Alarmed

I am alarmed by statements made by Belfast City Manager Joe Slocum in his recent guest column in response to Lawrence Reichard’s Aug. 16 Bricks and Mortars column.

Mr. Slocum asserts that Mr. Reichard “suggests that I was given direction by Nordic Aquafarms to hire a consultant in Norway who was supposedly predisposed to give a positive report about them. This is not true and the implications are hollow.”

Mr. Slocum’s assertion is wrong. Absolutely nothing was mentioned by Mr. Reichard about Nordic giving Mr. Slocum direction to hire a consultant in Norway who was predisposed to give a positive report about them.

Belfast citizens deserve integrity from their city officials.

Natalie Charles

Belfast

Reckless

As opponents of the Nordic Aquafarms proposal, we believe it is reckless for the press, law enforcement and elected officials to speculate that anyone in our group vandalized Alan Holmes’ tractor on city property. There is no evidence whatsoever to support such an accusation.

Local Citizens for Smart Growth does not condone or promote illegal actions of any kind. We support economic development that includes community involvement, democratic process, government transparency, and environmental responsibility.

Local Citizens for Smart Growth

Waldo County

Editorializing

Your "Vandalized tractor eyed as possible salmon farm protest" headline in the Aug. 23 issue is unfortunate quite on its own and all the more cheek by jowl with its companion headline, "Opponents urge Planning Board to press 'reset button' on Nordic project."

This comes close to editorializing what should have been a simple report about vandalism as likely as not perpetrated by some dumb kids.

Opposition to the fish farm is serious business having far more potential impact on Belfast than the immediate or distant future of a damaged farm machine. If I sound to you resentful you're right.

Mike Silverton

Belfast

What project means, does not mean for Belfast

The city has placed a lot of information on our website (under “Manager of Economic Development”) so people can broaden their understanding of the proposed land-based salmon farm off Northport Avenue. From May 9 you can watch, from the city site, the public presentation by a hydrologist from Ransom Consulting who is working for Nordic. The hydrologist in his presentation showed maps that defined the watershed. He then went on to say several interesting things.

1. That he estimated that the waterfall dumped 15,000 gallons of fresh water into the sea a minute;

2. That the 1,200 gallons Nordic wants to use from nearby wells is about 8 percent of that water; and

3.  That the extraction point of the wells is at the end of that watershed, close to Route 1, where the water underground leaches out from the watershed directly into the bay.

Please remember that none of the city’s water supply has come from the Northport site in almost 40 years. Today all of our water system runs from wells located on the East Side (Goose River).

The city’s website also includes a Capacity Evaluation Report by A.E Hodson Engineers, the consultant for the Belfast Water District. They evaluated our water supply from the perspective of “Safe Yields,” “Current Demand," "Reserve Capacity,” "Interference Considerations,” “Recharge Considerations” and “Drought Considerations.”

The engineers for the district concluded that the water system administered by the Water District “has the capacity to supply the 262,900,000 gallons of water per year to Nordic Aquafarms.” The remaining reserve capacity would exceed the combined totals of the city’s current use and the new use from Nordic Aquafarms.

This is a big project that welcomes broad interest. Please do what you can to keep informed and understand what this project means and does not mean for Belfast.

Thanks.

Joe Slocum

City Manager

Tireless work deserves better

Editor's note: The following letter is a response to a letter by Jamila Levasseur published in The Republican Journal July 19.

I am writing to respond to concerning letters to the editor written about Peace Ridge Sanctuary that defame our organization and purposely misrepresent our valuable work.

PRS, a licensed animal shelter, has a 15-plus-year record of high-quality animal care and has been praised at state and national levels for maintaining a beautiful environment for animals with a growing staff of knowledgeable, experienced caregivers and managers. We've had over 1,000 visitors since the beginning of 2018 — all duly impressed with our facility and the way we do things.

The letters insinuated our dogs and rabbits are mistreated. This is completely false. Our dogs and rabbits have full-time caretakers and more attention than most enjoy.

Our veterinarians/behaviorists/trainers help to evaluate all of our dogs — most especially those who are special and/or high needs, which is our biggest area of service. PRS makes great efforts to accommodate more difficult-to-place dogs, ensuring they will not be a public liability, while prioritizing their comfort and well-being.

For instance, two of our sanctuary dogs have behavior problems and/or bite histories. Our critics say those dogs have been here "too long." But the sanctuary model ensures every animal that comes into our facility will always have a place to call home, especially important if they are otherwise unadoptable.

Most shelters euthanize dogs with bite histories. Few people will readily adopt these dogs and experienced shelter workers know successful adoptions of these dogs are rare. The fact that they can remain in a home-like environment at PRS should be seen as a gift to them.

