Sealed bids and a fair shake

How charming an edict Alex Arau has issued. He states, “…the visioning process planned by the Ad Hoc RES East Development Committee or other matters were not part of their charge from the Select Board.” Might then it be wise to send the committee back to the appraisal table with at least two appraisers, not brokers, to determine the actual value of the land.

My interpretation of Arau’s comment is close your eyes and give away the most valuable piece of commercial land in the area — in any area.

Perhaps it is prudent to ask if Bill Morong Sr. has a similar piece of land that he would like to sell, using similar appraisal techniques. Not since the land was purchased for the shopping center that houses Hannaford’s has so valuable piece of commercial property come on the market.

Reading on, it appears as if Morong is appraising the property he wants to purchase. Is Morong a certified appraiser? Even if he is, it is not kosher for the purchaser to place the value on the land intended for purchase.

Would it make sense to accept sealed bids for the property, offering everyone a fair shake? Of course it does, but then it would take the control out of the hands of those who are determined to be the powers that be.

Rufus Foshee
Camden

Yachting Solutions proposal

The proposal from Yachting Solutions to buy the RES East property won’t be on the ballot in November. This is a proposal that is intended to benefit all sides, but is being withheld from the voters. November’s election includes the choice for governor, and will therefore have a higher turnout than most. What a great opportunity to have the rightful owners (the people of Rockport) of the property weigh in on this issue. To date, the voters have not been asked if they wish to keep or sell the property, or keep only a portion. After one year of study, the Select Board opted for more study and to expand the Ad Hoc committee yet again to now 13 members. Our Select Board should have faith in the voters rather than constantly deferring this to a committee, whose members they choose.

Kevin Shields
Rockport

Turbine noise comments

George Baker’s recent comments to the press strike the wrong chord for those of us who have spent the last year living with the constant sound of turbine noise and the discontent/controversy within the Vinalhaven community. Baker, of Fox Island Wind and the Island Institute, is quoted in the Free Press as saying:

“We will absolutely comply with state laws,” said Baker. “If it comes to needing to turn the turbines down, we will do that. I hope that doesn’t happen. It will cost electric rate payers a lot of money if we do.”

Compliance with state regulations is not optional and the ratepayers of the Fox Islands Electric Co-op would expect their co-op to be run within the law. Baker admits that by following state law, Vinalhaven rate payers will lose the savings FIW promised. If Baker really cared about the ratepayers of Vinalhaven, one would think he would have listened to the advice he received in 2008 from Resource Systems Engineering in Brunswick that suggested that turbine noise would be an issue and that the Vinalhaven wind farm site was “relatively compact.” Responsible planning and siting would have included adequate margins for error so that FIW could easily afford to adjust the turbines if need be.

However, like a gambler, he threw the noise dice into the wind turbine mix, gambling with islanders’ personal lives, their homes, and the community electrical rates when economic times are tough. He has chosen to lay the blame for his poor planning and lack of foresight wherever he can find a convenient scapegoat.

It is time that George Baker stop complaining and offer an apology to the Vinalhaven community. It is time for him to accept responsibility for his actions, roll up his sleeves, and begin to solve the problem he created. Those of us who are caught in the web that Baker wove are eager to hear solutions that can make the Fox Islands Wind project the success he promised.

Cheryl Lindgren
Sally Wylie
Vinalhaven

Midwives: caring for women and families

National Midwifery Week, recognized across the U.S. from Oct. 3 to 9, is an opportunity for midwives and the women they serve to reflect on their experiences and the contribution of midwifery to women’s health from attending birth to providing health care across a woman’s life.

Along with the members of the Maine Association of Nurse Midwives, we would like to thank Pen Bay Women’s Health, Penobscot Bay Medical Center, members of the hospital medical staff, all nursing staff, associated staff and administration for their support throughout all the years we have been able to care for women and families in our community.

Most of all, we would like to thank our patients for the opportunity to share the incredible milestones in your lives as we provide health care before, during and after they give birth. We are grateful for your faith and trust.

