Letters, Oct. 4, 2018

Oct 04, 2018

Negotiates positive outcomes

I have had the privilege of knowing Jan Dodge since her childhood, when she was a second-grader at the now discontinued Anderson School on High Street in Belfast. Her mom, Polly Dodge (whom you may remember), and I both taught first grade then. I was able to observe blossoming leadership abilities and a strong sense of responsibility in Jan at that early age.

As anyone familiar with the school (now Waterfall Arts) knows, there are three floors in the building. Jan was assigned the responsibility of hall monitor. Her teacher recognized her leadership potential at this young age! Every afternoon Jan very gently guided the excited students safety down three flights of stairs as they exited the building ― not an easy task at the end of a busy school day!

Her high school teaching career required the honing of her negotiating and compromising skills to maintain harmony in her classroom. As a member of the Waldo County Education Association Retired, I have observed these same qualities coupled with excellent organizational skills and speaking charisma in her role as president of this organization. As president, she has negotiated positive outcomes when individuals are at odds. These experiences and qualities certainly will make her an excellent legislator for District 97 in the Maine House.

Joan Light

Waldo

Committed to education

A few years ago, I listened to Erin Herbig give the keynote speech at a Belfast Area High School graduation. She told her own story of growing up in Belfast, attending BAHS, moving out of state for college and early jobs, then coming back to work here in Maine, jump into public service and raise a family.

She spoke to the seniors and their parents, providing helpful words and a message that resonated with many: “You can do this, too.” Erin has not forgotten that access to a good education has significantly shaped her own life. And she has taken the time to mentor young people along the way, including our daughter.

Since that day, Erin has continued her tenure in leadership of the Maine House of Representatives and repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to quality education for students and thoughtful economic development for our towns.

Now, with her eye on these goals, Erin has plans to help increase education and job opportunities right here in Waldo County, including student debt relief, high-speed internet expansion, a local community college center, apprenticeship programs and strengthening partnerships between educational centers and employers.

Erin has the energy, passion and vision to make a real difference for all of us in Waldo County.

This is one reason my family and I are supporting Erin Herbig for the Maine Senate. For all our children’s sakes, please vote for this remarkable woman in November. Thank you.

Evelyn deFrees

Searsmont

Jayne for Maine, Maine for Jayne

I have known Jayne Crosby Giles for well over 20 years. Jayne sat on the governing board of Broadreach Family & Community Services during some of the time that I served as its executive director.

During that time, I marveled at her skill in navigating strict fiscal issues (as is common with many nonprofits), her fair and never flinching support of the staff at Broadreach, and her keen eye on the highest of quality education for children…without breaking the bank!

Jayne’s clear vision of early childhood education and its importance in forming a lasting foundation for life’s learning pathways, coupled with her common sense, as well as her tenacious hold on what’s right and wrong, helped to guide the agency and make it what it is today.

On numerous occasions, Broadreach has been hailed as an agency of the highest caliber by not only the state of Maine, but also the U.S. government. Jayne was a key player in assuring quality services and, thus, played a key role in its recognition.

She also served as our banker for part of that time and supported our work by assisting us in times of need. It is my understanding that after my retirement, Jayne was selected to serve as acting executive director for a short time and continued to work hard to assure agency excellence.

It was an honor to work with Jayne at Broadreach and to stand on the sidelines and watch her perform her other roles within the community and beyond. Her care and concern for the families of Maine are unrivaled.

Without any reservation, I endorse Jayne’s candidacy for state senator. I have watched her work closely and know her well. There’s no one better to take over where Sen. Mike Thibodeau left off. Certainly, it will be a difficult task to fill his shoes, but Jayne will give it her all and do it well. She’s smart, fair and just. That’s a very hard combination to beat.

In these days of partisan challenges in Augusta and Washington, D.C., Jayne is the perfect choice to help begin the healing process. Please join me in supporting Jayne Crosby Giles in her bid for state senator. She’s more than earned the right to try.

Ruth H. Southworth,

Former Executive Director

Broadreach Family & Community Services

Herbig: a tireless advocate

I am writing in support of Erin Herbig, candidate for the Maine Senate from District 11. Throughout the nine years that I have known Erin, she has been committed to helping the people and businesses of Waldo County.

