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I am a Belfast resident and a longtime reader of The Republican Journal, and I feel compelled to reach out to the paper’s editors and writers in regard to the opinion piece "In world of lefts, NASCAR's ban of Confederate flag right turn." This column by Zack Miller, known as "Miller Time," is a concise commentary on NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flag, which is widely considered to be a hate symbol, at all of its events and properties. Aside from the fact that I personally agree with Mr. Miller's opinions in this article, the writing is not why I am reaching out with concern.

As clearly outlined in this piece, the Confederate flag has a very divisive history in the United States, but ultimately represents the southern states who did not agree with the abolition of slavery. In addition to the flag’s widespread historical display in the South, it is alarmingly present here. For The Republican Journal’s staff to approve of (and publish) a large, 5” x 3” image of the Confederate flag in the Sports & Community section, is not only disturbing but a hate symbol that already lies deep in public consciousness.

The essence of the article is in support of the ban, so I am very confused as to why the flag was ever considered to accompany the column, as it debases Mr. Miller’s argument. Whether or not one reads the article, it is alarming to view the flag whilst casually flipping through your local newspaper.

I implore designers and editors involved in the addition of the flag to reflect on their role in propagating a hate symbol in a publication. I urge these individuals and the Republican Journal on the whole to consider its biases and shortcomings that allowed this hate symbol to be published, and to apologize to the community publicly in the form of a retraction. Furthermore, The Republican Journal should consider its responsibility to provide a broad range of perspectives and voices, especially in relation to race and ethnicity.

I look forward to hearing a public response to these concerns.

Emma Bowe


Give Erin a chance

I was sad to see a scathing and divisive letter in the June 25 Republican Journal regarding the recent appointment of Erin Herbig as our new city manager. The disrespectfully stated summary of her credentials and worthiness was obviously based upon limited information regarding the fine person that she is.

Erin is a talented, thoughtful, kind, fair and experienced leader who will undoubtedly wisely help to guide Belfast into this most uncertain future that we all face. Erin is from Belfast and she knows and loves Belfast. We are lucky to have her working with and for us all. Please, instead of judging Erin, we should each look into how we can help Belfast move forward. Generating division in our community does not help us move forward in unity.

Joanne Moesswilde


Name forts for Maine’s Union generals

At present, 10 military installations are named for defeated Confederate generals, such as forts Benning, Bragg and Hood. The time is now ripe to rename them for successful Union generals, including the three Maine Civil War major generals who were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Rockland native Maj. Gen. Adelbert Ames graduated from West Point in May 1861. Soon afterward in July he participated in the First Battle of Bull Run in which action he received the Medal of Honor. He later commanded the famous 20th Maine Regiment at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, followed by serving with distinction at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 as a brigade commander. After the war he served as the provisional military governor of Mississippi, where he took steps to advance the rights of newly freed slaves. He was the last surviving full-rank Civil War general when he died in 1933 at age 97!

Ames’s second in command of the 20th Maine was Lt. Col. Joshua Chamberlain (later a major general) who led the regiment at Gettysburg where he was awarded the Medal of Honor for holding the extreme left flank of the Union line at Little Round Top on July 2, 1863. In 1865 he was selected by the victorious Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to command the Union troops at the surrender of Lee’s army at Appomattox. After the war he served as a Republican governor of Maine and president of Bowdoin College. He died in 1914 at age 85 from an old war wound.

Another Maine general who fought at Gettysburg was O. O. Howard. Howard was born in Leeds and graduated from West Point in 1854. At the Battle of Fair Oaks in 1862 he was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism and had his right arm amputated. After the war he remained in the Army. He was appointed commissioner of the Freeman’s Bureau whose job it was to help newly freed slaves with food, clothing and shelter. However, he is best known for co-founding the prestigious and historically Black Howard University in Washington, D.C. The university was named after him, and he served as its president from 1869 to 1874. He retired from the Army in 1894 and died in 1909 at age 88.