One letter said our dogs are crated too much and that we wouldn’t successfully meet our own adoption contract. Another said the dogs have no fences in which to “run and play off leash.” Those statements are absolutely false.

Currently, and for quite some time, we actually have no dogs in crates or kennels (rare at a licensed facility). We have cabin and home-like setups for each one of our dogs and attendants walk them every three hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. We also have three fences that dogs run and play in each and every day.

Regarding our bunnies, we provide long-term care in beautifully clean, cage-free, indoor spaces. While we offer life-long sanctuary, we follow the House Rabbit Society’s model for potential adoptions. We do not adopt to outdoor or “hutch” homes — that is our imperative and many shelters/rescues agree with us.

With both dogs and bunnies, PRS is their home — forever or until the right adopter comes along. As for accusations we are neglecting cats, PRS does not have cats.

I would like to extend invitations for readers to visit during our scheduled open houses — see: peaceridgesanctuary.org. While you will not be able to meet the two dogs with bite histories, you'll be able to see every other part of our beautiful facility. Our impressive, tireless work deserves better than to receive public slander.

Daniella Tessier

Peace Ridge Sanctuary

Thank you

We wish to thank everyone for all your prayers, cards, calls, visits, etc., for the loss of our beautiful daughter Teresa Lee Cail on Aug. 5.

Special thanks to Hospice, nurses David and Regina and Hospice Chaplin. Thanks to Alfond Cancer Center doctors, nurses and personnel, they were wonderful. To the Knox Baptist Church, Mount View staff and students. Thank you Vangie Wight for coming all the way from Alaska to be with her. Donna and Toby Rankin. Trudy and Boyd Norman.

A very special thank you to her sister Tracy Radcliffe for making all of the phone calls, setting up appointments, all the paperwork done, all the special talks they had on their way to the Cancer Center, all the humor shared — Teresa appreciated it so much.

She was laid to rest Aug. 27 at her parents' lot.

Thanks for the dragonfly, it helps.

Dick and Roberta Martin

Belfast

A tremendous asset for us

There are many things I admire about Jayne Crosby Giles as she runs for Waldo County’s Senate seat, District 11. I’ve known Jayne as part of the Belfast Rotary Club, where she devotes many hours of service to the club’s projects, in particular, the 100 Fund and as chairman of the Youth Exchange Program. I served as the club president last year and witnessed Jayne's willingness to undertake additional responsibilities to ensure that our Youth Exchange Program continued.  This valuable program will continue due to Jayne’s commitment.

But I’ve known Jayne even longer as a small business banking consultant and through her work with Broadreach Child and Family Services. Her message is clear and her efforts in Augusta will reflect her family values around education and children, access to health care — especially for seniors and veterans — and supporting small businesses.

Her experience serving in the House of Representatives for four years will enable her to transition smoothly into the Senate. She knows the process of creating legislation and how the State House works. She will be a tremendous asset for us.

Jayne Crosby Giles will have my vote in November to represent Waldo County in the next Senate. She will work hard for us, ensuring that Maine’s next Legislature continues with public policies that support growth, investment and serving the citizens of Waldo County.

Dorothy Havey

Lincolnville

Liberman for district attorney

I first met Jon Liberman at a nomination event in Wiscasset where he and other candidates for the job of district attorney spoke to the public to tell us why they felt they should be recommended for appointment by the governor. District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau had been appointed to a judgeship, thus creating the vacancy for district attorney in Prosecutorial District Six, which encompasses all four Midcoast counties.

I listened to the candidates and was immediately impressed with Jon Liberman. He presented himself as a kind, compassionate professional and family man, who wanted to lead the group of men and women working in each of the four District Attorney Offices bringing justice to Midcoast Maine. I have known former District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau for several decades and have a great deal of respect for him. His choice of Jon Liberman to be his deputy district attorney told me that he saw great potential in Jon’s abilities.

Jon Liberman was appointed district attorney and has done a great job since taking the reins as lead prosecutor. I am particularly happy that he solicits input from the law enforcement community in his day-to-day operations. I have also heard him say that he values input from the public he serves. I have met with him and discussed several issues over the past year with very positive results.

I believe Jon Liberman is a professional district attorney who believes in public service and truly wants to do the best job he can for the citizens of the Midcoast. He has the skills and compassion to lead his staff in collaborating with the wide range of organizations needed to achieve positive results in the criminal justice system of Midcoast Maine. This is why I encourage voters to support him in the upcoming election.

Jeffrey C. Trafton

Waldo County Sheriff

Trafton for sheriff

Since becoming District Attorney in Waldo County, I have been extremely lucky to work with Sheriff Jeff Trafton. Jeff has a long impressive record of service to this country and this community.