A native of Belfast, Erin is an honest, positive-thinking and tireless advocate for the rights of all people, regardless of income or family background. Erin has served in the Maine House of representatives for the past eight years, most recently as the majority leader.

During that time she has been committed to implementing policies to help move Waldo County forward, and focused on creating better jobs and better opportunities for the people of rural Maine.

As a Maine senator, she will continue her commitment to implementing good policies, and to maintaining her excellent working relationships with legislators on both sides of the aisle ― always striving to move Waldo County forward.

Over the years that I have known Erin Herbig, I have watched her become the great community leader and citizen advocate that she is today. I will be casting my vote for her and urge you to do so as well.

Marjorie Gormley

Belfast

A Giles priority: early childhood education

As an early childhood educator and parent, I know that the education of the youngest children in our community is incredibly important. And while all children should ideally have access to quality education, options and access are limited in our area.

Jayne Crosby Giles understands the critical development that occurs in the first five years of life and believes that investing in early childhood education for all will help children, their families, and the future of our community.

As CEO of MaineStream finance, one of Jayne’s top priorities was to help home-based childcare centers secure financing to provide a quality yet affordable option in rural communities where there is a dire need for early childhood education.

In the Senate, Jayne will also have early childhood education at the top of her list of priorities, working to offer the tools needed to ensure the success of children and their families, as well as the economic and civic prosperity of our community in the future.

Please join me in voting for Jayne Giles; our children will thank you.

Mallory Banks Harnden

Belfast

Vote Herbig

The open Senate seat for District 11, Waldo County, is being pursued by Democrat Erin Herbig, a native of Waldo County. Erin has spent her time in the Legislature performing exceptional work on behalf of her constituents. She needs to continue this outstanding work in the state Senate. That is why we are supporting Erin for the Senate seat.

Erin is a present state legislator who has learned to balance the challenges of two jobs: motherhood and service to her constituency as a member of the state Legislature, specifically, District 97.

Erin has been, is now and will continue to be energetic, enthusiastic and tireless, committed to serving in a new role as state senator. She is ready, willing and able to cross the aisle by working with all members of the Senate as she has done with the Legislature.

We urge you to support Erin Herbig, focused on her continued learning by listening to our concerns, supporting seniors who wish to age in their own homes, providing the necessary tools and creating better jobs in our rural community so they can build the necessary infrastructure to keep Maine families here and bring back those we have lost.

Erin Herbig: Here, now present. Vote Tuesday, Nov. 6.

MJ and Gregory Coleman

Waldo

Lincoln’s speech and modern America

Driving along Route 222 East in Stetson, I found myself gazing at the fields, the near-autumn leaves, and the beauty of late summer in Maine. There were children playing in their yards, fathers chopping wood in preparation for the season ahead, and mothers picking the last of this year’s garden.

Last week, we honored the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that killed 2,996 innocent civilians. Even though my parents were setting up my new crib at the time, I’ve heard many people talk about the day after ― Sept. 12, 2001. Many have said stores were simply out of American flags, as everyone flew theirs in patriotism and in the simple, yet fundamental reality that all citizens should unite and stand together in a time of such crisis.

In today’s politics, we are extremely divided as a country. A great man by the name of Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Applying that to modern America proves the saying true.

If everyone, that being Democrats, Republicans and Independents, works together, we shall stand. If we talk about the issues, agree to disagree, and settle on a compromise, we shall stand.

If we continue the finger-pointing, the false accusations, the kindergarten-like behavior, we shall fall. If we focus on who’s right instead of focusing on a compromise to fit all sides, we shall fall.

As a drove through those fields, gazing at the autumn leaves, I saw American citizens. I didn’t see Democrats, Republicans or Independents. I saw American citizens.

As a secondary education major at Thomas College, aspiring to teach the upcoming generation, I certainly hope that we keep talking and work through our differences in opinion. I certainly hope that we find common ground, not as Democrats, Republicans or Independents, but as Americans.

Matt Heroux

Belfast

Liberman is tough but fair

The people of Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties are very fortunate to have Jon Liberman as their district attorney, and I hope you will join me in voting to elect him.

Jon is very tough on crime and makes sure that those who commit crimes are held accountable. I am particularly impressed with his advocacy for victims of crime. He fights to protect victims’ privacy rights and secure financial restitution for them.

