Letters, Camden Herald
Editor's note: Letters regarding the tannery site were received prior to the announcement North East Mobile Health released the town from negotiations shortly before press time.
A decrease in safety
North East Mobile Health is a private company whose entire business is based on its ability to serve the community's health and safety needs. Thus, it is surprising to learn that they are proposing establishing an ambulance station on the Tannery Site in Camden with driveway access to Rawson Avenue since this would further decrease the safety of an already over-used residential road for little-to-no benefit.
The proposed driveway access point lies within approximately twenty-five yards of (1) an already busy and sometimes dangerous intersection, (2) a narrow bridge that is typically used as a single-lane bridge during the winter months and (3) three tightly-spaced residential driveways. Additionally, it would convert into a primary emergency vehicle route a narrow residential road having no shoulder or sidewalk that is used by many pedestrians to access Megunticook Market, downtown Camden, Camden-Rockport Middle School and the river walk. All of this simply to avoid traveling south on ME 105 to access Mechanic Street.
It is true that Rawson Avenue provides a one-half mile route to Mechanic Street while traveling south on ME 105 takes a full mile to reach the same point. The latter route, however, travels broad roads having wide shoulders and sidewalks, has two fewer stop signs, and is already used by the Camden Fire Department. It is hard to imagine that this infinitely safer route would lengthen the trip by more than a few seconds, and even harder to imagine that the little time saved could be worth the hazard such a decision would pose to the pedestrians that use Rawson Avenue every day as their access point to the commercial sections of town and to the families that travel on Rawson Avenue every school day to drop-off/pick-up children at the Middle School.
I am not necessarily opposed to locating an ambulance station on a portion of the Tannery Site. However, placement of such an enterprise in the highly residential surroundings of the Tannery Site requires mindful planning which, given the unnecessarily hazardous nature of the initial proposal, clearly has been absent in the discussions between North East Mobile Health and the Camden Select Board. Indeed, given the careless nature of the initial proposal by North East Mobile Health I must presume that they have no understanding of the myriad issues which must be considered in establishing an ambulance station in a residential area so that it benefits, rather than harms, the community it is intended to serve. Therefore, I stand with my neighbors in opposition to the sale of the Tannery Site to North East Mobile Health.
Reject this sale
Last Thursday I attended the meeting between residents of the Millville area of Camden and officials from North East Mobile Health Services. I live in Millville, make no apologies or am not ashamed of living “across the tracks” as someone suggested that I and my neighbors here on the north side of town may feel.
Before hearing all that was said by both sides I was not totally against North East Services building on the old tannery site. I attended the meeting to educate myself on who this possible new buyer was that should be able to purchase such a large parcel of in town property at such a low price and what their business would mean to our neighborhood and town.
After hearing that this growing successful for profit business could not afford $600,000 to purchase an already in place “Ambulance” Service building and business on St. John’s St. (which PAWS purchased), I have to ask, what kind of structure are they going to build for less….. (With driveways, turn a rounds, storage space, and office space, three bays for trucks and maybe for non emergency cars)? With the costs of building today I cannot imagine any such business being build for much less than what was already in place for sale and also working in a more desirable location.
The Selectmen must reject this sale (for $75,000 of prime public property) not only for the obvious reason that it really should not be build in a residential area, but from what I heard at this meeting, this business really does not have the funds to follow through with building a structure to even come close to the Ambulance service that was already in place on John Street. Actually, we should expect no less from a successful growing business for profit no matter where it is build.
This business is trying to purchase this in town property for cheap…. And a cheap building may follow, plus all the horrible headaches that will go along with running such a growing business in a residential area.
At the meeting we were told that North East has a “Plan B” when their purchase offer of the basement bargain price for this 4-acre parcel of town property falls through. I suggest that our town select board suggest to them that they start working on that plan and the sooner the better…. Before those 90 days of consideration are up!
Helen A. Kuhl
My 100 Things
I recently attended an all-day workshop sponsored by local health care providers, which focused on doing the detailed planning for one's "end of life". There were about 40 of us attending, that sunny Monday morning at the Salvation Army in Rockland. It felt like a Monday morning too, as we began real nuts-and-bolts planning. We learned, for example, how important it is to appoint a 'health care agent' who is empowered to make decisions when one is no longer clear-headed. It's important to have an up-to-date will with lots of exact details. And it's important to fill out an advance directive form, specifying how you want to be cared for. None of these things had even crossed my mind at age 73!
