Voter ID in Maine

In Maine, instances of voter fraud are very rare ― too rare to have any impact at all on election results. After reading Tom Seymour’s lament on Maine’s lack of voter suppression efforts (Aug. 2 issue), I tried to imagine how a person who is not a legitimate, registered Maine voter would go about casting a ballot here.

When I vote, I go to the Searsport Public Safety Building and stand in line. When it is my turn, I approach a table where election volunteers find my page in the town’s voter registration book and instruct me to sign my name on that page. Above my signature are my many other signatures, because I have signed that same page every Election Day since I moved to Searsport. The volunteers can see that the signatures match. They give me my ballot, I vote, I get my “I voted today” sticker, I thank the volunteers, and I go home.

If I had come from out of state to vote fraudulently in Maine, how would I do it? The volunteers wouldn’t find a page for me in the book so they wouldn’t give me a ballot. In order to have a page in the book I had to provide proof of my identity and proof of my residence. My signature on the page is proof that I am who I say I am. What’s the problem?

Of course our precious right to vote should be kept secure. It should also be kept accessible to all citizens.

Meredith Ares


Agenda is human nature

Some points in Dirk Faegre’s Aug. 2 Republican Journal letter merit addressing. I shared his surprise/repulsion as I read Lawrence Reichard’s July 19 column, though not for the same reasons.

It’s an error common today, particularly on the left, to present evidence — and threat — of corporate malfeasance from both sides, even when creating a false comparison. Now more than ever, it’s necessary to call out wrong-doing and danger when we see them.

Mr. Reichard’s column does this, and, rather than apologize, as Mr. Faegre wants The Republican Journal to do, the paper should be commended for publishing difficult views. Far easier to take the comfortable (in the short term) position, allowing the slickly marketed foreign corporation with the eco-hip Nordic caché to quietly slip in through the "open door for business" provided by governor and city. More voices are needed, to educate themselves and air independent views.

Mr. Faegre may feel Ms. Naess was treated unfairly/unethically (regarding her history and new job title), though in doing this he misses the point. In the context of what’s happening in Belfast, "guilt by association" is plenty indictment. A powerful foreign corporation, aided by a naive and short-sighted city government, in a state with a weak regulatory backstop (please read up on Absolute Dominion water law, to start), is wielding its power in this small, vulnerable community.

However, neither Ms. Naess nor Mr. Faegre refute any facts revealed by Mr. Reichard! This silence opens another door.

Lew McGregor


Pay attention, Belfast

Nordic Aquafarms, do you feel the heat? In a July 19 Bricks and Mortars column in The Republican Journal, Lawrence Reichard laid out facts regarding a Ms. Naess (wife of NAF chief Erik Heim). She is a recent hire for public relations, with their planned salmon factory in Belfast.

It was a hard-hitting piece, shining sunlight on a work history for controversial (especially in light of NAF’s goals in our community) corporations.

In the same paper, with a guest column a week later, Ms. Naess fired back. Three points get to the nut of her response:

1) She pounced on Mr. Reichard, accusing him of personal attacks against her, which he did not do. To say this is to smear him. (His piece revealed her professional past only.)

2) As with NAF’s response to an earlier column Mr. Reichard wrote, critical of NAF, Ms. Naess accused him of getting his facts wrong, thus smearing him again. Then, she didn’t refute a single fact!

3) All this proves what he said: We are now witnessing a big-corporation PR campaign, carried out by professionals well-trained in the art of deception, and smearing the opposition.

Pay attention, Belfast. There’s much work to be done.

Aimee Moffitt-Mercer


Let's tackle the dams

Attending various public hearings, formal presentations, and more informal debates, I've been impressed with Eric Heim's vision, his sincere commitment to sustainability as he understands it, and his frank and modest demeanor.

Among the many possible industrial uses of the land (cf. an ICE detention center), the salmon tanks seem a relatively benign proposition, and clearly a huge improvement over ocean pens. Thinking of biodiversity on a human level, I'm also inclined to think that the injection of European labor standards and workplace safety norms would be a very good thing for our local economy.

But weighing all the variables is beyond my capability or responsibility. I have no perspective on the relative worth of such a food source in our global situation. Pending the outcomes of permitting, Belfast may or may not enable the building of a salmon farm.  But we will need to respect each other as intelligent community members regardless.

My personal take? When all is said and done, it remains a factory farm. Perhaps the gentlest and cleanest among many, but still a factory farm.

