Letters, April 11

Apr 11, 2013

Teens questioning sexuality need support

No suicide has a single cause, but verbal harassment by peers was certainly a factor in a middle school student's tragic decision to end their life last week in Troy. The family’s report that this young person was questioning their sexuality underscores this tragedy, highlighting the reality that LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) youth comprise an unacceptably large percentage of youth suicides in Maine.

Middle schools are the newest institutions coping with our changing culture. At increasingly younger ages, our country’s youth are receiving messages about and exploring their own sexuality. Research has taught us that differently gendered or oriented children know they are different before the age of 10. The need for training for our school teachers and administrators in the sexuality issues of this younger age group is considerable.

Maine’s new anti-bullying legislation is an important first step. Yet, helping all of our kids feel welcomed in our schools requires more than anti-bullying policies. All children who are bullied, regardless of the reason, need adults who are willing to take notice, step up and speak out at the first sign of trouble.

For LGBTQ youth, we need to provide visible and audible reminders that LGBTQ people are well represented in our communities: teachers, other community leaders, authors, inventors, bankers, etc. They need safe spaces that provide a place for them to explore who they are and how they can stand tall in our communities. They need help and support in finding their voice and how they can best contribute to our community at large.

Out! As I Want to Be provides affirmation, support, guidance, advocacy, and education to LGBTQ young people and their allies aged 14-22 in Midcoast Maine and its offshore islands. We offer an evening drop-in for members in Rockland every Wednesday and Friday. We are often a lifeline for isolated rural youth through our 800 number: 530-6997.

We grieve that we don’t reach every LGBTQ youth in need. Last Friday, our youth members responded to news of the Mount View student’s experience by initiating the drafting of letters to fellow young people urging them not to consider suicide. As a community, we need to provide alternatives to suicide.

Out! is working to establish GSTA’s (Gay/Straight/Trans/Alliances) and safe spaces in all of our schools. Join us in our grief and in our work to build communities where all of our kids can thrive. Together, we can build on our state’s support for equality for all to make our schools and communities safe, supportive environments for each and every youth.

Dora Lievow,

President, Board of Directors

Out! As I Want to Be

Account of town meeting was unfair

As a resident and one of the many people who actually took the time and effort to research commercial wind in small communities I couldn't help but be disappointed with your reporting of the Frankfort town meeting. Your reporter chose to identify only two of the people he actually spoke with.

First was Ruth Allen, one of the non-resident landowners who actually lives in a town with a much more restrictive wind ordinance than what was written in Frankfort.

The second was Shawn Stone, who had been promised that he would profit from the project and has fought against the ordinance from the start. His assumption that the ordinance should not have been done the way it was is absurd and should have been challenged. The six-person committee was actually approved at a town meeting and spent months of their time researching and writing the ordinance. All the meetings and discussions were held in public and the minutes from every meeting were posted, both in print form and online. There are also audio/video recordings of all the meetings.

The most objectionable was [your reporter's] misrepresentation of Ken Lindell's statement. Ken actually explained clearly what the consent decree would and wouldn't do. It was much more than "let them spend more money on lawyers."

In the past the Journal has been fair in its reporting of this contentious situation in Frankfort. For over two years we have been a town in turmoil and all of us would like to see that come to an end. Like many small Maine towns, we have been invaded by these developers looking to make a quick fortune at taxpayer expense.

Robert Sousa

Frankfort

Frankfort votes No (a response to Ruth Allen)

I think the comment made by Ruth Allen, one of the plaintiffs in the current lawsuit [against the town of Frankfort over wind turbines] is on target in one respect. Ms. Allen states that “no one” should be told what they can do with their land. The key words here being “no" and "one.” By trying to push through wind farms on Mt. Waldo the [plaintiffs] in this suit are telling those of us who live near the mountain what “they” can do with their land, which is accept huge losses in their property values, and they can forget about using their property for anything involving human habitation. No one in their right mind would build a home in close proximity to a wind farm.

“The American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) sums it up this way,

It starts off saying: “Everyone has the right to the use and enjoyment of his property," and continues by stating, “Usury and any other form of exploitation of man by man is prohibited by law.”