More than two dozen Mainers served as Civil War generals. Renaming one or more of the forts after them would recognize Maine’s sacrifices in the war to end slavery in which about 80,000 Maine men served, of which an estimated 9,400 died and an additional 11,000 were disabled from wounds or diseases.

Rodney Lynch


Curry understands education needs

I am writing to express my support for Chip Curry to represent Waldo County in the Maine Senate.

I first met Chip when he advised on challenges and opportunities with the Americorp program through the Maine Commission for Community Service. When he made a 2-hour trip to my office for an early morning meeting to provide guidance on staffing challenges, he arrived with his usual positive “can-do” attitude. He listened well and left having built relationships and offered solutions that worked. I have remained impressed since then with his work ethic, integrity and dedication as I have grown to know him in his work at URock and his community volunteer activities.

As Waldo County senator, Chip will focus on what makes a positive difference in the well-being of all Waldo County families and individual residents. He will bring his vast experience in working with a variety of community-building efforts, and he will help give voice to the voiceless and the many residents who need someone at the state level to advocate for affordable, accessible health care, broadband access and property tax relief.

As an education professional, I am particularly excited about Chip’s understanding of the lifelong education needs of Waldo County residents. This includes raising the state contribution to K-12 schools to the 55% level mandated by the people of Maine, so that high-quality rural education doesn’t mean ever-increasing local property taxes. His vision extends to the needs of adult learners for a community college in Waldo County that will help the many residents who need easy access to education that leads to high-wage, high-growth fields in the trades, technology, health care, and our heritage industries such as ship building, farming, fisheries and aquaculture.

Denise Pendleton


Dodge puts the 'servant' in 'public servant'

I have made several choices in the past couple of years that I have come to regret. One choice I certainly do not regret making is that of supporting Jan Dodge for state representative.

Jan continues to be one of those rare public servants who recognize the "servant" part of the position. The office does not say "public ruler" or "public empress." I have been impressed by the fact that Jan has been a quiet laborer, as opposed to one who blew her own trumpet when negotiating to get bills passed.

I am further impressed that she was patiently cautious in her rookie term. She has carefully avoided the "foods rush in" syndrome.

I will not list every bill that Jan sponsored or co-sponsored, but merely say that she has consistently championed education, senior issues and causes for the disenfranchised, including the disabled, the young and the recovering. She has asked me what causes I feel she should examine. Her personal approach is so much more human than that of the robo-solicitors so common today.

Of course, we all have our own biased wishes and wants for our legislators. But this is what I can say: In each of Jan's endeavors, there is a constant presence of building up, adding to and supporting something. I applaud the most someone who is not about negating, detracting and tearing down.

I hope you will consider supporting this kind, caring listener in her quest to continue serving.

J. Michael Lawson


There is an answer

To resolve the animus, division and hatred that is presently destroying our country, there is a solution. And it's not found in something new. It is, in fact, found in something that is an old and intricate part of the fabric of our country that has been lost.

It's a value system that encourages love above all things. It teaches us that the answer to our problems is not in trying harder but in loving more.

To look not at the color of one's skin but at the condition of one's heart. And even when looking at a person's heart, to extend the same mercy we would like to have from others.

This design encourages hope, tolerance, kindness and gentleness in a culture as well as in the individual.

It distinguishes between behavior and the person, recognizing that none of us is perfect. But it gives a target of perfection along with forgiveness when we can't (or won't) hit it.

The answer — the solution to the calamity that has befallen our country — is Jesus. Living by His words will lead our people back into unity and away from hatred, fighting and division. Whatever differences we might have will be blanketed by compassion and we can learn to love again. We can then grow as people and as a nation.

David Hirschfeld


Sweet has the vision

I enthusiastically support Betsy Sweet in the Democratic Primary July 14.

Betsy has spent the last 37 years advocating for policies that are now in the spotlight. I met Betsy at a Belfast town hall meeting last September. I was immediately struck by her energy and values. Betsy had thoughtful conversations with us and I trust her to listen to constituents. I also trust her steadfast dedication to working for a better life for all Mainers, especially those who have been hit hard by poverty and prejudice.