What will all that water and those fish turn out to be like, with only flourescent tubes for light? How will they be killed? We will still be eating fear and violence, when tofu, beans, and kale do just fine (as long as we have Chase’s hot sauce on hand). I am far from blameless in this regard, just trying to understand it all.

Wouldn't we do better to work together to remove the three dams in our midst (two at Little River, one on the Passy), and let those rivers flow to and fro as they always had done, encouraging "free trade" and natural rhythms among aquatic species?  I'm grateful to Kate Harris for expressing this idea originally.

Pretty as it is, the dam at the water company outlet represents a vestige of settler colonialism we could dismantle, benefiting all. This would be an intelligent, 21st-century action that could unite us.

And finally, kudos to our Mayor Paradis for her vision of ― and insistence on ― civility and fairness.

Diane Oltarzewski


Attention all State of Maine Ferrygoers!

After going to North Haven recently and with the new policies on tickets, I sent my old tickets in and got vouchers. But ― and this is a BIG BUT ― they won’t redeem a half-ticket.

I spoke with both sides of the terminal at Rockland and North Haven. It is now the new policy that was instated in April 2018. "You have to find someone that has another half in order to get a voucher within 90 days….."

Come on. Couldn't believe this, so I called Maine DOT and spoke with Mark Higgins (624-3000). This is what he explained went into effect in April 2018. I vented, trying not to get upset with him directly, but got nowhere. I asked to speak to someone even above him.

Commissioner is David Bernhardt, 24 Charles St., Augusta, ME 04330.

Who in God's name made this ruling?

1. The state of Maine already has my money for these tickets.

2. The state of Maine already has my first half of this ticket.

3. Now I am supposed to find someone who has another half, the opposite of mine, to redeem this and get a voucher within 90 days, which is probably almost over with.

Help me understand this.

People, get on the wagon and call or write to this commissioner and your representatives. We have to band together to change this. Probably won't help me, but hopefully you in the future.

So at this point I am out about $4.25 for a child ticket and $24.75 for a vehicle ticket. We Maine people work hard for our money and then crazy things like this get passed by our government. I plan to email this to our representative and Gov. LePage.

This is the response I got from DOT:

TUE 2:33PM

The Maine State Ferry Service released its new rate structure in April 2018. At that time, notification of the expiration/exchange/upgrade of tickets was posted in all ferry terminal

locations and on all ferry boats, and the information was provided in a press release and posted on the MaineDOT website (see: In addition, the new rate structure and expiration and exchange of tickets was reported on by various print and online news outlets on April 17 and 18, including the Bangor Daily News, the Camden Herald, The Free Press and the Pen Bay Pilot.

Liana Walker


Auction thanks

The Morrill Fire Department and Auxiliary held their annual auction, yard sale and bake sale Aug. 4. The auction raised approximately $6,300 to help toward training and purchasing equipment.

We all wish to extend our appreciation for items donated, raffle tickets purchased, food baked, as well as donations received from members of our town. Also, thank you to the firefighters and Auxiliary, as well as to our auctioneer, Eric Sanders, for all of their hard work to again make this a successful auction.

We would especially like to thank the businesses and individuals that supported us with their products and gift certificates. We could not have raised as much without their support.

In addition, we would like to thank Morrill General Store, Bruce Benjamin, for the hot dogs, etc., that he donated, and for the use of the storefront to sell raffle tickets and promote various Fire Department functions. Also, a thank you to Butler's Woodworking of Morrill for their generous donations.

Fire Chief Pat Scribner

Auxiliary President Irene Blood

Morrill Firefighters

Members of the Ladies Auxiliary

Herbig is hard-working, goal-oriented

I write this letter in support of Erin Herbig’s candidacy for state senator of District 11.

I have known Erin since her high school days. I had a front row seat watching her train, compete, and lead as a first-class student athlete. She was incredibly hard-working, organized, enthusiastic, and goal-oriented; characteristics she continues to exhibit today in the Maine House of Representatives, helping to improve the lives of her constituents, and all the people of Maine, every day.

Having worked in the local school district for nearly 20 years, I have been keenly aware of the pressure put on property taxes because of the unwillingness to fully fund education at the state level. I have also watched as our students leave for college and rarely come back due to lack of viable jobs. Erin is working hard to bring quality employment opportunities to this area, so our children can stay and grow their lives here.

It has been said that all politics is local. I agree. Every decision made in the Legislature has an impact at the local level. Erin is local; she understands the importance of including all parties in the decision-making process. She also believes that lifting the least fortunate among us, elevates us all. Please join with me and vote for Erin Herbig, state senator, a local voice for all of Waldo County!

Anna Wood-Cox