Letters, June 25

Jun 25, 2020

Editor's note: We will not accept election-related letters for the July 9 paper, except those that are responding to specific claims in letters published previously. In addition, candidates are allowed one letter and one guest commentary per election season, subject to space availability.

Voting for Stanicki

When Waldo County residents file into their respective voting booths July 14, they’ll do so with significant worries and concerns. The crises currently shaking our nation are not distant ones. Our section of the country, this wonderful county we call home, has not been spared and every resident directly feels the impact. We also deal with heavy local issues which only add to the anxieties of the day. Now more than ever, we need someone who will work for us.

I’m voting for Robyn Stanicki because I know she is up for this challenge. A longtime resident, Robyn has her finger directly on the pulse of the county and she knows the issues we truly care about. Social reform, diversity and inclusion, criminal justice reform, recovery from substance use disorder, poverty, and health care are all issues rattling our district, and Robyn is ready to confront these directly. Having known the struggles of poverty and being a marginalized member of society, Robyn brings crucial experience and empathy to the table.

We need a senator who will work for everyone in Waldo County, not just a select few. We need a senator who recognizes the uniqueness of each resident and someone who will listen to all of us with genuine interest. We need a senator who will put on the boots, wade through the political quagmire in Augusta, and bring tangible results to all of us who so deserve it.

We need Robyn Stanicki.

Christopher O’Brien

Searsmont

Primary support

Now more than ever we must have elected government officials who listen completely, and hear our statements, requests and opinions without judgment.

Janice Dodge has been and will continue to be such a representative for House District 97. She has been active and productive this past legislative session. Her accomplishments were many. She worked to get three bills passed: LD 167, Anti-Food Shaming In Maine Schools; LD 176, An Act to Allow an Active Teacher to Sit on the State School Board of Education; and LD 1878, Resolve to Study the Use of Adjunct Professors in the College System.

She also co-sponsored other bills: LD 1025, An Act to Prohibit Conversion Therapy to Minors; LD 1193, Resolve Directing the Maine Community College System to Evaluate the Need to Expand Workforce Training in Waldo County; LD 128, Support of the Downeast Correctional Facility; LD 1858, An Act to Protect Professional Teacher Certificate Endorsement Changes; LD 224, An Act to Fund the Municipal Gigabit Broadband Network Access Fund; and LD 259, 55% Funding of Education.

Besides her work at the State House, she was and will continue to be out among her constituents as a visible member of her community by appearing at various social justice gatherings.

We can rest assured that Jan supports the practice of treating others (regardless of color, gender and sexual orientation) with fairness and equity in Waldo County.

I urge you to join me July 14 in casting a Democratic primary ballot in support of candidate Janice Dodge for House District 97.

Gregory Coleman

Waldo

Advice to grads

If you are the class of 2020, at any level, not having the traditional ceremony probably feels like a bummer. But, I have sat through more graduation ceremonies than I can count. Let me tell you what you missed.

My high school graduation — a large class. The unpopular superintendent was the speaker — and he was so very boring. The only thing I recall is that we couldn’t wait for him to stop talking.

My college graduation at a modest-sized state school — it was a fiasco. The school, which normally held commencements outdoors, had not updated their rain plan in 30 years, since they’d been a very small school. It rained. A lot. Administration had to scramble, to figure out what to do with lots of seniors and families arriving. They split us up into every small auditorium on campus by major. There was no speaker. They called our names and handed us an empty brown folder with a promise that the contents would arrive in the mail. Overall, it was an embarrassment.

I had two other graduations. One that was lackluster, and another I could not attend. As the class of 2020, years from now, you will remember that you graduated in the most unusual year in a century.

The point I am making: The ceremony is not the real thing. The real thing is what you did, what you accomplished, what you learned, who you have become, and the doors that open to you having made those accomplishments.

The one thing I do like about graduations, or commencements, as they are often called, is that the word “commencement” means beginning, not ending. Beginnings are exciting, full of possibilities, full of choices. I hope you see the excitement that lies ahead. I hope you revel in what you’ve completed. The ceremony is trivial compared to the reality. Best wishes for a wonderful and meaningful life.

Wendy C. Kasten

Belfast

Emancipation County

Talk is flying around Waldo County about renaming the county, away from Waldo, a name taken from a man who enslaved other human beings. The Bangor Daily News even did a reader poll on this.

This is an exciting time. It's not every day a place gets an opportunity to rename itself, to rebrand itself, to climb out of its mostly white skin, to address a wrong that has gone on too long, and to join a massive, worldwide and long overdue movement for justice — all in one historic act.

Let's seize that opportunity. Carpe diem! And while we're at it, let's do a good job of it. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Let's give our county a name that means something, a name appropriate to the act of removing the name "Waldo," a name that will inspire future generations to fight for justice and liberation.

Let's call our county Emancipation County!