Maine certified nurse midwives have been delivering babies and caring for Maine women since 1974. Today there are approximately 75 CNMs in Maine with more than 29 practices located throughout the state. CNMs have delivery privileges in more than 22 hospitals. Statistics show that nurse midwifery births are increasing with CNMs attending more than 20 percent of Maine births.

Our goal is to offer high quality, safe, compassionate care for Maine women from teen years to menopause. To learn more about nurse-midwifery in Maine or to find a nurse midwife in your area go to mainemidwives.org.

Let’s continue to advance women’s health together.

Clara Buescher, CNM
Lynne Frey, CNM
Pen Bay Women’s Health, Penobscot Bay Medical Center
Rockport

Progress on Megunticook Riverwalk

Megunticook Riverwalk supporters, including five new volunteers, again turned out for the third monthly work party on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 18. The crew of eight — three Conservation Commission members and five Camden residents, including a Camden Hills High School sophomore — accomplished a huge amount of work.

We continued to remove invasive trees and shrubs, including Norway maple saplings, multiflora rose, Japanese barberry and Asiatic bittersweet on the inland edge of the wooded buffer bordering the river. As we loaded the truck, a Camden Parks and Recreation Department employee hauled it to the dump, three loads in all.

According to arborist Douglas Johnson, we have now made a first pass along the full length of the property. The next work day in October will focus on fine tuning.

Please take time to stroll the riverwalk area along the Megunticook River. It reaches from Rawson Avenue to the grassy area on Washington Street near Ames Terrace. The 25-foot property boundary, from the top of the riverbank, is marked approximately with grade stakes. You will be surprised and delighted at the lovely riverscape, rapids, and sound of moving water that will greet you, not to mention the stunning view of Mount Battie, unimpeded by buildings, from the riverwalk trail.

The Megunticook Riverwalk Coalition will present several concepts for the pathways at the public forum on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Washington Street Conference Room. Please attend to share your views.

Nancy Caudle-Johnson
Camden

A tribute

David Paul Sorando (1927-2008) was laid to rest next to his loving wife Faith Carey Sorando in Camden, a town they loved and where they had retired to and lived for over 20 years. David’s grandson, Mark Sorando, wrote the following eulogy to his grandfather.

Grandpa: I have regrets, and I feel remorse. I regret not being closer, and not calling every so often just to talk. Believe me, I thought about it. I regret being swept up in too much that I wasn’t there as much as I could have been. I regret, for reasons beyond my control, why I can’t be here to read this myself.

I hope you can forgive me for not being here; but despite that, I can’t let myself be consumed with regret or remorse, because what you have given me is so much more important, and when it comes to the memories I have, I have no regrets. No remorse, only overwhelming happiness. If I cry, and I likely will, it will be because I remember the good times you’ve given me. The trips up to Grandpa Sorando’s house in Maine when I was young, how much time you spent providing for your family, and for me, even if it was something momentary. Thank you for all those moments. The football and Bengal’s helmet I have that remain sentimental relics of your life. Thank you. And above all, for one of the greatest experiences of my life, which was the schooner cruise.

Bundling up, braving the elements, watching the sailors manage the boat, eating dinner in a cozy cabin, as well as sleeping in a modest bunk. I will never forget it, the smell of the sea air, cold breeze, and occasional wave that crashed over the sides. Not to mention the people I met. And the two girls that were of similar age I became friends with, one who kissed me. I remembered that when Dad called me to let me know how you were doing, and that you were always sure to compliment the beautiful nurses taking care of you where you lived. There is nothing wrong with admiring the beauty of life, and you did it so much better than most.

You are the conquering sailor, braving the elements of life, your vessel rising from the waves constantly as it cuts through the surf. A great sailor doesn’t fight against the elements, but uses them to his own advantage, leaving the less experienced in their wake. That was your talent, and those gathered can attest at having learned so much from your life. The families are proof of your success, and your ongoing legacy, for that is what we are. Even though we know you are not truly gone, and that this is merely the passing of the torch, we can remember how you lived your life and carry that torch proudly. And at the very least, a part of you will always live on within each of us. Each experience we had with you as our father, grandfather, guide, or role model have played an important role in us being as strong as we are today. And we can pass similar experiences on to others, and when we do, we can look up and remember you. Memories are like ripples in an endless pond, and though they can fade into the distance, and we may not be able to see them, if we remember them, they will never disappear. I will always remember you, Grandpa.

