Nothing uncivil

I have been reading with growing anger and dismay the ridiculous remarks coming from Larry Reed, and for that matter, certain members of the town government in regard to the opposition to B’D’ Turman’d’s Apollo Tannery project. These remarks reek of bitterness and verge on slander.

There was nothing racist or anti-Semitic about the opposition to this project. Nothing, except in the imaginations of the B’D’ Turman’d principles. From the very beginning, I’ve been privy to the private discussions of the local filmmakers who opposed this project and listened to their debates and deliberations and at no time, not once, did I ever hear the slightest suggestion of racism or anti-Semitism. Not a hint. Not once.

Those objecting to the project had specific and factual reasons for doing so, which I laid out in a previous letter. Local people with decades of film-making experience pointed out how misguided and ill-thought out the project was and that the people proposing it had practically no experience, were promising to raise millions and produce many feature films, but had virtually no funds of their own and hadn’t raised any. They believed, and I agree with them, that the project was nothing more than an appealing fantasy, with no chance of becoming a reality, while possibly costing the town money and delaying any more realistic project for the tannery.

In backing out of the project, B’D’ Turman’d said that on closer inspection, the land wasn’t right for what they had in mind. Why then, one wonders, did they make the proposal at all? Then they objected to the character of the opposition to the project, which “went beyond the normal bounds of civility.” It did no such thing, as Lynda Clancy’s detailed and exhaustive report of the town meeting showed. Those opposed raised a series of rational and logical objections to the project. They said nothing uncivil about its principals, and certainly nothing anti-Semitic or racist.

The charges of anti-Semitism are both inexplicable and disgusting, since none of the B’D’ Turman’d principals are Jewish, but several of those objecting to the project, myself included are Jewish.

I feel slandered by Larry Reed and I’m not much happier with the Camden town government, which is obviously drinking the Kool-Aid he served. What happened was that a ridiculous and useless proposal was made and that local people who knew that the king had no clothes pointed that out. They should be thanked, not slandered.

Harvey Ardman

Vivid imagination

Regarding the column “The Rest of the Story in Rockport” by Robert Nichols in the April 27 Herald Gazette, I must compliment Mr. Nichols on his vivid imagination for conspiracy and intrigue. If this latest effort is any indication, I predict a great future for him as a writer of fiction.

Helen A. Shaw

Rockport politics/get out the vote

In his guest column (April 27 Herald Gazette) Robert Nichols wrote that Tom Farley has remained a Rockport town Select Board member despite several citations by Town Manager Robert Peabody, including conflict of interest with bids, encroachment onto a neighbor’s property, and others. We should all be flabbergasted because Farley was elected to serve by a handful of write-in votes. It’s great that Nichols has marshaled the facts for us to read; however, Nichols’ conclusion that Farley is somehow a victim is not supported by the facts. It’s the town manager’s job to ensure the town complies with all laws and ordinances.

The town charter is complicated because it is redundant, but there are specific rules. They are:

Select Board members shall not hold any other compensated town office or position of employment and shall not have business relationships with the town for which they receive compensation.

The Select Board shall act as a unit settling all questions by formal vote in authorized meetings.

Members must not act individually unless specific authority related to a particular duty has been delegated to them by the board.

The board, or its members, shall deal with town officers or employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the town manager, or other persons in authority, solely through the manager or persons in authority. Neither the board, nor its members, shall give orders to any such officer or employee either publicly or privately.

A board member shall forfeit his or her office if he or she lacks at any time during his or her term of office any qualification for the office prescribed by the charter, or is recalled by voters.

Except where specifically exempted, the town manager shall be the chief executive and administrative official of the municipality; be responsible to the board for the administration of all departments … and offices over which the Select Board has control; and, execute all laws and ordinances of the municipality.

It is important is to ensure that the Rockport town charter is not flouted, along with proper legal procedures. It was illegal to vote to not renew the town manager’s contract the way it happened on April 11. Had the town enforced the town charter to begin with, we would not be wasting time now.

By condoning an illegal procedure, Nichols makes his position clear. It’s OK to sack the town manager without proper cause or procedure.

It is shameful to accuse Rockport Select Board Chairman Bill Chapman of collusion. The town manager reports directly to the chairman. Of course the chairman is going to be aware of any legitimate issues brought forward by the town manager. The motion by Dale Landrith to not renew the town manager’s contract was not part of the meeting agenda. How could Chapman and Peabody discuss the vote ahead of time?