Lawrence Reichard

Belfast

Support Question 1

The July 14 election, which includes the major party primaries — contests of great importance to most people in Waldo County, including we three candidates competing in the Democratic state Senate primary — also includes two bond referendum questions. Question 2 is about important highway construction bonds and Question 1 is extremely important for areas that are unserved or underserved with broadband services. This can be a major step in achieving something people have needed for a long time and our leaders have been trying to accomplish for a long time.

Better broadband internet access is essential to improve local educational and economic opportunities, making it possible for people to live and work here in the state, including our young people who often leave for work, education or both. Now however, the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the need to critical, with so many people working from home — or trying to — and attending classes at home — or or trying to.

Here is how Ballotpedia describes Question 1:

“Question 1 would authorize $15 million in general obligation bonds for the ConnectME Authority to provide funding for high-speed internet infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas.

As of March 2020, the ConnectME Authority defined unserved areas as places where broadband service is not offered and underserved areas as places where less than 20% of households have access to broadband service.

The bond revenue would be used to match an estimated $30 million in federal, private, local, and other funds.”

I urge everyone to vote between now and July 14. Even if you are not able to vote in a state legislative primary, you can vote for the very important ballot questions.

Charles F. Pattavina

Winterport

Curry will champion rural health care

I have known Chip Curry for 10 years. His passion for the causes I care about — energy, the environment, education opportunities at every age, and especially support for rural hospitals and providers — is the reason I am supporting him for the Democratic party nominee for Waldo County in the Maine Senate.

As a registered nurse who has worked in multiple health care settings, I have seen vast changes in health care models, technology, and payer sources, and an increased need for professional and allied health care workers. Chip feels the need for retraining workers will be great for those who are looking at second or third careers, or have lost jobs. Certifications and higher degrees will call for robust, local programs offered through technical centers and community colleges.

To provide affordable health care, Chip will advocate for adequate funding and support for our rural hospitals and health care providers. He supports increasing access to telemedicine and countywide broadband.

Chip Curry has proven leadership by serving on a statewide task force which added access to nursing education in Rockland, Ellsworth and Rumford. He served on the Maine Commission for Community Service and chaired the Maine Community Foundation’s Waldo County Fund. His leadership, experience and commitment inspire trust. As a small-town rural Democrat, he will listen to problems and focus on solutions that will support all the residents of his district.

Anita King

Belfast

Look for the helpers who go above and beyond

I plan to support Robyn Stanicki and her campaign for Maine Senate, because Robyn and her family have many times been my saving grace. I think it’s important for you to know what kind of a person she really is. I haven’t seen any other candidate who has the sense of community and generosity that she has. Robyn works beyond her job to lift people out of the dirt.

I think what is important is what they do when no one is looking, before they start campaigning to earn votes. I know many people who say she helped them with rent, picking their kids up from school when they have to work late, and helping strangers get what they need. When the pandemic hit, Robyn helped folks apply for unemployment and delivered meals to people like me. I know that if I needed help, she would drop everything to do what was needed.

My plan was to open a small business when coronavirus and an emergency surgery changed my plans. As a former small business owner, Robyn was there to help me and was one of my first customers when I opened my consignment shop in Belfast. She cares enough to promote small businesses, women and minority entrepreneurs, even keeping all her campaign money in Waldo County with local vendors instead of cheaper online options. I think she will do a great job because she is dedicated to us, not just with her job, but her way of life.

Robyn’s been through hell to work her way out of a system that doesn’t work well for low-income people, and she works hard to help others pick through the path she’s blazed. She has my vote, and I know you’ll be more than happy to have her work for you, too.

Theresa Bowles

Belfast

Government in the sunshine: a Belfast myth?

Well, the details are in on the hiring of Erin Herbig for Belfast's new city manager: $89,000 base salary, 8% of base salary contributed annually to the Maine State Retirement System, $3,600/year in car allowance, at least 80% of health insurance premiums covered by the city, up to $120/month for a cell phone and three weeks' paid vacation. Not a bad gig!

And while she's away attending legislative sessions in Augusta, will she be paid by state and the city? I asked for clarification about this double dipping, but Ms. Herbig never responds to my emails or a letter.

And just who were the finalists that Ms. Herbig beat out for the job, with over 40 resumes submitted?

How convenient that Maine Statute 30-A MRS Sec. 2702 says that all resumes submitted for a job opening shall remain confidential to protect the applicant. Even if all personal information is redacted, along with locations of employment, taxpaying citizens will never know the credentials of the other candidates. Anyone want to guess whether there were qualified candidates with municipal management experience that made the final cut?

Her submitted resume reveals a degree in Arts & Sciences (English), a community organizer for SEIU (remember them, with the Acorn scandal), outreach coordinator for the Maine Farmland Trust, substantial time in the State House and most recently, the Senate. So where in her resume is there experience managing up to 17 different departments, a financial or legal background or even managing or owning a business in the private sector? She graduated in 2006, yet there is a three-year resume gap up to 2009.