One story ends and more stories begin
We remember what is, and what has been
With loving memory, we cherish you
As the torch is passed, and fueled anew

You rose above life’s brutal trials
Gave us strength, and helped us smile
Taught us to live as best we can
To us you were more than just a man

We honor you today and forever
The memories we have we now will treasure
As we remember pages of your story
And revel in all its subtle glory
Rest in peace, Grandpa.

— Mark

To Camden and Rockport neighbors

I was disappointed to discover that my opponent has begun distorting my record of supporting the people of Camden and Rockport by distributing a misleading campaign flyer mass produced by the State Republican Party. I would like to clarify the four votes that she has taken out of context and I hope that we can have a more constructive conversation over the coming weeks. I weighed every vote I made to reasonably meet the needs of Camden/Rockport constituents as well as the people of Maine.

LD 1495: “An Act to Implement Tax Relief and Tax Reform”: The intent of this bill was to reduce taxes on Maine citizens and businesses, specifically the income tax, which is why I supported it. It did broaden sales tax to some items, especially those paid by out of state visitors. However, this increase in sales tax items, despite the overall decrease in taxes for most citizens, was unpopular and was repealed by referendum in June. I will continue to work to reform our tax structure so that our business and individual taxes are reduced.

LD 1264: “An Act to Stabilize Funding and Enable Dirigo Choice to Reach More Uninsured”: I voted yes on this bill because there are many businesses and individuals in Camden and Rockport who rely on Dirigo for their insurance. My opponent’s characterization of this bill is misleading as it simply made the funding for this insurance product more stable and predictable. Though Dirigo is by no means perfect, this bill protects current members, continues to make it available to small businesses, nonprofits and individuals based on ability to pay, and reduces state administrative costs.

LD 290: “An Act to Allow Maine Residents to Purchase Health Insurance from Out-of-State Insurers”: Maine has cracked down on greedy, out of control insurance companies. This bill would have let the insurance companies offer health insurance that has virtually no consumer protections so they can protect their profits, not your health. You could be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, you could be dropped if you get sick, you could be subject to caps on your medical claims. Allowing out of state insurance carriers would be great for healthy people but terrible for those who are sick. I feel a responsibility to all of my constituents and the citizens of Maine. Therefore I voted no on this bill. The new federal health care law creates new national insurance policy regulations that mirror much of the safeguards Maine already has, but until those portions go into effect, it makes sense to keep Maine’s strong consumer protections in place.

LD 254: “An Act to Enact a 5-point Welfare Reform Program”: We need to thoughtfully reevaluate and re-examine safety net programs in Maine; but I opposed this bill because it did not meet that test. This bill is based on urban myths and fear, not actual data. Here are a few facts that informed my decision to vote against this bill. The maximum Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefit for a family of three in Maine is $485 per month. That number hasn’t changed since 2001 and it’s the lowest in New England. The average length that someone gets this help is 1.5 years. Less than 1 percent of benefit recipients came to Maine from another state in 2010. From 2008 through July 2010, nearly twice as many aid recipients left Maine compared to those who moved to Maine. The bill also would have likely violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by requiring unpaid work or work at less than the minimum wage.

These are all difficult issues and difficult choices. As always, it helps to hear from you and I welcome your feedback and questions. Thank you for the privilege of serving you and I ask for your support in November.

Rep. Joan Welsh
District 46
Rockport

Rockport picnic remembers the past and celebrates our community

On Sept. 11, Rockport citizens gathered at Marine Park in front of the harbormaster’s building for a lovely, late summer evening community picnic. The potluck event drew more than 100 friends and neighbors from across the town who enjoyed burgers from Aldermere Farm, blueberry buckle made with locally grown blueberries, and tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini from local gardens. The picnic was a huge success, drawing a diverse community together to share in its agricultural and maritime traditions. Legacy Rockport, a new community nonprofit fund whose goal is to raise money for community projects and help alleviate the burden of property taxes wishes to thank all who expressed interest and support. In addition, thanks to everyone who attended the picnic, Ron Howard and Aldermere Farm for contributing the burgers, Mainely Bartenders for tending to our thirst, Town Manager Robert Peabody and Chris Shrum for flipping all the burgers and grillables, and all those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. We remember and thank you.

