Every year, we are fortunate to have people from around Waldo County — and beyond — send us letters to the editor, expressing their opinion on a wide range of issues. Sometimes the letters relate to something that appeared in our paper or on our website: a writer may disagree with an editorial that we have written, or write to thank us for shedding some light on a particular subject through one of our articles.

Sometimes the letters are about state or national issues, and sometimes people want to thank those in the community for helping them or an organization they belong to. Other times, someone will write to respond to another letter that has already been published. Whenever people head to the polls to elect representatives or make decisions on political issues, opinions are particularly abundant.

This year, letters to the editor filled more than 2,536 column inches of space. That means this year’s collection of letters to the editor, if packaged together, would have taken up more than 20 full pages.

Whatever the reason someone writes to us, we are always glad to hear from our readers and from our neighbors. It says something when someone takes time to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, to share their thoughts with others. It is one way that people can be involved in their community.

This year, some topics that we noticed drew particular attention from letter writers included: Belfast’s poet laureate post (and the associated selection process), the proposed reorganization of schools within RSU 20, the proposed wind energy development in Frankfort (and the town’s resulting ordinance on wind energy projects) and the proposed liquefied petroleum gas storage tank in Searsport.

Thank you to all those who wrote to us in 2011, and we look forward to hearing from a wide range of people in 2012. Write to us and let us know what you’re thinking — we want to hear from you!

— The staff of the VillageSoup Journal



Jan. 5 edition: Kathryn Robyn, Belfast; Lynne Rayburn (volunteer and member, Maine Friends of Animals), Belfast; Winter Solstice Celebration Committee, Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast.

Jan. 12 edition: Karin Eberhardt (poetry fan and member of Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance), Liberty; Mike Silverton, Belfast; Arielle Greenberg, Evanston, Ill.; Sam Ladd, Belfast; Kathleen Fox, Tenants Harbor.

Jan. 19 edition: Nancy-Linn Nellis, Stockton Springs; Leslie Umans, Belfast; Dr. Veronica Magnan, Ed.D, Stockton Springs; Paul Sheridan, Northport; Becky Cushman, Northport; Jane Phillips, Northport; Patrick Quinn, Winterport.

Jan. 26 edition: Maura DiPrete and Michael DiGioia (parents of Joseph DiPrete-DiGioia, BAHS class of 2007), Belfast; Paul Sheridan, Northport; Dorothy E. Freeman, Ph. D. (director of development, Spectrum Generations (Central Maine Area Agency on Aging)).



Feb. 2 edition: David Huck, Swanville.

Feb. 9 edition: Will Brown, Lincolnville; Agnes H. Stauble, Unity; Dale E. Landrith Sr., Camden; Becky Bartovics (Sierra Club-Maine Chapter, executive committee, Green Sneakers volunteer), North Haven; Mark Robinson, Biddeford; Justina DiTaranto, Verona Island; Lindsay Pollard-Post (PETA Foundation), Norfolk, Va.

Feb. 16 edition: Dave Hills, Brooks; John Krueger, Liberty; Patrick Quinn, Winterport; Scott M. Patten (president, Men’s Auxiliary, VFW Post No. 3108); Don Violette, Brooks.

Feb. 23 edition: William A. Weimer (vice president and general counsel, B.J. Alan Company), Youngstown, Ohio; Paul Sheridan, Northport; Steve Webster, Belfast; Jeff Davis, Stockton Springs; Neal Harkness, Belfast; Cathy Roberts and Cam Pierel, Montville; William Guptill (Harvest Home Grange #52), Brooks.



March 2 edition: Rita Horsey, Belfast; Mitzi Lichtman, Northport.

March 9 edition: Barbara Tilley, Prospect; Nats Hsinig, Selden; Fran Riley (United Realty of Maine), Belfast; Emily Horton, Washington; Jean English, Lincolnville; Patricia Shanholtzer, Sun City West, Ariz.; Elaine Bielenberg (Waterfall Arts); Donald Violette, Brooks.

March 16 edition: Peter Keenan, Belfast; Matt Littlefield, Waldo; Russ Taylor, Frankfort; Ned Lightner (program director, Belfast Community TV); David Huck, Swanville.

March 23 edition: The Belfast Area Interim Poet Laureate Ad-hoc Selection Committee; Ruth Trewargy, Knox; Alan Wood, Belfast; Mary Orear (executive director, Mainely Girls), Rockport; Thomas J. Gaffney, Psy.D (chairperson for the Bucksport Bay Healthy Communities Coalition), Bucksport; Heather Moore, (PETA Foundation), Norfolk, Va.

