More about music and athletics

This is in response to the letters about the BAHS band and football games that appeared in the Sept. 22 and 29 editions of the paper. Devon Drake, a current student and football fan, laments the band’s absence at a game, and tries to point the blame to sour grapes soccer parents [“Bring back the band!” Sept. 22 edition].

Roy Horsey, on the other end of the age gridiron, recalls the day when a band’s finest moment was contributing to football pageantry [“Band belongs at football games,” Sept. 29 edition]. He says that among other reasons, a band doesn’t make sense at a soccer game because it [soccer] is played in the afternoon.

I hasten to point out that soccer players would love to play on Friday nights, under the lights, but that is when the football …  but I digress, this letter is about music. I am thrilled that we’re talking about music in our schools and I hope all you readers with something to say will keep this going. Anyhow, Sandy Cameron, the music director’s wife, in a fine letter to TRJ, [“Support the music program,” Sept. 29 edition] has already absolved soccer parents of responsibility for the band’s absence at the football game.

She also describes just how much a music student does besides pumping up the fans and players. Let’s see; there is the stage band, the jazz band, parades, daily practice, the chorus, the swing chorus, KVAC and All State, private lessons, recitals and church choirs, six school concerts a year, Christmas at the Boat House, fundraising for the music trip, performances at the elementary school, and let’s not forget the big musical every year. I’m sure I’ve left something out, but anyone can see that the music student is a busy person, even before she shows up at the football game with her clarinet. Many of them also do soccer, field hockey or track, and a few even play football!

I want to thank John Cameron and Meg Nickerson, who direct the musical every year. They make an incredible rehearsal schedule during fall sports that allows musician athletes to do the play and their sport. This year it is “Bye Bye Birdie.” The show is Nov. 5-14, after the end of fall sports and before winter sports start.

Being aware of all these good efforts I didn’t feel too bad when the band, for the first time in years, did not play at the boys’ or girls’ homecoming soccer games on weekday nights, under the lights. Both teams won, anyway.

There is good news! The band plays at three of the four home football games this year, and the chorus joins them on Oct. 22 at Bryant Field.

Musicians, too, love an audience, so I challenge the football team and their fans to show appreciation for all these hardworking musicians,who have added zest to home games by attending the band and chorus concert on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. in, of all places, the high school gym. See you there!

Amy Fradel

Parent of musician/athlete

Belfast

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RE: Support the music program

This letter is in response to Sandy Cameron’s letter to the editor [TRJ, Sept. 29].

I appreciate Mrs. Cameron’s opinions, but what I would like to point out is that I was only restating what I and others have heard. I was in no way, shape or form trying to put anyone down.

I also understand that students have AP classes and are class officers, as I am the vice president of my class. Students have very busy lives these days and many responsibilities, no doubt about it!

Also, I have attended some of the musicals and other performances that the band and students have put on and I was very impressed, and that is why I wrote the letter wanting them to come to the games.

Mrs. Cameron stated that no athletic team has supported the music students, and that is a good point, so she should let her voice be heard. That was my whole point of writing to the paper in the first place — people need to express their opinions and thoughts for anything to get done.

I have also been to many of the homecoming games and have seen the band there and I and others would just like to hear them more at games! This was a letter to support the band, not to bring them down, and in Mrs. Cameron’s letter she seemed to have taken my words the wrong way.

Maybe in the future everyone could come to some sort of compromise, because bands do change the atmosphere at games and even though times have changed many agree that this should not be one of them.

I will attend some of the performances to support my school and will spread the word for others to attend too. I am just trying to make our school a better place.

Once again, I appreciate Mrs. Cameron’s opinions and I hope she respects mine. If she would like to discuss this some more, I would gladly talk to her and Mr. Cameron!

Devon Drake

BAHS student

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Council candidate has right ideas

I am writing this letter in support of Rita Horsey, who is running for the office of Belfast city councilor. Rita is a relative newcomer to Belfast, having lived here for six years. Rita has often mentioned how much she likes Belfast and how thankful she is that she and her husband moved here.