The workshop began with watching a documentary called "Consider the Conversation" which is so provocative, I think every adult should see it. At one point a doctor, suffering from ALS--a progressively debilitating disease--talked about writing out his "100 things", that is, those things which make life worthwhile, and watching them, one by one, become impossible. This allowed him to measure more accurately, the point when his life was no longer worth the increasing effort and determination necessary to sustain it.
When I got home, I felt envious of his forthright clarity, since I've always been sure that I didn't want to outlive the enjoyment of life. So I took out blank paper and began filling in those activities which give me joy. I put them in three categories. In "presently doing" I put the things I love and still can do: swimming, hiking, kissing my wife, morning tea, being outside, etc. There were 57 of them! In the category, "in transition", I put the things I'm slowly letting go of, like world airline travel, fixing my own car, sailing oceans, etc. I still do these sometimes, but there's not the old zing. Finally, in the category "no longer doing", I put things like downhill skiing, running, intense yoga postures, etc which are no longer wise or perhaps no longer enjoyable.
Now I could look at a map of my own personal aging. As years pass, items will move from the upper category to the middle and then lower category. At some point in time, it might become clear that it's time to trade in this battered vehicle. In my upper category of enjoyable things, I also scanned for activities so very vital, that I couldn't imagine living without them. Could I live without walking, without being outdoors, or without recognizing friends and family? I decided that these last two were absolutely essential, and that I would instruct my health care agent (a.k.a. my lovely wife) to discontinue food and drink when either of these two became impossible.
I recently read a book called "Knocking on Heaven's Door" which left me with two clear take-home lessons. One is "delay disability but not death". This means, yes! put up those strong handles in the shower. Compensate for our gradual disability. But let death come naturally when it beckons us. The second lesson is "dementia is worse than death". We often delay death in order to live demented lives, which is a worse situation.
You might notice that I'm assuming that to some degree we can choose death. I notice that often people do choose to die, often by simply giving up the will to live. As this will fades, they sometimes give up eating and drinking. This natural, old-fashioned way of dying results in only a brief hunger and thirst, and then results in a peaceful few weeks until kidney failure. My fear has always been that I won't have the clarity to make such a decision; but now, with a health care agent--who hopefully will not sabotage my wishes!--I can live this next period with more peace of mind.
I think it's helpful not to call this process suicide or assisted suicide, if the patient's agent enforced the patient's earlier decision. These words carry along such baggage. Also, is this decision the ego's last control-trip? Yet, we often live additional years, or even decades, because of recent high-tech interventions. We've managed faulty hearts, driven cancers into remission. Living in this recently-available encore with good quality of life is wonderful. But at that mysterious tipping point, when perhaps we're wearing out the quality of life of a caregiver, or using more than our fair share of health or natural resources; it's an act of compassion to return to a more natural lifespan.
So, dear reader, I know this isn't a happy subject. But try doing this thinking and planning. Make your will, share your passwords, appoint your agent, make your directives. Like me, you may actually find yourself, not cast down by it all, but rather more energetic. Something which was nagging, denied, postponed, half-done has been faced, thought through, and taken care of. You're more aware now that your joys and your days are numbered. You may find that the morning toast and tea, or the hug from an 8-year-old, is better than ever!
Sutton, Lepage and expanding Maine Care
Last January at a hearing held in Augusta to expand Maine Care coverage under the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) to approximately 70,000 uninsured Maine people earning less than $15,000 a year, Paula Sutton (currently the Republican candidate for Maine State Senator from Knox County) testified offering the following statement. “I don’t think that expanding Medicaid to non-disabled Mainers is the proper role of Government. I think that, over generations of increasing welfare generosity in this State, many people have forgotten or have never learned to care for themselves”. That testimony from Paula Sutton made it obvious that she does not know the difference between Health Care and Welfare. After all, everyone rich or poor eventually gets sick.
