Support the music program

This letter is in response to a letter to the editor entitled “Bring back the band!” written by Devon Drake in the Sept. 22 edition of The Republican Journal. Things may not be the way they were 29 years ago, but as the wife of the band director, I can assure you, Miss Drake, that the band has not gone anywhere!

When my husband, John (BAHS music director), and I first came to Belfast in 1982 the band played at all home football games, supporting the team from the stands and entertaining the crowd by performing a half-time show. In the early ’90s the purchasing of new uniforms and the cleaning of the old wool uniforms were cut from the school budget.

Without clean uniforms or enough uniforms to outfit the entire band, the band was unable to do the marching part, but they did continue to perform from the stands for another 10 years. In the early ’90s, John was asked by some of his music students and several parents (not just a soccer parent) why the band supported only the football team and not all other fall sports. John pondered that question for a year before deciding that, to be fair, the band would play at each fall athletic team’s homecoming game. This seemed like a viable solution and has worked for the past 10 years or so.

Times are changing, and what Miss Drake obviously doesn’t realize is that the music students at Belfast Area High School are not just music students in school. They are musicians who take private lessons or have outside ensembles and groups in which they perform. And along with their music activities, many of the music students are honor students carrying full course loads of AP classes, they are class officers and members of the National Honor Society and Student Senate, and many of them are athletes themselves, having practices every day and games two or three days a week.

Many of these same students will be in the fall production of “Bye, Bye Birdie,” putting in countless hours rehearsing for their roles on stage, working behind the scenes or playing in the pit band. They have auditions to prepare for in the upcoming weeks for the KV Honors Band and Chorus, the All-State Honors Band, Chorus and Orchestra and the All-New England Band, Chorus and Orchestra and entertain the community at “Christmas at the Boathouse,” an annual event for the city of Belfast.

The band was at the football game  Sept. 24, and will be there again Friday, Oct. 8, and the band and chorus will be at the football game Oct. 22. They will perform at several home games in the upcoming basketball season, and music students also perform at every class recognition night and graduation. In addition to all of this, they prepare for and perform in six concerts during the school year.

My husband and his students give up their holidays to march in the Memorial Day Parade and the Veterans’ Day Parade, while I am sure most of their classmates are at home sleeping. They have gone to playoff and championship games and basketball tournament games. Yet not once has any athletic team supported the music students by attending any of their performances.

Miss Drake says that she “would love to see them (the band students) get the opportunity and experience of playing songs for their team and getting the crowd fired up!” I invite you, Miss Drake, to attend any one of the music department’s performances this year. You will see a dedicated group of students, and their director, having the “experience” of performing for their team — their family, friends and the community. You will also see the audience “fired up” over the wonderful performances of the BAHS music students.

To insinuate that one sport is to be supported more than another is quite insulting to all the athletic teams, and if Miss Drake had been at any homecoming soccer or football games over the past ten years, she would have heard the band performing from the bleachers.

I do agree with Miss Drake on two points — first, it is unfair to the band students that they practice hard and don’t get the recognition they deserve, and second, times are definitely changing.

The high school and this community must get behind all students and their teachers and show them the support they deserve.

Sandy Cameron

BAHS music supporter

Belfast

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Band belongs at football games

I would like to support Devon Drake — bring back the band! It was a tradition when I was in high school, and I graduated in 1958 — 52 years ago, in another state. Football is a pageant with fight songs, cheer leading and school rivalries. Devon made many valid points in her letter.

I would like to point out a few things:

Soccer is played in the afternoons, and the action runs continuously; it is not like football with set plays where music would not detract from following the game. Likewise for field hockey and track meets, where music doesn’t make sense either.

Band members are also sports players and cannot do both things in the afternoons, but football is played in the evenings, with a home game once every other week.

Band members presumably like to play for an audience. Why else would they join the band? To forbid them to play for one sport because it is impractical to play for all sports is senseless.

There is an old joke to illustrate the Russian character: Ivan had a goat, and Sergey had no goat. This bothered Sergey for many years. Finally the archangel Gabriel appeared to Sergey and said to him, “Sergey, God is saddened to see you so downcast for so long a time. He has allowed me to give you your fondest wish.” Sergey brightened into a big smile, looked at the archangel Gabriel and said, “You are going to kill Ivan’s goat!”

