Letters, Oct. 11, 2018

Oct 11, 2018

Just, thank you

Last Wednesday, our dryer caught on fire. I want to thank the men from Thorndike, Jackson, Monroe and Brooks. They knew exactly what to do. And they carried the hot dryer outside before hitting it with water. They are the reason we still have a home.

How can you thank someone for saving your home? Just, thank you.

Greg and Donna Bean

Brooks

Job well done

I want to thank the sponsors of the Waldo County Senate Candidate Forum for hosting a wonderful candidates' night at the Crosby Center Oct. 3.

As a candidate, I was pleased and proud to participate in a spirited, respectful and civil discussion on real issues that are important to Waldo County residents. I thank my opponent, Erin, for sitting by my side as we shared our thoughts and views.

Stephanie Grinnell did an excellent job as moderator — I have seen few national news celebrities do better. I appreciate the hard work and effort by organizers Steve Ryan, Belfast Chamber of Commerce, and Zak Schmesser, Our Town Belfast.

The turnout was wonderful and the audience appreciative. Ned Lightner's streaming the event made it possible for many to view from afar. And, the Crosby Center — with its place in Belfast history — was a perfect setting for the event.

At a time when national politics seem so "noisy," it is wonderful to participate in a local community evening of intelligent and thoughtful conversation.

Waldo County has demonstrated that political debate may be done with a smile, respect and a healthy look at the issues. Job well done!

Thank you again.

Jayne Crosby Giles

Candidate for Maine Senate

and former Maine State Representative

Zenophobic arrogance?

It's good to be getting into the details of the Nordic Aquafarm proposal. It's a tribute to our system that the citizenry can question the application and provide input.

It was a shame at the public information session at Troy Howard Oct. 4 when a young man got up and snidely told Nordic CEO Erik Heim that he should remember that he is a visitor in our country. What's the message here? Zenophobic arrogance? More overdone nationalism suggesting that foreigners need not come to the U.S.?

That person should be embarrassed and should publicly apologize to Mr. Heim and to all people who have come to America to live and work — as we all have at some point in our lineage.

Steve Ryan

Belfast

Consequences

When a crime is committed, the only thing that might prevent others from following suit is consequences. When your child does something he or she has been told not to, the only way to hopefully prevent a repeat of their actions is consequences (punishment).

Since July we have been inundated with negative attacks against President Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court. A well-respected man has been dragged through the mud by Democratic operatives intent on opposing any action taken by my president.

What the Democrats did to Judge Kavanaugh in my opinion is criminal. If you feel as strongly as I about the horrific treatment of Judge Kavanaugh, you have the power to inflict just consequences on all Democrats running for office. Come November, vote Republican — that is the only way the Dems will get the message and maybe show to those of us who voted for a change in Washington the respect we, and our president deserve.

President Trump is the only elected official in my lifetime who is actually attempting to do exactly what he said he would do. He is not a professional politician — a title most Americans, both left and right, despise. That’s why Trump got elected.

Leo Mazerall

Stockton Springs

Best for Belfast

My final term on the Belfast City Council was Mary Mortier’s first term. She quickly gained a reputation among the rest of us as being the most-prepared councilor at any meeting, often going far beyond the material furnished us to research issues.

During one budget cycle during my years with Mary, councilors were invited to the various city departments. While everyone attended the tours of the fire and police station, only Mary and I toured the transfer station and the Public Works barn. Mary is (sometimes literally) willing to get down into the weeds.

Mary is not given to (in Walter Ash’s favorite phrase) “chin-wagging” in council meetings. She speaks infrequently — but has a way of thoughtfully getting to the heart of the matter. I did not always agree with Mary, but I always knew that any opinion she held would be researched and well-reasoned.

Mary has demonstrated her organizational and leadership skills in a number of local organizations, holding positions of responsibility with the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Garden Club, and Our Town Belfast, as well as serving as executive director of New Years by the Bay for over 15 years.

