A better choice

A few months ago I saw a movie about the death of Stalin. It was incredible because it was largely a true story. Only Mao was responsible for exterminating more people.

Not to forget we saved the world — or most of it — during two World Wars. But I started thinking some of the atrocities we, the United States, have committed since becoming a nation.

Years of trying to displace and/or eradicating Native Americans, Manifest Destiny, slavery and never-ending civil rights issues, the seldom mentioned Philippine insurrection, union busting, incursions into central America, along with support for despots all over the world, etc.

But, as Spiro Agnew said, "Our hands are lilly white" in comparison to Stalin, Mao, Hitler and many others.

So, a thought. Before our hands get completely clean, perhaps we should withdraw our troops from quagmires around the world and send them to several countries in Central America to remove corrupt governments, death squads, drug cartels, and at least try to fix some of the problems we helped create over the last 100 years!

This might be a better choice than to send troops to stop thousands willing to die to escape several countries and come to the U.S.

We are the greatest nation the world has ever seen, but it's time to Make America More Great Again!

Peter Clifford

Belfast

I'm always Jayne for Maine

Many thanks to everyone who volunteered or gave me a few moments of their time during my campaign for the Maine Senate. While the outcome is disappointing, I will never be disappointed in the more than 8,000 votes that I received from across Waldo County.

I am proud of the campaign and what we accomplished during the past 11 months. My volunteers and I worked tirelessly to bring a respectful and meaningful message to the voters. For that we can say, job well done!

My focus has been and will continue to be on the people of Waldo County. This is my longtime home and a place that I love.

In the days ahead, I plan to spend time with family and reconnect with my day-to-day life. I will continue to volunteer with the many organizations that I support, including the Waldo County YMCA, Belfast Rotary Club, Belfast SCORE and Maine Association of Nonprofits. More of my time will be devoted to economic and nonprofit consulting work through my business, Giles Consulting. In this way, I will continue to find ways to better people's lives through economic and philanthropic support.

In closing, I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season ahead. This is a time of year that brings family and friends together. I hope you have time to be with those most important to you.

In 2019, I may not be singing "Vote Jayne for Maine" — but I will always, truly, be Jayne for Maine!

Thank you again.

Jayne Giles

Belfast

Educate yourselves

I would like to encourage my neighbors in Northport to educate themselves about the impact of the Nordic Aquafarms project on our town.

The planned location for the discharge and intake pipes, each 3 feet in diameter, is at a southeast angle from Little River, barely past the tidal flats, and is off the coast of Northport. Over 7 million gallons of wastewater per day will be released just a half-mile off our beaches, yet Northport residents have had no say in this project. I wonder if Belfast would have approved this project if the discharge pipe was going to spew directly into Belfast harbor instead of into Northport’s coves?

Additionally, the NAF project will suck millions of gallons of water per day from the aquifer that is on the Belfast-Northport line. Belfast city water no longer comes from this aquifer, so NAF’s massive draw will not impact most Belfast residents, but it could impact Northport residents who rely on backyard wells that are fed by the aquifer.

Remember the drought a couple of years ago? If NAF takes more than its fair share of water in a future drought, what recourse will Northport residents have?

Northport residents will get none of the supposed economic benefits from NAF, like lower property taxes, but we will suffer most of the environmental damage.

We need to speak up and protect our town as permitting for this project moves to the state level.

Elizabeth Hebert

Northport

Belittling advertisement

We feel the need to respond to the full page ad by Nordic in the Nov. 1 issue of The Republican Journal: "Let's Separate Facts from Fear." Really? This ad is totally offensive to us, and belittling.

We live in Swanville on the Goose River, where the "Belfast" aquifer is located. Part of that "small group" who does not live in Belfast. Where do you live, by the way, Mr. Heim? Anyone who lives here for awhile understands that the surrounding towns are considered part of the greater Belfast community. And that concern for the health and culture of that community and of the Penobscot Bay is not driven by fear.

Rather, our concern is driven by love of community, and concern for the environment. I think you have missed it entirely, Nordic.

If you would at least address yourself to the face that the corporate enterprise you are selling here has never been done before; and that indeed, there are significant risks that must be addressed.

If you would at least answer the question about where the fish feed you will use for this massive undertaking will come from, how many trucks a day (entering and exiting onto Route 1) will it take to move food in, and fish out, and what a complete picture of what your energy use and carbon footprint will be, we could actually begin to discuss risks and benefits in an intelligent fashion — including the concerns that Belfast as a city is attempting to address about economic growth and climate change.