Richard Remsen
Chairman, Legacy Rockport
Rockport

Withhold endorsement for wind committee

If you agree to Camden’s suggested three-town committee on Ragged Mountain wind turbines it will be seen as a sign of support for building the turbines. We urge you not to endorse the proposed three-town committee. Without getting into the broad debate about the efficacy of wind power, we feel this particular Ragged Mountain proposal should not be pursued for the following reasons.

Noise in residential areas/property values — There are many residences in all three towns on the flanks and around the base of the mountain. The horror stories from Mars Hill, Freedom, Vinalhaven and elsewhere from people whose homes are close to turbines make it clear that the industry has not figured out how to make these huge machines compatible with people, despite the pre-construction assurances it gives.

Land use ordinance’s high elevation performance standards — The town’s land use ordinance prohibits “buildings” at high elevations on Ragged Mountain. This standard was established as an outgrowth of the extensive town-wide comprehensive planning process, reflecting the importance that residents placed on keeping the upper reaches of the major hills undeveloped. It does not seem reasonable to think that the views of town residents that led to establishment of this standard have changed in just a few years.

Public water supply — Aqua Maine’s predecessors bought up hundreds of acres of watershed on Ragged Mountain to protect the water quality in Mirror Lake and Grassy Pond by ensuring continuation of the natural filtration provided by undeveloped land. It seems possible that the extensive blasting and other heavy construction activity that would be necessary to build the access road and large level areas needed for each turbine site could diminish water quality. We live between Mirror Lake and Grassy Pond and we and our neighbors already have unsafe levels of arsenic in our well water that require special filtration.

Coastal Mountain Land Trust’s campaign to preserve Ragged and Bald mountains — It is hard to imagine anything that would fly more directly in the face of CMLT’s recent initiative to preserve the upper reaches of Ragged Mountain than this wind turbine idea. We were pleased to see that CMLT’s board recently informed Camden’s Select Board that none of the land on Ragged that the land trust controls would be available for wind power related use.

Snow Bowl/Ragged Mountain Recreation Area Improvement Campaign — The mountain wind turbine idea is being pursued at the same time that a major effort is under way to improve the recreational appeal of the same mountain. But if the turbines were built it is likely that some hiking trails would have to be relocated or abandoned. Because of the ice that the turbines’ blades throw off, some trails would not be safe to use in winter.

Possible protracted legal fight — A great many people are already involved in this effort, all with strong feelings and some with deep pockets. If a concrete proposal for turbines is developed and the formal approval and permitting process is started, a legal battle seems likely that could be costly to the town.

Thank you for your consideration of these views.

Bruce and Joy Faulkner
Rockport

The air conditioner and the customer

Who will win out? Many restaurants in the area have air conditioners for hot summer days. The family members come in to order their meal. After they have been seated at the table you’ll see the man or woman jump up and go out to their car to get a jacket or sweater so they won’t feel so uncomfortable eating their meal. Some places you can ask if the air conditioner can be turned down or off. So sometimes the request is not carried out — so you have to grin and bear it. So I guess nine times out of 10 the air conditioner has won. Enjoy your meal.

Gordon Wotton
Thomaston

Keep Joan Welsh in office

There are a lot of wonderful things about living in Camden, and one of the best is having Joan Welsh representing us in Augusta. She is smart, kind and principled, and expressing concern to her about an issue always results in a lovely and rewarding conversation filled with her insight on how to get things done at the local and state level. It is reassuring to know that she has the interest of our community at heart and really cares about issues that are important to us and to our town, such as a clean environment.

This is a strange election year, with fringe Republican candidates somehow twisting to their advantage the mess their own party got us into. Joan is an important bulwark against this madness and we cannot take her re-election for granted.

Please do what you can to keep Joan Welsh in office as our state representative, and make a point of coming out on Election Day to give her your vote.

Patrisha McLean
Camden