Commendation

I commend John Gibbons for his letter to the editor in The Courier-Gazette dated April 25, 2013, titled "Only in Union." Mr. Gibbons needs to be applauded for his honesty in bringing forth an issue that needs explaining to the voters of Union. Some questions from his article arise:

— How many voters would have known about the ordinance issue if Mr. Gibbons had not said anything at the selectmen's meeting and published the incident in The Courier-Gazette?

— Are there any other issues that have been made in executive sessions that affect an overturn of voter mandated outcomes?

— What gave selectmen the authority to overturn what the voters voted for dealing with the Comprehensive Plan? (Please review the article.)

— Why did the selectmen, on their own, overturn three successive town meeting votes for 2008, 2009 and 2011?

I agree with Mr. Gibbons assertion that the latest voter-approved version of the ordinance should be placed on the warrant for a re-vote at the town meeting this coming June and not wait for a special town meeting sometime in the future. The selectmen overturned what the voters approved making your vote and my vote not valid. So, why vote on anything? Our votes are sacrosanct!

Doris Vertz

Union

Time for a flush at Warren Sanitary District

It appears to be the time to connect with Warren people, particularly users of the Warren Sanitary District. I wrote to you all two years ago asking for your vote while running for a position on the Board of Trustees. This is my first elected position and it has been quite an experience. Two years into it I feel a need for shedding light on the current happenings with the way the district is being run.

As I see it there are two main issues at hand. The biggest and most important issue is the disregard for policy with the majority of the board and the executive director. The issue that has brought it front and center is the ongoing scenario on Route 1 where we have entered into a contract with [a company] to perform a process known as "pipe bursting" to replace a section of deteriorated pipe in our force main. This force main is an 8-inch diameter pipe that carries the raw sewage from pump station 1 in the village to the lagoons at the treatment plant behind the Bolduc facility on Route 97.

The project has proven to be a struggle all around and has shed light on the abilities of the WSD to handle such a project. For the sake of time and space I will condense that matter. [The company] approached the board for a change order in their contract. We granted one change order that we were not required to do. We were approached for another change order that involved leaving the by-pass (which lays above ground) that had been laid for the force main repair on line through the winter. I stated that I would not take any further action until the board had spoken with our district lawyer. In that later conversation it was revealed that we did not have a Certificate of Liability from [the company], which is required in our Rules and Regulations, and that a formal contract had not been signed. There had been a contract that was approved by our lawyer for Phase I but somehow Phase two only had a "Contractor Service Agreement," which was signed by our plant operator. This was the same "Contractor Service Agreement" that [the company] had presented to us before we entered Phase I and our lawyer had modified extensively. The night we gave the go-ahead for Phase II, I asked if the details were the same as Phase I and was told by the executive director that they were.

This resulted in the trustees having our lawyer revise the Phase II "contract" for the second change order, since our risks to liability would be increased. My concerns were that the line would freeze and that based upon my previous experiences in the Merchant Marine and elsewhere, if we had a freeze-up, there was a good chance something else negative would happen when the crews responded due to the conditions at hand. In January when [the company] responded to a freeze up this is just what occurred. They left town and left behind an open valve which resulted in a spill of several thousand gallons of raw sewage. The revised contract was signed by the chairman after the freeze up occurred. With that revised contract, responsibility for that freeze-up and costs associated landed on [the company]. Had the contract not been revised WSD would have been required to absorb those costs. I have raised this issue on numerous occasions and have yet to get any reaction from another trustee.

On March 18 at a monthly meeting I raised concerns that meetings and agendas were not taking place as required in the bylaws. This ruffled a few feathers, and it is fair to say "the gloves are off." A public notice of our next meeting has been posted and an agenda set. The agenda does not meet the standards set in our bylaws, and it includes a proposal to amend the bylaws regarding these issues. The reaction of the powers at hand has been to circle their wagons and eliminate language in the bylaws that let the public know matters at hand. If this amendment passes you can expect business as usual.