Now that she has sat back for a few years and has watched how the city operates, she has decided she would like to help improve things for the citizens. She was appalled when the City Council overturned the people’s vote in the referendum concerning the approval of a large retail store a few years ago. She told me that each councilor had a vote at the voting booth — not in the City Council chambers. She didn’t think the City Council should have had the right to overturn a referendum vote.

Rita has been here long enough to understand that politics as usual means that the City Council currently is pretty free with spending the tax dollars the city gets from the property tax and the myriad of other taxes the citizens of Belfast have to pay. Rita is a fiscal conservative who wants to target spending. She thinks Belfast can lower taxes by reducing wasteful spending.

Also, by becoming friendlier to business, it can increase its tax base, which is another way of lowering taxes. The current Council says it encourages business in Belfast, but at the same time it puts up so many roadblocks that businesses don’t want to come here.

Also, Rita has some excellent ideas about encouraging private funding for a youth center in Belfast — a place for kids to go that is fun and safe. She says that centers such as the one she envisions have been developed in other communities using only private donations — no public money, and there is no reason such a model can’t work here.

I think it will be good to have some new people on the Council with a fresh, new approach to governing the city of Belfast. People who honestly want to represent the voters and who don’t think they know more than the voters. Rita Horsey is such a person. I encourage you to vote for her in November.

Barbara A. Berry

Belfast

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Erin will work hard for you

We stand firmly in support of Erin Herbig in her quest to work for Maine. We have known Erin for a long while and have watched her determination to live and work in Maine, even as many of her contemporaries took jobs out of state.

Erin worked for us swinging a hammer and driving a truck in the summers on her college breaks. She was willing to work for us then and she will be willing to work for you now! Vote for Erin Herbig for Legislature! We will.

Sharon and Larry Jones

Belfast

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County treasurer backs Thibodeau

As treasurer of Waldo County for eight years, I have interacted occasionally with our Waldo County delegation at the Statehouse. Having observed the jail consolidation this past year and experienced the arrogance and incompetence of the State Board of Corrections, I wrote a letter to the Board with my concerns on May 3, 2010. The biggest concern was an accounting of a check that I remitted to the Board for $915,142.52, which represented Waldo County property tax money.

Hearing no word from state officers, I sent to State Sen. Carol Weston and five legislators representing Waldo County my May 3, 2010, letter in June. I heard back from Sen. Weston and four legislators. One legislator has never responded with even a phone call. Rep. John Piotti must be too busy to waste time with his constituent and county officer. Being majority leader is too important a job to waste time worrying about $915,142.52 of county property tax money.

We need a state senator in District 23 who will work for and communicate with the citizens and officers of this county. We need Mike Thibodeau as our next state senator.

David A. Parkman

Treasurer of Waldo County

Palermo

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Pelletier makes her pitch

I am a conservative Republican candidate for Maine House District 44 serving Appleton, Hope, Searsmont, Liberty, Morrill, Linconville and Islesboro. It is of great concern to me that the future of Maine is in jeopardy because of out-of-control state spending. It is important that Mainers like you understand we must take action now to control spending before the problem gets any worse.

Many bills that increase our spending are passed in committee by a 9-4 vote. LD 1495, that people voted against, had passed in both Houses almost strictly along party lines. The same thing happened with the majority party in the committee voting against LD 290: buying health insurance across state lines.

We can’t afford to spend at the current level and burden taxpayers and businesses further. Maine’s hostile environment toward businesses through excessive taxes and regulations are killing the future of our job market. Therefore, I suggest a solution which would require an outside, independent audit of Maine state government in these areas:

1. Excessive/redundant departments and agencies.

2. Outdated procedures and methodologies.

3. Current technology usage and other ways to improve efficiency and contain costs.

I believe we will learn important ways to streamline state government, save time and reduce overall spending. Maine could then reduce taxes and improve the business climate to attract new businesses to the state and help existing businesses expand.

I hope you will consider my goals for Maine’s future and take action on Nov. 2 and I ask for your support.

Wendy Pelletier

Republican candidate, House District 44

Hope

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Baker has backbone, common sense

I’ve known Lewis Baker longer than he’s known me. I watched him grow up. Lewis is a fair-minded and independent thinker. He has a lot of common sense.

