Letters, March 7, 2019

Mar 07, 2019

Please reconsider

I  have been involved with the Belfast Co-op since its inception. Our goal was to get good-quality food to people at a reasonable price.

I have always felt that the co-op was there to meet the needs of our community and be responsive to the “owners.”

Always that is, until the senior discount was demolished by the board of directors. Here is why I object strongly to this change imposed on the members by the board.

1. The “owners" had no vote in this major decision.

2. It is always bad to take away something that the community has come to count on and trust will be there.

3. You have hurt the most vulnerable population who shops at the co-op, the elderly, many of who may be on a fixed and often small pension.

4. This is an extreme move and unnecessary.

If the co-op ended the year with a loss of $94,000 dollars, and the senior discount was $280,000, then if the discount was cut by half to 5 percent, the co-op would still come out over $40,000 ahead for the year with no deficit.

The math makes no sense, actually.

There are other options:

What about cutting some of the administrative staff?

What about working to reduce produce waste by better ordering procedures?

What about decreasing the pre-order discount by a few percentage points?

What about having the store open an hour less a day to reduce staff costs?

What about asking if people want to round up to help the co-op rather than other organizations?

What about charging a $10 deficit fee to each member?

What about getting more ideas form the so-called owners?

As a senior, I get a discount when i go to the movies, when I enter parks, when I stay at hotels and on and on, but will no longer be able to do so when I shop for healthy food?

I find this change highly distressing, highly unsupportive of the members and a very bad move in general.

Please reconsider this and please do not pretend that the CORE program will meet the needs of the seniors you are hurting. It will not, even if you modify it slightly.

Marcye Dishler


Never buy again

A recent mailing from a nonprofit organization called Green America, based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to low-impact, sustainable economy, contains a list of “15 Things You Should Never Buy Again!”

First on the list: Styrofoam cups. We all should know about them by now. Second: farm-raised salmon.

Reason: “Studies have found that PCBs and other environmental toxins are present at higher levels in farm-raised salmon than wild salmon.Check out our Safe Seafood Tip Sheet, greenamerica.org/safeseafood”. Listed second out of 15, in order of impact.

I don’t buy farm-raised fish. My children do not buy or eat farm-raised fish. My doctor cautions his patients not to eat farm-raised fish. Restaurants tout “wild-caught” fish on their menus.

Does it make sense to allow this huge, unsustainable industry into our midst? The warning flares are already being fired to remind us to keep away from those very products, yet some of us still mutter about lower taxes and economic boon.

Let’s look at long-term health, both personal and political. Let’s behave more sensibly than this.

Diana Prizio



The Belfast Co-op announced that it will be discontinuing its longstanding policy of senior discounts as of April 1. I sent them this letter in response:

Dear Co-op Board,

This development is quite disappointing and I believe it will be counterproductive, as seniors will not shop at the Co-op as much without this benefit. Besides the loss of a much valued consideration, there will be resentment at being dismissed so disloyally.  Hannaford's sells a lot of the same groceries, sometimes for lower prices, and has a respectable selection organic products. Produce is available at farmers' markets in season.

I love the Co-op and urge you to reconsider. I believe you will seriously erode your relationship with Belfast seniors with this very drastic change in policy.

Your prices are high, your inventory is manageable, your customer base is reliable, so one would think, with good management, you should be able to remain solvent, if not profitable. As a cooperative, it is not essential that you are profitable.

Thank you for considering my opinion, which I hope I have stated with respect.


Ellen Sander

Member since 2007

Jan Dodge, my mistake

Dear Jan:

My apologies for making a voting mistake. I did not do my homework in terms of your opinions and beliefs and what you stood for as a politician and instead blindly voted for you. I did not realize you stood with the naysayers and anti- Nordic Aquafarm Nimbys and co-sponsored a two-year moratorium on groundwater extraction that is obviously directed at Nordic.

I made an assumption that as a person who grew up in Belfast and moved away for better jobs and opportunities, you might be sensitive to the need of supporting high-paying jobs here along with the possibility that Belfast could be a leader in worldwide land-based aquaculture, which is the proven next step in international fish harvesting.

