A hearty failure

I have been following the news about negotiations between the city of Belfast and Nordic Aquafarms Inc. to acquire, through the process of eminent domain, the personal properties owned by a number of Belfast residents.

These recent actions by the city councilors, city mayor and city attorney have reached an all-time low point in their duty to serve and honor the people of this beautiful city.

Their determined pursuit of what is clearly a benefit to a foreign corporation has undermined public trust. They have shifted allegiances to fully support an international venture capitalist plan for an already antiquated and proven environmentally destructive method of raising fish on land.

It is astounding that they have unanimously agreed to pursue such an egregious action as eminent domain, hand-in-hand with Nordic Aquafarms Inc.

I wish them a hearty and full failure in these efforts.

Conny Hatch

Belfast

Social Security needs more staff

Recently U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, called for the reopening of Social Security offices to the public, an action long overdue.

There is a major problem, however, in that the Social Security Administration doesn’t have enough staff to barely answer the phone, let alone process claims. Most incoming phone calls will get a message stating that most things can be done at home on one’s own computer. When SSA wants to save money, it cuts staff, not salaries, and substitutes computer programs¬† so the public can do the work.

Many people have cost themselves millions by doing their own online retirement claims. Conversely, many folks have also been overpaid by selecting the wrong month to claim benefits. These problems pale in comparison to filing online disability claims.

Filing for disability benefits is a complex process and a person filing a claim online can cause many problems. I personally know someone who filed their own claim and cost themselves over $30,000 by answering one question incorrectly. There should be a face-to-face interview somewhere in the claims process, either by an SSA employee or a disability examiner. A study done three years ago by the National Organization of Social Security Representatives found that over 7,800 people died waiting for their cases to be heard. One could assume that these people had serious illnesses. No one should have to hire a lawyer to get them the benefits they deserve.

Recently an online program was introduced to enable people to apply for Social Security’s SSI welfare program. How many homeless people carry a laptop computer?

Lastly, there will be thousands of complex survivor claims due to COVID deaths. At the current staffing levels, the backlogs could be staggering!

Peter Clifford

Northport

Heartfelt thanks

My thanks today go to the medical professionals in Belfast, including Dr. Benjamin B. Mailloux at Waldo County General Hospital, for his knowledge and expertise, and also for listening to his patients! The staff of his office went way beyond the call of duty in seeing me there for my COVID shot. Those in his offices, clinics, all of the medical professional people, the clerical staff, cleaners and others all do their jobs in such a way as to make people feel they matter.

Of course, the 1950s music was very much to my husband’s liking as he waited for me. I thought of notes, candy, flowers, but then, The Republican Journal was the answer to express my gratitude. Again, my thanks to all of those who used their gifts and talents to make my life better. I hope I will always find the time and words to give credit where it’s due.

Brenda Lee Terry

Brooks

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