Students show Christmas spirit

[Editor’s note: This letter was written to the students and staff at Belfast Community Outreach Program for Education (better known as BCOPE), RSU 20’s alternative high school in Belfast.]

Dear BCOPE,

Two of your students — John and Anthony — were a big help to me last week.

I was driving on the Passy bridge when the Christmas tree atop my car blew off.

The car behind me had John and Anthony. They were most helpful — polite, and most appreciated by me.

Thank you — thank you!

Karna Olsson

Belfast

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LPG proposal proves personal

I was asked recently, with regard to the placement of a massive LPG tank in Searsport, why I was taking things so personally, and why I felt I needed to protest in the streets.

First of all, how much more personal can you get? Searsport has been my home for a decade, and I have put my heart and soul — not to mention every single cent of my savings — into restoring and maintaining one of the historic crown jewels of this unique town: a property that both my family and Searsport can be proud of.

Of course I take it personally when I see what looks like covert, short-sighted decision-making by my elected officials and non-elected board members, particularly when these actions could adversely impact the town in many ways.

I am referring to a decision to quietly do business with a multi-billion dollar corporation that could care less if Searsport becomes an industrial zone filled with explosive chemicals, endless truck traffic and severe noise pollution. A corporation that doesn’t care that property values will plummet, that the beauty of the region will be compromised, and that many of our livelihoods could suffer tremendously.

More often than not, I have put faith and trust in my elected officials, but I am neither blind nor naive. In the case of this LPG tank proposal, I personally do not believe the planning board nor our elected officials are acting in the best interest of the town and its residents.

We who are protesting against the LPG tank are not by definition anarchists with nothing better to do than picket in the streets. We are very concerned, mindful — albeit angry — citizens, who believe that something wicked this way comes, and it’s coming quickly. We want more answers, and more time to get the answers to extremely serious questions, before we open our doors to any further industrialization of our gorgeous piece of the planet.

Almost every day someone stops and takes a picture of the Carriage House Inn — a souvenir for them to show off the beauty of Midcoast Maine. Will anyone stop to take a photo of a 137-foot-tall liquefied petroleum gas tank, other than to provide an example of what you don’t want to come into your backyard?

Marcia Markwardt

Carriage House Inn

Searsport

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What about earthquakes?

This letter is written in respect of Anne Crimaudo’s hard, unpaid work collecting signatures for the moratorium petition.

I have a friend who lives on a small mountain in Swanville. One time, when he wanted to put up a building, he had a land study done first, the result being that it couldn’t be done because of a fault line.

I have lived in Searsport for 27 wonderful years, being able to look out my window and see Sears Island. On two seperate occasions, I have felt my house shake briefly in the night.

Sears Island is on a fault line. Is a liquefied petroleum gas tank at Mack Point worth taking the chance of an earthquake happening for a new piece of fire equipment or whatever?

Jean Cummings

Searsport

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‘Demonstrating their importance’

In the good old days when a company selected a town for its new plant, there was dancing in the streets. The mayor would be pictured in the newspaper, shaking the hand of the company owner. There would be a shot of the plant location and talk about how many jobs the plant would employ.

It was a time when work was noble. Men enjoyed the prospect of getting up in the morning and going to work to support their family. That was my America, and I’m sure that for many it was your America, too.

Things are different now. The townspeople try to find something wrong with the new plant. Does it have a chimney? Chimneys cause pollution and that’s bad. Perhaps it has dangerous chemicals and that’s bad too.

Work is less noble for many, who now seem to distinguish themselves by protesting. Protesting seems to give these people a sense of importance. They always seem to have a lot of time.

I wonder if they have jobs? I wonder if they know that they can get a feeling of importance by having a job. I wonder how many of them are being supported by the people who have jobs and are helping to support the demonstrators’ nonsense with their hard-earned taxes.

David Huck

Swan Lake

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Hold off on Harbor Walk

Having attended the public meeting concerning the proposed Harbor Walk on Dec. 14, I would like to add my voice to the many residents of Belfast who spoke of their concerns.

The section of the Walk between the Boathouse and Miller Street drew the most disappointment and frustration. It will require the destruction of the arborvitae hedge as well as the beautiful maples which line Front Street. A 10-foot-wide walk (big enough for bicycles as well as people) with lighting will replace them. New landscaping extending into the existing lower park will be needed to create space for new plantings. There will be two stairways which will allow access from Front Street to the water. Both will require added fill, again robbing usable space in the park. The cost of this section will be more than $300,000.

Being an owner of a small nursery, my interest naturally focuses on the horticulture concerns.

May I say that the loss of the arborvitae hedge will remove the visual separation of the two parks, the windbreak effect, the safe haven for many birds and wildlife, and add unnecessarily to the light pollution this small city already creates.

Looking at the silhouettes of the Front Street trees (even on a cold winter’s night), it is impossible to think we could waste this feature. These trees took at least 15 years to attain their beauty. Do we really want to spend the money to replace them and wait many years for them to mature? Could the walkway be less wide and let the bicycles take to the street here?

New gardens sloping onto the park will of course cost money for fill, plants, mulch and constant maintenance. Every gardener knows the time it takes for it to fill in and “look right.” Is this really the proper place for gardening, or should it remain a great soccer field?

Has this question of maintenance been thought of? All new plantings require diligent watering their first year, longer for the trees. There are many planting sites along the rest of the Walk. Where does the water come from? Who carries it? The Belfast Garden Club is stretched to its limits with the amazing work it does already to keep the many gardens in Belfast current and thriving. Will this require a new job on the city’s payroll?

In closing, I admit to ignorance of previous opportunities to be part of the discussion. And that there are landowners along the waterfront who need to be persuaded into the “generous thing to do regarding the much-needed right-of-way”.