March 30 edition: Emma Reynolds (sixth-grade student), Frankfort; Leo Mazerall, Stockton Springs; Donna Light, Searsmont; Jeff Smith, Belfast; Jonathan Potter, Rockport; Larry Dansinger, Monroe; John Nickerson, Belfast.



April 6 edition: Randall B. Hofland (Maine State Prison), Warren; Alan Crichton (board president, on behalf of the board of directors of Waterfall Arts: Elaine Bielenberg, Brenda Bonneville, Lorna Crichton, Jay Davis, Valery Doody, Erin Herbig, John Jamieson, Jana McQuilkin, Matthew O’Malia, Jessica Porter, Tammy Lacher Scully, Abbie Read, Simon van der Ven and Lisa Whittier); Claire Adams, Appleton; Debbie Hockensmith (Friends of Belfast Parks); Tom Parkes, Colchester, England; Alan Wood, Belfast; Gene Graves, Rockport.

April 13 edition: Heidi Perkins, Liberty; Dan Clarke and Judy Kaber, Belfast; Deb King, Brooks; John Krueger, Liberty; Sharon Fields, RN, Frankfort; Waldo County Building Communities for Children Coalition

April 20 edition: Thierry and Brenda Bonneville (neighborhood coordinators), Belfast; Edwin F. Brown, Searsmont; Jeff Davis, Stockton Springs; David Hurley, Swanville; Linda Buckmaster, Belfast; Alex Allmayer-Beck (CEO, Belfast Soup Kitchen); The Belfast Historical Society; Nats Hsinig, Seldon; Justina DiTaranto, Verona Island

April 27 edition: Alan Wood, Belfast; Belfast protesters (Marty Weaver, Betsy Headley and Jeff Smith); Ron J. Stauble Jr., Unity; Brad LaRoche, Searsmont; James Landry, Frankfort; Linda Garson Smith (on behalf of RSU 20 and RSU 3 wellness teams).



May 4 edition: Roy Horsey, Belfast; Amy Fradel, Belfast; Tony Swebilius, Morrill; Larry Dansinger, Monroe; Barbara Brown, Montville; Todd Presson (Beaver Ridge Wind, LLC), Quincy, Mass.; Steve Webster, Belfast; Mike Rich, PT (director of Home Care, Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care and Hospice); Raymond J. Raposa (executive director, New England Water Works Association), Holliston, Mass.; Lindsay Pollard-Post, (PETA Foundation), Norfolk, Va.

May 11 edition: David and Karen Estey, Belfast; Amy Fradel, Belfast; Dr. Dennis DeSilvey, Belfast.

May 18 edition: Mike Bailey, Searsmont; Arch Davis, Belfast; Peggy Andrews, Belfast; R. Kenneth Lindell, Bangor; Richard Lenfest, Belmont; Linda Bowe (principal, Frankfort Elementary School); Jeff Trafton, (Belfast Chief of Police and president of Waldo County Triad).

May 25 edition: Charles W. Gradie, Belmont; Amon Morse III (Northport road commissioner); Beth Anderson and Jim Wescott (co-directors, Waldo County YMCA Family Triathlon Festival); Corliss Davis and Peg Frees (2011 Green Thumb Plant Sale co-chairs); Bradley A. Penniman (Lincolnville postmaster); Alan Crichton, (board president, Waterfall Arts).



June 1 edition: Amy Fradel, Belfast; Steve Bennett, Freedom; Veronica G. Magnan, Stockton Springs; Cathy Hardy, Lincolnville; Jessica A. Hall, Searsport; Carol Miller, Searsport; Edie Ladd, Belfast.

June 8 edition: Bob Meggison, Belfast; Jon Cheston, Belfast; Tucker Morehouse, Helene Wallace and Patric Skigen, BAHS students; Rosey Gerry, Lincolnville; Norma Whitman, Monroe; Charles W. Gradie, Belmont; Marlene Thompson, Jackson; Rita Horsey, Belfast; Phyllis Coelho, Belfast; Dorothy Alling (co-chair, ninth annual Festival of Arts); Jessica Hall (parent volunteer), Searsport.

June 15 edition: Dana Whitten, Northport; Sandy Wallace and Tucker, Northport; Larry Dansinger, Monroe; Lucy Carver, Belfast; THMS Science Olympiad Team members (Leander Andrews, Taran Evans-Moran, Peter Spectre, Jordon Bickford, Andrew Goguen, Caleb Wallace, Zane Bielenberg, Hannah Green, Nolan Woods, Lucie Bonneville, Patrick Groening, Rick Wyman, Jessica Clapp and Katy King); BCOPE staff, Belfast; The family of Amon Vaughan; Richard Ailes (development director, New Hope for Women); Heather Moore (PETA Foundation), Norfolk, Va.

