Letters, Jan. 14

Jan 14, 2021

Message from the sheriff

As your sheriff here in Waldo County, I want to share with everyone that we are committed to developing community partnerships and programming for the betterment of our community.

Over the past few years, the Sheriff’s Office has worked with our community partners to begin several new programs, including our new Community Liaison program, as well as the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program. Both of these programs are designed to direct the appropriate services to individuals in need in the community while lessening our dependence on incarceration.

We applied and were approved for a grant to create a Community Liaison Program. The program began April 1, 2020. Between April and August, the Community Liaison answered more than 70 calls for service. Many of those calls were to people in crisis from mental health issues or substance use disorders. The program has become so successful, the county Budget Committee and county commissioners approved a second community liaison position in the 2021 budget.

The Sheriff’s Office continues to develop and enhance invaluable partnerships with organizations such as New Hope for Women, the Restorative Justice Project, Volunteers of America, and many mental health and substance use treatment providers, to name a few. The goal for each of these programs is to improve public safety and community health. I want you all to know we are thinking outside of the box to provide the best in law enforcement and correctional services to our community.

Jeffrey Trafton

Sheriff, Waldo County

Sign the petition

The information the supporters of the proposed corridor in Western Maine are selling is neither clean nor honest. First, the pictures of an oil-fired plant dumping what appear to be pollutants into our atmosphere is false, as no plant in our country would be operating for very long if that was the case. Even ships coming into Searsport with waste products from God knows where (another story} must be showing a clean exhaust stack.

Second, the corridor is not intended to bring power to Maine; we already produce more power than we use. It is taking power to Massachusetts.

Third, the promise of lower electric rates. Do you really believe that?

Fourth, the “small footprint into an already working forest." A working forest could be severely cut and in time it will grow back. The miles-long turnpike-size clearcut the corridor supporters envision will never grow back.

It should also be noted that, in order to supply the water power to turn the Canadian turbines, thousands of eastern caribou were drowned when their range was flooded. Look it up, people, the Canadians are not the environmental angels many seem to think.

Maine is a special place. I fear for Maine’s future as more of our citizens are misinformed by deceitful and very wealthy supporters of this ill-advised project. Preserve, protect, defend.

Leo H. Mazerall Jr.

Stockton Springs

Hold Trump accountable

My brother has recently died, and I am struggling with the overlapping images of our relationship, against the backdrop of the president’s words and behavior, QAnon conspiracies, the violent desecration of the U.S. Capitol building, and the cacophony of competing narratives.

Due to my brother’s urgency to share them, I know a lot about his conspiracy narratives and how they came to revolve more and more around the centrality of Donald Trump as the hero in the narrative. What I am unable to understand, much less reconcile, is the bizarre chasm that exists between Donald Trump’s duplicitous words and behaviors and the values and institutions that my brother and those of his persuasion say are important: “personal responsibility,” “law and order,” “individual freedom,” “patriotism.”

To those drawn into conspiracy theories and the thrall of Donald Trump, or who hang your American flags as a patriotic statement of support for “your president,” please do carefully consider whether you can judge truthfully that he has promoted the common good of America, and upheld his Oath of Office these last four years: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

My current American patriot heroes are people like Gold Star father and Pakistani-American immigrant Khizr Khan, who told Donald Trump of his reverence for the United States Constitution; Ukrainian immigrant Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who reassured his father at the 2019 impeachment hearings, that “Here, in the USA, right matters” — and for this he was publicly denounced by the president, and demoted; and my son, Ben, a hero to me for his honorable and transformative decision, as a young man, to serve for five years in the Marine Corps. The extraordinary demands and sacrifice inherent in military service forge an understanding that to be an adult means you have to fulfill your responsibilities, you are accountable for your actions, and, for the good of the whole, you must follow rules that are just.

As any parent of a teenager knows, irresponsible behavior, met with lack of accountability will surely lead to more of the same, and it is a contagion that will spread to others. This we have seen over and over again in the presidency of Donald Trump, and we now have before us ambitious politicians who have learned his tactics of lies and division.

A shared foundation of truth, and the expectation of individual and collective accountability, are American values. They are the mortar that binds us together and gives rise to both freedom and justice. It is at our peril that we give Donald Trump a permanent pass on accountability for his behavior.

Susan Davies

Liberty

We are not helpless

I know that, like me, many of you watched in horror on Wednesday as confrontation at the Captitol building in Washington ended in loss of life and deep sadness for the state of our democracy. After a couple of sleepless nights, I realized that the worst part of a crisis is the feeling that you are helpless. That there is nothing you can do. But that is not true.

