Letters, June 14, 2018

Jun 14, 2018

Increasing conflict and disrespect

The ongoing debate about the Nordic Aquafarm project proposed for Belfast is becoming increasingly more complicated.

It appears to me that healthy conversations regarding the pros and cons of NAF are not taking place between city officials and the some of the concerned citizens of Belfast. I seek an open, respectful and objective forum where this can occur. Our current method of dealing with the issues is not working for everyone concerned.

The most important issue for me now is not NAF, but the increasing conflict and disrespect I have observed and experienced in the past five months regarding NAF.  Perhaps some help from our own Restorative Justice group can bring us all to a place of common ground and mutual understanding.

We need this now more than ever.

Joanne Moesswilde

Belfast

Other options for 'movie night'

Stockton Springs Veterans Park has always been considered a sacred site, a place of respect and honor for all of the town's lost sons and daughters who have given their lives in many wars. The park is well taken care of as a part of the love and commitment to this park.

It would seem very disrespectful to all who have paid the ultimate price and inconsiderate of their family members to hold a "movie night" there when Stockton Springs offers several other options. It would certainly be a more amicable solution.

In keeping with the tradition and peaceful solutions, I have no doubt that the correct decision will be made.

Thank you for your time and attention to the matter.

Judy Otis, Commander

Jerry W. Dobbins American Legion Post 157

Stockton Springs

Proper procedure?

The Belfast City Council needs to develop a policy for selling property so that its city councilors or any city employees will not have an insider's advantage. Case in point is Mike Hurley purchasing a valuable piece of property on Congress Street.

Belfast inside the bypass has very few properties for sale and they are quickly purchased and the prices are increasing drastically, especially in the last year. I do not know who set the asking price on the Congress Street property, but usually a professional Realtor does a free opinion of market value based on comparable sales in the past year to determine a market price.

Then that property is marketed in the nationwide Multiple Listing Services plus other consumer agencies such as Realtor.Com; Zillow etc. That property is usually advertised in the local papers and has a nice sign with the Realtor representing the seller or city of Belfast.

In the past Belfast has used that service on its other properties for sale. In the case of the property Mike Hurley purchased on Congress Street, there was a small hand-designed sign placed in the winter and no advertising, so that only people who drove by would notice.

Mike, being a city councilor, would have that information and of course purchasing this property would be an investment which would increase dramatically in the future. He will of course will finalize that transaction.

I will concur that I have been approached by several people who stated they would have purchased that property in a heartbeat, if they had known of its being for sale.

In conclusion, this property should not be sold to a local city councilor without going through the proper procedure, as its sale could invite a lawsuit. Also several people have expressed to me that the Colonial Theatre, also owned by Mike, has had a reduced tax bill and these perceptions of any conflict need proper communication.

I feel Mike probably knew of this sale and said, why not? I do not believe this was any intentional act but a business decision. I just hope there is some clarification of why this property was not given a proper market analysis or advertised. I may be a licensed Realtor but this is only my opinion and not that of my agency.

Alan Wood

Belfast

A potential history lesson

Here is the 1880 census report on the fisheries of Penobscot Bay. This was barely a decade after mandatory fish ladders had begun to restore the alewife populations of the various tributaries, and after the salmon hatchery in Orland had begun to bring wild salmon back to the bay in growing numbers. Some of those salmon had already returned more than once to spawn in the upper reaches of the river and smaller tributaries:

"Census Bulletin No. 278, being the statistics of the fisheries of Maine, had just been issued. In the tabulated statement regarding river fisheries is given the following as the business of Penobscot Bay and its tributaries: The total number of persons employed is 406; value of apparatus and outfit, $27,016; total product for 1880 – pounds sold, 770,863; value, $40,514. In the salmon, shad and alewive fishery, 191 men are employed, with 217 weirs, 36 gill nets, 20 dip nets; the apparatus valued at $18,116. The product was – salmon, 9,208 pounds, value $19,752; shad, 800 fish, value $40; alewives, number used fresh, 18,000; smoked, 667,000; barrels salted, 17, value $4,823 – Total value of the three, $24,616. The smelt fishery employs 251 men, with 4 weirs, and 141 dip nets, valued at $8,750. The total product was 266,875 pounds, worth $14,579. The eel fishermen number 29, and use 4 traps and 25 spears, worth $150. They captured 9,000 pounds and sold them for $540. The products of the other river fisheries of our bay and its tributaries was: Bass, 1,000 pounds; worth $100; tom-cod, 177,000 pounds, worth $680."

