‘Unwarranted public humiliation’

[Editor’s note: This letter is in regard to the article, “Barbaria Maria named Belfast poet laureate,” which was posted on the VillageSoup website Dec. 27 and published in the Dec. 29 edition of the Journal.]

You have got to be kidding. This article doesn’t even report the real facts. Barbaria Maria was nominated by a spontaneous outpouring of numerous of letters to the selection committee, drafting her for what has always been an appointment; these prompted her to respond with a letter of gratitude and interest in the position.

Her problem seems to have been that she was not a member of Michael Hurley’s personal clique, whatever his problem is. And while [VS/TRJ reporter] Ethan [Andrews] did not bother to get these facts, he instead colluded in Michael Hurley’s unwarranted public humiliation of a private citizen.

The paper, the selection committee and the city council alike should be ashamed for allowing such a thing to happen.

Kathryn Robyn



‘Pervasive form of cruelty’

Have you ever gone by a home where the same dog is chained outside all the time? It may be the most pervasive form of cruelty we have in Maine today.

A continuously chained and tethered dog suffers from sporadic feeding, overturned water bowls, frozen water bowls, inadequate shelter, inadequate veterinary care (if any), and extremes in weather and temperature. These dogs have to eat, drink, urinate and deficate and sleep in a single confined area.

Their miserable existence is only a portion of the story, as these dogs also suffer immeasurably mentally. It is simply cruel to leave a dog of any kind outside alone without even minimal social contact with other dogs or humans night after night, week after week, month after month.

But something has been done and I write to get others to help now so that more can be done. In the last legislative session Maine Friends of Animals sponsored the first state legislation addressing specific changes to dogs left continuously outside. With the momentum of this legislation, a statewide campaign is in place to continue to educate the public, the media and legislators that more has to be done to improve the miserable lives of these dogs, from those who have frozen to death to those that have died of a broken heart — literally.

Maine Friends of Animals “Dogs Chained for Life” campaign has 10 ways in which you can help break the chain in Maine. Please contact MFoA at 781-2187 and go to the website mfoa.net to learn more about this issue and what you can do. A person’s best friend deserves better.

You may find contact information for your local legislators by visiting maine.gov/legis/house/townlist.htm.

Make this your special holiday gift to yourself and the chained dogs this year.

Regrettably, the entire state’s most animal-friendly legislator just retired. She represented us right here in the 43rd District. Many thanks to former Rep. Jayne Crosby Giles for her efforts to speak for the animals, and best wishes in her new career. We hope her successor will continue her compassionate dedication.

Peace and happiness to all for the New Year.

Lynne Rayburn

Volunteer and member

Maine Friends of Animals


Solstice celebrants give thanks

On Saturday, Dec. 18 the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast held its annual Winter Solstice Celebration at the Blue Goose in Northport. For many local residents the event is a much-anticipated addition to the calendar of holiday festivities in Waldo County.

It is also a much-appreciated source of financial support for programs that serve residents in need at this time of year. This year proceeds from the Winter Solstice Celebration were designated for the Belfast Soup Kitchen. Donations from the standing-room-only audience netted more than $1,600 in assistance.

A great deal of preparation by planners and performers is required to make the Winter Solstice Celebration engaging and entertaining and run smoothly. The success of this year’s event relied on the good will and good deeds of many volunteers in many capacities.

We thank the performers who donated their talents — Bill Cressey, the UU Choir, Skylark, Shira, the Sword Sisters, Highland Mary, Shana Bloomstein, the actors in the Mummers Play, poet Linda Buckmaster, storyteller Diane Braybrook, Ando Anderson, Peter Nesin and other participants, as well as the many volunteers who provided technical support and other logistical assistance, decorated, set up and cleaned up the hall, and helped in other ways to make the event run smoothly.

We thank members of our community, too, for their support and enthusiasm. We all had fun and look forward to next year’s celebration. Now let it snow.

Winter Solstice Celebration Committee

Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast