Putting the Tiger to rest

An historic occasion, June 4, Lincoln Street Center

The end of an era is upon us. After this school year there will no longer be a public high school in the community that bears Rockland’s name. Rockland District High School, the successor to Rockland High School, will cease to exist. A regional high school – Oceanside – will take its place.

Since 1868, when Rockland High School first opened its doors on Lincoln Street, the city’s name has been part of the school’s title. For its 143-year history, it occupied only two buildings, the original Rockland High School for 94 years and Rockland District High School for 49 years.

With the opening of the new Rockland District High School on Broadway in the academic year 1962-63, the former high school building became Rockland District Junior High School (later Middle School). Both buildings still stand today and continue to serve the community in educational capacities. The original building, now Lincoln Street Center for the Arts and Education, was renovated several times. Two major additions in the 1920s partially surrounded the original 1868 building. The old portion of the building was converted to an auditorium and gymnasium at that time.

The Rockland High School class of 1954 is heading an effort to properly memorialize our beloved longtime high school mascot, the Rockland Tiger.

At least since 1946, the Tiger has been the proud symbol of our high school. In consultation with other former RHS and RDHS students, we have organized a fitting memorial service for the Tiger on Saturday, June 4 at Lincoln Street Center.

Those planning to attend are asked to assemble outside the main entrance on Lincoln Street. At 11 a.m., a hearse carrying the Tiger in a specially built coffin will arrive at the Lincoln Street entrance. Pallbearers will take the coffin to the gym. Attendees are asked to follow the procession to the gym where a brief ceremony will take place.

The event is open to the public, with RHS and RDHS alumni especially invited to attend this historic occasion. We hope to have many classes represented. We would like to have pallbearers from several different classes. If you are interested in being a pallbearer or would like additional information, contact Ben Perry at 354-0582 or Gil Merriam at 594-5199.

Becoming efficient, focused

Chambers of commerce have a diverse workload. Whatever the day, we tackle a lot on behalf of our members. Be it marketing and public relations work, event planning, seminars, workforce development, economic development, social and networking events, advocacy on behalf of our members, or one of the many other areas we cover, the staff of the chamber spends every day looking to drive both value for money and increased business for members in return for their dues.

One of the big ways we can do more is to become more efficient and focused in the way we do business on behalf of the membership, and by extension, the regional economy. Over the past couple of years, it has become apparent to the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber board of directors, to me as executive director, and to many of our members that the most member-beneficial way to achieve that efficient organizational focus is through joining forces with the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce. The staff at both chambers are wonderful and already working hard on behalf of respective memberships. Greater specialization of the staff under the banner of a combined chamber would allow for more engagement with projects and opportunities that would benefit members and help create conditions that generate more business for the members and the region.

For this reason, Shari Closter, PBRCC executive director, myself, and board members from both organizations spent the spring hosting meetings and visiting with our partner business groups to discuss the recommendation of both boards that the two chambers come together. The member meetings went well with great feedback as thoughtful and engaged conversation threaded though them all.

Even if you weren’t able to make one of the meetings, members of both chambers and the general public can still ask questions about the process. Questions can be emailed to chamberquestions@gmail.com where they will be shared with board Presidents Gil Fifield (CRLCC) and Bobbie Knapp (PBRCC). Alternatively, one can reach out to either Shari Closter or myself by email, phone, or in person. We would also encourage you to speak with chamber board members or me at chamber events, at the gym, at the grocery, or wherever works for you.

As I think about the work we do at the chamber that I outlined, I keep returning to the bottom line: Chambers exist to increase business for their members. The Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville and Penobscot Bay Regional chamber boards, PBRCC Executive Director Shari Closter, and I believe that joining forces is the best route to that result. Indeed, both boards have voted unanimously to that effect.

But the board, the neighboring chamber, Shari nor I can decide this on our own. Any decision to combine both chambers into a new entity will rest the hands of the members of both chambers themselves through the separate votes of the respective memberships on June 22. So to chamber members reading this, I urge you to get informed, ask questions of the chamber directly (and don’t rely on hearsay), and to come out to vote on June 22 or send in your proxy.

Be you in favor or opposed, we need to hear from you!

Dan Bookham, director, Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce

Vote for Eliza Hazelton

I am writing in support of Eliza Hazelton for the Rockport MSAD/CSD School Board. I have known Eliza for the last 15 years and have watched as she and her husband, George, have raised their son, who is the same age as my youngest son. Eliza would be a wonderful addition to any school board. She brings a smart and experienced eye toward school age education and all of the attendant complexities that entails. Eliza has raised her children in an environment of intellectual curiosity, participatory outdoor recreation and a firm sense of right and wrong.

