Letters, Camden Herald
Full to the brim!
Thank you to our wonderfully generous community for supporting the Camden Area Christian Food Pantry! The pantry has been filled to the brim with Hannaford’s Helping Hands boxes.
The employees of our Camden Hannaford promoted the boxes so eagerly that they sold 2,550, more than any other Hannaford in Maine. Being the winner in the state, they helped the pantry win too. A gift to our pantry of a $1,000 Hannaford gift card was given by the corporate office to celebrate their success.
Besides the Camden Area Christian Food Pantry clients who gladly accepted the boxes, the abundance was shared with pantries in Northport, Belfast, Rockland and Vinalhaven. Thank you to all of you who generously bought the boxes and enabled a win-win for us all.
Hannaford supports our pantry on an on-going basis too. From our Camden store, any meat that gets to its ‘sell by date’ is immediately frozen. Pantry volunteers pick up the donated meat weekly, deliver it to the pantry freezers and distribute it to our clients. Rockland Hannaford donates bread and pastries on Saturday and Sunday, which is also picked up and delivered by pantry volunteers.
Another gift to stock our freezers is pounds of hamburger from the 4-H group at Aldemere Farm. They raised two cows and have donated the beef from one of the cows to the pantry. Lots of hard work went in to producing such fine burger from their Belted Galloways, and we are grateful to have it to give away.
We are sincerely fortunate to be the recipient of the Camden Rotary’s large gift award. The gift of $10,000 was given to us to shore up our finances, allowing us to buy needed food when donations are lean. Lots of folks remember the pantry during the holidays, but the plight of the hungry is not on the top of many minds at other times of the year.
We need to buy low cost food from Good Shepherd Food Bank throughout the year, and with 100 families a week that come through our doors, the food bill adds up. The Camden Rotary’s grant will keep the pantry’s finances in a better place and needed food purchases coming in throughout the year. Individuals’ generosity makes a huge difference to the pantry as well. David Vaughn, a Camden Rotarian, won a $1,500 raffle, which he immediately gifted to the pantry. What a wonderful way to celebrate winning!
An anonymous person came to the pantry Dec. 24. He gave five envelopes to a pantry volunteer and asked him to give them out to the next five pantry clients. Each envelope contained $100!
We receive many donations, and have highlighted just a few of the recent ones. Thank you to all who support the pantry financially, with donated food, by volunteering. We could not help the hungry without your generosity.
Camden Area Christian Food Pantry Board of Directors
A dangerous precedent
I need to weigh in on the Fox Hill debate one more time. Again I would like to go on the record as being in support of a high-end alcohol/drug rehabilitation center in the greater Midcoast .
Here is what troubles me about the plan that is being put before us. What you have is a residential property that has been “overdeveloped” and is purportedly no longer suitable for residential purposes. Then you have a mostly undisclosed private investment group that has purchased it at a bargain basement price and requested a zoning change to establish a commercial enterprise in the middle of a long-established residential neighborhood.
What this suggests to me is that every time someone is unable to sell a residence as a residence they can request a zoning change to accommodate the interests of a particular buyer. Wow! This sets a very dangerous precedent. If one exception is allowed what is to prevent the domino effect? Someone else could argue that “you did it there, why not here?" And it wouldn’t apply just to rehab centers. I would hasten to add that there are several large residences in proximity to Fox Hill that could have a similar fate.
In my opinion there are plenty of people with deep pockets who could well afford to purchase Fox Hill, tear down unwanted structures, restore the main house and end up with a perfectly glorious residential estate on fourteen in-town acres with killer ocean views. They would also pay substantial taxes. The idea that it might be a “summer” person is offensive. Let us not forget that it was those summer people who gave us the Amphitheater, the village green, the yacht club, the children’s chapel, and numerous other public facilities and who also have supported many other worthwhile causes up and down the Midcoast!
People made gobs of money on real estate prior to the economic downtown. It is not, repeat not, the responsibility of the taxpayers to bail out buyers or sellers who invest in real estate and then are forced to sell it at a loss. Nor is there some sort of time limit in which residential property must be sold before reverting to another use. Real estate can be a bad investment just like anything else.
There are other areas in town where a rehab facility could be built with no zoning changes. Would it cost more? Probably. But that is not my problem or yours unless you happen to be an investor which carries with it a certain amount of risk!
I am aware that Camden and Maine in general have aging populations and less than stellar employment opportunities, but I don’t think that the promise of a couple of dozen jobs warrants the potential unraveling of the zoning ordinances. Furthermore, do we really know what the commitment of McLean is at this point other than having a representative at the planning board meetings?
I would urge the selectmen and potentially the voters to take a long hard look at this proposal and consider the consequences before voting for or against it.
Voters should decide
Two recent Letters in the Free Press and in the Camden Herald stated that the Camden Select Board should not let the Camden residents vote on whether to pass the zoning amendment as written that will allow McLean to operate a residential recovery center at Fox Hill. They say that if the Select Board lets the people vote on this - it will not be democracy.
Didn’t the Planning Board review this zoning amendment in extensive public forums and vote 4 to 1 in favor of passing it to the Select Board as written for consideration to be placed on the June ballot? They did. Yes.
One of the letters goes so far to say that Camden voters “may not have given the matter much thought” and “The average citizen hasn’t and won’t ever take the time to learn…”
What the McLean opponents want is not democracy but bureaucracy. Like oligarchs, they want a decision made by a few people. They are fortunate to have independent income and do not need four season jobs; nor do they need the economic boost that McLean will bring to Camden businesses and restaurants; nor do they need the education and outreach McLean will bring because they likely do not have young families. But regular Camden residents have these needs.
