Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette

Feb 21, 2014

Accomplishments achieved

There has been a good deal of turmoil and just plain “bad press” in the media over the last few months concerning RSU 13. We, the teachers, staff, and building administrators of RSU 13, want you to know that our students, your children, are continuing to thrive and learn and achieve wonderful accomplishments despite the “gloom and doom” atmosphere that currently seems to be portrayed by the RSU 13 school board. Listed below are just a few of the accomplishments from some of the buildings in RSU 13 that these incredible students have achieved:

St. George School: Every student, grades K-7, has been participating in bi-weekly Math Acceleration Blocks. During these instructional blocks, students are grouped flexibly to work on basic math fact acquisition or math extension work using technology and an assortment of activities led by all of the building’s teaching staff.

Lura Libby School: Lura Libby students participated in a week-long Great Kindness Challenge, which focused on a week of kindness awareness. Maine author Ryan Higgins will be visiting Lura Libby in March to work on literacy activities with the students.

Owls Head Community School: The school has been working on an integrated unit on the “Wizard of Oz” theme. All staff, from classroom teachers to Allied Arts teachers, have been a part of this wonderful work. Students will be visiting the Farnsworth Museum as part of this integrated unit.

South School: Susan Oliver’s second-grade class goes to the Farnsworth Museum every other week. While there, they interact with art by drawing, writing, and sketching.

89 percent of the first grade students at the school met or exceeded the standard on the Winter DIBELS assessment. The DIBELS Phoneme segmentation measure assesses a student’s ability to segment three- and four-phoneme words into their individual phonemes fluently.

Thomaston Grammar School: seventh-grade French, social studies, and math classes are participating in an integrated study involving researching and reporting on the heritage of our student body. Results of the study will be displayed in the entrance hall of the school at the end of February.

A total of 13 sixth- and seventh-grade students were accepted into the District III Honors Music Festivals for Band or Chorus. The students will be participating with other top musicians from the Midcoast at festivals in March and April.

Rockland District Middle School: fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-grade students recently completed the Winter NWEA assessments. 61 percent of the student body scored at or above grade level on the math assessment. 62 percent of the student body improved on their NWEA score from last spring’s assessment.

69 percent of the student body scored at or above grade level on the reading assessment, while 74 percent of them improved on their NWEA scores from last spring’s assessment.

Oceanside High School West: eighth-grade reading classes are reading to “buddies” at Lura Libby Elementary School every Friday.

Student Government is participating in “Pennies fro Patients," collecting money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Math and science students are participating in an integrated math/science class. All of the math and science standards are taught through integrated lessons where students are improving their math skills through working with the science content.

These accomplishments do not even scratch the surface of the amazing things that the students have achieved. Please be assured that the teachers, staff, and building administrators of RSU 13 are doing everything possible to ensure that your children are receiving the best, most positive learning opportunities that we can provide. And, as this list shows, the students are responding in a truly superb manner.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the teachers, staff, and building administrators for the students of RSU 13,

Chuck Gallagher

President, Seacoast Education Association

Kevin Martin,

Vice-President, Seacoast Education Association

Personal attack

In the Jan. 30 edition of this paper Bob Carter penned an article regarding minimum wage in Maine. Mr. Carter’s article seemed to be intended to inspire folks to be diligent employees and thus earn their way to better compensation as opposed to the government mandating how much they earn. I know Mr. Carter and he is a kind, good, and decent man who has been a great example to any who know him.

In the Feb. 13 edition of this paper Rep. Jeffery Evangelos responded to Mr. Carter’s article with attack and innuendo. It is usually the case when one is on the wrong side of an issue; you ignore the issue and attack the person. As an elected state representative Mr. Evangelos would do well to stick to issues.

The issue is minimum wage. It is established fact that the vast majority of people who accept an entry level position in the workforce have received an increase in compensation within six months of employment. Minimum wage is a starting point not the finish line. Raising the minimum wage results in less employment, especially for those who are young and seeking their first job. Increases in compensation should be based upon value and productivity, not government mandate. Minimum wage only becomes an issue when unemployment is high. As the economy reaches a stage of maximum employment, the competition for workers will increase and result in a naturally higher starting wage. Our elected officials need to concentrate on jobs (i.e. less red tape and lower taxes).

