On showing up

If Woody Allen is right, and 80 percent of success is showing up, then the success of grassroots efforts depends on lots of people showing up to stand for change. Whenever I get discouraged, I remember that, in the 1960’s and early ’70’s, things changed for the better in our country because a lot of people came together to make those changes happen: broader civil rights for African Americans, more freedom for women to work, and the end of the Vietnam War that drained American coffers, killed many innocents, and broke so many hearts. I’m grateful to those who stood to be counted.

Now, as I see citizens of our state and our country living in fear and poverty, worried about finding jobs and healthcare, dominated by greedy corporations, paying tribute to a war industry that grabs the giant’s share of their tax dollars, and threatened by environmental disasters, I believe it’s time to stand up again.

The “Common Ground Restore Democracy” Rally, that will bring the Care-a-Van from the Common Ground Fair to the Belfast Post Office at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25, will be a chance for us to do that. It will be a time to sing and to listen to powerful speakers: Erin Herbig and John Piotti, legislators; Ellie Goldberg and Sister Lucy Poulin, advocates for children and low-income Mainers; Dud Hendrick of Veterans for Peace, Bruce Gagnon of Maine Peace Action, and Meredith Bruskin, poet and activist. All we have to do is stand there.

I hope many people will just show up — those who see our democracy slipping away, some who’ve rallied in earlier dangerous times, grandparents who want children and grandchildren to have hopes, Christians who think their faith is misrepresented by the Right, young Mainers who want a chance at an education without having to go to war, and others who want to come and be part of the “Common Ground Restore Democracy” movement, a state-wide and national effort.

See you on the 25th. If it rains, come to the UU Church on Miller Street.

Charlotte Herbold

Belfast

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Sweetser addresses recent incident

I want to express my appreciation of the concise, coherent and unbiased coverage reported by Tanya Mitchell of a recent incident at our Sweetser residential unit in Belfast (“Sweetser employee accused of assaulting juvenile resident,” Sept. 7 edition, TRJ).

While I cannot speak to the specifics of this incident while there is an ongoing investigation, I would like to strenuously state that Sweetser places the utmost importance on the safety of children and clients and endeavor to improve upon the services we provide to those in need.

As you and your readers may be aware, the Children’s Aid Society of Maine began in Belfast in 1893, and joined Sweetser in 1950, and we have been providing a range of services in the area for many years.

This event is an isolated incident and is by no means indicative of the level of care we take in providing mental, behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services to children, families and adults throughout the state of Maine.

Our employees are rigorously screened and trained; additionally, all must pass a background check. While this person is no longer in the employ of Sweetser, there are many dedicated and hard-working professionals who live our vision daily in helping our clients create a better future. With a consistent emphasis placed on high-quality of care, these employees are directly responsible for the successes of our clients.

I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation of your understanding of the nature of this matter and I thank you for your time.

Carlton D. Pendleton

President & CEO, Sweetser

Saco

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What makes Belfast great

What a great place to live! It has been an exciting time in Belfast this year — new businesses, waterfront developments, the achievements of our students, schools and many more despite difficult economic times.

As I think about our many assets in our small city, my thoughts are drawn to our most important resource, the people of Belfast! Some call us eclectic, diverse, hard-working and more. Together we are a community that reaches out to each other.

The countless events initiated, organized and staffed by volunteers throughout the year are evidence of who we are. Whether it is a public supper or a festival on the waterfront, a sports event or school activity, we can be proud of this spirit in Belfast.

In the election this fall I am running for the office of mayor. Like other communities, there are many challenges and issues that will be facing our little city. As mayor, I will help lead the effort to meet these challenges as they arise, listen to the concerns of our residents, support our businesses, take an active role in promotion and economic development, work to bring more jobs to the area and be a strong advocate for sound financial planning, as I represent all the citizens of Belfast.

I ask for your support and vote on Nov. 8.

Jim O’Connor

Belfast

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Pink Glove Ride a success

The first Rollie’s Pink Glove Ride was held Sunday, Sept. 11 to raise money for the Oncology and Mammography Patient Assistance Fund at Waldo County General Hospital. We plan to make this motorcycle ride an annual event.

I would like to thank all the riders who turned out along with the generous local businesses who pitched in, including Swan Lake Grocery, Tozier’s Family Market, Kirby’s Lobster, Hannaford, Anglers, Central Maine Harley, Inner Sense, Thompson’s Variety, and Rollie’s Bar and Grill. Thanks also to Faith Garrold for donating such a beautiful quilt.

A special thank you to Ryan Otis, who was an immense help in organizing the event.

We’ll be back next year and hope to have a biggest and better event and not on the weekend of the annual Toy Run.

Gary Collins

Searsport

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Giving thanks for green thumbs

The Waldo County Extension Association would like to thank Master Gardeners Jane Strauss, Maureen O’Keefe, and Sheri Stevens for helping to beautify the gardens at the Waldo County Cooperative Extension building. Thank you for all your hard work!

Waldo County Extension Association

Waldo