I worked in the Camden school district for nine years. I know there is a strong need for behavioral health education, for jobs, and for economic opportunity. My husband had to leave our beloved Camden in order to find employment. I know we are not the only couple who have faced this dilemma. And the amazing thing about Mclean wanting to locate at Fox Hill is that their reputation and history perfectly fits Camden’s culture of excellence and privacy.
From colonial days our citizens have cherished the right to act in town meeting. The town meeting form of government is said to be the purest form of government where the citizens have control. Henry David Thoreau in 1854 stated in a speech entitled Slavery in Massachusetts,
“When, in some obscure county town the farmers come together to a special town meeting, to express their opinion on some subject which is vexing the land, that, I think, is the true Congress, and the more respectable one that has ever assembled in the United States.”
The Camden voters are the true and perfect Congress, and this is an issue that the voters should decide. This is the pure democracy that constitutes the essence of our town meeting form of government.
Chris and Carol Coyle
Did you know?
As a nationally Certified Geriatric Care Manager, I am always concerned, at this time of year, with the burden placed on our senior citizens and their families regarding their tax obligations as they relate to “hired help.” Following are the most common complaints that I hear from my clients:
1) They didn’t know that household employees, like “domestic workers, health aides, housekeepers, maids, private nurses, etc.” are usually not considered “Independent Contractors” by the IRS. The person claiming to be an Independent Contractor may not understand the law.
2) They might be required to pay and withhold Social Security and Medicare payments, pay unemployment insurance, and withhold income taxes.
3) Homeowners Insurance doesn’t usually cover employees and they may need to purchase worker’s compensation coverage for them.
4) They didn’t understand the importance of references, background checks, supervision and training.
5) They didn’t know that aides are not trained or licensed to dispense medications.
6) They didn’t realize that employees needed to complete time sheets and document what they did.
7) They didn’t know they had to complete an Immigration Form 1-9.
There is a wonderful publication that I offer clients in these situations called the “Household Employer’s Tax Guide.” It can be downloaded at irs.gov/pub926.
When this seems too daunting and knowing that “ignorance is no excuse for the law,” I suggest that the elderly and their families use a reputable agency that can provide them with the protections they need to manage safely at home. Not all agencies act as employers or are properly licensed, so it’s important to ask for verification. For those who decide to continue to hire help directly, I strongly recommend that they consult with an attorney or tax accountant. As many seniors have warned me, “let’s not be penny wise and pound foolish.”
Joanne Miller, LSW, CMC, CSA
Ask For Home Care, Thomason
Trekkapalooza a success
On behalf of Trekkers, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone who participated in our most recent fundraising event, “Trekkapalooza 2014.” In true Trekkers’ style, a community of volunteers and dedicated supporters helped contribute to the success of this year’s event.
Special thanks go to the Strand Theatre and their staff for the wonderful venue. Thanks to the amazing musical talents of the six bands who competed: Hologram, The Educators, The Partials, Hafsol, Drive By Todd, and Random Ideas. Thanks to Peter Jenks for supplying the pizza; to our judges: Alison Machaiek, Cole Chase, Dwight Blue, Kalie McGuirl and Michael King; and to all the volunteers and planning committee members for making everything run so smoothly.
We are also especially grateful to all our local sponsors, and encourage everyone to support these wonderful area enterprises: Bangor Savings Bank, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, Camden Cone, Carroll Plumbing, Eastern Tire & Auto Service, Harbor Road Veterinary Hospital, In Good Company, Jeff’s Marine, Lonza, Monhegan Boat Line, PenBay Solutions, and Waterworks Restaurant.
And, of course, we want to thank everyone who came to enjoy the event itself. We are grateful to everyone who helped us determine this year’s “Bus Band” by enjoying some great local music, sharing some fun skits and raising money to support local students in the process.
Our congratulations go to the members of “Hologram,” a group of students from Appleton, who were crowned “Trekkers Bus Band of 2014.” We are already looking forward to next year’s event, when the community can come together again to enjoy the competition as “Hologram” defends their crown during Trekkaplooza 2015.
Why are the boys are failing
Sunday Jan. 26, Meet the Press hosted Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and a panelist on that same Sunday’s PBS’s McLaughlin Group (I believe it was Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune) expressed their worries about the performance of the boys, and that the girls were more competitive and out performing the boys including filling up the majority seats in law school and in other professional schools.
So why are the boys falling behind? There are probably several good reasons for this. Two of the reasons include the following. First our elementary and secondary educational institutions, except for those with athletic abilities, are failing the boys because it is expedient to relegate the boys to the corner, send them to special education classes to get them out of sight, or treat them as if they are not as important. Secondly, almost on an hourly basis the advertising industry and television programs are bomb blasting the television air waves with silly ads and mindless programs depicting men as fumbling, bumbling and befuddled buffoons. Unfortunately it is popular and politically acceptable for the media to portray males as inept. This constant berating by the media does nothing to instill self esteem in our young men.
Will the present mind-set of the schools and the advertising industry change? Mostly likely not because it is both popular and profitable. If anything, because of changing demographics and shifting political and economic power the situation will only get worse. The only glimmer of hope for improvement is if elected leaders such as Rand Paul and journalists like Clarence Page continue to speak out on this issue.
In summary, I pay $5,400 a year in direct school taxes. For this reason I would like to see the School Boards spend some of my hard earned money on addressing the problem as to why the boys are failing. If School Boards can spend a $100,000 to buy off failed superintendents then they can certainly find the money to spend on something worthwhile!