Neal Harkness was elected to replace Roger Lee after I left the council. At first I had doubts that someone whose chief claim to fame seemed to be an exhaustive knowledge of rock 'n' roll could fill the shoes of the erudite number-crunching lawyer with whom I served two terms on the City Council.

However, over the past two years I have come to appreciate what Neal brings to the table. Neal is thoughtful, and thinks before he speaks. He is direct, and states his views succinctly and clearly. Perhaps because of his work with WCAP Transportation, he seems to consider proposed actions in the light of their impact upon "the least among us" as well as the rest of us.

In these polarized times it may seem strange that I would endorse two individuals with whom I sometimes (or often) disagree. However, I greatly respect their dedication, their thoroughness, and their thoughtfulness. My endorsement is practical, not political. I believe that having Mary and Neal continue on the council is best for Belfast.

Nancy Hamilton

Belfast

She is us

At this divisive time in our country, integrity and honesty seem sadly lacking from many politicians and from political discourse. But here in Waldo County, running to represent District 97 (Belfast, Northport and Waldo) is a genuine person of grit, dedication and intelligence. That person is Jan Dodge.

Beginning with the primary and continuing as I write this, Jan has visited over 2,400 homes of folks from all party affiliations, or even no affiliations. Campaigning on a promise to represent us all to the best of her ability, to listen to concerns and viewpoints from all sides, Jan Dodge is fulfilling her promise to do just that.

Although Jan’s GOP opponent has moved out of state and declared that she is no longer running, she has not officially withdrawn. Knowing this has not altered Jan’s goal to meet as many constituents as possible so that her constituents know her dedication to the role of “public servant.”

Jan Dodge embodies the new breed of citizens from across the country who have stepped up to truly work for “we the people.” There is no hidden agenda from Jan Dodge — she is us, ready and willing to courageously assume a leadership role that represents the desires and needs of the people of her district. I am proud to be supporting and voting for Jan Dodge on Nov. 6.

Mj Crowe

Belfast

Earned my vote

I've admired Erin Herbig’s tireless energy and advocacy in the House of Representatives for the past eight years. Her time at Belfast High School, where she earned a running scholarship to Boston College, and her professional background in Waldo County, are a testament to the dedication and work ethic she brought to her role representing Belfast, Waldo and Northport, and are a preview of the work she will do on behalf of all Waldo County residents.

I’ve been a volunteer firefighter with the Brooks Fire Department since 2010, and Erin was one of the first members of the Maine Legislature to raise her voice to advocate for door-to-door insurance coverage for volunteer firefighters. Erin knows the value of community volunteers, understands the sacrifices they make, and has been our strong champion.

Also, as a licensed professional engineer and co-manager of ReVision Energy, I’ve been fortunate to participate in the growth of our company in Waldo County. That growth depends on recruiting and training skilled tradespeople, and Erin’s work advocating for workforce development through apprenticeship programs, training partnerships, adult education, and vocational programs in skilled trades is critical to our continued growth.

Her commitment to business-friendly policies supporting high-speed internet access and other technologies essential to rural job creation are key to allowing young people to remain in Maine doing meaningful work. Erin Herbig has earned my vote on Nov. 6, and I hope she earns yours, too.

Hans Albee

Brooks

An irreplaceable resource

As the summer growing season draws to a close, the Northport Food Pantry, which serves residents throughout Waldo County, wants to express its gratitude for the bounty of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department Reentry Garden and the wonderful resource it provides to food pantries like ours.

Since the advent of the Reentry Garden, we have enjoyed a wonderful alternative to merely offering canned vegetables at our pantry. The vast majority of the fresh vegetables we provide comes from the Reentry Garden. It is extraordinary that we have this resource, free of charge, to pass along to our needy families.

By distributing the fresh vegetables that we have received from the Reentry Garden, we are able to stretch our food budget and be frugal with our financial resources, thereby expanding our distribution of other needed foods. Likewise, by supplying high-quality freshly picked produce to our families, they are able to use their limited financial resources on other necessities for their households.

