David McLaughlin will be missed

This is an unofficial letter of appreciation and honor to an old and dear friend, David Attwood McLaughlin of Liberty, who passed away unexpectedly on Friday, May 7. He was 68 years old, a graduate in fine ats from Yale University in the 1960s, and he moved to Maine in 1971.

Beloved by his many friends, he was generous with his time, energy and expertise. When he believed in a cause, he was present, loyal and essential.

David was known for years as the Rigger. He could move, fix or weld anything and was known far and wide for his capacity to perform any technical feat, the more challenging the better. His technical expertise regarding buildings, design and construction was actually legendary. He was like an encyclopedia of knowledge, aesthetics and good sense when it came to understanding the process of making anything, from solid, lasting foundations to simple and exquisite details of finish.

He regularly and steadily expressed a deep love of poetry, rust, many beauties of limitless varieties, workable and unworkable tools of all kinds and ages, joinery in all media, technologies ancient and modern, hard work, ingenuity, tool placement and other mindful work practices, every job supremely conceived and thoroughly carried out, high drama and low desires, mischief, risking and winning, elegant fits and impossible feats, the flowers of youth, careful organization and clear vision, pleasure, parties, good food, friends and laughter, the ocean, islands and architectures of Maine.

He was a generous resource for so many people on so many levels, from welding broken snowplows and axles to fixing the spillway of Lake St. George for the town of Liberty to co-designing the tower gate at the new Bucksport bridge. His art is a wonderful combination of superior craftsmanship and quirky vision where every technical and aesthetic move is evidence of consideration, choice and effect. He understood how materials, particularly ancient steel, could be the carrier of many harmonics: time and age as well as presage of the future.

A magnificent and complex man, David was a phenomenon, a town uncle, twice Planning Board chair and occasional town meeting moderator, meticulous recorder of significant histories and random minutiae, whose fugue of buildings at the old Corn Factory in Liberty are a legend of wood, air, fire, steel and water for an adventurous core of makers, assemblers and admirers across the universe.

There is so much more to say, and it is certain that all who knew him have similar reflections, appreciations, great stories and images of McLaughlin over the years. It would be wonderful if any readers, writers, photographers or visual artists so moved would send them to Waterfall Arts, 256 High St., Belfast, ME 04915 (or send an e-mail to info@waterfallarts.org) so that we could collect and share them. An event to celebrate his life is being planned by Waterfall Arts at Kingdom Falls in Montville on Saturday, May 29, at 1 pm.

He will be deeply and very sorely missed by all who knew, admired and loved him.

Alan Crichton

Waterfall Arts

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Halliday responds to Huck, again

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to a letter from David Huck in the May 12 edition, titled “A good example of Democratic lies.” In his letter, Huck suggested that recently released unemployment statistics represented a lie put forward by Democrats.]

Why can’t Mr. Huck get it right if he’s going to try to belittle the president? The Labor Department reported that 290,000 jobs were created in April, but the unemployment rate increased from 9.7 to 9.9 percent. The increased jobless rate is “largely a reflection of the fact that workers that had dropped out of the workforce entirely are now seeking jobs again” Mr. Obama said.

The Labor Department released this information on May 7 and President Obama reported on it May 7. There was no mention or insinuation that the new information reported in May was the cause for more people seeking jobs in April, as Mr. Huck indicates.

I also believe that if they, the Democrats, were really trying to hide the fact that unemployment had reached nearly 10 percent as Mr. Huck says, they probably wouldn’t have released the figure of 9.9 percent to the whole world.

So we can sh-rug another Huck-ster off.

Hal Halliday

Belfast

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Neighbors in need

Volunteers are special people who find personal fulfillment from helping others. As an employee of Spectrum Generations, I see how fortunate we are to have a large pool of volunteers who help make it financially possible to manage many free or low-cost programs and services that help maturing and disabled Mainers across central Maine live independently.

But the need doesn’t end there. There is a big need in our communities for volunteers willing to help their neighbors. Many elderly and disabled Mainers struggle with poor health or disabilities that often make it necessary for them to give up their homes and independence. Some programs and services, such as the ones Spectrum Generations provides, make it possible for them to stay in their homes, but they still may not be physically able to do a lot of the heavy chores, or have a network of relatives or friends who can drive them to the grocery store or doctor’s appointments.

Look out your window with new eyes and you may notice that Mrs. Smith’s home is looking unkempt, and you know she is just getting by on her Social Security. Maybe you are just noticing that Mr. Jones’ lawn is overgrown and he has a broken window patched up with plastic? These could be indications that they can no longer do these types of things themselves, and may not be able to afford to hire someone to do them.

There are many ways that you can help. Consider dropping by to see if your neighbor could use a little help with the heavy cleaning or mowing the lawn. Pull together a group of neighbors and make a day of washing your neighbor’s windows, or sprucing up their yard. Get your kids involved in helping an elderly neighbor and let them feel the satisfaction of helping others. Work with your town government to set up a program to help the elderly and disabled in your community.

We all get caught up in our own busy lives — working, shuffling the kids around and maintaining our own homes. Lend a helping hand to your neighbors in need and you may find that you get back as much enjoyment as you give.

