Letters, Camden Herald
The Trial and Conviction of Reed Black
There have been a few times in my life when I felt, psychologically, that a man was smiling at me just before he hit me in the head with a rock and pushed me off a cliff. That is probably the main reason why I chose to witness the Reed Black trial last week. The case caught my heart. Lisa Zahn miraculously lived to bring him to trial and I needed to see how the wheel of justice would turn.
It is a ancient subject of story and song: a man lures a woman to a secluded spot and kills her. The killer's need will be met where no one will see. Its simply a matter of overpowering the weak one and moving on. The criminal justice system calls this sort of intention craven indifference. Craven means cowardly. Indifference means you don't care that the victim has a God given life and in this case, two daughters as well. Mr. Black had his personal needs ( a new woman plus so many essential expenses) that required him to kill .
The five-day testimony in the courtroom was an inspiring display of diligence, civility and patience. Both lawyers resisted theatrics.The judge was kind and intelligent. We the people sat still. The jury stayed attentive. Mr. Black got the very best the American justice system has to offer.
I saw his Internet girlfriend from Arizona nervously throw him under the bus, perhaps unconsciously. I saw the forensic scientists explain the messages of body trauma and blood spatter. I saw the huge gashes to Lisa's head. I heard all the detectives and attending physicians.
Mr. Black, described by his ex-wife as charismatic and charming, acted like a weak old man. He said not a word the whole trial. I overheard him say, when were leaving the courtroom, something. He said to his loyal courtroom friend, that dashing older man, winds of the sailing trip still blowing through his gray hair, fitted with the elegant ivy league bow tie, pink oxford shirt, blue blazer, khaki pants and cute tassled loafers: “I feel like I am in the middle of a woman's support group.” His well-bred friend said nothing in reply. I felt a chill that made me shudder. Did his dashing buddy empathize with his pal's plight or was he there to smile as he watched Reed Black fall off his cliff?
On the final day, I felt the love for my mother, sisters, daughters and all newborn girls surrounding Mr. Black in an embrace. I was told by a witness, upon hearing the verdict, the room was filled with grief and relief. Men and women alike, were mourning the shameful day, glad now the case was over and relieved by the jury's quick decision. Charles Reed Black's conviction was a ray of light and now we can all move on, knowing the sweet sadness of justice met.
Opinions to express
After publishing WHO’S WHO AT MOUNTAIN VIEW Vol. I and WHO’SWHO AT MOUNTAIN VIEW, Vol. II., I have decided to let those people rest for a while, as there is more history to write about. Having lived in Camden all my life, I also have some opinions to express, once in a while. I try to keep an open mind. After serving on the Select Board that is one of the most important things I learned to do. My motto was” “keep my mind open and my mouth shut until I had heard all sides of an issue.”
My first opinion of today, may be a little complex. Why do we make a high paying position for someone to apply for grants? Grants, everyone knows, are not free money. We are paying one way or another. I understand the “cute white link fence and park benches in the cross walk“ right where it is difficult to enter Chestnut Street with all the traffic is there because we received a grant. I haven’t happened to see anyone sitting in those chairs, and hope for their safety they do not. I hear they are temporary, but will be permanent. Does anyone remember the piece of sewer pipe with flowers painted on it (maybe 20 plus years ago) there in the middle of that crosswalk. It too was “ugly cute,” a menace to traffic and after a while, thankfully, it was removed.
Many ideas are tried to help the merchants. I agree that they need business to survive. I would love to “shop locally” but there isn’t much for year-round residents, and they are the ones who would buy all year around. I hate going to Thomaston to buy a spool of thread. Where in Camden can you buy an everyday top, slacks or jacket? Computer supplies are a must today, but we have to go to Rockland to get those. The Smiling Cow is a delightful place to buy many nice things for tourists and now The Village Shop has things also for the tourists, but I do miss the nice china and lovely things for year-round people that shop was known for.
I am happy that French & Brawn has stayed with us for so many years. Who else misses Achorn’s, Haskell & Corthell, Hodgeman’s Shoe Shop, The Tweed Shop, The Woman’s Shop, Curtis Hardware, Crockett’s Five & Dime, Hastings’ Newsstand, The Comique Theater, Ayers Fish Market and Yorkie's? There are many others that had not only good goods, but the owners knew you like family, and would always see that you would find whatever you needed. The merchants stayed there long enough that they really cared for the town, taking an active part in the Town Committees and Select Board.