(Total value of catch: $40,514 in 1880 dollars. That amount as income value in 2015 dollars: $10,900,000.)

(https://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/relativevalue.php)

This data is from the Maine Mining and Industrial Journal, Bangor, Maine, May 26, 1882, p. 329. I wish to point out that not one cent of this money went to any foreign country. It was all divided among the various fishermen and weir-owners around the bay.

This could be in our collective future, if we don't allow a potential well of fish-killing viruses to build in a salmon farm in Belfast or Bucksport. The bay is potentially a goose capable of laying golden eggs for all the bay's surrounding inhabitants, but only if we keep industrial farming out of it.

William Burgess Leavenworth, Ph.D.

Marine Environmental Historian

Searsmont

Garden Project

I wanted to spend a few minutes sharing with the Waldo County citizens some information on the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center Garden Project. As many of you know, this program started eight years ago when I met with then-Sheriff Scott Story, the commissioners leased 5 acres of farmland in Swanville, and I volunteered my time to start a project that would be good for our clients at the Reentry Center, and our citizens through food cupboards, soup kitchens, churches, etc., in Waldo County.

This is our eighth year gardening in Swanville. After five years, we purchased the entire farm where we had been leasing the 5 acres of land. We now have 65 acres of land and the garden has grown more than I could have imagined. In developing the garden, we started a small orchard that has 62 fruit trees. These trees are just starting to produce this year.

In the last three years, Sheriff Trafton has done an excellent job making funds available so that we could modernize and expand our operation. The important issue is that these funds don’t affect the Waldo County budget; they come out of what we call the Community Corrections Account or “C.C.A.” funding provided by the state of Maine for corrections programs.

Equipment purchased in the past few years include a potato planter and potato digger from Wyoming, a Frontier harrow, spray equipment for corn and fruit and a used 94 horsepower diesel tractor. At present we are constructing a potato storage building, which will have a 1200-square-foot area 7 feet underground.

Last year we produced 109,000 pounds of vegetables. This year we have expanded again. For example, we plant a lot of vegetables under plastic, amounting to 5 miles of vegetables under plastic. We have a total of 12 miles of vegetables growing.

This project runs with the cooperation of Sheriff Trafton, the Waldo County commissioners, and the clients from the Reentry Center. With the able assistance of Cpl. Christopher Albert, we have a program that is unequaled in the state of Maine. We ship to approximately 30 locations in Waldo County. No food is sold. We anticipate that with the 17 acres that are planted this year, we will produce 125,000 to 150,000 pounds of vegetables. I am extremely enthusiastic because we have a lot of vegetables breaking ground and the “rain god” is being especially good to us this week.

If you are driving by our garden on Route 141 and want to stop and see what’s going on, please plan to do it between 11 a.m. and noon on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. This is a project you can all be extremely proud of. I am pleased to still be volunteering. If anyone has any questions about the garden project, please give me a call.

William Shorey

Waldo County Commissioner

Searsport

Praise for Monroe

Yea for Monroe! The town I was born and raised in. Many in my generation have now passed on but it's so nice to know there are still plenty of smart people there. God bless them all.

Now, if we would make all the illegal drugs free, that would do away with the drug dealers. As the Bible says about our enemies, "You will look for them, but they are nowhere to be found."

Is there a better deal than that?

Ruth Treworgy

Knox

Classy way to go out

I will miss Monroe builder Jonathan Fulford and his contributions to the Democratic primary race for Congressional District 2. He ran a high-class campaign right up until the end ― and beyond. His outspoken dedication to putting the “fundamentals” first framed many of the discussions I saw at the candidate forums around the district.