Nichols is running for Select Board. If you care about due process and would like to see the town laws set forth in the charter respected and enforced, you will go to the polls and choose candidates carefully in June. The system only works if everyone participates. Your vote is important.

Dicky Saltonstall

Nurses Week

This is Nurses Week.

Strictly speaking, a nurse is someone who is “educated and trained to care for the sick” or those at the end of life. Words often associated with nurses would include, but certainly not be limited to, advocacy, research, compassion, prevention, education, recovery and collaboration.

For me, at Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care and Hospice, I marvel at our nursing staff. I marvel at the idea that they are on call 24/7/365 and cover all of Knox, Waldo and Lincoln counties. This would include our island nurse who travels to Islesboro, North Haven, Vinalhaven, Matinicus and Monhegan. I marvel at the huge administrative burden they endure and work hours that extend well beyond the norm. And I marvel at the tired and scratchy voice message from the hospice nurse informing the team of the passing of one of our hospice patients, a message usually left sometime late at night or early morning.

So congratulations to our nurses at KWL and the nurses throughout Pen Bay Health Care and nurses everywhere for that matter for the work you do and the spirit in which you do it. Happy Nurses Week!

Mike Rich, PT
Director of Home Care
Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care and Hospice

Celebrating public service

This week, we have an opportunity to recognize all of our public servants. As authorized by Congress, May 1-7 is officially Public Service Recognition Week. Communities all across the country are hosting events to recognize public servants at the local, county, state and federal level. It is also a good time for citizens to remind themselves of the services provided by their government, a good time to visit public facilities, a good time to make a commitment to get engaged.

Camden is lucky to have many dedicated, experienced, and capable employees who day after day take care of the public’s needs, trying to be both responsive and budget-conscious. They keep you safe, put out your fires, maintain your trees, take away your trash and sewerage, plow your roads, sweep your streets, maintain your dams and manage emergencies, administer your ordinances, provide for a safe and orderly harbor, protect your historic resources, provide support for social services and local organizations, provide recreational and cultural opportunities, look out for your interests with state and federal organizations, plan for the long-term economic well-being of the community, and provide a place for people to come with their problems. Many days it is a thankless job.

In addition to those employees, many citizens willingly give their time and talents in elected positions or as volunteers. Camden has more than 20 active committees that are supported and have staff representation to assist with their duties. These committees exist because town government seeks citizen input, not shies away from it. It is a great team of employees and volunteers. I speak, of course, only about what the municipal side of Camden’s government does. Add to that the local educations system and the county, state and federal government services.

Max Stier of the Partnership for Public Service in May 2009 wrote in The Huffington Post, “To be clear, our government, at all levels, is not perfect and we should expect more from it, but we need to be constructive participants in making our government better, not disengaged critics. We should speak out when government gets it wrong, but we also need to recognize what is right in government.”

We will not have the government that the times demand and the American people deserve without talented public servants. To build this government, we must celebrate public service and restore government’s image as a place where our best and brightest join together to make a difference for our communities, our country, our world.

Simply put, good government starts with good people. Our nation is fortunate to have approximately 20 million dedicated citizens who work on our behalf as federal, state or local government employees.

Look around you and think about government. Think about those folks you might want to thank for their dedication to public service, think about how you can become a better participant in a government that many in the world wish they had — and then go visit the wastewater plant if you’ve never been there as you might find it interesting. Finally, inform yourself about the upcoming town and school meetings and get out and vote.

Roberta Smith
Camden Town Manager

100 percent satisfied

As artists, old-house enthusiasts and sailors, we couldn’t have found a better builder for our new house in Hope than Stephen Florimbi.

Stephen is an artist, a boat builder, a timber framer and an engineer. For over a year we have enjoyed working with a talented, efficient, honest, accountable, dependable, considerate and patient man with equally talented friends/crew.

We’d like to express our sincere thanks to Stephen Florimbi, Allan Cox, Peter Connant, Matt Floge, Richard Mann and Terry Moore. They made the experience of building our new home totally pleasurable. We are 100 percent satisfied with everything they did for us.

Hope and Fred Angier

Sign gets a laugh

Yesterday while driving into Maine I saw it for the first time — Maine’s famous Open For Business sign.

The Open For Business sign made me laugh out loud and if you can get people to laugh, they will probably like you even if they don’t care for your policies. I liked Reagan with his tax breaks for the rich, his comical trickle-down theory, and the political imbalance he gave us that is enjoyed by talk radio and the far-right “news” broadcasts of today.

