Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette

Aug 21, 2014

Changes at Pen Bay

In response to Pat Putnum's questions regarding oncology changes at Pen Bay Medical Center.

1. The Sussman Hospice House will be providing full hospice services to all patients in need of those services.

2. A full-time palliative care physician is being recruited to cover the needs of those patients utilizing the Sussman Hospice House.

3. The money raised for the Sussman Hospice House is not related to the operating expenses of the Pen Bay Oncology Department.

4. The same response as No. 3.

5. The Medical Staff Executive Committee tabled the vote of the Medical Staff Cancer Committee.

6. Dr. Ramdin's credentials and experience are not superior to Dr. Connelly's. Dr. Connelly is a graduate of Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her medical residency at Akron General Medical Center before working on a fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio. Dr. Connelly was chosen over Dr. Ramdin because Dr. Connelly felt she could cover the patient care needs of both hospital departments. In addition, Pen Bay Medical Center is the facility that was operating at a $2.7 million loss. Pen Bay Medical Center has reduced its expenses by approximately $2.5 million and is reducing its operating loss on a monthly basis and hopes to end its fiscal year at a break-even operating position. Pen Bay Medical Center has been operating at a loss for the last 5 of 7 years. Waldo County General Hospital for many years have incurred an operating gain.

7. If the number of patients increase at either Pen Bay or Waldo County General Hospital, that would justify the need to increase physician staff. In addition, other staff, such as nursing, will be increased to meet patient needs when necessary.

8. I personally cared for my mother who died of cancer in 1991. In 1992, a year subsequent to her death, Waldo County General Hospital opened its Hospice Unit. The care that needs to be given to cancer patients is truly close to my heart and I have received many letters from patients thanking me for the services of our Oncology Department as well as our Hospice Unit over these past 22 years. Dr. Connelly has worked at Waldo County General Hospital on a part-time basis since 2008 while she continued to work for the Maine Center for Cancer Medicine. This arrangement has been well-received by her patients as well as the hospital staff at Waldo County General Hospital. She went full-time in December 2013 and I am very confident she will be providing the appropriate care to all patients in need of that care at Pen Bay Medical Center as well as Waldo County General Hospital.

Presently, our hospitals are collaborating on many levels including the sharing of a urologist, nephrologist, infectious disease physician and vascular surgeon as well as imaging technicians, nurses, department managers and laundry services. All in an effort to maintain these services and jobs in our area at the lowest cost possible.

Mark Biscone

President and CEO

Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital

Waste facility issues

I would like to bring to the attention of my fellow Rocklanders some of the problems that are plaguing our Solid Waste Facility:

Our quarry went down from having 50 years, to just about five years of life-span. All this while the town keeps losing money. Instead of giving away the remaining capacity, why don’t we reserve it for construction debris produced by the resident of Rockland?

In the very near future, we are going to have to cap the quarry. Where is all the money going to come from? Most, if not all, of the moneys earmarked for this specific purpose have been raided into the general fund. Remember that we cannot just cap the quarry. According to Maine DEP, we will have to keep pumping water out of the quarry for practically forever!

I attended some of the [2015] budget meetings and it is very disturbing that, decisions that affect the long-term future of our SWF were taken in just a matter of minutes.

Not only City Council decided that pay-per-bag is best but, after watching a short and fancy video, decided that single-stream recycling is the way to go. Never mind, that the presentation was given by the same corporation that cannot wait to start making money off the resident of Rockland and neighboring communities.

The Council never consulted us, the residents of Rockland. What is the rush? Who is pushing for this change? Does the Council know if we want to minimize the negative effects of handling our waste on human health and the environment or if we just want to dispose off of our waste in the cheapest possible way? Does the Council know if we want to keep paying high rates while City Hall keeps subsidizing commercial trash haulers? How can the Council craft long-term policies without taking into consideration the will of the residents of Rockland?

Does the Council know that single stream recycling started in California because they could ship low-quality co-mingled recycled materials to China? Today even China is not interested in these low-grade, low priced materials.