Are we killing Ivan’s goat?

Roy Horsey

Belfast

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Herbig the future of Maine leadership

I strongly support Erin Herbig for state representative of Belfast, Belmont and Northport. I know Erin both as a fellow board member at Waterfall Arts and as my daughter’s coach at the high school in Belfast. I especially appreciate what an amazing role model Erin has been for young people in this area. She runs every day with the students because she believes in leading by example.

It is exciting that Erin could be representing this area at the state level. Her love for our community is apparent when you speak with her. She is deeply committed to bringing economic stability to Maine so families can continue to live and work here. We often complain that too many young people are leaving the state. Erin provides an example to our youth that they can grow up here, get a good education and make good lives for themselves and their families. I urge you to support Erin Herbig for state representative because she reflects a very bright future for Maine.

Please join me in supporting Erin Herbig!

Brenda Bonneville

Belfast

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Sahadi ‘works for what’s best’

If you are reading this and live in Burnham, Palermo, Freedom, Knox, Montville, Unity, Thorndike or Troy, then I recommend that you vote for Helen Sahadi for state representative on Election Day.

I worked with Helen on the SAD 3 School Board for over seven years and know that she gives 150 percent to everything she does. Besides being a hard worker, she is an advocate for school reform, asks tough questions, is respectful of those with different opinions and works to make sure that every dollar that is requested is absolutely needed. She is not afraid to recommend cuts, and worked for what was best for our communities.

On Nov. 2, please vote for Helen Sahadi!

Karen Carlson

Troy

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Union representation a falsehood

As a member of the MSEA-SEIU, every year when an election rolls around, I’m discouraged by being told by this powerful group that only their selected Democratic candidates will represent the union’s best interest.

This year is no exception. Recently the usual propaganda sheet arrived in the mail, urging us to back Libby Mitchell, Mike Michaud, Chellie Pingree and a host of other democratic candidates. As far as I’m concerned, these folks have had their chance and they’ve let the Maine folks down.

How these candidates are selected certainly doesn’t represent my own political beliefs, nor do I think they speak for many other union members throughout the state. We have no say in who they select, nor are we allowed to. Their whole process is a falsehood in regards to its members.

I, for one, have watched this same procedure for the past several years — and now that the state has forced all employees to join this powerful organization, we are all but being told who to vote for, and why?

The Democratic control in Augusta has done nothing to improve the lifestyles of ordinary, hardworking Maine citizens, for the past several years, other than a select few who are loyal union members.

I honestly believe the unions of today have done far more to damage this country than to make any of our lives that much better.

For that reason, I intend to fully support Jason Levesque, Paul LePage, Mike Thibodeau, Peter Rioux and other candidates living in my area. Solid candidates who are looking out for the interest of all Mainers and not simply backing the union, while the rest of us continue struggling to survive.

It’s time the unions backed off from their influence in politics and started representing the best interests of Maine citizens and not just their own.

John Ford Sr.

Retired state employee

and former Waldo County Sheriff

Brooks

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Herbig offers hope

I’ll be voting for Erin Herbig for state representative Nov. 2. Erin offers Belfast the promise of a bright future filled with new businesses, young energy and hope. Her opponent offers Walmart, more empty storefronts in town, and a return to dreary Maine conservatism.

I remember how Belfast came alive during the 1970s with the first wave of migrants who started the Co-op, the Belfast Maskers and the art galleries. What had been a smelly harbor filled with chicken guts became a lovely place to kayak and sail your boat. Old houses saddened by peeling paint and sagging roofs were transformed into bright residences with lovely gardens. The culture of friendliness and creativity drew me to retire here, and I’m glad I did. Lots of others “from away” came here, too. The town became a better place for everybody to live in.

But the shadow of the old Belfast creeps out of the closet during every election. Like Scrooge, it resents what is new, forward-looking, and fun; it clings to its pennies. The old candidate in the race represents that miserly view.

Erin will encourage more young people to move here, will work to create green jobs for them, and will offer welcome to all, as the Co-op sign does. We need her to represent us in Augusta.

