Letters, Dec. 19

Dec 19, 2019

Trump v. Thunberg

Donald Trump's mockery of Greta Thunberg and her Time magazine Person of the Year award tells us all we need to know about our president's character -- if anyone this side of consciousness is still wondering. And let's remember his having created a Time cover featuring himself as Person of the Year: quite the perfect illustration of delusional egomania.

Mike Silverton

Belfast

Columnist did not get his facts straight

The Nov. 28 “Opinion” article by Randall Poulton had some glaring errors about Medicare coverage as it presently exists.

When he was trying to get an “out of pocket” cost for a car accident, he came up with $2,010 total, but $1,625 of that total was for a five-day stay at a hospital. All hospital stays are covered by Part “A” of Medicare, as he said in his third paragraph. If you chose “Supplemental” coverage, you would have 80% paid by Part “A” and the rest (20%) paid by the supplemental part. That eliminates that $1,625 out-of-pocket cost. I am no expert on Medicare billing, but I do know this.

I would ask people to get their information from Medicare directly about their case. Call 1-800- Medicare (or 633-4277). Also contact online at Medicare.gov.

Medicare “A” and “B” plus supplemental is much preferable to private insurance and to Medicare Advantage plans that are seen advertised a lot. I recently met a woman who had a cancer diagnosis at 58 and had insurance through her work. She had to go on disability and then continue her insurance through COBRA with a very high premium until Medicare became available for her. She had many thousands in medical costs that the private insurance did not cover. Compare that to another person who had a cancer diagnosis at 67 with surgery, hospitalization ,and “chemo” treatments at a local Cancer Center with day visits only. Her Medicare part “A” and “B” plus a good Supplemental coverage paid all these treatments at 100%, so she had no out of pocket costs!

Patients who have the so called “Medicare Advantage” plans are misled by the advertising and find that the small print, (which most people don’t read) tells them they will have co-pays. If you are worried about out of pocket costs when choosing a Medicare plan, think of Advantage plans built by the profit-making insurance companies as an “advantage” for them, not you!

I have a difficult time believing Randall Poulton's opinions about Medicare for All, notice I did not say “free.” He needs to educate himself more before he can change anyone's mind. And please, don’t give the pitch from salespeople that will lead people on a path that can cost them a lot more money!

Those of us who have Medicare love it, especially as we get older, and would not go back to profit-making insurance companies, ever!

Art Shea

Brooks

Correcting a typo

It has come to our attention that there was a typo in the full page ad placed The Republican Journal and The Free Press this week.

As the person who presented this information to the Belfast Planning Board during testimony for the permits, I would correct "cubic yards" to be "cubic feet," and the number of 10-yard dump truck loads to be 21,500 loads out of the site, for Phase One only. Here is the testimony:

“Phase One alone will construct 414,450 square feet of building. If an average of excavation depth of 14 feet was needed throughout, this would be 5.8 million cubic feet of soil to be removed from the site, and an equal amount to be brought in to replace it. I am told by a dump truck owner that a cubic yard (27 cubic feet) of soil weighs an average of 3,000 pounds, and a construction dump truck can carry 10 yards of that material. That leads me to realize that during the construction phase, we will experience the removal and replacement of up to 215,000 cubic yards of soil weighing up to 322,500 tons and requiring more than 21,500 dump loads to move it offsite, and a similar number of dump loads to bring suitable fill onsite. For Phase One.”

We apologize for the typo and the confusion,

Ellie Daniels,

on behalf of the Friends of Harriet L. Hartley Conservation Area

Ad contained inaccuracies

Last week, the papers sported a full-page advertisement touting all the horrible, no-good, very bad things Nordic Aquafarms would bring and do to Belfast. it is loaded with inaccuracies and fearmongering.

For example:

It claims the operation has “a lifespan of only 30 years.”

Not true. The buildings will be “state-of-the-art, in-top-form” for about 30 years. Then, just like with your home, it will start needing upgrades and repairs. Hardly the same as being obsolete at 30.

Piped water “heating the bay”?

These people make it sound like Nordic is a giant teapot spewing boiling water. Cold-loving fish are swimming in this water up until it’s sent out the pipes, how hot can it be? It will be within the natural variance found in the bay itself.

“43,000 dump truck trips during construction - can Rt 1 take it?”

The ME-DOT averages 8,220- 22,000 vehicles on Route 1 every day. Nordic will add less than a one-percent increase in traffic. Route 1 can take it.

They also aim to scare with threat of “loss of income from tourism, short-term rentals, recreation, and decreased property values”. If anything, visitors will be intrigued to see such an operation, which is why Nordic is building an education center right at the entrance to the property: Belfast’s own little aquatic science center, paid for and maintained by Nordic Aquafarms.

Denmark, Norway, Finland, Scotland all view recirculated aquaculture as the most environmentally-friendly way to raise fish for human consumption. Monterey Bay Seafood Watch labels recirculated aquaculture as "Safest to Eat."

The advertisement concludes with a plea for financial support for the new “Harriet L. Hartley Conservation Area” to help pay for the Mabee-Grace challenge over who owns the mudflats in front of the Eckrote household. The collective forces challenging Nordic have already raised an enormous amount of money. Special credit to Upstream Watch for talking Phish drummer Jon Fishman out of $70,000. Do they really need yet another identity to get people to foot the bill for their collective mission of “Stopping Nordic by any means”? If only this band of “activists” would turn their fundraising superpowers to raising money for the soup kitchen or Habitat for Humanity or protecting farmland from rapidly rising property values or any of the real challenges the people of Waldo County face every day. Then we’d be seeing some good done in this world.