He was out front on universal, single-payer healthcare; education and job training to keep ― and attract ―  young people; treating drug abuse as a health problem; a fossil fuel-free, “green” economy built on long-term, carbon-neutral, sustainable businesses; and a vibrant rural society fueled by improved public works, cell phone service, and broadband coverage. He created and championed the “Pine Tree Pledge” as a means of voluntarily applying the principles of Maine’s Clean Election laws to a federal race.

After withdrawing from the primary contest for personal reasons, Jonathan and his manager, Phil Bailey, decided to divide up the $17,000 in unspent campaign money among like-minded organizations: Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, Maine AllCare, Maine People’s Alliance, A Climate to Thrive, Center for an Ecology-Based Economy, Sierra Club Maine, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (for work on carbon sequestration), Resources for Organizing and Social Change, and Restorative Justice Project Maine.

That’s a classy way to go out! Don’t disappear, Jonathan; we still need you here.

Andrew Stevenson

Belfast

Destructive nature of palm oil

Most people wouldn't knowingly support the decimation of some of the most endangered species on the planet, yet many of us do just that when we visit our local market. Found in approximately half of all consumer goods, palm oil makes its way into everything from detergents, toothpastes, soaps, shampoos and cosmetics, to a wide variety of packaged foods like bread, chocolate, margarine, cereal, cookies, ice cream, crackers and chips. It is largely responsible for the rapidly declining numbers of Sumatran rhinos, tigers, orangutans, Asian elephants and countless other plant and animal species. Half the global orangutan population alone has been wiped out in just the past 16 years, largely due to palm oil production.

With demand rising precipitously since the 1970s, vast swaths of tropical rain forests and carbon-rich peatland, valued for their socio-economic importance and rich biodiversity, are being cleared to make way for oil palm plantations. As the global demand for palm oil rises, the unchecked large-scale expansion that dominates the industry will keep pushing species to the brink of extinction, while destroying watershed and forest resources locals depend on, and exacerbating climate change by pumping greater amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere of a quickly overheating planet.

Given the rapidly expanding global marketplace, and with palm oil imports to the United States growing by 485 percent in the last decade, it is increasingly important to be a conscious consumer. Lives literally depend on it.

We often feel that our individual actions cannot create profound change, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The choices we make on a daily basis truly do have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts on the world around us, and as citizens of this planet, it is our responsibility to make choices that will create a better world for ourselves, for our children and grandchildren, and for the countless other species with whom we share this earth.

As we become better informed about the incredibly destructive nature of palm oil, we can make better choices when deciding which products to buy and which products to avoid.

Palm oil is often cleverly disguised under many different names, which can easily be found online. Some of these names, like vegetable oil, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, and vitamin A palmitate, may or may not be derived solely from palm oil, and may be any combination of oils such as olive, canola, coconut, and/or palm.

If you see any questionable ingredients listed on the product you’re purchasing, I urge you to contact the company to inquire as to whether or not they use palm oil. If so, ask what actions they intend to take to be more environmentally responsible, and let them know you will no longer support their company until they do so.

These ingredients are even used by companies who claim to be eco-friendly, and they may respond to you with talk about sustainable palm oil, but as you research this topic, you will find that sustainable palm oil may not truly exist.

Rebecca Tripp

Searsport

Making America great for whom?

The U.S. chemical industry is cheering the Trump administration’s recent decision to roll back the extent to which potentially hazardous chemicals are analyzed before they become available for use. These are chemicals used in the ground, in air, in water — literally everywhere. Rather than run these new substances through rigorous tests, Trump’s Environmental “Protection” Agency will examine effects afterwards, assessing the harm done after the fact, and perhaps not even banning them or restricting them in case of their improper disposal.

Decades ago, if a certain flame retardant used in children’s clothing had not been extensively examined and then banned, childhood cancers could have soared. CFC’s, commonly used for air conditioning, could have poked holes in the ozone layer that protects all life from harmful UV rays. DDT’s continued use could have killed off many top niche predators, pollinators, and people.