While he is tough on offenders, Jon is also fair and is always looking for ways for offenders to rehabilitate themselves when possible. He is a strong advocate of community-based restorative justice for juvenile offenders that encourages them to take responsibility for their actions and become productive members of society.

He is also working to establish a “Drug Court” in Midcoast Maine. This unique approach to helping addicts recover has had tremendous success elsewhere in Maine.

It is this type of innovative approach to prosecuting crime that has made Jon Liberman such an effective district attorney, and I hope you will join me in voting to elect him Nov. 6.

Mike Thibodeau

Winterport

Editor’s note: Michael Thibodeau is president of the Maine Senate.

Re-elect Trafton

I am writing to ask your support for re-electing Jeffrey Trafton as sheriff of Waldo County.

Sheriff Trafton may be the most qualified person to serve in this capacity in the state of Maine. Out of high school, he joined the Marines, then joined the State Police, retiring as supervisor. He went on to become the chief of police in Belfast. From Belfast, he became chief deputy in the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office.

For the last four years, he has served as Sheriff of Waldo County. I know of no other person who has the qualities and experience to lead a county in this capacity.

Sheriff Trafton addressed the issue of violence against women by hiring a domestic violence officer. He also has been very active in the fight against opioid addiction and drug abuse in general in Waldo County. He has worked with the group “Aging Well in Waldo County.” He is a staunch supporter of Waldo County Triad.

The Reentry Center program has saved communities in Waldo County thousands of dollars in such ways as cleaning cemeteries, painting buildings, cooking in food cupboards, and cleaning parks. The object, as part of the training, was to help teach these young people in the Reentry Center that it is a good thing to help someone else, and they could learn about gardening and growing food for themselves.

Sheriff Trafton has been instrumental, in the last four years, in helping us grow this garden project. Many of our citizens are enduring hardships and it is not possible for them to have access to fresh vegetables. We anticipate that this year we will produce about 135,000 pounds of fresh vegetables. These citizens are members of food cupboards, soup kitchen, church events ― we handle them all.

I know that Sheriff Trafton’s opposition this year has made the statement many times that he would close down the Reentry Center. I would ask, what is so wrong with what we are doing that anyone would want to shut down this program?

If you believe, as I believe, that the cause is just and what we are doing is right, please help us continue this program through re-electing Sheriff Trafton. This program is funded through Community Corrections Act funds, which come to us through jail funding from the state. Thirty percent of that check is dedicated to programs and courses to help our incarcerated people develop a better life. If we did not accept those funds and have a program such as this, that $150,000 per year would go to some other county. The operation of this program does not affect the county budget by 1 percent.

It has been my pleasure to have the opportunity to work with Sheriff Trafton and get to know all these individuals on a personal basis. I hope that you will consider re-electing Jeffrey Trafton for sheriff.

Bill Shorey, Chairman

Waldo County Commissioners

Vote your own conscience

I care about what I know about the person, not the candidate. Plus, the Republican and Democratic parties have not even a smidgen of connection to the Republican and Democratic parties I knew in my youth. They both had clear, well understood and well-realized missions and, although they were both run by older, well-to-do white males, they did have a sense of accountability.

Now, it seems the Republican Party has become totally unhinged and will stay that way as long as they are led by the unhinged. And who are the Democrats?  Do they even exist anymore or have they all become #metoo independents, socialists? Who knows?  And after this current horror show ends, will either party be standing?

So, I vote for who I know, how they live, how they bring up their children, the way they vote on issues I care about, how ethical they are in the professional and social world and do they make sense. Yes, when basic sanity now has to be listed as a consideration, we've gone over the edge.

I also care if they answer me. Without naming candidates I can say they I have written to everyone now running for office. Some have never answered any of three inquires; some have answered all. Now some may have better-staffed offices, which means the others have to work that much harder to respond to people whose votes they court.

I put everyone's sign on my lawn (with few exceptions) because I think it brave to run for office. It doesn't mean I support their policies; it only means I support their efforts to engage. There are a few I would not vote for, such as Poliquin, because I don't want my daughter, granddaughter or any other female to be deprived of the ability to make choices about her own body and I certainly don't want such a  choice made by a man who, being sans uterus, can't possibly be in danger of getting pregnant. Also, I'm old and he does nothing for the elderly, so, anyone who doesn't like women or the elderly isn't getting my vote.

