Letters, May 21

May 21, 2020

City should follow county's lead

Cash-strapped property owners are going to have a difficult time paying their property taxes and the financial pain will trickle down to all Waldo County municipalities. Commissioner Betty Johnson said the county is working to be more fiscally efficient by combining some positions and rewriting some job descriptions. “Does this really need to be a full-time position? Can it be part-time? Can it be combined with anything else? This is a chance for us to just look at what we are, what we do and what we need and how it can be done more efficiently.”

Maybe it's time for the “Armageddon” budget at the city of Belfast.

1) Fold the Belfast Police Department into the Waldo County Sheriff's Office, eliminate all duplicated functions. Leave the building downtown with all its operating expenses.

2) Get out of the library business. Sell the building to a foundation, take back a mortgage and save the $400,000 per year.

3) Require employees to contribute a higher percentage of their compensation to their health care premiums, now over $1 million.

4) No more pensions: All new employees can contribute to a 401(k) plan and phase out pensions of any existing employees over a set period of time. The prior city manager was making $105,500 per year and another $8,000-plus per year into a pension.

5) Stop ridiculous “alligator” projects like the Harbor Walk. Leave it “as is,” install solar-powered light poles instead of funding over $100,000 for five light poles. Install only a fortified driveway crossing for heavy cranes. Let Paul Naron pay for his own parking lot lighting.

6) Stop giving away a dime to any organization who comes “panhandling” every year at budget time. We all know who they are.

7) Sell all non-productive assets, such as the boathouse that barely breaks even. Any city-owned land that has no future use.

8) Start enforcing the City Charter (ordinances) via Notice of Violation letters imposing “get your attention” fines for non-compliance, just like Penobscot McCrum LLC. They were sent a Notice of Violation in mid-January informing them that they were finally going to face fines of $2,500 per day if eight eyesore tractor-trailers, abandoned for many years at their downtown refrigeration building, were not removed by Feb. 15. (They were removed.)

Eric Schrader

Belfast

Get informed

Just a few numbers that by virtue of my limited research among friends and family informed me of the lack of knowledge the average American has related to current and past flu seasons. I was surprised to learn how many informed people know nothing. Their level of knowledge or lack thereof is gained by watching ABC ,NBC ,CBS, PBS, etc.

During the 2017/2018 season, 80,000 Americans died of the seasonal flu. The average year has a mortality of 34,000 plus. That is with the availability of a sometimes effective vaccine.

Even during the worst years, there was no social distancing. There were no shutdowns. No destruction of the economy. The CDC estimates that mortality from seasonal flu this season will be between 24,000 and 62,000. How many of these deaths have or will be attributed to COVID-19?

The small amount of information listed here is readily available on the CDC site. Inform yourself.

Leo H. Mazerall Jr.

Stockton Springs

Witnesses offer virtual witness

For well over 100 years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been known for going from door to door ... for making personal calls on people's homes to share a thought from the Bible and/or some printed matter, and more recently, sometimes a short video presentation. But not now. Very early in the COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided that door-to-door canvassing and personal visits would be suspended to prevent spreading the virus. Even witnessing by letter was suspended, as no one was sure the virus couldn’t survive in the postal system.

A recent news clip mentioned that over 800 Witnesses have died from the virus, so those precautions seem prudent and loving. In addition to his command that his disciples attempt to make more disciples (Matthew 28:19, 20) Jesus said that his followers would be known for their having love for each other and for others (John 13:34, 35).

Jehovah’s Witnesses look forward to a time when no one will be sick (Isaiah 33:24) because Jesus will rule the Earth and cure everyone ... just as he cured all who came to him during his earthly ministry. (Matthew 12:15) The website JW.org is still available to anyone who wishes to learn more. It offers a number of Bible versions, many Bible-based publications, videos, and even an interactive program of Bible lessons (under “Bible teachings” on the home page) all free of charge.

Dave Stover

Waldo

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Comments (9)
Posted by: Ralph Stanley | May 25, 2020 06:26

BR549

Nordic was fighting a losing battle from the onset. with the World Oceans facility going up in Buckspport, along with Cook Aquaculture's numerous facilities in Maine already, Nordic is already stressed with an infrastructure burden that will too easily push it out of competitiveness as market prices waver.

As a former seafood plant manager, I can attest to what happens when investment dollars don't produce for the investors. As it is right now with Whole Oceans, they have direct water access, they have the facility size, and they will have processing capability.

