Signs — true or false

You’ve probably seen the blue and white signs along roads in Searsport — the ones from DCP Midstream telling residents about three great benefits coming Searsport’s way if only they will vote “No” on the moratorium at the annual town meeting on March 10th.

Let’s look at these benefits: The first is “jobs.” There has already been a lot of print spent on that subject so I won’t dwell on it. Next comes “tax relief.” Well, with only guesstimated figures available, and so many variables like revenue sharing decreasing funds from the state, increased expenses for infrastructure and safety, and losses in property values, who can predict what relief, if any, there would be. When property values go down the mil rate goes up.

Third is “energy independence.” Now this is backwards. In the real world, energy independence means not relying on petroleum products. It means not being dependent on foreign sources of propane when so much is produced here in the United States that it’s being exported. It means developing renewable clean energies, as some forward-thinking people and businesses are already doing. It means creating a sustainable, petroleum-free future for ourselves and generations to come. That’s what energy independence should be.

DCP is in a hurry to bring its oversized terminal into Searsport. They don’t want a two-month moratorium. Are they afraid of what we might learn? A “Yes” vote on the moratorium will allow time for an unbiased study and some conversation.

Marietta Ramsdell

Searsport

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Making the case for a model

Since September of 2011, we at TBNT (Thanks But No Tank) have been requesting a three-dimensional scale model of the proposed DCP Midstream project in Searsport, and that it be created by a licensed, reputable firm. In years past, it was the custom for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to request such a model for a project of this scale.

So far, all we have seen is a completely inadequate photograph that has been discredited in public and will shortly be discredited in Maine Superior Court. DCP Midstream has criticized our TBNT scale model, but where is theirs?

They have squandered untold sums on public relations and yet no reputable firm has created a three-dimensional scale model for them. I wonder why? I suspect that if people took one look at it, the entire project would be stopped immediately.

Christopher Hyk

Belfast

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‘Such a visual and sensory blight’

Just to the west of the bridge over the Mill Stream, on Route One in Searsport, turn down Steamboat Avenue to our town landing. Take a long, hard look across the bay to Mack Point and you cannot miss seeing a new arrival — the largest marine crane in Maine!

The crane, at full height, is more than twice as tall as the surrounding forest — but though tall, it is skinny (and it can be lowered). It fits in fine with Mack Point, and most of us are proud to have it here and assume it will be beneficial to several of our existing port industries and may even bring in new port commerce.

Then consider the proposed DCP liquid petroleum gas (propane) tank: at almost the same height as the crane, but more than two hundred feet in diameter. Further, that tank, with its enclosing fortress-like berm, will be located on a clear-cut site, on the hillside behind Mack Point, thus elevating its bulk above the height of the crane. My mind can barely conjure up such a visual and sensory blight to our coastal forest and its viewshed.

In its application to Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection, this corporation suggests they can alleviate environmental concerns with “landscaping.” No human landscaper, and certainly not DCP, could accomplish this — although they try to convince otherwise, with their highly misleading photographic renderings.

The DEP permit application offered no alternative plan in scale with the fuel installations already operating at Mack Point or one which would minimize the environmental impact. They did not consider extending the proposed one-mile pipeline to a location inland, away from Route 1 and Penobscot Bay. I may be branded a tree-hugger, but I would have welcomed some small effort to lighten their boot print on our environment.

I won’t get started on the fear and dread within many of us at having this behemoth as a permanent neighbor, nor the economic and safety impact of the increase in tanker traffic on our roads, historic buildings and small businesses. There are many other concerns — environmental and otherwise — besides those addressed here.

Yes, we do need economic development in Searsport — but DCP is over-selling the benefits of this project and belittling the questions and concerns of many residents. To provide sufficient time for review of our comprehensive plan and ordinances, Searsport voters would be very prudent to cast a “Yes” vote on the moratorium issue at town meeting on Saturday, March 10.

Ann J. Flack

Searsport

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Tourism won’t be affected? Think again

The recent Colgan report says that tourism won’t be affected if the tank that DCP proposes is built because it’s situated on the way out of town, away from our museum.

As the owner of the Yardarm Motel, a mile north of our museum, I can tell you repeat tourists come here, stay at my place and walk to Angler’s for a meal after a long day. They have an ice cream cone at Railroad Crossing. They browse the flea market on the weekends. They stop at Silkweeds. They go out to Sears Island and take a hike, or birdwatch or collect shells. Especially after the conservation area was established, there are more guests who come for Sears Island, specifically, each year.

Far from being outside the “tourist area of downtown,” the rest of Searsport’s small businesses north of downtown have worked to make tourists comfortable and happy in Searsport.

DCP has suggested that the 23 million gallon tank will be a tourist attraction, that it won’t hurt the businesses that already exist here. DCP contracted for an economic impact opinion from Charlie Colgan, provided him with the data, and that is what they got — his opinion, bought and paid for.

I think his opinion is bunk. DCP’s proposed propane facility in Searsport would definitely negatively impact tourism.

McCormack Economy

Yardarm Motel

Searsport

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Questions in Thorndike

The petition requesting that Thorndike vote on the question of need for a forensic audit was delivered to the selectman with 91 signatures. More signatures have come in since. Annual audits are only as good as the numbers the auditors are given. A basic forensic audit will ensure that the accounting and procedures are correct.

A basic forensic audit is not so expensive if the accounting is right and the books are in good shape. Why is the selectman trying so hard to avoid the forensic audit question? Why is he telling people that a forensic audit will raise their taxes? Why is he calling petition signers and questioning them?

So far, the selectman has ignored two Freedom of Access requests by a lawyer for information on the building of the new Town Hall and the destruction of the old Town Hall/Washington School. He ignored a petition signed by 63 people requesting that the citizens decide what to do with the old Town Hall.