First of all, we cannot be silent. Many of us feel we don’t have a voice because we don’t try to use it. It’s time to speak up. In my case, I’m starting with a family member I love and who loves me but has a very different view on politics. Don’t begin with the disagreements, but with the goodness that has been your relationship, and your desire to keep that. It will take courage and patience, but we have to start somewhere. Believe me, every time I try to address this person, my heart beats 90 miles an hour, but I just remember to breathe.

Secondly, find a community where you can speak without fear. Perhaps a faith community that can both challenge and support you, one in which you can turn your feeling of helplessness into action. There was a time when I rejected all church for any number of reasons. Now, I pastor one. Why? Because I discovered that when you find that love (my synonym for God) is at the center of your reason for being, it is impossible to live your purpose alone. Faith communities are schools of love, and I am learning constantly! I feel so much more able to respond to the suffering of the world, the country, to the needs we all have, from within my church community.

And in that vein, I will respond to what happened last Wednesday in part by joining in a vigil of prayer for our national healing on Tuesday before the inauguration of our new president. We will gather outside The First Church in Belfast and speak our prayers, read our poems, bless our silences together as we draw strength from one another for what is to come.

Our being together will ban any sense of helplessness and ready us for whatever loving action is required of us. Please join us — the more, the mightier! We will begin as the clock strikes 5 p.m.

We are not helpless. Together, we are full of hope.

The Rev. Dr. Kate Winters

Co-Pastor

The First Church in Belfast, UCC

Belfast

Bebb announces candidacy

I am writing here so that my neighbors can get to know me better as they consider how to cast their vote in the special election to the Northport Board of Selectmen April 14.

I am Liam’s mom (age 5), wife to Will, and the office administrator at Edward Jones Investments in Lincolnville. My roots are in Down East Maine, and prior to buying our forever home in Northport, we lived in Belfast. There I worked as the executive director of Our Town Belfast, collaborating with the city government, area business owners and volunteers on events, marketing and economic development.

As a board member for the Waldo County Woodshed, I helped get a distribution site established at the Northport Transfer Station. I also manage the site, which means you can find me and other volunteers stacking wood and helping folks in need load their vehicles on Saturday mornings. I have served on our Planning Board for two years and my husband is a volunteer fireman.

My interest in serving on the Board of Selectmen comes from a deep gratitude to be living in a close-knit town with quality services like our transfer station, fire department and EMS, a great K-8 school, and reasonable property taxes. As a young couple starting out, we were able to find a good home we could afford here. We can walk to Saturday Cove, bike to the store, and are a short drive from spending a summer afternoon at Knight’s Pond.

Giving back is important to me, and I believe I would do so effectively as your selectman. I will be a helpful resource to my neighbors, as well as a careful steward of our tax dollars and of the many things that make Northport such a nice place to live.

I’d love to listen to your thoughts on our town, and can be reached at breanna.pinkham@gmail.com or 323-9100.

Breanna Pinkham Bebb

Northport

Responds to Nordic ad

In its Jan. 7 Republican Journal ad, Nordic Aquafarms says it will create 150 Belfast jobs. First Nordic said it was 60 jobs, then 60-100 jobs. Now it's 150 jobs. Nordic has never explained this magically expanding number, and in any event Belfast doesn't have the expertise to fill many of these jobs.

Nordic says it will increase tax revenue, but Nordic's U.S. operations are incorporated in Delaware, an infamous haven for tax bilkers where Nordic has no operations. In Belfast, taxpayers are on the hook for half of Nordic's dechlorination costs, while no such largess is given to Marshall Wharf Brewing Co., which has for years provided real jobs — not fantasy jobs — for local people.

Nordic says it will strengthen the financial position of the Water District, but its massive water use will strain the district's infrastructure and threaten our water supply.

Nordic says it will apply the highest standard for discharge treatment, but in addition to spewing 7.7 million gallons of warm effluent a day into Belfast Bay, Nordic would disrupt and disburse settled industrial mercury in the bay.

Nordic says it will cut carbon by more than half, but this doesn't count Nordic's destruction of dozens of acres of Belfast wetlands and mature forest, or the removal of 14,000 truckloads of carbon-sequestering earth, or destruction of the Amazon to grow soy for its fishmeal.

But the ad's biggest misrepresentation is that Nordic's technology is running flawlessly. In fact, according to aquaculture trade journals, Nordic's fish factory in Fredrikstad, Norway, has sunk into the ground because Nordic failed to adequately and competently assess the factory's site. According to a neighbor of the Fredrikstad plant, Nordic placed giant fans facing its residential neighbors, and a kindergarten, instead of facing other industrial operations, and has thus shattered the peace and quiet of its residential neighbors — after it promised them a silent operation.