Most importantly, for many of our families, we are the best source of fresh produce — all because of the Reentry Garden. We are able to receive vegetables within hours of being picked and distribute them at the peak of freshness to our families, encouraging healthy food habits.

In fact, the importance of the Reentry Garden vegetables impelled us to change our distribution model. Despite the fact that we are a “once-a-month” pantry, last summer we committed to making fresh, healthy produce available to our families every single week during the growing season through our partnership with the Reentry Garden. Families are able to pick up an ample supply of whatever the garden is producing in any given week. The produce is fresher and therefore more nutritious than any other source of rescued vegetables typically available to food pantries.

Those are the demonstrable ways that we benefit from the Reentry Garden, but we have come to learn that the benefits to our community are much broader. In the summer of 2016 we attended an information session at the garden about its goals and documented results. We learned about the other side of the coin — about the ways in which the Reentry Garden and other Reentry Center programs benefit our greater community.

We were already sold on the program because of our direct benefits — but the positive effects in our community are so beneficial that we are doubly invested in the success of this wonderful program.

We thank the Reentry Garden for what it provides to our pantry and our families. Its fresh foods are an irreplaceable resource to our operation. The Northport Food Pantry is grateful for the benefits we reap from the Reentry Garden. It certainly helps us with the work we do and we look forward to the continuation of this bountiful summer of partnership.

Patti Wright, President

Northport Food Pantry

Referendum?

Some think this upcoming city councilor vote is a referendum. Maybe in some ways it is.  I remember a past referendum when Belfast was very divided over a Walmart that would have sacrificed local businesses for a large corporate business instead.

Today we watch a large corporation seeking to build one of the largest-ever land-based salmon farms on our rural seacoast, where its size could compromise the local sustainable fishing industry; one that relies on the health of the bay.

I could live with a smaller version but the implications of being both one of the largest and being experimental does give me pause. I continue to believe that without bad intent our council invited in this large corporate experiment without fully understanding consequences.

Once a large corporation with expensive lawyers and engineers gets to a state permitting stage, it is extremely difficult to turn it back. A promise of exciting and often unproven new technologies has been the answer to most questions; however history has shown time and time again that corporate promises just are not attainable or are broken with only small fines in response. Size matters.

I am encouraged that new skilled thinkers are stepping up to the plate to at least assure that Waldo County is asking the right questions transparently before handing over the keys to our unique village.

Wendy and I live just over the Belfast line in Northport and cannot vote on this matter, so we both ask friends and residents to please consider these people running for city councilor and to vote:

  • Joanne Moesswilde, a Nurse Practitioner (Ward 2)
  • Ellie Daniels, Green Store owner and retired midwife (Ward 1)
  • Jim Merkel, engineer, educator, scientist (Ward 5)

Ellie and Jim have an especially difficult opportunity, as they can only run as write-in candidates. Remember to write in Ellie and Jim.

John Krueger

Northport

A slate in a bubble

Looking at the Belfast City Council slate of Jim, Ellie, and Joanne, I had a few thoughts. Their three perspectives are remarkably similar. Because they walk the same narrow paths and speak to the same people who agree with them, they don’t know the same things.

They are in a shiny green bubble where the idea of killing the salmon farm proposal and replacing it with playgrounds, tiny houses, and a new found civility may sound good to a few friends, but take that idea out of their self-imposed bubble and the idea deflates and goes limp.

Joanne moved in next to our only airport, and like a city dweller who moves next to a smelly dairy farm, wants it to go away. Ellie, living on Perkins Road, calls it the “last pristine place in Belfast,” which is true if you don’t notice Mathews Brothers, the largest factory in Belfast, 2/10 of a mile up the road, and you can conveniently forget that Belfast is actually wonderfully full of beautiful and pristine areas and roads and land.

Take a ride on Kaler Road, Tufts Road, Jesse Robbins Road, Marsh Road, or East Waldo Road, to name a few. And Jim is the real thing. His book is called "Radical Simplicity" and he’s not kidding about either of those two words.

