Merryspring says thank you

The trustees and staff of Merryspring would like to thank all of our friends and members who came to our plant sale on May 20-21 and helped to turn this annual fundraiser into a wonderful, successful “garden party.”

Special thanks goes to our Plant Sale Committee of Gail Sutton, Susan Dorr and Glenn Jenks, who made sure we had a variety of special plants and trusty old favorites on hand for our gardening faithful. Thanks also to Green Thumb, Plants Unlimited, Endless Summer and Fernwood Nursery for contributing valuable plant stock for the event, and to the many volunteers who donated their time or gave us gardening books, equipment, and their own plants for sale.

If you were unable to attend this year’s event, you may still find that special plant or two among the selection of flowers, shrubs, herbs, and other items that are available at Merryspring throughout the year.

Merryspring is a member-supported, nonprofit nature center whose 66 acres are open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk for nature study and enjoyment.

Ray Andresen

President, Merryspring Board of Trustees


Plan of action

It seems time that our military leaves Afghanistan but we don’t appear to know how to achieve an appropriate exit. An informative article in “The Washington Spectator” (April 2011) tells us that the Afghan Study Group has been preparing an alternative to the military occupation of Afghanistan.

The group includes James K. Galbraith, retired Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former State Department Chief of Staff, and Paul Pilar, a former director of counterintelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency.

The group feels that our two vital security interests in Afghanistan are keeping it out of the hands of al-Qaida and keeping Pakistan’s nuclear weapons out of hostile hands. They think a Taliban takeover can be avoided by our training Afghan security forces and using U.S. air power. They further suggest sharing power among parties currently engaged in the Afghan civil war, reducing U.S. troop strength in the south of Afghanistan, using U.S. intelligence and special forces to target al-Qaida cells, enlist the United Nations to bring regional powers — India, China, Pakistan and Iran — to the negotiating table so that no single regional power dominates Afghanistan. Apparently 72 percent of the U.S. public (Gallup poll) agrees with the Afghan Study Group. Me too.

Joanna Willimetz


Continuing tradition of true American journalism

I’d like to thank The Herald Gazette and Stephen Betts for reporting and commenting on the recent legislative votes regarding the state minimum wage and the estate tax. It’s refreshing to find any media that is willing to take a stand on behalf of economic justice. Over the last 30 years, news outlets have been bought up and influenced by various corporate interests and we’ve lost the keen edge of journalism which must be a hallmark of any functional democracy. We should all be glad that The Herald Gazette is continuing the tradition of true American journalism which informs, probes and stimulates readers into awareness and action.

I have never officially subscribed to any newspaper, preferring to buy them randomly, but as of now I’m beginning a subscription to The Herald Gazette. It’s important to support any objective, clear thinking news outlets we still have.

John Shepard


Commending Rector

“In good conscience, I can’t support this.”

I commend Sen. Chris Rector’s, R-Thomaston, principled and compassionate stand to see that the dispossessed workers of the DeCoster egg farms get the protections they need and deserve from abuse, unsafe working conditions and exploitation. I hope that his efforts to speak out will yet enable LD 1207 to pass even after it was voted out of his committee as “Ought not to Pass.”

I am concerned, however, that this DeCoster situation can be seen as a symbol of the larger picture of what is happening to us now in Maine. Must every effect of these proposed Draconian budget cuts rise to this level of Dickensian horror or attract the notice of a new Rachel Carson or Upton Sinclair before we see what we are doing to ourselves?

There are thousands of very real victims of the governor’s budget and agenda, and they are disproportionally the very young, very old, and the physically and mentally ill among us. These are not “welfare cheats.” They are our neighbors, friends and family. The octogenarian who must choose between heat and heart medication, the young mother who loses access to health care for herself and her children, those whose basic needs depend on programs like MaineCare, TANF, food and housing assistance, the teacher who has worked her whole life for a modest pension of $19,000 and no Social Security? Is this creating jobs, enhancing our life in Maine? Meanwhile:

The budget’s tax plan benefits high income taxpayers at up to $2,905 while those making less than $20,500 get $19;

Only 550 estates will get $51 million while health care cuts for 70,000 seniors, working parents, and low income Mainers will lose $58 million;

Those making more than $356,000 — only 7,013 people — will get a tax benefit of $20 million while more than 75,000 people will lose the same amount in property tax relief through the Circuit Breaker program. The figures are from the Maine Center for Economic Policy;

Hundreds of thousands of out-of-state dollars were poured into the 2010 election in a cynical and sometimes illegal attempt to insure that the rich would stay rich at the expense of the poor.

Is this fair? Is this just? Thomaston is in danger of losing its food pantry at a time when it is more needed than ever. There is no way that dwindling religious and charitable giving can uphold the social safety net that has become the common heritage of all Americans.