Thank you, Nordic, for wishing us a happy new year, but you can make the new year even happier by sparing us your pollution, your misrepresentations and your incompetence.

Lawrence Reichard

Belfast

Upstream appeals Belfast permits for Nordic

Nordic Aquafarms’ failure to submit completed permits has led Upstream Watch to file an appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

It’s unfortunate that the Planning Board placed conditions instead of insisting that Nordic comply with their own application requirements and existing laws to deny these permits. This is going to continue to be expensive for the city, because Nordic didn’t meet the permit requirements in multiple categories. The need to place so many conditions proves that Nordic didn’t meet the existing rules.

Nordic paid a $4,350 filing fee for its five permit applications.The current fees and requirements set by the city for an appealing party regarding the Nordic permits will be equivalent to nearly $8,000. The state of Maine charges $150 for a Notice of Appeal to the Superior Court. The average statewide for appeals of this type is $375.

It’s interesting that the fees are being set so high. This seems punitive against a citizen’s right to appeal. We’ll need to raise money in order to pay these fees and be able to continue to insist that the existing rules and laws are followed. Applying conditions after the fact won’t help if the next mistake Nordic makes when calculating its nitrogen discharge levels results in polluting Penobscot Bay.

Rather than insisting on answers to key questions now, such as why the Talbot Well has never been fully tested, the Planning Board instead granted permits leaving it up to future testing at an unspecified date. Another example of why the permits need to be appealed is the Planning Board's letting Nordic include eight 67-foot smokestacks to exhaust its eight diesel generators. City code prohibits smokestacks higher than 45 feet, but Nordic was allowed to change the word to "chimneys," which don’t have a code restriction on height.

Unfortunately, this process is far from over.

Amy Grant, President

Upstream Watch

Belfast

Recognizing Heroes 4 Hunger

For over 20 years, People for People/Heroes 4 Hunger has served Waldo County by providing a holiday meal to families who need a little extra help over the holidays. Waldo CAP has been honored to coordinate this project since 2016, when founding organization People for People closed its doors.

Each year community members have generously donated to fund this special event. Hundreds of volunteers packed boxes and delivered to homes all over the county. We have always been so inspired and encouraged by the community’s support of this project.

This year COVID-19 changed everything. No longer would we be able to gather our volunteers in one place and serve our community in this hands-on way. However, the goal remained the same — to provide holiday food boxes to those in need. This required us to re-engineer the project.

Waldo County is fortunate to have many small, locally owned grocery stores that serve seniors, low-income people, and those with transportation limitations all year long. Could they purchase the items for the boxes, pack the boxes and make them for available for families? We asked Tozier’s in Searsport, Unity Shop N’ Save, and Wentworth Family Grocery in Brooks and Northport if they could help. And they said yes!

The 750 Thanksgiving boxes and 1,100 Christmas boxes assembled by the stores were either delivered or available for pickup. This was a Herculean effort and we’d like to recognize them for their accomplishments.

There were many people who helped make the project successful: the business that provided the boxes, our donors, the many volunteers who helped deliver the boxes, our own staff and volunteers, and more. But the real heroes in the Heroes 4 Hunger program this year are the small locally owned grocery stores that stepped up when asked to help. We could not have done this without them.

Please remember the generosity of Tozier’s, Unity Shop N’ Save, and Wentworth Family Grocery the next time you are shopping.

Dorothy Havey

Resource Developer

WCAP

Belfast

Collins should affirm election's fairness

Sen. Collins needs to step up and speak out to protect our democracy. She must tell all Mainers that Joe Biden was elected president after a free and fair election. Every Mainer must hear this truth from her, an elected leader.

Trump has proclaimed repeatedly that he had won in a landslide and that the election was “stolen.” This is a dangerous lie that has now incited his supporters to seize the U.S. Capitol, and his sycophants to inflame the situation even more. Trump hoped the mob would force Pence and Congress to override the will of the voters. His lies have gone too far.

Collins may have condemned the violence, but she has not condemned Trump’s lies for weeks, which incited it. Her silence abets the narrative that Trump’s election was stolen, that it was not free and fair. Now we read that more violence is planned throughout the country. Are you proud of your president, Sen. Collins?

Regardless of party affiliation, set the record straight. That is what a principled leader would do. Calls for national unity ring hollow if you, Sen. Collins, do not address the cause of the nation’s division — President Trump’s deception of the American people.

Mj Crowe

Belfast

Editor's note: The above letter was received too late for print in our Jan. 14 paper; it is running only online.

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