Through tragedy give thanks

Feb. 10, 2013 was one of the worst days of our lives. We watched a small fire build into a huge fire that turned our garage, Frankie's Garage, into nothing more than a pile of rubble. The fire not only took away our livelihood but it took away years of keepsakes, treasured items, and vehicles that can never be replaced. It's a day we want to forget but watching the garage burn to the ground will forever be in our memories.

Even through our tragedy we have many thanks. First we are thankful no one was injured in the fire. Second we would like to thank the firefighters who tried to put out the fire. On March 9 a benefit supper/auction was held in our behalf at the Rockland Elks Club. It was unbelievable! We would like to thank everyone who attended. We especially would like to thank Sheila Polky, Lori Carlson, and Gail Elliott (and Melinda and Angela!) for organizing an amazing benefit in the short time they had. We don't know how you did it! We would like to thank everyone personally for all the help with the benefit and for all the donations for the auction, but we know even if we tried we wouldn't be able to list everyone without missing someone so we are going to say one big THANK YOU to everyone! We've also received many phone calls and cards at our home and many people have spoken to us while seeing us out and about, we would like to thank everyone for that too! If there is anyone that we have forgotten to mention please accept our apologies but know you are thanked as well.

It really makes us feel great to know that we live in such a caring community. We are now in the process of rebuilding the garage. It just won't be the same but we can start building new memories with a new garage. We hope to be up and running soon.We're hoping to see our previous customers and some new ones too! See you soon in our new garage!

A very grateful thank-you,

Cecil and Sherry Fogg

Owls Head

 

A sweet victory soured

The Medomak Valley fifth- and sixth-grade girls travel basketball team had a sweet win over Rockland for the championship this past Saturday. But sadly, three of the Medomak girls were not allowed to contribute any of their skills to the win. Instead, their coaches had them watch from the bench. In two previous tournaments, these three girls along with the rest of their teammates were able to contribute their passion and skills. So why not let them contribute in the biggest game of the season, the championship game?

With less than a minute to play, the Rockland coach called a timeout to empty their bench while Coach Bickmore and Coach Donlin left their same players in. Why could they not do the same? These actions are a poor way to promote sportsmanship, confidence, and team spirit. What kind of example are they setting for all the girls?

Although they won the game, the coaches blew it for the three girls who didn’t play. These actions dampened their spirits and may possibly make them question their ability to play the game. It’s too late to make it up to the girls now that the season is over, but I think the coaches should apologize to these girls and their families.

Dennis Alley

Spruce Head

 

Dancing for Fukushima thanks

A big thank you to Primo Cubano for playing, Billy’s Tavern for hosting and Midcoast Dancing 4 Fun for organizing the benefit Dancing for Fukushima event Saturday night, March 23, and to all the community members who attended and donated. It was a fabulous, spirited evening. The band was wonderful. Even those who don’t normally dance couldn’t help moving to the happy Latin rhythms.

During this second anniversary of the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Fukushima, the dance raised $1,383 to help support a respite camp/recuperation program on Sado Island, Japan, for children of Fukushima who are living with continual radiation exposure. At the dance, many origami cranes, traditional Japanese symbols of healing, were given to attendees. They were made by Mie Athearn of Rockland, whose family lives in Fukushima. Mie stated, “The dance event was amazing. I didn’t think so many people would be coming and they all enjoyed.” She wants to say thank you to all who came and who made this event happen. Anyone interested in finding out more about the work at Sado Island is encouraged to visit hettsuisado.blogspot.com or call 594-1478.

Norma Athearn

Rockland

For the Fukushima Awareness Group of Midcoast Maine and Midcoast Peace & Justice Group

 

Warren fire had 'human element'

On March 18, a fire broke out at about 9 p.m. at 47 Hillside Lane in Warren. The state fire marshals office has determined the fire was set by human element, and is being called undetermined.

Everyone got out of the building safely.

The landlord, John Temple, would like to thank the tenants, Deborah Vannan and David Lash of Apartment A, who alerted the other tenants and quickly put the fire out.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the fire marshals office.

John Temple

Warren

It takes all types

All families go out to eat once in awhile at different restaurants that the family prefers. But did you ever notice after the man or wife gives their order to the waitress — young or old in age — not another word is spoken to each other while they wait for the meal? I notice that often in different eating places in Knox County.

There is all kind s of different people in this world and some are talkative and others are silent.

Gordon Wotton

Thomaston

 

Work on our problems only

This letter is about the following on-going issues that are confronting us as a nation, namely the issue of gay rights, the nation at war and how we as a nation are adjusting to changes that are at best, hard as hell to accept.

For the record, as a retired veteran who has seen action, first in Vietnam and last of all in Desert Storm, I will say that war, no matter how long will change you as a human being in the way you think and how you act to everything around you.

Now for the record, the on-going issue of gay rights and the marriage issue, I do not support the idea of a man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman and I will not quote any Bible on this issue even though the Bible is very clear on this matter. I will just say that I will leave this in the one who will be the final judge in this matter and that is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is he along who will have the final say in this matter.

