A resounding thank you

The cold and snowy months of winter in Midcoast Maine can be a challenging time, but if you ask us, the months of January, February, March, and early April 2011 were the kindest, warmest months of all for our community handbell choir, Penobscot Bay Ringers. For it was during this 100-day stretch that our group successfully raised the funds needed to replace all 122 instruments to ensure that Penobscot Bay Ringers will continue ringing into the future!

Community response to our Malmark Give-A-Bell Campaign was overwhelmingly positive, generous, and affirming. We received contributions from individuals, families, businesses, and from all members of our handbell choir. In addition to the personal thank-you notes that were sent, we wish to publicly issue a heartfelt and resounding “Thank You!” at this time.

The Board of Directors is pleased to report that the campaign goal of receiving our new five octaves of bells, five octaves of chimes, and supporting equipment, concurrent to the departure of our original instruments, will be met. Ella Saltonstall, the owner of the original instruments, will be moving in June to Alaska, where she’ll begin a new bell-ringing chapter in her life.

We would be delighted if you would join us at our Spring Ring handbell concert on Saturday, May 21, at 4 p.m., at the First Congregational Church of Camden. Free-will offerings will be cheerfully accepted. Please come to help us celebrate the completion of our fundraising campaign.


Amy Rollins, President/Treasurer

Debra Hall, Vice President/Secretary

Leigh Smith, Corresponding Secretary

Penobscot Bay Ringers Board of Directors




Vote no on Articles 6-A and 6-B


As evidenced by the 100-plus citizens who attended the public hearing at the Camden Opera House on April 7 regarding the sale of the 2.8-acre former Apollo Tannery property, the voters of Camden were deeply interested in evaluating the buyer recommended by town officials (i.e., B’D’Turman’d Entertainment) and to make an informed vote on the upcoming referendum.

To see this enthusiasm for the public democratic process is encouraging and admirable. People’s individual commitments to Camden and their desire to exercise democracy via a vote was manifest that evening.

The time-honored public hearing form of meeting is decidedly diverse as proponents and opponents are asked to air their positions. Occasionally sparks fly, but a capable moderator is even-handed while demanding civility, so inflammatory language and debate doesn’t short-circuit air time, thereby deterring important public discourse.

Select Board Chairwoman Karen Grove, acting as moderator, deftly handled this (at times) contentious meeting. Many divergent points of view were heard, and the public was presented with good information to digest prior to casting votes at the upcoming secret ballot referendum on May 10 (canceled, after B’D’Turnman’d asked to be let out of its contract).

The response to this public process by the Select Board is disappointing. At its regular meeting on May 3, town attorney Bill Kelly proposed and the board voted to add two articles to the Annual Town Meeting Warrant. The articles seek to eliminate (Article 6-A) or severely restrict (Article 6-B) the right of townspeople to democratically participate in the sale of the Apollo Tannery property.

Democracy isn’t easy, but public hearings and the referendum process will continue to be successful venues for public discourse, expression, and freedom of speech! The citizen petition Article 12, approved by voters on Nov. 4, 2008, which requires a public hearing and secret ballot referendum vote on any sale of the Apollo Tannery property, is in danger of being quashed.

Please vote “No” on Articles 6-A and 6-B at the annual town meeting (Wednesday, June 15, 8 p.m., at the Camden Opera House). They are designed to silence the vox populi and to wrest public decisions from the many and place them in the hands of the few.


Douglas N. Johnson