Poorly publicized public hearing

Did you know that a “public hearing” is scheduled this Friday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m., at the County Courthouse (103 Church St., 2nd floor) to review Waldo County’s more than $7 million budget for the year 2011? I didn’t know until a few days ago, and only because of an e-mail from a friend in county government.

So, I trotted over to the county commissioners’ office to look over the 77-page budget that is scheduled for only an hour’s review on the 17th before the commissioners are scheduled to vote on it. Putting aside questions regarding how this “public hearing” was actually announced to the “public,” and how one is supposed to review the budget in just an hour’s time (I’m wondering — is this just pro forma, or is there any substance to this public hearing?), I’ve a few questions about the budget itself.

The big question is about the zero on the line for “Reserves.” What if there’s an emergency in Waldo County, not to mention overruns from the new Sheriff/EMA complex? The economy is rough, I know. But, failing to budget for an emergency is simply foolhardy. I hope Waldo County’s citizenry turns out in force for this poorly publicized “public hearing”: It’s our money, and we should know how the county commissioners propose to spend it.

Leslie Umans

Belfast

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‘Striving to be a safety net’

As you know from your own experiences, tough economic times cause the worst difficulties for those who have the least. The Northport Food Pantry has been striving to be a safety net for families in need throughout Waldo County. We need your help.

Every month more people show up at our Pantry Day to receive a box of groceries. Last year we saw our average number of families increase from 85 to about 92. Last month that number surged to 120 families.

Meanwhile, the same rising costs that drive these families to ask for help also affect our ability to give them the support they need. We bear increased costs for electricity, heat, trash removal, building maintenance, and most importantly, food every month as we strive to serve Waldo County’s low-income households.

The elderly and families with children make up the vast majority of our users. They turn to us to know that certain grocery staples for balanced and nutritious meals will be provided to help them get through a month. But every time we distribute food, we must replenish our shelves, because the hunger of those in need will return again next month.

While our challenge increases, so does our determination. We depend entirely on donations from individuals, businesses and communities. Your tax-deductible donation will enable us to continue to serve Waldo County — and we do serve all of the county — through the difficult winter ahead and realize our pledge never to turn anyone away. Thank you.

The Northport Food Pantry

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Symbol of holiday giving

There’s another kind of gift in our local retail stores during the holiday season. United Mid-Coast Charities sells its luminary kits at local retail shops to symbolize the spirit of giving in our communities. On Christmas eve, dozens of residential streets in Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville and Belfast will be lit with white bags containing candles as part of UMMC’s annual “Light-A-Luminary” program. For those new to the area, or for those who may not have seen the annual Dec. 24 display, the wax bags containing tea candles shining along driveways and sidewalks symbolize our unified effort to share with others.

The UMMC organization exists to distribute money annually to nearly 50 local nonprofits that do service work for those in need. Sales of luminary kits, containing six wax bags and six tea candles along with sand to weight the bags down, support the spirit of neighbors helping neighbors this holiday. Families team up to sell kits to those living in their neighborhoods in an effort to line their own streets on Christmas eve. Each kit, containing six candles, costs $6. Residents light candles as soon as darkness falls on Dec. 24 to light up their streets and to show a town filled with support for neighbors in need.

[Editor’s note: For information on the Waldo County Luminary Project, including where the kits are sold in this area and who to contact for more information, please see the article on page B9 in this paper.]

United Mid-Coast Charities is dedicated to the support of charities that provide social services and care to the most deserving, including medical, physical, social and community educational services. UMCC strives to locate charities that offer the most possible benefit to residents in and around the Midcoast. 100 percent of all contributions, including funds collected by sales of Light-A-Luminary kits, are distributed. For more information please visit unitedmidcoastcharities.org or call 236-2299.

United Mid-Coast Charities

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Searsport schools seek suggestions

The staff and students at Searsport District Middle/High School are looking to get involved in our community and would like your input. Do you have any potential volunteer opportunities or needs that we could fulfill? All suggestions would be appreciated. Please submit your ideas and contact information to the Nellie Mae Community Involvement Committee — e-mails may be sent to nraymond@rsu20.org, or messages can be left at the main office by calling 548-2313. Thank you.