I have been retired from the Army for more than 20 years, but I still adjust everyday to things around me. I am told by friends who know me that I need to relax more and be less alert.

Now as for the on-going issue of any war that we as a nation have been in and will continue to be involved in the future we have to realize one thing, no matter what we do we will not change the world no matter how hard we try or what we do.

The end result is that the United States needs to stop trying to solve other countries problems and work only on problems that confront us here in the United States. Period.

Robert J. Robinson

United States Army Retired

Thomaston

 

Use of Rockland TIF funds

As a result of the prospect of losing significant state funding, such as revenue sharing, in which to fund city-wide projects and governmental operations, the Rockland City Council and city manager are looking to replace these funds from other sources. One of the sources they are eying are the revenues from the Downtown/Tillson Redevelopment Tax Increment Financing District account, which is entirely funded by the Downtown and Tillson Avenue area property taxpayers and receives no taxes from properties lying outside the district. The purpose of Rockland’s TIF is to fund projects and infrastructure improvements within the boundaries of the district — not outside the district.

At the March 11 Rockland City Council meeting, the council voted to take $30,000 from the TIF account to pay for the removal of utility poles on the northwest side of Main Street from the intersection of North Main Street to Warren Street. The northern terminus of the TIF district on Main Street is located at Dunkin' Donuts. Any pole removal work beyond Dunkin' Donuts to Warren Street is outside the district. Even though the project will benefit all property owners located along Main Street to Warren Street as well as the general public, the Downtown/Tillson Avenue property owners will be paying for the entire cost of the pole removal work as no General Fund tax dollars will be used. The fairest way to pay for projects which extent beyond on the TIF boundary is through a cost sharing formula between the General Fund and the TIF account. In the absence of any cost sharing formulas the Downtown/Tillson Avenue area taxpayers are, in effect, subsidizing city projects beyond the boundaries of the district. This was never the intent of the framers of the TIF district!

In summary, the Downtown and Tillson Area property owners, merchants and business associations need to be watchful and monitor how the city council and city manager expend their TIF tax dollars to ensure that TIF funds aren’t being incrementally shifted to fund city-wide projects outside the district as well as to fund city government operations. As more TIF revenues are diverted away from the district to other areas and uses, there will be less income to fund needed projects within the district like the completion of the Main Street sidewalk improvements from Limerock Street to Park Street, infrastructure and utilities upgrades to the Tillson Avenue area, the Rockland Harbor Trail, Harbor Park improvements, and Winslow-Holbrook Park enhancements. Councilor Dickerson is the council’s biggest advocate for the Harbor Trail and Councilor Hebert is a big proponent of Harbor Park improvements. Since the city is not as aggressive in applying for Community Development Block Grants and other project grants as in the past, about the only way these projects will ever get done is with TIF dollars. In review, the council and the manager have a fiduciary responsibility to the Downtown and Tillson Avenue area property owners to only expend their TIF tax dollars within the boundaries of the TIF district.

Rodney Lynch

Rockland

 

Not effective

My opinion based upon my investigation is that the child abuse system is not effective for many children and becomes a very expensive legal matter far too lengthy to produce meaningful results for the child. The state Child Protection Agency is funded so low that they are overwhelmed with handling physical and sexual abuse and for psychological abuse their usual procedure is to talk to the particulars and use phone conversations and then refer matters to the legal system which is very costly. Psychological abuse, hollering, extreme punishments, and brainwashing are tactics which destroy a child’s self esteem. Lawyers work for the usual rate of $200 per hour and the typical retainer is $4,000. That money is used to file motion after motion, do at least two arbitrations, do appeals and the usual time period for trial, a year or more. The cost of a trial is extra expense and may be appealed. In the meantime there is the child who is often young and impressionable and easily influenced to protect those who are the caregivers. Anyone who has gone through the system to protect a child knows the money spent will be $5,000 or more and may never conclude a positive result for the child. Money is the center stage and the child is often punished more psychologically for having the abuse reported then having the abuse continue. To those children who do not have protectors with money, life is an empty dark hole without much of a future. Another misconception is that Guardian At Litems will always protect a child. Guardians may be paid as low as $600 to write a report for the child. Their recommendations do not include a service plan and often are based on perceptions from phone contacts rather then complete investigations. The court system usually accepts their conclusions without any questioning. This is not fair to the child or for witnesses who desire protection for that child.

Laws need to be evaluated and changes need to streamline the process. My proposal is to build an email network starting locally and then going statewide. We will meet in early May and brainstorm at a public meeting. We will encourage every person running for Legislature to make children a priority. My hope would be to make the legal process a last step. We would establish an elected unpaid committee and set up in each Maine School District, and run the committee as we do a council, school board, or planning board with one paid director who would be in charge of training and legal advice as cases are being referred. Other ideas are encouraged. Contact me at julieww@roadrunner to be added to those who support protecting children.

Alan Wood

Belfast