I’m amazed, quite frankly, that you cannot see the pending boom in aquaculture. This year alone there are three proposals in this area — plants in Belfast and Bucksport and an eel-raising facility in Waldoboro — and you proposed a bill in your first few months to limit this or create a negative growth atmosphere under the guise of groundwater extraction.

You and others who want no change in Belfast are adversely affecting the future of my grandchildren and their ability to find good-paying jobs and affordable taxes here in Belfast. This has always been a town that fostered change and growth and not one that has become affordable to only a few or those who find it a nice place to retire to without understanding that a vibrant town needs to create opportunities for every succeeding generation.

Jan, I can’t take back my vote, wish I could, but what I can do is actively support your next opponent and publicly raise awareness to the fact that you might have been raised in Belfast but when you were away you must have lost sight of the fact that Belfast has always been a town of working people, people who need leaders that will help them in practical real-life ways, in creating jobs and raising aspirations and helping the next generation carve out a niche here.

I find it sad that you feel the necessity in only your first month or so as a legislator, to try to negate that or that you minimally co-sponsored a bill that someone else wrote that you must have agreed with. Most new legislators realize that they are a little inexperienced and need a learning curve before they sponsor bills — certainly bills that directly affect in a very negative way the populace they are supposed to represent.

Jan, Nordic Aquafarms represents all that is good with 21st century aquafarming, but much more than that, it represents new opportunities for our kids  in terms of not only the high-end jobs they provide but also the spin-off companies that will follow them. Likewise, they represent a huge contribution in property taxes that can only help our kids and grandkids stay and thrive in this area.

Steve Hutchings



In her Feb. 27 Republican Journal op-ed, Marianne Naess of Nordic Aquafarms says Nordic Aquafarms has “adopted considerable local input,” but if Nordic truly wanted to adopt local input, it would put its facility where it wouldn't destroy a beautiful forest and a popular hiking trail.

Naess misleads when she says Nordic “has made significant investments in tried and proven technologies.” No one, much less Nordic Aquafarms, has completed a land-based project anywhere near this size. Nordic's biggest project to date is less than one-fifth the size of its Belfast project.

Naess says we “can be confident that the environment is protected.” Well, we're not. That's why most speakers at meeting after meeting oppose Nordic and that's why 2,460 votes were cast in November for anti-Nordic city council candidates. If Naess is so concerned about the environment, why did she testify Feb. 28 in Augusta against LD 620, a bill to strengthen protection of Maine's marine waters?

Naess says Belfast “will become the home of one of the most experienced land-based companies in the world.” This means little in a very new industry with very few companies.

Naess repeatedly touts Nordic's informational meetings, but Nordic abandoned an announced Jan. 16 meeting and more than six weeks later no replacement meeting has been announced.

Naess attacks Nordic opponents “who have explicitly claimed they would do anything to stop the project.” Nordic has never produced any evidence of this claim. I have followed this issue closely from the start and have never heard such a statement.

Naess says “there is a strong need to supplement the wild catch supply with sustainable farming.” But there is nothing sustainable about a project that, by Nordic's own admission, will spew 7.7 million gallons of effluent and 1,600 pounds of nitrogen into Belfast Bay every day.

Naess says “over 90 percent of seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported,” but according to Noah Oppenheim, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, “we (the U.S.) export a majority of the seafood we catch, and much of that is reimported after being processed overseas.”

Naess says Nordic has created eight jobs — but few of those jobs went to Mainers.

Finally, Naess accuses Nordic opponents of “xenophobic undertones in their rhetoric.” We Nordic opponents aren't xenophobic. But we don't like it when outsiders run full-page ads in our local paper saying we're not from here — as Nordic Aquafarms did. Yes, we take offense at that — and rightly so. All we want is to protect our home from a company — any company — that would drain our fresh water, pollute our salt water, and destroy our forest and hiking trail.

Lawrence Reichard


Nordic's unsubstantiated claims

“Instead, we have seen a steady flow of poorly substantiated claims. Misrepresentations and attempts to attack procedural concerns from persons who have explicitly claimed they would do anything to stop the project, often using xenophobic undertones in their rhetoric.” — Marianne Naess

First, let's be clear, that it is not clear from the Republican Journal editor that this is one of the following, paid personal attack add, unequal free time for Nordic corporate interests, news, over 500-word, letter to the editor? (Editor's note: The above quote and preceding paragraph refer to a guest opinion column written by Marianne Naess and published Feb. 28 in The Republican Journal.)

