Diversity equals survival’

A “No” vote is needed on Searsport’s moratorium.

As lifelong residents and business owners, we need to express our concerns about the movement to curtail Searsport’s economic progress. Our previous history shows our tourism grew even with our decades of existing industrial facilities. Searsport was built on its maritime heritage and our valuable port is a major part of the needed economic base to support and grow year round employment opportunities.

Leading authorities suggest identifying and developing area regional assets that exist and those emerging support economic growth. Embracing regional delivery systems and implementing improvements by utilizing those with a vested interest expedites the development.

As a real estate broker here for nearly 30 years I find the biggest hurdle for buyers are:

1.) Our high taxes, now in excess of many states previously considered extremely high (these taxes are hurting our long time residents too), and

2.) The need for potential economic growth offering job opportunities (to draw and keep young families here).

Some have declined to move to Searsport, not wanting the tankers and commercial shipping, in favor of sail and recreation boating. Searsport, then, was the wrong place for them.

We have been involved in development our whole lives and have sons, friends and relatives involved in the marine, power and energy industries. Our analysis from these sources along with the other extensive, detailed and truthful information available leads us to support DCP Midstream’s Searsport terminal proposal and oppose the ordinance that will halt development interest here. Regulatory agencies are already in place for review and enforcement.

“Not in my backyard mentality” must not be the choice, but instead a fair analysis of the long-term needs for our community to survive as the viable, year-round town. In order to express your opinion, you must be at the town meeting March 10!

Toni and Ralph Rowe

Searsport

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Only asking for a little more time

“Divide and conquer!” It’s a stratagem as old as history and it’s being worked to the max in Searsport by DCP Midstream, the proponents of the propane terminal at Mack Point.

Would they be pitting neighbor against neighbor if they truly cared about this community? What right does this mega-corporation from away have to come into town and pay people to tell residents how to vote at our annual town meeting? Why are they so afraid to allow Searsport citizens two months to have an impartial party conduct an economic impact study? What are they hiding? And why are some people giving credence to false promises and misinformation being spread by DCP without at least asking a few questions or just listening to others’ thoughts?

The moratorium is for only two months — 60 days! We are asking for this time to get some clear answers to disturbing questions. Is this really too much to ask? Two months?

Let’s keep our town together. Please consider a “yes” vote on the moratorium to give us all a little more time.

Marietta Ramsdell

Searsport

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‘Diligence, common sense and measured prudence’

The thing that is so heartbreaking about the DCP Midstream Big Tank project is the discord that’s been created among the people of Searsport.

We have a developing situation considered by many as potentially dangerous. A coalition of citizens was formed to study the situation and needing more time to better understand it, they petitioned the community and received more than 200 signatures in support of placing a moratorium vote on the town warrant.

The opponents of the moratorium have taken this citizen’s initiative and morphed it into a sideshow that spreads propaganda portraying anyone who votes for the moratorium as against jobs, tax relief, progress, and yes… firemen.

This is because in the course of review, people naturally wondered if, due to the tremendous size of the project and the potential hazard of distributing LPG to numerous trucks daily from a storage facility bigger than just about anything on the east coast (23 million gallons), whether our volunteer fire department could handle a project of this scale and magnitude.

What makes this so difficult is that opponents of the moratorium have reframed this very reasonable question into insinuations that those in favor of the moratorium don’t trust their fire department. Ironically, this is a situation, in my opinion, wherein one might have expected the chief of the fire department to have actually led the citizen’s initiative for a moratorium because it would have been the prudent and wise course of action.

The thing is this, there was no need for the situation to have ever gotten this much hype except that DCP Midstream is a soulless corporation that uses people as tools for its own gain. It is not unreasonable for community members to thoughtfully analyze and investigate new development in their town. Its what any civil community would do. It’s only inconvenient for DCP Midstream, and thus the creation of the message to “Vote no” on the moratorium.

A year ago DCP worked behind the scenes to influence how a height ordinance would be presented for vote at the town meeting. Searsport residents voted for a change to what was widely understood as intended for the new crane. Shortly before the 2011 town meeting, the wording was changed to also include the 138-foot-high LPG storage tank. No discussion was allowed at the town meeting. It was a clever manipulation by DCP and the town officials fell for it.

Next DCP began the public campaign about jobs and at first it promoted hiring “local” residents. With pushback it’s now morphed into local “Maine” jobs. They are also promoting tax relief, which is highly questionable given formulas for state revenue sharing. If this is truly a plus for Searsport’s economic development then lets get an independent economic impact study done and prove it.

I’ve had enough of DCP Midstream’s underhanded manipulations of the people in our community. I’m voting yes for the moratorium on March 10. Yes for due diligence. Yes for common sense. Yes for measured prudence.

