A new era in Stockton Springs

A legend has said it’s time to move to a new zone of relaxation and leisure. Ed Perry’s heart is so big and kindness so great that they couldn’t fit in Vern Thompson’s dump truck. He will be missed and Stockton’s second town office will be closed. Ed, a man who behind the scene helped so many, didn’t want a pat on the back. In most cases, he didn’t get one because no one knew. Ed will be missed, be it his smile or his growl.

Tom Fraser

Stockton Springs

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No propane tank in Searsport

Please join our anti-tank rally on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 1-3 p.m. in Searsport — bring your anti-tank signs. The rally is taking place at the corner of Station Avenue and Route 1. Please bear with a change of focus for several sentences…

A tourism and hospitality major will be offered at the University of Southern Maine and they hope to begin accepting students in September of 2012. This announcement in the Saturday/Sunday, Nov. 12-13 issue of the Bangor Daily News is great for tourism — Maine’s largest industry sector, generating 15 billion dollars a year and employing nearly 250,000 people. By offering this program, they’re hoping to keep many of our young people from leaving the state to find work.

Now I will connect the dots for both these announcements. This good news is offset by a development nightmare that will greatly impact the entire Midcoast region and beyond.

A 137-foot-tall storage tank that holds 22.7 million gallons of propane gas, a 90,000-gallon tank that’s necessary to refrigerate the propane, and a 450,000-gallon water tank has been given initial approval by the Department of Environmental Protection to be built in Searsport — 250 feet from Route 1 — in the backyard of Angler’s Restaurant and several miles from Sears Island. This island attracts birders, hikers, beachcombers, cross-country skiers and many others just looking for a quiet place to watch the bay and think… or walk their dog. This island is one of the tourist attractions in Searsport.

Conoco Philips, Spectra Energy, and subsidiary DCP Midstream, LLC (LLC’s cannot be sued even if there is significant loss of life and property) are the corporations behind this project.

The initial permit indicates that at least that at least 55 and up to 144 eighteen-wheeler tank trucks will be traveling on Maine’s already deteriorated roads 24 hours a day. Night security floodlights, noise, air pollution — not to mention the visual impact these tanks will have — would certainly affect an already depressed housing market. A huge eternal flare at the top of the tank will be seen from most land and sea points.

There is a huge danger that one of these highly explosive trucks could be involved in an accident anywhere along their route — incinerating everything within a one-mile radius and forcing evacuations.

Imagine a fireball created by invisible vapors engulfing homes, vehicles, and businesses. The fires could burn for days or weeks because volunteer fire departments in Searsport and other communities are not equipped to handle such a catastrophe.

Further imagine the complete shutdown of routes 1 and 3 for 20 or more miles while they evacuate people and try to deal with this very different type of accident and the massive traffic jam it could create at the height of summer tourism.

Searsport town officials and the others who are, so far, supporting this development (propane that will be shipped on our waterways from Qatar) are using the need for jobs as their reason for approval. There’s no guarantee that the corporations involved will hire local people for either the initial construction or the 12-14 permanent positions that may be created.

Maine’s state and local officials need to decide what they want for the state. Forty-five employees would lose their jobs if Angler’s Restaurant closes. Hundreds of coastal businesses and job could be affected, such as B&B’s, recreational facilities — Moose Point, Fort Point, Fort Knox, Sandy Point to name a few.

These beautiful parks attract hundreds of people throughout the season. Tourists don’t visit these areas for their view to be marred by this heavy industrial hazard. If there’s a calamity, people will leave the area because their jobs will be gone — if they survive.

Many more potential jobs could be created on a variety of levels if there was a total commitment to build on our already huge tourism industry. Some lighter industries could mix with tourism, but this colossal moneymaker for Conoco Philips, et al. must not and cannot be one of them! It’s not light industry — Maine is the wrong state for this project!

Phyllis Coelho

Belfast

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Awesome auction approaching

The Kermit Nickerson School Parent Teacher Group is hosting a benefit auction on Friday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. at the Nickerson School in Swanville. We have had many generous donations from area businesses and artisans.

Our feature item will be a bronze statue of a bear created by Forrest Hart, a sculptor from Monroe. Other items include a variety of gift certificates from area businesses.

Our school has a population of approximately 80 students. Last year, through budget cuts, the school lost funding for most field trips and enrichment activities. The proceeds of this auction will go directly to a field trip fund as well as to provide other exciting opportunities for students.

Some of the past enrichment activities sponsored by the PTG have included The Chewonki Foundation, The Penobscot Theatre, The Traveling Planetarium, musical enrichment programs, art programs, and funding for infrastructure so teachers can create innovative and diverse learning opportunities at the Nickerson School.

