Hurley for City Council

I am Mike Hurley and I am running for the Belfast City Council. Even without anyone else for you to choose from I am still running. Four years ago I was elected to the council after two years out of city government and these four years have been a productive time. I came back primarily because the local economy was not in good shape. I believed then and I still do that the city should be an active supporter to stoke the fire of job creation and get Belfast moving. The city cannot start jobs but we can support the essentials that are the foundation of a healthy local economy. First, hiring the City Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge has been a tremendous success. Helping to underwrite the fledgling and now vibrant Main Street program Our Town Belfast brought stable energized support and organization to the downtown. Supporting the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce was also critical to creating a joint force that has shaped and built the success we are seeing today. We helped make the soil fertile and so much has taken root in the last four years. I still want more.

I grew up in a big working class family torn by divorce with my saint of a mother struggling and working four jobs at a time to provide her six children a home. My grandparents worked in tire factories, cleaned houses and worked on the railroad. I know what it is to be poor and fight to pay bills. I know how a paycheck makes a difference in how we live. So I have had a special place in my heart to make it better here for people and hopefully for their children to have good jobs to stay or to come back home. I feel we are making progress on this front. But I want more.

However, we can’t just work, work, work. All along I have supported things that make it fun to live here: The Belfast Street Party, Celtic Celebration, Belfast Summer Nights, The Farmers Market, New Year's By the Bay, Art Walks, Belfast Free Range Music Festival and so many great events put on by an army of groups and volunteers. Belfast is famous for having something going on all the time. I want more.

The council and city has had some great successes: working with Front Street Shipyard to make their entry here a possibility and a success, building the Harbor Walk, and doing the many years of complicated work to both find a permanent home for the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad and starting on the Rail Trail. We still have more to do.

Here’s what I promise to keep working on for Belfast: finding the best solution for the challenge of the organization and funding of our schools; bringing small private businesses, residential space and offices to the Belfast Maskers/ Railroad Depot property on the waterfront — we will continue to work on this complex redevelopment project and I promise to do my best to "get it right"; hopefully with the council’s help, continuing to try — one of my first efforts as council member was the failed attempt to bring an event center, performance space or auditorium to Belfast — to find a solution for the missing piece of Belfast's social and business life, a space for celebrations, concerts, events, meetings and conferences; building the Passy Rail Trail; listening to the people of Belfast; and working hard to make your voices heard. There is more but the list could get way too long.

When I ran for City Council, my signs had flames printed on top of my name. Why? I am on fire for Belfast. I have been for more than 30 years. I am older. I am wiser. I am definitely more tired, but I still want more for Belfast and I am still on fire. I am asking you to please vote for me to show your support. I’ll do my best to not let you down.

Thank you.

Mike Hurley


RSU 20 school board needs your input

The next 12 months will be the most critical in recent history for the RSU 20 educational system as the state has told the board to prepare for $2 million less in funding then we received this year. The board will need all the public's input we can receive on improved education goals, as well as what the tax increases in the towns will be. On Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m., the board will be discussing objectives for the superintendent with the public encouraged to speak. On Tuesday, Dec. 10, the board is expected to be discussing possible consolidation plans for school closings, as well as increasing class sizes in which fewer than 12 students attend. The public again will be encouraged to speak. The Belfast Withdrawal Committee was scheduled to meet Wednesday, Oct. 30, to discuss eliminating Searsport and Stockton Springs from our RSU with a potential vote of six towns next November. We will also be negotiating with all the teachers on a new contract. The board must find opportunities to decrease expenses while continuing educational effectiveness. We will invite all innovation as our district must improve the effectiveness of money spent for education. Thank you.

Alan Wood


Glaring problem

The problem along Front Street is glaring! If you haven’t already, please come out and walk at night along Front Street, particularly in the vicinity of Steamboat Landing and the Boathouse. The bright lights obliterate the view of the water, the silhouettes of boats, and the treeline on the other side of Belfast Bay — to say nothing of the night sky. These effects, obviously, were not the intention of city leaders when they approved this project. I understand that Maine was among the first states to require full shielding of lights to reduce glare and all the associated problems with light pollution. Oopsie! How sadly ironic that after cleaning up pollution from poultry processing in this area, we’ve created another source of pollution. One silver lining: the cost to correct the lighting problem can be, at least, partially offset by the future savings in the city’s energy bill.

Lynda DeWit


Thanks to Harbor Hill staff

My mother Libby Reynolds had been living at Harbor Hill in Belfast for the past 10 years. She lived first in the assisted living section under the management of Joyce and her staff. Over the years she received several successful trips through the life skills section with the aid of the exceptional staff.

In the last months she was in long tend care with Bonne and her wonderful team. My mother had many wonderful friends within the housekeeping, maintenance, dietary, activities, CNA and nursing staff at Harbor Hill. You all enriched her life. I cannot say enough about the high level of care my mother experienced.