The road that leads into Maine is a good place for the Open For Business sign and the next time you drive into Maine and see it you might laugh, too.

Because what does Open For Business mean but low wages for not only Maine people but Maine children? A “favorable business environment” means no more than a conservative nanny state: socialism for business in the form of property and income tax incentives. — A license to dump most anything you want in the air, on the ground or in the sea. It is no secret that illegal immigrants are attracted to low paying jobs like Castine cadets are to coffee. If you don’t believe that, ask some of your friends who live in Ledyard, Conn., next to that big casino.

Anyway, isn’t it great that people driving into Maine now can’t help but smile?

If you don’t smile the next time you see that sign, you don’t really know what Open For Business means.

The humble Farmer
Robert Skoglund
St. George


Let the public know

The Coastal Mountains Land Trust sign says, “Working farm, please stay on trail.” But what it doesn’t say is this lovely trail in Camden winds through equally lovely blueberry barrens that are routinely drenched in poisons.

Why not? Why doesn’t the land trust alert hikers on the Rheault Trail that connects to the Richard Hodson Preserve off of Molyneaux Road, that the property to which it holds an easement and through which it maintains a public hiking path, is treated with toxic herbicides and fungicides?

Because children and developing fetuses are particularly vulnerable to these chemicals, shouldn’t a pregnant woman or family be able to make an informed decision on chancing a hike through fields that are regularly, or were recently, treated? Now, a hiker could carry toxic chemicals into their car and home through their shoes and never know it.

There is no legal posting requirement.  But isn’t there an ethical responsibility, especially because the land trust’s green reputation would lead anyone to assume that land stamped with its name is clean and safe?  Our property adjoins blueberry fields so our family is alerted to the spraying from a contractor.

These depressing phone messages are as much a harbinger of spring as the forsythia and daffodils. On May Day, across 30 acres, it was Orbit, a fungicide that according to the Pesticide Action Network is a “possible” carcinogen, a “suspected” endocrine disrupter and given a skull and crossbones symbol (“indicates high toxicity”) as a developmental or reproductive toxin.

The spraying contractor told me he expects to reapply Orbit there in two weeks.   Previous years saw multiple applications of  the herbicide Velpar, a water contaminant whose lead ingredient causes cancer, kidney and liver damage and is toxic to fish. Velpar is in the same family of chemicals as Atrazine, banned in the European Union for, among other things, turning male frogs into females.

The blueberry field was also doused with Select, another potential water contaminant, and Imidan, which causes egg thinning in birds and is a main suspect in the alarming decline of honeybees.

The CMLT website states it is “dedicated to conserving lands that significantly benefit the public by protecting the ecological assets… which make life in the western Penobscot Bay region of Maine so special.”

Why is such an environmentally-friendly group associated with land that is treated in such an environmentally-unfriendly way? The land trust has maintained an easement on the property for six years. I thought that by now the blueberry fields would be maintained organically, as they are on Beech Hill in Rockport, where the land trust also holds an easement. If not now, when? Until that happy day, it’s only right to let the public know.

Patrisha McLean

April in Paris became April in London

To the grandest affair in decades. London is always inspiring but never more than April 29 when Prince William married Kate Middleton and they became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after their magnificent nuptials in the imposing Westminster Abbey alongside the houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

The event was perfection with all the pomp and circumstance and pageantry only Britain can muster, including the household cavalry on their black horses, carriages, the hundreds of beautifully dressed guests and the piece de resistance: The elegant pride and her sister, the four bridesmaids and two pageboys. What an uplifting event for the country, that was dressed overall in flags, and with people as far as the eye could see, and street parties in full swing.

The atmosphere was one of total excitement and the togetherness was reminiscent in part of the days during World War II, when the people supported one another as they dived into subways and garden shelters, or under kitchen tables, to hide from unending bombs.

After watching the ceremony on TV I attempted to get to the palace by subway for the balcony kiss and flypast, but police on horseback informed the continuing crowd the congestion there was enormous. Next day, I attempted to go to the abbey but was dismayed to see thousands of lines of people queuing, so gave up. The abbey is open all week and obviously the abbey was besieged by Brits and tourists alike.

What a huge triumph for for Britain. London is packed solid and never was so much champagne drunk as celebrations continued all day and the weekend. Hooray!

Renee Hutcheon

London (and Rockland)