As budgets for education dwindle, so do the educational opportunities outside the classroom and as many of us remember, it was the field trips and the “specials” that leave a lasting impact on our school memories. These activities broaden young minds and activate the aspirations of our youth.

Thank you in advance for participating in this very important fundraiser for the Kermit Nickerson School students. If you have any specific questions about the auction or the items available, please contact Tabitha Sprague at 338-1184 or Heidi Seekins at 338-5809.

Nickerson School PTG

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Musicians helping one of their own

Members of the Lincolnville Community Band are reaching out to one of their own during this holiday season and asking for public support.

Our member Don Heald, music director at Dedham Middle School, was recently diagnosed with progressive muscle atrophy and neurological lyme disease, resulting in a dramatic decline in his health. He is currently unable to teach and share his love of music with his pupils.

Please help the Lincolnville Community Band with upcoming events and concerts to be announced to benefit Don Heald. If you would like to send a donation, please write checks out to the “Don Heald Fund” and send to Fred Heald, 995 Beach Road, Lincolnville, ME, 04845. Thank you.

Lincolnville Community Band directors and officers

Peter Nesin, president

Ron Clark, vice president

Janice Clark, librarian

Pat Munson, director

Donald Heald, business manager

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The Bucksport mill job loss

The recent paper mill shutdown of a high-quality paper making machine in Bucksport is costing the loss of more than 100 jobs and, tragically, it is the final effect of the loss of hundreds of thousands of other jobs. Here’s why.

Verso’s paper products are used primarily in media and marketing applications including magazines catalogs and commercial printing such as high-end advertising brochures and annual reports. I spent 30 years in that exact business developing advertising and sales promotion materials for major corporations and that industry is dying.

With few exceptions major marketers are slow to invest advertising and promotion money in exciting new products simply because they are afraid of the government. Did you hear that? They are afraid of the government. They are afraid of new regulations, controls and the possibility of new taxes so they trim their employment rolls, stash their money in the bank and wait for better times.

I wonder how many of the more than 100 men and women who are losing their jobs in Bucksport believed Obama’s promises. They weren’t alone, millions did. But Obama’s promises, the Democrats promises, have not been kept, can’t be kept and were never intended to be kept. The truth is not in them, so it can’t come out.

I am shaken at the reality of our situation. I am saddest for black Americans who are burdened with 20 percent unemployment. They had the greatest hope for Obama. I am ashamed to pass trillions of dollars in debt to my children and grandchildren.

Lastly, I fear for our country but I have great faith in you. You see the problem. You know what has to be done and it won’t be easy. And it won’t include Obama.

David Huck

Swan Lake

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Flu shots are life savers

Preventive medicine is the best medicine. Having a yearly flu shot is one of the best ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones from serious illness. The flu vaccine used is a “dead” virus and cannot cause the flu.

Everyone 6 months of age or older should have an annual flu shot, but particularly those over 50 yearsold, those who have diabetes, a cardiac condition or chronic respiratory illness, caregivers for an infant or an elderly person, those who work in hospitals, nursing homes, home health care, day care centers or people who work in physician practices or clinics.

If you fall into one of more of the above categories, you really should be getting an annual flu shot. Call your health care provider to schedule your visit. If you have Medicare Part B, it will pay for the flu shot if you get it from a Medicare-participating provider. There are also other places where you can get your flu shot. Home care agencies often sponsor clinics and many local pharmacies and stores often give them too.

And don’t forget, while you are scheduling your annual flu shot, ask your health care provider if you should get your pneumonia shot too. Both can be given at the same time and both are covered in full if you have Medicare Part B and get them from a Medicare-participating provider. It is generally recommended that you get a pneumonia shot once you reach age 65.

The Northeast Health Care Quality Foundation is the federally-contracted Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Each state in the country has a QIO to help improve the health and health care of Medicare beneficiaries throughout the nation. NHCQF has been serving Medicare since 1974 in New Hampshire, since 1984 in Vermont and since 1996 in Maine.

Stay healthy!

Lawrence D. Ramunno, MD, MPH

Chief Quality Officer

Northeast Health Care Quality Foundation

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Hospice says thanks

Hospice Volunteers of Waldo County would like to express its appreciation to all the local businesses and individuals who helped make our second annual auction held on Oct. 15 such a success.

Auctioneer Rosie Gerry and his team conducted the live auction, and local duo Tango performed as auctiongoers enjoyed food and beverages provided by the Lookout Bar and Grill and Delvino’s Grill & Pasta House.