SSR is just another recycling process that cannot deliver what it promises. SSR cannot sort to the same degree as source-sorting. SSR uses large amounts of energy in the sorting of recyclables and ends up with a higher degree of co-mingled [mixed] materials that have to be sold at lower prices or that have to be disposed off in landfills [as is the case of glass-containing fiber that is being rejected in paper-mills].

Does the Council know that SSR is, not only, practically non-existent in Europe but, starting next year it will be illegal [Readers can access EU Waste Management Directive 98 from 2008].

Our Council members may not be able to read Japanese but they can go on the web and look at the images of the curb-side recycling stations in Japan. Anything from 5 to 12 different sorting containers.

Are our Council members really interested in reducing waste? What about a public education campaign followed by strict enforcement? On paper, recycling has been mandatory in Rockland for quite some time. Or is the Council just interested in another revenue stream [on top of an already high mill rate]?

I call to my fellow residents of Rockland to let the Council know that time has come for them to stop making rash decisions that solve nothing but that result in us, the resident of Rockland, being the ones holding the bag [albeit it being filled with recyclables!]

David E Myslabodski

Rockland

Haters

A recent opinion article decried the hate shown by opponents of the current president. The English language allows a number of uses of the word "hate." You can say "I hate green beans", or "I hate broccoli". You can say, "I hate having to wait in line," or "I hate slow drivers." None of these really mean hate, they mean dislike, at least until you take action that may injure someone, like throwing the plate of green beans across the room, or cutting off the slow driver and forcing him/her off the road. That is the hate inherent in today's political speech, and while it may be true in some isolated cases, with the majority of people expressing dissent with the policys of the progressive left, no one actually wants to hang, tar and feather, or otherwise harm the president.

With George W. Bush, people put pictures of him with a Hitler mustache, produced a movie about how to assassinate him and with a willing press beating a relentless drum for eight years, a gullible electorate jumped into the arms of Barack Obama. The press, so anxious to crucify Bush, did nothing to investigate Obama, not his school records, his political leanings, fostered by a mother and father with Marxist/socialist leanings, or later, as he lived with his white grandmother, the leanings of his mentor Frank Marshall Davis, an avowed communist. The hate for Bush is still prevalent and after five years he is still blamed for this administration's failings.

Is it any wonder that when people who pay attention saw him with his feet up on the Lincoln desk, his refusal to salute the flag or him jumping to conclusions about the stupidity of a white police officer while ignoring the fact that a moderate response from the professor might have calmed the situation, as in "a soft answer turneth away wrath."they were upset? The truth is that the gains in race relations since the '60s have been stunted by those who wish to maintain their standard of living over healing a nation. Dr. King wished for a time when children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. The chance for this dream to be realized has been squandered on the altar of the progressive agenda. Sadly the president and his top law enforcement officer, the Attorney General still cry "race" whenever anyone disagrees with them, with Holder as recently as last week. The list of words decried as racist increase daily, while shootings in Chicago go un-noticed. The Tea Party (taxed enough already) is called racist as a way to discredit them, with no evidence to support the claim. A prominent Congressman claimed he was spit on and called the "N" word in the march from the House to the Senate. Although no evidence supported his claim, I would credit he believed it at the time, as he was spat on and called the "N" word during the Civil Rights era, and while the Tea Party shouted against having the Affordable Care Act passed as it was, the civil rights protesters were indeed yelled at for their very skin color, largely, oddly enough by southern Democrats. Also, there is the thorny problem of Muslim extremist support, at the expense of Israel, with money being promised to Hamas, who will squander it on rockets and cement for more tunnels with which to terrorize Israel.

