Letters, Camden Herald
Dispose of waste properly
An unknown dog walker in the Pearl - Park Street vicinity, has been tossing plastic bags of dog waste onto our property beneath the Pearl Street cedars and the Norway maple at the corner.
If others see this happening, we would appreciate you either speaking to the person or letting us know who it is.
An update on CMCA
We want to take this opportunity to bring the mid-coast community up to date on our plans for CMCA’s new home on Winter Street in Rockland. Since final approval in May, the board and staff have been working closely with architect Toshiko Mori and general contractor Jay Fischer of Cold Mountain Builders on finalizing construction drawings and plans.
Recognizing that the summer festival season is a busy time and economically important for the community, we are delaying exterior demolition until late August to avoid any possible disruption. While the outside of the building will remain intact through the summer, preparation and demolition of the interior has already commenced. Construction of the new building is scheduled to begin in late September.
CMCA will periodically provide construction updates in the news and on our website cmcanow.org. We eagerly look forward to the move to Rockland and to enlarging our service to the community and artists of Maine.
With many thanks,
Marilyn Moss Rockefeller
Chairman, CMCA Board of Trustees
We expect quality
I recently wrote the Maine Department of Transportation to decry the very poor state of Route 1 between center Camden and Lincolnville. That paving job was done less than a year ago. Yet there are already large worn-away patches and ruts in the road everywhere. The paving job obviously needs fixing. Which, of course, means more expense for taxpayers because the original job was shoddy.
Either the State civil servants responsible for overseeing this work set short-term, low quality specifications for the job OR the paving company executed the work poorly ─ or both. But this much is clear: it is unacceptable to pay for paving work and then repairs when the original work is less than one year old!
Here is the text of a letter dated July 1st which I received from Bradford Foley, Highway Program Manager, MaineDOT:
“… The work, which is known as Light Capital Paving, is applied to about 600 miles annually across the state. It consists of an asphalt placement about 5/8” in depth applied at a rate of 500 tons/mile. It is considered a short term application intended to improve rideability and winter plowing.
The section of Route 1 roadway you have mentioned was part of a 42.12 mile contract that treated various roadways throughout the Knox and Waldo County region. The project was awarded to the Lane Construction Corporation who bid $1,469,044.60 to perform the work. The Department is required to advertise capital improvement projects and award to the lowest responsible and qualified bidder…
The Department has been monitoring the performance of this recent treatment and is working with Lane to determine appropriate remedial actions in order to get a more serviceable project. We expect the work to take place this summer and for the improvements to meet the needs of the traveling public.”
But hold on. What about the taxpaying public? Are we meant to pay a lot for “shortcuts” and then even more for “remedial actions”?
Here’s what I suggest: Write to the Governor and to your State representative. Tell them that we expect quality, lasting work done on our roads ─ work that does need “remedial actions” and more expense in less than one year’s time! Specifically call on these officials to investigate the award of this Lane Construction Corp. contract in Knox and Waldo counties and then inform us: Did Lane Construction underperform or did the State fail us by setting very poor, short-fix job specifications? Who, after all, is responsible for this poor, poor roadwork which is falling apart in less than one year? And how much more are taxpayers going to have to pay to fix things?
Ross, we will miss you
I just want our community to know that one of our special human beings and community citizens passed on last week to greener fields. Ross S. Holt Jr. was the principal at Camden-Rockport High School on Knowlton Street when I arrived in 1969 with my family from Lancaster, Pa., to start The Owl and Turtle Bookshop in Camden. I remember clearly my appointment with Mr. Holt to determine my course curriculum for my 12th year.
He was always there when needed as a pal. I remember him being involved with the development of my friendships with teachers and fellow students.
I had no real idea though of how important a leader, counselor and mentor he was. Ross really got involved with how people fit into a larger picture within our community. It is really hard to express how fundamentally kind and caring Ross was.
Over the last two years, I had the privilege to see Ross more frequently and I came away from those experiences really impressed by the quality of his character. He was most assuredly always for the underdog. He was most assuredly always ready to give advice by example. He was most assuredly a person who one would wish to call a friend.
Ross really enjoyed life, he was willing to rectify his mistakes and he radiated love to all he got to know. I was fortunate enough to be led to getting a subscription endorsed by Ross called "Friends of Silence" over a year ago. I think that title sums up how often he gave so often to us. He simply and humbly gave of himself to the betterment of his family, church and community. He loved people. He loved the thrill of a good game. He loved those who needed to be loved.
Ross, we will miss you greatly.
