Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette
Will we learn
On Aug. 30, 2002, we sent the following message to our representatives in the White House, Senate and House of Representatives:
"I am an honorably discharged veteran of the Korean War, having enlisted in the Navy for four years. My wife (of 46 years — now 57) and I "have been" proud to be Americans and certainly proud of past American principles. But now, we are deeply concerned. Our country's traditions do not include belligerent behavior and unilateral actions of war."
"We do not want the United States to be the policeman of the world. Nor do we want the United States to be the supplier of arms and military support all over the world. We like to think of our country as a peaceful nation. We, as a country, shouldn't even be thinking of starting a war, or interfering in any other nation's internal affairs."
"Let us please rejoin the rest of the world. To take unilateral action as apparently being planned is just plain wrong and anti-American, and a terrible path to take! We have a democracy, not a dictatorship. Strong words for sure, but representing strong personal concern as well. World peace can only be accomplished with world support."
"Thank you for listening. Gene and Carlyn Ernest, P.O. Box 267, Tenants Harbor, ME 94860".
Peter Seeger had it right — "long time ago — Oh, when will they ever learn?"
Update to today. Yes, it is morally wrong to use poison gas;. and it is morally wrong to bomb people and places! Two wrongs do not equal a right. This is written to different people and relates to a different situation than in 2002 — when will WE ever learn?
C. Eugene and Carlyn Ernest
Rescue the people
Bashar al Assad is a war criminal. He must be indicted immediately before the International Criminal Court at the Hague. Our United States has never accepted the Court. Under the treaty-making power of the Senate, a bill to accept should be introduced and immediately debated for the fastest vote possible.
Our formidable military should be used only for rescuing the people of Syria. The United States can lead to airlift refugees from Syria. The Navy carrier already in the region can be used for airlifting aid and transporting people, as the naval fleet did in the South Asian tsunami a few years ago.
Let the government show its emergency readiness in aiding refugees. First of all, American-Syrian families should be enrolled to bring over as many of their relatives as wish to come. Churches and other philanthropic organizations can be cleared expeditiously to accept any and all refugees. The Red Cross can do this as they did in New Orleans.
In Syria itself, a good idea was put forward by Dominic de Villepin, the French foreign minister at the UN in 2003 who spoke against the US invasion of Iraq and who, as well as France itself, was much vilified by American pundits. We now know he was absolutely right. The idea is to separate the warring parties.
I have a Dream that many American soldiers would volunteer to do this Peace mission. Veterans would re-enlist. Many from our police forces and firefighters would be attracted as they have been in domestic crises. American leadership can be immediate because of the military/security force available to the commander in Cchief. The international community would follow, relieved and glad.
This a world crisis we should not hesitate to finance. Where would the money come from for this rescue of the people? Let us estimate what the president's military action would cost. Let us spend it all on refugee aid, peace on the ground, and reconstruction of communities.
Now is the time for all pacifists and believers in non-violent action to come together, to put forth their ideas, and to be listened to.
I sent you a note a month ago, but I just got the envelope back unopened yesterday because the post office doesn't seem to know how to find you.
I was curious about the Memory's Harbor photo in the July 11 Courier-Gazette. You claimed it was a scene in North Haven, but I have never seen any area in North Haven that looks anything like that. Could you have possibly meant Vinalhaven?
P.S. If it happened in April I would have thought it was an April Fool's joke.
Why in such a small jail?
Currently there is a billion dollar food service company from Tennessee named Aramark trying to come into the Knox County Jail. Why would such a huge food company come into such a small jail? The truth is in my opinion is the only profit to be made would be on the backs of the current long-term employees. Perhaps this has been the intention all along, as well as to terminate the current kitchen staff. It is a fact that recently Aramark has laid off at least 300 employees in Pennsylvania (the companies previous location). Their headquarters have been moved to Tennessee. The sense here is that any or perhaps all Aramark employees are expendable. The ridiculous nature of this process is over 9 months. However, Aramark is being given chances beyond the original bid deadline. The jail administrator has put tremendous taxpayer time and effort to bring in Aramark. He recently said that the kitchen managers budget is near the same. This being said, why is the jail administrator still pulling for Aramark? What is his motive behind all of this if its not to save money? The nature of the entire communication in the kitchen between the jail administrator and the kitchen manager has been undermined, even to the place where in a recent meeting with Aramark the kitchen manager was completely left out of the meeting.
Further, the jail administrator has said, and I quote, "saving money is not at the top of his list." The administrator feels that Aramark could give better service in hiring personnel, repairing equipment and covering scheduled when employees are on leave. But these services required by Aramark actually increase the cost per meal as assessed by the current kitchen manager. Further, the current food service manager has provided these services as part of his responsibilities as manager for the last 25 years. We are hardworking locals, dependable Mainers taking pride in our work. But I believe in fighting for what you have, if you know you're in the right. We shouldn't have to sacrifice years of hard earned pay and benefits.