So are we indeed haters for not wanting to see our country sink into economic chaos, the military eviscerated, porous borders, our children's future rendered moot due to overwhelming debt, $6-plus trillion dollars in five years, largely gone to propping up union jobs and lining the pockets of large contributors, ala Solindra. Lavish vacations with separate planes for the wife and her entourage doncha know, while people are without jobs, 100 million unemployed is touted as 6 percent unemployment, the last I knew 6 percent of 300 million was 18 million. We are called racist for wanting immigration to be orderly and legal, with new immigrants learning the language and melting into the country as in the waves of yesteryear. If Dr. Ben Carson jumps into the race for president on the right in 2016, we will see who the real haters are. With all this we are called haters and racist if we object. Since, in this current political climate, these epithets would indeed seem to be synonymous with Patriotic, I will wear them proudly, as no less than Hillary screamed into a microphone that dissent was patriotic just a few short years ago, remember?

Richard Harding

Waldoboro

Day of Action

I’m writing to urge all voters in our communities to begin to participate in the coming election by joining the effort to preserve and strengthen the precious democratic system that we have in the Maine Clean Election Act.

We are now enjoying a great Maine summer of outdoor leisure activities. We can do what is healthy for our physical, emotional, and social health right now. But, soon the political campaigns will begin to pollute the airwaves, spending the millions of dollars being raised this summer to unleash an avalanche of political ads on TV screens. Most of these ads will not help us — we the voters — make the best decisions.

Instead of honest and probing analysis of candidates’ policy views and leadership potential, a great part of the money funneled through unfamiliar sponsors will only aim to tear down the candidates they wish to see defeated.

I haven’t talked to anyone this summer who does not understand the assault on Democratic government, national or state, by the decisions of the Supreme Court and the corrupting role that “Big Money” plays in election campaigns.

However, not everyone will say that We the Voters can correct this situation.

But, we can. We can support the candidates who say they will legislate for reforms. It is essential, however, that they be freed of the “Big Money” system.

We have been privileged in Maine because in 1996, the voters passed the Clean Elections Initiative that led to the Maine Clean Elections Act in 2000. The MCEA worked so well that up to the last election a great majority of our legislators won office from the support of their constituents only. In 2012 “Big and Dark” money appeared to pollute the campaigns. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision had given us a false interpretation of our cherished First Amendment, stating that “money equals speech.”

Another 5 to 4 decision this year only augmented this corruption of democratic government. We are about to experience this experiment that five Justices have launched.

Here in Maine, the civic organization that led the 1996 Initiative has stayed in place to advocate for, increase public support and defend and improve the Maine Clean Election Act.

MCCE (mainelecanelections.org) is still the place to provide complete information of the role of money in politics, and they are leading the Initiative process this year.

This Saturday, Aug. 23, MCCE has called for a Day of Action all across Maine. The Initiative to “strengthen the Maine Clean Election Act” will be available for all enrolled voters to sign. 70,000 signatures are needed. A good start was made on Primary Day.

A Day of Action will take place in Rockland on Saturday, Aug. 23. The Initiative will be available for all municipalities in Knox County. Those who are ready to sign on will do so and may further volunteer to participate in the work. Initiative leaders will have information available for study and are very eager for conversations about the urgent need of democratic reform.

Come and see us in downtown Rockland this Saturday or call to help: 354-9556 (clavertu@gmail.com).

Carmen Lavertu

Thomaston

Dave Miramant support

In the upcoming November election Knox County voters will have the task of filling the very large shoes of Sen. Ed Mazurek. In my thinking the candidate to accomplish this is Dave Miramant because of a number of reasons including but not limited to experience, intelligence, principles and character.

Dave Miramant has served on the Camden Select Board, has been a Maine State Representative and has served our communities well in many ways. These experiences will enable him to be fully functioning from day one in the State Senate. There will not be the learning curve experienced by so many newcomers to that position.

I have known Dave for many years and am currently serving with him on Camden’s Personnel Committee, which is rewriting the Town’s Personnel Policy. Dave has approached this task with an open mind, keen intellect and principles that are helping to craft a policy which will serve the Town well into the future. He will bring those same qualities to the State Senate, which is so necessary to helping Maine move forward in the coming decades.