Dale E. Landrith Sr.

Camden

Problems will not disappear

This letter is in response to Jeff Evangelos and his attempted rebuttal to an article written on minimum wage. As a candidate for State Senate in SD 12 in Knox County I would like to point out that the problems we face are not simply going to disappear by raising the minimum wage. Unfortunately the situation is more complex and there are national, state and local issues that destroy jobs and cause difficult times such as inflation, high property, income, sales and excise tax rates, the over regulation of business, corporate welfare, and uncontrolled illegal immigration. I advocate for lower taxes, in particular property taxes, for economic freedom and for reducing business hampering and job killing regulations. This does NOT mean I am against the environment, only that a sensible balance must be reached.

As has already been pointed out I do also promote personal responsibility and I think we have to stop rewarding people for bad behavior and hold them accountable for their actions. I sympathize with a person who has made a bad choice but I sympathize more with my neighbor who is being forced to pay for the consequences of another’s poor choice to the point it destabilizes their own economic foundation. We need to promote more personal responsibility in ourselves and our children which will lead to increased productivity and self-sufficiency. My goals are better paying jobs and improved benefits for all levels of employment but not through forced government intervention. At one time this area had a thriving cottage industry. Generations of women and their families generated cash income by picking out crabmeat at home. Their husbands, sons, and daughters were lobstermen and would bring home the crabs as a by-catch and they would boil the crabs, pick out the fresh meat and sell it fresh or frozen in small plastic boxes. Due in large part to increased government regulations this type of industry no longer exists. The new laws requiring expensive stainless steel sinks, high end lighting fixtures, add on and upgrades to plumbing and kitchen equipment made it cost prohibitive to continue and the income stream and way of life that had existed for generations vanished. What had been a way of life in Maine was crushed by government regulation. Now to operate a seafood processing plant legally the investment is millions of dollars and if you open a small one it is very difficult to sell enough to pay for your investment. There are now 16 small new seafood processors in the state and I think that is an excellent opportunity for us here in Knox County. Loosen up some of the existing regulations while making provisions for labeling and disclosure to allow for consumer protections and choice to create an environment in which home processors will again be economically viable. Allow small home seafood processors to operate which will immediately put more money into our local economy and in the hands of moms struggling to provide for their families. Sitting at home picking out crab, shrimp or lobster meat is a way to bring neighbors together. To participate together in an activity that generates a revenue stream, utilizes local resources and fosters an atmosphere of self-reliance will benefit us all.

Paula G. Sutton

Candidate for Senate SD 12

Warren

Disappointed

I am compelled to register my disappointment in Rep. Evangelos’ Feb. 13 guest column. The title suggests a defense of raising the minimum wage but to my reading it actually does little but to denounce Bob Carter and Paula Sutton specifically and Republicans generally.

I would understand and respect Rep. Evangelos defending his bill. My disappointment is in the tactics and tone he took to do it. From my reading, his thesis is that employers owe it to their employees to pay them a wage that covers everything they need and much of what they want. I found no arguments supporting that thesis. Employment is not now nor should it ever become the moral equivalent of adoption or custody, I would hope. But, the minimum wage is not my topic today. I know Bob Carter. He is not a villain. He is anything but greedy. To my knowledge, this is the first and only suggestion that his bank bundled and sold securitized mortgages to Freddie Mac. Four Maine-headquartered banks took TARP funds. Bob’s was not among them.

Success is not a character flaw, but I do see in those who suggest otherwise character defects. I’d hope everyone deplores, especially in those holding public office. Maine will be much the worse off if we don’t come together as citizens and refuse to sanction politicians, pundits and consultants advancing their personal goals by leading us into the dark mindset of "us versus them."