Betsy has joined Black Lives Matter around the state. She addresses systemic racism and policing on livestreams and virtual town halls. As our senator, Betsy would immediately advocate to prohibit racial profiling, eliminate arming the police with military weapons and end the qualified immunity doctrine.

Here's why I trust Betsy to hit the ground running with a progressive agenda. In 1983 Betsy successfully challenged the Democratic governor to enact the first raise in Maine's minimum wage in years while she served as the commissioner for women. In 1986 she wrote and helped pass the first Family Medical Leave Act in the U.S. In 1996 she created the first publicly financed campaign system in the country. She has worked on every Maine budget for 37 years, for fair representation for all Mainers.

When I compare Betsy Sweet and Sara Gideon, I see that: Betsy supports the Green New Deal, which will provide new, sustainable jobs and target the climate crisis. Sara doesn't support the Green New Deal. Betsy supports Medicare for all so that health care is not tied to employment. Sara wants to tweak the Affordable Care Act. Betsy is fighting against the corrupting influence of money in politics. She is not accepting corporate PAC donations. Betsy's allegiance is to us. Sara has over $14 million in donations, mostly from out of state, because she has been championed by the DSCC, DNC, corporate donors and PACs. Where is Sara's allegiance?

Betsy has the experience, dedication, vision and heart that we need.

Rachel Herbener


Where are you, Sara Gideon?

To her credit, Sen. Susan Collins co-authored the CARES Act and Payment Protection Program that has provided $2 billion in COVID-19 crisis relief to Maine small businesses and 100,000 Maine employees. What Sen. Collins is not getting credit for is the disbursement to our state of $1.25 billion in much-needed second wave federal funding allocated under her co-sponsored SMART Act.

According to Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, these funds, vital to funding ongoing operations of Maine towns and communities, are sitting in limbo in the bank because neither Gov. Mills nor Rep. Gideon has decided on how they should be spent. New Hampshire did not have such a problem and managed to get the funds out quickly and effectively. Maine burns while Gov. Mills and House Leader Sara Gideon fiddle.

On May 4, state Sen. Jeff Timberlake and three other Republican legislators requested that Speaker Gideon reconvene the Legislature, to no avail. Furthermore, Gov. Mills prohibited his May 27 request for a formal meeting of the Labor and Housing Committee with Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman to address the disbursement deadlock.

Could this be foot-dragging by the Mills administration to bloody up the Trump administration's efforts to alleviate the hardships of this pandemic, in effect making Mainers pawns in some partisan power struggle with Washington? For the party that celebrates a crisis as an opportunity, wouldn't making the crisis worse make it an even bigger opportunity?

Certainly, we see no urgency by the governor to meet with the Legislative Council, nor is Speaker Gideon pressing to call the Maine Legislature into emergency session. So, where are you, anyway, Sara Gideon?

David G. Reed

Rockport and Belfast

Thanks to teachers

Please allow me to extend my heartfelt appreciation to the kind and caring teachers of Searsport Elementary School who have gone out of their way to reach into the remote world of my nonverbal, autistic grandson. Their daily smiles and personal hugs brought the joy of learning to a sweet 6-year-old who blossomed in their care. Indeed, the entire Regional School Unit 20 Special Ed Department should be congratulated for their warm, forward thinking approach to education.

Less than a week ago these wonderful teachers dropped by Marc's home in Stockton Springs to wish him a happy summer and leave him with a handmade paper heart. Many thanks to teachers Lane, Wilbur, Stone and Banks for your thoughtfulness. Searsport is fortunate to have an excellent program, and we are lucky to have you as Marc's teachers.

Melinda Anglin

Montgomery County, Maryland

Impressed by Curry

I have known Chip Curry and his wife since we moved to Belfast over eleven years ago. My husband and I have been active supporters of our current state senator, Erin Herbig, and we are engaged voters who would like to see another qualified Democrat take her place. To prepare for the July 14 primary, I have watched two candidates’ debates and we are lucky to have three good people to choose from.

However, as a committed environmentalist I was particularly impressed with the statements made by Chip at the forum sponsored by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby on June 13.