For these reasons and so many others I urge you to vote for Dave Miramant for Knox County State Senator.

Steve Melchiskey

Camden

Vote Dave Miramant

If your neighbor’s home is burning — should the fire department refuse to extinguish the blaze if your neighbor works in a low-income job? Surely, we expect equal treatment for all when it comes to fighting fires — or for that matter plowing roads or educating our children.

Yet when it comes to healthcare, Gov. Paul LePage holds a different view. He has prevented nearly 70,000 uninsured working Mainers, many of whom are women, from obtaining health care insurance. The Affordable Care Act was designed to cover these low-income workers though Medicaid expansion, drawing down Federal funds to cover 100 percent of the cost for three years with a gradual reduction of the Federal share to 90 percent thereafter.

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Medicaid expansion optional for the states, LePage used his veto pen three times to deny healthcare insurance to these workers. Thus, these Mainers continue to go without coverage, not only placing a burden on them, but also on Maine hospitals.

The Nov. 4 election gives us an opportunity to correct this injustice. Dave Miramant, a supporter of Medicaid expansion, is running for Knox County’s State Senate seat and is heartily endorsed by retiring Sen. Ed Mazurek. Dave stands with gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud, who will make Medicaid expansion a Day One priority, and with the 57 percent of Mainers supporting the expansion. Join me and vote for Dave Miramant. This year, exercising our right to vote is more than just the right thing to do — we can make an immediate difference in the lives of 70,000 working Maine neighbors.

Diane Smith

Cushing

Pick up after pooches

We are writing this letter to get a few things off our chest.

When we started this challenge regarding people picking up after their dogs, we began by first asking various members of this community how they felt about having a dog park. The first person we spoke to was former mayor Will Clayton. It was decided that we begin this process by passing out fliers showing that everyone who walked a dog must pick up the dog waste. They must also have the dog on a leash unless they were voice command animals with total control. This is the law!

We received mixed responses, mostly positive. Since then we have continued to encourage people to follow this law. Linda and I sought counsel from the police deparment, lawyer, and Mr. Pritchett, our new mayor.

We continued on our endeavor with a great deal of verbal attacks, physical attacks and an outright disregard for what we have been trying to achieve; picking up after our dogs.

Snow Marine Park and Sandy Beach were targeted due to the enormous amount of dog feces and the incredible odor of waste. Snow Marine Park was abominable. Sandy Beach, a clean area where people could swim, was fast becoming a giant litter box. Children were stepping in dog feces and finding it floating or washing in with the waves. Disgusting? Yes!

We were very happy to hear the waste results at Snow Marine Park were primarily due to improper drainage of human waste and will be corrected.

Now, we still do not agree with opening this area and Sandy Beach up to dogs. This will continue to be saturated with dog urine and feces.

Linda and I are proud of what we have done thus far. Many, many people are picking up after their dogs now and thanking us for sticking with it. Many lawns are cleaner, many flower beds are not laden with feces, and I am sure the vegetable gardeners are quite happy as well.

We are not finished yet!

Another item we want to get off our chest is the fact that we were and will continue to walk these areas, and no amount of sarcasm, threats, and accusations of spying on them will stop us as we have every right to continue to enjoy all the areas of the city that these trouble-causing people walk as well.

We have repeatedly been told who they are. We know who they are! We just don't care what they say about us. Just tell them to pick up after their dog or let them poop on their own property. The intimidation only fires our furnace. Tell them to shape up and obey the law or report them. We appreciate your information however, and we thank you. It is exhausting isn't it when the majority must suffer for the few who just do not want to obey the law.

Due to family situations and the investigations that have been conducted by Mr. Pinto and others, we have waited to see the outcome before writing another article. We will not apologize for opening up a can of worms. Do you realize the horrible implications that human waste poses? The dog waste is no can of happiness and health either. We hold our ground on seeing this project eliminate dog feces wherever children play their games or swim. This continues to be a health issue! Ringworm, roundworm, etc.