I have served on both the Five Town CSD and MSAD boards and know something of the challenges required to try to be a productive board member. The students of Rockport and their parents could do no better than voting for Eliza Hazelton to represent them on the Rockport MSAD and/or CSD school boards.

Des FitzGerald

A wonderful event for so many

United Mid-Coast Charities sees Best of the Best as a great success in so many ways. We are the beneficiaries of the income and good will from this event.

We wish to thank VillageSoup and its staffers for their sponsorship and the extraordinary hours dedicated to the excitement of the event.

Thank you to the winners who exhibited and especially for all the free food and product samples which literally disappeared. Thank you to the many people who came to the event for making the silent auction the success that it was. It could not have happened without the generosity of over 120 merchants who donated items for the auction. Even in these hard times I am always impressed with the “community comes first” attitude by the store owners.

Thanks, too, to the Samoset and its staff for providing the space. Stan Catell and Friends deserve a round of applause for the music enjoyed by all.

What a wonderful event for so many people!

Rusty Brace, president, United Mid-Coast Charities

Pulling the tooth to rebuild again

Overwhelming and over-riding weather factors are keeping Maine people from the elixir of spring, such a sweet moment as if blocked from us by bad karma, we are good aren’t we? Recently I had an impacted wisdom tooth removed that should have been pulled 35 years ago; you see, never too late to correct a failed bite. Uncrowded, my teeth are moving back into alignment. Suffering consequences is not always necessary.

The symbols of our past are important? The failed mill property continues to rot the over-embellished facade of our late horror story of MBNA. Eradicating the presence is as much a pulling of a corrupt tooth, yes the romantic past of mill life, another horror. Tear the chimney down, get rid of the white fences and absurd fenestrations of MBNA taking. There is much to be gained in building for our future life by yanking the ugly reminders.

Collective will power is the essence of joy. We have much to be grateful for, such as the vast St. George River, like the emptying Megunticook, preserving an extensive natural area, especially by our devotion to preservation versus development. We can develop, and we must. The huge urbanization of our planet has garnered benefits that evade our village life. As people move to the city, life becomes easier for many, women make choices about their life and earn more, the birthrate plunges, cities are greener than the village. People are truly inter-dependent and anonymous, something elusive out here.

Camden’s traffic is vaunted as special, avoiding an impossible bypass scenario; we daily intermingle life in automobiles, it’s safer! Cutting the mill in half, from Summer to Mechanic streets to Route 52 is a perfect bypass that pierces the mill in half and allows the upper parking lots to be developed. Now that we endure traffic to an extreme, filtering it through selected bypass seems like a good way to advance.

Preservation, the town offices have a poster in the window, Camden is a preservation town, that is the way. Preserve the MBNA facility and die a doom worse than an impacted wisdom tooth. Preserve our self-esteem and brilliant outlook? Preserve a land of no jobs, no opportunity, no education, and two mega-stores like Home Depot and Lowes 30 minutes away if the traffic is good.

Built into preservation is a true American characteristic, activism. Another poster in the town office window seeks to reduce chemicals in our life, on the lawns and gardens, the vision of a world with reduced child deformities and autism, not lightly associated. Can we preserve the memory of MBNA in light of a child suicide period? Are we accepting and not enforcing common sense? Does Coastal Mountains Land Trust allow pesticides on preserved blueberry barrens to maintain the rich donations of imaginary farmers?

Americans, if anything, relinquish cocktail hour activism for not doing anything, letting organizations, the town, the state, punish us with bureaucratic answers. The village has truly lost. Fortunately, the lucky few can gaze out at the water of Penobscot, free from guilt, or better slip-out of the harbor under sail.

Hail to those who chain themselves to trees fighting the improvements our heavily trafficked roads need, but unthinking activism merely deflates a great community sense of value and worth. Making an effort to update sense of worth means pulling the tooth so that the teeth can re-organize, and we can build again.

William Anderson

Remember the old days?

How things have changed — remember the old days when a man needed a haircut he would go to a man’s barbershop — but today a person can drop into any ladies salon and the ladies will cut a man’s hair – but shaving is a no-no. Cutting a man’s hair, sometime it’s just around the ears and eyebrows trimmed. Sometime a man has very little hair on top of his head — so you’re not long in the chair.

Gordon Wotton