At our April 22 meeting we met with our district lawyer in executive session. Shortly after our chairman violated executive privilege while discussions were taking place about forming an executive committee. We batted around the number of people to be on that committee, and it was voted on to approve two trustees and the executive director to be on the committee to review the by-laws. The chairman mentioned the conversation with our lawyer and at least one other board member spoke to the same matter. Then the Chairman Ed Courtenay, with his iron-fisted approach to governance, appointed the two trustees. He has no authority to do this with our current by-laws. There is no resolution as to how the members are appointed. There were three volunteers, including myself, to be on the executive committee. After the vote to have two trustees on the committee Mr. Courtenay stated something along the lines of "Good. Two it is, I don't want Jay on that committee so it is Mark, John and Ed LaFlamme (Executive Director)."

At that same meeting there were many other troubling comments. I was trying to get a previously requested proposal for an engineering study voted down. It had to do with the size of the force main. There was a desire by some to reduce the size of the force main. Previous to Phase I this discussion had taken place with the trustees, [the company], and a consultant that had been instrumental in the design of the system. We decided then to stay with the 8-inch-size. In my mind, the only reason for this matter to surface again was to accommodate [the company]. I pointed out that it is clearly stated in our Rules and Regulations as follows, "Minimum internal pipe diameter shall be eight (8) inches." and this should put the matter to rest. Ed Laflamme countered that the Rules and Regulations applied to the users and not the trustees! This is our executive director. I countered that our permit applications clearly states, "The trustees operate the WSD in compliance with their "BY-LAWS," "SEWER USE RULES AND REGULATION," "SEWER USER CHARGE SYSTEM,"…. The proposal was put to bed.

This month's agenda includes a proposal to amend our by laws so items of action are not required to be put on the agenda, and it is a perfect example of what that amendment will bring as they have already chosen to disregard the current by-laws. Apparently the chair is comfortable with determining policy in executive session because there was no conversation by trustees after the executive session as to policy other than forming an executive committee to address the matter and report to the trustees. There are way too many topics to include all of my concerns in this letter. I am asking that people attend this next meeting on Monday, May 13, at 7 p.m. at the town office. This situation can be remedied but not without support from the townspeople. I am willing to continue the fight but I can't do this on my own. I believe Mr. Courtenay's actions make him vulnerable to a recall, and I feel confident that anyone who attends the next few meetings will feel the same way.

Issues that have disappeared from the agenda since my mention of concern on March 18 include liens and foreclosures, trustee compensation, a trustee dinner that was forming, and most recently my request at the last meeting for election of officers. The last time officers were elected was in 2011. Come see what pops up under "Other Business." Last month's meeting resulted in a 4-1 vote to increase trustee compensation and that action item was not listed on the agenda as required in the by-laws.

I was batted around pretty good at the last trustee meeting and left the room with a spinning head. I asked for a copy of the recording of the April 22 meeting so I could verify my statements before this letter. I just heard word (about 10 days later) that I will be granted that request and have not yet picked up the tape.

It is an honor to serve the people of Warren and I am happy to report my contributions so far. Hope to see you at 7 p.m. on the 13th!

Jay Sawyer

Warren

Editor's Note: The previous letter was edited to omit the name of the company doing the work and to remove one sentence that contained information we would not publish without independent confirmation. The vast majority of the letter is published as written. The Courier-Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for libel or space.

 

Better and better

Rockland was certainly abuzz with poetry during April! This was our fourth Poetry Month Rockland and it keeps getting better and better. The Rockland Public Library wants to send a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in this celebration.

