'Something not very good happened'

I would like to comment on the recent firing of the town manager of Rockport.

I would like all to know that this letter is all about what I believe and that I have no facts to back it up, but with the small amount of information that is known and that we've been led to believe, we are free to surmise that something not very good happened, and because the town manager is gone it is obvious to me that he is — was — guilty of something very bad to have lost his job over, and without him protesting the firing.

I know that the reasons for the firing have not been made public and I also want it known that I know nothing that anyone else doesn't know and that no one has spoken to me about it. But…when a town manager has been released (I prefer to call it a firing) under circumstances that ours has, whatever they were, there has to be some good reason for it. Then, why do you agree to pay someone for 12 weeks with all their benefits just for fun with my (the taxpayers) money? Is it because of the power of the office of selectperson that you feel you are doing it for my best interest and that you know what's better for me than I do and that you do not have to tell me or any one anything? Are you there to represent the towns people or the people who serve the town? The minute you vote for someone to represent you they then feel that they know what's best for you even better than you.

If and when a town attorney allows a board of selectpersons to release a town manager there have to be some good reasons or else the released manager could, in return, sue the town. Because everything now-a-days has to be secret (and this is the age of transparency they say) the people are not told what happened so therefore we are all left to believe what we want.

It is my belief that if there are grounds for firing then there should be no compensation given but that that person should just be let go. Let them sue, if that's their desire, and see what they would come up with. Now, in a case where the person that's been released is a good friend of some of the people doing the releasing then that's a whole different ball game. At least two of these people voted to renew his contract.

When this town manager was hired it was by a vote of three to two and without proper negotiations with the runner-up. In my opinion he was not qualified then and is not now. Two years ago when this same town manager's contract was up for renewal he was brought before the board of selectpersons for being incompetent and not being capable of doing the job they hired had him for and they did not want to renew his contract. At the last minute and by one person changing their vote and by a vote of three to two he was renewed. Because of that vote one man wouldn't run again and another resigned as he felt the rest of the Board had left him hanging out in the cold.

Here we are less than two years later and now this has happened. I wonder what the three people that voted to renew, two of them still on the board, think of themselves now. They not only voted to offer him a new contract but they have now decided to compensate him for not fulfilling it. If I was one of them I would be so ashamed of myself and would resign now so that new qualified selectpersons would be selecting the new Town Manager. It is also my belief that one of the supporting selectpersons has received much help (monetary) from the town, at their home, which I believe disqualifies them from serving on that Board. It is rumored that one of the selectpersons recently made the comment, "I can't believe he pulled the wool over our eyes for so long". If their eyes had been open during that time they would have seen what was happening.

Because of the fact that no one was informed of what happened and because of the fact that everything is so hush-hush we now make it possible for some innocent town to hire him (I think they already have) without knowing what they're getting. Does anyone think this is right?

I have lived , worked , served on committees, served on school and select boards, in this town for 79 years, seven months and two days, and feel I have a right to be bitter because I am and I believe that our board of selectpersons should receive the same rating, or maybe lower, as the U.S. Congress. Why is that the people that pay the bills can't get people to represent them instead of the representatives representing themselves?


Maynard E. Tolman



Our story of thanks

Since Feb. 15, 2013, our family's life has drastically changed. The night before, we — Ed and Tracee — had a lovely Valentine’s Day dinner. The next afternoon we found ourselves at Waldo County Emergency Department getting the news that Andy, our 3-year-old son, had a brain tumor the size of his little fist. Our daycare provider Cheryl Milner is where this story of thanks begins. Because Cheryl has cared for our children since they have been newborns, we trusted her instincts when she said Andy was not himself that day.

Once at the ED we received such caring, compassionate and thorough care. Although extremely busy, the ED doctor still took the time to listen carefully to what we had to say. Although he was not expecting to find anything, he still ordered a CT scan just to rule out that there was nothing going on in Andy’s brain causing the slight balance issues Cheryl had noticed.

The radiologists doing the scan immediately saw a tumor the size of Andy's little fist growing in his brain. Seeing the doctor enter our room in the ED, accompanied by a nurse carrying a box of tissues was scary, but never did we think we were going to be given the news "we need to get your son immediately to a hospital where he can have an operation as soon as possible."

