Letters, March 23, 2017

Mar 23, 2017

An open letter to Sens. Collins and King

"I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition. It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear. It is a condition that comes from the lack of effective leadership in either the Legislative Branch or the Executive Branch of our Government.

"...I speak as briefly as possible because too much harm has already been done with irresponsible words of bitterness and selfish political opportunism. I speak as briefly as possible because the issue is too great to be obscured by eloquence. I speak simply and briefly in the hope that my words will be taken to heart.

"...I think it is high time for the United States Senate and its members to do some soul searching — for us to weigh our consciences — on the manner in which we are performing our duty to the people of America...." — Quoted from Sen. Margaret Chase Smith's Declaration of Conscience delivered on the Senate floor in 1950.

Many others write to you daily about specific bills, and the anguish they are causing Americans. I am speaking from a higher moral ground.

I simply want to point out that at this moment, HR 1275, a bill that is opposed by all medical, nursing and hospital associations in America, and is likely to double the cost of premiums to the poor and elderly and throw up to 20 million people off health insurance, is actually called on the Congressional website the "World's Greatest Health Care Plan"; that there is currently a bill to actually terminate the Department of Education and, "to repeal a certain rule relating to nutritional standards in schools", i.e., no funds for fruits, vegetables and healthy meals for children; and that there is a chilling bill being introduced supporting required genetic testing by employers, HR 1313, under the guise of being a ”wellness" program.

The current ruling party has decided that a free press is not essential to a democracy, and our language is literally being hijacked by layers of lies, tweets, and distractions.

Please, look into your hearts. I know you must see that we are in a time of the gravest internal threat to our democracy since the Civil War. The majority of the American people, our young people, want a planet to live on; want to continue to move forward into a multicultural diverse world where women and men are equal and where the recognition and celebration of the truth that this is not a white world is embraced.

As Margaret Chase Smith concluded in the "Declaration of Conscience": "It is high time that we stopped thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom. It is high time that we all stopped being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques — techniques that, if continued unchecked, will surely end what we have come to cherish as the American way of life."

Meredith Bruskin

Swanville

Church needs a lift

The Searsport Congregational Church needs to install a lift (elevator) in order to make the church totally handicapped accessible. The doors to downstairs and upstairs were recently installed, and a ramp area on the Curtis Hall building were done years ago. Unfortunately, the elderly, sick, handicapped and wheelchair-bound cannot access both floors. They must go outside, get back in their cars, and travel around the block to reach the first floor of Curtis Hall where the minister's office, private meeting room, and large meeting room, bathrooms, storage room and nursery are all located.

This is especially inconvenient and more difficult during the winter months. Each month we have various fundraisers to finance this Lift Searsport project. Many groups, organizations and individuals outside of our congregation, throughout Waldo County, the greater Belfast area and Searsport, use our facilities for various reasons. Indeed, it is the largest reception area in Searsport.

This month we are having a raffle. It  has over $1,800 in gift certificates and prizes and we are only selling 250 tickets at $10 apiece. Winner takes all.

Come on out and have a great meal, food, fun, and fellowship. We are very fortunate that Ryan Otis, at Rollie's Bar and Grill, will be donating a portion of their evening's income to this Lift project Thursday, March 23, between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. Please come and join us. Plan on eating your dinner there and enjoy the highlight of the evening at 7 p.m. when the winning ticket will be drawn. Any tickets left for sale will be available that night before the drawing.

Here is the list of prizes and their donors:

Barbara Cook, one-hour massage; Searsport Flags, bird house; Colburn Shoe Store, boot, shoe and glove dryer; Coastal Cuts and Family Hairstyling, Agadir shampoo, conditioner, hair treatment, mousse and hairspray; Searsport First Congregational Church, “Bicentennial Cookbook”; Coyote Moon, books: “Spiritual Liberation” by Michael Bernard Beckwith and “How to Know God” by Deepak Chopra; Delvino's, $150 gift card; Fireside Inn & Suites, overnight room with breakfast;

Just Barb's, $25 gift card; Republican Journal, one-year subscription; Out on a Whimsy, $25 gift card; Hands of Spirit Reiki, three half-hour sessions; Pizza Hut, 12 personal pan pizzas; Andy's Auto Repair, $25 gift card; Dairy Queen, 8" regular cake; Walgreens, $50 gift card; Mr. Jim Rose's Guest Suite, two-night stay;

Consumer Fuel Company, two 20-lb. propane refills; American Express gift card for $25; Perry's Nut House, three 1-lb. fudges; Nautilus Seafood and Grill, $25; Alamo Theater, four movie passes, two VIP passes; Red's Automotive, lube, oil and filter; Ming's Restaurant, $20 gift card; Waldo County YMCA, $100 gift card;

Darby's, $50 gift card; McDonalds, four $5 gift cards; Hamilton Marine, $100 gift card; EBS, $25 gift card; Dutch Chevrolet – Buick, vehicle lube, oil and filter change service Level A – truck; Belfast Variety, $50 gift card; Eat More Cheese, $15 gift card; Sherwin Williams, Werner Project Platform; and Dockside Family Restaurant, $50 gift card.

Dorothy Alling

Lift Committee

Searsport Congregational Church

Sears Island invitation

Recently, on a bitterly cold day, 11 intrepid souls joined Friends of Sears Island in a late winter walk on the island led by two Maine master naturalists. They looked for animal tracks in the snow and for signs of spring and just enjoyed the juxtaposition of woods and water. Looking forward to warmer days ahead, Friends of Sears Island invites you to participate in one or more of the events being planned. There is something for everyone, no matter your age or interests.