I have a few other opinions to express today. It is the fault of the motorists, who cannot read (or do not care to obey). It is a little odd to have a stop sign on Route 1, but I think the reason was to slow down traffic coming into the business district. If people do stop, then they keep on going, even if cars are approaching. The sign that says “STOP” is large enough, and it does say that oncoming traffic has the right of way. We could make almost enough money to pay the police force if one were parked nearby for a week, giving tickets.
When people purchase a bicycle, I guess there is no one to teach them the rules of the road. I believe the rules still say one should drive with the same rules as driving a car, but you find them going on the wrong side of the road, darting in and out of traffic and not stopping where they should.
While we are on the subject of traffic, I have a question. How would one know, if they are not from Camden, that at the intersection of Mechanic and Washington streets, coming into town from Washington Street has the right of way? There are stop signs but one would have to be physic to know who goes first.
Many people have asked me why we do not have a parking garage somewhere to alleviate the congestion of parking in the business district during the summer and beyond. My guess is that we are finding parking more of a problem, but from a small town, we have not adjusted to the idea of a parking garage. We have had a Parking Committee for probably at least 30 years, and they do a fine job, but you can’t make space where there is none. Is there room by the fire station for a parking garage?
It appears that this is my day for opinions, and maybe you have some answers. Let’s hear them.
Let's work together
Relative to the Rockport Library, in the past few months opposing sides have exhibited divisive behavior unworthy of our small community. The level of acrimony is terrible modeling for younger generations and threatens to scar the well-being of our town for many years. Given the energy and passion around this issue, we should work jointly to create something special!
Let’s come together and use our combined energies to develop a plan for the RES site that includes a new library that is easily accessible to all five Rockport neighborhoods – one that can serve as a gateway to the harbor while expanding the central village – one that will provide much needed space for books and computer stations, quiet reading and conversations, small group activities and larger programs, and offices for our librarians. Let’s build a new library that is manageable for parents with young children as well as for our aging population and the disabled – one that is operationally-efficient and architecturally-appealing with a cozy, comfortable ambiance – one that protects the playing fields while providing ample, safe parking – and one that can be easily expanded should the need arise in coming decades.
As a united community, we would be better able to seek grants and private donations to make this exceptional opportunity a reality. Most importantly, a new library would draw people to Rockport and signify a vibrant, future-oriented community.
The first step is to allow a vote on the library issue in November so Rockport voters have the opportunity to express their opinions about building a new library on the RES site.
Ames Curtis, MD
A lot of people care, let them vote
I am a member of the Rockport Library Committee. I support building a new library at the RES site. The Library Committee has been examining the options for the future of our library for several years, the latest work done by the Library Steering Committee.
I am excited about the possibility of having a library that is easily accessible to all of Rockport. A library that can be expanded when our community grows. A library that will be our community resource.
There are people who are opposed to this idea and people who are for it. Because there are strong feelings on both sides, it is important that this measure be put before the voters of Rockport. The vote will inform us in a way that can be counted and verified. A nonbinding affirmative vote in November would enable us to look at designs and develop a funding strategy. A negative vote would indicate that we need to revisit other options.
Tuesday, Aug. 5, there will be a public meeting on whether or not this question should be on the ballot. The proposed warrant is: “Do you agree that the town of Rockport should develop a plan for a new library on the RES site, provided that the current ball fields are preserved and pending community input on design and budget?”
There are three ways you can make your thoughts known to the select board: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. State your position in the subject line (“For the warrant on ballot” “Against the warrant on ballot” “Neither for nor against”). Include your name, address and state your position in the body of the email. Include more if you are so inclined. Or send email the select board directly: William Chapman, Chair email@example.com Charlton Ames, Vice-Chair firstname.lastname@example.org Kenneth McKinley email@example.com Tracy Lee Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org Geoffrey C. Parker email@example.com
Attend the public meeting Aug. 5, at the Rockport Opera House at 6:30 p.m. You can choose one or all methods. I look forward to your participation!
An all-time record
The Friends of Rockport Public Library 2014 annual Book Sale reached an all-time record gross revenue this year of more than $12,550! This huge success is due to the enormous dedication, hard work and support of numerous people and organizations! We have many people to thank, not the least of whom are the many people who supported us by attending the sale and purchasing books, other items and baked goods. Special thanks also goes out to the many people who generously donated more than 20,000 books for us to sell.
It would be impossible to have this sale without the kindness of the West Rockport Fire Department in giving us a space in which to sort the books during the year, the help from the Rockport Public Works Department in transporting books and tables to and from the sale location, the cooperation from MRC in allowing us to hold our sale in their facility, the hard work of many faithful and energetic volunteers who work long hours before, during and after the sale, the talented volunteers who bake delicious items for our bake sale, and the help and technical support from the Rockport Library Staff. The Friends extend to each of you an enormous and heartfelt thank you!
