Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette

Dec 25, 2013

Becoming part of fabric

Is CMCA joining the community or imposing a design on a community?

CMCA (the Center for Maine Contemporary Art) plans to join Rockland’s already lively downtown and a preliminary building design has been made public and is working its way through the city approval process. Let’s look at the meaning of the word “join” in the above sentence.

The proposed design looks clean, it says “I am a museum”, it has modernist, industrial lines and has some roof geometry for light and interest. The entry courtyard brings some green to the area leading to a glowing lantern of a glass entry. It is special, unlike other buildings in Rockland, and a statement of art in and of itself. These are all good signals to say “this is a museum.” I wonder if it could say all of this and also be a good listener to the call for human scale elements required by the city code for the downtown area? I read the codes and I do not see them requiring a style that is old, but inviting inventive, fresh interpretation of ways to join the other buildings it has as neighbors. It could give a nod, a greeting, an echo, or a riff off the historic forms of the neighborhood on Main Street that developed to serve people. It could say much more than “I am a contemporary art museum, so I look industrial” The spot CMCA selected is in an area designated to extend the feel and people oriented activity of historic downtown to the east. The location offers an opportunity to bridge and invite more lively density of fabric that will stretch to the industrial and working waterfront zone along the water’s edge.

Some buildings are stand-alone, spectacular, unique beacons of celebration and some are intelligently integrated. The Rockland code asks for expression of the latter in the city fabric, but it does not exclude many elements that could make an important building a stunning beacon as well. Certainly an award-winning architect can solve many issues in many ways, provide interior wall space, and create human scale along a pedestrian walkway that is very important to lead people to new redevelopment of a long-underutilized district.

In addition to zoning and codes, over the past two years, a citizens group, an economic planning group and the City Council of Rockland created and adopted a list of values to support Rockland’s current and future vitality. These values invite participation, invention, creative thinking and a look at what is already here that is beloved. These values support the work of the Comprehensive Planning Committee, and the City Council implemented the Downtown Plan by extending the vitality of Main Street. Some call some of these qualities a part of the “Salty Sophistication” of Rockland. If there is a value on art in this area beyond the over $11 million dollars added to the local economy each year from the Farnsworth alone, it might be described as the way a creative Maine mind can see many possibilities, be independent and ask lots of questions beginning with “what if….?”

I hope CMCA, its director, board and architect recognize they are becoming part of a fabric helping to shape its future vitality. I would be disappointed if CMCA asks the community to drop its collective values and have CMCA treated as an institution that is exempt from listening to others simply because they are a museum. It does not seem open-minded to ignore written zoning and code parameters that carry community values.

I personally am very excited to see CMCA come to Rockland, I welcome its programming, its mind-expanding exhibits, its Art Lab for adults and children and its established reputation for excellence. We need art in our lives to ensure fueling our imaginations in our lives, our jobs, and our dreams of improvement, and to always remember to begin many of our questions with “what if…?”

Connie Hayes



VanSorosin family thank-you

You know who you are. All those who loved John. I must thank you from the bottom of my heart for visiting the funeral home (a treasure in your midst – Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins) and for attending the Requiem Mass offered by dear Fr. Dominic Eshikera O.P.(another treasure) at St. Bernard Catholic Church and later at the graveside.

Wasn’t John an incredible man? Have you ever known anyone quite like him? I thank you for all your kind words, your individual stories that involved John, just your presence kept me going. The list is quite lengthy and please know that I hold you dear because you loved John and always will, like I do.

So anyone who was in John’s life — far and especially near —– I know you all because John told me about you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and God bless you! Everyone!

Jeanne Hunter and family

Southold, N.Y.


Collective voices needed

Are there other commercial fishermen and women in the state of Maine who are worried that the days of independent fishermen and women are coming to an end?

With the state's all-knowing Department of Marine Resources and the state lawmakers are getting ready to cave to the feds by agreeing to cutbacks on the elver eel fishery. There is no science behind the desire for quotas, one way or the other.

If they adopt the quota system eventually there won't be any small fishermen. A quota system works well when everything is going good. Permits and licenses always start out non-transferable and become transferable. Then, historically, when things go bad quotas, permits, and licenses always end up in the hands of a select few.

Is that what the state really wants?

There was once a day when a small independent could work in any fiscally sustainable fishery there was. Today, as most of us know, outside the 3-mile line, permits for most of the resources belong to big corporations.