The Affordable Care Act became fully implemented at the beginning of this year and completely changed how “Maine Care” would work going forward. Previous to the ACA Hospitals were reimbursed for Emergency Room and other hospital cost for the uninsured through “Maine Care” with the state paying 36 percent and the Federal Government paying 64 percent with Federal Matching funds. With the ACA now providing Medicare Expansion across the country it eliminates the need for state and federal reimbursement to hospitals from states accepting expansion and complicates reimbursement to hospitals for states refusing expansion because of necessary contingency variables inherent with the ACA. Maine is making it complicated. The legislature has voted for the expansion but the governor refuses to accept it and there are not enough Republican votes in the legislature willing to override his veto.
The governor and others in his camp such as Paula Sutton say the expansion would cost the state too much money but have not made any sensible argument for why. The 70,000 uninsured people in question would no longer be emergency room care or otherwise hospital dependent could they now have the offered Health Insurance. The Federal Government will pay 100 percent for the first three years and gradually reduce it to 90 percent over the next 10 years. It has been projected by the Federal Budget Office that if Maine entirely embraced the ACA it could save between $800 million and $1 billion over the next 10 years.
Last year, before the ACA, total hospital cost to the 39 non-profit Hospitals in the state of Maine for the uninsured had accumulated to 480 million dollars. The state decided to pay off their 36 percent by using the money obtained by the new 10 year liquor contract (approximately $180 million) so that the Federal Government would match it with their 64 percent (approximately $300 million). This was done and everyone was happy.
Now, unfortunately for the state of Maine, Governor Lepage and others have decided to confuse the issue for political purposes. Meanwhile those 70,000 uninsured people are still going directly to the hospital for their Health Care and the unpaid bills for those 39 non-profit Hospitals across Maine are once again on the rise. It’s estimated that within a year or so the state could have another $400 million-plus hospital bill to pay. The question now is without the liquor contract money and probably much less, if any, in Federal Medicare matching funds, how will the state once again pay this now totally unnecessary bill? Don’t bother asking Paul Lepage or Paula Sutton, they’re evidently working for something else besides ordinary Maine people.
A wise mentor once told me the only decisions I’d ever regret were the ones I didn’t make.
I don’t vote in Senate District 12 but I do hope Paula Sutton is the choice District 12 voters make. I also urge them to meet Paula and talk with her. Studies say likeability is the most important factor for most voters. Paula will not come in second to anyone on likeability among folks who know her.
I’d hope most voters also care about issues, values, and principles. That’s “ wonkish” and boring but every voter owes it to themselves and their neighbors to understand the facts of issues and make decisions based on values and principles. We’ve seen several letters here from ‘single issue’ voters such as one opposing petroleum exploration and another advocating taxpayer funded health care. Those are, I submit, people who vote their interests rather than their values and principles. Those who vote for a candidate based on some perception of what the candidate will do ‘for me’ are misguided and destined to be disappointed.
Paula makes herself available to the voters, she’s personable, she listens, she cares, and she’s honest and frank about her values and the principles that guide her in making decisions. Whether it’s at your doorstep or at one of her upcoming events, take a little time to meet Paula and tell her what matters to you. Even if you’re an interest voter, I think you’ll find your time well spent and if you’re a values and principles voter I’m sure you’ll leave a friend of Paula Sutton, even if you find she doesn’t share all of your convictions.
Get the facts straight
In the Thursday, Aug. 21, edition of Camden Herald, David Miramant wrote a glowing article of his background and service. However, Mr. Miramant should be careful to get his facts straight. If he cannot accurately portray a small matter, then how accurate are the rest of his “facts”?
Old County Road in Rockland is in terrible condition. It needs repaving in the worst way. However, it has not been paved because of an decades old agreement between Rockland and the state. Rockland is responsible for a huge share of the cost by that agreement and has not been able make budget provisions for the paving. It has nothing to do with the state budget or LePage and everything to do with past liberal politicians. Almost half of Rockland’s households are on public assistance of some sort and do not have the ability to contribute much to local taxes if any. Property owners and businesses pay incredibly high real estate taxes already. Rockland simply cannot find the funds to do the work.