Chip has done his homework and strongly supports high standards from the Maine Climate Council. He will be watching to make sure that they push for bold changes that will ensure that as a state we reach the goal of reducing our carbon output by 80% by 2050. He sees climate change as “the most obvious threat to our health and well-being” and does not want to see small, incremental changes or fuzzy math coming from the council.

Chip knows that dealing with climate change will be a decades-long effort beyond any one political party. He has a vision of Maine developing our own renewable energy and becoming a leader in our region.

I will be supporting Chip Curry for Senate District 11 in the Democratic primary on July 14 and urge you to do the same.

Corliss C. Davis

Belfast ME

Promises made, promises changed

I remember the controversy in the '80s regarding Ducktrap Mountain, now referred to as Point Lookout. When MBNA in 1996 purchased almost 400 acres of mountainside overlooking picturesque Penobscot Bay, and proceeded to submit detailed development plans to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, there was much local concern about a loss of wildlife habitat.

This purchase came before Maine DEP. Appeals were filed to Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection by citizens concerned about runoff into Ducktrap River (home to wild Atlantic salmon), the large deer yard, and the cumulative, long-term effects of the overall development on the mountain.

This may sound somewhat familiar as the BEP, citizens, MBNA and attorneys debated several afternoons in Augusta over the suitability of the proposed activities. The BEP eventually upheld all of the DEP permits, but noted at the last appeal by Coastal Waters Project that cumulative impact was an issue to address.

Go forward 24 years. By this time athenahealth had acquired Point Lookout from the Maryland-based Erickson Foundation, which had, in turn, acquired its Maine real estate from Bank of America, which had acquired its Maine properties from MBNA.

Just last year we learned that Pinnacle Advisory Group, on behalf of Deep Creek Grazing Association, purchased this property. Then just 10 weeks after announcing its acquisition of the property, word arrived that the owners would be closing operations, impacting some 30 employees, and town tax revenue.

Whether by shame at being seen or for liability reasons, one cannot just drive in and see what Ducktrap Mountain looks like now, but if one did, one would see an expansive clear cut operation, where most of the cabins now sit empty amidst stumps. What is there now is a shockingly sterile/barren representation of the fears made by opponents 25 years ago.

Even large corporations, trusted representatives of our capitalistic culture, cannot fulfill promises to provide long-term environmental protections. As owners change, attorneys and regulators debate, and memories fade, is it our culture’s end game to simply assure that all resources will be consumed for capital gain?

John Krueger


Where the action is

I support Betsy Sweet in the Democratic primary election July 14.

Betsy is where the action is. An advocate for 37 years, she knows the issues that face Mainers. This year alone she has joined activists for the climate crisis, Black Lives Matter, gun safety, food sovereignty, justice at our borders, and Medicare for all.

As our senator, Betsy would immediately advocate to prohibit racial profiling, eliminate arming the police with military weapons and end the qualified immunity doctrine.

When I compare Betsy Sweet and Sara Gideon, I see that:

Betsy supports the Green New Deal. Sara does not.

Betsy supports Medicare for all. Sara does not.

Betsy doesn’t accept any corporate PAC donations. Sara has been championed by the Senate Democrats' campaign arm, amassing over $14 million.

I want a senator who has the experience and guts to represent all Mainers, especially those suffering from poverty and prejudice.

Jana Herbener


Gideon eliminated the aisle altogether

I am supporting Speaker of the House Sara Gideon on July 14 in her bid for the U.S. Senate. Sara is the proven leader we need in these turbulent times whose experience, knowledge, and integrity make her the right choice for our state.

Speaker Gideon has always been strong on the issues I care about: the environment, racial justice, health care, education, gun control, immigration, jobs and the economy and more. As speaker, she has worked under governors of both parties, listening to Mainers and getting things done.

Most impressive, she not only works "across the aisle," but in my first term eliminated the aisle all together. Sara Gideon is an impressive leader, and will be a strong voice for Maine in the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Victoria Doudera


D-District 94