Consistent with Trump’s previous appointments, overseeing this policy shift is newly appointed Nancy Beck, who will head up the EPA’s toxic chemical unit. Previous to now, Beck was a lobbyist for the chemical industry. To him she was imminently qualified, as is the head of the EPA, who made a career out of suing the agency he now leads.

Just a week before Ms. Beck’s appointment, EPA’s Scott Pruitt held a closed-door meeting with handpicked members of the media and announced that a multi-year study on drinking water contaminants would not be released to the public because its release could be a “public relations nightmare” for the agency. News reporters from mainstream media outlets were physically shoved aside and told there was no more room for them, even though almost half the seats in the room were empty. This report details the current state of health of all of our drinking water — in places like Bangor, Portland and Belfast.

This president refers to himself as “pro-life.” It’s hard for me to imagine how most of his actions could possibly support that claim.

Beverly Roxby

Belfast

Memorial Day thanks

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Searsport, Stockton Springs, Prospect and Bucksport parades on Memorial Day.

American Legion Post 157 is awesome. They show up and work together to pull off a fitting tribute to our veterans year to year.

The Rev. Helen Shaw spoke at Searsport Methodist Church. Special thanks to Langdon Chandler for his truck and trailer so everyone could participate.

Judy Otis

Commander

Jerry Dobbins American Legion Post 157

Stockton Springs

Are you fit for heaven?

Heaven is a very happy and delightful place because in it there is no sin, no death, no sorrow, no crying and no pain.

Only pardoned sinners will be allowed in Heaven. It is reserved only for those who believe, love and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. A man who loves his wife or children more than Christ will not go there, unless he repents. One who persists in lying, drunkenness, marital unfaithfulness, fornication, sinful anger or any other sin will not be allowed there.

Only God-fearing overcomers shall go to Heaven. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But the fearful, the unbelieving, and the abominable and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Rev. 21:7,8)

The Bible that talks about Heaven as the place for believers also talks about hell for unbelievers.

It is only by "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" that we can be acceptable for Heaven (Acts 20:21). We must be born of God by receiving Christ as our Savior and supreme Authority. We must give God our hearts and forsake all sins as we become aware of them through Bible study. Also, we must pursue peace with all men and become holy. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14). Holiness means moral goodness or freedom from sin. It is by believing in God to the point of becoming morally good that we befit ourselves for glory.

Many will be excluded from Heaven. "And there shall in no wise enter into it [the holy city] anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 21:27). God is very discriminating when it comes to allowing someone into His heavenly abode. Would you allow a skunk to dwell inside your house? Neither will God allow a morally defiled person to dwell with him.

Would a good and just government allow criminals within its borders? Not a chance. Will a good and upright man allow just anybody to enter and visit his home? Not really. Would a Bible practicing church accept as members within its fellowship those who are unteachable or up to no good? Not at all.

Heaven has moral standards also. All who persist in sin or refuse to observe any of God's commandments will be barred from Heaven (Matt. 7:23; Gal. 5:19-21; 1John 2:3.4; Rev. 22:14, 15).

If we are presently refusing to promote the highest possible interests of God and of mankind, then we are presently not acceptable to God. No one will enter Heaven who is putting his personal interests above God's interests.

Also if we cease believing in God or depart from His ways, after having formerly believed, we will not go to Heaven (1Tim. 4:1; Heb. 3:1, 12).

Even if sinners could go up there, they would not be happy and relaxed in such a sinless place. Death converts no one. The door of opportunity for repentance is shut after we die (Luke 13:23-30). Would a sinner feel comfortable in a church that preaches sound doctrine and requires holiness? Would a contentious wife be happy in a home ruled by a God-fearing man who cares about her soul? Would a rebellious teenager find comfort in a home governed by a godly father? Because Heaven is a place where God's law is perfectly upheld and kept, unrepentant sinners could feel very uneasy therein.

The only way to become and stay fit for Heaven is to quit sinning, believe Christ, submit to His lordship and continue in faith and obedience unto the end of life.

Don Violette

Brooks

 

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