Augusta could use some common sense and some backbone. If you would like to see our state become more business-friendly and more accountable to its voters, Lewis Baker deserves your vote.

Jerry Savitz

Northport

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Another view on Efficiency Maine

According to The Republican Journal of Sept. 22 [“Local legislative candidates share views at forum”], during the recent candidates’ forum held at the Hutchinson Center, Michael Thibodeau said that if more money was needed for roads it could “come from other programs that were over-funded (he offered Efficieny Maine as an example of the latter).”

Clearly Mr. Thibodeau has no idea how Efficiency Maine is funded. It is not funded by taxpayer dollars. It is funded by the electricity ratepayers with additional funding from the gas industry and the federal government.

I am a ratepayer; what does Efficiency Maine cost me? By law, the system benefit charge, the amount ultimately charged to me to support Efficiency Maine, is $0.00145 per kilowatt-hour. For the month mid-July through mid-August of this year we used 214 kilowatt-hours, so Efficiency Maine cost our household $0.31. Between August 2009 and August 2010 we used 2846 kilowatt-hours, so Efficiency Maine cost us $4.13.

What do we get for our $4.13? Efficiency Maine’s benefit-to-cost analysis for 2009 says we get about $5.29 in energy savings for each $1 or about $21.85 in energy savings for the year. For 2009, business consumers saw avoided energy costs of $2.91 for each $1. Efficiency Maine estimates that its programs have saved residential and business consumers about $400 million in energy costs between 2004 and 2009.

Care about clean air? Thanks to Efficiency Maine’s programs, emissions from generating electricity have been reduced by 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 2,634 metric tons of sulfur dioxide, and 1,240 metric tons of nitrogen dioxide since 2004. Why? Because we’ve needed and generated less electricity.

It seems to me that Efficiency Maine is doing a good job. If Mr. Thibodeau really wants to cut out waste in government, perhaps we should start with the Department of Transportation, as suggested by Mr. Rioux? Or is that cutting too close to home?

Bill Sneed

Prospect

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Liberty voter likes O’Brien

Andrew O’Brien is running for reelection as state representative for District 44. His hands-on experiences in both education and agriculture have played a crucial role in his understanding of the needs and concerns of our district.

As a Liberty resident, I am grateful that this hard-working, accessible young man is willing to serve another term in the Legislature if elected. Based on his former record, I know he would be an effective, hard-working legislator in the difficult times ahead.

H L Whitney

Liberty

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Don’t vote, says Monroe man

It makes no sense to support candidates from a political party that drove our state, our country and our economy into a ditch (Republicans) or one that can’t get us out of the ditch (Democrats).

Since none of the independent gubernatorial candidates say anything significantly different from the tweedledee and tweedledum parties we have now, there’s no reason to vote for them, either. And we only have two choices for congress — the same old same olds.

In most other countries, there’s more than two political parties, and people who vote can choose someone they truly believe will make things better. We don’t have that choice here, since the two existing parties have worked together to make it hard, if not impossible, for other parties or candidates to be equal ballot choices.

We also have a political system that kowtows to money and influence, so whoever makes decisions in Augusta or Washington makes sure the wealthy and powerful are in support, even if the vast majority in Maine or the U.S. don’t agree.

Despite a campaign finance system that does allow people who are not wealthy to run for office, a candidate who would actually ignore and work around the power-based political system stands little or no chance of ever being nominated or elected. Even if they did win, they would be a solitary voice speaking out against politics as usual.

Since there’s no one worth voting for in this upcoming election, and as a protest against a political system that’s incapable of truly solving our problems (poverty, environmental collapse, loss of rights, continuing wars), I will not be voting for any candidates in
November.

I encourage others who think our choices are too limited and our political system dysfunctional to do the same, and make their decision known publicly as well.

Larry Dansinger

Monroe

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Peavey can really pedal

This is an update on Everett Peavey’s 10,000-mile bike odyssey. On Jan. 1, 2010, Everett rode away from the Liberty Library seeking to accomplish 10,000 miles in the year ahead. Everett’s highest mileage in a single year [previously] had been 6,000 miles. He rode through snow, wind, rain, sleet, fog, heat and humidity. The 9,000-mile mark has now been reached.

