Frankfort ordinance needed

I’m writing as a resident of Waldo County for 25 years. Mary and I consider Frankfort our community, something we didn’t have growing up. We care about the people who live here.

Nine months ago, five others and I were voted on by the townspeople (not self-appointed) to draw up an ordinance that would protect the health and welfare of Frankfort. These people are not just anti-wind, but care about this town and have taken this matter very seriously, putting their lives on hold.

Eolian Renewable Energy [personnel] aren’t members of our community, won’t live here afterwards, and it is a company who wants to change Maine.

Wind energy may have its place, but research shows it doesn’t belong in rural areas where people live near these industrial machines. This ordinance is not a cut-and-paste job, as some have stated. Months were taken to draw this up. I’ll admit we weren’t perfect, but any mistakes were ours. This was new to us and we did the best we could under the circumstances.

These turbines will affect every member of our community, whether you live nearby or not. The effects include the adverse health effects from the noise and shadow flicker produced by these massive 450-foot machines, and the loss of property value even for those living a mile or more away.

These concerns are well-documented by the World Health Organization, sound experts, numerous doctors and real estate agents from around the world. Eolian’s representatives can white-wash these issues, but the fact is these turbines offer little and take much from towns like ours. For wind companies to deny this just shows their lack of compassion for anyone who would be affected by them.

Most disturbing is how it has divided our community. Friends, neighbors and families have turned on each other. Scare tactics are being used to make the ordinance look like something that it’s not, saying it will stop people from raising pigs, horses, building a shed or putting up a personal wind turbine in their backyard.

Read the ordinance; it is strictly for industrial wind turbines, and will have no effect on anyone other than a large-scale wind developer. Eolian has tried to drag these other issues into the debate because they know if they base this on their project alone the people of Frankfort would overwhelmingly vote them out like many other Maine communities have.

The icing on the cake is that Eolian will walk away with millions of taxpayer dollars. It’s the only way they can afford to put these up. Huge tax subsidies that come from our pockets. Possibly a 60-percent tax break from what Eolian would have to pay our town.

This comes in the form of a TIF [tax-increment financing] which Eolian has brought up numerous times. These taxes can’t be used for our school or to lower property taxes. We pay them to destroy our health, financial welfare and communities while they laugh all the way to the bank.

Consider these facts before voting, then please vote “Yes” and protect your neighbors because no one else will.

Steve Imondi

Frankfort

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Frankfort voters: Do your homework

Shortly the town of Frankfort will be asked to vote on an ordinance to regulate an industrial wind generation facility to be built on top of Mount Waldo. I ask that everyone planning to vote please do their homework beforehand.

The belief that wind generators are going to save this country, or reduce its dependence on fossil fuel supplies, is utter nonsense. The multitude of past wind farm failures in both this country and around the world bears this out.

So if you’re going to vote “no” to a Frankfort ordinance in the mistaken belief that you are doing something that will be good for the environment please investigate what really happens when a wind generator comes online and feeds back to an existing grid.

Some will be tempted to vote no in the belief that the electricity a wind farm produces is “cheaper.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Again past history proves that wind-generated electricity is exceedingly more expensive than many other forms of electrical power generation.

As much as everyone would like to reduce the amount of regulations on its citizens, it is exactly this lack of regulation that attracts companies which have met opposition from so many other towns. If these companies are so objectionable to others what makes them a good fit for Frankfort

At one time I believed that wind power would provide at least some relief from our dependence on fossil fuels. A little research into the subject altered my perspective years ago.

Don’t succumb to the promises of cheaper energy or the false belief that this technology will save the planet. The number of jobs that may be created are few, and the cost to the town of Frankfort and its citizens will be high.

It’s time for the people of Frankfort to get behind an ordinance that will deter the exploitation of its citizens and its resources. Vote “yes” to protect your town and citizens.

Somehow the focus became an issue of ordinances, when in fact this all began with an application for erecting a wind-generation facility, a proposal which may well have been soundly defeated on its own merit. This is a classic case of clouding the issue. Don’t be fooled!

Milton Florest

Frankfort

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Support for LP tank in Searsport

My only hope is that the working people in Searsport step up to support the proposed LP storage tank. The lies going around are just too much to listen to.

