Letters, May 10, 2018

May 10, 2018

Broadband survey

I invite all residents and businesses in Belfast to participate in a City Broadband Survey.

A few years ago, Belfast City Council inaugurated a Broadband Committee to study the needs and opportunities for internet broadband service in our community. We have met with most all of the ISPs (internet service providers) to determine their present levels of service and their plans for expansion of service, both geographically and in speed of service offered.

Last year, the city of Belfast received a Maine ConnectME grant to go the next step to determine individual and business needs for broadband service. We have contracted to work with Axiom Technologies to design and implement broadband surveys, so that we can better determine how best to encourage broadband development in the city.

We are aware, for example, of many parts of Belfast that have little or no access to any broadband service. We believe that must be changed. We believe that broadband access is now and will even more in the future be a necessity for education and business, in addition to entertainment and basic communications. In fact we are aware that it is harder to sell a house that does not have good broadband coverage than one that does. We must do something about this, and you can help.

To help us help you, we ask that every Belfast residence and every Belfast business take a few minutes to fill out an online survey. If you do not have online access, we encourage you to come to City Hall or the Belfast Free Library to pick up a hard copy of the survey. There are two surveys, one for residences and one for businesses. Links to both surveys can be found at cityofbelfast.org/broadband.

If you both live in and have a business in Belfast, we ask that you fill out both surveys. We will be keeping the survey site active until Monday, June 4, so please take the survey today.

Thank you.

John Arrison

City Councilor and member of the Belfast Broadband Committee

Ready to serve

Who’s ready today to serve in Augusta? Jan Dodge!

Dodge, “Driven to run, ready to serve,” is the motto of a Belfast native running for House District 97. Jan’s life has been preparing her for this moment — to represent Belfast, Northport and Waldo at the Maine State House.

Jan’s passion caught my attention as president of the Waldo County Retired Teachers, running the meeting with humor, efficiency and speed! She retired after teaching high school music Downeast for 30 years.

Jan is an experienced citizen advocate. For 19 years, she served on the MEA (Maine Education Association) Government Relations Committee, keeping current on issues of education, health insurance, legislation and policy, and attending three state and national advocacy trainings. As part of her training in D.C. in September 2017, she met with Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and staff for Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin.

While teaching, Jan served in leadership roles in the Sullivan teacher’s union (currently Regional School Unit 24) and was on the contract negotiating team. As part of the MEA Retired Legislative Committee, Jan testified and lobbied on state issues in Augusta. On the Rapid Response Team, she was able to appear at hearings when teachers and other educational employees could not testify due to work commitments.

Someone who cares deeply about her community, Jan has spent a big portion of her “retirement” as a community activist. In 2012-13,  she was involved in the “Thanks, But No Tank” effort to keep a liquid natural gas terminal out of Searsport, attending planning meetings and demonstrating against this incursion. She has been advocating for Waldo County residents in Augusta — pressuring legislators to fully fund the Stand Up for Students referendum at the promised 55-percent level. She’s testified so often that many legislators know her by name and face.

Jan is a problem-solver who wants to know what concerns Waldo County residents.  She was there on the ground floor when Aging Well in Waldo County designed and conducted a needs survey, receiving 1,000 responses. She now serves as chairman. The group found that the three most pressing issues among elders are “housing, transportation and isolation.”

To help deal with the housing crisis, Jan has been working on a planning committee with the Aging Caucus in Augusta. One outcome of this work is a Housing Summit, to find housing solutions for Mainers, a day-long meeting on May 31 at the Hutchinson Center for builders, planning boards and real estate agents. Attendance is by invitation only.

To work on the problem of transportation and isolation, Jan has joined the Waldo Transportation Advisory Work group, to increase Waldo County public transportation and local volunteer driving networks.

Confident, active, and above all, passionate, Jan is ready today to be our state representative in Augusta. Vote Dodge, “Driven to run, ready to serve,” on June 12.

Linda Garson Smith

Belfast

A great choice

I have known Jayne Crosby Giles for many years and, in my opinion, she is an excellent candidate for the Waldo County State Senate seat that is being vacated by Sen. Mike Thibodeau of Winterport.

When Jayne was our state representative, I found her to be hardworking, fair and responsive. Now we are fortunate that she is running for state Senate. Jayne stopped by my house last week to discuss our concerns. Her 16-week listening tour of Waldo County proves that she wants to represent the residents for our entire county. I don’t think any other candidate has shown that concern for all of Waldo County. Jayne listens and is careful to learn as much as she can about our issues and concerns.