Deja Vu, all over again
It seems like I’ve been here before. Last year about this time the Rockport Library Committee (RLC) presented a plan to the Select Board to build a new 14,700 sq. ft. library at a cost of $3 to $5 million on the RES West Street site. This decision was made because the RPL reported they could not expand at the current site because of zoning restrictions, “ we can’t build up or out.” Their grand plan was met with major opposition this town has not seen in years. The Select Board was presented with a 112 signature petition in objection to moving the library to West Street. Also at that meeting, it was discovered that a simple zoning change would allow for expansion at the current site. The voters approved this change last November clearing the way for expansion on the current site. As a result of the overwhelming opposition, the Select Board (to their credit) asked the Library Committee to rethink their position. So, one would think this was the end of the plan to move the library to West Street.
Here we are a year later (this is the déjà vu part), after the RLC conducted a poorly attended "listening tour" and called for a Steering Committee to study the various possible expansion sites in town, they surprisingly came up with the only possible location for a new library. You guessed it, the RES site and I’ll bet you can guess the size and cost of a new library, 12,000 to 14,000 sq. ft. with a cost of $4 million. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Now the people involved in this proposed expansion project are all good well-intended folks who have put a lot of time into this idea but have sadly produced a product very few actually want. I know something about the process because I have followed it very closely and in fact was asked to serve on the Steering Committee. I was compelled to resign my position early on because I could see the criteria used would only lead to the selection of the RES site and I could not support moving the library from its current location
A lot of people in Rockport feel that moving the library from the downtown location would be a terrible mistake. If you were to ask 10 city planners about taking a library out of a central down town district they would say you better think long a hard about the consequences of doing this. With the prospects of CMCA moving and the Rockport Public Library you can expect the downtown to suffer. The Central Business District and the Harbor are what attracts people to Rockport. I don’t think folks will flock to Rockport to visit the intersection of Route 1 and West Street.
Think about this; Rockport’s population has not changed for decades and remains at about 3,300. How is it possible we now need a library four times the current size. Where will the money come from to pay for this large building and pay for the ongoing expenses to equip and operate a building four times the size of the current library? The RLC expects to raise half of the costs from donations and half from bonds. So do the math. If they say the budget to build a new building is $4 million, and you divide it by the 1,400 households in Rockport that computes to $2,800 per household. That breaks down to $1,400 by donation and $1,400 debt on a bond. Now we know some people will make large donations and some will not support this project at all but this illustration shows how this project is real money and all residents will be affected.
Finally, after all the hard work the RLC has done I don’t think they have made a very good case for the need to build a 14,000 sq. ft. $4 million library. I believe the vast majority of library users are very satisfied with the service provided and I know the staff always gets accolades and they should. The current library maintenance has been neglected for years and needs immediate attention. An additional bathroom is needed, more office space, better and more efficient book stacks, better use of the Opera House and other town venues for meeting space and better dedicated and managed parking.
All these issues are easily corrected with a sound business plan. Let’s stop this folly and focus on making these modest improvements to the existing library and move on.
We are going to need your help again on this subject. The Library Committee is making a request to the Select Board to put a referendum on the November ballot. It most likely will be a simple question: Do you favor building a new library at the RES site? The Select Board meeting to discuss the ballot question is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, July 14, in the Opera House meeting room. Please plan to attend and let your thoughts be known on the possibility of this referendum.
Last week [July 3] in his Another View column in honor of Independence Day, Mr. Landrith wrote that the signers of our Declaration of Independence in 1776 "pledged, In God We Trust" and that they "signed their names and committed to, "In God We Trust." How was it possible for those men to pledge or commit to a motto they had never heard of? A phrase that first arose during the Civil War almost a hundred years later as the battle cry of the 125th Pennsylvania Infantry? That was first inscribed on our coins in 1864? That only became our official national motto by an Act of Congress in 1956?
The signers of our Declaration of Independence did commit to the motto "E Pluribus Unum" or "Out of many, one." It was suggested by a committee of members of the Continental Congress appointed on July 4, 1776, and was adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782 to be inscribed on the Great Seal of the United States. It's still there, printed on the banner held aloft by our eagle and imprinted on our coins, paper money, passports and all official documents.
Mr. Landrith states that the Founding Fathers he quotes "were people of faith," "expressed their convictions," "finished this great document" and "then signed their names" on it, James Otis, John Dickerson, John Quincy Adams and Patrick Henry did not write the Declaration of Independence nor did any of them sign it. When the Declaration was signed John Quincy Adams was 8 years old. Although John Dickerson was a member of the Continental Congress, he voted against the Declaration of Independence, refused to sign it and resigned from Congress.
After reading Mr. Landrith's column I wondered if the 4th of July was no longer Independence Day, but had been converted into a Christian holiday dedicated to retrospective inquisition into the religious beliefs of our forefathers. Does Mr. Landrith judge some of those men to be sufficiently righteous and others not quite up to snuff? Is that why Mr. Landrith declines to quote Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration Independence, choosing instead to honor John Dickerson, the only man who opposed independence and hightailed out of Congress?
I also wondered why Mr. Landrith's column contains so many factual errors. Might Mr. Landrith be the victim of revisionist American history? Perhaps he will tell us how he came by so much misinformation.