Holly Couture

Public Ed Coordinator

Spectrum Generations

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Green thumbs give thanks

The Belfast Garden Club would like to publicly thank all of the local nurseries who so generously supported our very successful plant sale on May 15. The proceeds from the sale primarily go to help the Club buy plants, compost, mulch, and other supplies to maintain public gardens around Belfast. Proceeds also help to fund our annual scholarships for students pursuing gardening and environmentally-related college degrees. Please patronize these nurseries and thank them for their support of the Garden Club:

Aubuchon Hardware, EBS Building Supplies, Evergreen Valley Farm, Fernwood Nursery, Heirloom Gardens, Hidden Gardens, Holmes Greenhouse and Florist, Ledgewood Gardens and Greenhouses, Plants Unlimited, and Roots & Shoots.

Corliss Davis and Peg Frees,

2010 Green Thumb Plant Sale co-chairs

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Thanks to volunteers

On Saturday, May 15, 160 men, women and children found fun, excitement and a sense of accomplishment in successfully completing the swim, bike and run elements of the 1st Annual Waldo County YMCA Family Triathlon Festival. It was only through the combined efforts of 160 volunteers from police and fire departments, school, businesses, individuals and families throughout Waldo County that this event was made possible.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous sponsorship of the following: Unity Foundation, UniTel Inc., Waldo County General Hospital Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, Robbins Lumber, Hammer Nutrition and Belfast Pediatrics.

A resounding “Thank you!” is extended to those people whose collective interests and assistance put yet another event onto the list of exciting activities that make our Waldo County community a great place to live. As the co-directors of this event, we have enjoyed working as facilitators in bringing the triathletes and volunteers together for a day of athletic achievement and support.

Beth Anderson

Jim Wescott

Co-directors, Waldo County YMCA

Family Triathlon Festival

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Thanks for supporting student art

The opening reception for the RSU 20 student art show at the UMaine Hutchinson Center in Belfast was a huge success. Students all received a tote bag with their artwork printed on the front, were awarded certificates and recognized, along with their art teachers. All courtesy of the Hutchinson Center.

I want to thank all the students who participated in the RSU 20 student art show. I also want to thank everyone who worked on making the show such a huge success. Sue McCullough, director of the Hutchinson Center, has been supportive and enthusiastic, to say the least. We felt like we were given the red carpet treatment and I thank her along with Dorothy Alling, organizer of the senior art exhibit. The two shows together were proof
that the arts are alive and well in the Midcoast.

A special thanks of appreciation goes to administrative assistant Andrea Roulliard. The show and the reception both had a professional touch, due to her guidance, patience and hard work.

Art teachers Jay Hoagland, Heidi O’Donnell, Ron Bisbee, Laurie Brooks, Ginny Hallowell, Lynnette Sproch, Nancy Desmond, Sam Maheu and Jessica Porter spent many hours preparing the student work and hanging the show. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with all of these professionals on an initiative that brings RSU 20 together with the common goal of supporting our children and the arts.

Charles R. Hamm

Fine Arts Department Coordinator

Belfast Area High School

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Rowe’s the right one

For anyone who may be thinking, “It’s time for a woman governor,” I urge you to support Steve Rowe as the candidate for governor who will really stand with us. The June primary is right around the corner, and women across the state can help set Maine on a more positive course. Anyone who has not gotten to know Steve at one of his local events can visit his Web site at RoweforGovernor.com to learn about his record and plans for Maine’s future. Steve is a candidate whom women, and all Mainers, can believe in.

The challenge of the next four years will be getting our economy moving again. Steve’s tenacity and focus will result in both workforce development and job creation — he knows both are equally important. Steve knows how to get things done and he will not stop until he has met his goals of improving education and creating good-paying, sustainable jobs in Maine.

Steve has been a single parent and knows firsthand the struggles that families face. He knows that when individuals and families thrive, so do our communities and economy. He understands the issues of parenting, education, primary prevention, creating safety in interpersonal relationships, women’s health and choice, marriage equality and pay equity that women so often put their hearts and energies into moving forward. Steve is a person and politician with integrity and drive, and I look forward to seeing him tackle the complex problems currently facing Maine.

Steve is a West Point graduate, a veteran, holds degrees in business and law, and has years of business experience in the private sector. He has served Mainers as a leader in the Legislature and as our attorney general. Steve delivers on his promises, and does not stand down when there are big fights ahead. He took on the Bush Administration to defend our clean air while in the Legislature, he took on Big Tobacco and underage drinking while attorney general, and has spearheaded countless initiatives to address the number-one cause of homicide in Maine: domestic violence.

We have an opportunity to see major change in our state, and see it happen in a way we can be proud of. If you are a regular voter or have never cast a ballot, join the thousands of women across Maine who, like me, know Steve, have seen him problem-solve and drive forward with intensity and commitment to get the job done, and know that he’s the real deal. We have an opportunity to elect someone who is more than a politician, more than a businessperson seeking to run the government like a corporation. Steve thinks outside the box and will not stop until he gets Maine where it belongs, at the center of the map.

Steve Rowe names his mother and wife as two of his heroes. He honors and learns from women’s experience and leadership. Join me in supporting Steve Rowe for Maine’s next governor.

Kate Faragher Houghton

Monroe