Lawrene Blair, Ann Marie Hoffman, Michelle Wakeman, Brad Cook, Gail Anthonis and Nancy Raymond

Searsport District Middle/High School

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Some thoughts on the solstice

The solstice is a time of passage and a time of transition. It is a time for accepting, maybe even giving ourselves over to, the long darkness of the deepening days in the faith that there will again be light. The winter solstice, the longest and deepest shadow cast by a sun low in the cold winter sky, is symbolic of the places in our own lives that must be gotten through so that we may turn toward our own spring and renewal …. and find meaning in the passage. It is a time for reflecting on our lives and our relationships.

This is a time for valuing the deep mystical meanings and traditions of this season and celebrating that — for however else our lives may fare — we have friends and lovers, and families and people who wander into our lives, sometimes for a moment and sometimes to stay. These are the people who accompany us on the solstice night, wherever we and they may be.

This is a time for exploring the inner patterns, the roots of human meaning in the ground of being, the archetypal patterns that lie as organic templates in the borderland of our consciousness as a people, but that each of us puts our own image to as we find our way along the path.

ED Moffitt

Belfast

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Silver tea shines

I wish to thank all of the people involved with the very successful Waldo County General Hospital Aid Silver Tea held Dec. 8. The Aid raised $1,509 in donations and $983 from raffle sales to benefit the hospital.

Specifically, I want to thank Dr. John Lewis, his wife, Robin, and their sons for allowing us to use their beautiful historic home, built in 1797, to welcome the community to an afternoon tea.

Colonial-period decorations of fruit, nuts, boughs, pine cones and candles were artfully arranged by Geary Tibbetts and Phyllis Gaul.

Megan Pinette of the Belfast Museum created a display board of historical articles on the house and arranged the loan of the Rev. Ebenezer Price’s original wooden chair.

The refreshment team did a wonderful job under the direction of Marion Pride. Thank you to all Aid members who contributed food, poured tea or coffee, acted as room hosts or greeted people at the front door.

I truly appreciate all of the community members who joined us for refreshments and conversation in celebration of community wellness and the upcoming holiday season.

Sally Millhorn, president

Waldo County General Hospital Aid

Belfast

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Thanks for helping us

I would like to thank everyone who helped raise more than $800 for Waldo County Home Health & Hospice.

Laurie Foy and Sherri Seger run a craft fair at the Boathouse each year, and along with it do a 50/50 raffle, with the proceeds going entirely to a local not-for-profit organization. Last year we were given more than $500 to help our “bottom line.”

This year we also did a bake sale and sold lunch to increase the revenue. Four wonderful ladies from the Waldo County Hospital Aid volunteered to sit with us and sell the raffle tickets. Carol Bisbee, Sally Millhorn, Priscilla Withee and Geary Tibbetts did a fabulous job, and we also had many laughs with them.

Elaine Lenfest, our administrative coordinator, and Bill Kulbe ran the kitchen. Laura Campbell, one of our nurses, provided beautiful music throughout the day and Mary Kaldenbaugh, our occupational therapist, arrived with the Belfast Bay Fiddlers, to the delight of all who were there.

I am always proud of the amazing and professional work that our staff does for the community, but they go far beyond their job descriptions. Besides working all day, they found time to bake wonderful treats for the sale, as well as buy and sell 50/50 tickets.

They can also be found buying needed items for their clients and will collect money for winter coats, heating oil and food when they see the need. 2010 has been a difficult year financially for most everyone, and that only increases the burden on agencies such as ours. We continue to care for those who need us, even when they don’t have insurance or the ability to pay privately.

Our legislators who manage Medicare have given us an almost 5 percent cut in reimbursement for 2011 and another one looms for 2012. Our expenses don’t decrease, and we insist on maintaining our high level of care. When so many people come together to work on our behalf, I can only say thank you, but I mean so much more.