Often the Belfast City Council will hear from people with an idea; “We have been collecting signatures at the Belfast Food Co-op” they tell us. I’m Co-op member No. 75 and this city loves the Co-op but if you tell us you’ve also worked the parking lot at Belfast Variety and BV 52, Wentworth’s Qwik-Stop, a Lions football game, Family Dollar, an auto parts place or two? That’s when we know you’ve really been talking to everyone and hearing from everyone in Belfast. And not just from those who agree with you.

Belfast has had a lot of “slates” run over the years. They are always mad about something and usually against it. “Slates” — even ones with two out of three who didn’t notice it was pretty easy to get their name on the ballot (it takes all of 25 signatures) — have never done well.

The reason “slates” don’t do well is they are usually vocal minorities who think everyone agrees with them on one issue, and come Election Day they find out the truth. People have been paying attention, they don’t all agree with the “slate” in the bubble, and they don’t like one-issue “slates” as a rule.

At one of the many hearings people called for a referendum. In about 30 days we’ll have one. Individuals running on their own with great records of being decent, thoughtful, hardworking, public servants who have served Belfast well are up against a single-interest “slate” in a bubble. Send the slate a message.

Mike Hurley

Belfast City Council

Belfast

Responsive, focused

In a year where we have seen negative politics take over on the national and state level, those of us in Waldo County have an opportunity to elect a candidate who has demonstrated her positive influence and energy in the Maine Legislature for the last eight years.

Erin Herbig is running for the Maine Senate seat for District 23, after representing District 97 in the state House since 2010. She has worked for business development, education, agriculture, women and children by being responsive and focused on the issues that her constituents stress as important to their daily lives. She has shown her leadership ability by serving as House majority leader, while always staying accessible to the voters.

She is able to converse and work with people on all sides of the political spectrum with grace and intelligence and I am sure that she will continue her good work in the Senate. That is why I am supporting Erin Herbig for Senate District 23. I encourage you to check out her record and positions, and then vote for her to keep Maine moving forward.

Patricia Clark

Unity

Growth enriches, elevates life

I’m proud and delighted to support Neal Harkness in his run for another term on Belfast City Council. He’s been a hard worker and applied himself with enormous integrity to everything that comes before him in service to the governance of Belfast.

He also does so much more for the community, especially culturally. He’s hosted Friday Night Flix at the library. He’s currently teaching a course on the Beatles in Senior College. And every year that I turned out to help Mike Hurley stack the long wood for the New Year’s Eve bonfire on the beach, Neal’s been there too.

No one had to ask Harkness to say a few words on behalf of the City of Belfast when we dedicated Belfast’s beautiful 7-foot-high Chanukah Menorah several years ago. He volunteered and showed up, even though it was wicked cold, even though it was his birthday. That’s the kind of a Belfast guy and public servant he is.

I especially admire, and with gratitude, his part in outdoing the competition to secure the Nordic Farms salmon production aquaculture project for Belfast. Harkness well knows that if municipalities don’t grow, they stagnate, and growth, when compatible with a city’s identity and needs, enriches and elevates life there. I share his pride in this and vigorously support his continuing service on Belfast City Council.

Ellen Sander

Belfast

WBFY-FM Belfast Community Radio broadcaster and former Belfast Poet Laureate

Wholeheartedly listened

I am urging voters in Waldo County to support Rep. Erin Herbig for our Senate district.

I met Erin several months ago when she was visiting small businesses in our district so she could be better informed about how to serve the business community. I appreciated that she took the time to visit my manufacturing business in Montville. We discussed important issues such as high costs for health insurance, property tax burden, and attracting a younger workforce to Waldo County. I felt she wholeheartedly listened to my concerns.

Since Erin’s visit, I am volunteering for her campaign because I believe Erin is sincere about representing all people of our district. Her eight years in the state House, most recently as majority leader, have taught her to work across the political divide. Erin is dedicated to finding positive solutions and will make a difference for Waldo County. Please join me and vote for Erin Herbig in November.

