Heartfelt apologies

I recently wrote a letter to the editor of this paper regarding the misinformation, innuendo and aspersions in articles by Lawrence Reichard of his "Bricks and Mortars" biweekly column with regard to Nordic Aquafarms. In my letter I referred to him as a "pestilence."

Unbeknownst to me this carried some unintended connotations. A couple of people have informed me that it has been used against an entire class of people in the far past as a derogatory word, and as such carried a meaning that didn't appear in my dictionary.

My goal had been to confer the idea that his continuing use of his journalistic podium in excoriating an officer of Nordic Fish Farms unfairly and then going to Norway and finding a nutcase as his "proof" about the dangers of fish farms ("the most toxic food in the world") that he was making a pest of himself to the community. No more and no less. And on that basis, I stand my ground. To those who interpreted it otherwise, I offer my heartfelt apologies. I had no such intentions and had I known, I'd have chosen another adjective.

Pest:  informal — an annoying person or thing; a nuisance

My push has been to see that we get the facts and the truth about the proposed fish farm in Belfast, no matter where that leads. And not to draw conclusions until we do. I have been upset that the opponents have dealt in fantasy, misinformation and innuendo as to their many claims that it will harm Belfast.

A good example of this was recently proven by the report of the Belfast Water District, showing conclusively that there is plenty of freshwater for Nordic's published needs and that, in fact, the district expects to increase its income due to Nordic, allowing it to improve water pipe infrastructure underground (and desperately needed). The dramatic claims of the opponents that our wells would dry up, and in case of shortages that Nordic would get water before the public, were completely debunked.

Again, my apologies to those who misjudged my use of characterization.

Dirk Faegre


Let process unfold

It has been dismaying to see the level of distrust for our city’s council and leadership from some of the citizenry of town. The proposed salmon farm has generated, it seems, its own conspiracy theory among a segment of the population. I know it is popular these days to question the motives of politicians, but these elected folks are our neighbors, our friends, our relatives. We voted them into office to make decisions in the city’s best interests. I mean, trust has to start somewhere. Thus far, they’ve made changes that will allow the permitting process to begin.

“It’s too big for Belfast,” I hear over and over again. I wonder who defined what exactly “too big” is after all. When MBNA had quarters here, it was, I believe, the largest credit card company in the world; was that not too big? We have other businesses in town that are pretty big, and again, each will have his or her own definition as to size.

But there’s a pretty big shipyard at the waterfront that is continuing to expand. Mathews Brothers, not far from the proposed site of the salmon farm, has several buildings occupying a good-sized campus. Athenahealth has its operation in the former MBNA complex, along with other businesses. Potatoes are still processed very close to a residential area, and salmon are processed not far from Nordic’s proposed site. Which of these is too big and which is “acceptable”? Or does it really have to do with proximity?

I’m not a native of Belfast, but I am a lifelong Mainer who lived for many years in the Bangor area, not an hour away, where I watched with interest the developments that have made this community one of the most attractive and desirable in the state. I can recall driving across the bridge and having to roll the car windows up to shut out the stench of the chicken and sardine factories. Am I now to believe that our council would tolerate a return to those days?

The permitting process is that — a process put in place to demand that proposals meet certain criteria, certain standards, before moving forward. Further, the company that would build this farm is from Norway, yes, in Europe, where I understand, regulations are even stricter than they are here in the States. Come to think of it, then, I may have greater faith in that company than I would in some other outfit that’s familiar with and comfortable skirting regulations. Let’s let the process unfold, see what happens, is my view.

Clyde Tarr


Power of misinformation

I am a 20-year-old native of Belfast and I am attending the University of Maine at Farmington, currently studying environmental policy and planning, with a concentration in economics. In addition, I am also completing a regulatory ethics certificate through the University of Southern Maine.

I am a concerned citizen. I am concerned with the future of my community. I am concerned for the environment. I am concerned for the economic viability of where I live. I am concerned for the future I hope to see in Belfast. I am concerned for authenticity of the place I call home, and I am concerned that the so-called "informed public" rejects the science behind the salmon farm project.

Since the first weeks of February, I have searched scientific databases for case studies, peer reviewed journals and information about the net-pen and land-based aquaculture industries. Furthermore, I have reached out to those in the industry, interviewing, connecting and learning about the environmental impacts and the economic viability of a project such as this.

I have developed my own analysis, citing these journals, and articles, that are truly science-based. How frustrating it is to live in a world where people do not wish to learn. I have attended numerous public meetings; I have spoken at all but one, and not once have I felt heard by the people of my community against the project. Knowledge is power, but in Belfast so is misinformation.

This project has the opportunity to provide so much to Belfast. Let's not shut it down too soon.

Alicia Gaiero


Support your library

It's time for the Belfast Free Library's annual appeal. This is when the library seeks support that will enable it to expand, improve, enhance and innovate.

There is so much going on at the library — technology support, meeting space, downloadable e-books and audiobooks, concerts and programs, local history, artists' exhibits — to name just a few.

So let's zero in on the multiple benefits of just one key library service: story times at the Belfast Library that are offered to infants through preschool-age children.

These story time sessions enable a librarian (the reader) to teach parents and caregivers how to read to children by role modeling. The librarian also recommends age and subject-appropriate books for home reading.

Parents and children bond during the sessions. Children get to meet and interact with other children. Parents have an opportunity to meet each other, interact, and often form lasting friendships with other parents.

New moms can turn to other moms for support and advice. Children establish comfort with being in the library and develop a lifelong love of books. Library story times are fun for everyone!

This is just one of so many library services with a positive impact on so many lives each and every day.

Maybe you would like to support an organization that makes a difference in people's lives. Maybe you are most interested in giving children a chance from an early age to embrace reading as a powerful and lifelong skill and pleasure. If so, consider giving to the Belfast Free Library or to the library of your choice.

You can make a donation via belfastlibrary.org or stop by the library. And you can honor the library in your will as part of your planned giving. If you wish to do so, please call the library at 338-3884 and speak with the director.

Kay Zegel, President

Belfast Free Library

Board of Trustees

Excellent hospital

I want to call attention to the excellence of your local hospital — Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast.

They had an elderly family member for three weeks with a broken hip and just released her to come home, walking and able to do some steps. That is no mean feat.

You have a gem of a hospital, staffed with a kind, patient, professional, knowledgeable nursing and rehab staff. That Belfast and Waldo County have in your community citizens of the caliber of the staff we interacted with, and that the hospital is willing and able to attract such staff, speaks volumes for both the quality of the community and the quality of the people in it.

Be proud of your community for having such excellent human resources, and treasure your luck at having an excellent hospital in your midst smart enough to employ them.

Martha Goodnow

Mont Vernon, N.H.

Letters inform

Dear Republican Journal,

Thank you for publishing so many letters. It is a critical piece that community members rely on to both inform and to learn from the people of our greater area. Thank you all and keep up the good work.

Mike Hurley