Jill Kulbe, director

Waldo County Home Health & Hospice

Belfast

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A unity of evil

Some say the mark of the beast, or the New World Order ruled by the Antichrist, could never come in our lifetime because there are too many religions, denominations and organizations that oppose each other. There are Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Wiccans, New-Agers, Freemasons, professing born-again Christians, and many others. No doubt there are many differences between these groups, but there is also a mysterious unity among them — a common thread holding them together.

What is this thread that is serving to unite many of these divergent groups? It is this: they all have a common enemy. They all, more or less, set themselves against the Lord and against His Annointed. Having a common enemy brings unity. The enemy of the leaders of most religious and nonreligious organizations is the God of the Bible and the eternal, unchanging moral law.

The evil rulers of this world do not want the one true God, His Annointed One, and biblical morality to restrain their actions or upset their goals. To be against God’s Anointed is to be anti-Christ. As there were many Antichrists in the apostles’ day (1John 2:18), one can only imagine how many there are today.

Let’s get specific. How are these groups, and especially their leaders, against the Lord?

• They all, more or less, promote self-interest as their ultimate end instead of the interests of God and mankind. Their actions are motivated more by self-love and self-promotion than by supreme love to God and equal love to others. They often ignore the laws of the Bible in efforts to do good.

• Many of these groups are united in their tendency to be more tolerant of error, immorality and open sinners than they are of truth, morality and faithful Christians. They sympathize more for the sexual deviant than for the Lord and His followers, who condemn sin and sexual deviancy.

• These groups don’t state openly their opposition to freedom, the family, America or Christianity, but they all more or less coddle and support organizations and movements that are diametrically opposed to these valuable entities. Instead of being openly anti-American and anti-Christian, they will protect Islam (an anti-freedom, anti-Christ system) and do all in their power to keep the Koran from being burnt on private property.

• Instead of telling us to our face that they hate the family and morality, they will promote premarital sex, adultery, sexual perversion, easy divorce, the marriage tax or “same-sex marriage” by refusing to oppose or outlaw these evils. Instead of telling us openly that they are anti-American, they will ignore the original intent of the Constitution, refuse to protect our borders, refuse to impeach the criminals in the White House and Congress, and use tax dollars to fund abortions, bad education, the United Nations and unconstitutional wars.

Lucifer is aiming to weaken all nations (Isaiah 14:12), send to hellfire as many as he can (Matt. 13:37-42; 1Peter 5:8) and bring in the Novus Ordo Seclorum (Rev. 13 and 17: 12-14). And the kind of people and organizations serving him are those who purposely hold back on full commitment to God and biblical principles. Satan is not only using all liberals and Democrats, but he is also using many who call themselves conservative and Christian, such as Glenn Beck, Rush [Limbaugh], [Sean] Hannity, Chuck Colson, Pat Buchanan, Sarah Palin, James Dobson, as well as most preachers.

Many think of themselves as good people, even though they are not fully committed to Christ. But this is a delusion. All who refuse to believe, serve and worship Christ are bad in God’s sight and abiding under His wrath (John 3:36). Jesus said “He that is not with me is against me” (Matt. 12:30). This classifies the whole world into two groups: those who conscientiously aim to follow Christ in all things and those who don’t. To refuse full cooperation with God is to oppose Him (Matt. 7:21, 26; Luke 19:27).

This mysterious unity of evil will culminate in 10 strong kings or kingdoms giving their power to the Antichrist (Rev. 17:13, 14).

The big question is this: Are you called, chosen and faithful? Are you working against the Lamb or are you working for Him? Are you on the side of the many who are on the way to destruction or are you on the side of the few who are on the way to life?

Are you going with the flow, ignoring God’s will, and yielding to the influence of the evildoers who control the major media, big corporations, “Christian” radio, government schools, and both political parties? Or are you yielding your will in all things to the Lamb?

If your heart is not presently given over to God and His ways, why not give it today and be on the winning side when the Lamb shall come again to judge and overcome those who are united in evil?

Don Violette

Brooks