Letters, Nov. 7, 2019

Nov 07, 2019

Illegal, uncivil sign swiping

This Halloween in Belfast was about more than children making the rounds for treats.

Seems like the Nordic oppositionists took the opportunity to serve up some tricks by removing The Fish are Okay lawn signs from private properties on Church, Salmond and Cedar streets. There are also many missing from the downtown as well as one that was defaced on Northport Avenue.

Taking signs will not change the minds of the majority of people supporting the Nordic project in Belfast.

And yet the cry lately from the opposition is all about civility. How is illegally taking signs from private property and public spaces civil? Is defacing a sign civil? We have been quietly replacing lawn signs that have gone missing in the past. We have remained civil, but this latest act of illegal and uncivil taking of large numbers of signs and defacement of a sign needs to be more publicly noted.

Diane Braybrook


Houses and families from Way Back When

Here's the thing between creating "affordable housing" and "keeping the character of a historic neighborhood": Here stands Mr. and Mrs. Dibodet and their two kids. She works as a clerk at Hannaford's and he's a mechanic at one of the auto shops. One kid goes to CASS, one to Troy Howard.

Belfast doesn't have enough housing for people in their income bracket — we have lots of low-income housing and we have lots of big old houses that not only cost a lot to keep up but sit on ever-more-expensive land.

The city says "Hey, we have lots of empty lots still, let's put some work into making sure the kind of housing that's most needed is the kind that gets built." The assumption, and probably the reality, is that it will be rather simple, hopefully sturdy and fairly compact: not a lot put into the artisanal flourishes we see all over town on the big old houses. Every flourish equals a little less affordable.

The neighbors start to cry, "Oh! What about the character of the neighborhood?! Look at my house, how I've restored all the historic details, installed solar panels, planted heirloom roses!" The thing that gets forgotten is that that house was built by Mrs. Dibodet's great-grandfather and she was at all the family holiday events and many sleepovers in that house as a child, but she and her siblings could none of them afford to keep it when their grandparents passed.

It's hard enough to see strangers in the family home when you are struggling to find a decent home yourself, but it's no one's fault but changing times, but to then have those same strangers tell you they don't want you anywhere in the neighborhood even — that's how a divided community happens.

It's OK to have had a successful life elsewhere, come here, buy up a lovely big house, fix it up the way it needs to be fixed up, but remember the history of what happened before you got here and be sensitive to it.

Here wouldn't be as fabulous as you found it if it wasn't for Way Back When and that deserves your respect and your deference. Way Back When wants you to honor not just the house, but everything that came out of it, especially the people that were here before you knew this was a place to come to and call home.

Anne Saggese


Help Window Dressers

It’s not too late to volunteer for Window Dressers' eighth annual window insert building workshop, which will be in the Belfast Boathouse Nov. 6 through Nov. 22. The Window Dressers workshop is an opportunity to spend a few hours helping neighbors, friends, and others who will become new friends build insulating window inserts that help local residents reduce heating costs by lowering the amount of heat loss through windows. As an extra benefit, the inserts also help the environment by reducing fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Over the next several weeks, Belfast Window Dressers volunteers will construct 426 new inserts for customers from all over Waldo County. Grants and donations allow at least 30% of these inserts to be provided at reduced cost to those most in need. At least four of our customers have let us know that they are over 90 years old and are looking forward to a warmer house this winter.

There are many jobs for volunteers to do, the work is fun and easy, and no prior experience is needed. Our intrepid food committee has rounded up yummy lunches and snacks. All we need now is YOU!

It’s easy to volunteer. Just go to windowdressers.com, click on the word “volunteer” at the top of the page. On the next page click the large red button that says “click here to volunteer for your community workshop.” You can then select the Belfast workshop where you can pick the date and time you want to volunteer. If you want, you can even pick more than one date and time!

The Belfast Window Dressers Steering Committee looks forward to seeing you at the Boathouse soon.

Ernie Cooper


Butts Be Gone

Early on Oct. 30, a three-person team (Debbie Murphy, Larissa Flimlin and Marianne Randall) took to downtown Main Street and upper High Street to pick up cigarette butt litter for 1-1/2 hours. A total of 843 butts were picked up. The worst areas were between Park on Main to traffic lights (just Rollie's & Traci’s side) and traffic lights to Macleod's (includes Darby’s and City Hall).

Each butt contains 400 toxins that are washing down our drains into the bay. The Butts Be Gone local committee will be presenting and answering questions on cigarette butt litter at the No.v 5 Belfast City Council meeting. The committee’s hopes are to obtain permission to place 12 cigarette butt receptacles at various locations in downtown Belfast on the city's lampposts.

It's time to protect our environment from hazards like cigarette litter.

Debbie Murphy


Ghost stories

Searsport's Carver Memorial Library was filled to capacity Tuesday, Oct. 23, as 40-plus people from Searsport and surrounding communities came together to share and/or listen as one soul after another told of their experiences with "ghosts."

As Searsport town historian, I started the event with some background history concerning ghosts; then members of the audience began to share their personal stories encouraged by the nonjudgmental, supportive audience.

It was a night none of us in attendance will soon forget and plans are now being made with the Carver Library to have "Ghost Night" again next year downstairs, sitting in a circle where all can see and hear.

Thanks go to radio station Star 97.7 for spreading the word about our program and to Facebook for doing its thing.

Charlene Knox Farris


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Comments (3)
Posted by: Ellie Daniels | Nov 12, 2019 11:11

Diane, it speaks poorly of you and your group that you stoop to accuse folks of wrongdoing who simply have a different point of view than yourself. We have better ways of spending our time, such as researching, attending and testifying at Planning Board and BEP meetings, and holding public information events to make sure the public knows the truth. This is not a race or a referendum; this is simply a difficult issue that some of us feel compelled to push back against.

Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Nov 08, 2019 18:16

Thanks for picking up the butt litter. I have picked up trash for many years. Still get a weird look from folks who look at me picking up trash as I head into the grocery store. Butts are the most insidious. Thank you again.

Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Nov 08, 2019 18:10

Braybrook get a grip. Where do you get off saying folks opposed to the Nordic factory had anything to do with the removal of your signs? You have no idea where your precious signs may have gone. Then bring civility into it. Defamation speculatively applied is not civil. Where do you perch yourself as having the high ground on civility?

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