I wish the outsiders would stay in their own town and mind their own business. I don’t go to your town and tell you what you want. I moved here and wasn’t born here, so that makes me “from away” — dirty words to some, and I can see why. The great majority of the protesters are not from Searsport.

While only a small number of jobs will be offered (15-30) what about all the jobs created and held by truck drivers, loaders, sales, etc.? This helps Sprague keep jobs, and best of all the proposed site will pay more than $400,000 in new taxes.

I hear that tourist’s won’t come this way anymore — what a lot of bull. Why would they care driving by a tank any more than driving by an empty store or a parking lot?

Where do the young people go to get a job if we don’t create some? Who will help pay our taxes after all the young people move out because they can’t find work? I look at the ones who are opposed to this project and almost all have their own reason to object — not what’s good for Searsport, but what’s good for them or their business.

One other lie going around is that the fire department “will have to watch people die because they can’t put out a LP fire.” Not true. The reason LP fires are left to burn is because the fumes are burning off so there is no danger of gas getting away.

I hear [people say] that if an accident were to happen that Stockton Springs, Searsport and Belfast would be gone. Also not true. The responder guide put out by the government states that the worse case would require an evacuation of 1 mile, and that’s overkill to be safe. By the way, frozen LP doesn’t blow up — look it up.

If this plant were in a residential zone I could see why some wouldn’t want it, but it’s in an industrial zone just for that reason.

If the majority of taxpayers from Searsport don’t want this, then I say that’s what should happen — but the rest of you, stay in your own town and mind your own business.

Like everything in this country, the press seems to only listen to the complainers. If you want jobs, tax relief and a future for Searsport, write a letter to your selectmen telling them you want progress. If you don’t grow, you die!

Jim Dittmeier

Searsport

[Editor’s note: Dittmeier is the fire chief in Searsport, but he said he wrote this letter as a private citizen and taxpayer, rather than in his official capacity.]

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How do you define democracy?

I read the story by Ethan Andrews, “Freedom gets its fire truck,” in the Nov. 23 issue of The Republican Journal. I live in Montville, about 3 miles from the fire station, so have been peripherally aware of the fire truck controversy, as it may well affect me directly someday since Montville and Freedom have traditionally worked closely together on firefighting.

As the story unfolded while I read it, my foremost emotion was surprise. When I reached the portion in which Nancy Bailey Farrar is quoted, I had to stop and reread the article to make sure I’d understood correctly. According to the article Farrar said, “It just goes to show what the democratic process will do.” I was appalled.

My understanding of the situation is that a meeting was held in March at which the town approved the $250,000 purchase of a new fire truck. As far as I know, that’s a democratic process. You notify the town of a meeting, those that care or those that can show up, vote, and there’s a consensus. Those that do not care, or don’t show up, don’t get a voice. That’s democracy, yes?

Except some people who didn’t like the vote petitioned for a re-vote in a special town meeting. Which they got. And lost — again.

You would think that would be the end of the story, as the democratic process so beloved in Maine had won out, wouldn’t you? But that’s not what happened. Instead a second petition led to a referendum in which the vote was finally lost.

The numbers in the first vote were not included in the story, but the second vote passed by only one vote. That’s all it needed to have, right? The third, final, and for some reason defining vote lost, 164-94.

I thought the democratic process meant that if you didn’t show up and have your voice and vote heard, you got to live with the consequences of what those who were there and did vote decided. In this case apparently those who did not vote and did not like the outcome simply poked at it until they got their own way.

This smacks to me of old-style voting in the South, when politicians on the local level would threaten, harass, cajole and pay voters until they cast their votes as the politicians wanted. I don’t know what that is, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t “the democratic process,” or perhaps Ms. Farrar and I just have a different understanding of it.

If my comprehension of this story is correct, I’m awfully glad I live in Montville.

Carol Visser

Montville

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Will Maine’s senators support TSCA reform?

This month marks the 35th anniversary of a badly broken law known as TSCA, or the Toxic Substances Control Act. Under this law, only 200 of over 80,000 commercial chemicals used in everyday consumer products have been fully tested for health effects, and only five have ever been restricted, despite widespread scientific evidence of harm from many of these chemicals.