Through every transition from a high functioning vital 80 year old to her final passing, my mother was treated like a beloved grandmother. I never worried about leaving my mother at Harbor Hill because I knew she would receive all the attention and care she required. At her passing, I also experienced the comfort and support that are the hallmark of the staff at Harbor Hill. My thanks to you all!

Rebecca Reynolds


Thank you from the Stockton Springs Community Church Steeple People

It is finished! Much has been said about the Steeple People and the miraculous event of finally seeing a new steeple completed and in place atop the historic Stockton Springs Community Church and I’m sure most folks have heard enough about it. My purpose in writing today is to thank all the unsung heroes who pitched in and without whose invaluable assistance the project would never have been completed.

These who helped included many who donated items for yard sales, auctions, food sales, plant sales and more; the businesses from Belfast to Bangor, Bucksport and all towns in between who donated items or gift certificates for three very successful auctions and two silent auctions; the auctioneer who gave of his time and facility; the lady who showed up too early for that first yard sale and when told we were not ready, said, “What can I do to help?” then spent a few hours pricing and arranging and became a staunch supporter throughout; a lady in a distant town who donated truckloads of stuff each time we had a sale and the volunteers who trucked it back to Stockton; those who paid, sometimes as much as $100 to $500 for a $7 chowder or baked bean supper; the local artisans who donated the products of their talents; the stalwart husband who spent untold hours cleaning, repairing, pricing, storing and hauling sale items; all the men who showed up bright and early on sale days to set up tents and tables; the lady who came to one of our informational meetings and volunteered to make a quilt and indeed she did – more than one that resulted in a few thousand dollars; the couple from “away” who joined us early in the process and went above and beyond on many occasions to help in every way they could; the individuals who gave quite substantial money contributions that gave us a boost and kept us moving on.

These are just a few instances of the supporters who wish to remain anonymous. You know who you are and you can be assured the committee people know who you are and will be eternally grateful for every one of you. Whether you contributed pennies to the penny jar, baked a pie or gave hundreds or thousands, God has blessed every effort and has honored the desires of our hearts in reaching up to Him and sharing our faith with the community.

It has been quite a ride raising $268,000 over six summers and I've thought, "If I had it to do over, would I sign on for such a project?" I went down to the Cape Jellison dock this week and looked back to see that steeple gracing the skyline once again, then learned today that someone I never heard of from a distant town wrote a note to the committee expressing their appreciation for the lovely new steeple back on the church. As I felt the joy of accomplishment and love for my God and His church, I thought, "Yes, Of course I’d do it again."

We have enjoyed working with so many wonderful people both within and outside our own church fellowship. May God bless you all in the same measure as you have blessed us with your love and support.

Marion Fisher

For the Stockton Springs Community Church

Steeple People

Whose child are you?

Our culture, homes, churches and political institutions are declining rapidly. The cause is that many people are ignoring the words and laws of God.

According to the Bible, every person falls into one of two categories. We are all either a child of God or a child of the devil. There is no in-between.

In order to be born of God we must receive Christ as our supreme teacher and authority. "But as man received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).

The only way to be assured we are God's child is if we are presently righteous in heart and life. "In this the children of God manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother" (John 3:10).

In Scripture, the word child is often used in the spiritual or figurative sense. A child is "one who is the product of another; or whose principles and morals are the product of another." Children of light are those in whom the light of God's word has an effect (Thess. 5:5). A child of hell is one whose principles and morals stem from hell (Matthew 23:15).

A child of God is one who is born again or spiritually renewed. He is one who bears God's moral image, that is, he has godly character. He obeys God's laws and carries out His purposes. A child of God is one who decides to be influenced and directed by God (Romans 8:14).

Since God is supremely good, holy and wise, a true child of God is one who presently wills to be good, holy and wise. So long as out supreme intentions to please God in all things and to promote the good of all people as opportunity affords, that is how long we are God's spiritual children. But the moment we aim at less than supreme love to God and equal love to our fellow man is the moment we sin and cease to bear God's moral image.

To be holy means to be free from sin. The moment one sins (deliberately violates the moral law) is the moment one ceases to be God's child. No one can be God's child and fit for heaven while violating a single known duty or while pursuing self interest at the expense of God's interests.

A child of the devil is one who commits sin. "He that committeth sin is of the devil…" (John 3:8). Sin is the voluntary transgression of God's law as revealed more or less in everyone's conscience and as revealed perfectly in the Bible. Sin always opposes the highest interests of God and humanity in one degree or another. All who sin are children of the devil so long as they keep on sinning and refuse to be reconciled to God.

According to John 8:44, the devil is our spiritual father if we do his lusts (desires), if we endorse murder (such as abortion or unjust wars), and if we reject biblical truth. The apostle Paul called someone a child of the devil because he was full of all subtlety and mischief, and because he was an enemy of all righteousness who perverted the right ways of god (Acts 13:10).