Cathy Roberts

Montville

Real choices

I’m delighted we have real choices in this year’s election to the Belfast City Council. Joanne Moesswilde is on the ballot for Ward 2; Ellie Daniels in Ward 1 and Jim Merkel in Ward 5 are write-in candidates.

There are those who are trying to make this race be a referendum on the proposed industrial fish factory, but they are only partly right. This race is a referendum, but the fish facility is only one issue.

This is really a referendum on restoring civility, transparency, and legal democratic process to city government, all of which have been sorely missing this past year. It’s about listening to constituents as opposed to mocking them and blowing them off.

It’s a referendum to elect intellectually curious people who will study and research an issue and be open to feedback, not just swallow what a foreign corporation feeds them. It’s an opportunity to bring fresh perspective and new ideas to a council that, for a while now, has been pretty much voting lockstep with each other.

The city faces a lot of issues — affordable housing for mid-income working people and retirees, increased traffic and a need for public transportation, lowering the tax burden on year-round Belfast residents, supporting our existing small business so they can grow, and protecting our water, land, and bay.

The city is on a cusp; this is an important time to choose change and new thinking. Please vote for Moesswilde, Daniels and Merkel.

Linda Buckmaster

Belfast

Has served us well

Neal Harkness and I go way back. I have known him for almost 13 years and have worked with him extensively in various capacities — on political committees, at community events, and as instructors at Belfast Senior College.

Neal has already served our city for four years as a council member, and in that time, he has repeatedly shown that he has our city's best interests at heart. If there is a Christmas tree lighting, Neal is there; if there is a menorah lighting, Neal is there; if there is an MLK march, Neal is there; if there is a community celebration of any kind, Neal is there; and if there is a controversial issue, you know that Neal will be gathering critical information before making a decision.

In brief, Neal is about building and supporting community — ours!

Not only is Neal highly intelligent, but he actively listens to his constituents and responds to their concerns immediately, if only to say that he needs to delve further into the issue. He then weighs all the facts, and presents his findings in clear, thorough and objective terms.

Though the question of the Nordic Aquafarm remains unanswered as to whether it will pollute our beautiful, natural resources, I firmly believe Neal has done all the research available, I trust his judgment, and, of course, we all want lower taxes.

Those candidates who oppose the Nordic Aquafarm have some outstanding qualities, but not one of them has served on our council, and Neal has not only served, but served us extremely well. He has my full support, and, I hope, yours as well.

Lila Nation

Belfast

A notable exception

We are retirees, proud parents of four and grandparents of six. Like so many Mainers, we care deeply and worry about whether our family and yours will have futures with good jobs and fair benefits, clean air and water, educational opportunities and affordable health care. We also care that Maine stays a wild and beautiful forested destination for visitors from the world over.

All these fundamental goals are why we will vote for Erin Herbig to serve as our senator in Augusta.

Sure, it’s tempting to be cynical and frustrated with politics and elected officials in these turbulent times. We’re not always sure they are focused on our interests, though that’s why we elect them. Erin offers a notable and welcome exception.

Long a productive, conscientious and hard-working standout in our House of Representatives, she is a promising breath of fresh air. Certainly as important, Erin is a friendly, caring and gracious person. That matters now more than ever.

Erin will represent a far-flung and economically diverse Senate district, from Troy to Lincolnville, Palermo to Stockton Springs. She is pounding our back roads and highways to listen and learn what matters to us. And she knows how to translate that to action.

There was never a more crucial time for each of us to do something positive about Maine’s future and what it will promise for our families. Voting for Erin is a great place to start.

Ric and Ann McKittrick

Lincolnville

Experience shows

I am writing in support of Stanley Paige Zeigler for House District 96. He has vast experience as a forest steward, Merchant Marine, and school board member, and that experience showed during his first term in office.

His work in Augusta has tackled tough issues facing Mainers young and old, including renewable energy, school funding, job skills training, and health care.

I am currently a senior at the University of Maine, Orono. As a young Mainer I am particularly interested in the issues of jobs, economy and health care. I think these are issues that unite Mainers from all demographics, and I believe Mr. Ziegler has worked, and will continue to work diligently on these issues.

