010 are protesting the United States government. Perhaps the 2010 protesters are thinking of another civil war?

Nat Crowley Sr.

Stockton Springs

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Are you age 18 to 25?

We are looking for young adults aged 18 to 25 who are willing to complete an anonymous survey, the Young Adult Drug and Alcohol Use Survey. We are supporting a statewide effort to update information about substance use patterns by young adults in Maine. Participants can complete a printed survey available at several locations or can complete the survey online at yadaus.hornbyzeller.com/yadaus.asp.

As an incentive to complete the survey, 30 respondents who return a postage-free card before May 15 or provide information online at a site separate from the online survey to ensure anonymity, will be chosen to receive a $25 gift card.

For more information about the survey or if you have ideas about where to distribute it, contact Patrick Walsh, Healthy Waldo County at 338-2200, ext. 109, or send an e-mail to pwalsh@brmaine.org to receive a link to the online survey.

Thanks for completing the survey and contributing your information.

Patrick Walsh

Healthy Waldo County

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Fundraiser winner had fun

The Island Feral Cat Association of Islesboro wishes to thank all the kind people who purchased tickets for our recent “Cats” raffle. The lucky winner greatly enjoyed the overnight getaway to Bangor and attending the musical “Cats.” Friends of IFCA who puchased tickets made the raffle a success and the funds raised go directly to the care of feral cats. IFCA is an all-volunteer 501c3 nonprofit.

Island Feral Cat Association

Islesboro

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Waldo County Y says thanks

The Waldo County YMCA held its largest fundraiser of the year on April 24. The Dinner & Auction was held at Point Lookout in Northport.

Charles Erb, chief volunteer officer, welcomed the group and introduced a special slide presentation, showcasing the many activities that happen at the Y.

The many Y supporters in attendance demonstrated overwhelming generosity by bidding high and bidding often! We auctioned 100 items donated by individuals and businesses in our community and raised more than $8,600.

The YMCA would like to thank everyone who participated for being a part of this success — in more ways than one. Thanks to everyone on the special events committee, auctioneer Lin Calista, PowerPoint organizer Sara Shute, all staff, board of directors and volunteers who gave of their time, talents and goods.

Fundraising helps minimize membership dues and allows us to offer financial aid to those in need. The Waldo County YMCA distributed more than $74,000 in scholarships for memberships, programs, summer camps and daycare in 2009. With your support, we continue to build strong kids, strong families, strong communities. Thank you again.

Dale Cross

Executive Director, Waldo County YMCA

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Baby Fair helps locals

Thank you to all the participants of the Baby Fair held at Troy Howard Middle School. It was a great success, with a total of $963 raised from admission fees and table rentals that was donated to the Belfast Public Health Nursing Association to help local families in need.

In addition to helping BPHNA, attendees were able to find gently used clothing and toys and help the environment by recycling them yet again.

Volunteers Lois Aitken and Wilma Moses helped tremendously.

Also, our thanks to the organizations that provided educational booths for families: Healthy Waldo County had information on lead paint and healthy eating and Dawn Bryant, EMT, from Waldo Community Action Partners, distributed information on child passenger safety seats and checked for expired and recalled products.

Another baby fair is planned for this fall. For more information, call the Waldo County General Hospital Education Department at 338-2500, extension 4154.

Baby Fair Planning Committee

Waldo County General Hospital

Belfast

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Health-care officials offer thanks

Pen Bay Healthcare and Mid-Coast Mental Health Center would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the 124th Maine Legislature for its exemplary service during this most recent session. We particularly wish to thank members of leadership and the Appropriations and Health and Human Services committees for facing the daunting challenge of balancing the biennial budget while considering the value of the mental health services infrastructure that so many of our community members rely upon for their health and well-being. The Appropriations Committee worked tirelessly to support a unanimous budget in these trying times.

The partial restoration of critical mental health funding that had been proposed for elimination in the governor’s preliminary budget is extremely important to both employers and consumers here in the Midcoast region and throughout the state of Maine. Not only did these proposed cuts threaten the livelihood of mental health centers and psychiatric service providers, they also promised to choke off access to timely, affordable and sometimes life-saving treatment for our community members with mental health concerns.

We value each lawmaker’s service to the state and its residents, particularly in this most challenging session. Our congratulations and thanks to the 124th Legislature for its commitment to a tremendously difficult job that was very well done.

Roy Hitchings Jr.,

President and CEO, Pen Bay Healthcare

Todd Goodwin,

CEO, Mid-Coast Mental Health Center

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Truth

“Let us be still and listen to the truth.”

Our democracy is a shallow joke about to self-destruct. Television is leading the way.

Our politics, economics, religion and social structure isn’t working. Everything is based on fallacies.

Civilization is a conspiracy (don’t pay as you go). The first step is slavery. In order to develop, it’s necessary that things should be better for some and much worse for others, then those who are better off can develop at the expense of others.

Group consciousness is powerful and produces an outcome of unspeakable beauty or ugliness.

Most people don’t care about the suffering masses, the oppression of the minorities, the anger of the underclass or the survival needs of anyone but themselves and their immediate families and they do not see that they are destroying their earth, because their actions seek only to enhance their quality of life. They are not far-sighted enough to observe that short-term gains can produce long-term losses and often do and will.

“We have met the enemy and they is us.”

Wake up, wake up to reality. What are we afraid of, an end to our way of life? The loss of our personal safety and security? What we are afraid of has already occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.

The fear of anything leading to the unification and our planet’s glorification of all that separates produces division, disharmony and discord. Yet, we seem not to have the ability even to learn from our own experiences and we continue behaviors with the same results.

The answers are so many ways, so simple and straightforward, once we see through the lies, distortion and beliefs of the past and present and see that the forms of economics and cultural imperialism our culture practices in the name of “free trade” and modernization are vulgar and [detrimental] to the health of all human community, perhaps we can learn to “live simply” so others may “simply live.”

The truth and solution. The “have’s” will not share an equal opportunity to the “have-not’s,” ignoring that they control all that the “have-not’s” seek.

We all are one. Truth will prevail.

Justina DiTaranto

Verona Island