Andy was first sent to EMMC in Bangor, and then transferred to Children's Hospital in Boston to have the tumor removed by a pediatric neurosurgeon. At this point we still did not know if his tumor was malignant or not, and were holding onto a small thread of hope that maybe it was not cancerous. Andy was assigned to Dr. Alan Cohen, the No. 1 ranked pediatric neurosurgeon in the country. Dr. Cohen was able to safely remove the tumor in a couple of hours. A few hours after Andy woke up from surgery, he ate an entire personal pepperoni pizza! We were so overjoyed that our little boy pulled through brain surgery with only a bandage on the back of his head to show for it. Unfortunately, we were told that the tumor growing in Andy's head was cancer.

Next we were connected to Maine Children Cancer Program, a part of Maine Medical Center. There we learned what chemotherapy was going to be like and how often we were likely going to be in the hospital. However, as much as we tried to prepare, it has still been hard to see our little boy so sick from drugs that are meant to make him better in the long run.

While in Boston, relatives and neighbors took care of Maggie, our 5-year-old, and her 1-year-old brother Jack with no questions and with smiles on their faces. Other family and friends stopped by our house regularly to clean, feed our cat, snow blow the driveway, take the trash to the dump and provide meals when needed. And now, two months later, as Andy, with his mom by his side, goes through his second of six chemo treatments at Maine Med in Portland, our family and friends are still going strong supporting us.

The Masons hosted a benefit dinner for Andy on Saturday, April 13, out of sheer kindness. We never imaged that so many people would show up to express their love and support for us; we left the dinner feeling an overwhelming sense of joy. Andy brought together so many people, as well as bringing out the best in our community. Due to the Internet, our family’s sense of community is rather large. We have people from all over the world checking on Facebook to see how Andy is doing.

So many people have generously donated money to us. With Andy in the hospital most of the time, Tracee hasn’t been able to work much. Thanks to this generosity our mortgage and car payments can be taken care of, as well as all the travel and other expenses we have.

We are much appreciative of everyone who is helping, regardless of whether the help is financial, spiritual, with childcare, housework, whatever it may be; the fact is we have so many people looking out for us and thinking ahead for any possible anticipated need. Not once have we felt alone while we have been trying to get Andy though this tough time. From our whole family we give deep thanks and appreciation to all our community of friends and family both near and far. We truly would not be functioning as well as we are without each and every one of you.

Tracee and Ed O'Brien



Solidarity in strength

There is a group in Lincolnville, hopefully small, who are interested in getting rid of the police department.

We have learned that this is not a money issue.

At one time, it was voted on, to have a police department and thus was put into the town charter.

Now, some people are saying “they” never got to vote on it.

If the charter is changed every year the citizens will have to vote rather to have, or not have, a police department. Would you want a job as uncertain as that?

Lincolnville is improving, i.e. a new library, the center store coming back to life, the beach area has been improved, etc.

Are we now going to take a tremendous step backwards and get rid of our police department at a time when the world is in such upheaval?

If you believe in, and want to keep a police department in Lincolnville, please attend a rally at the Lincolnville Improvement Association on Beach Road, Lincolnville, on Thursday, April 25th at 6 p.m.

Solidarity in strength.

Betty Heald



Functional training…actually

I was in the military and forced to use my body as a tool; I can attest to the validity and value of functional fitness.

Occupational therapist have deemed certain movements consistent with our daily lives—“activities of daily living” (ADLs)—these include bathing, dressing, eating, mobility around the home, etc. The basic needs for every human being are the same. We all need to sit down and stand back up (squat), pick things up and put things down (deadlift), and put things overhead (press). Almost all ADLs are multi-joint movements (i.e. functional movements). Functional movements are movements that mimic motor recruitment patterns that are found in everyday life.

