Please say ‘no’ in Searsport

My name is Tom Andersen and I am writing on behalf of myself and my fiancée Deirdre Pontbriand. Last March we closed on the building located at 33 East Main Street in Searsport. Very urgent and disturbing concerns have come to our attention regarding the Conoco Phillips/DCP Midstream propane gas tank project.

Our first concern is that of safety. This proposed tank poses a safety and security risk to the people and businesses of historic Searsport. In Tampa, Fla., where a similar-sized tank exists, there is a 2-plus mile exclusion zone. Why is it considered less important to protect our own residents?

Another concern is the major increase of tanker trucks filled with 100,000-pound loads of propane that would be driving through the small main streets of the area, such as Route 1 through the village of Searsport. These trucks would damage roadways with their sheer weight and stress historic roadside structures with the vibrations.

These trucks are “rolling bombs” and present an elevated level of danger. With the addition of the snow, fog, and ice of Maine winters, it could just be a matter of time before a devastating accident. If anyone thinks DCP (an LLC) will be responsible when such an event takes place they are simply fooling themselves.

Our building and new home in Searsport is one of the most historic structures in town. Located on Main Street (Route 1), it was built by town forefather and sea captain Jeremiah Merithew in the 1830s. It is the site of the first Searsport Bank and is on the National Historic Registry.

Since investing most of our life savings in purchasing the building last March, we have spent much time, money, and planning to lovingly restore the interior of the structure to its original condition by removing false walls and old carpet, restoring wood floors, repainting the tin ceiling, and many other upgrades.

All this was done with the vision of opening a small business at this location in hopes of contributing to the local economy. We love Searsport and will work together with neighbors to keep the historic village vital.

However, if the town of Searsport approves this tank project, our hopes of living and working here will be lost. We will be forced to sell our property, and most likely at a loss. Our vision for a small business will be taken someplace else, somewhere safe to invest in. A place that is safe to live and raise a family without this fear.

We are writing to urge town officials and other responsible parties to, at the very least, require DCP to pay for an economic impact study to be done by an independent agency (such as Yellow Wood Associates) before the planning board makes any further considerations.

We urge officials to require DCP to pay all home and business insurances as well as a life insurance policy for every individual living and working within close proximity to the site. DCP must also be accountable for any resulting increase in local property taxes.

We also urge a thorough investigation of the Searsport Emergency Response System to ensure that proper protocol is in place to handle a potential emergency of such staggering magnitude.

We ask town officials, as fellow tax paying citizens of Searsport, to please say no to this tank. In the name of good judgment and for all that is decent and responsible, please say no to this tank. For the sake of the beauty of the Maine coast, we ask you to please say no.

If you care about the safety of your family and that of the Searsport community, please say no to this 137-foot-tall, 220-foot-wide, 14-story explosive liquid propane gas tank. Please do your part to stop it before it’s to late. Please ask yourselves if it is worth the risk.

Tom Andersen

Searsport

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No tar sands oil for US

Alberta’s tar sands oil and the Keystone XL Pipeline should have no future. They are planet killers. It is critical that we stop expanding our use of fossil fuels. Congress has said that President Obama must rule on a permit for the XL Pipeline by Feb. 21. He must say no to the pipeline. It is time for new direction on energy.

There is no doubt about what is causing climate change. Burning fossil fuels adds heat trapping compounds to our atmosphere. Our current sources of energy are poisoning us. We have already warmed the atmosphere to the point that we are seeing more extreme weather events.

There are also changes on the ground. The delicate balance that holds our world together is being lost. Invasive plants and insects are finding it easier to live here in Maine. Just the slightly warmer winters of recent years have allowed a pest to threaten our hemlock trees. Now we are told our sugar maples and ash trees may also be endangered. They are already under attack in nearby Massachusetts.

This is only the beginning. We can’t stop what is already happening but we can keep it from becoming much, much worse. We have until the end of this decade to end our overwhelming dependence on fossil fuels. Tapping into the Alberta tar sands will only increase that dependence. The enemy isn’t “foreign oil”; it’s oil.

We need to ask why the energy corporations want to invest so much money on a planet-killing project. The price tag on the pipeline alone is in excess of $7 billion. The promoters would like us to believe it is all about jobs. The latest job creation estimate is 6,000 jobs lasting two years. You can take it to the bank that those 6,000 welders, teamsters, and laborers aren’t taking home over a $1,000,000 apiece. Let’s face it — somebody is getting rich and they don’t care if the rest of the world burns.

We need to let it be known that more of the same is no longer acceptable. We haven’t much time to find alternative sources of reliable energy. As recently as 2008 the top five oil companies made $100 billion in profits and spent only 4 percent of it on renewable and alternative energy ventures. So the money is there. It needs to be spent on getting us real energy solutions not tar sands and leaky pipelines.

Write or call President Obama and tell him to say no to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Read Brugger

Freedom

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Addressing population

We move into this New Year of 2012 laden with intractable problems, the most immediate being the financial meltdown, but including climate change, over-consumption, under-regulated pollution, income polarization and poverty.

Least addressed is world overpopulation, and its sister, reproductive choice. There is a very real question of where the human carrying capacity of this one earth lies, whether we are not already in population/consumption overshoot.

A film, “Mother: Caring for the 7 Billion,” will be shown in Rockland (Tuesday, Jan. 17, 7 p.m., First Unitarian Church), and Belfast (Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6 p.m., Belfast Public Library) Please come and share in the discussion.

Reproductive choice for all is a possible and relatively economic precautionary measure. Surely we have the courage to begin to address this issue.

Beedy Parker

Camden

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Can you help your community?

