Ordinance falls short

While I congratulate the Belfast City Council for passing a draft version of an ordinance to curb single-use plastic bags, the ordinance falls far short of what is needed in order to change our addiction to plastic.

As currently written, the law only applies to three large stores. Also, by placing a 5-cent fee on plastic bags, many people will either pay it or simply ask for paper, which is free, and which itself requires resources to make and dispose of. The proposal also has no enforcement teeth (i.e., a fine for failure to comply).

Plastic bags litter the landscape, clog sewage pipes, and contaminate the atmosphere when incinerated. City government can provide a nudge toward reducing some of this by acting decisively, not timidly. After all, the seat belt law helped nudge us toward lower highway death rates, and no-smoking laws have helped reduce tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke.

Like tobacco, the mindless use of plastic can be controlled, if not eliminated — but only through courageous political action.

Jeff Shula


Animal sanctuary

This is to let everyone know about our new neighbor here in Waldo County. Peace Ridge Sanctuary for once-abused and neglected animals has moved from Penobscot to Brooks. With over 250 animals to care for, the sanctuary needed to find a larger space with room to grow.

Last year they were able to obtain a 791-acre tract, including a farmhouse, in Brooks. Approximately two-thirds of the area has been set aside for wildlife conservation. The remaining area is devoted to domesticated animals, with plenty of open space for barns, shelters, fenced enclosures and pastures, where the animals will be well cared for, loved, and allowed to live out their natural lives in comfort.

Those who visit Peace Ridge are in for a treat. From the lovely 360-degree views of distant hills, to the friendly faces of the animals, this is a place that radiates peace. Residents include sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, and a big, friendly steer. There are also several adoptable dogs and rabbits, rescued from unhealthy situations, but now in warm and comfortable accommodations.

Peace Ridge relies on grants and donations. Physical care for all the animals (food, hay, shavings, vet care) comes to about $5,000 a month. Sanctuary founder and manager Daniella Tessier, with help from part-time employees and volunteers, handles the day-to-day chores. There is always a need for more helpers.

We are in the process of building up a small team of volunteers who will agree to donate as little as one hour a week of their time. While some of the work is heavy duty — hauling hay and water or shoveling out stalls — there are light-duty opportunities as well, for those with physical limitations. Would you like to provide play activities for a group of pot-bellied pigs? Help keep the rabbit enclosures clean? Walk a dog or two? We’d love to hear from you!

To volunteer, make a donation, sponsor an animal of your choice, foster or adopt a dog or rabbit, or for more information about Peace Ridge Sanctuary, our mission and programs, please visit peaceridgesanctuary.org or email Daniella@peaceridgesanctuary.org.

Judy Kaiser



Pipeline connections

What bank do you have accounts with? Who holds your credit card? Is it maybe one of the banks who are funding the pipelines that move fracked oil in from the Bakken Fields? Possibly the Dakota Access Pipeline? Until Feb. 22,  the water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near Cannonball, N.D., have been actively protecting their ancestral lands and their drinking water supply from encroachment by the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Water protectors say the resistance camp sits on unceded Sioux territory under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and that they have a right to remain on their ancestral land. The ongoing encampments in North Dakota were the largest gathering of Native Americans in decades. At its peak, more than 10,000 people were at the various resistance camps.

Earlier this month, construction crews resumed work on the final section of the pipeline, after the Trump administration reversed the Obama administration and granted an easement to allow Energy Transfer Partners to drill beneath the Missouri River.

On Feb. 22, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers forcibly evicted the main resistance camp using law enforcement from various federal, state and county agencies. They employed armored vehicles and other weapons of war against unarmed water protectors, including the grandmothers. In all, over the approximately 10 months that the water protectors have stood in peaceful, prayerful, non-violence to stop DAPL from tearing up ancestral sacred sites, heavily armed law enforcement have used dog attacks, rubber bullets, tear gas, and other "less lethal" weapons against them and have arrested nearly 700 protesters.

According to Lakota Sioux Chase Iron Eyes, the battle is now in the courts and with the banks. If you bank at any of the 17 banks that are directly funding this pipeline or are invested in Energy Transfer (the main corporation behind the project), you can help the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe by moving your money out of these banks and into a local bank or credit union. These funding banks include, but are not limited to, TD Bank, Wells Fargo and CitiBank.

Removing your funds from this project is one small step toward honoring the treaties and traditions of the native people of this country. Thank you for considering how you can help.

Susan Lauchlan