The vast majority of people in this world are children of the devil. The apostle John said, "And we know we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness" (John 5:19). Jesus said the way to eternal life is narrow and few there be that find it.

If those who persist in sin are of the devil, then this means that couples who are physically intimate before marriage are of the devil, people who engage in homosexual activity are of the devil, people who tell lies (or leave unsaid pertinent truths in hopes of misleading) are of the devil. The same goes for those who teach that divorce is sometimes right, for those who closely associate with evildoers, for those who balk at the command for wives to obey their husbands on all things lawful, for those who undermine people's confidence in the Bible (Authorized Version), for those who refuse to spank their children for disobedience, for those who discourage stay-at-home motherhood, for those who connive at the bad influence of the TV or Internet, and for those who endorse our communistic public schools.

It is impossible to oppose God and yet be His child (or friend) at the same time. The moment we sin is the moment we serve the devil and become his child. As becoming God's child can occur instantaneously, so can becoming the devil's child. "Once a child, always a child" may be true in the natural and biological realm. So long as we are alive and have ability to choose between good and evil, we are all free and able to choose who will be our spiritual father.

To be saved from sin and hell, we must be born of God by believing in Christ and by totally submitting our wills to Him. And to remain God's child, we must persevere in that state of total submission. If we sin afterwards, we must confess it and forsake it in order to regain divine favor. This is the way to personal salvation and to national restoration.

Don Violett


Recent MPBN science programs left out important information, solutions

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, plus times thereafter, MPBN has broadcast a series of informational stories about things of science. One was about culverts, the next about alewives and the last dealt with super storms like Sandy in October 2008. Unfortunately much is missing or glossed over.

First, the culverts segment seemed as much an infomercial for the George Mitchell Center's Sustainable Sciences Institute (SSI) as it was factually educational. The only culvert designs I saw were classic round units plus some rectangular concrete culverts. Both suffer significant functional flaws.

Our streams, rivers and estuaries are wonderful things as the later programs showed. One characteristic of natural water flows are their tendency to scour out shallow bowl-like bottoms. In calmer periods those bottoms fill up with fine sand and small rocks and gravel, which may then be scoured out during stronger flows, leaving large rocks and boulders protruding that resist further erosion of the bottom.

The hard bottoms of the traditional culverts cannot do this, and this causes other problems for wildlife. They do not allow for the natural building of sustainable streambed edges, which terrestrial animals can utilize for travel under the dangerous roadbeds above. Nor can they adopt to changing water flows the way natural water flows can do.

An oversized "omega" shaped culvert is far more effective when properly sized and installed. They also stack very efficiently during storage, unlike those round culvert, which have lots of very open space even when stacked.

A deep and wide omega culvert installed with large rocks and boulders along its bottom will naturally build a stable bowl shaped bottom that fills with sand and gravel. At most times of the year it will have enough soil exposed to allow small animals to travel through it, and if installed with large rocks, boulders or concrete holding its outside edges in place, it will also be very resistant to erosion problems. This is something for SSI to think about.

The alewives show also proves that streambed preservation and good culvert design are highly desireable. This would no doubt also benefit estuaries where culverts under roadbeds are also common, much as I have seen for years in coastal communities.

The NOVA production on Superstorm Sandy had lots of useful information, but I also saw that much was missing or underplayed. For instance, the segments on the European lowland countries' efforts to deal with rising seas and their own stormy weather missed a glaringly simple solution to blocking storm surges and river overflows.

Large hollow-cored concrete panels filled with air or styrene foam can be placed across the bottoms of entrances to bays, harbors and rivers. They would sink into a flat position when the hollow chambers are flooded, but then rise into a protective barrier when air is forced into those air chambers. When flooded they would cause little resistance to normal water flows.

Similar foam-cored panels could be used as roadbeds and walkways around flood prone land, and again be engineered so they can be easily raised as flood barriers whenever needed. The use of air and water filled fabric bags like those shown on the NOVA program is something to consider for holding such structures in place against the rage of the stormy seas. They can also block openings large and small including those of culverts, tunnels and subways.

The sea grass segment brought back fond memories from decades past. Zostera marina, the transplanted sea grass shown on the program, has long been used to help protect barrier islands and other coastal environs. Terrestrial plants then help to hold sand dunes together when winds and waves threaten them. But it all takes determined efforts to ensure survival of those ecosystems.

It is important to remember that all man-made efforts synergize with natural forces in sometimes very unpredictable ways. We have the power to alter nature in potentially very dangerous and terrifying ways. Practice — and sound science — might make perfect. Or not.

But, as always, stupid is as stupid does. We saw lots of that in 2012 as Superstorm Sandy roared into the Atlantic states. Those were tough and very expensive lessons, some undoubtedly will be forgotten or ignored, and thus repeated.

Randall Hofland

Maine State Prison