Bring back the band!

It’s a crisp fall Friday night.

The bleachers are full, there are people lined up along the sidelines of the football field and the smell of popcorn fills the air. This is the typical scene of many people every Friday night at 7 p.m. Generations of people have seen, smelled, heard the same things when attending a Belfast Area High School football game. But one thing has changed … there is no band sitting in the bleachers to liven everyone up and to pump up the fans and the players.

Why, you ask? When I asked the Belfast Area High School band teacher that question, he replied that some of the soccer parents were upset because the band played at the football games and didn’t play at the soccer games. I was shocked when I heard this answer. I respect the soccer parents’ opinions, but the main question is, have you ever been to a soccer game where the school band was playing? I never have.

The band teacher said there was nothing he could do about it, so I decided to let my voice be heard. What some of the soccer parents need to realize is that having the band play at football games is a tradition. And it has been at many other schools also.

And I’m asking those parents to consider this: would you rather have the band play at the football games, since it is a tradition, or to not play at all? I believe that in a way it is unfair to the band students, since they practice hard and they don’t receive the recognition that they deserve.

I talked to some of the band students, and they said they would love to be able to play at the football games. I would love to see them get the opportunity and experience of playing songs for their team and getting the crowd fired up! Even if they just stayed until halftime, that would be so much better than nothing at all.

Also, I would love to see the football players getting that support from the band and experiencing what a real high school football game should be like.

The main point is, bands excite people, music inspires people and the atmosphere would be so much more positive and inviting with the band playing their much-practiced music.

Times have definitely changed, but this tradition should be one that stays around for a long, long time.

I would love to hear from other supporters, so please contact me by sending a letter to:

Belfast Area High School, Attention: Devon Drake, 98 Waldo Ave., Belfast, ME 04915

Devon Drake

BAHS student

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Buses better than bicycles

Ms. Allison Vogt’s data in the recent Village Soup/Republican Journal article about the bicycle coalition providing valet bike parking at the upcoming Common Ground Fair [“Bicycle coalition to provide valet bike parking at fair,” Sept. 15 edition of TRJ] is a perfect example of statistics being applied deceptively.

The strategy of quoting selective data, as Ms. Vogt did, is often employed by people and organizations who are trying to promote their own agenda. Riding bicycles is a great and healthy way to have fun; however, common sense must prevail. Having hundreds of bicycles interrupting bumper-to-bumper traffic flow on a narrow, winding road is a recipe for disaster. That is a statistical certainty.

I would add that the numbers Ms. Vogt quoted for fuel and related pollution saved by these riders is only part of the statistical equation. Every time one of those 499 bicycles causes a mile-long line of cars to stop, or slow down and go around, or otherwise react to their presence, there is a concomitant increase in fuel use as well as the negative impact to our environment.

How many cars burned extra fuel dealing with these riders attending the fair? Thousands, to be sure. Perhaps every car that went to the fair! If the bicycle coalition wants to save fuel and pollution at this event they should leave their bikes at home. Want to save fuel? Want to minimize pollution? Want to arrive at the fair safely? Get MOFGA to provide bus transportation from surrounding towns, perhaps as far away as Belfast, Bangor and Augusta.

James G. Williamson

Prospect

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Candidate ‘rude and wrong’

During the recent candidates’ forum at the Hutchinson Center, John Piotti was abruptly interrupted by his senate opponent, Michael Thibodeau. Thibodeau falsely interjected that John Piotti had voted a different way on a bill than John actually had.

I later saw Thibodeau turn to Piotti. As I was sitting in the front row, I heard him admit privately that he was wrong; but Thibodeau never acknowledged his mistake to the audience, even though the forum continued for another hour.

Not only was Thibodeau rude and wrong, but he did not admit any fault publicly.

That is not the kind of conduct we can tolerate from someone seeking to be our next state senator. It is one of many, many reasons why I am voting for John Piotti.

Ben Crimaudo

Searsport

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Voter impressed with Herbig

I attended the Maine Municipal Association candidate panel at the Hutchinson Center last Wednesday [Sept. 15]. All state House and Senate candidates from Waldo County were in attendance and answered questions on a variety of topics ranging from funding education to job creation. Erin Herbig, a candidate for House District 43 (Belfast, Belmont, and Northport) was very impressive.