Marianne keeps repeating her narrative of we (Nordic) are just the poor innocent victims of slander, ignorant and single-minded partisanship and a steady flow of lies and untruths. So how 'bout that: drilled under the seafloor, 1 1/2 miles to deep ocean currents, 1 mile into the bay, one click to 35 feet of water, Pipe Plan one, “rumors" of Pipe Plan two, Pipe plan two (still not sent out as a notice), not in Northport, stay tuned for Pipe Plan three, gotta love those technical experts, lawyers' and engineers' due diligence, more like a “steady flow" of trial and error? I suggest that this is so; however, let me quote Carol Dibello, director of the SLP, Jan 18:

“As the Submerged Lands Program (the SLP) communicated to David Kallin (Nordic lawyer) on Jan 16, the Easement Purchase agreement submitted by Nordic Aquafarms (Sept. 26, 2018) defines the easement area by reference to exhibit A that depicts the easements area as stopping at the high water mark.”

She then goes on to demand proof that Nordic has property rights to the intertidal zone that their plan depicts the pipe crossing, by April 8. Or else. This application was submitted in September of last year, and as some of you know from my presentation Dec. 17, 2018, and please reread Ethan Andrews concise and detailed reporting of Nordic's right and title issues, Nordic has repeatedly refused to provide the Dorsky survey as proof.

Furthermore, patently false are her characterization of “poorly substantiated claims, misrepresentations and attempts” applied to a 15-page Motion to Dismiss, submitted on behalf of many hundreds of “the citizens of Midcoast Maine” by attorney Kim Tucker to the Maine DEP and the SLP. The DEP, Carol Dibello and Maine attorney general’s advisers to those agencies have evidently (in public documents) taken the opposite view from Marrianne’s characterization of "unsubstantiated" with regards for our presentation of deeply troubling facts, GIS exhibits and law filings.

Keep it up, Marrianne, we are keeping a file of these ridiculous letters/propaganda rants, that appear to be mostly rewrites of previous work product from your desk and repetition of your statements to reporters, as we slowly but surely defend our home and waters with whatever it takes to make you go away. Wrong planet. Wrong plan. Wrong Bay.

Paul Bernacki

Volunteer Eco Freak


Damage won't disappear with dollars

In an ideal world, the monitoring of water resources would be limited only by the number of chemicals we have tests for. In this “Better Living Through Chemistry” world (remember DuPont?), we must strive to ensure the health and prosperity of water resources through rigorous and independent oversight.

Limiting regulations to a few minimum requirements supplies false reassurance, reducing corporate accountability for damage. Even if Nordic Aquafarms and Whole Ocean pass muster for a few nutrients (depending on variables that can certainly be manipulated), together they will be polluting our bay and estuary. Currents, tides, and the presence of Islesboro between Belfast’s bay and the Atlantic cause extended circulation of pollution, not fast dilution as the proponents would have us believe. Even Nordic’s models confirm this. With all due respect to our DEP, fines happen after the fact, and that damage is not made to disappear with a few dollars.

Council members have actually gone on record (Feb. 19) saying they would oppose someone taking water from our aquifer and trucking it away. Well, picture salmon inside Poland Spring water bottles (heads and guts optional) loaded onto a semi. That is our aquifer being trucked away. With the added bonus of daily effluent discharge poisoning the bay.

Legislation to protect our water, bay, and estuary is not bad for business. Rather, it is keeping corporations after our water accountable by keeping shared resources under public control. Such legislation looks at the big picture and ensures Belfast’s future prosperity. I support Jan Dodge and other legislators in their efforts to do just that. It’s just the right thing to do.

I urge you to watch the panel discussion on the pros and cons of land-based fish systems. Lots of good science based information, in a short amount of time. https://vimeo.com/319564726.

Eileen Wolper


Septum surgery?

I am considering deviated septum surgery and looking to speak with anyone who has had the surgery done. Would you be willing to briefly speak about your experiences, good or bad? I promise not to take much of your time. Please call or text 701-1702.

Elisa Ross


Not listening?