June 22 edition: Cloe Chunn (Penobscot Bay Stewards and president, Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition); Joe Maddocks, Winthrop; David Huck, Swan Lake; The Trustees of the Sandy Point Community Club.

June 29 edition: Douglas G. Brown, Belfast; Belfast Street Party 2011; Golf Fore Kids Committee, Waldo County YMCA; BAHS Class of 1976 Reunion Committee (Terri Kinney Curtis, RoAnn Johnson Curry, Dan Smith, Dan O’Brien, Karen Smith Ryder, Sue Curry, Kim Jewell Ginn and Jan Crosby Banks); John Piotti (Maine Farmland Trust).



July 6 edition: Nancy-Linn Nellis, Stockton Springs; Bruce Thompson (deacon, Jackson Congregational Church); Sandy Point Community Club; Alexander Chaplin (parade coordinator, Maine Celtic Celebration).

July 13 edition: Martha Goodale, Monroe; Mike Silverton, Belfast; Board of Directors, Habitat for Humanity of Waldo County; Chris Urick (Arts in the Park Committee chair); Jennifer Albee, Brooks; Valerie Murphy and Dr. Karen Kelley (Searsport Historical Society); Nancy Boyington (assistant director, UMaine Hutchinson Center).

July 20 edition: Isabel and Bob Maresh, Belmont; Ryan Otis (Waldo County Shrine Club).

July 27 edition: Paul Sheridan, Northport; Leslie Umans, Belfast; Bundy H. Boit, Penobscot; Deborah Belyea, Surry; Jeffrey Seyler (president and CEO, American Lung Association in New England), Augusta.



Aug. 3 edition: Stephen Allen, Belfast; Bob Shaw, Belfast; Marge Hand, Belfast; Larry Dansinger, Monroe; Alan Wood, Belfast; Searsport Historical Society; Justina DiTaranto, Verona Island; Sally Millhorn (president, Waldo County General Hospital Aid); Amy L. Eyles (American Red Cross, Blood Services board member, Northern New England Region, New England Organ Bank volunteer).

Aug. 10 edition: Jacki Robbins, Holly Emerson and Suzanne Hall (Monroe Selectboard); David Estey, Belfast; Charlotte Herbold, Belfast; Phyllis Coelho, Belfast; Frederick Eickelberg, Belfast; Patrick Quinn, Winterport; Jennifer O’Connor (PETA Foundation), Norfolk, Va.

Aug. 17 edition: Christopher Groden, Belfast; Belfast Maskers board of directors and Artistic Director Aynne Ames; Joe Slocum (Belfast City Manager); Fay A. Gaul, Searsport; John Stover, Belfast; The Merithew family, Searsport; David Huck, Swan Lake

Aug. 24 edition: Phyllis Coelho, Belfast; Will Brown, Lincolnville; Dorothy Havey (executive director, Our Town Belfast); Karen York (on behalf of the Montville Fire Department); Veronica Magnan (Sunday School teacher), Sandy Point; John K. Hanson, Jr., Leila Murphy, and the Maine Boats Homes and Harbors team.

Aug. 31 edition: Habitat for Humanity of Waldo County; Roy S. Salisbury Jr., Rochester, Michigan; Gordon Colby, Waldoboro.



Sept. 7 edition: Christopher Hyk, Belfast; Jan Austin (principal, Stockton Springs Elementary School); John Carrick (chairman, Harbor Fest Committee, Belfast Rotary Club); Stockton Springs Church Steeple Committee; the Maresh and Murphy families; Janice Gilmore and family.

Sept. 14 edition: Charlotte Herbold, Belfast; Carlton D. Pendleton (president and CEO, Sweetser), Saco; Jim O’Connor, Belfast; Gary Collins, Searsport; Waldo County Extension Association, Waldo.

Sept. 21 edition: Meredith Ares, Searsport; Morrill Selectmen; Dr. Erica Magnus (AARP outreach volunteer), Windham; Mary N. Dillon (president and CEO, U.S. Cellular Corporation), Chicago, Ill.; Ray Hall (chairman of 9/11 Walk, Belfast Lions Club); staff and residents of Harbor Hill, Belfast.

Sept. 28 edition: Robert Poitras, Frankfort; Gail Presley (executive director, Georges River Land Trust), Rockland; Katie Bailey and Charlene Farnham (RSU 20 music teachers), Searsport; Carol R. Good (president, Friends of Belfast Parks); Stockton Springs Fire Department; Bob Brennan, Troy.



Oct. 5 edition: Wayne Emerton, Frankfort; Patrick Quinn, Winterport; Patty Keyes, Swanville; David Hurley, Swanville; Doug Smith (Belfast Rotary Club); Jenny Morgenthau (executive director, Fresh Air Fund), New York; Lindsay Pollard-Post (PETA Foundation), Norfolk, Va.