The correlation between barbell or dumbbell movements and functional activities is not as abstract as one may think. Beginning with the “shoulder press,” this movement consists of pressing an object from the shoulder to a position directly overhead. For the skeptics, try pressing 25 percent of your body weight using a machine, next try the same weight using an external object (think barbell, dumbbell or that heavy box full of junk in your closet). Which was more challenging? The same amount of weight is being pressed from the shoulder to overhead, therefore our shoulders are experiencing the same amount of overload. However, you will find the external object requires one to maintain a stable midline (i.e. keeping your body upright, rather than crumpling under the load) and engage the posterior chain (i.e. back and gluteal musculature); this translates to the recruitment of more muscle fibers, and in turn, a more effective workout. Injuries often occur when individuals attempt these movements with poor form or with more weight than their core or extremities can handle.

Hypertorphy (or the increase of muscle fibers) can occur through the creation of a neuroendocrine response (the release of natural growth hormones) by moving the body with the appropriate amount of intensity. It is worth adding that Dr. William Kraemer of Penn State University claims that a neuroendocrine response is the most effective solution to increasing bone density and muscle mass. The maintenance of optimal bone density is critical for middle and late age populations. Resistance or weighted movements are most effective in the promotion of bone health, multi-joint movements being more efficient than isolated joint movements. How does this related to functional fitness? Machines undeniably can be a tool to increase muscle volume, however, they tend to isolate muscle groups. For example, the leg curl machine when set up for resisted knee flexion targets the hamstrings, when set up for resisted knee extension it targets the quads. Beside the fact that these are extremely impractical movements to real life, the efficiency of developing strength this way is poor. Why not just back squat a barbell for activation and development of all lower extremity muscles?

The establishment of goals facilitates the selection of a fitness program. If one’s goal is to use their body more efficiently and effectively as it applies in the real world (everyday chores, hiking with your dog, playing sports, etc.); functional fitness is the best option. For example, my grandmother, who is in her 80s, has pursued functional training for the last five years. She is long past the days of using a fitness program to achieve a beach body or meet a weight loss goal. Instead, her fitness goals entail being able to play outside with her grandchildren and lift her young grandbaby from the floor, while also maintaining her independence at home. These activities, while they might seem mundane to you or I, still require core stability, strength and balance- qualities that are commonly impaired in the elderly population.

I have had experience working with more than 100 police, firefighters and military personnel using the same program as my grandmother — obviously I have varied the weight and rep scheme depending on my client’s skill and abilities. One hundred percent of these professionals have reported higher scores on their required physical fitness examinations. A functional fitness program is undeniably the most appropriate approach for the law enforcement and first responder population. If a firefighter needs to drag a hose up 10 flights of stairs, why would they not train him to do that more efficiently and safely? What will translate to a successful apprehension of a criminal who decides to run- isolated leg curls on a Cybex or a dynamic combination of lunges, back squats and sprints? It is undeniable that a leg press machine allows a similar movement to a back squat; however, anyone who has experience with both knows they feel completely different because the machine offers significantly more postural assistance through the supported seat and placement of the upper extremities. Machines obviously have their place in the fitness and rehabilitation arena; however, after careful examination of one’s goals they may find ways to spend their gym time more wisely.

Intensity is the critical element in a functional fitness program and it is unique to the individual. As previously mentioned, my grandmother and members of law enforcement have participated in the same functional fitness regiment. While they may have performed the same movements, the level of intensity at which they performed them was significantly different. Intensity is relative term, it depends on one’s age, abilities, and goals. Intensity for an 18-year-old hockey player will be undeniably different than the intensity of a 65-year-old. There are many modes through which to dictate the intensity level of a workout — weight, number of reps, incorporation of a timed element, etc. It is important to find the appropriate intensity level necessary to meet one’s fitness goals.

The goal of functional fitness professionals is to put their clients in the safest and most efficient position to perform daily tasks. If these movements were not safe to perform that would be like saying activities of daily living were also unsafe. In other words, it would not be safe to pick up a laundry basket, sit down in a chair, nor put a box on a shelf in the closet. In summary, why do yourself the disservice of employing machines that leave you ill prepared for life activities? Life requires strength and proper technique, whether one is performing a front squat or picking up their grandchild. Functional fitness will prepare you for that life.

Nick Brown