Charlotte Herbold

Belfast

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Misleading push polls

I recently got a call from someone who claimed to be taking an election poll. Her questions immediately shifted to the state senate race only. These questions were both negative and misleading about John Piotti. When I reminded her that there was more to these issues than her questions suggested, she replied that she was just reading her script. This kind of nasty innuendo passing itself off as a legitimate poll is deceitful politics, and it has no place in any election. Waldo County voters deserve better political-campaign behavior.

John Piotti has served his district well in the House. He has a great voting record, and his leadership skills have been well demonstrated. To see this record twisted by a phony “pretend-poll” is downright offensive. The sponsors of this “poll” should be ashamed of themselves.

Paul Jacobi

Monroe

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Herbig prepared to strengthen Maine’s economy

Erin Herbig and I worked together at Moss Inc. in Belfast for several years. I found her to be one of the hardest-working people I have had the pleasure of working with. It is obvious in meeting Erin that she is going places, and I am thankful that she is putting all her energy into making Maine a better place for working families. I was delighted to hear she was running for state representative for District 43 (Belfast, Belmont and Northport), and I am proud to support Erin Herbig in this race.

While at Moss, Erin was selected by the Maine Development Foundation for the Leadership Maine Program, a program that brings together statewide economic leaders to impact Maine’s future economic health. She learned firsthand about the critical issues facing our state through intensive behind-the-scenes access to business leaders of Maine’s largest employers, including Bath Iron Works, Central Maine Power and Cianbro. It provided her an opportunity to make lasting connections that will serve her well when working for a stronger economy in the state house.

I strongly encourage you to support Erin Herbig for state representative Nov. 2, because she is prepared to strengthen Maine’s changing economy and committed to making Maine a better place in which to live.

Jana McQuilkin

Belfast

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Rioux ‘exactly what Mainers need’

I am writing in support of Peter Rioux for state representative from District 42 in Waldo County. I have known Peter all my life, growing up together in Aroostook County. On many occasions we worked side by side on his dad’s farm and it was obvious from a young age that Peter was an extremely hard worker. I watched Peter take on a man’s responsibility at a very young age. Not only is Peter a hard worker, he is resourceful, thoughtful and considerate.

As a small-business owner and craftsman, Peter has established himself as a leader in his vocation and he understands the challenges facing Maine small businesses today. His independent spirit and can-do attitude are exactly what Mainers need in Augusta. He embraces the idea of working to improve the business climate in Maine by eliminating barriers placed on small business as well as reducing the burdensome taxes placed on all Maine people. He is exactly what Maine needs in this increasingly tough economy.

I urge you to vote for Peter Rioux in November; he will do his best to represent you!

Maynard Pelletier,

President

Maine Fire Protection Systems

Bangor

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Board member backs Baker

As a school board member and resident of Northport, I was disappointed to be unable to vote for Lewis Baker for City Council in Belfast. He has experience on the Belfast Planning Board, the Belfast City Council, and on the former MSAD 34 school board.

He understands what small businesses need to survive in this economic climate, he understands the schools’ needs and wants a bright future for our students, and on the Belfast City Council he’s worked with many types of people and faced difficult issues head-on.

He’s honest and hardworking. He says what he means and means what he says. He has a clear vision where the work needs to begin to bring our beloved state of Maine back to the days when it and its citizens flourished.

For these reasons, I encourage you to join me in supporting Lewis Baker for the state House of Representatives, District 43.

Debora Riley

Northport

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Fuming then, fuming now

I was in the audience at the Hutchinson Center for the recent Candidates Forum put on by the Maine Municipal Association. I went home fuming. This week, I picked up my pen to put words to my frustration.

There are so many things I don’t know about how state government works, but I do know that the leaders negotiate the budget. The poor members on the Appropriations Committee have to sit there for hours for hearings, but it’s their leaders who make the final decisions and then get the votes.

In his closing remarks [at the forum], John Piotti talked about being on the Agriculture Committee — true enough. He made a point to say he had never served on the Appropriations Committee — true enough. He claimed he didn’t have many “options,” but could only vote yes or no on the final budget bill — not true.

What he failed to mention is that for two years he has been the House Democratic majority leader. He is second in command, right next to Hannah Pingree, the Speaker of the House. He has more to say about budgets than the people [who were] appointed to be on the Appropriations Committee!

