Letters, July 5, 2018

Jul 05, 2018

A great story worth protecting

Whatever the outcome of the fish farm proposal, the decision process needs to be fair and consistent with community values. From what I have read, a few people have presumed to speak for the community, and that bothers me.

Belfast has the reputation as a special place where diversity thrives, and that surely includes economic diversity. In envisioning Belfast's future, we need to remember that our growing tourist economy may benefit those in the arts or retail; it offers little beyond minimum wage jobs for working people, who also deserve a bright future.

Like others, I do have questions about the environmental impacts of the proposal. At the same time, I heartily applaud the City Council and others for their efforts to balance the local economy, and I feel they deserve a fair hearing.

With my life-long connections to Belfast, I look back over the developments that have fostered the positive spirit of this community, and I see a great story worth protecting.

My mother, who was born here and years later returned to teach at Crosby High School, often remarked that in the Belfast of her youth everyone was accepted. Along with bankers and store owners, there were the characters who daily stood on the corner of Main Street. There were farm families, and those who worked in the sardine or shoe factories. In my teen years here, I saw chicken plant workers march as a group up from the harbor wearing their aprons and rubber boots. There was pride in having a job that no amount of welfare can replace.

Belfast was a working town, and also resilient. After the closing of the chicken plants, the community embraced the good energy of newcomers, and out of the symbiosis of old and new has grown a vibrant culture, where, to use the Co-op motto, "All are welcome." True to its word, the Co-op now attracts an energizing mix of old and new in Belfast.

Let's not sacrifice our sometimes joyful and always funky sense of community to polarizing or angry dissent. Let's make sure that the fish farm proposal is a fair process where all points of view are heard and respected.

Joanne Boynton

Belfast

Development consistent with community values

The organizing group of Local Citizens for Smart Growth (LCSG) would like to thank all who came to their June 28 gathering at the Belfast Free Library in response to the proposed industrial fish factory. Over 100 people were there including proponents of the project (and a least one city official), opponents, and those on the fence.

We listened, learned, connected, and engaged. A special thank you to guest speakers Ron Huber, executive director of Friends of Penobscot Bay, a Waterkeeper affiliate, and author and fisherman Paul Molyneaux.

During the second half of the program, small groups met and developed strategies to draw attention to the issues, influence the process, and work for economic development consistent with community values. You’ll be hearing more about these later.

Donna Broderick, Steve Byers, Linda Buckmaster, Ellie Daniels, Kate Harris, Jim Merkel Belfast and Waldo

 

Save Maine’s wilderness: Northern forest 'adjacency rule' under fire

We in Maine enjoy being able to see moose and bear, and to go camping, fishing, hiking and hunting, especially in remote wilderness areas.

A big reason is that Maine’s current and longstanding “adjacency policy” serves the unorganized territories and our state well. Large tracts of North Country have been protected from sprawling development, where we can still “get away from it all,” and where animals needing large wilderness areas can survive.

Thanks to the adjacency policy, when new development locates within a mile of already existing development, we concentrate development rather than let it sprawl haphazardly. We pay less in service costs instead of subsidizing services 10 miles away. We protect Maine’s wildlife, rivers, forests and lakes from the threats of development sprawl. We maintain the community-oriented character of our state rather than allow strip development to cut up our North Woods.

The Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) now proposes allowing development to go 10 miles from outer boundaries of “rural hubs” and 2 miles from public roads. Close to two million acres of Maine’s North Woods are targeted to become “primary locations” for development.

Large-lot subdivisions that fragment the North Woods, banned since 2001, would be allowed. Economic costs of sprawl are many, and anyone who wants to protect Maine’s natural resources ought to take notice, too. What will happen to the lakes and ponds located within the 10-mile development areas, and outside them, too? Where will wilderness-dependent animals and people go?

This process appears to be pushed by developers or landowners — and rushed with a vote scheduled for November. The 1-mile adjacency rule plays an extremely important role in protecting Maine’s unique character. The public must take the proposal to eliminate it seriously.

To submit comments, please email Benjamin.Godsoe@maine.gov, or write to Land Use Planning Commission, c/o Ben Godsoe, 18 Elkins Lane, 22 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333, phone 287-2619.

Cloe Chunn

Waldo

Author, Fifty Hikes in the Maine Mountains

Registered Maine Guide

 

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CAN DROP/HOLD

 

Happy Independence Day!

This July 4th, as we celebrate our great country and all that makes us proud to be Americans, it is important to reflect on our nation’s history and those who have been called upon to preserve our independence.

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress unanimously adopted a declaration announcing that the 13 colonies would regard themselves as sovereign states. John Adams said of the occasion that “it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” And so, for the last 241 years, we have honored Adams’ vision and have come together on the anniversary of our independence to celebrate the American dream.

Near the conclusion of the Civil War, during his second inaugural address, President Lincoln affirmed our moral obligation as a nation to those who served us in uniform. His words, “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” became the motto for the Veterans Administration and they should be a call to action for all of us.

Maine has one of the highest per-capita populations of veterans in the country — so each of us has a deeply personal connection to the men and women who serve our country. Our service members and veterans defended our freedom. When they return home, it is our duty as grateful citizens to care for them. With help from our generous donors, Easterseals Maine and Veterans Count have provided care to almost 1,500 veterans across the state of Maine.

Please visit vetscount.org/maine to learn how you can help support a veteran in need. Happy Independence Day!

Joe Reagan

Senior Director of Development

Easterseals Maine

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