Community compassion

In loving gratitude to all who reached out to us with such compassion. The community and beyond embraced us and helped us to endure a tragedy of unknown pain. The goodness of Molly’s spirit remains and your support and love continue to create an atmosphere that strengthens our commitment to follow her lead of joy, love and healing for all of our human community.

Thank you from Molly’s brothers, Drew Fitch, Glenn Fitch, her mother, Louanne Thomas, and Molly’s entire family

Letter of appreciation

We wish to thank the many people, caregivers, churches and organizations who in so many ways shared and helped our loved one, Larry Miller, through his long illness. We as a family were sustained by your support expressed to us in so many ways.

The family of Laurence Ralph Miller Sr.


School administration costs

One objective of the most recent round of Maine school consolidations into regional school units is to cut administration costs.

Administration costs, in this context, include the following budget lines: Board of Directors, Superintendent’s Office and School Administration.

On the surface, based upon increases in administration costs in the past 10 years, consolidation of Maine School Administrative District 28 with other school units would seem to require further examination.

Between FY 2001 and FY 2010 administration costs at SAD 28 increased by $483,692 or 135 percent to $842,712 from $359,020.

Meanwhile, in the same period administration costs at the Five Town Community School District increased by just 13 percent and are now lower than administration costs at SAD 28.

It would seem that there must be a way to reverse the trend of administration cost growth at SAD 28 and to reduce this significant expense. Is consolidation an answer to this problem? Or are there too many other issues with regard to consolidation resulting in that not being a good direction in which to head? Should ways other than consolidation be found to reverse the trend in administration cost growth at SAD 28?

Alexander Armentrout

Citizens for Value In Education

Rockport

Sad news

Andy Benore’s news item of Feb. 24, reporting the resignation of John Blamey from the Waldoboro Board of Selectmen, is sad to hear. True to John’s temperament and philosophy, though, his resignation is simply another example of his honesty and ability to face the facts. His contributions to the town of Waldoboro, and, indeed, communities and individuals everywhere who have had the pleasure of working with him, are well known. He has contributed to the Medomak Community Foundation and many, many others, but perhaps more importantly, is known for his personal realism, optimism, energy, goodwill, and devotion to his community. John, realizing his “full recovery is not assured,” made his decision in time for the voting process to fill his seat on the Board of Selectmen. To him, just facing the facts and doing the right thing. To his community, another example of John’s integrity and willingness to serve — even if that means standing aside. I certainly join Bob Butler in hoping John Blamey will recover and be able to return to public service.

Charlotte Henderson

Washington

 

Heartfelt thanks

The family of Robert Beckett wishes to extend our sincere thanks for all the expressions of sympathy we received during this difficult time. Many thanks to those who made donations in Bob’s memory to the Knox Center Alzheimer’s Unit, sent comforting sympathy cards, notes and online condolences, gave monetary gifts, brought delicious food to us, and sent beautiful flowers.

Our special thanks to Dr. Judd Jensen and Dr. Cheryl Liechty for the professional care they gave to Bob at the onset of his illness and through the many months that followed. Also to the staff at Penobscot Bay Medical Center during a very difficult time in Bob’s illness. Our heartfelt thank-you to the Knox Center Alzheimer’s Unit for the excellent care and kindness shown to Bob during his stay there for the past two years. We would like to extend our many thanks to Knox Center physician Dr. Richard Kahn, and Kno-Wal-Lin Hospice for all the comfort, care and compassion given to Bob during his final weeks of life. We also appreciate the support they gave to us as a family, both emotionally and spiritually. Thank you, the Rev. Andy Stinson, Kristin Robinson-White, Susan Watkins, volunteers, and the entire hospice team. You have all been wonderful. Many thanks also to the staff at the Burpee, Carpenter and Hutchins Funeral Home. Thank you, Mr. Hutchins, for your kindness and sympathy to us at this sad time. You have been such a blessing in our lives, and we thank you and appreciate you so very much.

We are grateful to those friends and family who have been here for us and who have walked this difficult journey with us over the past seven years of Bob’s illness. As his wife, I appreciate the support they gave me during the first five years when Bob was still at home and I was his caregiver. The Alzheimer’s support group with Cheri Alexander was very helpful, and it meant so much to be able to meet and talk with other caregivers as well.