I’m still fuming.

Shirley Smith

Liberty

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Sheriff supports Thibodeau for senate

As your sheriff here in Waldo County, I have had the opportunity to serve as the president of the Maine Sheriffs’ Association as well as on a number of panels and committees in Augusta to help better local law enforcement and corrections. My time in Augusta could be quite productive some days and very frustrating on others.

While I was not part of the machine there, my work often had me interacting with it, and I can tell you it was very eye-opening. I learned quite quickly that there were a number of people there with the philosophy of moving their own agenda or that of their party with little consideration for their constituents and oftentimes by wheeling and dealing away other proposals that made sense but didn’t follow the right line or came from the wrong person. “Integrity” was a word that seemed all but lost in much of the day-to-day routine there. All in all, it could be quite frustrating.

There were, however, some shining lights for me there, and one was our own Representative Mike Thibodeau. On more than one occasion I was able to discuss matters with Mike and learned quite quickly that he truly listened to his constituents.

Mike had inquired with me on a number of occasions regarding law enforcement and corrections issues to gain a better understanding of those issues and represent his constituency in the manner they wanted. Mike has served two terms in the House of Representatives and served on the Utilities and Energy [Committee] as well as the Labor Committee.

The biggest reason I will vote for Mike Thibodeau is that he hasn’t forgotten who sends him to Augusta. Mike listens to the people he represents and takes positions for his constituency that are consistent with their desires, a philosophy that seems quite lost these days.

I know a large number of the general public is dissatisfied with our government right now and is looking for change in Augusta as well as at the national level. Mike has served us well and will continue to represent us well. Being a member of the minority party in Augusta has certainly tied his hands on occasion, but it hasn’t tied his will to represent us in the manner in which we want to be represented.

Let integrity, work ethic and a true desire to represent us rule the day when you cast your vote. Please join me in casting your vote for Mike Thibodeau to represent us and be our senator for Waldo County.

Scott Story

Waldo County Sheriff

Monroe

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One person can make a difference

The hazy, lazy days of autumn in Waldo County make us forget our troubles and tend to make us complacent. We cannot forget. We must be diligent in watching the forces of spending in Augusta.

We must remember John Piotti, the House majority leader, and the taxation committee, which not once, but twice, tried to burden the Maine people with new taxes. Mr. Piotti said we didn’t understand the complexity of what was supposed to be good for us. We know — and that’s why we repealed his tax plan.

The majority of Maine people know the simple solution is not to leave the same people in power who vote to burden the taxpayers and hurt the small businesses that create jobs.

The person who asks what can one person do to make a difference? Vote in November for the person who believes in cutting our spending. Vote for the person who is looking at and working to remove the programs that are failing and keeping the budget in line in Augusta. That person is Mike Thibodeau.

Ruth Swanson

Unity

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Give Cutler some consideration

At this time, when many of us have little faith that politicians can or will act for positive changes in our society, and the choices we are offered by the entrenched two-party system seem like little real choice, we owe it to ourselves and our posterity to examine all the possible options available to us.

I ask you to consider the vision put forth of Maine’s future by gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler. His refreshing ideas on the creative economy and tourism industry should hit home with folks in our region in particular, as well as his other policy initiatives. Please take the time to visit cutler2010.com and look at the possibilities offered by an independent candidate.

It is well to remember that it was supposedly a “Republican Year” when Maine voters elected their last independent governor, Angus King.

Christopher Groden

Belfast

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We’re losing our country

This election is not about conservatives, liberals, Democrats, Republicans or Tea Partiers. It’s whether ordinary Americans, or a small, rich minority, will control our democracy:

1. Whether an angry, “dumbed-down” electorate can muster collective wisdom to see through the fog of disinformation and reject both crooks and crazies;

2. Whether ratings-driven news media can rediscover journalistic integrity and report the truth about candidates and real issues;

3. Whether voters have the foresight and courage to turn out lying hypocrites ensnared in a spoiled political system of extraordinary crooks; and

4. Whether solving America’s problems trumps politics.

The moneyed elite have an insidious stranglehold on banking, manufacturing, the military and government. They protect a corrupt status quo through payoffs and funding duped “populist” movements touting free-enterprise capitalism, already ruined by corporate greed.