Jayne will be a strong voice for us in Augusta. She has the experience and willingness to represent all of us. Jayne did a great job for our district in her eight years as our state representative. I encourage others to vote for her during this election year.

Jayne Crosby Giles is a great choice for the people of Waldo County.

Rita Horsey

Belfast

The real deal

I first met Caitlin Hills over 30 years ago when we were in high school together. I remember her then as a passionate and energetic student. We reconnected 15 years later when my husband and I arrived in Belfast.

By that time, Caitlin had a world of experience in public service under her belt. She had graduated from college and, using her skills and that same passion she had in high school, went to work for Sen. Bob Graham in Washington as a policy adviser.

During law school, Hills furthered her experiences by working as a federal lobbyist for the Humane Society of the United States and clerking for the Center for Biological Diversity, advocating for our endangered animal species.

After graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Law, Caitin became a force in Washington, lobbying for the Alaska Rainforest Campaign and the American Lands Alliance on behalf of trees and the environment, something she has been doing all her life. She had taken her personal passions for our world and turned them into a successful and fulfilling career.

After moving to Belfast to care for and raise her family, Caitin didn't turn away from the issues. She ran for and won a seat on the school board, where she has strongly advocated for the educational needs of our children for the past six years, the last two as chairwoman.

I have watched Caitlin with admiration in her respectful interactions with the town council. She uses a good and steady hand in guiding Regional School Unit 71 through the complexities of providing a safe and nurturing environment in which our young people can learn and grow. She has proven herself to be fiscally responsible with the school budget while also being committed to providing the best educational opportunities available for our children. She is respectful of other opinions and works to find common ground in order to move forward.

In summation, Caitlin Hills is the real deal. She is experienced, she has a proven track record, she knows District 97 and has already worked hard for its citizens and its children for years. I am so impressed to see her engaging with her neighbors at the farmers' market and during lunch time hours making herself available to listen to constituents and hear their concerns about our beloved part of Maine. She has the energy, she has the passion, she has the know-how. I am 100 percent for Hills for House. We need experienced, proven leaders. We need Caitlin!

Seth A. Thayer Jr.

Northport

Understands homeowners' challenges

I am writing to support Jayne Crosby Giles for election to the Maine Senate from Waldo County. I have known Jayne for many years and appreciate the work she has done as both a banker and volunteer in our community. Most recently, Jayne helped me with a fundraiser for our church. I know firsthand that she sincerely cares about our community and works hard to help others.

As a retired Realtor, I appreciate Jayne’s interest in affordable housing to help more first-time home buyers and families find homes in Waldo County. Jayne is an experienced banker, plus she is a licensed mortgage lender in Maine. She understands the challenges facing homeowners to find quality affordable housing.

Jayne will put her knowledge and real-life experience to work for us in Augusta. I cannot think of a better person to be our next Maine senator than Jayne. Please join me in support of Jayne in this election year.

Meredith A. Lang

Belfast

Ideal candidate

Lucas St. Clair is the ideal candidate to run against incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin in November. I met Lucas last night (had only seen him on stage before) at a house party in Belfast, and I found him personable, attentive, and altogether present.

Over the past few years, the opportunity of talking to Bruce Poliquin has proved impossible as the man has abjectly refused to meet with his constituents. At one point, I heard he was only seeing “job creators” on his trips home to Maine. I did make a few visits to Bangor for the purpose of visiting his office, and the experience was wholly unsatisfying.

The opportunity to seat a real, live human being in Washington, D.C., to represent all Mainers is an exciting possibility, and this fellow Lucas St. Clair fits the picture of the type of person I’m looking to represent us all: He listens. He is articulate. He cares about the needs of Maine.

I’ll be voting Lucas St. Clair in June.

Jennifer Hill

Waldo

Fails 'Smell Test'

This new "issue ad" that touts the Monument Building Skills of Lucas St. Clair — and his denial of any prior knowledge of, or connection to, the ad — simply doesn't pass the Smell Test.

We've had this type of campaigning imposed on us long enough to instantly see what's going on: His campaign want's a boost over the line; it thinks we're some gullible rubes; it's happy when some friendly deep pockets whip up an attack ad or misleading fluff piece; and then says it has "no idea" how such shenanigans could have happened. (Except for the obligatory expression of regret that money is considered speech nowadays.)