In addition Mr. Miramant indicates that he has visited 10,000 homes. That is interesting. The 2010 Census lists Knox County as having 2.32 inhabitants per household. The math then indicates that Mr. Miramant has visited 23,200 folks. With having visited well over half of the population of Knox County he should be able to relax in the final two months of the campaign since there are not many people left to contact.
Dale E. Landrith Sr.
Vote for who you believe in
Last week, Senator Angus King, I-Maine, publicly supported fellow Independent Eliot Cutler. Many of the reasons that Angus supports Eliot are the same reasons that I support him. In making his remarks Angus talked about how important it was to vote for the best candidate with the right experience for Maine. Eliot has significant business experience. For example, in the international business world - he has started companies that export more than 5 million pounds of lobster a year. All of this is to say that we need leadership by someone who understands how the rest of the world works - and how many Mainers can be part of it.
Angus also talked about voting for who you believe in and not voting out of fear. This is especially apparent in this campaign - it's been the mantra of some of the party members that it doesn't matter who the best candidate is, simply vote for their candidate! But months away from the election, it’s about who is the perceived front runner right now. We are now headed into a time when people will take a greater interest in the candidates qualifications. Eliot is the most qualified and he is Maine's best chance to change the poor economic story we are currently living.
While I don’t have any doubts about who should be our next governor, if you do, wait for the debates before voting absentee and I am confident that you will see what a good choice Eliot is for Maine.
Rendle A. Jones
An unbelievable night
I want to thank absolutely everyone for an unbelievable night! Everyone gave a very special performance, the auction items were fabulous, and the Clarks were surrounded by not only a community, but a family. The night could not have gone better!
A special thank you to Camden Jewelers, The Lavender Shop, Captain Swift Inn, Blue Harbor Scuba, Mud Star Pottery, Floor Magic, Nancy Linkin Fine Jewelers, Sophie Linkin, Cappy’s Chowder House, and the American Legion Hall. Without your contributions the night would not have been nearly the success.
Another special thanks to performers Alice Limoges, Miners Creek Bluegrass Band, Aidan Kaczynski, Jack Orne, Duncan Hall, Reuben Begin, Tori Arau, Bethany Vix, Hannah Holte, Hope Orsmond, Austin Pohlman, Ian Doran, and Emma Hallundbaek.
Last but certainly not least, thank you to all of you who came to support the Clark family. The concert raised more than $2,300. The community has really come together for them in so many ways and I love this place we live in for so many reasons.
On behalf of Trekkers, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone who participated in our most recent fundraising event, “Pedal to the Port 2014,” on Sunday, August 17. In true Trekkers’ style, a community of volunteers, sponsors, riders and dedicated supporters came together to contribute to the success of this year’s ride. Through this annual bicycling event, we raised funds that will directly support the students who participate in Trekkers’ educational programs.
Dozens of community members contributed to the event’s success. The American Legion Hall in Thomaston provided a wonderful venue for registration, parking and the post-ride cookout. Volunteers welcomed and registered participants before the ride. Representatives from Sidecountry Sports in Rockland offered complimentary bicycle tune-ups. Volunteers from Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston EMS monitored all the major turns and intersections along the routes. And, many helpers provided desserts and salads, while others prepared the food and helped serve the cookout luncheon to cyclists and volunteers.
I want to thank the St. George Fire Department for the use of their tables and chairs; Rockland Dept. of Public Works for using their street sweeper on So. Main & Park Streets in Rockland; St. George Rescue & Fire Dept./Town Office; Knox County Sheriff’s Office; Thomaston Police Department; South Thomaston Rescue; Thomaston Rescue; the St. George Parks & Recreation for providing the water containers; Knox EMA for the safety vests; Marshall Point Lighthouse, Wee Day Care and Gil Francavilla for hosting water stations; our lead sponsor, The First, for overall support and volunteers; Hannaford for supplying cups at the water stations; and all of the volunteers who helped with set up, registration, route monitoring, timing, the lunch and clean-up duty.
My sincere thanks go to the sixteen local businesses that sponsored this year’s event: The First, Bay Chiropractic Center, The Black Harpoon, Coastal Documentation, Domino’s Pizza, Eastern Tire & Auto Service, Inc., FMC Corporation, Glen Cove Dental Associates, Harbor Builders Associates, Harbor Road Veterinary Hospital, Maine Coast Petroleum, Ocean Pursuits, Pen Bay Healthcare, Sidecountry Sports and Superior Bait & Salt.