I have never stirred up much interest in Golden because his ads are lackluster, so I thought I might not cast a vote in this portion of the ballot; that is until I saw the hate-filled, fear tactic, ignorant, ill-informed and by the way, badly filmed, attack ads of Poliquin. Poliquin just got Golden a vote he probably wouldn't have gotten. Go Bruce.

I hope you vote your own conscience, not a party, not a slogan and not a trend. Vote for the person, not a slogan. And if they can't show the difference, move on. But, please, for all our sakes, vote.

Aynne Ames

Belfast

Not another fish letter

It is clear from the many letters to the editor about the proposed salmon farm in Belfast that many people in Belfast, on both sides of this discussion, care deeply about the environment.

I believe, therefore, that many of you would want to know that there is another proposal that will have enormous repercussions for all of Maine. This is the proposed change in the “Adjacency Principle” being considered by the Land Use Planning Commission. The LUPC is the group charged with the stewardship of the unorganized territories of Maine ― about 14,000 square miles.

Our large open wilderness is unique in this day and time. If you have ever marveled at the wide expanse of wilderness from the top of Mount Katahdin, or while hiking the myriad trails here in Maine, know that it is the adjacency principle (with perhaps some help from the black flies) that protects this area from development “sprawl,” development that would fragment this great expanse.

The adjacency principle has been in place for nearly 45 years and provides the backbone for decisions on how the area can be developed. Current policy states that development cannot take place at a distance greater than one road mile from existing similar development. The new policy being considered increases this distance to 2 miles and any area within 10 miles of rural hub communities. This increases the area of residential, commercial and industrial space open to possible development by nearly 2 million acres!

While this proposal would certainly benefit some people, it would adversely affect the character of the Maine Woods and I would be one who would see that as a disadvantage. It would also hurt the economies of those rural centers, such as Millinocket and Patten, by easing the exodus of their small tax base, while increasing demands on their schools, medical facilities, security, etc. Perhaps some zoning changes need to occur, but this is too large and too fast (does this sound familiar?).

I urge you to visit the LUPC website (maine.gov/dacf/lupc/projects/adjacency/adjacency.html) to learn more and consider contacting Benjamin Godsoe (benjamin.godsoe@maine.gov, 287-2619) to let him know how you feel about the proposed change. LUPC plans to vote on this early in November and is currently seeking public input.

Michael Schaab

Monroe

Live in right relationship

I’m at a crossroads, as perhaps many of us in this region, country and species are. Mine has to do with healing my obliterated heart, which has been pummeled by both familial and cultural forces, and awakening; or, remaining asleep and not feeling the calamities manifesting most everywhere.

I’m also a small farmer who kills some of my lambs each year. This isn’t easy. I've lived with these beings, tending, laughing with and loving them every day of their lives. They have names and distinct "animalities" and when I end theirs on this Earth, I cry.

My neighbors and I do this with the most reverence that we’re able to bring to the moment. When I eat them, I know whom I'm eating and therefore my true relationship to my food. Many other people do this as well, whether hunters, trappers or farmers ― we are providing our own sustenance.

Something to ponder: Am I not also ending the lives of annual plants when I harvest their seeds, fruits and leaves? The fact that I don't hear plants’ cries just shows my incapacity to be in tune with the subtler realms of existence.

My heart is clearly telling me that Nordic Aqua“factory” is a calamity. While awaiting my turn to "testify" Sept. 26, my heart informed me of this simple truth: Who will be crying for the 66 million pounds of slaughtered animals per year "raised" in this hi-tech factory? Animals that’ll be living unnatural lives, slaughtered by, and whisked away by, machines each year? The scale of this proposal is monstrous. Is this really what we want our region to be known for? Do we really want “mass slaughter for export and profit” to be our moniker?

At the other end of the spectrum, when we renovate and revitalize our fields, pastures and woodlands, our land heals and provides multiple layers of bounty for all beings, us included. At this local scale, true sustainability is possible.

At its simplest, it rains here, most years. Grass and plants grow here and ruminants eat these while fertilizing the land. We can then be fed and deeply nourished by some of them. We are animals, we exist. We kill what we need and when we die, we go back into our Earth ― the great circle of life. When farmed at the proper scale, the cycle continues. We take responsibility for our own needs, and our souls are nourished.