Camden National Bank generously sponsored our event, which was hosted at the Hutchinson Center. Many businesses and individuals donated the interesting and valuable auction items and attendees enthusiastically bid on the auction items. Thank you to all the volunteers who worked so hard to make this event so much fun.

The money that we raised will make it possible for us continue to provide our hospice and bereavement services free of charge to the people of Waldo County.

Connie Woitowitz

Director, Hospice Volunteers

Flic Shooter

Bereavement Coordinator

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Thanks to weatherization volunteers and supporters

The Belfast Energy and Climate Committee organized its third volunteer weatherization program this year. On Saturday, Nov. 5, 36 local volunteers worked through the day in a successful campaign to help weatherize 28 Belfast houses and rental units.

The work included sealing air leaks, weatherstripping doors, reducing cold air flow into basements, insulating hot water pipes and more. Thanks to the efforts of these volunteers, 28 households now have more comfortable, energy efficient homes that will be less expensive to heat.

We want to thank all of the carpenters, energy auditors, and carpenter assistants for giving up a beautiful fall day to volunteer for the program.

We thank the students in the Peer Leadership program who were enthusiastic volunteers. We also were grateful to have the skilled help of a student from the carpentry program of the Waldo County Technical Center.

Volunteers from the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center were great participants — skilled, enthusiastic, and hard-working. We encourage other groups in the area to utilize their valuable volunteer labor.

This project was sponsored and supported by the city of Belfast. Without the very generous contribution of materials from Viking Lumber, the project simply would not have been possible.  We are grateful to the Belfast Co-op for their donation and generous discount on fine coffee. Bill’s Burner Service provided a free burner service to a family in serious need. And Alexia’s Pizza gave us a substantial discount on their great pizza.

Finally, we thank those who participated by offering their homes for us to work on, and to those homeowners and renters that worked with the weatherization volunteers. In doing so, they helped to make Belfast a stronger and more energy efficient community.

Andrew Carpenter, Marina Delune, Roger Lee and Biff Atlass

Belfast Volunteer Weatherization project coordinators

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Project Graduation auction a success

An auction was held Sunday, Oct. 30 to benefit Belfast Area High School Class of 2012 Project Graduation. It was a huge success and we now have met our goal which was to raise enough money so that every 2012 BAHS senior can attend a safe, drug and alcohol free graduation night event at no cost.

Thank you to all the businesses that generously donated items to bid on. Thank you to the Unity Foundation for its matching challenge grant which helped raise more than $10,000 for our 2012 seniors. Thank you to Zach Campbell for making and donating a beautiful cedar chest for the raffle. Thank you to the staff at the high school for their guidance, hospitality and support.

Thank you to Peter Sanderson for his outstanding and entertaining performance as auctioneer. Thank you to Pat Jackson and Virgil Fowles for working with Peter to make sure everything went smoothly for the bidders. Thank you to the auction committee for organizing, supporting and delivering a highly successful auction. Thank you to the food committee for the delicious desserts. Thank you to the seniors auction runners who made it fun.

Finally, thank you to all of you in our community who supported our event and bid on the items. Thanks to you, we met our goal!

The Belfast Area High School Project Graduation 2012 Committee

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Here’s to healthy higher learning

On behalf of the Healthy Maine Partnership, Healthy Waldo County, we would like to congratulate UMaine Hutchinson Center and Unity College — the two centers of higher learning in Waldo County — on their recently announced award from the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network for achieving the Gold Star standard of excellence in creating tobacco-free environments. They received two of the seven awards for 2011.

Kudos!

Vyvyenne Ritchie, Program Administrator

Carole Hallundbaek, Program Specialist

Healthy Waldo County

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Donors make blood drive successful

The recent American Red Cross blood drive in Belfast sponsored by the Waldo County General Hospital Aid was very successful with 54 units of blood collected including four first time donors.

As president of the Hospital Aid, I want to thank members of the community who donated blood and members of our own organization who volunteered time to organize and staff the drive.

Each pint of blood can help save up to three lives. We are pleased we could help the American Red Cross in their mission to maintain a sufficient blood supply for all patients in need.

Sally Millhorn, president

WCGH Hospital Aid

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A note of appreciation

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 30 my daughter Grace and her friend Xara Sunne gave a violin recital in the Gammons Room at the Belfast Public Library. I want to thank the library, and the people of Belfast who support it, for providing this delightful space, with its excellent piano. It is a credit to the city, and a great asset of which we can rightfully be proud.

Arch Davis

Belfast