My special thanks to LCSW John Jeffers for his professional help through many sessions of learning how to cope with the challenges I was facing each day.

Patricia Beckett, wife
Melanie Hyatt, daughter
Brian Beckett, son

Successful event

I just wanted to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to all those who helped the Feed Our Friends event exceed my expectations. Even though it was such a cold, windy day, we had so many people turn out to visit with Togus the Cat and to donate money and goods to both the Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry and the Humane Society of Knox County. I think poor Togus may have been overwhelmed at the initial flood of visitors, but he soon settled into being the center of attention. Between raffle sales and donations of cash or checks at the event itself, we were able to raise a total of $797. We also collected enough food and other goods for both organizations to fill the beds of two pickup trucks.

Thank you to the members of the Knox County Animal Response Team, which included Martha and Clark Hooper, Arthur Emanuelson, Richard Procopio and Kennedy Wilson, who shared their knowledge and love of animals with the visitors, and who helped to make the event warm and friendly. Thank you to Donna Allen and Ray Sisk from the Knox County Emergency Management Agency who assisted in a variety of capacities. Thank you, also, to dispatcher Lori Benner from the Knox Regional Communications Center’s 911 Public Education Unit for her cheerful and welcoming spirit that made visitors feel at ease as she taught them vital information about local emergency services.

A huge thank-you to Don Carrigan, his wife, Donna, and their amazing cat Togus, who drew a far larger crowd than I was expecting. I don’t think the event would have been as much of a success without you.

Tracy Sala and Nancie Barton from the Humane Society of Knox County were a huge help with spreading the word about the event and were definitely indispensable at the event itself. Thank you also to Judy Terrio for being on hand to accept donations on behalf of the AIO Food Pantry.

Thank you to everyone else who participated in other ways, by selling raffle tickets, collecting donations, donating prizes for the raffle, or being with us on Feb. 6 just to lend a hand. I’d specifically like to thank the Owl and Turtle Bookshop, the Grasshopper Shop, Hoboken Gardens, Gail Richards, the amazing ladies at the Registry of Deeds, Classic Cuts Hair Salon, Staples, Cape Air, Penobscot Island Air, Loyal Biscuit, Synergy Massage and Bodywork, The Store, Norumbega Oysters, Laika Handknits, the Farnsworth Art Museum, Flagship Cinemas, Applebee’s, Sewall Orchard, New View Interiors, Mary Sheeline’s Massage Ensemble, Thomaston Police Officer Timothy Hoppe, Courthouse Building Maintenance Supervisor Jon Grout and Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Potter who transported everything back to the two organizations at the end of the event, and Iveta Holden for designing the event logo and taking photographs. If I’ve forgotten to name someone who helped, just know that I definitely appreciated your help.

For all those in the community who bought raffle tickets or made donations of any kind, thank you so much for helping me to make this first attempt successful and for helping your friends, even though the economy has been tough on all of us. We’ll hope to see you next year too!

Candice Richards

Rockland

Medical costs

While we were pleased to see Steve Betts’ story on medical costs varying dramatically across the state [see Feb. 26 Herald Gazette], we would like to add one caveat. When making cost comparisons, the reader needs to be sure that he or she is comparing apples to apples.

In the case of the cost comparisons on mammograms based on data through Dec. 27, 2007, it needs to be pointed out that Waldo County General Hospital was already doing digital mammography while some of the hospitals we were compared to were not.

Dan Bennett

Director of operations

Waldo County General Hospital

Belfast

Good service

We the customer never give a thought to those ladies that work daily in the cleaner’s shops in the different towns and cities doing our laundry for us in steam heat and handling a person’s clothes. Sometimes we don’t appreciate the good service that we receive. These ladies stand up all day at different shifts. We just leave our clothes, then pick them up later in the day. The companies that these ladies work for have been there so many years and they deserve notice. They should set aside a day and call it “laundry day for employees.” Snacks and cold drinks. The ladies deserve it for their excellent work.

Gordon Wotton

Thomaston

Local paper

I miss The Camden Herald, and wish that someone would bring back a local newspaper.

Thursday used to be a day of anticipation when everyone would pick up the paper to read the writings of on-the-beat reporters who informed and educated us about events happening in our five town circle. It used to be fun to hash over the stories, and often controversial but thought provoking editorials written by people who were committed to presenting the personalities of our towns.