He joined the Marines after high school. After four years in the Marines, he joined the Maine State Police in 1984 and was assigned to rural patrol in Waldo County. He was honored as Maine State Trooper of the Year in 1991. He supervised the patrol section of state troopers working in the Midcoast after being promoted to patrol sergeant in 1995. In 2000, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned as commander of Troop D, where he was responsible for all State Police patrol operations in the Midcoast.

In 2005, he became chief of police for the Belfast Police Department, where he served until 2011, when he was invited to join the Waldo County Sheriff's Office as chief deputy. In 2014, he was elected sheriff of Waldo County and took office in 2015.

Throughout much of his law enforcement career, he continued to serve this county as a member of the Maine Army National Guard. He retired as a captain with 21 years of total active and reserve service.

Jeff is also a family man. He lives with his wife in Thorndike. Together they have three daughters and three grandchildren.

One of the most impressive things about Sheriff Trafton is how well he's done with the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center, a residential center in Belfast, operating in part of the former Waldo County Jail. It's designed to give incarcerated men the skills and experience they need to live successfully as citizens and employees as they transition into their home communities. These men are provided with regular treatment, as well as educational and vocational opportunities focused on reducing recidivism.

Under Sheriff Trafton's watch, this successful program has continued to get stronger. The recidivism rate for inmates who go through the Reentry Center is less than half the national average. This program encourages accountability for offenders. Over five years, the Reentry Center has facilitated the collection of $171,000 in back child support; it also enables offenders to get an early start paying back restitution they owe from their crimes.

The community garden, cultivated by Reentry Center residents, in 2017 yielded 109,000 pounds of produce that was given to various towns in Waldo County. This produce is also used in the Reentry Center kitchen, and significantly offsets costs.

My final point about the Reentry Center: It makes fiscal sense. The cost per inmate at the Reentry Center is $22,000 per year, compared to the average costs at a conventional jail being over $40,000 per year. This program is a win for everyone, and Sheriff Trafton has been a leader who makes it possible.

It's an honor and a privilege to work with someone like Jeff, and I hope he continues to serve Waldo County as sheriff for many years. I fully endorse him, and I encourage Waldo County voters to re-elect him in November.

Jonathan Liberman

District Attorney

Prosecutorial District 6

Counties of Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc

Advocate for education, values

It’s about learning. As a high school teacher, school board member, and most importantly a parent, I’m tuned into issues impacting public education. It’s a life-long quest for advocates and opportunities for students.

I learn something from Stanley Paige Zeigler at every school board meeting, every chance happening at a local store, or walking through the halls of the capital. He is an advocate for our communities, our institutions and most importantly our kids.

Stanley has proven himself to be thoughtful and patient deliberator. He listens to all members and perspectives, seeking comprehensive understanding. He has worked to enhance educational programing, address evolving economic opportunities, and recognize student interests. He recognizes the importance of public discourse and avoids back-channel machinations.

I feel better knowing that Stanley Paige Zeigler is working in our communities and Legislature, providing prudent leadership, rational problem-solving and collaboration. Our solemn task on the school board is to act in the interest of all students, regardless of town of origin or election district, despite limited local and state resources. Stanley has proven time again to be a conscientious fiduciary while providing equitable opportunity. Stanley brings this pragmatism to the Legislature, working for the benefit of all Mainers.

I love my community. I graduated from Mount View High School and have always considered my community to extend beyond the humble farms and woodlots of Thorndike. Lake St. George is just as much my back yard as the Marsh River Theater, or Hidden Valley Camp.

I appreciate the community values that growing up in this region has fostered, so much so that I’ve chosen to remain here and raise my own family. I’m glad that we have champions for those same values advocating for public education and civil government like Stanley Paige Zeigler.

Jesse Hargrove

Thorndike

Support for 'redneck Democrat'

I find the current state of our political discourse/climate, both nationally and at the state level, so disheartening, and sometimes frightful. So, it should come as no surprise that I sensed real hope for positive change in Augusta when I met the energetic, positive, and talented Erin Herbig.

She hails from a hard-working business (Republican) family (as do I). She also comes with a breadth of both public-service and practical experience, and a strong dose of common sense, adding up to being the obvious good choice for Waldo County’s next state senator.

I recently asked Erin how she would describe her political platform. Essentially, Erin is here to work for all Mainers. She knows we need a sustainable, diverse, and developing economy. She sees a lot of people working harder than ever, and not getting ahead.

Erin sees rural Maine falling behind in the economy and is committed to staying at the table and working with whoever she can to make sure that our part of the state continues to thrive. Please vote Herbig in November.