Thank-yous go to: Poetry Month Committee Members Carol Bachofner, Alan Clark, Diane Green Hebert, Alexis Iammarino and Amy Levine. Diane Green-Hebert for organizing the Landscape Art Exhibit and for her work on the postcard. Alexis Iammarino for designing the Poetry Month Postcard and motif for the Poems in the Windows. Poet Laureate, Carol Bachofner, for her tireless contributions and support of all the activities of Poetry Month Rockland. A big thanks to the Rockland Public Library staff! All of the artists who contributed their work to the Landscape Art Exhibit. The Georges River Land Trust for their “Inspired by Nature” Poetry Reading on Earth Day. The Penobscot School and Asymmetrick Arts for the Native Tongue Poetry Night. The Good Tern for promoting poetry in April through their Poetry & Art: Mail Art Exhibition. The winners of the “Landscapes” Poetry Contest, and all others who entered as well. The talented poets who read at the Fireside Poetry Readings in the Library Reading Room on Wednesdays. All of the Poets who read at the Swarm. Kendall Merriam for his work on his Poetry and Recipes event for children. Oceanside High School for their participation with a Flash Mob Poetry Event. Dave St. Laurent and the Transfer Station Crew for providing us with a refrigerator door for the magnetic poetry at the library. The many businesses that allowed us to place poems in their windows. This community collaboration brought poetry to the streets of Rockland. Limerock Inn, Berry Manor, Captain Lindsay, and the Granite Inn for placing a poem on their guest pillows each day. Other individuals and organizations that held events celebrating Poetry Month Rockland.

The Rockland Public Library is very excited about the energy and enthusiasm everyone extended to this month-long event and we look forward to another vibrant Poetry Month next year!

Mary Jane Martin

Patty King

Rockland Public Library Employees and Poetry Month Rockland Co-chairmen

 

Emery’s Market

I had another wonderful customer service experience. My brother first told me about Emery’s Market about a year ago. He said the meat was of great quality and less expensive than usual. I had to try for myself. Pete and I stopped in on our way home from Augusta one day and purchased a rib eye and a pork loin. I was impressed with the friendliness of the men behind the counter, but was it really worth the trip?

The young man was knowledgeable and was eager to please, asking us lots of questions about how we would be cooking them to determine what the best way to cut them would be. The steaks and chops were great! We grilled, broiled and sauteed them over the next few months.

We have been back several times since, filling the freezer each time. Pete came home last week and said he saw the sign outside of Emery’s Market that advertised whole boneless rib eyes for $4.99 per pound (western). I really didn’t believe that, so I called and sure enough that was the special. He also let me know that he had one more whole boneless sirloin for $3.99 per pound (western) and would hold that if I wanted it. When I arrived they were joking with me that they could have sold that sirloin several times that day, but saved it as promised. The older gentleman said he was going to sell, but the young man protected it!

I found out that the two men behind the counter are father and son, they fish in their spare time and have another store in Newport. The father was telling me that one time when he had a customer that was not 100 percent satisfied, he got right in his car and traveled a half-hour to her home and delivered her another order. What a team! They are funny, friendly, knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile.

After he finished cutting up the steaks and packing them into a box for me, the young man offered to take my purchases to my car. Well that is customer service!

They have both western and native meat, chicken, cheeses, jams, produce, and lots more. They are open seven days a week 207-621-6328. The website (emerysmeat.com) says they have had over 10,000 visitors since June 2011. I am lucky to have been one of them!

Tammy Smith

Cushing

 

Miller for selectman

Ron Miller, candidate for a three-year term on the Waldoboro Board of Selectman: I started out at a young age mowing lawns. As a teen I worked for Weston’s Hardware as a plumber’s assistant among other duties. My high school years I worked for Hall’s Funeral Home. Graduated in 1967 from Waldoboro High School. Graduated in 1969 from N.M.V.T.I. After collage I managed a couple of gas stations for a number years. I then settled down and married my wife Connie and have been happily married since 1979. I then moved on to a heavy equipment operator for 25 years; where I began to meet and work for Waldoboro residents and other neighboring towns. For the past 20-plus years, I have owned and operated my own property management/ landscape gardening business. I semi-retired two years ago at age 62. Currently I continue to run my own business part-time. I attend some C-COW meetings. I am a longtime member of the Dutch Neck Community Club. Trustee and manager of The Dutch Neck Cemetery Association. I enjoy riding my Harley, fishing and camping. My father (Linwood) died at a very young age and my mother (Marjorie) passed away on March 12 at the age of 96.