Suzanne Farley

Searsport

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‘We deserve a voice’

In your article “Searsport residents express support for tank proposal” [in the Feb. 23 edition of the Journal], you report the following: “When the town voted to allow for the height increase on certain structures in the industrial zone at last year’s annual town meeting, [Searsport resident Herb] Kronholm said that move ‘sent a welcome sign to companies like DCP.'”

With all due respect to Mr. Kronholm, there are many of us who experienced that meeting very differently. The height ordinance was pitched to the townspeople as an opportunity to allow a taller crane at Mack Point through tax stimulus funding.

Although some people knew in a general way that an LPG tank was also being proposed and that the ordinance would need to be changed in order to accommodate such a tank, the moderator at the meeting forbade any specific discussion of it. “This is not a referendum on the tank,” we were told.

Although I was annoyed by that, I figured it was all right, because at some point there would be a referendum on the tank. It never occurred to me that our town government would move forward on a project of this scope, one that has such enormous potential to forever affect the character of the town and quality of life of the people in it, without at least soliciting the viewpoints of the citizenry.

I assumed that if the height ordinance passed, we might be voting on an LPG tank the following year, having had time to learn about it and discuss it as a town. Augusta gave me a voice on whether or not Biddeford should have a race track. Surely someone in Searsport cared what I thought about 22 million gallons of foreign LPG in my backyard! Sadly, I was mistaken, and that is what prompted me to get involved in the moratorium petition.

While collecting signatures for the petition I met a World War II vet and thanked him for his service. He responded by thanking me for mine, which to me was ridiculous, considering the sacrifice this gentleman had made. His reply was, “What you are doing is democracy in action. It’s what we went over there and fought for.”

I don’t understand how this happened. I don’t know if DCP coached the town officials to move things along quietly, or if the town officials decided on their own to do it this way. I do encourage any Searsport resident who values democracy to come to the town meeting and vote yes for the moratorium. A committee representing all viewpoints, and formed for the purpose of studying our current ordinances, is democracy in action. It’s our town. We deserve a voice.

Anne Matava

Searsport

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Searsport selectman candidate makes pitch

I’m Steve Tanguay and I am running for selectman. If you do me the honor of voting for me, I will:

• Be a voice for small businesses.

• Create youth entrepreneurship programs. Our residents have rich, varied backgrounds and I would facilitate the pairing of youths with elders to broaden their experiences and open doors for future opportunities.

• Facilitate more transparency in our local government when issues at hand do not require protecting the privacy of individuals.

Since I retired from my 30-year teaching career, I now have time to serve my town at the municipal level. I have the perspective of a small businessman in the community who lives by the bottom line. I believe that every dollar counts and a conservative fiscal practice is the key to riding a slow economy. Moreover, I believe that every dollar spent is a vote for what we believe in and therefore I think we should spend our budgeted dollars as locally as possible.

Our identity as a coastal town in Maine is tightly linked to access to our shoreline, our brick buildings in the center of town and the gorgeous sea captains’ homes that line our roads. Not as visible, but equally important, are the family homes and farms that reach beyond Route 1.

The tax burden on families, retirees, and small business is our largest fiscal challenge today. Assuring that property values remain stable and that economic growth stimulates prosperity across all sectors is the best way to keep taxes in check.

As a selectman, I will call upon the museum, the library and the Senior College to come together and help us celebrate our historic foundations as we chart a plan for the future. I propose that the community meet two times a year in the school cafeteria to talk about opportunities and challenges and needs that we face. The adage, ‘More information leads to better decisions,’ will make Searsport a stronger, more vibrant place for everyone — youth, working adults and retirees.

My Garden Project curriculum at the Troy Howard Middle School became a national model for student entrepreneurial programs. I believe that we learn math skills when we understand the need for them. When a 12-year-old weighs and calculates the price of three-quarters of a pound of tomatoes, grown from seeds that she harvested, the lesson far exceeds fractions.

We must engage our youth in apprenticeship programs because they are not looking for entertainment; they want to learn, and we have enough enterprises in our community to teach retail, manufacturing, landscaping and recreation to name just a few of the possibilities.

It would be an honor to be elected selectman of Searsport. I am willing to work with all of our residents and make the difficult decisions as they arise. I add a unique and important voice to the panel because of my experience of making a living in our town for 20 years, teaching and innovating in the Maine school system and securing my retirement here someday in the far future. Thank you for your support.

Steven Tanguay

Searsport

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Fethke seeks re-election in Searsport

My name is Aaron Fethke and I am running for re-election as a Searsport selectman. I am asking the people of Searsport for your continued support on Tuesday, March 6.

I have served you, to the best of my ability, for the past six years as a member of the board and for the past five years as your chairman. It has truly been one of the most challenging and, yet, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I love this town and have been grateful to have been given an opportunity to serve it.