Literacy Volunteers of Waldo County is looking for tutors.

We are planning a question-and-answer session to provide information about the program on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Broadreach Family & Community Services office in Belfast.

For those interested in continuing, we will hold training on Saturdays, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a lunch provided.

Our hope is to have volunteers available in each Waldo County community to help adult residents improve their ability to read, write and converse.

There is no cost for the training but we ask that anyone participating in the training agree to work with a student in the next year. For questions or to register contact Patrick Walsh at Broadreach at 338-2200, ext. 109.

Literacy Volunteers of Waldo County

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Children exemplify the giving spirit

I am writing this on Thursday, Jan. 5, the twelfth day of Christmas, the last day of this wonderful season in the Church year. And I mention that, as it is so appropriate for what I want to share.

This is just a note of thanks for a gracious and generous gift that was given by some of our local children this past holiday season. Each year now, for a number of years (I don’t know how many exactly) a member of the Greater Bay Area Ministerium has been invited to go to the East Belfast School and speak to the children there about the GBAM Food Cupboard.

Mrs. Lynn Hoenig, the fifth-grade teacher, began this tradition some years ago. It apparently began as part of their “Reaching Out in Friendship” project and it is now an annual event for the fifth-grade class. Through different means, like hosting a Holiday Bazaar, to collecting non-perishable food items or donations from the other classes (the fifth-graders even do push-ups or jumping jacks for every $1 donated!), they raise funds to help those in need of food this time of year.

This year, Rev. Jinwoo Chun, from the Belfast United Methodist Church, invited me to go and speak to the kids about what our Food Cupboard does, and why it is important for us all to support it. So I went to the school on Dec. 7 and was totally overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of those young people, gathered there in that little gymnasium at East Belfast School.

Of course, many of them had been involved in this project before, but by the time I left that day, all of them seemed to be excited about helping out the Food Cupboard and raising some funds for this important cause. After three weeks, I returned to the school to receive their donation. I was truly taken aback.

There, in the school lobby were boxes of canned food, cereal and other items, enough to fill at least two shopping carts! Then, Mrs. Hoenig gave me a box with cash and rolls of coins, so heavy that I needed both hands to carry it! The total of their donations, beside the food items, was $875.25!

I was just amazed. I later found out that in four years from 2006-2010 (we don’t have record of last year’s donation), the children of East Belfast School gave a total of $3,083.76, plus food.

And you know, it’s not just the money, or the food, or the fact that these children are learning to be generous and giving and kind, it is also the fact that they are learning the vital lesson that we are all in this together and that when some of us are in need, then the rest of us help out. That’s simple enough but it is an important part of who we are in this country and of who we are called to be as human beings everywhere.

So, thank you Mrs. Hoenig for this gift. Thank you fifth-grade class at East Belfast School for your dedication, hard work, generosity and compassion. And thank you to all the other teachers and staff in all of our schools for what you do to teach our young people the important lessons of life.

Thanks too, to Russell and Sue Wing and others who help run and administer the GBAM Food Cupboard located at the Belfast United Methodist Church on Mill Lane and for those volunteers from the various GBAM churches who work there to distribute food to those in our area who just need a little help this time of year.

For more information or to make a donation to the GBAM Food Cupboard, please call the Belfast United Methodist Church at 338-5575, or make a contribution through your local faith community.

May we give thanks for all the gifts we are given but especially for the many ways in which we can give. May God bless us all in this new year.

Rev. Joel Krueger

The First Church in Belfast, UCC

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Lincolnville Band says thanks

The Lincolnville Band would like to thank Bowen’s Tavern for helping host the Jan. 7 fundraiser for music teacher and Lincolnville Band member, Don Heald, a middle school teacher currently experiencing a number of ongoing medical issues. Funds raised helped defray a number of ongoing medical bills.

The event could not have been possible without the participations of several merchants, friends, family and community members, especially all the members of the Al Corey Band from Bangor, and Bo Winiker Band from Boston, who donated their time to perform.

Pictures of the event can be viewed on the Lincolnville Band’s Facebook page.

Lincolnville Band Members

Fred and Don Heald

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Future MSAD3 appreciates support

Thanks to the cooperation of the weather — as in lack of precipitation — and in spite of the frigid temperatures, the re-scheduled Mount View Chamber Singers Reunion Concert, featuring students and alumni, took place on Jan. 4. We would like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to everyone who helped make this bi-annual fundraiser a success.

Thank you to: alumni parents, Carleen Johnson and Leslie Stein; MaryAnn Ryan, Phyllis Albert, and Jamie Davis for organizing the wonderful meal for all the singers; Chamber Singers’ parents and everyone who provided food for the dinner; School Nutrition Director Cherie Merrill, for desserts for the post-concert reception; Susan Champa for creating and supplying tickets; Holly St. Onge for creating ads and posters; Thompson’s Oil & Propane and Freedom Financial for selling tickets for the event; and the Chamber Singers Reunion Concert Committee.

Special thanks to Mr. Stevenson and the current Chamber Singers for their continued support and for graciously adding this re-scheduled date to their very full schedule.

Thanks also to our concert sponsors UniTel, villagesoup.com and the VillageSoup Journal, and Future MSAD3. Proceeds from this concert will benefit a fund that will support the Clifford Performing Arts Center at Mount View for the future.

We are so thankful for the many contributors to our fund-raising efforts. For more information regarding Future’s current campaign for athletics, recreation and fitness, visit our website at futuremsad3.org, email us at futuremsad3@yahoo.com, or call us at 948-6120.

Paula Miron and Vicki Kupferman

Concert Committee co-chairs