Letters, Camden Herald
Heard this story before...
It seems to me I’ve heard this story before. The further away we and our legislators get from the mindless slaughter which inspired the public demand for better Gun Control, the more we and they seem to forget that reason — and thus nothing is done. It looks like we’re going down that road again. For starters, it’s beginning to appear unlikely that we’re even going to get a ban on the private owner and sale of assault weapons. There is no reason on earth why a private citizen should own a gun like that. You certainly cannot use it for hunting.
The senseless killing at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six teachers were gunned down, is not exactly what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment. It’s time the NRA and their supporters stopped misinterpreting the Second Amendment.
Here’s the kind of legislation that we really need:
1. Make it illegal for any private citizen to own assault weapons, such as automatic rifles or automatic handguns, even if “It’s for my collection.” Such guns cannot be used in the legitimate pursuit of hunting — but they can be used to shoot a large number of people in a short period of time.
2. For the same reason, the sale to private citizens of high-capacity gun magazines loaded with 30 or more bullets ought to be made illegal. There is absolutely no reason why a private citizen should be able to own them.
3. It ought to be made illegal for private persons or gun show dealers to sell any kind of gun without a document from the police indicating that the purchaser has been fingerprinted and investigated.
4. There should be more investigation required of persons attempting to buy a handgun. This might prevent those who have a history of mental problems from being able to do so. Maybe we also need a law requiring that guns possessed at home must be equipped with trigger locks and kept in a secure place, with a responsible adult having the only key.
Brought tears to my eyes
I felt like crying when I saw the photo of the tear down of the historic house on the corner of Frye and Chestnut streets on the cover of [last] week's Herald. I wrote about this in August when I first read about the plans for this house, but there was little individual townspeople could do since the Camden Town Ordinance has no provisions preventing the tear down of historic buildings, even if they are in an area designated in the National Register of Historic Places. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and corrected in the Ordinance before another historic home is slotted for demolition.
The destruction of the Frye house is especially disturbing because there was no logical reason for the house to be torn down — it was in excellent repair, of post and beam construction, was physically appealing and fit it with the other existing architecture in the neighborhood. It appears it was sacrificed at the whim of the new owner who desired a different 'style' house. If that was the case, why did this new owner not purchase a home closer to their design specifications, or build such a home on undeveloped land? Why destroy an historic building?
Unless the citizens of Camden take some action to legally amend our Zoning Ordinance to protect historic buildings, I'm afraid the character that makes this town the charming place that it is will be lost forever.
Jo Ann Simon
A Demolition on Chestnut Street
During the five days it took to demolish the Frye house on the corner of Frye and Chestnut Streets across the street from mine, I kept constant watch. Perhaps I felt involuntarily compelled to bear witness to its demise, for Frederick and Clara's lives and their influence in town, and for their descendants, Peggy Babcock and the five generations who lived there. I watched their history's thumbprint gradually and violently disappear, and with it the grace, beauty and strength that the building gave this neighborhood, as it was chopped up, piled in to huge trucks and hauled off to the dump.
The house creaked and screeched as it resisted the claw. Had it been in bad shape maybe it might not have seemed quite as horrible, but the operator of the huge excavator told me that she had at least another century or two in her. She surely came down hard, resisting it the whole way. Most of the workers apologized for the job, not understanding themselves why anyone would tear down such a good building. And as they worked, the guts of the home were revealed, layer upon layer of its construction exposed, until the insides of rooms where 130 years of births, lives and deaths had played out, erupted naked in to the glare of day-intimate spaces with tales of history, smashed to dust.
People on their daily walks with dogs or driving by came to a full stop and gawked hard, taking in what appeared, for most, to be a total shock. But last fall when the neighborhood was alerted to the new owners' intentions and to their delight at soon becoming part of the historic neighborhood, people spoke out and wrote in, most being stunned, later, to find that there was no protection for any building in town that prides itself on its history and its beauty. Last fall they let it be known that this was a tragedy, a great loss for the town, but they found out the hard way that if you own something in Camden you are entitled to do with it as you will, no matter the function or the historic value. And they found out that there had been no opportunity for the public to be heard and speak out at some kind of town review process before the loss of something like this.