As President Obama has said, “This is not who we are” –- as a society, as a people. Mainers are beginning to wake up to this wholesale dismantling of these protections enshrined in our Constitution, believing that it is the purpose of good government “to promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Gov. Paul LePage’s plummeting poll numbers suggest that fewer than one quarter still support him.

I urge you all to follow these budget debates and this barrage of regressive legislation and speak out. Stand up for who we are, and the values we hold dear.

The Rev. Diana Lee Beach


Approve Rockport’s Development Program

On June 14, residents of Rockport will be asked to vote on the development program for the downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, which was approved by voters in November 2009. This new development program has been changed to reflect the wishes of town residents expressed at the ballot box in June 2010. Specifically, the tax benefit to developers has been removed and any expenditure of TIF funds must first be approved by a vote of the townspeople.

Folks who want more information about the Downtown TIF and the proposed Development Program will find handouts at the library and at the town office. There is also a detailed informational document, which can be found on the town website and at the town office.

Some have said the concept of a TIF is too complicated to understand; one person even implied at a Budget Committee meeting that Rockport residents were too dumb to understand what they were being asked to vote on! Yes, the nitty-gritty details of how TIFs are funded and how the funds can be used, are complicated, but the basic concept is simple.

Think of a TIF as the Christmas fund of the 1960s. Starting in January you put aside an small amount of money every week or every month and by the time Christmas or Hanukkah rolls around you have enough to buy those expensive presents your kids have been begging for. You still have your everyday budget to pay for your day-to-day expenses and small gifts, but you don’t have a big shock coming all at once.

Where does the money come from for the TIF? It comes from taxes already being collected. A portion of the taxes that would normally go to the state and county go instead into the TIF fund to be used here in Rockport. The result is no jaw-dropping increase in the budget and no increase in taxes to pay for big ticket projects in the TIF District. And with this revised Development Program, you the voter, get to chose which projects the money is spent on.

So stop by the library or town office and pick up information on the Downtown TIF and the Development Program. Let us move forward and vote to approve the Development Program on June 14.

Helen A. Shaw



Come to Rockport Town Meeting social

Here ye, hear ye! It is town meeting time again. On Tuesday, June 13, the polls will open for secret ballot voting and on June 14, the Rockport Town Meeting will be held at the Opera House. The doors will open at 6 p.m., please join us for coffee and cookies. Bring your friends and neighbors for a bit of socializing before town meeting starts at 7 p.m. Your presence and your votes are a very important part of doing the town’s business. See you there.

Anne Kilham, Rockport

Rotary E-waste recycling a ‘win-win-win’

Thank you to all who participated in West Bay Rotary’s second annual free Electronic Waste Recycling project. Approximately 500 participants recycled more than 58,000 pounds of electronic waste in one day. It was a win-win-win project. The environment won by having tons of waste recycled responsibly, the participants won by having an inexpensive means of disposing of their waste, and West Bay Rotary won, thanks to the generous donations collected to be used for community projects both local and worldwide — another win! Watch for this event again next spring.

Gary and Roberta Walker, co-chairpersons

West Bay Rotary


When a Nation turns its back on God

Some may think that the Crisis in America is the debt limit, the economy or the War on Terrorism; but believe me, these are just symptoms of a cancer far worse. The moral state of America today is the real crisis.

The U.S. was founded on biblical principles with the intent to guarantee freedom of worship. But over time, we have removed the Lord from many aspects of public life. Prayer in schools, for instance, was deemed unconstitutional. What was once a “nation under God” has turned into a country that tolerates a growing number of sins and yet belittles absolute truth.

If a nation turns its back on the Lord, His judgment is inevitable unless the people repent and make Him Lord once again.

Think about it. We are nearly out of time!

Gene Graves


Businesses opt for mutual support

When we work together our community becomes an amazing place to live. So often there are gestures and acts of support that go unnoticed or overlooked. We, at the Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist in Thomaston would like to acknowledge several businesses that reached out and helped greatly in our recent plant sale, which was to benefit our various ministries. These businesses have so often helped out quietly and with great dedication in our community, making it the wonderful place we enjoy. Home Depot, Lowes, Moose Crossing, Plants Unlimited, and Seasons Downeast all contributed in various ways to make the sale the huge success that it was and we are very thankful for their generosity and support. It is easy to view each other as competition, these businesses chose instead to opt for mutual support and we commend them for this.

The Rev. Peter Jenks

Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist



Hope’s wind moratorium makes good sense

On Tuesday, June 14, citizens of Hope will have the opportunity to vote on Article 6, the proposed 180-day wind moratorium. This will allow the town time to draft a specific wind ordinance to protect the health, safety and welfare for Hope residents because the town’s current ordinances do not adequately address the concerns listed below.

