Letters, July 30

Jul 30, 2020

Attentive to constituent needs

I’ve known Jan Dodge since I was in Belfast Area High School back in the late '70s. She was then and is now a bright, intelligent and energetic woman. As our representative to the Maine House of Representatives for the past two years, she has paid attention to the needs of the voters here and hasn’t hesitated to act on our behalf. I’ve been very happy with her performance to this point and I’m sure that when she’s reelected, she’ll continue to give the job everything she has.

Marshall Rolerson

Waldo

Vote for Dodge

I want to encourage every voter in House District 97 (Belfast, Northport and Waldo) to cast your vote to reelect Jan Dodge as state representative.

Jan is well suited to serving on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, as she is a longtime, well-respected educator. She has worked tirelessly for our communities and as a freshman representative worked to pass several important bills, including LD 167, Anti Food Shaming in Maine Schools. This bill was important for the physical and emotional health of the students of Maine so that every child, regardless of ability to pay, would not be denied or shamed in getting breakfast or lunch at school. As a school nurse, I am grateful for her action on this issue.

Her voting record supports our community, the health of our citizens and our planet. The Maine Education Association and the Maine AFL-CIO both endorse her reelection. And so do I!

Janis Hogan

Belfast

Collins puts Maine people first

As a former community banker and lawmaker, I commend Sen. Susan Collins for co-authoring the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. Sen. Collins played a key role in creating this program that has become a lifesaver for small businesses and nonprofits.

In the face of crisis, her quick action saved nearly 240,000 jobs and 27,000 small employers in Maine alone. Maine businesses received over $1.2 billion in PPP loans — one of the highest approval rates (per capita) in the country.

Since 1996, Sen. Collins has put Maine people first, and the PPP is just one example. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she has persistently advocated for investment in Maine’s vital transportation system and community development projects. She has supported our major industries: shipbuilding, logging, fisheries, farming and technology. She is a voice for education from pre-K to higher ed. She is a strong advocate for our veterans and first responders. She is a proponent of access to health care, including diabetes and Alzheimer's treatment, and now, COVID-19. After the 9/11 attacks, she helped overhaul our homeland security.

That’s quite a record.

Sen. Collins is 12th in seniority, an influential U.S. senator committed to serving Maine people. Most important, she has never missed a roll call vote — over 7,000. She’s a clear, moderate voice in a very partisan Congress. We need Sen. Collins now more than ever.

Thank you, Senator! You have my vote in November.

Jayne Crosby Giles

Belfast

Waldo County Bounty aids farmers, consumers

Maine farmers and our entire food system have suffered acutely as a result of the pandemic. The summer months on Maine farms are usually bustling with activity. Many crops and products make their way to farmers markets, but even more supply local restaurants that experience a boom during the summer tourist season.

This year, farmers face a different reality. As a result of a dramatically reduced tourist season and the partial or complete closure of many restaurants, farmers are having a hard time selling their products. At the same time, folks are out of work and struggling to put food on the table. This unfortunate dynamic of mismatched surplus and need has presented a unique opportunity for Maine ingenuity and neighborliness to shine.

Waldo County Bounty launched this spring to fill this specific gap. The initiative addresses essential food security in Waldo County during COVID-19. The group is currently holding a fundraiser and pooling other resources to support multiple areas of the local food system, including hunger relief programs, small farms and home gardeners.

Right now, farmers may not want to plant full crops if they can’t be certain there will be a market, so WCB buys food from local farms and distributes it to local food pantries. Additionally, home gardeners can sign up to participate in the Grow a Row program at wcbgardens.org to help support hunger relief in Waldo County.

In this uncertain time, it’s wonderful to see neighbors helping neighbors.

Rep. Scott Cuddy

Winterport

Editor's note: Democratic State Rep. Scott Cuddy represents House District 98, including the towns of Frankfort, Searsport, Swanville and Winterport.

Nordic's Norwegian project stopping at Phase I

There’s so much going on these days, it would be easy to miss the news that Nordic Aquafarms has put on hold Phase 2 of its original salmon raising facility in Fredrikstad, Norway. They have admitted that the facility is losing money and are claiming that the way to profitability is by building a bigger facility closer to the customer.

What else have they learned with this unfinished project? Here’s a quote from Nordic Aquafarms CEO Bernt Olav Røttingsnes to Salmon Business: “We see that on the equipment side it is not worthwhile to buy the cheapest equipment when the facility will last for several years. The facility is characterized by some of the equipment being on the cheapest side.”

Will we be hoping Nordic can afford better equipment here in Maine? Last week a couple of loose bolts caused nearly 4 million gallons of wastewater to be discharged into Portland’s Casco Bay. Nordic Aquafarms is proposing to construct a wastewater treatment plant, power plant, food processing plant, thousands of cubic yards of soil excavation, a major road diversion and construction project, and a significant pump station and outfall pipe. Each one of these will impact the Belfast Bay Watershed.

The residents of Maine and Belfast need to have 100% confidence in this corporation’s capabilities. Nordic has not yet provided a letter of commitment from any lending institution to fund this project, or any evidence of cash equity committed to this project, or a serious financial plan. We can grow the economy here with businesses that have a proven track record for successfully financing and completing projects; Nordic Aquafarms is not one of them.

Sally Brophy

Belfast

Racism is everywhere

I attended the Black Lives Matter protest in Belfast on May 31. It was incredible to see the turnout and support for the movement, and to see everybody working within the confines of social distancing. However, I want to address one message that I found problematic: the idea that, since Waldo County is mostly white, we do not need to worry about racist ideas that circulate in our hometowns. Many people who spoke prefaced their speeches with something like, “I know there aren’t many Black people around here, but this is still important because of what’s happening elsewhere...”

To be clear, I respect everybody brave enough to speak at the protest when I was not, and I agree that it is important to support the larger antiracism movement. That said, I still take issue with this sentiment because it allows those of us who possess White Privilege, myself included, to ignore racism that exists in Waldo County. When we express this idea, we are saying, “We recognize that racism is bad, but we don’t think it’s our fault so we’re not going to try to dismantle it.”

As we protest, we must recognize that people with White Privilege are complicit in the system that allows people of color to die at the hands of police officers. We must also realize that we can work to counteract the system by educating ourselves about our privilege. This education can take the form of reading a book, like "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi, or having meaningful conversations about race with friends and family.

Racism is more than the horrific actions of a few amoral people who live elsewhere; at times it can be subtle, a system of oppression that is bolstered when people with White Privilege choose to ignore it. I would like to stop denying my role in racism, and invite the white people of Waldo County to join me. We must admit and identify our racist ideas, so that we can begin the work of dismantling them.

Finn Gibson

Belfast

If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at waldo.villagesoup.com/join.
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at waldo.villagesoup.com/donate.
Comments (1)
Posted by: Jacki Cassida | Aug 06, 2020 10:06

Hi Sally Brophy! Actually, Nordic's board made that decision two years ago to shift focus to the U.S. where a close-to-consumer location is a better strategy environmentally/cost-wise (shipping), as opposed to Norway with a large, well-established salmon supply. Makes sense, don't you think?

Fredrikstad is doing well- great market demand, and they're looking at that facility as being an important asset for research and training. We hope to do that here as well- a great opportunity for Maine aquaculture students! Jacki, Nordic Aquafarms



If you wish to comment, please login.