Marianne Naess doesn’t seem to realize that her frequent defensive newspaper columns don’t do her company a service. Instead, they just reveal Nordic’s insecurity about its project and highlight the effectiveness of the opposition in raising important questions about it.

I’d like to point out two errors in her latest. Nordic is not in the “final phase” of its permit process as Naess claims. After over a year of working on this project, Nordic has not yet secured even one permit so they are actually still at the beginning. And even that one is stalled because of the submerged lands issue.

Secondly — and even more seriously — Naess says that Maine has strict laws for land-based aquaculture. On the contrary, this industry is so new, there are virtually no regulations for it and Maine communities are unprotected. The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, which has only recently been handed this responsibility, needs to develop a full slate of regulations on things such as the potential for diseases getting into our waters; the importation and handling of salmon eggs, smolt, and fry; the conditions under which the fish will be raised; the use of antibiotics and fungicides; and the need for biohazard plans.

Naess complains that no one will talk to her company. In fact, the opposition has contributed hundreds of hours of oral testimony and many hundreds of pages of written. Maybe she hasn’t been listening?

Linda Buckmaster


Assumptions wrong

This is in response to Ms. Naess of Nordic Aquafarms article "Continuing Community Dialogue" online Feb. 27 at waldo.villagesoup.com.

In my opinion, NAF’s arrival and continued presence in the Belfast community has been antithetical to respectful, transparent and inclusive negotiations with Belfast citizens. From the beginning, NAF has used both written and spoken language to declare your proposed aguafarm a done deal. I take great issue with your assumption that your project will indeed move forward.

You claim that opponents to your project “…have shown no interest in having dialogue with us.” In hindsight, Ms. Naess, wouldn’t it have been in your best interests as well as ours that you have dialogues with the public before you approached our City Council behind closed doors and convinced them that your project would bring jobs and tremendous tax revenues to sweeten the deal?

Your assumption that you know what is best for our city, our state and our country in terms of food production is hubris.

Your as yet unproven claims that your proposed mega fish factory will be “sustainable” and produce a very low polluting impact on our bay are unfounded.

The idea that giant corporate, profit-driven companies somehow have the responsibility to “feed the world” is hubris.

Maine has a growing population of small farms, a budding Green Wave Aquaculture movement and many, many people who work very hard that our land, our fresh water and our ocean be supported and regenerated, not exploited.

Conny Hatch


Offensive quote

Tom Seymour's latest Waldo town news column ends with a quote from Joseph Goebbels. Readers might want to consider that Joseph Goebbels was a close associate of Adolph Hitler, one of his most devoted followers, and head of the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.

I find it offensive that a town column contains a quote from a leading Nazi who played a key role in the systematic extermination of millions of human beings.

Jamila Levasseur


Comments (2)
Posted by: Brian Kresge | Mar 12, 2019 15:44

I would assume most people know who Goebbels was.

I don't presume to speak on behalf of Jewry, but my wife and our children all live in the shadow of the Nazi genocide of our people.  Until she passed, we enjoyed a yearly Passover Seder with my wife's aunt, her last family member who survived Auschwitz.  My youngest daughter will never have known a living survivor of Shoah.  While my distant family that remained in Lithuania was wholly wiped out, my wife's family had four survivors of Auschwitz and Dachau, and we treasure watching their recorded survivor testimony, as painful as it may be.  My wife has spoken to RSU22 8th grade classes about those experiences.

We quote horrible figures so we remember, the same as we quote those who survived.  There's nothing to be gained from pretending like these people didn't exist, and there's nothing to be gained from ignoring lessons from their own mouths, as the Third Reich presented a complete roadmap to the near extermination of my people.  Especially in a time when we have a Representative from Minnesota and our own former Governor rehashing the exact same tropes Hitler and Goebbels used to assign my people perfidy, a misplaced sense of political correctness that would preclude us from finding a corollary in the past should be offensive to everyone.  Brian Kresge, Winterport

Posted by: patrick quinn | Mar 08, 2019 07:46

Senator Herbig and Representative Cuddy;  There appears to be a problem with people passing a stopped school bus, apparently they do not see the flashing red and white lights. I recommend putting blue lights on the school bus as most everyone understands and recognizes the blue light as power and authority of the state. Maybe this will help except with those who are texting maybe.  Peace. Patrick Quinn, Winterport.

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