But I am also aware that once you pay $100,000 to a consulting firm (from away) for a plan, city planners would be reluctant to alter from that plan. The result is that we get a Harbor Walk that doesn’t go along the harbor, but after a great deal of destruction, gives a sidewalk to Front Street. And costs a great deal of money to do it.

Carol Yee

Swanville

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Yearning for yesteryear

Really?

It used to be a place where hard-working people like Rena Whitney knew they had a steady job until they retired.

It used to be a warm and friendly voice like Wendy Bowen’s to answer our phone calls and questions.

It was where long-time employees like George Patterson grew and flexed with the changes new technologies brought.

It was where talented cartoonists like J.R. Thornton could take the pulse of our community and transfer it to paper with ink in a way that we all got it.

It was where artistic photographers like Richard Norton could not only see images through the lens of a camera but also through the eyes of the public and develop that image into a memory caught.

It used to be a place where dedicated people like Steve Curtis could use their local influence and make a visible difference because their effort meant something.

It was where the creative minds of journalists like Ken Ramsey and journalist/editor Toni Mailloux could effectively pry out elusive news like meat from a lobster and make it equally tasty.

It was where great editors like Mike Brown and Jay Davis used a critical eye to examine the health of a long-standing institution.

It used to be a Wednesday-night tradition of every household to glean from the fresh-from-the-press-smelling pages the sustenance they craved weekly.

Still even more incredible it had survived the Great Depression, two World Wars and other earth-shattering events. We trusted it. We had faith in it.

Over 182 years it earned our hard-to-get respect. It was always The Republican Journal to us, and I’m not just talking about the name.

And you killed it.

You can have it.

Susan A. Blais

Waldo

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‘Protecting animals protects us all’

In light of the recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey in which one in four women reported being violently attacked by their husbands or boyfriends, I urge readers to help prevent domestic violence by notifying authorities immediately if they know or suspect that someone is abusing animals.

Animal abusers are bullies and cowards who take their issues out on “easy victims” — and their targets often include members of their own species. Many batterers try to control their victims, such as a partner or spouse, by threatening, torturing, and/or killing the victim’s animals. In my work, I have seen case after case in which people who abuse animals commit similar crimes against members of their own communities and families.

For example, a study published in Violence Against Women found that of 111 battered women with companion animals in shelters in South Carolina, almost half reported that their current or former male partners had threatened or abused their animals. A study of women living in Wisconsin shelters because of domestic abuse found that 80 percent of their batterers had been violent to their animals.

Protecting animals protects us all. To learn more about the link between domestic violence and cruelty to animals, visit: peta.org.

Martin Mersereau, director

Emergency Response Team

Cruelty Investigations Department

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, Va.

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Silver tea sparkles

I wish to thank all of the people involved with the very successful Waldo County General Hospital Aid Silver Tea held on Dec. 7. The Aid raised $1,447 in donations and $569 from raffle sales to benefit the hospital.

Specifically, I want to thank our hostess, Caroline ‘Vicki’ Tarbell, for allowing us to welcome the community to an afternoon tea in her beautiful historical home, built in 1843 for a Belfast merchant and passed down from her mother’s family, the Coopers.

The refreshment team did a wonderful job under the direction of Geary Tibbetts. Phyllis Gaul, vice president, offered guidance throughout the event. Thank you to all Aid members who contributed food, poured tea or coffee, acted as room hosts or greeted people at the front door.

Raffle winners were: Nancy Boyington, who won the family Christmas tree and gifts; and Deb Small, who won the purse and accessories.

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

Sally Millhorn

President,

Waldo County General Hospital Aid

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One man’s view

The number one cause of marital conflict is the neglect of God-given marital duties. And the wife’s duties seem to be the most neglected today.

I don’t think I’ll receive any accolades from feminists, leftists or New Evangelicals for this article, but here goes…

According to the Bible, it is the duty of wives to be “an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18), that is, a helper and companion suitable for him. Her role is not to dominate over man (whether at home, at work, or in public life) but to be a helper fit for her husband. She is not to act as his moral guide or spiritual leader.

It is the man’s role to love and serve his wife and family by guiding, leading and dominating (Gen. 3:16; 1 Cor. 9:5; 11:3; 1 Tim. 3:5). The wife’s role is to love and serve by assisting him.

God says the woman was made for the man; not the man for the woman (Gen. 2:18; I Cor. 11:9). This is a liberating truth.

According to God’s word, it is her moral obligation to “do him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:12). A virtuous woman pleases, makes happy, and promotes the well-being of her husband every day of the week.

According to the Bible, wives are morally obligated to reverence their husbands (Eph. 5:33). Wives must also love and obey their husbands, and be homemakers. A man should not marry a woman who refuses to solemnly vow to love him, obey him, and stay married to him for life.

Wives should be teachable and lean upon their husbands more than upon anyone else for answers to their questions. And girls should ask their dads.

Each partner must never entertain divorce as a solution to marital problems. Divorce is always wrong (Mark 10; 1Cor. 7:10, 11) Only unbelievers depart. (1Cor. 7:15).

These are principles by which wives can improve their marriages and bring about harmony in their homes. Beware of false teachers like James Dobson who destroys families by spreading feministic nonsense.

If you have knowingly or persistently violated any of these duties, there is still hope. God says that if we confess our sins, repent (stop sinning), turn to God in humility, and believe in His Son, we will be forgiven of our past sins, go to Heaven some day, and improve our marriages.

But he or she that continues on in his or her sins, and refuses to submit to Christ’s words, will some day be cast into a furnace of fire where “there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:42). Our choices and our character determine our destiny.

Donald Violette

Brooks