What Frederick and Clara's home did for this neighborhood and for the town can not be replaced. The beautiful house at 58 Chestnut brought comfort and peace to us all. It held anchor and it spoke. We residents of this block, especially we who live here permanently, are profoundly saddened at the loss, and our efforts to comprehend how this happened in a place like Camden goes on as we ask why anyone would want to move to this "historic" neighbor hood, take down a lovely house, and then be glad that they are here, knowing how it has affected those soon to be their neighbors. Sadly, we must all face that, had there been a review process by the planning board, a forum for the town to weigh in on in place when they purchased the property and when it became apparent that people were opposed to altering the historic aspect of the neighborhood, it might have gone differently. It's too bad that they didn't change tracks after they saw the outcry, but it's equally sad that they started out with the knowledge that there was no reason not to do as they please. Because of circumstance, new people now enter the neighborhood seen by many here as enemies fo their values and sensibilities-the last thing one would think that anyone with a new home would want. For us as neighbors, we must now cope with this most unfortunate series of events.
All that can be hoped for now is that we put our money where our mouth is and as a community implement some kind of process by which we can save our ancestral places and for which, as the decades roll by, those who come after us will say "Thank you."
Or are these the choices we want to continue to make for Camden's future? If so, we're clearly heading down the road of so much of modern life, chipping away at what once mattered. How far we will be from the understanding and reverence for that which makes humans feel connected, and how close to becoming like those places about which we have prided ourselves on being so different.
If not, let us finally create and vote to pass at the least some type of ordinance for a review process by the town planning board.
Lisa Gray Millimet
Response to rabbits on the menu
In China, Korea and other Asian countries, dogs are raised as meat for human consumption. They live in filthy, crowded conditions and are brutally slaughtered. I have seen photos of dog carcasses hanging in Chinese butcher shops and live dogs with their mouths and legs taped up being weighed prior to slaughter.
I wonder how many of the people who argue that those who oppose eating rabbits should simply choose another restaurant or try eating rabbit meat because "they're missing a great meal" would feel the same about puppy stew. I suspect they would be appalled, as they should be.
I applaud the picketers and all people with the courage to challenge accepted cultural norms when they result in the suffering and death of sensitive, intelligent creatures who provide their caregivers the same comforts and rewards of other pets.
Rabbits raised for meat often suffer from cruel and crowded conditions and barbaric methods of slaughter because they are exempted from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
Personally, I will not take my business to restaurants that put pets on the menu, but I will patronize those that offer healthy vegetarian options and show sensitivity to their potential customers and those in the community who want rabbits off the menu.
Heartfelt thank you
Aldermere Farm staff would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all of our amazing community partners and friends. The 2012 Aldermere Farm Annual Appeal Campaign truly showed us that our community and our Board stand behind the work, educational outreach, and “fun” that the Aldermere Farm and Erickson Fields Preserve properties provide. The 2012 Campaign saw a 28 percent increase in the number of donors along with an increase in donations from our current donors, all of which contributed to a $25,000 match from the Maine Coast Heritage Trust Board of Directors.
Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a statewide land conservation organization, has owned and managed Aldermere Farm for more than 13 years now and has continued running the farm as the Chatfield family had, but also adding the ability to have community access and outreach through programs and events. MCHT has owned and managed Erickson Fields Preserve for almost five years with Aldermere Farm staff haying the beautiful open fields and also offering some vibrant youth and family programs about food production. Over the years, we have grown the programs, events, haying operation and cattle operation based on community needs and by staying connected with local farms.
There are so many people to thank for our success over the years and especially for last year’s great annual appeal success. The greatest thanks go to our donors whose support we could not live without and to the Aldermere Ambassadors, who help us connect with our most generous donors. We also can’t overlook our dedicated volunteers, local hayland owners, hay buyers, cattle folks, beef buyers, program participants, event attendees, local farms, teachers, students, town officials, local restaurants and businesses, neighbors, our families, and friends of the farm. We thank you and we look forward to a bright future together!
Aldermere Farm/Maine Coast Heritage Trust