Why was he so determined to destroy the old Town Hall? He built a big town hall using cheap materials without asking the citizens of Thorndike what they wanted. Building big but cheap will cost the town more money in the long run. Why didn’t he tell the citizens what plan he decided on, and why?

The selectman could have avoided the issues he has now by responding to citizen requests. He would have saved the town a lot of money in legal fees if he had just responded in a timely manner to a legal request. Why didn’t he respond to the Freedom of Access request as required by law?

This will not be the first time the taxpayers of Thorndike have had to pay legal fees for issues the selectman caused. He could have brought in more money to town if he used different practices in disposing of town assets — the old town hall, and the equipment that was with it. What does he have to hide?

The big question is, how could the other selectmen and the citizens of Thorndike allow this to happen? Be sure to go to Town Meeting, Saturday, March 17 — it will be important, and probably as entertaining as reality TV.

Anthony Brillard

Thorndike

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Local homecare staff ‘appalled’ by Texas fraud

Many of you have probably heard about an illegal and unscrupulous ring of homecare agencies and physicians in Dallas who have perpetrated more than $375 million dollars in Medicare homecare fraud. We, at Waldo County Home Healthcare, are appalled; and along with other homecare agencies in the country, support any effort to confront agencies that are abusing and stealing from the Medicare and MaineCare systems and the patients we serve.

I believe that homecare and hospice is a sacred profession and one that is made up of hundreds of thousands of passionate and caring staff, administrators and board members. Unfortunately, when this type of fraud is exposed, it negatively affects all homecare.

I want to assure our community that Waldo County Home Healthcare represents the highest moral and ethical standards when serving our communities’ most dependent and vulnerable seniors. We strictly adhere to all Medicare and MaineCare regulations and bill only what is legal to do.

We continue to provide reduced fees and free services to those who have no way to pay but need our services. Each year the home health industry is faced with huge reductions in our reimbursements and we are constantly looking at ways to decrease our overhead and not affect patient care.

I am so proud of the professional, compassionate and skilled care our staff provides to the residents of Waldo County and beyond. I again want to reassure you that we take our fiscal responsibility very seriously. Our mission continues, along with Waldo County General Hospital, to “Be The Best.” Please feel free to call us with any questions: 338-2268.

Jill Kulbe, RN, MSN, Director

Waldo County Home Healthcare and Hospice

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Can we get some information, please?

Currently there are two Freedom of Access requests in to the town of Thorndike. These were legal requests backed by state statute, and now it’s been more than eight weeks since the requests for documents concerning the decisions and building of the new Town Office, and the destruction of the old Town Office/Washington School.

We will move forward with legal action because we have been given no choice by the selectman. Up until recently the selectman kept saying that his lawyer advised him he did not have to deal with the requests until after Town Meeting, which was incorrect. Freedom of Access statutes shows that if the town couldn’t/wouldn’t comply with the request, they have five working days to reply in writing, stating their reasons why.

One month later, correspondence from Thorndike’s legal firm indicates that only one selectman can gather the information we have requested. Given that we have two paid part-time clerks and two other selectmen, that response is actually quite troubling.

A petition drive garnered a grand total of 97 signatures asking for a vote at Town Meeting to authorize a forensic audit of the town books for the past two years.

There are too many questions that need answers, actions that should be explained, and conflicting stories that need to be separated. Standard procedures and documentation continue to be disregarded, and appear to be rubberstamped by the other two selectmen.

It is not that concerned citizens think that outright theft is taking place. We just want public information made public. Since we cannot get the town to release the information requested, a forensic audit can cover everything and will not cost the town that much money.

A forensic audit may prove that everything is in order, and wouldn’t that be great! Conversely, a forensic audit may save the town tens of thousands of dollars and help prevent future mistakes. That would be good, too.

The only way a forensic audit will become an issue for the town is if there are problems with the town’s accounting.

Patty Pendergast

Thorndike

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What it is, and isn’t, all about

OK people, wake up. The country is in horrible shape. Our soldiers are being murdered for burning a book. Our president is apologizing to a Taliban sympathizer who should be apologizing to us, and all you and the media can talk about is contraception?

I am 66, and have been married for 38 years to one woman. I have two kids, both born 10 years into our marriage. For those first 10 years I paid for my own health care. I was making, at the time, $5 an hour. That’s less than $200 a week. We prevented pregnancy by birth control pills and condoms, which we paid for. What makes you think that the government (taxpayers) should pay for you?

This is not about women’s health. It’s about taking pressure off a totally inept President. I could be wrong, but I don’t think any company — religious or otherwise — is required to supply healthcare to its employees. If you work for a company which does supply health care, they dictate what kind of coverage you have. The government has no say, and should have no say.

The road you appear to be taking is the road which has led to the collapse in Europe. Their system did not, and does not, sustain itself. That is one of the reasons why people, illegal and legal, keep coming here, to the greatest country in the world.

Leo Mazerall

Stockton Springs

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‘The privileged class’

The alarm clock never goes off at 6 or 7 as it does for us. They’re sleeping in today and tomorrow and the next day, too.

I said to one of them, “TGIF.” “What’s TGIF?” they answered. “Oh, nothing,” I replied.

The privileged class does well today: they neither work, nor do they earn, and they are at rest at our expense. We slave for them that their kind can last another five generations.

Cell phones, child care and free education are all at their disposal as they celebrate their long-sought goal — that they fare more well at not contributing than we who slave for less and pay their tribute also.

They fare so well that while they don’t pay taxes, they enjoy tax refunds while we slave on to support their lifestyle.

I tell you, truly, they are no longer “The Poor.” How can they be called poor if the average recipient of public assistance receives $33,000 and the average worker is getting to spend $32,000?

David Huck

Swan Lake

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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