Is that what we are going to continue let happen to our livelihoods on the coast of Maine? Are we just going to let people and lawmakers take the resources away?

Traditionally, Maine commercial fishermen have all stood on our own and taken care of what needed to be taken care of. It was not until recent years the mind set has become "I got mine, too bad if you have not got yours;" no matter the circumstances. This is a classic divide and conquer strategy.

For proof, look to other states where there are almost no small independents anymore. There is a movement going on where some people are trying to unionize the lobster industry. As far as I can tell by listening, they mean to protect us from the Department of Marine Resources, lawmakers and associations with agendas of a few.

I have been a fisherman for more than a few decades and I think it is time we come together collectively for the only thing that we all really agree on: we need licenses to move from fishery to fishery, especially if and when the lobster catch drops.

We all want to be able to go to work as commercial fishermen and we need licenses to do so.

Would it not be mart to treat all full-time commercial fishermen and women the same, so that we all can continue to work, whether it be somebody digging worms, elver eeling or lobstering, whether on the wheel, or in the stern, etc.

Maybe a union could be convinced that all commercial marine fisheries should be represented as a whole, being interconnected as we are.

As it stands now we are represented only by people with their own agenda.

Maybe it's time for the part-timers who have other jobs to get either all the way in or all the way out, but leave the permits for the people who want to be full-time commercial fishermen. That would make fishing look like a real job to the state instead of some kind of lottery.

Maybe joining a union and coming together for the one thing I'm sure most of us agree on will be the way to ensure small independents can be heard before the coast of Maine is like everywhere else.

Dale "Jap" Witham



What next

In today's modern world of technology, it seems there is not a day that goes by that someone is coming out with something that can do more than the previous devices that have been on the market. Now people can walk down the road and within 10 minutes access the world through the Internet, and text their children who may not be more than 10 feet from them.

Question. Where does it end? The answer is it ends when we as a society wake up to one basic fact and that is we are depending on technology to entertain our children even when we are home. We may live in a nation that started out being on top of the world in power and now we are becoming a nation that is now depending on other countries to provide everything that we use. At the same time we have people right now that even though they have cellphones and can text the world, they are going without a bed to sleep in and maybe a hot meal, let alone having clothes to wear. We have children who may or may not have a Christmas of some kind, and yes this may include a meal of some kind, let alone a present, if any.

The sad part to this whole picture is we are becoming a nation hell-bent on getting what we want and completely forgetting what Christmas is all about, but to what end. We as a nation should stop and think about the end result and that is one day all the technology that we own or possess will one day disappear from our hands and there is not a thing we will be able to do about it.

I will be the first one to say it this way, there is coming a day that every human being on this planet will have to face one person who has already done for us what no human could have ever done and that is paid the ultimate price for our sins. And yes I said our sins and all this technology in the world will not change the end result. It is time for everyone of us to wake up and face one fact, this world will come to an end and everything we say we own will be gone.

But as always do not take my word for it. The answer is already written out for us all we have to do is be willing to read and yes I said read and that is a Bible or better yet go to your local church and speak to a pastor, priest or whatever you wish to call him or her. The answer is in the Book of Revelation. I will say this, prophecy is already being fulfilled.

Robert J. Robinson



Holiday party thanks

The Pen Bay Celebration Committee wishes to thank all the employees and their families who worked on and attended the recent Pen Bay Healthcare holiday party at the Samoset Resort.

The Committee also thanks the community member organizations who donated beautiful centerpiece decorations for the dining tables. The organizations include: Shelley’s Flowers, Hoboken Gardens, TJ Maxx, Seasons Downeast, Harbor Farms and The Christmas Greens Shop. Marti Stone Photography offered her photography services to take photos of Santa with children and families for which the Committee is grateful, as well as the many Midcoast businesses who also donated gifts and services for our raffle and door prizes.

All told, families appreciated an uninterrupted evening spent together while kids had fun getting their faces painted, visiting with Santa Claus and making holiday ornaments and cookies. The festivities included holiday music all evening by DJ Jim Leitny, singing performed by the Camden High School a capella group, “Upbeats,” and traditional carols sung by a group of volunteer Pen Bay carolers who gathered for a month to practice for the performance.

Ever humble and gracious Judy Benner, a 37-year Pen Bay employee and Special Care Unit support partner, was announced as Employee of the Year. Judy was previously honored as Employee of the Month last June.

Many thanks to the community for helping to make this evening special for the Pen Bay family!

Pen Bay Celebration Committee


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