The administrator said, and I quote, "I'm doing what is best for this facility." He has said this repeatedly. However, everything I am observing firsthand inside the jail five days a week and hearing what many of the employees are saying, sounds like everything is getting worse. Morale is low. There is no positive feedback from the jail administrator, period. Why wouldn't the administrators help the jail employees that they now have, rather than a billion dollar vacuum that has no real interest in the people? Communication with both the administrator and sheriff has strained as if our words have had little impact. Please call the Knox County Sheriff if you have an opinion in this matter. I have made this situation known to Jeff Evangelos and seven other Maine representatives.
Food Service Specialist
Food pantry thanks
Savage Oakes Winery in Union presented a community concert, featuring Shawn Mullins, at the Winery Aug. 18. Concert goers were encouraged to support the Come Spring Food Pantry in Union with donations of non-perishable food and money. All attendees were very generous. We would like to thank Savage Oakes Winery, Shawn Mullins, and all who attended the concert for their support.
The Come Spring Food Pantry serves our neighbors from Union, Appleton, & South Hope. The pantry is open the second and fourth Wednesday of the month and donations are gratefully accepted. Contact 785-4730.
Carol Watier, Manager
Come Spring Food Pantry
On Aug. 28, Trekkers and the Farnsworth Art Museum co-sponsored an educational forum at the Strand Theatre. The featured speaker was Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, who presented her research and findings with the community about how technology puts children’s development at risk. Dr. Steiner-Adair’s presentation included insights, advice, and real-life stories from the work she has done with educators, children and parents around the country. She also shared some lessons learned from her research on the topic of children, relationships and technology.
With all the demands to maintain constant connectivity, along with ongoing concerns about cyberbullying, sexting, and technology addiction, this educational lecture provided valuable information about children’s perceptions and that impact on interpersonal relationships. On behalf of Trekkers, I can’t thank Catherine enough for sharing her knowledge with the Midcoast and helping us start a meaningful conversation about alternative approaches and other responses to technology overload.
Of course, the success of this event was made possible by many people from our community. I would like to thank the Farnsworth Art Museum for co-sponsoring the event, and the Strand Theatre for hosting this important and relevant lecture. My sincere thanks also go to the following individuals who helped make the event and its planning go so smoothly: Roger Dell, Education Director at the Farnsworth; John Bragg, Jenni Brooks, Jack Carpenter, Nancy Carter, Emily Carver, Lindsey Evans, Jean Faustini, Sam Hastings-Black, Meredith Lynt, Ken Oelberger, Bethany Yovino, Neal Young and the following Trekkers’ students/alumni: Bethany Schulberg, Raegan Goulet, Cassidy Rolfe and John Ferguson. And, of course, many thanks to everyone who attended this enlightening evening and supported Trekkers through this event.
As Trekkers begins another year of expanding its mentoring opportunities for youth from the Midcoast area, we are so grateful for the support we receive from our community. It is through this support that Trekkers is able to achieve its mission of connecting young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education. Thank you for your continued support of Trekkers and the young people we serve.
Don Carpenter, Executive Director
Note of thanks
The foster family of Linda C. Griffin wishes to express their sincere appreciation for the loving support shown to us during this difficult time. The care shown to us through phone calls, cards, flowers and food has meant so much. The thoughtfulness of her church friends and fellow Wal-Mart friends and co-workers has been a blessing. It is a comfort to know how much Linda was loved and how much her life had an impact on others. We deeply appreciate your kindness.
Sheila Breen and family
The family of Albert Simmons wishes to thank the Friendship Fire Department and all our friends and family for their thoughts, prayers, cards, and gifts at this time of our recent loss. Special thanks to the staff at Togus, especially the staff of 4-North, 3-South, and Palliative Care for their excellent care of Albert. Thanks to Bob Dorr for his many visits at home and at Togus. Your support means so much to all of us.
Priscilla "Peggy" Simmons and family
Get on a team
Involvement in local government need not involve attending constant meetings. Rockland has a number of vacancies on boards, committees, and commissions. This list is the best one available to me. What is required is that residents complete an application for consideration for appointment by the mayor. The application is online, and also available at City Hall. This is the "dugout" from which the players and game plan springs. Please consider being a member of one of these teams that are, in fact, shaping daily life in Rockland.
Worthy of praise
I am once again reminded of the hard work and dedication of school teachers, aides and volunteers we are blessed to have.
Following some of Pen Bay Christian School students into area schools, the results have been worthy of praise.
Following where they are now: Merchant Marines, nursing, missionary, excelling in college, valedictorian, police academy, Bible College, shift managers, moving forward and giving back.
I applaud and appreciate you all.