Letters to the editor — The Camden Herald
A new plan
After reviewing my library files — from librarian Sally Regan’s report in 2003 through the Steering Committee and Ad Hoc Committee reports — I would like to suggest a new plan for the Rockport Select Board to consider, one that could eliminate divisions about the size, cost and location of a new library in our community .
I’m asking the Select Board to ignore the pressure of making a quick decision and to do the right thing by giving voters a legitimate choice. They should contract with Reed & Co., the architectural firm that worked with the Ad Hoc Committee and current Library Director, to draw up conceptual designs for both the RES and 1 Limerock St. sites, using a prescribed square foot amount of useable space. With these, the Select Board could obtain estimates for construction costs and projected operational expenses for each site. Since there are pros and cons to residents as well as to the town at the two locations, it is important for voters to have what they need to make an informed decision.
Two critical stipulations:
1) Useable space should be at minimum 7,000 to 8,000 square feet, even less than that recommended by the Library Committee, former Library Director and independent Library Consultant. And there must be ease of expansion to accommodate future needs.
2) The cost of restructuring the Central-Union-Russell-Limerock intersection must be clearly outlined as part of the estimate for the 1 Limerock Street site since there is no guarantee the DOT will reimburse Rockport for even a percentage of that expense.
Voters have to be able to trust that they are being provided with complete and transparent facts — that the Select Board has utilized outside, independent experts as needed — that no favoritism has been shown. Voters also want to see what they will get for their money and how a new library will benefit them as well as the town. Therefore, educating the public will be essential. Only by such a thorough process can voters have confidence in the final outcome.
Thirteen years have passed since the initial discussion to build a new library. In the scheme of things, if it takes another year or two for the Select Board and voters to make a clear, fair determination about the library, so be it. We must keep in mind that our new library will serve the community for decades to come so this time, let’s do it right!
Keep contact visits
I have been reading a lot lately about video visits replacing contact visits at several county jails throughout the state.
As a former corrections officer I have seen first-hand how important the touch of a loved one is to someone who is incarcerated. Humans are social by our very nature and living in a space devoid of any human contact can be detrimental to the psyche. When I started in corrections, from my first day, I stated that I wanted inmates to leave the facility I was working in to be better going out than when they came in, thus reducing the rate of recidivism. On the inside mail, phone calls, and visits are the most important things in any inmate’s life. I have witnessed this first-hand, watching inmates holding the hands of their loved ones, giving brief hugs to their children, it brings the human element back to the inmate, reminding them there are people who love them and are waiting for them to be released, who are promising them a future. Hearing the voice of a loved one on the phone, holding the hand of your spouse, or holding your child in the visit room is all you have to connect you to the outside world. There is a bond formed between child and parent by making eye contact in person, the same bond is not formed by eye contact on a computer screen during a video visit.
Keeping families strong and intact should be a goal of the Department of Corrections, and contact visits help that happen. People who transgress the law and are caught are punished by being incarcerated. That is their punishment, their lack of freedom. It should not be the intent of the Department of Corrections or any of its facilities, to further inflict more punishments by taking away the only contact a person has with his loved one. I understand completely the need for security measures with metal detectors, pat searches, recording devices, and K-9 searches in conjunction with contact visits and feel those measures are certainly necessary to help safeguard contraband entering secure facilities. If someone is found to be trafficking, or attempting to traffic contraband into a jail or prison, take away their contact visits for an allotted period of time, as they do at Maine State Prison, but don’t take away all contact visits for all incarcerated people. Heightening security leads to less contraband being trafficked into secure facilities, and that is safer for all staff and inmates alike, but removing all human contact from prisoners only brings about more antisocial behaviors, not healthy prosocial ones. People who are incarcerated are humans and should be treated as such, they are serving their time, repaying their debt to society by being incarcerated, should we really be taking them completely away from humanity and just hoping they will miraculously fix themselves?
Duncan is missing
Our family is looking for help in Knox, Waldo and Lincoln counties in helping us to find our missing four-legged family member, Duncan. He went missing Dec. 25 from Route 90 in Warren, when he got loose through our invisible fence. He is a 4-year old, tan, 110 pound bullmastiff/Rottweiler mix, wearing a collar and an invisible fence device.
He was seen on Dec. 25 on Carroll Road in Warren between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. (near stop sign at Tolman Road intersection); and on Dec. 27 around 8:30 p.m. on Route 131 near the Warren Community School. There have been no further sightings as of Jan. 1. He may have now traveled several miles from these earlier sightings, no doubt looking for food and shelter, so we are looking for the community’s help in expanding our search area.
I want to thank everyone who has been helping us try and find Duncan. Our five children and Glenn and I miss him very much as it is not the same without him. He is a big part of our family. I feel so blessed to live in the community that I do because everyone has been trying so hard to help us find Duncan, whether it be posting his picture, putting up fliers, hiking the local trails, aerial search (thank you Penobscot Island Air) or giving us ideas on where to find him or ways to get him home. The folks at Maine Lost Dog Recovery have been so incredibly supportive and encouraging. Hundreds of posters have been put up throughout the roads and businesses in Warren and Union.
We appreciate all the positive feedback on our post on the Midcoast Message Board and we have had so many people sharing Duncan’s picture and doing everything they can to help get him home to us. I would like to send out an extra special thank you to April Berry who has gone above and beyond to help bring Duncan home. Thank you to Shari Closter as well for all of her help to find Duncan. We have his Lost Dog flyer posted on the Maine Lost Dog Recovery Facebook page and the Midcoast Message Board Facebook page.
We need your help. If you can share his Lost Dog flyer on your Facebook page and with your friends; put up flyers (in plastic sleeves) on poles at major intersections in all of the local towns surrounding Warren; check your sheds, chicken coops, wells, and buildings; place flyers at entrances to all local snowmobile and hiking trails; and listen/watch for any unusual barking or activity in the areas in which you live.
If you have any information or sightings, please do not call out or chase/attempt to catch Duncan — call Renee immediately with any sightings at 691-3943 or 542-0827.
Thanks again everyone for your support and help in finding our beautiful boy. Tomorrow is another day and I am hoping it's the day Duncan finds his way home! We love and miss you Duncan, please come home safe!