Some Waldo County towns in DEP PFAS investigation

The Department of Environmental Protection is launching a statewide PFAS investigation, according to an Oct. 12 story in the Portland Press Herald, and recently released a list of 34 towns, including several in Waldo County, that are high-priority testing sites for contamination. PFAS are the toxic “forever” chemicals that you can’t see, taste or smell in your water, but can cause cancers, liver and kidney disorders, and more. These communities were identified as high priority because of the amount of PFAS-contaminated sludge that was spread there as fertilizer.

To find out if your water is contaminated, it needs to be tested specifically for PFAS. There are currently no Maine labs accredited to test for these chemicals. If you live in Brooks, Jackson, Knox, Thorndike or Unity, we encourage you to have the DEP test your water, especially if you are near sites where sludge was spread. Community Action Works partners with residents impacted by environmental problems like PFAS pollution to build community power for change. If you want to learn more or would like support dealing with PFAS contamination, contact dana@communityactionworks.org.

Dana Colihan

Maine State Director

Community Action Works

Portland

Poetry Festival says thanks

The 16th Annual Belfast Poetry Festival Committee would like to heartily thank everyone who attended the festival on Zoom this year. We have had wonderful feedback and are delighted with the quality of the work presented. Attendees specifically mentioned how much they enjoyed hearing about the process used by each set of collaborators.

We would also like to thank all of the artists — poets, visual artists, installation artists — who worked together and participated in this year’s festival. We are honored that you chose to take part and moved by the powerful work shared with our community. We’d also like to thank this year’s winners of the Belfast Postmark Poetry Contest for sharing their work. The poems were indeed superlative.

In addition we’d like to commend those individuals who led afternoon workshops as part of the festival: Julia Bouwsma, Judy Kaber and Maya Stein. The workshops were well organized and had good attendance. All responses we have received have been positive.

Finally, we would especially like to thank all of those who supported the festival financially, either directly or with in-kind assistance: First National Bank, the city of Belfast, Belfast Free Library, The Maine Review and Waterfall Arts. Without this support, the continued success of the Belfast Poetry Festival would not be possible.

The Belfast Poetry Festival Committee

Judy Kaber, Belfast Poet Laureate

Brenda Harrington

Jefferson Navicky

Jacob Fricke

Absentee voters, beware

Until 2014, I always voted in person in Belfast. Then I started traveling for work, so I have switched to absentee voting. I’ve successfully voted in every election until this referendum.

I am working in Wisconsin. Using the Maine government online site, I requested an absentee ballot Oct. 20, and I received confirmation that it was mailed Oct. 21. As I sit here Oct. 31, my ballot has not arrived, and I realize that I will not be able to vote. Even if my ballot showed up tomorrow, I cannot get it back in time.

Is there an individual in the city office who thought I didn’t deserve to vote because of my party affiliation, and dropped my ballot behind the file cabinet rather than mail it?

Is there an individual in the post office who believes that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, and did their patriotic duty by ditching my ballot somewhere?

Is there a systemic policy in the post office to delay delivery of mail that is plainly identified as a ballot?

When my husband puts something in the mail, it takes three or four days to arrive in Wisconsin. So what happened to my ballot?

There is something rotten here. This is a blatantly devious way of disenfranchising voters.  I personally will never again rely on the state web service to request a ballot, nor the post office. I will have my husband pick it up in person, put it in an unmarked envelope, and send it to me. Let this be a warning to any of you who hope to do absentee voting in 2022.

Amy Fradel, F.N.P.

Belfast