We also want to thank Maine Sport, the Rockport Garden Club and other local organizations and businesses that donated items, time, energy and expertise to make the sale more enjoyable and convenient for everyone. Thank you to pirate Cyd Viscous and his crew and children’s book authors Liza Gardner Walsh and Lucinda Hathaway for brightening our children’s section. The kayak was won by Seth Walton.
The profits from the Friends annual Book Sale go directly to the Rockport Public Library to support the operation and ongoing programs of the library. We are sincerely grateful for the overwhelming community support we receive each year! Thank you all so much!
The Friends of Rockport Public Library
Remember the less fortunate
As we harvest our summer gardens, plan picnics and cookouts, and welcome visiting family around our tables, it is important to remember that among us there are those who struggle to feed themselves and their loved ones. Many of you already know of the good work that the Camden Area Christian Food Pantry does distributing food to those who need it and you contribute generously to our work. We thank you for that; and we welcome and need your continued support.
This letter is to thank Hannaford in Camden for working with us to assure that we have food in our freezers for families at risk of going hungry. They have shown by their actions that they care deeply about the people in the towns we serve: Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, Hope, Appleton, Union, Washington and Searsmont.
We thank the Hannaford managers and all of their employees for making this summer a good one for everyone who lives in our communities.
Thank you Hannaford!
Camden Area Christian Food Pantry Board of Directors
We don’t like being told that “we‘re not in charge.” So, what is this ‘Free Will?’ It’s that ability to think and reason in order to make a decision.
God could have not given man free will. So why did God make us this way?
According to the Holy Scriptures, Adam and Eve were created as spiritual, rational, moral and immortal beings, with a nature that was perfect. A true reflection of God’s holy character.
They also were given great freedom, with one serious warning.
Do you remember what God told Adam?….“You may surely eat of every tree of the Garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
(referring to spiritual death)
I believe that part of the reason was as a reminder to Adam that God was in charge, and if Adam refused to obey God’s rules, there would be consequences.
Notice one particular thing about these original rules of law -- God made everything very plain and to the point--no secrets were kept from Adam. God told him outright what could and would happen if he took from the tree.
God gave Adam the ’free will’ to decide one way or another. Had he not put the tree in the garden in the first place there would have been no need for Adam to make a decision. He would just remain like some kind of created robot.
Our God, who is intelligence, needed to give man a free will in order to establish his desire of an intimate, person relationship. Remember that God and his perfect creation actually walked together in the garden in total perfect harmony.
But Satan suggested to Eve that God was keeping something from her that she really deserved to have ... but she was forgetting what God had said to them regarding the consequences of breaking his rules. Here is where she’s actually being caused to question God’s authority by deciding to believe Satan’s confusing lies. It’s hard to believe after experiencing this perfect relationship that both Adam and Eve decided to exercise their free will and deliberately disobey God’s ‘rule of law’ and in doing so, cut themselves off from God.
Those same lies are used against us today bringing about the same result.
Everywhere you look today, we have decided that our way is best, even though it is quite obvious that the results are horrific when we turn away from God’s wise counsel.
All the facts show that America prospered until we decided to go it on our own without God’s guidance and protection.
As I contemplate how our founders wrote out the rules for our government to operate by, I am ever so amazed of the divine wisdom that I believe came from the same God as did the instructions in the Garden.
And if we break these God initiated rules of conduct, there will be a costly price to pay, as we plainly see around us today.
If you’re not convinced yet, just check out the past history of God’s chosen people, the Hebrew Nation of Israel. As you study the Holy Scriptures you will see God’s hand in instructing the Hebrew Nation through various prophets and leaders how to know the perfect standards of God’s laws regarding their personal and national conduct. You will see, in real life , that every time the Nation of Israel disobeyed God’s laws there were severe consequences, and if they listened and obey them they were guaranteed prosperity and peace. But you’ll see that most of the time, they decided to ignore God’s rules and paid the consequences.
Isn’t this a great reflection on America today? Haven’t we also decided to ignore these same time proven principles and taken the easier, wide road of calamity?
But let me remind you of the beauty that is America, that if we have the courage we can still acknowledge our mistakes, we can turn around and make a new beginning.
I want to encourage you, whoever you are and whatever your political or religious persuasion, to take a stand in returning this great country of ours, back to the “Golden Rule” …“to do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”
We need to get back to the basics of God’s love that made us so successful. Let’s get back on track!