Anne K. Saggese

Belfast

Planning Board should hear all pros and cons

As the city began to evaluate the Nordic proposal, I was simply an “interested person.” What I have learned over the last two years first changed my attitude to that of a “strong skeptic” and now a staunch opponent.

Initially citizens were reassured that Nordic’s project would be thoroughly investigated, though it seemed everyone was dazzled by the money. As one councilor said, “Of course … it’s all about the money!”

Evidence mounts, however, of the potential for irreparable damage to our water supply, the air we breathe and the bay that surrounds us.

Currently the project is in front of the Belfast Planning Board. Members are doing their very best in analyzing the material presented. But usually Nordic gets an hour to present, the Planning Board gets an hour to ask questions of Nordic, and only the final hour is given to the public at four to 10 minutes per person. Unfortunately this deprives the board members of hearing in-depth, well-researched information from local people with experience in these fields. These shorter presentations always raise more questions.

At the last Planning Board meeting, a member asked if they (the members) should attend the BEP hearings. The advice given by the city attorney was an emphatic “No!” His explanation was that their final recommendations to the City Council should be based only on what they heard at their own meetings and they should not be seeking information from other sources.

I was appalled! If not allowed to attend the BEP hearings and if the time allowed for independent review at their own meetings is limited, then how can they make a truly informed recommendation to the City Council? It seems to me that not only should the Planning Board be encouraged to attend the BEP hearings, but the City Council as well. After all, it is they who will issue the final permits. I would like to be assured that their decision has been based on having considered all the pros and cons.

For me, this is precisely the issue that has led me to where I am today.

Martha M. Block

Northport

Love lights memorialize loved ones

On Dec. 1, the Love Lights Tree lighting ceremony was held at the First Church of Belfast. Pastors Kate Winters and Joel Krueger led the congregation in a reading of the names of loved ones we have lost but who we will always remember. Now in its third year, the Love Lights Tree helps families and friends keep their loved ones’ memories alive. Donations for the Love Lights are used by the Church to help community members in need.

We want to thank those who attended and supported the Love Lights Tree, especially, Kate and Joel, who planted the tree in 2017. We invite everyone in our community to drive by the First Church and see the beautiful white lights glowing.

Our tree grows each year with your love and light!

Love Lights Tree Committee

First Church in Belfast

Window Dressers says thanks

The 8th annual Window Dressers community workshop is now history and we want to extend our thanks to everyone who made it a great success. In 14 days at the Belfast Boathouse, we made 426 new, polyolefin-wrapped interior storm window inserts and rewrapped 55 older inserts. Close to 150 individual volunteers, including most of our able-bodied customers, built frames and wrapped them, or provided food.

Window Dressers is a volunteer-driven nonprofit that makes these inserts to keep Mainers more comfortable in all types of homes. Our inserts help customers save money on fuel, reduce carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, and we have a great time working together.

This year, Belfast Window Dressers was grateful to receive a grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund that contributed significantly to the costs of inserts for lower income households in Waldo County. Now, 35% of our customers, who could not otherwise pay for inserts, are only asked to donate toward their cost.

We want to extend special thanks to the city of Belfast for allowing us to use the Boathouse again this year and to Norman Poirier, director of Parks and Recreation, for all his support during our workshop.

The following local businesses and churches provided meals, gift cards, cash, crews of volunteers, insert deliveries, wood glue, boxes and more:

Bank of America, Belfast Co-op, Belfast Dental Care, Belfast United Methodist Church, Bell the Cat, Chase’s Daily, Crumbs’ Provisions, Delvino’s Grill and Pasta House, Dockside Family Restaurant, Dunkin’, Eat More Cheese, Green Store, Hannaford supermarkets, Harborwalk Restaurant, John’s Ice Cream, Moonbat City Baking, Nautilus Seafood & Grill, St. Francis Catholic Church, Unitarian-Universalist Church of Belfast, Viking Lumber, and Waldo County Technical Center.

For more information about Window Dressers, visit windowdressers.org.

Corliss Davis

Local Coordinator

Belfast

Hoping for a better 2020

Well, there is a lot to be thankful for in Belfast during 2019:

1) The Nordic Aquafarms project is alive, despite a constant barrage of opposition from the resistance organization, Upstream Watch, headed by Amy Grant. Say hi to Amy at the Farmers' Market Good Karma Farms table and let her know that “The Fish are OK.”

2) Samantha Paradis, the self described “queer” mayor of Belfast, decides not to run for a second term, knowing full well that she wore out her welcome in Belfast. Less globetrotting and self-promotion would have served her well. Heck, she couldn't even get a “Motorcycle Parking Area” designated at the harbor, one of many “low hanging fruit” projects around the city.

3) The new Public Works facility was built and opened up this year. Better 10 years late than never. Nice job by the city manager and the public works director.

4) Paul Naron, the owner of The United Farmers' Market, has his dream of the harbor project bringing two new restaurants, more retail opportunities and a massive expansion of the marina killed by the Council. The city got its beloved permanent easement, but balked at his request for a view easement. So the city gets its easement, but kills the deal for three lousy trees along the waterfront. Bring on the chainsaws.

5) Joe Slocum decides to retire early as the city manager. Always on his best behavior in front of the council, he assumes an adversarial attitude dealing with the public. He was never a legal resident of the city he managed for 13 years, saving thousands of dollars in property taxes. We can only hope that the council does better with the new city manager.

Well, we can only hope that 2020 will bring positive change. Change is good!

Eric Schrader

Belfast

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