I sub-contracted the field mowing at the transfer station and town office for a number of years. I then played a major role in bringing referendum voting to Waldoboro and served on the committee to implement it. I served on the interview committee for a new town manager as well as helping to develop his contract. I have been involved in town affairs for years. I attend board and committee meetings. I always try to see both sides of all issues. I will listen to everyone’s opinion and only tell facts. If elected, I believe a good selectman should be: open-minded, honest and unbiased, transparent, have a good relationship with residents. Be a team player, needs to be conservative, see the need to be more business friendly. Have no personal agendas, not be easily intimated. Have worked in Waldoboro for a long time. Not show favoritism, be well-known. Make no promises just to get elected. Be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Not let personal preferences influence decisions.

Give me a chance, I do qualify. Vote for Ronald L. Miller on June 11. Get out and vote June 11. It is your right and your duty as a citizen.

Ron Miller

Waldoboro

 

The place to be

Yes, we all like to go on vacations with the family during vacation week's from school, visit the large cities, eat at a famous restaurant, enjoy the beach if the weather is good.

But stop and think, isn't nice to live in a small town in the state of Maine? We the people feel safe in our business places and our homes with all bombs going off in some large city. This state is a pretty good place to live and have our children attend different schools throughout the state.

Gordon Wotton

Thomaston

 

Not acceptable

This is about an issue that seems to stir up all kinds of issues and the end result is always the same and that it never happens and that is putting someone to death using the death penalty. It seems the moment the subject comes up after someone commits a crime and is sentenced to be put to death.

And low and behold in jumps lawyers who will quote every known law against the death penalty. The end result being the person who committed the crime ends up serving life in prison and we the taxpayers end up footing the bill for the rest of the individual's life.

The sad part to this whole story is this: more and more children will end up being killed by someone hell-bent on causing more problems than there are solutions and/or answers.

We as Americans have gotten to the point the mere mention of the word death penalty brings on more arguments than an entire set of books can hold. The end result is the prisons we have are filling up and the death roll as it is will end up being over crowded and more prisons will end up being built.

Our elected officials have gotten to the point that supporting any issue that either bans any kind of weapon being sold and/or restricting teh sale of such goes against the Second Amendment.

The end result to all of this is now we as Americans are split into what we accept, what we want and the price we are willing to pay to get what we want, when we want it and caught in the middle is our children, who are paying the price when it comes to owning a gun and who should have one and who should not.

I will say this: when it comes to owning a gun, whether it be a pistol or a machine gun, there are those who if they have the money and can afford to they will not only have the weapon simply because it is for sale and at the same time if you say take it off the market they will put so much money out there that if you say anything owning the weapon, the money paid out will win over what you say every time.

There are people out there who will say one thing, it is my right under the Constitution of the United States to buy it if it is for sale and that is called freedom and you be damned to say otherwise.

Granted guns by themselves will never kill anyone because it takes a human being to make it work and like anything out there, it takes a human to use it.

As I have said this before, I have nothing against owning a gun, I am however dead set against anyone owning a weapon that can take down 50 people with just one clip and the weapon itself if fully automatic and can be emptied in under one minute, and I will say this, if you own one of these in my opinion you are looking to declare war from your own front door.

Do not give me the excuse that you need it to defend yourself because if that is defending anything than it had better be something that can kill 100 people with just one pull of the trigger or the weapon you do own you do not know how to make just one shot count no matter what.

The bottom line to all of this in my words is this anyone who kills anyone else here in the United States and the person that gets killed does not have any weapons on them in the end and did not deserve to die the person who killed them should also be put to death. Period.

Robert J. Robinson

Thomaston