I was only 26 years old when you first elected me in 2006 and I have never forgotten the trust you placed in me. I was interviewed by the paper the day after the election and I said that I would “work hard not to disappoint.” I have kept that promise and have continued to represent all the people of Searsport. I have never taken my position or your support for granted. I have never forgotten that I work for (and at the pleasure of) the people of this town.

I have used my time to help create a government that is open, fair, responsive and effective. I believe that the best way to lead is by example, so we have had a board that has exhibited these qualities in order to bring them about in your local government. I have fought hard to maintain fiscal discipline and the town has successfully braved the economic storm that has, literally, bankrupted other cities in our nation.

I have tried to be a coalition builder with various people and problems in order to keep the promise I made years ago to help bring about a sense of unity to our very diverse community. I have tried to use my legal expertise to help us answer and respond to the problems that have confronted us.

Now, six years later, we in Searsport are facing some difficult and complex issues. I believe that the next three years of this term will be critical and the town will have to successfully navigate the fiscal and legal questions that we will face. I have no doubt that we will succeed. The residents of this town might disagree on important points but we are a people who are engaged in the process and all share the same goal of doing what is best for our community.

With your support, I believe I can help us through the next few years as one of your selectmen. I sincerely want to continue to work for you and promise to always remember to be a public servant and never just another politician. I humbly ask for your vote on March 6.

Aaron Fethke

Searsport

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Fethke an ‘absolute must for re-election’

The March 6 election for Searsport selectman is crucial to maintaining the stability, fair-mindedness and balanced leadership of the board.

Aaron Fethke has been on the board for six years and has chaired it for the last five. His professional and personal skills as a lawyer, resident and volunteer on many committees has benefited the town immensely.

He served on the Board of Appeals, the Comprehensive Plan Committee, the Mass Communications Committee, and chaired Gateway One for two years. He has drafted legislation to protect property from unfair seizures, and to protect children from predators.

And he has worked diligently to keep the budget as low as possible and property taxes from rising. His dedication to the community is evidenced by his openness to the views, opinions and needs of all townspeople and his ability to express his own opinions clearly without evading the core issues.

His years of hands-on experience combined with his youthful energy, knowledge and accessibility make him an absolute must for re-election.

Phyllis W. Sommer

Searsport

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Fethke has ‘the sense that is not common’

On March 6, the residents of Searsport will vote for two selectmen. We are most fortunate to have five candidates vying for these two positions. It is gratifying to know that there are people who are willing to devote their time to a demanding and sometimes thankless job. All five candidates deserve our thanks for their willingness to run for this office.

One candidate, Aaron Fethke, deserves special recognition for the outstanding job he has done the past six years. He has been the board chairman for the past five years and has served on the Board of Appeals, Gateway One and Comprehensive Plan committees. He re-wrote the Board of Appeals ordinance to make it fair and thorough. Aaron also helped re-write the Land Use Ordinance.

Aaron has worked very hard to present a town budget that is realistic in these difficult economic times. He is approachable and listens carefully to residents concerns. And, he possesses common sense, the sense that is not common.

Searsport is fortunate to have had Aaron Fethke as a selectman for the past six years. It certainly would be advantageous to the town if we continued to utilize Aaron’s expertise and dedication by re-electing him as selectman.

Marjorie Knuuti

Searsport

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Schweikert says, ‘Vote Steve’

This is a brief letter in support of Steven Tanguay who is running for a seat on the Searsport Board of Selectmen.

Steven is a tireless worker who has the ability to serve the small business interests of our community and the youth especially well. His experience teaching for 30 years gives him valuable lessons on how to move our town forward. He comes with a vision for balanced growth and a revitalized downtown.

He has many fresh ideas and an energy level that will make a very real difference. His experience as a small business owner for the last two decades in Searsport gives him first-hand knowledge of the difficulties we all face and his energy and work ethic make him a leader in improving our town.

We are all very fortunate to have someone with Steve’s skills, knowledge, and experience willing to dedicate so much of his time to serving our town as a selectman. He will be very thoughtful, thorough and fair in his decision making.

He is a fine choice to elect to this board and I urge everyone to give him their vote.

Rick Schweikert

The Grasshopper Shops of Maine

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Sylvan’s family says thanks

Our family is deeply grateful to the community for all the support and kindness extended us following the recent loss of our beloved Sylvan.

The caring and generosity we received gives us much consolation. We are appreciative of the many wonderful people who make our area such a great place to live.

The Bowe-Waltons

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Overlock family offers thanks

The family of Fred Overlock would like to sincerely thank everyone for their kindness and their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Special thanks to June Raven and Lorraine Overlock who spent a lot of time with us, and to others who helped with the funeral service and the gathering afterwards — Warren Spaulding, Viola and Sue Greeley, Tonya Jones, Janice Spaulding, Roberta Granville and many family members.

Also thanks to Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care and Togus VA Hospice Care as well as Dr. Lee and nurse Diane at Togus Hospital.

Dee Overlock

Freedom