Use of land for wind farms prohibits “enjoyment” and exploits nearby residents!

Over two years ago Eolian was likely invited into the town by a few landowners who had the opportunity to make money by leasing their land to them. The biggest attraction to Frankfort was not location, or Mount Waldo. The biggest attraction for the wind company was its vulnerability. Eolian came to town and preached the gospel according to them. But fortunately there were some in town who investigated Eolian's claims and brought the results of their research to light. Conclusion; Wind turbines destroy lives and serenity when situated in close proximity to residences!

At that time close proximity was described as within a 1-1/2-mile radius, but more recent studies being conducted in Europe indicate that disruptions caused by wind turbines may be experienced as far away as three to six miles, depending on conditions.

So what’s the problem after three votes? It's simply about money! Few bring up the “green” aspects of wind turbines or cheap electricity, because those claims have already been debunked. The nightmares endured by those living next to wind turbines, however, have been well established. People who were once proponents and naively invited wind farms into their towns are now suffering the consequences of their decisions.

No one blames the landowners for acting on an opportunity to make money from their land; however, when that opportunity negatively impacts the lives of an entire town they should be willing to reconsider.

So yes, Ruth, you’re correct! As a landowner you have a right to protect the value of your property, but so do those who stand to lose the most! The plaintiffs can ignore the facts or just pretend they aren’t available, but the facts are there. And to ignore them in favor of collecting a few pieces of silver says, “We care nothing about those whose lives will be negatively impacted by our actions.”

Milton Florest

Frankfort

Thanks Searsport Planning Board for putting citizens first

A big round of thanks to the all-volunteer Searsport Planning Board for all the time spent studying the LPG tank application. Thanks also to the hundreds of concerned citizens who also did their homework, attended Planning Board meetings, spoke out, went to 11 nights of hearings, wrote letters, songs, poems, spoke to local governments, broadcast through social media, and demonstrated in Searsport and Belfast.

On the same night the application was turned down, a gas facility operated by DCP Midstream in Oklahoma exploded and caused an evacuation of homes within a mile radius.

This unfortunate incident reinforces the findings these past two weeks of the Searsport Planning Board regarding the mega-tank: that it would be unsafe and unhealthful; too close to existing homes and businesses and cause an unreasonable burden on Searsport’s and regional municipal departments. We are thankful the Board put the health and safety of Midcoast residents first and foremost. At the end of the meeting last week area citizens showed their appreciation by clapping and giving the Planning Board a standing ovation. Thank you, Bruce, Lee-Ann, Brian, Cindy, Mark and George.

Ken Agabian

Searsport

Protecting children from guns

The big talk of the day is protecting children and gun control. How do we protect our children? How do we control guns? These are the questions of the day. The answer is elusive at best, so we muddle on in the best interest of our country, nation, state, county, town and family.

The Maine law, Child Protection Act, is title 22 M.R.S.A. Chapter 1071. This is a guiding light that has always been selectively utilized by those in authority or power. It would help our cause if we could perform with a consistency of action. Can we use guiding principles for making decisions? Is it possible to be consistent in decision making? "I think therefore I am"?

The Child Protection Act states: "ss4002 definitions: 6) Definitions: 'Jeopardy to health or welfare' or 'jeopardy' means serious abuse or neglect, as evidenced by: serious harm or threat of serious harm. ... '10) "Serious harm" means A) serious injury; B) serious mental or emotional injury which now or in the future is likely to be evidenced by serious mental, behavioral or personality disorder, including severe anxiety, depression, or withdrawal, untoward aggressive behavior, seriously delayed development or similar serious dysfunctional behavior. 11) Serious injury: "Serious injury" means serious physical injury or impairment.' " This is the standing law in Maine for child protection. Using the word to be defined in the definition is certainly contrary to the rules of English, but this is compliments of our distinguished and esteemed Legislature.

Protecting our children and guns in school are of paramount concern. So I ask the question: "Who was the first to bring guns into the school"? and the answer is: "a police officer."