The recent debacle of the city having $1.2 million of uncollectable receivables for ambulance services, which will blow a big hole in the city surplus, gives residents a window into how dysfunctional and incompetent the city administration and councilors can be. Ms. Herbig is described in The Republican Journal as saying “she does not know why the debt was not addressed until now, but she is glad it is being dealt with” by the same councilors that sat in budget meetings year after year without ever asking about the balance sheet, which nobody could probably understand anyway.

Eric Schrader

Belfast

Liberals on the move

Statues are toppling. Monuments to notable people that supported slavery are being pushed and pulled down everywhere. There is local talk of renaming the town of Waldo and Waldo County because General Samuel Waldo was a slave owner.

I think it's a great idea, and while we're at it, we should rename any state, including Washington, D.C., city, town, county and street, as well as remove any monument attributed to slave owners, such as: Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Jackson. Look out, Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial! The brave, simple folk of Waldo County are on their way with ropes and pitch forks, as long as it doesn't interfere with their fair trade coffee and croissant time at the Co-Op.

Stuart Loten

Montville

Collins ad untrue

Political advertising has hit yet another new low with recent Republican attack ads. In one, Adrienne Bennett mocks her opponent in the primary by calling him a clown while a man in a motel room dances around foolishly in his underwear. No vision offered for the future of our state, country and world, and no solutions to our very serious problems. Just more name-calling in our era of the cult of personality.

Another ad for Susan Collins targets Sara Gideon. It implies Gideon ignored a Democratic lawmaker's being accused of sexual misconduct with his students in August of 2018. What the ad does not tell you is that directly after the accusations came out in a Portland publication, Gideon called for his resignation, and he resigned a week or two later. Gideon has been a strong supporter in the Legislature of children, victims of sexual abuse and family violence. She fought Gov. LaPage’s veto of programs that would benefit child victims and initiated training for all staff on sexual harassment, in addition to other legislation to aid women and families.

Sen. Collins has made the grievous error of aligning herself with our corrupt and seriously flawed federal leadership. She has refused again and again to speak out and protect Mainers and the whole planet from this president’s narcissism and the consequential chaos it has created and continues to create.

We need to vote Collins out and we need to keep pressure on the Democrats to do a much better job.

Lisa Kushner

Belfast

Denouncing George Floyd killing

Islesboro Central School’s administration and leadership team refuse to accept the recent murder of George Floyd at the hands of officers. We denounce the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department. We support Black Lives Matter and efforts to reduce police brutality and use of excessive force.

We commit to calling out racism whenever we see it. As educators, we strive to learn from these instances.

We are also committed to self-reflecting on our own actions and examining our implicit biases to make our school community an inclusive environment for all students. ICS administration is working closely with the school’s Leadership Team in creating professional development opportunities for all staff, targeting implicit bias, race relations, and pervasive racism found in our culture.

Our student-led Social Justice Team has this to add: “We as members of the ICS Social Justice Team stand in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. We recognize the need to follow the leadership of Black people in the global fight against white supremacy. The Social Justice Team promises to continue to further our own understanding of racial inequity and implicit bias, and we invite you to join us.” We will join our students in their efforts.

We recognize that we must examine our own curricula and ensure that it reflects and sheds light on diverse perspectives and life experiences. To that end, we will work together in an effort to swing the pendulum towards a more inclusive and kinder world.

Charles Hamm, Head of School

Administration and Leadership Team

Islesboro Central School

Curry will work for Waldo County

I am pleased to announce that I voted for Chip Curry to represent Waldo County in the Maine Senate in Maine’s primary election. Yes, I already voted! For the first time in my voting history, I requested an absentee ballot from maine.gov. It arrived in a timely manner and I completed voting in the comfort and safety of my own home with a quick drive to the mailbox.

Why did I vote for Chip Curry? Since our daughters are friends, schoolmates and theater-mates, I’ve had several opportunities to connect with Chip as a parent and resident of Waldo County. He’s a dedicated family man who cherishes his community. Chip’s views on renewable energy, economic development within Waldo County, and accountable governing check off all the right boxes for me.

However, it is Chip’s palpable enthusiasm for education that completely won me over. During a conversation regarding his advisory position at UMA, he shared creative solutions with me that would allow adult students to manage their education while balancing full-time jobs and families. He values the life-changing experience an education can provide that in turn expands opportunities and solidifies self-worth. I believe, in his own words, he just likes to help people.

Let’s get Chip into the Maine Senate so he can start helping the people of Waldo County build a stronger, sustainable future.

Jennifer A. Lisa

Belfast

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Jun 30, 2020 15:23

Curry is Nordic's guy. Vote No on Curry. Who cares about Herr Schrader. You haven't figured out what he's all about yet? Keep us on top of things Thayer.



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