Recent re-entry article ‘exploits’

As committed citizens, we need to welcome back into community those released from jail/prison and to help them transition back into society in the most supportive way. The front page article, “‘You gotta want it’: A serial inmate breaks the cycle, for now,” [in the June 16 edition] exploits some of our most marginalized citizens in the interest of attracting readership.

Furthermore, this article does not give an accurate picture of the Reentry Center and its residents — mostly-intelligent, vulnerable men who are actively struggling to re-establish themselves, to gain control over their addictions and mental health issues, and to fight the negative forces of poverty.

As a Restorative Justice Project board member and active volunteer, I have had the privilege of knowing many of these residents. Re-entering society after a period of incarceration can be a daunting task. It takes hard work, unbelievable determination and the ability to overcome a multitude of obstacles.

In an effort to strengthen our whole community, we need to offer compassion, understanding and support — not exploitation and misrepresentation.

Carolyn Otto

Belfast

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Council has ‘screwed up our town’

I fully support replacing the railroad to its original state. I was watching the City Council meeting and I did want to hear some of the letters that the Council received, both pros and cons.

But, it seems that Roger Lee believes that he is the “boss” of our City Council. I pray that he does not get on the Council again — I believe that a little power can ruin the logic of the brain.

I’ve loved our town and its railroad all my life. I was born here, so over the years, I’ve seen it all.

I fully believe that our little town is in bondage. No Walmart, no Lowe’s — [they] may hurt the other businesses. The City Council drove them out before they had even a chance. No Tim Horton’s, no KFC; no, can’t have that,

How much did Walgreens have to pay to get in? I’m sorry, Rite-Aid and Hannaford, I guess you will have to go; we didn’t need another store like you. One of you will have to go.

Where are you factories out there? Come to Belfast — you will be welcomed by a lot of people and teens looking for production jobs. How about bringing back a bowling alley and a roller skating rink?

I’m so sorry, Lowe’s, and Walmart, you weren’t received here. It would have saved gas fumes, pain and made so many of our lives so much easier.

City Council, you’ve done a great job of screwing up our town. You say, “Shop Belfast” — there is nothing downtown I’d shop at, except for True Value. They charge so much rent because they are so greedy; that’s why the stores are empty.

I’m not picking on out-of-staters, either, because I married one. There are just certain people who only want what they want, and to hell with the others. Well, I guess I’ve made how I feel known, so I’d better not say any more — it makes enemies.

By the way, I really miss Faye Yost, she just adored animals, they never hurt her. She was hard to get to know, she was straight to the point, she spoke up, and she was a lot smarter than some people gave her credit for.

Oh, by the way, I did not swear, there really is a heaven and a hell.

God bless all who grew up in Belfast and who struggle to remain here.

Deborah Paradis

Belfast

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Hurley’s view of Belfast

Last fall I ran for the Belfast City Council with my primary platform (after legalizing home chickens!) centered on “economic development.” The sitting Belfast City Council had begun addressing our challenges but I was impatient and wanted to see the implementation faster and more extensively. Those who know me will agree that my impatience can at times be a virtue as well as a vice. Sometimes I want to go too fast and sometimes it’s just right.

Whatever the speed we moved, I want to acknowledge progress. As we near the end of our budget for 2010 I want to report on some tangible successes that bode well for Belfast’s economic future. This week marks the start date for our first-ever and new Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge, and we are excited at the possibilities and strengths he brings to Belfast. As we finish our budget process the Council voted to fully fund the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is truly beginning to shine for our area.

A new program this year is the matching funding for Our Town Belfast, a Main Street Network program that will breathe added life into the small-business community. The Council also chose to fund an assortment of Belfast events that generate public participation and support small business. Many of our efforts, such as purchasing the railroad right-of-way and master-planning the waterfront, will also add new energy to Belfast.