As fond as I am of our regional neighbors, it’s the five towns with which we share schools, the transfer station, roads and waterways that I want to read about, but mostly what our local governments are discussing and deciding. Frankly, I don’t want to read political opinion commentaries about state, national and world events in the local newspaper. Those of us who want broader choices in news know where to dial on the air waves, and what publications to read.

The regional direction this paper has taken seems to have diluted the focus on each community, and melded us into a bunch of suburbs without a hub.

Recently I asked the Lincolnville selectmen to begin posting draft meeting minutes on the town Web site. In the days of a local newspaper, almost every meeting was either attended or reviewed by reporters. If anything was newsworthy, we’d know by Thursday what happened on Monday. It now can be up to three weeks before draft minutes are approved and posted. Those of us without cable TV access either need to attend every meeting, make an appointment to view the video, or request, drive to the town office, and purchase draft minutes. Despite the Freedom of Information Act, it is woefully difficult to be informed about our local government activities.

Tracy Colby

Lincolnville

 

Rockport budget

 

Earlier this year, Rockport’s Board of Selectmen directed the town manager to prepare not just one, but four separate budgets for fiscal year 2010-2011. Department heads already were preparing their annual budgets, with the goal of maintaining as close to current spending levels as possible. In addition to this already time-consuming project, they were asked to calculate budgets assuming a 0 percent increase, a 10 percent reduction and a 20 percent reduction.

We have two concerns about this process. If the Board of Selectmen anticipates actually cutting the municipal budget by up to 20 percent, the commensurate reduction of services to the public would be unacceptable. If not, department heads have been asked to spend an inordinate amount of time (and emotional energy) on a needless and morale-depleting exercise.

Slashing the budgets of bloated bureaucracies may be a legitimate way to reduce government spending, but Rockport’s municipal government is already lean and effective. We are fortunate to have a roster of dedicated, hardworking, loyal department heads who take their jobs, and the trust we place in them, very seriously. They have been asked to do more with less money for years, and have always come through for us.

Judy Mathiau, Rockport’s longtime assessor, recently resigned. Her resignation letter (which was excerpted in a Village Soup article) alluded to the erosion of morale among municipal workers. Forcing department heads to contemplate which employees they’ll recommend for layoff, and which will be asked to pick up the slack (without getting raises) must have been a demoralizing exercise for them, and for the workers they supervise.

The upcoming Municipal Performance Measurement Program strikes us as a similar waste of valuable department head time. Department heads will be asked to regularly collect and report data to measure performance in a number of service areas. Rather than saddling department heads with extra reporting duties, let’s have them spend their valuable time doing their jobs. Even if we can’t afford to give our department heads raises, we can support them by trusting them to do their jobs well (as they always have) and to run their departments efficiently and frugally.

Rockport Public Library Committee

Jan Baldwin

Elizabeth Elwin

Carol Goodridge

Mariann Lehmann

Melissa Sweet

Calling on parents

As you may know since it’s in the news, our districts are facing cuts in education from the state. It’s not just our district either. During recent TV news coverage, Assistant Superintendent Mike Weatherwax did an outstanding job articulating what these changes mean for our districts. Having been substituting in Rockland recently, I know they’re facing hard times too.

On the same TV news program with Mike Weatherwax was a group from Southern Maine, board members and others, who went to the Legislature to tell them about how the cuts are impacting education. We need to go too. We should stop our state from mandating such changes in the economics of our school systems.

You may be sick of the word from the recent presidential campaign, but while these cuts hurt, I feel great hope for our area and for its educational quality. Once parents learn of the changes that are going on, I feel they will stand up for education like we did in the 1980s with Friends of Responsible Education. Like Dave Jackson did in that same decade working for the middle school vote. Like my mom did as she and her friends helped found Youth Arts during my childhood here. And like Friends of the CSD accomplished with building our wonderful Strom Auditorium and with making our new high school such a refreshing and appropriate facility for teachers and students to learn in.

My daughter, a graduate in 2008, had an incredible experience at Camden Hills, and also as a student in our local middle and elementary schools. I couldn’t have asked for better preparation for her future than what she had in our public school system. The current and future experiences of your children and all children in our communities is valuable enough that we should all do what we can to help them achieve all they can be. Parents unite and let your legislators know how you feel about the decisions being made in Augusta.

Karen Brace

Camden