In appreciation

The Waldo Community Booster/Rena Whitney Scholarship Committee wishes to express its appreciation to all who contributed in any way to our recent scholarship potluck supper. The food was delicious, atmosphere friendly and the day a total success. Again, thank you for your continued support.

Kellie Jacobs, Stephanie Hinckley, Shirley Caler, Dennis Payeur, Greg Coleman

Waldo

Aquafarm concerns

I am a long-time resident of Belfast and Waldo County and am not in support of the zoning changes needed for the Nordic Aquaculture Salmon Farm at the Little River site on Route 1. This project proposal is being moved and rushed along too fast to be able to have accurate, fully fleshed-out details, on a project so large and which will have such a huge, long-term impact on our environment and our community.

The Nordic Aquafarms project impact to our local environment will be considerable. We need more information on a range of topics such as the impact on local hydrology and groundwater. The impact of 70 percent impervious surface of this 40-acre salmon farm that will be built so close to the Little River and the local watershed. The impact of increased traffic on Route 1, given the considerable number of tractor-trailer trucks per day bringing inputs and outputs like food, the processed fish and their waste.

What about the impact of the percent of un-removed nutrients that will be dumped into the bay? How much will that actually be in terms of weight/volume and what will actually be in that effluent? Where will the fish meal/feed come from and how and where is it produced? There is no large-scale organic fish meal being produced right now. Most of it is currently coming from China with sketchy regulations and production practices.

Land-based fish farming on this scale is still a very new technology and doesn’t have a proven track record. The scale of this project is so totally over the top in terms of size and scale (five times larger than anything this company has done so far), not just in general but for our small community. What happens to the facility if the company goes out of business or decides to leave town? Once this is built, the changes are irreversible.

I do not believe the Nordic Aquafarms project represents sustainable development for our town, bio-region, state or the planet for that matter. It will be a huge experiment, and Belfast is the guinea pig in this plan. Rather this is a super-sized industrial factory farm model with the profits going to a huge corporation in Norway.

Local zoning amendments and changes are already underway in Belfast to allow this mega-project to move forward. April 17 is the next regular City Council meeting, 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers. This meeting will be the formal second reading and public hearing on all proposed zoning changes to local ordinances and for changes to the Future Land Use Plan (part of the City Comprehensive Plan). These zoning changes will be reviewed at this meeting and likely accepted to allow Nordic Aquafarms to submit the permit applications to develop this land-based salmon farm, between Route 1 and the Little River Reservoir and Perkins Road.

Public input is encouraged. You can voice your comments about the proposed zoning changes during the public comment period at the April 17 City Council meeting or by submitting your comments to: Wayne Marshall, Director, Code and Planning, 338-1417, ext. 125, or wmarshall@cityofbelfast.org. You may also like: Local Citizens for SMART Growth: Salmon Farm, on Facebook.

Wendy Watson

Belfast

Aquafarm: What's the impact on next three generations?

I don’t mind a fish farm, in principle. I don’t mind that the Belfast Water District is selling this piece of land that it finds no longer serves its mission of providing water to the city of Belfast. What keeps me awake at night is the location and size of the the fish farm/ factory and the fact that the Water District is selling the land for the fish farm/factory development.

I am all for jobs, lower taxes, affordable housing and responsible management of our water supply and infrastructure. I just don’t think that this land-based fish farm and factory is the way to attain or maintain these goals.

How do we reach the goals of a happy Belfast? What are the goals? Happy people living in a beautiful place that attracts visitors that help support our economy. Affordable housing, employment, a safe and beautiful town to raise a family, a supportive, welcoming and creative community where one can pursue dreams, work and enjoy retirement. All this nestled in Midcoast Maine in a beautiful waterfront setting with easy access to natural beauty, outdoor recreation and good old peace and quiet.

We are a world away from the craziness that many have come here to escape. To many of us it’s a bit of paradise that we get to live in every day. Was one of our goals ever to be known as the place that has the world’s biggest fish farm? I’ve never heard that as part of the big plan or dream!

And, I think that this size industrial project threatens many of our treasures. I think that the project has too big an ecological footprint for the site and for the town of Belfast. As mentioned before, increased noise, lighting and traffic are an inescapable reality of an industrial project of this size.