Speaking for myself, I compliment the members of the Belfast City Council on their actively supporting the health of our local economy. We need to strengthen our local businesses and this City Council and the administration have taken giant steps this year to do just that. There is still much to do, and working together we can truly change Belfast and our area for the better. I spent a fair amount of time before being elected offering “helpful” suggestions and friendly criticism to the city.

Eight months later I can tell you I may not be happy with our current economic situation, but I know that the city government is actively helping, doing what it can, and working to improve how people earn a living in Belfast.

Michael D. Hurley

Belfast City Council

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The ass-kicker

The president, trying to reverse his image of inept leadership on the oil spill and show how strong he was, said that he was going to “kick some ass.” How nice, but also how transparent and revealing of the fact that his interest is in the appearance of leadership rather than the reality of leadership.

But there’s a method to his madness. He wants to look as though he regrets the oil spill when, in reality, he loves it for its usefulness to demonize the very industry that makes our economy possible and advance his effort to build more windmills and bike lanes. Drudge reports “Obama is spending $1,200,000,000 on cycling and walking initiatives.” Who does that man think he is, and how much nonsense will we accept?

But let’s go back to the ass-kicker issue. Is he setting a good example for our children with bad language use? Will it now be OK for kids to use that language without comment from adults? I hope not, but we have become accustomed to Democratic presidents’ diminution of our cultural norms. President Clinton’s term in office was certainly not an example of high moral and ethical standards, either.

David Huck

Swan Lake

P.S.: Mr. Halliday’s recent effort (“Halliday responds to Huck, again,” letter to the editor, May 19 edition) to rationalize how an event in one month happened as a result of an event the following month reverses cause and effect and introduces a new Democratic deception; effect and then cause. Face it, Hal, The AP release was a lie.

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Support sought from senators

In his historic first Oval Office address, President Obama outlined the government’s response to the Gulf oil disaster and called for Congress to help move us toward a new, clean energy future.

The BP spill illustrates in heartbreaking terms the dangers of our nation’s addiction to oil. While our first priority must be to do whatever is necessary to repair the damage in the Gulf and ensure that those responsible foot the bill, we also need a long-term solution to move away from energy sources that threaten our environment, economy and national security.

We need the president to ban drilling in new areas, especially near Maine. And we need Congress to pass a strong, comprehensive clean energy and climate bill this summer that does four things: ensures that Gulf communities and ecosystems are quickly repaired, institutes policies that move America off of oil, establishes a cap on global warming pollution, and gives strong financial support to clean, renewable energy sources.

I urge Senators Collins and Snowe to make sure that Congress seizes this historic opportunity, and answers President Obama’s call for a strong energy and climate bill that protects our environment, economy and national security.

Zoe Geer

Field Associate

Environment Maine

Portland

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Protecting kids from tobacco

Scientists have proven the link between tobacco product advertisements and promotion and adolescent tobacco use. To protect kids from becoming addicted to tobacco products and suffering the deadly effects of tobacco, the FDA Center for Tobacco Products issued a new rule limiting the sale, distribution and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

New requirements relating to marketing (labeling, advertising, and promotion)

• Prohibits tobacco brand name sponsorship of any athletic, musical or other social or cultural event, or any team or entry in those events.

• Prohibits gifts or other items in exchange for buying cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products.

• Requires that audio ads use only words, with no music or sound effects.

• Prohibits the sale or distribution of items, such as hats and tee shirts, with tobacco brands or logos.

You can be part of protecting the next generation from tobacco-related diseases. Please discuss with your children, grandchildren and other members of your family and community the importance of reducing the access to and attractiveness of tobacco products to our children.

Please support the retailers in your community in both understanding and complying with the new requirements. And after June 22 if you see that the new rules are not being followed or would like more information about them, contact FDA by calling 877-CTP-1373, or visiting fda.gov/protectingkidsfromtobacco.

You can also contact Healthy Waldo County at 930-2650 or 930-6761 for tobacco prevention and tobacco cessation information. If you are ready to quit tobacco, call 800-207-1320, the Maine Tobacco Helpline, for confidential support.

Barbara Crowley

Healthy Waldo County