Call me naive, but I thought primaries are supposed to be some level playing field in which friendly colleagues honestly compete for their party's favor. A slick and pricey bit of television that appears just weeks before the election — that's something we (sadly) expect in the nasty general election yet to come.

At a recent candidates forum, I saw Mr. St. Clair express respect for all his rivals. And solemnly vow that he would never stoop to Dark Money's tactics. Etc., etc. He, or his shadowy backers who produced the monument ad, have obviously done a 180 on all that.

Maybe what the St. Clair campaign has rolled out here proves that he can hold his own in those famous congressional knife fights. Surrounded by relatives and good friends with money, and always ready with the thinnest of denials, he might just be a survivor up there. But myself, I'm looking for a someone to represent my interests. Not another Bruce Poliquin.

Mike Ray

Lincolnville

Misappropriation of 'farm'

Thank you — to our local newspapers and to all of the people who produce them — for providing this space for us to speak to our neighbors. Thank you!

To be right up front here, I do not want the world's largest salmon factory to become a reality, here, or anywhere else.  Also, to be up front, the words that follow are challenging to me and perhaps for many of you as well.

We are living during a time where the use and misuse of words has vast power. Some influential, wealthy and unscrupulous beings have manipulated entire populations with words and we in this country are in no way near immune to this debacle. Just about anything can be justified and made to seem plausible, ethical or even desirable by putting a few simple words together in a certain order. Nordic Aqua is no different.

My entire life has led me to farming and grounding my being into our earth is a wondrous experience. It offends me that this self-proclaimed sustainable corporation is misusing and stealing the word "farm." This is delusional and manipulative. A business raising fish, indoors in tanks, which would die without a large technological apparatus wants to add the word "farm" to their enterprise — while destroying a local treasured haven? No thanks. We've  already got the signs: Thanks, But No Tank(s).

What do you think and feel when you hear the word "farm"? Quite possibly many of us can conjure up a lovely image. Sure there are instances of misuse and neglect, but a well tended and stewarded farm landscape is obvious, soul soothing and deeply embedded within our psyches. When a corporation wants to bulldoze our landscape and then has the gall to put the word "farm" in their name — well this bugs me more than those other bugs now out in our countryside. I am offended. But Nordic Aquafactory just doesn't have the same appeal. It would be truthful though.

I don't want to live in a place with the worlds largest anything. I would, however, love to live in a place that used the least resources, the least fossil fuels, the least electricity regardless of source, the least amount of products from beyond our region. That saw the path ahead as being one of preparing our physical bodies for a different climate and different  physical challenges. That knew that endless consumption was spiritually bankrupt and immoral. That knew that our entitled existence comes at the great cost to billions of other beings around the world. That knew that living isolated lives within our silos of comfort was not really living. That knew that physically working at providing our own sustenance with our own healed bodies was a thing of utter perfection. That saw and cultivated beauty everywhere. That saw the the wisdom of actually and meaningfully engaging with our neighbors as being the road toward healing all that ails us.

Yes, I long for a radically different version of culture. I have been flawed, inept and unwilling to envision how this could actually come about. But I will bumble about and share this with you, Eric Heim; if you'd like to join us in creating this kind of culture, I'd love to have you join me on this farm. And I'm sure we'd love to have you be a part of this community. I am not afraid of your vision; I just feel that it is wrong and going in the opposite direction to what is needed to truly bring us to a new place as human beings. Everything matters. Your proposal is an opportunity for all of us to dig deeper, to recognize the bigger picture and to navigate a new path forward. Let's do it!

Matthew Scala

Waldo

High-stakes gamble

Last Tuesday night, April 17, the Belfast City Council voted unanimously to change zoning for Nordic Aqua Farm to build the world's largest land based salmon farm.

City Hall was packed with people and many of them spoke against the farm.  In fact, all except one person shared their concerns about the farm's size, the impact on the environment, and many other unanswered questions.

Nordic has never built a farm of this magnitude. Even though there may be unintended consequences from this project, our city councilors, mayor, and other city officials seem to have enormous trust in Nordic.

If it fails, it will be Belfast residents and our environment that will pay the price for this high-stakes gamble.

Those of us who continue to be concerned about this farm will move forward to protect our valuable resources.