In 1980 I was working for the state of Maine as a child protective worker doing social work in the Newport area. The chief of Police was a fine man. He had retired from the Boston P.D. and settled in Maine. He told me that the hardest part of his job was when children were involved. He was very pleased to refer cases to me, over the years we became friends. One day we were to meet at Newport Elementary School for a P.E.T. student evaluation. I waited with the principal in the lobby for the chief to arrive. He entered the school with a gun in his holster. I put up my hands and blocked his entrance with my body and said loudly; "Stop, guns are not allowed in school! The chief had a puzzled look on his wise face and said: "I never thought of it, but you're right, it gives the children the wrong message, monkey see, monkey do."

He left the school and came back without a weapon on his hip. He thanked me for helping him "realize the impact such an act could have on the children, actions speak louder than words." He is the finest police chief I have known and I was honored to have worked with him.

Patrick Quinn

Winterport

Time to care for all of our backyards

With Earth Day fast approaching, it is important to consider how Earth is doing these days. Word that last year was the hottest on record and that, according to Bill McKibben's site, 350.org, the content of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rapidly approaching 400 parts per million (ppm) means that we should all be paying critical attention to our individual carbon footprints. For most of humanity's existence, carbon dioxide content hovered around 270 ppm. Our fossil fuel ways are catching up with us, yet all we hear about is growth, expansion and meeting the promise of domestic and world growth on a planet that now supports over 7 billion people.

The problem with constant growth on a finite planet should be obvious enough -- it cannot happen without dire consequences. That is why ecological scientists agree that we would need at least three more planets like Earth to meet the needs of everyone on Earth if they all lived at the level of consumption that citizens in the United States have been living over the last 50 years or so. With the economic growth in billion-person societies like China and India we have to be wondering what message we have been sending to the rest of the world. Of course we have wanted the rest of the world to be like us, because we are sure that we got it right. Well, we all agree that democracy is right, but what about capitalism? It becomes a serious question of "What is enough to make us happy?" That's a question we all have to be asking ourselves, for the sake of the planet.

I joined the fray concerning the East/West Corridor proposal when friends I have recently made in the Dexter-Garland-Charleston area told me that their towns were the newest in line for this proposed swath from Calais to Coburn Gore, or Canada to Canada. The group leading the charge to stop the Corridor is Stop the Corridor.com. They mobilized last year in the wake of this latest attempt to carve a path across the belly of Maine. What really inflamed these newest victims of a threat to their cherished properties and lifestyles was a remark in February from the Corridor project manager that it was essentially a done deal. The exact comment included, "... it's going to happen." I am sure that readers know how they would feel if this kind of arrogance were aimed at them in a similar situation. He has since withdrawn the comment.

This brings me to the not-in-my-back-yard concept of living. Those of us who came to Maine to get away from the "lower 48" appreciate the four-season beauty that surrounds us. We would like to keep Maine "the way life should be," rather than the way profiteers from outside think it should be. We have deep roots rather than fat wallets. That's why I propose that we now consider the new concept not in our back yard. This means that we are concerned beyond our little world; rather, we are concerned about our neighbors, near and far. That is why I was thrilled when I heard that the proposed 22-million-gallon LPG tank at Mack Point was being withdrawn. It gives hope to those of us in the Corridor struggle that if we all work together to maintain this environmental haven that is Maine, then we and our children and their children will be able to enjoy what surrounds us every day.

Gerald Amelotte

Troy

Withhold taxes that pay for war

The U.S. Department of Defense should really be called the Department of Offense, because our military is intimidating and killing millions in other countries. These nations are not a threat to us; we are threatening them. We are feared, not respected, around the world.

We have destabilized democratically elected governments just because they don’t want to play ball exactly by our rules, and propped up dictators who cooperate. We have also caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

So that I’m not accused of being an accomplice to these murders, I have refused to pay any federal income taxes to the federal government for over 30 years. I will continue to do that again this April, because the killing continues. I don't keep that money; I send it to programs that are short-changed because so much goes to the Pentagon.

I encourage others who don’t want to be accomplices or who think U.S. policy toward other countries is criminal not to pay income taxes this year or in future years as well.

Larry Dansinger

Monroe

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