I don't know what fairytale market the Nordic people are looking to cater to, but all I see is a questionable business investment opportunity looking for a place to happen, and especially with a local population economically depressed enough and illiterate enough to bypass common sense. If Cook and Whole Oceans weren't in the picture, I'd say let Nordic give it a go, but they are already in the picture and their infrastructures appear to be far less complex than the handicap that Nordic will be coming to Belfast with.

As Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association. has stated relative to Nordic's proposal, ............... “They are taking a big risk, ..." Nordic may be taking a big risk, but the bigger risk is the one the people in Belfast are taking.



Posted by: Ralph Stanley | May 24, 2020 19:43

Nordic opposition is ‘not done fighting’

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 1:30pm

There are many problems with Mike Hurley's May 10 letter to the editor regarding the industrial fish factory Nordic Aquafarms has proposed for Belfast, but the worst of them is hurling accusations at Nordic opponents without offering a shred of evidence.

“They call people like myself collaborators and a company like Nordic foreign invaders,” Hurley says. He suggests that Nordic opponents call the City of Belfast “prostitutes and on the take.” But Hurley offers no evidence. No names. No dates. No venues. Nothing. I have been following the Nordic controversy closely since Nordic went public 27 months ago, and I have never heard nor seen any of this.

Hurley accuses opponents of using “terminology like destroy.” Guilty as charged. I frequently use the word “destroy” when writing about what Nordic would do in Belfast, and that's because it's accurate. By Nordic's own admission, it would destroy dozens of acres of mature forest, wetlands and the habitat of at least one threatened species.

Hurley complains that the Nordic opposition “grinds on” in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. What Hurley doesn't say is that fully 40 days after the Wold Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global health emergency, Nordic tried to pressure the state Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) to speed up its deliberations, which are supposed to protect Maine's environment from rapacious, polluting corporations such as Nordic. Grind on indeed.

Hurley says the Nordic opposition has “lost every battle,” but the only battle the opposition has lost is when Hurley's city council rushed to change the zoning for Nordic's proposed site, despite written citizen comments that ran more than 130 to nothing against Nordic.

According to Hurley, the Nordic opposition has failed to convince any judge. This is patently false. In fact, Nordic lost its anti-SLAPP suit against the Friends of Harriet L. Hartley Conservation Area. Indeed, it is Nordic that has failed to convince any judge.

Hurley bemoans the delays that have plagued Nordic, but these delays are the result of Nordic's incompetence, its ever-shifting plans, and its attempt to illegally appropriate the land of longtime Belfast residents Judith Grace and Jeffrey Mabee, whom Hurley has repeatedly disparaged in favor of a large multinational corporation from 3,000 miles away.

Hurley heralds Nordic's magically expanding jobs numbers, but he fails to mention that of the 30 or more people Nordic has hired so far, only a few are from Waldo County. Many or most of Nordic's would-be jobs would require expertise not found here and thus would go to people from away.

Hurley also heralds Nordic's supposed tax benefits, but so far Nordic has fed handsomely at the public trough by, among other things, getting the City of Belfast to pay hall rental for its propaganda meetings and by securing a sweetheart deal to pay half its dechlorination costs, something the City never offered to Marshall Wharf Brewing Company, which actually did employ local people and pay local taxes. Here and in Norway, Nordic has taken advantage of every tax break it can get its hands on. It even registered in Delaware, an infamous haven for tax chiselers.

Hurleys says tens of thousands of Waldo County residents are unemployed. But, according to worldpopulationreview.com there are 39,800 people in Waldo County, and according to statista.com, 60.8 percent of the U.S. population works – is of working age, is physically capable, etc. Thus, if Hurley were right, we would have unemployment of at least 82 percent. What is more, as of May 14, indeed.com lists 872 jobs available in the 04915 zip code. Unemployment is clearly a major problem in the U.S. as a whole, but equally clear is that Hurley has his facts wrong.

To his credit, Hurley did get one thing right. He said the Nordic opposition is “not done fighting.” That's right, we're not. And we won't be done fighting until we defeat this corporation that wants to daily spew 1,600 pounds of nitrogen and 100 pounds of phosphorous into Belfast Bay; destroy woods, wetlands and wildlife habitat; threaten fishing, lobstering and tourism by disrupting and dispersing settled mercury deposits in Belfast Bay; and threaten our aquifer and watershed by using at least 630,000,000 gallons of water per year – all for the benefit of executives, wealthy investors, and high-end consumers.