You may wonder where Everett went. Did he ride across the country and back? No, but you may have seen him in his orange T-shirt, (summer) or his orange sweatshirt (winter) pedaling the roads of every county in Maine, with the exception of Washington and Aroostook counties. He is now trying to figure out how to hit them as he attempts to reach his goal. He has done this while holding down a full-time job.

Why is Everett doing this? Everett was in a serious automobile accident. Ten years after the accident he had a hip replacement. As rehabilitation, he began biking to work to strengthen his muscles. Aside from a being great workout, biking fits with his philosophy about consuming less fossil fuel.

In November of 2009, Everett approached the board of the Liberty Library to lay out his biking plan for 2010. Everett would do the biking, if the library would take pledges for the miles he rode. The money pledged or donated would be used to update library technology and buy a bike rack for the library.

As Everett begins his final 1,000 miles he could use some encouragement. Your interest in his quest, your pledges or donations will help as he rides to the finish line. Everett can be reached via his Web site, evpv.net. Donations may be made in his name to the Liberty Library, P.O. Box 280, Liberty, ME 04949.

Suzanne Pelletier

President, Liberty Library Association

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RE: Where do Obama’s loyalties lie?

It seems as if some will repeat/invent anything that they think might lessen the president’s credibility.

I wonder if the writer knew that Dr. Ziad Asali was a representative for President Bush and the United States on a few occasions. Dr. Asali also served as chairman of the board at the Christian County Medical Clinic and St. Vincent Memorial Hospital.

Were Bush and these “Christian” organizations seeking to bring attention to Dr. Ziad Asali and Muslims at the expense of Israel?

Oh, and we were founded on laws, not Judeo-Christian beliefs. Many of those laws we drew from, like ancient Greek laws, were there long before Christianity even existed.

Hal Halliday

Belfast

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Thanks, Belfast!

This past weekend, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church sponsored a visit to Belfast by Les Petits Chanteurs, a boys’ and young men’s choir, along with a string ensemble, both from the Holy Trinity Music School, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The 40-member group performed a wonderful concert Friday evening at First Baptist Church to a full house. Concert proceeds will help support the work of the music school and rebuild the facilities after their destruction by the earthquake in January.

I wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the many people and organizations that made their visit not only possible, but incredible.

To begin, I want to thank Chef Mark Hannibal and his Culinary Arts students at the Waldo County Technical Center for serving the Haitian musicians a lunch that was nutritious, delicious and reflective of the diet Haitians appreciate. Further, the students who served us were wonderfully gracious and made every effort to please, despite language and cultural differences. Nice job! The WCTC staff provided a warm welcome, and staff members Lassie Henry and Renn Clapp are to be congratulated for their tour of the facility and helping to make this visit possible.

As you may remember, Friday was a very rainy day. Karen Varney, program director, and Brandon Hurd, teen director, opened the YMCA to the group for inside basketball, soccer (“football” to the Haitians) and swimming. It was great to see the friendly competitions in the gym with the Belfast students. We learned from our Haitian friends that their three-week tour of the East Coast of the U.S. had been so packed with concerts and travel that it was great for them, especially the younger kids, to get a chance to run, play and just plain have fun. Thank you, Y!

I am also particularly thankful to the board and members of First Baptist Church. My hope of making this performance a community offering was fulfilled by the church’s willingness to provide the concert space, which was perfect, and to host a reception after the concert. And the community came to the concert in droves, despite the pouring rain.

Mr. Belfast Music, John Cameron, music director at Belfast Area High School, arranged for the loan of a string bass for the performance. He and his wife, Sandy, were among the 15 families that then hosted our guests overnight Friday night. Many churches from the Greater Bay Area Ministerium helped spread the word and identify host families; many of the hosts offered up their homes just because of their love for music and for the exchange experience.

Of course, many parishioners from St. Margaret’s made this visit possible, from Nan Cobbey’s publicity work to activity and logistics organizers to dinner chefs and crew to overnight hosts and more.

Overall, I was overwhelmed, but not really surprised, by the generosity, enthusiasm and openness of this community to our Haitian guests. I am still smiling broadly. Thank you, Belfast!

John Arrison

Belfast