Asher Sizeler-Fletcher

Montville

Piscine excrement

The prospect of living one or two towns away from the nautical equivalent of a corporate hog farm isn't what I'd anticipated among my retirement goals.

After 52 years of sailing on the bay, I'm not interested in seeing it turned into a toilet for corporate fish farms, with the waste going into our environment and the profits going out of state or out of the country. This could jeopardize the future of fishing, yachting and boat-building north of Rockland.

The clientele of good boatyards don't look for a place to tie up in waters flavored with piscine excrement; nor do tourists go looking for vacation places according to malodor from the vista.

William Burgess Leavenworth

Searsmont

Is it really enough?

It seems as if some residents believe that Nordic Aquafarms coming to Belfast will significantly reduce property taxes. A friend of mine, John Krueger, looked at the numbers from City Hall recently, wondering if this is true. What he found is worth sharing.

We have heard of maybe a 50-percent reduction in taxes. So many months have passed and we now have more specific tax information from the city. These calculations can sound complex, but let’s use the city numbers to estimate what the tax savings might be.

Here are the city's data and logic:

1. If the $150 million Phase 1 of the NAF project goes forward and if a conservative estimate of $80 million in valuation is applied, we might conservatively assume 62.5 percent of this number ($50 million) would be eligible for the state’s Business Equipment Tax Exemption Program.

2. In Maine, new equipment is not taxed, but the state will reimburse the city 56 percent of what the tax would have been. So when we apply our current mil rate times $50 million of new equipment valuation, and then take 56 percent of this, we are now looking at about $30 million in valuation to be taxed.

3. Taxes Belfast receives from the remaining new value of $30 million will be offset by a partial loss of state school subsidy. When the city valuation goes up, the amount of money received in school subsidy goes down. The result would net Belfast 42.87 percent of the new revenue on the buildings and land.

Put very simply, the city manager estimates that the mil rate will be reduced by $1.37 per thousand. Since the current mil rate is $21.9 per thousand, the new mil rate would be $20.53 per thousand. In real dollars and cents, if your house is valued at $150,000, you might see a tax savings of up to $200. If your house is valued at $350,000, you could see a savings closer to $500. This is roughly a 6-percent reduction in taxes.

Of course, as the city increases its budget with new costs (don’t forget the taxpayer costs to entice NAF), these savings will be reduced. Other tax breaks might surface; one is potential for something like a Development Opportunity Zone. We also know that NAF is avoiding state income tax through its Delaware incorporation and may be receiving other benefits.

The city has applied a reverse logic and suggests that, rather than using this 6 percent to actually reduce taxes, it instead could apply the value of this 6 percent (approximately $894,000 in a total proposed 2018-2019 budget of approximately $16,953,705) to additional needed spending. We understand now why taxes don’t go down in Belfast.

So let’s be clear, a 6-percent reduction in taxes, or spending an additional $894,000, is not small change. But is it really enough to offset the environmental risks and degradation that this industrial fish facility would entail?

Deborah Capwell

Belfast

Won't back down

Janet Mills is an independent thinker who doesn’t allow partisan politics to cloud her focus on the interests of Maine people. Many Mainers, particularly women and people with pre-existing conditions, along with those who love them, are left reeling in the wake of the latest Supreme Court confirmation.

Janet is intimately aware of the health care challenges everyday people face, as it has been her lived experience in raising five daughters and caring for her spouse following a stroke.

Janet is equal parts compassionate and determined. She is a strong woman who won’t back down from her convictions. A vote for Janet Mills for governor is a vote to ensure affordable, accessible health care for Maine people.

Amy C. Reid

Belmont

Deeply cares

I've known Vicki Doudera for about 10 years and I was thrilled when I first found out that she had intentions of running for state representative.

Vicki is committed to representing everyone. She's compassionate and one of the best listeners and communicators that I know. She will keep us informed as to what is happening in Augusta.

Vicki is focused on what is important in people's lives and deeply cares about our community.

Susan Brooks Kanellakis

Camden

 

 

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