Phyllis Coelho

Belfast

Not just a Belfast issue

I was Atlantic and Gulf Editor for National Fisherman magazine in the '80s and early '90s. At the time, ocean-based fish farming, primarily salmon, was being touted as a great way to produce cheaper protein with no environmental damage.

The commercial fishermen were against it, of course, for competitive reasons. They soon realized it was also a threat to the health of fish breeding and nursery grounds. Within the decade, the environmental hazards of pen-reared operations were well known, even though fish farmers were in denial. Eventually, regulations to limit pollution from waste and feed and other problems were developed worldwide.

One of my concerns about the land-based salmon operation proposed in Belfast is that the technology is too new for anyone to really know its long-term, or even medium- or short-term, effects. Nordic Aquafarms has yet to harvest a salmon from either of its two 4,000-ton operations; how do they expect to make the leap to a 30,000-ton factory in our backyard, both technically and in an environmentally sound way without an adequate track record?

Any time you have fish living together in a container, you have the potential for disease and parasites. As with all industrial farming, those problems are solved with chemicals and antibiotics; of course, these toxins will ultimately be flushed into the bay. Despite what some folks seem to believe, this product will have some of the same additives as any factory farm meat product so it is not necessarily a more natural product.

Unfortunately, the state of Maine does not yet have regulations regarding land-based fish factories. What exactly are the standards going to be? The Belfast City Council rushed to approve the industrial zone to meet Nordic Aquafarms’ requirements, despite strong citizen concern. It is now up to us citizens to provide a sensible perspective to this proposal.

If you live anywhere near Penobscot Bay, this concerns your water quality, your night sky with 24/7 industrial lighting, and your aquifer. This is not just a Belfast issue.

Linda Buckmaster

Belfast

Habitat thanks

Habitat for Humanity of Waldo County thanks everyone who helped to make our annual Café Italia a wonderful evening and a source of funds for construction of our fifth home in Waldo County. Our generous sponsors were Penobscot Bay Dentistry and Jam Brook Builders.

Local businesses who helped by donating items to our raffle baskets include Trustworthy Home Supply, Dutch Chevrolet, EBS, Eat More Cheese, The Green Store, All Play, Green with Envy, Chase’s Daily, The Nightfall Inn, Point Lookout, Bowen’s Tavern, Coyote Moon, Nautilus Seafood & Grill and Stephanie Guerry. Easterly Wines provided the wines for the wine raffle.

Our wonderful cooking team led by Randy Mailloux, Jack Brady and Bob Bernosky included Tyler Kirkpatrick, Bruce Mailloux, Jeff and Jason Burgess, and Peter Daley. Helping with the cleanup were volunteers from the Reentry Center, who were great workers.

The desserts were made by Vicki Keller, and Habitat board members provided the appetizers.

Among those helping to serve our attendees were two of our partner families, board and committee members, and our executive director, Meg Klingelhofer.

We thank Gerry Brady for sharing her feelings about Habitat and how we help local families and Meg for putting together a slide show of some of the things we have accomplished.

As always, we appreciate Leane Zainea, who worked all day to turn the Shrine Club into an Italian Bistro and then prepared the salads.

And we thank all who attended.

We are lucky to live in a community where so many are willing to volunteer for help. Thank you all.

Board of Directors

Habitat for Humanity of Waldo County

A company with heart

I would like to send a big thank you to Viking Lumber.

I use a power wheelchair to get places; it has no handicapped place for a safety flag. I went to Vikings to see if they had any ideas on how to attach a flag. They did not hesitate.

They not only found a way to attach a safety flag, but did the drilling to attach it so it would be able to be removed.

Viking Lumber, the company with a heart!

Thank you for blessing me and caring to keep me safe.

Deborah Paradis

Belfast

More bike lanes

Thanks to the city of Belfast, bicycle riding in town just got a little safer, due to newly established bike lanes on High Street on both sides of downtown.

Planner Sadie Lloyd went before the City Council and advocated for the new lanes, which received subsequent approval. The striping of the lanes was expertly done by the city’s Public Works Department.

Our thanks goes out to all those city officials who played a role in the bike lane project.

The Belfast Pedestrian, Biking and Hiking Committee

Jim Merkel, Glenn Montgomery, Jan Owen and Bill Smith

Clear RCV information​

The official ballot information for Ranked Choice Voting is available at https://www1.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/rcv.html.​ This site contains sample ballots for the June 12 election.

I found the information very clearly presented.

David Grinstein

Searsport

 

 

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