Moneyed interests almost have government where they want it, a weakened president and Congress incapable of impeding corporate decimation of our environment, health, safety, economy and democracy.

The richest three percent have nearly all the assets. The average guy has almost none — accept the most powerful one of all, the vote. Americans have survived similar threats before, by learning the truth and showing their outrage at the polls.

Wake up, America! We’re losing our country, but be careful where you direct your anger. If you are responsible enough to become informed by verifiable evidence, instead of lies and subterfuge, go vote for what’s right.

If not, stay home, stifle your ignorance, and let informed, principled leadership prevail.

David Estey

Belfast

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Where do Obama’s loyalties lie?

Just when we were happy to hear that the First Family went to church last Sunday, we discover that it was to attract attention to Dr. Ziad Asali, a Muslim, founder and president of the American Task Force on Palestine, Asali was there to speak in support of the Palestinian position in the ongoing peace talks at a forum following the 9 a.m. service that Obama attended. Having attracted attention to Asali, there was no need for Obama to stay and listen to him. If there is anyone left who is confused about where Obama’s loyalties lie, this should help clear up their confusion.

Obama’s reason for going to church was to use a Christian Church to advance a Muslim agenda. Was it deliberate? Of course it was. Do you think it was an accident that Obama just happened to go to church where a Muslim was speaking in support of Palestine while peace negotiations are in progress between Israel and Palestine? Wake up. Obama went to a Christian church to help the Muslims at the expense of our strongest ally in the Middle East, Israel.

The United States of America was founded and will continue to be a Judeo/Christian nation. Obama is failing as a president. I don’t think he is helping his Muslim friends, either.

David Huck

Swanville

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Thanks for the support

The city of Belfast had more than 100 people running the streets on Sunday morning, Sept. 26, for the Waldo County YMCA 17th Annual Pancake 5K Road Race and the Child Shall Lead Fun Run.

Thank you to the race sponsors: Damariscotta Bank & Trust, Atlantic Bay Chiropractic, Dutch Chevrolet, Francis Marsano, Bluestreak, Nickerson Professional Association, Mac Electric, Mailloux & Marden P.A., Consumers Fuel Co., Viking Inc., Mathews Brothers, Olympia Sports, Hannaford Food & Drug, Colburn Shoe Store, Inner Sense and the Waldo County YMCA.

The Child Shall Lead Fun Run was sponsored by Whitecap Builders.

The race went off smoothly, thanks to the help of nearly 50 volunteers who helped with the many jobs involved with running a race, from start to finish and a pancake breakfast! Thanks to the Belfast Police Department for ensuring the safety of the runners.

The runners, along with their families and friends, enjoyed a pancake breakfast in the high school cafeteria. Thanks to Linda Harvey and her crew from the school who worked so hard cooking and cleaning. Thanks to the Belfast Rotary Club members who helped serve a tasty pancake breakfast.

The awards ceremony was held during breakfast. The top overall male and female finishers were given the sneaker of their choice at Olympia Sports in Belfast. The second-place overall finishers were awarded a gift certificate from Colburn Shoe Store. Final race results are available on our Web site, waldocountyymca.org. It took the coordinated efforts of many people to make this event successful. Thank you to everyone for supporting our community and helping the YMCA build strong, healthy families.

Thank you all for your wonderful support.

Pancake 5K & Child Shall Lead Committee

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Thanks for your eWaste

On behalf of the Belfast Rotary Club, I would like to thank all of you who participated in our eWaste collection event Sept. 18. This event was a win-win situation for all concerned. Our citizens were able to properly dispose of unwanted eWaste. Our recycling partner, eWaste Solutions Inc., will recycle most of the component parts back to raw material for new products. And, last but not least, the Belfast Rotary Club collected nearly $2,500 from donations given by generous citizens who provided the eWaste.

All proceeds from this event will be spread among local charities that the Belfast Rotary Club supports.

We plan to make eWaste Collection an annual event, so if you were not able to participate in this year’s event, save your items for next year’s event.

Doug Smith

President

The Belfast Rotary Club