I have lived in Maine for 30 years and 23 years of that time in Belfast. I have seen the sardine factory close, MBNA come and go, Ames close and Job Lot come. I have seen Belfast Boatyard go and Front Street Shipyard and Belmont Boatworks come. I have seen the hospital grow slowly and steadily over the years. We have two farmers' markets, a beautiful rail trail and a new toy store! Not to mention a lively beautiful harbor full of boats. And so many farmers and small local businesses.

Some of these changes have been easier than others, but all have been good in the long run. I see the proposed fish farm as a change bigger than all of these previous changes, And not necessarily a good change. How many more big businesses do we need in a town this size? We’ve got plenty!

We don’t have enough affordable housing in Belfast. I do not think that this project will make it easier for someone living on this economy to purchase a house in Belfast. It may lower taxes but it may also increase house purchase prices. If this facility provides jobs, what kind of jobs? And will it provide jobs for people already living in Belfast? Where will newcomers live if they come to work at the new factory?. Who will be able to afford a house in Belfast?

The fish farm/factory is so big. Forty acres of land for this project! This is all currently undeveloped wild land that will be forever industrialized if this project is allowed to be built. I appreciate that the city will retain the 200-foot strip along the river for the recreational trail, but this is not enough! We all know that an ecosystem does not limit itself to a 200-foot strip of land. The 20-foot strip along the river is a foot path, retained and created only for human use.

I personally notice fewer birds and other wildlife in my yard since several trees were cut near my home for airport improvement. The trail will not be the same lovely wild place with a huge development along its border.

What are other options for this land that the Water District wants to sell? What else can can this land do for Belfast? In its current state, this land provides wild space, a place to go to rest and recharge, to be quiet, to hear birds sing, to walk and ski and skate. It’s a nursery for the wildlife that we all enjoy and perhaps take for granted daily. Truly, every time anyone sees wildlife anywhere in Belfast, it is because of the wild places we still have.

How many acres of wild space do we still have in Belfast? How do we care for these special places? Does the comprehensive plan address this? I propose a moratorium on building anything that impacts more than 3 acres of currently wild land in the city limit. That’s probably a wild dream! But I do think we should sit down and talk as a community about how we want to manage our wild spaces before they are all gone.

We should, as Native Americans do, make our decisions for land and resource management based on how our stewardship affects of the next three generations to come after us. This is called legacy: What do we leave to and for those who come after us?

When I think of legacy, I think of our own Skip Pendleton. I wonder what his thoughts would be about this the Nordic Aquafarms project?

And finally, a comment about water. It was certainly reassuring to hear the Water District’s report on our current water supply at the public meeting on March 15. We are truly blessed to have so much water and the Water District manages this resource well. But while this water is plentiful, it is not an unlimited resource. Nothing is unlimited. We are stewards of the water here today and it is our responsibility to mange this resource carefully.

There are places here in our own country and farther beyond our borders that are running out of clean water; let's conserve this precious resource. Once again, what is our legacy?

Let’s continue to make Belfast the place known for being a community that finds and maintains a balance with the challenges that so many communities face. We seek well-managed growth, reasonable affordable housing and employment opportunites as well as benefits of access to nature, wildlife, plentiful and well-managed natural resources. I believe that this reputation will serve Belfast well in the years to come.

Do we want to be “on the map” for a huge fish farm? Or do we want to be on the map as a great place to live, work, play, grow, visit, rest, retire, or just be. I think that the fish farm will jeopardize many of of the pleasures we now know.

Joanne Moesswilde

Belfast

Vote Dodge

I am excited to write this letter in support of Jan Dodge, candidate for House District 97, including Belfast, Northport and Waldo.

I have known Jan for approximately nine years as president of the Waldo County chapter of the Maine Retired Teachers Association. During this time I have been impressed with how passionate she is on the issues including and concerning senior citizens and educations but not excluding other social issues of concern to the citizens of District 97.

She has spent much time educating herself on the issues and the workings of the State House in Augusta. She takes time to attend and speak at various committee public hearings. She researches topics before speaking at the hearings or association meetings.

She is organized, listens 100 percent, communicates clearly and is an effective facilitator.

Please join me on Tuesday, June 12, by supporting Jan Dodge for House District 97 in the Democratic primary.