I found Erin to be knowledgeable, ambitious and in touch with the concerns of her community. I was most impressed with her focus on local job creation. She suggested reducing energy costs by diversifying Maine’s energy portfolio, providing more affordable health insurance options for small businesses and expanding broadband Internet access. She also stressed the importance of bringing businesses and schools together to train workers. I believe successful implementation of these plans will help create good jobs in the state.

I encourage you to support Erin Herbig in the November election. She has the intelligence, energy and conviction needed to bring stability and strength to Maine.

John Delehanty

Belfast

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Herbig like ‘letting in fresh air’

As November approaches, I am so pleased to support Erin Herbig for state representative of District 43 (Belfast, Belmont and Northport). This is the first campaign I have ever volunteered for, and the excitement is building!

Erin is driving door-to-door in all three towns, meeting people of all political persuasions. She greets each person with enthusiasm and carefully thought-out answers, making it easy for her volunteers and supporters to feel as confident as she is. Working with Erin is like opening a window and letting in fresh air.

Erin has concrete ideas on the subjects that matter most this election period, such as how to bring good jobs to Maine. Contact Erin (erinherbig@gmail.com) — she would be happy to answer questions and listen to concerns.

Ina Hollins

Northport

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Belmont voter backs Baker

Do you get the feeling that politics and politicians have gotten out of hand, and that most of them are in it for the money? I feel that they could care less how the working person or the elderly scrimp and save to get by daily.

In going over the records of, and recent talks with Lewis Baker, who is seeking to represent the voters of Belmont, Northport and Belfast in the race for House District 43, I feel that he is ‘one of us,’ and understands the working man’s needs.

Lewis has served on the Belfast City Council, and on a number of various committees for 25 years. He is a local man who has been married for 37 years to his wife, Linda. He has operated an auto body shop in Belfast. He and Linda reside on land that had been in the family of Linda’s grandparents, Gladys and Henry Robbins.

Lewis is aware of the issues of local city government, and has been a spokesperson for the “Shopping Opportunities” group, who are interested in commercial development to bring larger retailers to the area, giving competition to the one large existing food chain in the area. This competition would in turn benefit the consumer public. Lewis has pledged to oppose and vote against efforts to increase taxes.

I feel that Lewis Baker would work for the people of Belmont, Northport and Belfast, given the opportunity to serve in Augusta.

Isabel Morse Maresh

Belmont

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‘You go, girl!’

I’m writing to thank all the folks who decide to give up “normal” life and run for public office. There are lots of reasons for doing such a thing, but making money and having an easy life aren’t two of them! I’m prompted to make my feelings public because a friend, Helen Sahadi of Thorndike, has decided to run for the office of representative to the Legislature in Maine, hoping to serve the towns of Troy, Burnham, Unity, Thorndike, Knox, Freedom, Liberty, Montville and Palermo. (John Piotti, our current rep, is “sunsetted” out and is running for a Senate seat.)

I’ve known Helen for donkey’s years: watched her girls grow up, admired the family’s strength in dealing with David’s long coma after he tangled with a moose en route to work (many know his fine photography at the Sentinel), read with interest the reports of the SAD 3 school board when Helen was on it, as she learned how to balance the needs and wants of her town with the district-wide requirements and needs and to effect change by working with the other members, diverse as they were (and are), and have been delighted by the success of her yarn store in Belfast, a success won by her incredibly hard work, strong dedication to be of service, hard-headed business sense, resourcefulness, smarts and just plain friendliness.

I was amazed that she’d give up time at the store and with her family and put herself in the public spotlight by running for office. I know a little of what it means to cross that line from private to public. I know there are some who figure anyone who does that is egotistical, self-serving, hypocritical and has a hidden agenda of aiming to do special favors for friends, and is therefor fair game for abuse. To such folk all candidates and those who get elected are part of the gang of thieves that want only to rob us of our liberties and take our money under the guise of government. These folk are few, but often loud. Why, I wondered, would she put herself and her family in the line of fire from such?

Helen answered my question with a simple, “I thought, because of what I learned serving on the school board and listening to people, that I could really represent people from my district and try to do some good.” (I may not have that word for word, Helen, but that was the gist, I think.)