Now, back to our original suggestion for a dog park. We wanted and still want to be part of the solution as well. We wanted this from the get-go and will be happy to face anyone who wants to say otherwise. We are told that it would cost the city too much money. We again offer to assist in fundraising. We have waited to see what happens. Now here we are a year and a half later. Problem still not solved.

Many members of this community are in support of this and have said that they have made this suggestion to the mayor and a few council members. They will also be willing to donate. Since we are the ones who opened up this can of worms, we will also be ready to begin our fundraisers if need be. We need a piece of land, fencing, permits, etc.

What is it going to take for this city to bring about a solution to this problem? Wait until a child gets ill and passes it forward? A family dog dies? Linda's dog is still ill and may die due to the illness it acquired.

We are asking for your response. We need to hear from you! No names will be used, only the responses, pro and con. We are not giving up. This is a health issue that must be taken care of. We care about each and every citizen in our beloved city. Snow Marine Park has not been reopened as yet and is still contaminated. Please note it is not safe!

Thank you to everyone who continues to encourage others to pick up after their dogs and for the ongoing words of support.

Valerie Hooper and Linda Athearn

Rockland

The Persistence of God

For the Volunteers

At an early age

I saw a launching at Snow’s

didn’t understand why I couldn’t have

one of the miniature wooden barrels

being sold to spectators

was it beer or sailor’s rum, I wonder

none of that on this

gorgeous August day

the Persistence’s beauty

will make Joe Nash and Ed Coffin

smile with coastal pleasure

the bottle smashed properly

to the bagpiper’s tunes

the audience cheered

the work of the stalwart

volunteers working at the behest

of the slightly eager

Master James S.

all hands signed on

in good spirit to this work

no one was shanghaied

to bring back history

now with steam bending, strip planking

each bronze screw and nail

fastened perfectly

each sanding, each paint brush full

the East Thomaston shore

repeats what was started in 1796

has kept going

sending out rovers

across the salt plain

everywhere on the waters of Holy earth

Kendall Merriam, Home, 8/14/14 5:40 PM

Listening to a “World Music Mix” compiled by Rebecca Hill

Rockland

Thank you

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the city of Rockland and all of its citizens for once again hosting the annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show on the second weekend in August. Thousands of people came to the show and the city from all over the state and New England, from all corners of the country, and even from New Zealand. We are grateful, as always, to everyone who has helped to make it an ongoing success, and were thrilled to orchestrate the event, which was the twelfth annual.

The weather was beautiful, aside from one obligatory rain squall Friday afternoon. More than 200 exhibitors set the scene, including 50-plus boats in the water, plentiful land exhibitors, and 120 exhibitors in tents including a “Maine Made: America’s Best” section. This made for a tremendous display of the breadth and diversity of fine, Maine-crafted products. Great crowds turned out and healthy sales were reported by vendors, from boats sold to furniture commissions.

Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors is very pleased to acknowledge the 2014 show sponsors: Awlgrip/Interlux, Bangor Savings Bank, Bixby & Co., Custom Float Services, Dock Works, Epifanes, Fixtures Designer Plumbing Showroom, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine, Maine Made, and US Harbors. The support of the City of Rockland, the Rockland Police Department, The Pearl Restaurant, and the West Bay Rotary are also much appreciated. As always, the show was presented by Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine.

Many thanks to all of the community and city organizations that assisted at the show, including the other Rockland festivals, the Harbor and Buoy park businesses for sharing waterfront space, the Rockland Police Department, the Rockland Harbor Master’s office, Shed City for providing sheds to house the various on-site show offices, and individuals and businesses. They are truly too many to name, though our thanks to each and every one is boundless. Countless individuals pitched in to help the show run smoothly, including our grounds crew and dedicated individual volunteers. We couldn’t do it without the whole team.