Lawrence Reichard lives in Belfast



Posted by: Seth Thayer | May 24, 2020 05:42

Mr. Schrader:  Thank you so much for your insult-laden private message.  I will ask a public question of you.  Why are you so fixated on my mouth and the fact that I have am married to a man??  Seems there are some deep seated issues in your life that you may want to address with a professional.



Posted by: Seth Thayer | May 24, 2020 04:37

Ralph, nice, wishing death on someone from the Coronavirus.  Yeah, adds to your "cred." LOL....



Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 23, 2020 19:38

Ralph,

The contagion has absolutely been identified, SARS-Cov-2. It has been imaged, it's genome mapped, the damage it does and how it does it. The genome mapping discovered the virus that wound up on the east cost had it's vector through Europe.

The big issue for the research community is it's a Coronavirus. There has never been a Coronavirus this contagious or deadly and there has never been a vaccine deveoped for a Coronavirus. There are 100s of Coronavriuses that we know of but at the worst they cause a common cold just like  a Rinovirus does. This is new and it obviously jumped species as viruses will do from time to time. Remember HIV jumped species.



Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 23, 2020 19:22

I will add for Leo that we are about to go over 100,000 fatalities in a little over two months as opposed to 24-62,000 for a whole year.



Posted by: Ralph Stanley | May 23, 2020 18:52

Not understanding why anyone would differ from what Kevin Riley has offered the public regarding this virus in his response. This does not equate to a flu epidemic. This is a pandemic. Its contagion and treatment have yet to be revealed. Thank God we have been relieved of door to door bible "teachings" by JW practitioners. May the end up on Seth Thayers door and send him to his idiotic end with a blessing.

These are the numbers for nitrogen load from NAF.

For the protection of dissolved oxygen as the environmental response indicator, based on Dept staff review and analysis to date, the proposed discharge concentration of 23 mg/L would not meet the default antidegradation licensing criteria threshold of 12 mg/L at full flow if permitted. This is because a proposed discharge value of 23 mg/L would consume 38% of the remaining assimilative capacity of the receiving water.

For the protection of eelgrass as the environmental response indicator, based on Dept staff review and analysis to date, the proposed discharge concentration of 23 mg/L would not meet the default antidegradation licensing criteria threshold of 14 mg/L at full flow. This is because a proposed discharge value of 23 mg/L would consume 33% of the remaining assimilative capacity of the receiving water.

Based on the default antidegradation licensing criteria and Dept staff review and analysis to date, the limiting discharge threshold is 12 mg/L. This 12 mg/L threshold would result in the consumption of no more than 20% of the remaining assimilative capacity of the receiving water. According to the state’s antidegradation policy, and based upon the Dept staff’s historical practice and best professional experience and judgment, consuming more than 20% of the remaining assimilative capacity of the receiving water is considered a lowering of water quality and the applicant would only be able to meet the standard if it established and the Dept made the findings required by Maine law,  38 M.R.S. §464(4)(F)(5). See Attachment E of this memorandum for a more in-depth discussion on total nitrogen.
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Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 23, 2020 17:48

Leo,

You can't seem to connect the dots. If it were not for that flu vaccine, you seem to doubt the efficacy of, we don't have 600,000 to 1,000,000 deaths from influenza every year. Think 1918 when 675,000 Americans died.

This Coronavirus, SARS-Cov-2, that causes Covid-19 has never been seen by humans. It is highly contagious and easily transmitted, there is no treatment, vaccine and no cure. It has been discovered it is not just a respiratory infection and effects other organs as well. The more that is discovered about this virus the more we realize how really dangerous it is.

If you have a case that requires hospitalization you don't recover from Covid, you survive it. The full recovery can take months to a year and some will never fully recover. There are plenty of before and after pics you can look up.

That is why there is stay at home orders, masks and social distancing. Without those precautions the fatality rate could be in the millions here.

For evidence all you need to do is look at the difference between countries that acted swiftly and decisively as they saw the threat coming like South Korea and New Zealand and counties that didn't like the U.K. and America.

Sweden is now deeply regretting their response to Covid-19.



Posted by: Seth Thayer | May 23, 2020 15:56

Eric:  Or

9) Go back to Florida and leave us in peace.



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