As a scientist, I know that many of the chemicals through use of everyday products provide exposure to people, particularly children during early development. Serious health issues from exposure, such as cancer, diabetes, asthma, learning disabilities and reproductive disorders cannot be ruled out. Only with stronger preventive measures can we control our soaring healthcare and education costs, and reduce the number of devastating illnesses in our country.

When so many everyday consumer products contain toxic chemicals, those substances inevitably leach into our environment and jeopardize our natural resources and food. Maine’s farms and fisheries depend on Congress to clean up the chemical industry and protect our communities. Safe use of chemicals is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue, but it is a Maine Issue.

For several years now the TSCA reform has stalled and has often become bipartisan, even though Republicans and Democrats each appreciate the need for honest dialogue on how we can finally bring this vital law into the modern era. It is in everyone’s interest — health advocates and industry alike — to restore market, consumer and public confidence in the safety of chemicals.

An example of an issue at large is the establishment of an orderly process that categorizes chemicals into different classes of toxic concern and directs scientific evaluation for those chemicals along specific paths of action. Of particular concern are chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic.

TSCA stakeholders wait seemingly in vain for meaningful bipartisan, bicameral consideration of TSCA reform. A bill “Safer Chemicals Act of 2011” has been introduced in Congress, which would ensure that chemicals are safe before they end up on the shelves and in our homes. Thirty-five years is way too long to endure policies that put our Maine future at risk.

Unfortunately, Maine’s two senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have yet to weigh-in decidedly into this debate. They have an important opportunity to do the right thing in this Congress by co-sponsoring this legislation which would at least begin to ensure that chemicals are safe before they end up on the shelves and in our homes.

John Krueger

MOFGA board member

Liberty

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Thanks to the community

2011-2015 is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

For more than four years, I have been researching the names of the Civil War veterans of Waldo County and locating the cemeteries where they are buried. With a special thanks to the Maine State Archives, I now have all the names of the veterans and the cemeteries where they are buried.

The next part of the project isn’t so easy. My grandson, wife and I have driven and walked many miles to find these cemeteries. There are many of these cemeteries that are abandoned, some are on private property. Some of them are in very bad shape. But thanks to all of you who have helped me, I have found everyone. Sometimes it seemed impossible that a cemetery could be where we were told to go, but in the end, there it was.

A special thanks to those of you who allowed me to cross your property, or gave me directions, because without you, I could not have found many of these cemeteries. Now I have pictures of them all.

Many of these veterans, if not all, have been forgotten. It seems so sad that their service to our country and their sacrifice should go unnoticed. This project has been time-consuming and a lot of work, but it has been very satisfying. The project is almost complete now, but wouldn’t be without the help of you all. Thank you for your help.

James A. Roberts Sr.

Belfast

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A warm round of applause to volunteers

We would like to thank the volunteers who came to do the weatherization at our nine-unit apartment building at 63 Miller St. on Nov. 5 and Belfast city councilors Marina DeLune, Roger Lee, and energy auditor Biff Atlas for their assistance and advice in organizing the day’s work.

This program was offered to us by the city of Belfast and organized by the Belfast Energy and Climate Committee. The volunteers did a tremendous job working to seal up the basement and putting plastic over windows, especially Ham Niles, who worked in the basement for many hours.

Important “little” things were done, too: John rerouted a dryer vent and Danny built a custom overhang to reroute water away from a doorway. Thank you also to Corliss and Steve for installing all the window plastic. Everyone was respectful of the tenant’s homes and worked hard to do a good job.

We have owned this federal style building since the fall of 2001. Since then it has been an uphill challenge taking care of the property because of the ever-increasing costs of higher property taxes, fuel, utilities, and the continuous repairs and maintenance that a very old building requires.

Frye Block Apartments provides housing for low-income people and for people with housing vouchers from Penquis CAP and the BRAP program. The Frye Block Apartments has a long and colorful history and will celebrate its 200th birthday in 2020.

Thank you again, city of Belfast, and especially the volunteers who helped out on Nov. 5. We really appreciate it, and our tenants thank you as well!

Ruth and John Gelsinger

Owners/managers

Frye Block Apartments

Belfast