A special thank you is also extended to the Trekkers staff and to the event committee who worked with me throughout the year to help plan and organize this fundraising event: Chris Ferguson, Bethany Yovino, Ben Vail, Joyce Burnham, Misty Start, Tom Armitage, Alaina Ennamorati, Jean Faustini and Shari Closter.
Everyone at Trekkers is so grateful to the all the parents, volunteers and to the local business community for their support. The success of this year’s fundraiser, as well as the success of our youth mentoring programs, is dependent on the generosity and support of this community. At events like this, it is clearly visible that our community cares about the young people who are growing up here. We truly appreciate the way everyone comes together to support Trekkers and local youth.
As Trekkers celebrates its 20th year of mentoring youth from the Midcoast area, we continue to be humbled and amazed by the outpouring of support we receive from the community. It is through the community’s support that we are able to achieve the Trekkers’ mission of connecting young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education. We can’t thank you enough for your continued support and for helping to make our sixth annual Pedal to the Port so successful.
The long view
I am 94 years old. I served in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1946. The transport ship that I was serving on in 1942 was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Africa. I served the rest of the war on the aircraft carrier Langley in the Pacific.
Like the men I served with in World War II, I fought willingly and proudly for my country. We were defending the land of opportunity where any boy could grow up to be president and where anyone who worked hard could provide for his family. The America I fought for was where every kid was guaranteed a good public education. No matter how poor his family, a child could get an education, work hard, and make something of himself.
I don't see that today. Today families work hard, they try to save and they do everything right, but they can't get ahead. Sometimes they can't even get by.
Its not like this everywhere. I read the news. Some states are doing well and others are not. Maine is not.
Anyone can see why Maine isn't doing as well as other states. It's because Governor LePage and the politicians who always vote his way, like Senator Thibodeau of Waldo County, push policies that hurt us. The big tax cut for wealthy people they're always boasting about left the State strapped for cash, and then they used that as an excuse to cut education, cut the circuit breaker, and cut revenue sharing that helps keep our property taxes down. It’s like Robin Hood backwards, stealing from the poor to give to the rich. They said it would stimulate the economy, but it hasn't and it won't. It hurt our economy. When you give big tax breaks to rich people there's no guarantee they'll use the extra money to hire another gardener or buy a Maine-built boat. It's more likely they will put it in a Swiss bank account, or invest it in Dubai, or buy a vacation house in Florida. But if you keep money in the pockets of working families here in Waldo County, they spend it at Tozier's, or Reny's, or hire a local man to fix their roof. That's what gets a local economy going.
My family and I are going to vote for Mike Michaud for governor and Jonathan Fulford for State Senator from Waldo County. Mr. Fulford works for a living. He understands that letting the rich get richer and the poor get poorer is not good for our economy. He knows that when working Mainers earn enough money to provide for their families, that is what will create jobs. The Governor and his friend Thibodeau have it exactly backwards.
Louis Ares, Sr.
I want clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. I want regulations to protect all citizens of Maine from toxic chemicals seeping into the air and ground water. I want laws to keep toxins out of products we buy. I also want to know what is in the food we eat, and I support GMO food labeling. I am concerned about climate change and believe we should support and subsidize solar/wind/wave energy development to the same extent oil and gas industries are supported and subsidized. Cutting carbon emissions becomes more critical every year; more sustainable sources of energy must become our energy of wisest choice.
In the last three years, Mike Thibodeau has voted “No” 13 times on bills to protect people and the environment.
If you feel the same way about these issues, and want to say “No” to the current administration’s push for development at any price, please join me in voting for Jonathan Fulford for State Senate.
Jonathan is running as a Clean Elections candidate so he won’t be beholden to campaign funders. He won’t have money to pay for media advertisements, unlike his opponent who will have plenty of Tea Party money to fund his media blitz.
Jonathan Fulford will work to help small businesses increase employment opportunities while preserving the environment and the beauty of Maine, a precious commodity that must be respected and cared for.