At least your ad does let us know that you are worried about us ordinary citizens who live here. And our questions. And our commitment. Because you are right. We are not going away. If one of the largest land-based industrial fish farms in the world doesn't work out quite as planned, we will still be here.

Meredith Bruskin

Donna Short

Swanville

Open letter to Belfast Mayor Samantha Paradis

Dear Madame Mayor,

I’d like to share my thoughts on a few related topics, both with you and with the citizens of the Midcoast Region. As you are no doubt aware, our recent local election affects our entire area, not just the city of Belfast. How to envision future economic development, approach our current financial dilemma, and plan for climate change are just three of many issues on people’s minds.

To me, the City Council election results showed how many hundreds of Belfast residents are seriously concerned about the City Council’s choices and actions. Joanne Moesswilde narrowly lost to a well-liked council member who has strong ties to the local Democratic party. Ellie Daniels and Jim Merkel got more write-in votes than any previous write-in candidate.

How will we address escalating taxes? The Nordic Aquafarms salmon facility won’t be up and running for some years. What if it doesn’t get permitted? What about the still-pending lawsuit?

We need our leadership to think more broadly and creatively. For instance, one of the ideas mentioned during the campaign that particularly appeals to me is that of issuing municipal bonds. Citizens would have an opportunity to invest in the community and support small and medium-sized businesses — ones that fit more naturally into our small city. Local funds would stay at home.

The other issue I’d like to address is the pressing one of climate change. I’m glad to see that you feel the need to prioritize it.

What really worries me, however, is that the connection between climate change and the proposed salmon facility is not being made. I don’t see how one can be concerned about climate change but yet agree to the clear-cutting of acres of woods which presently absorb CO2. How one can agree to adding pollution to the bay? How one can abandon the hope of restoring our local natural fish runs, as is being done in Damariscotta for example? How we can give away our precious water rights, so that in the event of a drought, a foreign corporation would have first rights (before local citizens) to our water?

You may say that there are trade-offs that need to be made — that we need the tax revenue and the jobs.

Frankly, the climate situation is so dire that it won’t accept trade-offs. We have to make sure our decisions are climate-friendly. The climate won’t be at the bargaining table.

Mayor Paradis, I believe that your intentions are the best. Thank you for that. What I hope is that you will seriously consider the many alternatives that have been offered in this campaign; innovative and creative ideas to grow the local economy in a way that can benefit our citizens as well as honor and respect our beautiful environment.

An ongoing conversation with all concerned citizens would be a welcomed first step in the effort to imagine and implement a community based vision for our future.

Deborah Capwell

Belfast

Journal reckless, irresponsible

It was nothing short of reckless and irresponsible for The Republican Journal to print a Nov. 1 letter to the editor that called me, a local Belfast journalist, a “pestilence.” And given the current political climate in this country, printing such a letter is especially irresponsible.

Donald Trump regularly calls the media “the enemy of the people,” and he has at least twice praised a Montana congressman who earlier this year body-slammed a journalist. Earlier this year four journalists were murdered in their office in Annapolis, Maryland.

Given all this, it was reckless for The Republican Journal to run a letter calling me a pestilence. Printing such a letter is also against The Republican Journal's stated policy to not print letters containing personal attacks, and calling me a pestilence is clearly a personal attack.

It is equally troubling that The Republican Journal on Nov. 8 printed a letter from the same individual in which he essentially doubled down on his Nov. 1 letter.

I urge The Republican Journal to take seriously its responsibility to this community and adhere to its stated policy of not printing letters containing personal attacks.

Lawrence Reichard

Belfast

The truth shall set them (Atlantic salmon) free

Farm or factory? Who in Maine will benefit ? What are the effects to the nature-human environment and the ecosystems of Planet Earth? How about Bayside and the Northport residents and Pen Bay clean water users among all of us?

Attention span test: Very Complicated and Experimental Brave New World Fix-it with Money and Technology Schemes details.

This salmon factory is the largest, most complicated, artificial food production system we (or anyone) would ever behold under a single corporation's control, in our state, or anywhere. Machinated by armies of lawyers and engineers, financed by the unseen, obscenely wealthy, from very far away, who are again saying, “Trust us, we are here to bring you organic, sustainable, desperately needed, healthy, no environmental impact, complete with solar panels (ooh, ahh!), all natural, job-creating, tax-beneficent, factory wonderments from the latest corporate schemers!”