As in past years, we offer guided walks led by experts in their fields, ranging from birds to wildflowers to geology and even yoga on the beach. Our events are always open to all at no charge. Last year, over 180 residents and visitors participated in our programs. If your inclination tends more toward hands-on activities, we have a citizen scientist program to help manage invasive plants and monitor sensitive features such as wetlands, vernal pools, and coastal dune grasslands.

Friends of Sears Island has been actively working with the community for many years. We have developed ongoing relationships with elementary, high school, and college teachers and students, helping to develop on-island and classroom educational programs. We have also developed programs for young children and families like the Island Explorers program, in which participants hiked, went on scavenger hunts, and played nature-themed games. We have worked with parents in Together in Education on their 5K island races to help them raise much-needed funds for school programs. In addition, we have worked with area home school and 4-H programs to engage even more young people in our programs.

To introduce other community members to the island, Friends of Sears Island has held “Celebrate Sears Island” open houses, and last spring co-sponsored “Discover the Trails of Searsport Day” with Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition and Coastal Mountains Land Trust. We regularly present programs and lead walks for the Pen Bay Stewards program and introduced several families to the island during Searsport Historical Day.

Friends of Sears Island has been involved in planning meetings and developing curriculum for the Maine Ocean School, a magnet school that will draw students from throughout the state and help prepare them for careers in the maritime fields. Scheduled to open in 2018, this school will be a tremendous asset to the town and region.

Our volunteers keep the trails open and accessible to walkers, and we have installed benches at strategic locations where one can rest and view the natural beauty of the bay. Check our website at friendsofsearsisland.org or contact our part-time outreach coordinator, Ashley Megquier, at outreach@friendsofsearsisland.org for information about our programs. You can also request to get email alerts of our activities and events.

We invite you to come and enjoy this natural treasure which is right in your own backyard! We hope to see you at one of our events soon!

Anne Crimaudo

Co-Vice President

Friends of Sears Island

Solarize Maine

I was disappointed Rep. MaryAnne Kinney did not vote to override Gov. LePage’s veto of last year’s solar bill. I hope she will see more clearly this year the opportunities expanding solar offers her constituents, and vote yes for Rep. Seth Berry’s “An Act to Protect and Expand Access to Solar Power in Maine.”

It’s time to solarize Maine. The state enjoys 30 percent more sunshine than Germany, a world leader in solar power generation, and yet we have one of the most anti-solar policies in the nation. This is keeping energy prices unnecessarily high, making it costlier to do business here.

Maine farmers understand the pinch of high electricity costs all too well. From refrigeration to cultivation to processing, a farm’s energy needs are vast.

Enacting sensible solar policy would empower farmers to capitalize on the cost-savings associated with generating their own power, while making them less vulnerable to volatile electricity rates currently on the rise due to expensive transmission line expansion. It would also open up opportunities to use fallow land for community solar farms.

It just makes economic sense.

In the meantime, many of the state’s farmers have had to hit pause on embracing solar. Ongoing legislative uncertainty and the attack on net metering by Maine’s Public Utilities Commission serve as strong disincentives and barriers to expansion.

We have Maine’s largest solar energy company, ReVision Energy, right in our backyard in Liberty. The Legislature should do all they can to support those clean energy jobs and to create more of them.

To fail to act again this year will signal to Mainers that our legislators are comfortable with keeping the economic benefits connected to solar expansion out of reach.

Deb King

Brooks

Please sign

Would you sign the Belfast Resolve? It was written by Belfast residents, initiated by a group who took inspiration from other cities. The Resolve declares that our city, Belfast, is a safe place for all people. It states that Belfast welcomes diverse people of all faiths, races, and sexual orientation. It resolves to build trust between police and the community. It states that Belfast is building toward energy independence, growing the economy to strengthen our natural resources and increase public transportation.

The Resolve states that health care is a human right and supports health care for all. The Resolve welcomes immigrants who want to enjoy the rights of Americans guaranteed by the Constitution.

I am supporting the resolution because I believe that we need to protect the civil rights of all people — Muslim, Jew, Christian, straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, immigrant, black, and white.

BelFem hopes to present this Resolve to the Belfast City Council at an upcoming meeting. If you agree with these principles, please sign this petition by going to https://docs.google.com/document/d/1q3YVhY9KrbAmWIStnZuCICHx9D8LrFpzFL5FStp1mE0/edit.

Linda Garson Smith

Belfast

Implement ranked-choice

I am writing in regards to the attempt of certain Maine legislators to subvert the will of the people by to suppressing the ranked-choice voting law. Ranked-choice voting was passed through a peoples referendum and went into effect in January.

However, some politicians sought to thwart the people’s law by using the obscure tactic of asking the Maine Supreme Court to grant a “solemn occasion” in the hopes that it will allow them to repeal this law. Historically the Supreme Court has never declared a solemn occasion on an enacted state law.

So why are some politicians so afraid of ranked-choice voting? Perhaps it’s because they envision themselves as a future Paul LePage. If ranked-choice voting would have been in place during the 2010 election, Paul LePage would probably be basking in the Florida sun right now.

Let me explain. Ranked-choice voting allows for a citizen to vote their conscience without worrying about the greater of two evils being elected. It does this by allowing a citizen to rank their choice for office from high to low. If this was in place, LePage, who won with a plurality of 37.6 percent in a five-field race, would probably not have been elected governor. So let’s stave off any future LePages by implementing ranked-choice voting now!

Tony Kulik

Belfast

 

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