Jeffrey Brawn

Lincolnville

Open letter to Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge

I am a small business owner in Belfast, writing to ask about the economic impacts of land-based salmon facilities and express my interest in upholding a respectful and democratic process of public input in regard to the proposed Nordic Aquafarms project.

Many have spoken out in opposition to this facility and the long list of risks it poses. I feel strange about such a huge experimental project getting so many green lights from city leaders with little public display of their concerns about the long-term impacts, including industrial levels of water use, bay pollution, inhibiting sea life (salmon, alewives, etc.) recovery, and the possible unseen negative economic impacts on the community (tourism, lobster, etc.).

I am also wondering about the impact of increased revenue. As you have said, the current tax base in Belfast is about $750 million and Nordic Aquafarms could increase that with an added $500 million. Wow! What would we do with all that money?

We know some positive impacts, but have you shared any of the negative impacts that such large amounts of money could do to people’s use of power, decision-making, growth, unintended consequences of cities that get rich fast?

According to a recent news article, 600,000 salmon in two Nova Scotia land-based fish farms were killed this spring by a virus in the tanks. Nordic Aquafarms proposes to have 10 times that amount of fish. The average salmon fillet weighs 4 pounds, or 8 pounds per fish. If the Nova Scotia facilities lost 600,000 fish, then totally, they lost 4.8 million pounds of salmon meat for market at a cost of about $8 per pound. Multiply that by 4.8 million pounds, and you get $38.4 million. How about 10 times that amount of fish, which is what NAF is proposing? Their loss would be $384 million.

Finally, can you define for me economic sustainability and environmental sustainability?

I urge you to guide the City Council to consider the risks. Please do the right thing and slow the process until all factual information can be weighed with respect to all the land, animals, people, water and fish that will be impacted by these decisions.

Thank you for hearing me and others who are concerned about the reputation City Council is gaining with its relationship with this big-money, high-risk investment. We are all complicit in creating the world we wish to see.

I would be happy to see the old dams removed or fish ladders built, and consequentially, see millions of wild fish return to the living waters. I am not an expert about fish so I will quote Dwayne Shaw, executive director of the Downeast Salmon Federation, who said, speaking in Belfast last week, “if you bring the little fish back, the big ones will come back, too.”

Imagine the jobs, the food, and thriving oceans, rivers, and streams with millions of fish, big and small? That is the world I wish for. Please take these concerns seriously and please become a leader in addressing them.

Steve Byers

Belfast

The Bible is God's word

Here are some reasons why I believe the Bible (KJV) is the preserved words of God in English.

1. The Bible again and again claims to be the word of God.

Expressions such as "Thus saith the Lord" or "The Lord spake, saying" are used thousands of times in the Bible. The apostle Paul said, "The things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37). If this is not true, then Paul was either deceived or a liar, which means all his writings could be dubious. Many say the Bible is a good book but do not believe it is the preserved word of God. But if its claim to be the word of God is false, then it cannot be a good book.

2. If the Bible is not inspired or composed by God, then there are only two options left.

It would have needed to be inspired by or invented by good men, or bad men. The Bible could not have been inspired by good men because good men would not lie thousands of times by saying "Thus saith the Lord" when it was in fact only their own words. Also it could not have been inspired by bad men because they would never compose a book that teaches perfect morals and condemns their own souls to hell forever and ever. Therefore, I draw this conclusion: The Holy Bible was invented and inspired by the one true God, who use "holy men of God [to speak] as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21).

3. Its providential preservation speaks in its defense.

No book has been more loved by the few and yet more hated by the many. No book in this world has been more despised, belittled, chopped apart, mistranslated and perverted. And yet it lives on. It is the most circulated book ever to exist on this Earth. "The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever" (1 Peter 1:24, 25).

4. The amazing unity of the Bible speaks of its divine authorship.

Given the fact that more than 40 different men, within the span of about 1,600 years, on three different continents, writing in three different languages could write a collection of books containing one moral code, one plan of salvation, one concept of the true God — and without contradictions — is a real powerful testimony to the fact that the Bible is inspired by God.

5. The necessities of the human spirit calls for a divine revelation.

Seeing that we all tend to be easily led astray and righteous in our own eyes, we need God's direction and guidance.  All men need a prophet to reveal God, a priest to redeem him from sin, and a King to rule him. Jesus Christ is our Prophet, Priest and King. Where else can we learn about Him but in the Scriptures? Mankind's need for divine instruction requires a divine communication.

6. No book on this Earth can change a life for the better like the Bible can, if believed and practiced.

Along with some cost and persecution, the Bible gives real purpose in life, a knowledge of the true God, a moral compass, as assurance of salvation, and a hope of eternal life.

If the truth about God, salvation and moral goodness is not found in the Bible, then where is it found?

Donald Violette

Brooks