Oct. 12 edition: Bernard Madden, Millinocket; David Estey, Belfast; John and Sandra Moore, Ron and Elaine Kennedy and Louisa Dunlap, Belfast; Cary Huggins (HOME Cooperative), Orland; Richard Ailes (development director) and Kathleen Morgan (executive director, New Hope for Women); Mary Benjamin, Belfast.

Oct. 19 edition: Evelyn deFrees and Brad LaRoche, Searsmont; Kermit Allen and Wayne Allen, Sedgwick; Kenneth and Corrine Fitzjurls (Townline Animal Shelter), Belfast; Marilyn Stumpff, Liberty; R. Kenneth Lindell, Frankfort; Charlotte Herbold, Belfast; Larry Dansinger, Monroe; Russ Taylor, Frankfort.

Oct. 26 edition: Nancy Hamilton, Belfast; Bernard Holmes, Belfast; Candace Resmini.



Nov. 2 edition: Nancy Hamilton, Belfast; David A. Ruberti, Belfast; Diana and Santiago Rich, Belfast; Mike and Jean Lenderking, Belfast; Mark Kuzio, Belfast; Cheryl Morin, Belfast; Dennis Kelleher, Belfast; Eric Sanders, Belfast; Roger A. Sprague, Belfast; Phil Crosby, Belfast; Rose Melvin, Belfast; Oncology Department at Waldo County General Hospital.

Nov. 16 edition: Tom Fraser, Stockton Springs; Phyllis Coelho, Belfast; Nickerson School Parent Teacher Group; Lincolnville Community Band directors and officers (Peter Nesin, president, Ron Clark, vice president, Janice Clark, librarian, Pat Munson, director, Donald Heald, business manager); David Huck, Swan Lake; Lawrence D. Ramunno, MD, MPH (chief quality officer, Northeast Health Care Quality Foundation); Connie Woitowitz (director, Hospice Volunteers) and Flic Shooter (bereavement coordinator); Andrew Carpenter, Marina Delune, Roger Lee and Biff Atlass (Belfast Volunteer Weatherization project coordinators); The Belfast Area High School Project Graduation 2012 Committee; Vyvyenne Ritchie (program administrator) and Carole Hallundbaek (program specialist), Healthy Waldo County; Sally Millhorn (president, WCGH Hospital Aid); Arch Davis, Belfast.

Nov. 23 edition: Anne Matava, Searsport; Leon Seymour, Frankfort; Russ Taylor, Frankfort; Paul Emerson, Frankfort; Maynard Clemons, Belfast; Patty Pendergast, Thorndike; Tammy Maseyhcik, Northport; Patrick Quinn, Winterport; Justina DiTaranto, Verona Island.



Dec. 1 edition: Steve Imondi, Frankfort; Milton Florest, Frankfort; Jim Dittmeier, Searsport; Carol Visser, Montville; John Krueger (MOFGA board member), Liberty; James A. Roberts Sr., Belfast; Ruth and John Gelsinger (owners/managers, Frye Block Apartments).

Dec. 8 edition: Kay Retzlaff, Belfast; Phyllis W. Sommer, Searsport; Peter Taber, Searsport; Harold Mosher, Hope; Larry Dansinger, Monroe; Alan Wood, Belfast; Marilyn Koziupa, Unity; Heather Moore (PETA Foundation), Norfolk, Va.; Charlene Knox Farris, Searsport; Harvest Home Grange, Brooks; Roberta Walker (Midcoast Rotary Clubs).

Dec. 15 edition: Anne Matava, Searsport; Randy Nichols, Belfast; Patrick Quinn, Winterport; Amy L. Eyles (American Red Cross, Blood Services board member, Northern New England Region, New England Organ Bank volunteer).

Dec. 22 edition: Karna Olsson, Belfast; Marcia Markwardt (Carriage House Inn), Searsport; Jean Cummings, Searsport; David Huck, Swan Lake; Carol Yee, Swanville; Susan A. Blais, Waldo; Martin Mersereau (director, Emergency Response Team, Cruelty Investigations Department, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), Norfolk, Va.; Sally Millhorn (president, Waldo County General Hospital Aid); Donald Violette, Brooks.

Dec. 29 edition: Barbara Walch, Thorndike; Frederick Eickelberg, Brooks; Anne Crimaudo, Searsport; Friends of Nancy Glassman; The Winter Solstice Celebration Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast (Jennifer Kirchoff — chair, Liz Fitzsimmons, Rick Fitzsimmons and Sumner Roberts).