We in our local counties could feed ourselves, with our own bodies doing all of the work. Many more could be participating in this "Nation of Farmers," cultivating deep relationships with our neighbors. This is not Nordic Aqua“factories’” mission. The calamity of growing fish in tanks, indoors, to be marketed all over the eastern U.S., is absurdly the opposite of everything that I truly believe in.

I’m at my crossroads. Will you join me in crying and then doing whatever it takes to live in right relationship with everything around us?

Matthew Scala

Waldo

Fish and Bruce

Mercury in Maine lake fish. How did that happen? Power companies burning coal to the west of us.

Bruce Poliquin voted to take money from renewable energy (Maine wood pellets and others) and use the money to help utilities to the west burn coal. Enough said.

Andrew Hoglund

Thorndike

The pivot we must make

Open letter to Janet Mills:

I support you because we cannot afford four more years of inhumane government. If you are elected, you will no doubt be a good governor ― but a reset of our relationship with this land's original people can make you a great governor.

Societies around the globe are engaged in a process of acknowledgement, restorative justice and reconciliation with indigenous people. We see our Canadian neighbors acting with a sober recognition of the terrible history and adversity first nations faced and survived. Honoring that survival is now a priority. In New Zealand, the Maori tell us that since 2009 they have at last forged a bond with the state to co-manage their beloved Taieri River.

It is Maine's great opportunity to distinguish ourselves in how we go forward together. Too often we have seen state government perpetuating the old colonial model of power-over. In the lead-up to land claims negotiation in 1980, the state swore "Not one dime! Not one inch of land!" With appalling myopia, state representatives refused to accept the least shred of collective responsibility for the genocidal plundering that had gone on for centuries.

We must be better than this. We owe it to ourselves and our descendants to own our shared history. And Wabanaki people deserve moral support as they regain their balance, renew cultural practice, and bring healing to their communities.

We need to incorporate indigenous leadership in protecting Maine's environment. As we join Wabanaki people in a circle of governance, rather than a privileged hierarchy, we settlers are the people who stand to benefit the most. Increasing numbers of non-natives are studying the history and becoming acquainted with an alternate universe of cooperation, reverence for the earth, a deeply felt conviction that we are all related ― from the least microbe to the furthest star.  Our place in the universe is very small and comes with responsibilities.

This reset is needed above all where rivers are concerned. Article 25 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states: "Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard."

I urge you to comply fully with EPA water quality standards, protecting people's right to eat fish that won't sicken them. This is a compromise in the best interests of all Mainers. Article 25 sustains the EPA's intention, and makes an eloquent case for the moral legitimacy of PIN v Mills. Collaboration and compromise require give and take.

As governor you can set a new tone in these relationships, one that can be durable into the future. Rest assured you will have lots of company as you wrestle with what notions of decolonization, shared sovereignty and shared stewardship truly mean for Maine. Yet this is the pivot we must make if we are to be a great state.

Diane Oltarzewski

Belfast

Credibly accused

My objection to Kavanaugh's nomination is not about Trump, Republicans or Democrats. My issue is putting a judge on the Supreme Court who has been credibly accused of attempted rape without any serious investigation into the allegations.

When Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, the hearing was reopened and the FBI investigated. Dr. Ford's accusation is not even being given the same level of seriousness and scrutiny as Hill's was 27 years ago. We're going backwards.

Why is a woman instantly presumed to be lying? Why is the accusation of just one woman dismissed, and when 60 women come forward, they're accused of jumping on the bandwagon to get their 15 minutes of fame?

Women who step forward do not get fame and fortune ― they get character assassination and death threats. Women are only ever paid for their silence.

And now, with Julie Swetnick's sworn statement about "train" rapes, we're talking about premeditated, predatory, and repeated gang rape.

One of five women will be raped during their lifetime, and one of three will experience sexual violence.  It's time to start taking women's accusations seriously.

The parameters set forth by GOP senators for Dr. Ford's hearing were a sham. One round of 5-minute questioning is a joke. They are forcing a "he said/she said" when there was a third person in the room and several other witnesses that should be called.

I demand that Susan Collins and Angus King see that an FBI investigation be opened into the accusations against Kavanaugh. If a serious investigation is not undertaken, I will lose all faith that my government has any interest in representing or protecting American women.

Pam Swift

Palermo

 

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