Those concerns include, but are not limited to the compatibility with existing zoning districts, the adequacy of streets to handle turbine construction traffic, shadow flicker, turbine noise, turbine and/or tower failure, and the extra responsibilities placed on public facilities including fire protection, the sheriff’s office, emergency medical procedures, environmental and wildlife protection, and decommissioning procedures. The full warrant article is available at the Hope Town Office.

If the moratorium passes the June vote and a wind ordinance is drafted, the citizens of Hope will later have the opportunity to accept or reject that proposed ordinance. Ordinances do not promote or prohibit development, but provide legal guidelines and a contingency plan.

Hope has a unique quality of place that is worth protecting.

The full warrant article is available at the Hope Town Office, where voting booths will be open on Tuesday, June 14, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Kathleen Meservey


Approve Rockport wind energy amendments on June 14

Rockport’s Ordinance Review Committee studied the existing wind energy ordinance and recommends the following amendments. Wind energy systems are to be limited to 100 feet or less in height with only one per parcel of land, and the energy produced is to be consumed at that parcel.

These changes pertain only to new applications and will not affect the Camden Hills Regional High School Wind Planners project that was previously approved. The full warrant article 5 is available at the Rockport Town Office.

The Rockport Planning and Select Boards voted 5-0 and 3-0 unanimously (0 against and 0 abstaining) to support this ballot article.

Please vote on June 14, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Rockport Town Office. Call 236-0806 for more information.

Dorie Klein

Friends of Ragged Mountain


Barrows, Libby endorsement

For the past three years I have served on Lincolnville’s Board of Selectmen. When I ran for election three years ago, it was important to me to work for the town’s best interests, which I have tried to do. I also believe it’s important to encourage new people in the community to become involved in town government.

We are fortunate to have two excellent new candidates – Julia Libby and David Barrows – running to fill the two vacancies now open on the board of selectmen.

Both have lived in Lincolnville all their lives and understand our community from the ground up. Both are hard workers. Julia works for Camden First Aid Association and is on the front lines as a volunteer first responder/emergency medical technician, while working for a Camden law firm. David works at Rankin’s and knows just about everyone in town. He has also served as a long-time member on the town’s Budget Committee and fully understands the municipal budget process. I believe both have Lincolnville’s best interests at heart and will be fiscally responsible and do their best to keep our town taxes as low as possible. They understand how hard our townspeople work and how challenging the present economy is.

I know David and Julia will also bring fresh, new ideas and positive attitudes to the table. They are hard-working, trustworthy people who know our town well. When Lincolnville voters cast their ballots on June 14, I hope they will join me in supporting Julia and David as the town’s new selectmen. Thank you.

Cathy Hardy


Theater that speaks to all

My husband, Tracy Wheeler, and I had the good fortune of seeing Rockport’s own Sarah Trapani in “On Golden Pond.” This performance was held in Damariscotta recently for two weekends. The six-person cast, its director, and others involved with the play surely made all feel like they had a summer camp on a pond here in Maine. But for me, Sarah (as Ethel) was truly Katharine Hepburn, both in physique and in character. And Norman played by Kit Hayden of Newcastle responded to her lead. The story speaks to all of us who are aging, but also speaks to the young about our caring despite some quirkiness.

This play ran during our area’s rainiest season and I wonder whether many residents drove on the roads to see such accomplished players. Could some organization bring this group together during summertime this year to repeat their performance in the Camden, Rockland area?

Nina Lynn Woolston


Your vote determines who will make decisions

Please get out to vote on June 14. Local elections are important. There are inescapable facts that local elected officials must confront. Our local economy is stagnant at best, and yet the pressure on town and school expenses continues to increase. While Camden is viewed as a wealthy town by the state, the fact is that we have many of our property owners on fixed income and many others who have seen their wages stagnate or even decrease. The school budget consumes a huge portion of the total property tax burden in our town. State aid to our schools has been diminishing and there is little or no chance that we will see it increase in the foreseeable future.

In the face of these economic challenges we must continue to provide a top-notch quality education for our children. Efficiencies must be uncovered. New technology must be embraced to better use our resources.

Local elected officials will have many challenges to overcome and your vote determines who will be making those decisions.

Dale E. Landrith Sr., candidate for school board


Vote for Haselton

I am writing to encourage you to vote for School Board candidate, Eliza Haselton. Eliza has the qualifications and experience that give her the ability to deliberate wisely, look at budgets critically, and advocate for quality in the classroom. Her children have been attending all levels of our local schools. She owns a business with her husband and she has valued board experience. Eliza is the kind of school board member we need.

Joan Welsh