Greg Coleman

Waldo

Voting for Caitlin

Caitlin Hills is running for state legislative District 97 in the June primary. The residents of Belfast, Northport and Waldo have the opportunity to send a highly experienced and effective representative to Augusta to fill the shoes of Erin Herbig who has termed out and will be running for the state Senate.

Caitlin, a lifelong Democrat, a lawyer and currently chair of the Regional School Unit 71 Board of Directors, has an extensive leadership experience in government. As environmental policy advisor to a senator in Washington and positions in environmental action organizations, she authored, and had passed, bills in Congress that help protect our natural resources.

Since coming to Maine she has been active in education and children’s activities and initiated the community forum on school safety that took place last week. She is passionate about the planet and education and would be a strong advocate for the future of our communities and the citizens who she would represent.

That is why I will be voting for Caitlin in June to send her to Augusta to help bring about change for all of us.

Charlie Grey

Belfast

Fulford for House

Of the Democrats challenging Bruce Poliquin for the U.S. House of Representatives, I support Jonathan Fulford of Monroe. He is running a clean campaign, refusing to accept donations not only from the National Rifle Association, as are others in the race, but to accept no corporate PAC or lobbyist money as well, and for that I applaud him.

After a lifetime of farming and construction, including running his own company, he presents himself to working people, choosing to focus on the future and lives of his and others' children and grandchildren. He sees the plight of many hard-working people who cannot earn enough to cover the costs of food, rent or ownership, and health care. He supports, therefore, increase in wages, health care for all, and affordable higher education. He makes an effort to address working people, who, he observes, feel left out by government.

One day we ran into each other and I asked him how he might meet the challenges ahead if elected. When he was a farmer, he told me, then a builder, he noticed that the most difficult experiences, those that had challenged him the most, were those he liked best and from which he was able to rise beyond what he though were his limitations. He's looking forward to the challenges a seat in the House will undoubtedly provide.

An experienced campaigner, he remembers when going door-to-door and, beyond just saying his name and leaving his printed material, he took time to listen and learn from what they had to say. His second campaign was close enough to be decided only after a recount, despite the fact that his opponent had a much larger war chest than he did.

I have attended several house parties at which he asked everyone there to tell him who we are, what we're doing and what we want and would be able to contribute. Now, of course, he's traveling widely over the expanse of the Second District to meet and listen to what the people there are thinking. He is holding meetings and focusing most on those working people who feel threatened in the current economy, asking them what they have accomplished and what they now need.

I think Jonathan Fulford is the best candidate to represent the Second District of Maine, and I urge Democrats to cast their vote for him on Tuesday, June 12.

Ann R. Fogg

Monroe

Stop funding war machine

I wish to comment on the subject of General Dynamic's request of monies from the state of Maine and the city of Bath.

As regards making a decision as to whether the state of Maine, or we the taxpayers, should agree to enlarge the wealth  of an already wealthy defense contractor, we need to look at the big picture.

This is not 1997 when General Dynamics bought BIW and was a much smaller company. It was then arguably sensible for us to help out BIW upgrade its facilities. Today, it is a totally different situation.

General Dynamics is now a behemoth defense contractor, currently earning over $3 billion each year in profits. They also happen to be in an industry that has no oversight and total congressional support to increase its money supply led by a White House in chaos and requesting even greater defense spending.

The defense industry is booming and General Dynamics knows that BIW is truly a "cash cow." It and Ingalls in Mississippi are the two big players and both are prospering and will continue to do so. They are not worried, even though they claim otherwise. In fact General Dynamics could care less if they get the $60 million. It is truly small change to them … but nevertheless, they know and I'm sure say in private, "It's better than nothing, and what the heck, maybe they'll just be dumb enough to give it to us."

So the real issue for all of us is that we have a disturbed man as our president and inhabit a country that is both envied and hated at the same time. We have military bases in almost every region of the world and basically do as we please, never considering the eventual blowback. Can you image how we might feel if Iraq or Afghanistan had invaded us, destroyed much of our country, then had no intention of ever leaving?

There are individuals everywhere that wish us harm and are attempting to harm us. We need to come together as a country and begin to discuss how we might deal with this and spend less of our wealth on weapons and more on everything else that might engender less hate and create a more peaceful world.

We are at a point where we need to cut back our subsidies to the war machine and these requested General Dymanics millions are a great place to start.

Paul Schelble

Liberty