So, Mike Hurley, I know you're reading and scoffing, let’s start with your statement on WERU last spring: “The bay is fine.“

OK — ignoring Holtrachem and the 12 square miles of lobster and shellfish forever-closings from mercury in the waters and mud, the copper mine pit filled with water behind Holbrook Island leaching arsenic and heavy metals forever into the bay, and each town’s shellfish clam flat closings permanently from existing waste treatment plant outfalls — the bay is just fine! How 'bout adding 8 million gallons a day of wastewater too dirty for salmon to live in? (Good job on the tree watering, Mike!) Penobscot Bay is great!

Hey Erik, how’s it going? A listing of Erik’s statements:

Organic salmon? Effluent 1 1/2 miles into deep ocean currents (now one half-mile, 35 feet deep), giant drill rigs under the mud (now a 1-mile dredged intake trench), 30-percent wild-caught feed fish from Peru, sustainable (now, “we don’t know”), mirrors on the building (to kill songbirds? Whoops, too stupid), Monterey Bay sustainable (Whoops, not on a reused industrial site, instead a 40-acre clear-cut raped wild riverside), tax benefits to Belfast, and jobs, (none to Bayside and Northport, just lowering of property values from impacts).

Stayed tuned for the clash of environmental engineering companies and lawyers thrashing through the permits (details don’t fit into a letter, sorry!). This is not a “farm,” it’s a factory — think stream of tractor-trailer trucks with chemicals (methanol, from fracked gas, five a day), industrial farmed fish food from everywhere and anywhere (five a day), frozen guts and gills (five a day), sludge (five a day), oh yeah, "Tesla Salmon Trucks” with the scenic branding picture (five a day), chlorides, cleaners, immense electricity and fuel use, an immense pile of concrete and steel covering the earth forever. No songbirds or salamanders! Three years of very heavy construction and trucks, slam-slam, low growling.

Thanks, Mike. Thanks, Erik. We are so grateful! Thanks for choosing our pristine location and us!

Paul Bernacki

Belmont

Green Store anniversary

On Friday, Nov. 23, The Green Store in Belfast will celebrate 25 years since opening its doors. In 1993, Belfast was a very different place. Just five years after Penobscot Poultry closed, the town was home to a lot of unemployed and under-employed people, with all the associated problems. The downtown area had more empty storefronts than full ones, and those that were open managed by keeping their inventory and staffing low and their hours short.

But two couples from Montville had an idea that they hatched one night over a poker game. Bob Fenton, Ellie Daniels, and Bill and Pene Behrens began to fantasize about a one-stop shop where a customer could find and learn about all the exciting new “green” innovations that were starting to make it into the American consciousness.

Bob had an interest in non-toxic building products, from zero-VOC paints and composting toilets to insulation made from shredded denim scraps. Ellie was committed to sourcing natural health products, such as homeopathics and herbal formulas. Pene had a love for handmade paper, eclectic books, and beautiful handcrafts. And Bill was certain that solar electric and wind generation were the key to the future.

It was an unusual, cutting-edge formula for success. After a summer of finding products, building advance excitement, and waiting for the Belfast Co-op to vacate the space on lower Main Street, the Green Store opened the day after Thanksgiving to throngs of excited shoppers. Little did we suspect how little we knew about running such a business! The day after Christmas, with nary an item left on the shelves, we closed the store for three weeks to catch our breath, replenish the inventory, and completely reorganize our systems. From that point on, there was nowhere to go but up.

Twenty-five years later, just one of the original owners remains. With the help of my staff, we continue to find the products and manage the business while the sales force offers a full range of products and information for an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. The products are continually evolving, but the original concept of finding the newest innovations and providing the most accessible education is the core of the Green Store’s mission and the key to its popularity and longevity.

We invite you to stop by on Nov. 23. We will have refreshments and a cake-cutting at 2 p.m., along with prizes and special guests. Three nonprofit organizations, the Mabel Wadsworth Center, The Game Loft, and the Waldo County Woodshed, will be the recipients of our 25th anniversary “give-back” to the community. Customers who shop with us from Nov. 23 through 25 will have the opportunity at the register to receive “Green Bucks” representing 25 percent of your purchase and to choose which of our recipients you would like us to give those Green Bucks to.

We look forward to seeing you!

Ellie Daniels

Belfast