World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials thanks go to lead sponsor, Custom Float and supporting sponsors, Bell’s Furry Friends Photography, Loyal Biscuit Company, and Sea Bags. The judges’ boat was a Parker, provided by Yarmouth Boat Yard. Thanks also to our judges: Dr. Bjorn Lee of Pen Bay Veterinary Associates in Rockport, Dale Dyer of Custom Float Services, and Officer Joel Neal, co-owner of Loyal Biscuit Co. in Rockland; and to our emcees: Mike Joyce and Alan Sprague of WERU FM’s monthly radio show “Boat Talk”; and to Perrow Audio Productions for the sound system. And a warm round of applause to our canine contestants and their handlers as well!

Last, but far from least, we’d like to thank all the community members and visitors who welcomed us, our exhibitors and their crews, and all of the show attendees to Rockland. Many folks from afar make this event a destination each summer because they find such a warm welcome here, and we yet again heard so many compliments about Rockland, the Midcoast, the show, and our community.

We look forward to seeing you all around town and invite you to stop by our offices at 218 South Main Street… once we’re back from vacation! Happy summer, all.

The Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors team

Thank you

We would like to thank the communities, businesses and individuals that have supported Medomak Babe Ruth this season. We would like to start by thanking the parents and grandparents who provided transportation and moral support. We would also like to thank our assistant coaches Jake Emerson, Rusty Robinson and Shep Brown.

We also want to thank Kyle Santheson and the Town of Waldoboro for the use and upkeep of Begley Field and Matt Lash for the use of the Medomak Valley High School Field. Finally, we would like to thank the boys for their efforts throughout the season. It was a pleasure to work with you. The Waldoboro and Union Farm Equipment teams represented their communities very well as athletes and sportsmen, but this would not have been possible if not for the financial support of the generous folks listed below:

Ken Kieran and Union Farm Equipment, U.S. Cellular in Waldoboro, Hall’s Funeral Home, Simmons Lobster Wharf, Ande’s Variety, Hammond Tractor, Mic Mac Campground, Hillside Collision Center, Moody’s Diner, Town of Friendship, Town of Warren Recreation, Town of Washington, Town of Union

Scott Hastings

Ben Vail

Waldoboro

First class job

Thanks to the Samoset Resort for hosting the first annual Samoset Fine Craft Show, which by every account was a huge success.

The logistics of having 40 craftsmen create a virtual 6,500-square-foot venue of individual galleries can be overwhelming for hosting facilities, however, the Samoset Resort support was absolutely on top of their game, from the maintanence staff that immediately attended to all requests, to the 2 stars of the Samoset Resort, Connie Russell general manager and Will Clayton, the events coordinator.

First class job and see you next year.

Stuart Loten, show coordinator

The Samoset Fine Craft Show

Seabirds gain friends

The Friends of Maine’s Seabird Islands wishes to thank our many friends and supporters for the success of our Aug. 3 fundraising seabird cruise from Bar Harbor to Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge’s Petit Manan Island. We are enormously grateful to the Bar Harbor Whale Watching Company, especially Zack Klyver; Eastern Tires’ Alvin Chase Jr.; Courier Publications’ Reade Brower; Maine Cheese Company’s Cathe Morrill; Mondavi Wine’s Janice Mondavi; Downeast Audubon’s Leslie Clapp; the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge’s staff; and, of course, the many supporters throughout coastal Maine who bought tickets, memberships and items from the Nature Shop. We couldn’t have done it, without you!

You have helped seabirds and their habitat to remain protected, at least for now, thanks to all of your effort.

Friends of Maine’s Seabird Islands

Board of Directors

Rockland

Happy shopping

This(things?) have changed across American since yesteryears. Many businesses across America will not accept a personal check when you go to pay your bill in person at a store or restaurant; they prefer that a person use his or her credit card — "we want your business, but we do not trust your personal checks." There are some restaurants and well-known stores in some cities across America that will accept your check. But in the long run they ask the public to use their credit cards.

Happy shopping across America.

Gordon Wotton

Thomaston

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