Using Alinsky tactics to isolate those who disagree and slander their character and integrity may be commonplace in some circles. That’s not where I come from nor is it a place I have any desire to go. Let me stand, alone if necessary, and say: “Shame on you, Jeffrey Evangelos." I hope your temper and old resentments got the better of your judgment because otherwise your column tells me a great deal about you and none of it would fall easy on your ears or your ego.

Kenneth O. Frederic

Bristol

Applause

I'd like to applaud Jeffrey Evangelos for his response in the Feb. 13 guest column of The Courier-Gazette. His comprehensive rebuttal of last week's editorial is thoughtful and represents a more realistic economic reality than the views espoused by Robert Carter.

As a blue-collar working guy I find it insulting to be scolded by the elitists who condemn the real working class to $7.50 per hour wages, while urging us to improve ourselves through education in order to earn enough to live on. The reality is that many, many people in this country have to work a lot more than 40 hours a week simply to survive and that leaves little time or energy for self-improvement.

As a small business owner I strongly disagree that increasing the minimum wage to a living wage would threaten economic growth. If people earn more, they'll spend more, naturally, and that's good for business as well as the community.

Let's pay ourselves enough to live decent lives and stop taking orders from the 1 percent, such as Robert Carter and his ilk.

John Shepard

Union

Welcomed addition

On behalf of The Farnsworth Art Museum, its staff, and its Board of Trustees, I would like to express how much we look forward to the arrival of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art to our ever-more-vibrant Rockland downtown. As an arts organization that thrives on partnering with others, we look forward to the additional collaborations: the many synergies that will be afforded by their relocation. We look forward to the increase of visitors to the city, a benefit that will be felt not only by the many arts organizations, but by the downtown shops, the inns, the service centers and the restaurants. And finally, we look forward to seeing the new building designed by internationally recognized architect Toshiko Mori, a complement to our beautiful Rockland downtown.

Christopher J. Brownawell

Director, Farnsworth Art Museum

Rockland

Worthy of support

There are moments in the life of a community as there surely are in the lives of its individual citizens, when opportunity comes knocking and choices are required. Paths are selected and others abandoned. It seems that this is such a time for our city. Two very contrasting but intimately related projects are now on the table and in the news; a contemporary arts center and a harbor-side hotel. One will add significantly to our ability to attract year-round visitation and the other will provide those visitors with a remarkable place in which to stay, an attraction in its own rite. As form follows function, the architecture of one will be contemporary in design, no less than the art it will endeavor to sustain, exhibit and encourage. The other refers back to the Maine coast of a century ago for its inspiration and grace. Both are timely, well positioned and worthy of our support. I believe this city can and should embrace them both. I strongly encourage this community and its citizens to do so.

Thomas O'Donovan

Director, Harbor Square Gallery

Rockland

Filled with loyalty, dedication

On the evening of Friday, Jan. 3, the Knox Center for Long Term Care experienced unexpected flooding due to a burst sprinkler system pipe. Gratefully, no patients were put in harm’s way. The administrative offices and common areas were mostly affected and luckily, non-patient areas and patient rooms were spared from damage.

The words THANK YOU seem insufficient to express the amount of gratitude, appreciation and respect we have for all of you who worked so hard and so well together through this event. The Knox Center was not just full of water; it was filled with loyalty and dedication to a building that is more than simply bricks and mortar. It is home to many.

To Knox Center staff who came in off-duty to assist with the turbulence, you showed true selflessness and camaraderie with one another. This is why we love working here.

To Knox Center staff who were here working and realized that in spite of all odds, your job still needed to be completed. You worked without complaint so that our residents remained well cared for. You just did what was needed to be done! Upon my arrival at 8 p.m. that night, I got a sense that you all just dug in, the way responders, caregivers and wonderful human beings do!

We would like to say a hearty thank you to the following community partners for their part during and since the event: Rockland Fire Department; McCormick & Associates, Inc.; Superior Restoration Services; Eastern Fire & Sprinkler; New England Fireproofing; Capozza Flooring; Thayer Corporation; Pen Bay Information Services department and countless others including our residents, families and visitors for their patience and understanding while we clean up and look new again!

Carl Chadwick

Administrator

Knox Center for Long Term Care

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