I’d like to think that’s what motivates other candidates, too, and to all of them, and especially Helen, I say thank you, and thanks to their families, too. You go, girl!

Judy Rock

Troy

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Many thanks for help for Megan

The fundraiser for Megan Joyce, held on Sept. 11, was very successful. A special thanks goes to all who volunteered to make this a very special event for this very special 5-year-old currently battling leukimia. A special thanks goes to S&L Shelters of Detroit and Pepsi of Hampden.

The efforts to help Megan Joyce have not ended there. An upcoming spaghetti feed is also being planned to cover the ongoing expenses in October. A very, very special thanks to the private donations that continue coming in. Any additional donations may be made out to the CCF — Megan Hope Fund, 7 Berchester Drive, Winslow, ME 04901.

Ron and Janice Clark

Belfast

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‘Shameful page must be turned’

Barack Obama has now told the nation that the U.S. “combat mission” is over in Iraq. He also said that he had talked with George Bush, whom he characterized as a patriot and a person who believed that what he had done was the right thing to do. “It is now time to turn the page,” Mr. Obama said, on the Iraq war, which had been very divisive in this country and contributed to a bad image of the U.S. around the world.

So what, then, was his message to us and the rest of the world? First, the U.S. military, 50,000 strong, is still riding around in Iraq alongside Iraqis in uniform “protecting Iraqis” from their countrymen, who still resent the U.S. invasion and destruction of the sovereign country of Iraq and are at war with Iraqis who sell out to the illegal U.S. invaders and occupiers.

Second, the unconstitutional and internationally criminal acts committed by the Bush and now Obama administrations, i.e., torture, imprisonment and drone executions without trial, preemptive invasions of other countries the U.S. has declared to be suspects in support of terrorists (Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia), illegal wire-tapping, supplying U.S. arms to countries such as Israel, which uses those arms to perpetuate human rights abuses against the Palestinian people and their land — this bloody, shameful page must be turned.

It must be put behind us so that we can pursue prosperity, markets and leadership of the world. And what else does this say to the rest of the world who might care about what the American president might have to say to the American society he is supposed to represent?

It seems to say that Barack Obama believes Americans are quite content to see those who have ruled and are ruling their country not held accountable for their crimes against both American and international law. When the U.N., the World Court, the International Court of Justice, the Congress of the United States and the press of the U.S. all spinelessly accept this “page turning,” those who have been the victims of the rogue behavior of the USA now see that justice for them and an end to their victimization will not come from the institutions just named.

Justice will only come when those who cry out for it rise to their own defense and refuse to be victims anymore.

Cathy Mink

Waldo

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The U.S.’s turn?

The poor Afghan people have been subject to invasions from the Persian attack in 500 B.C. to the United States invasion in 2001 that continues through 2010. Afghanistan, conquered and occupied by Alexander the Great from 329-327 B.C., Russia, British, USA, etc. has been conquered, occupied and Afghanistan for centuries.

Now the United States has occupied Afghanistan for the past nine years and no doubt will eventually quit bombing, killing, and occupying this country. It seems that countries are taking turns at bringing war to Afghanistan and its 29 million people. President George W. Bush originally sent our military there to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. This never happened, but we are still at war with the Afghans in one of longest wars in history.

One war was evidently not enough for President Bush and his administration, so they declared a second war, this one against Iraq, another country of about 29 million people. the original excuse for this war was to capture or kill Saddam Hussein, which happened. This war was started in 2003 and seven years later our troops are still in Iraq. These two wars have cost the United States taxpayers over a trillion dollars so far, with no end in sight. The heaviest cost is the lives of thousands of our young warriors and the thousands of injured soldiers who, along with their families, are suffering from these questionable wars.

After spending two years in Europe, bombing five different battle fronts, north, east and south of Italy in a war against Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini — I wonder what our country is doing again in Europe, East Asia, etc.?

General Eisenhower warned us against a buildup of the “military industrial complex” that would lead to future wars — like Afghanistan and Iraq, the current U.S. wars. Guess the explanation is that it is our turn to destroy these small countries — at the expense of our young warriors and our taxpayers. Let’s bring our young warriors home now.

Nathaniel Crowley Sr.

Stockton Springs