A vision thing

The Medomak Valley Community Foundation (of which we are both honored to be board members) received a cruel and unanticipated blow from the Waldoboro Select Board at its meeting last Tuesday evening.

After spending 18 months and about $7,000 of foundation money developing and working on a proposal to convert the former A. D. Gray school building, located in Waldoboro's Historic Village District, into a new and much-needed Waldoboro Community Center, the Select Board voted unanimously (with the possible exception of the chairman), to put the building up for sale for 12 months.

Prior to that motion being made by Select Board member [Bob] Butler (seemingly out of the blue), there had been weeks of discussion about letting the town's residents decide whether to let the MVCF create the proposed Community Center, through a warrant article at the annual referendum town meeting coming up in June. This, notwithstanding the fact that the MVCF had already done a public survey last year, mailed to every household in Waldoboro, and had presented the results of this survey to the Select Board many months ago, including the fact that respondents to the survey had indicated greater than 80 percent support for our Community Center proposal.

The MVCF had also agreed to the suggestion, initially made by Butler at the Jan. 9 workshop the Select Board had arranged to discuss the MVCF's proposal, that a conditional lease agreement, including a mandatory annual performance review contingency clause, might be a reasonable way to go forward, while protecting the interests of the town, should the MVCF fundraising or rehabilitation effort fail sometime down the road.

It is important to note that the MVCF was asking for absolutely no money from Waldoboro taxpayers, or from the town budget; just like the extremely successful Miller Ball Fields project the MVCF completed almost 10 years ago. The MVCF would be completely and solely responsible for raising all funds required to undertake this project. Only after completion of the project would Waldoboro voters be asked, at a future town meeting, if they would like to take over management and maintenance of the now-completed facility.

Throughout the 18 months we've been discussing this project with the Select Board, we felt we were discussing numerous options with them in good faith, including agreeing to a referendum vote on the project in June, even though this would have delayed our fundraising plans by yet another six months.

In reality, we had little choice but to agree, since we could not proceed further with either our fundraising effort or final plans to rehabilitate the long-abandoned school building without the Select Board's permission. We were between a rock and a hard place, and had been for months, largely due to the Select Board's inability to come to a decision.

The MVCF still believes both that the town of Waldoboro needs a Community Center, as we have proposed, and that working with the residents of the town, we may still have an opportunity to go forward with our vision. Regarding the latter, one option the MVCF might explore is a Citizens Petition for a warrant article on the June referendum ballot, basically asking the voters if they are willing to sell the A. D. Gray property to the MVCF for, say, $1, and thereby allow the MVCF to create a Community Center thereon, while completely divesting the town of any ongoing financial responsibility for the property.

Although the Waldoboro Select Board may suffer from a serious lack of vision, in terms of what's best for Waldoboro, the Medomak Valley Community Foundation, which brought you the Miller Ball Fields 10 years ago, does not!

Stay tuned!

Seth Hall,


John Blamey,


The tail wagging the dog

I would like to speak about some significant issues that are in the works at Rockland City Council. Like all successful businesses, every city must have a strategic plan, or in the case of a city, it is called a comprehensive plan. This plan is voted on by the Board of Directors for a company, or the city council, in the case of a city.

In Rockland's case, this plan is written or updated and voted on by the City Council about every 10 years to ensure that it takes into account the future needs of the city. This plan is designed to chart the course and steer the direction that the stakeholders (voters) voiced before the plan was enacted. Currently, the Comprehensive Planning Commission has held five public meetings around Rockland last fall, attended by more than 120 people. Heart and Soul meetings, are in progress, and currently more than 150 interviews have been conducted. And more than 500 surveys that asked questions about the community have been filled out. One of the most common concerns from these three sources is that the increase in density in housing will have a negative effect on our city.

The whole purpose of a comprehensive plan is to prevent the changing of direction when a new mayor and councilors get voted into office with their own agendas, and believe they alone have the great enlightened vision to drive the city's future.

The new Rockland City Council, led by the current mayor, is in the middle of trying to rewrite the zoning ordnances to make the city into what she believes it should look like. Tiny houses, garage apartments on every lot, smaller house lots, even inside the historic district, and the reduction of front, back and side setbacks from our neighbors' property lines. All of which flies in the face of the information fed to the council from the aforementioned meetings, interviews and surveys collected by the Comprehensive Planning Commission that was voiced by the citizens of Rockland.

The updated Comprehensive Plan is being drafted as we speak. The commission is in the middle of trying to figure out what the voters want for a direction toward the future and write it into the new updated plan, which should be presented to the City Council over the next year.

The current City Council, driven by the mayor, is not waiting for the changes to come forth. It is trying to change ordinances which are not allowed in the current Comprehensive Plan. Many of the mayor's enlightened plans were brought forth under the past mayor and City Council, but she could not garner the votes from the past City Council (thank you, wisdom!) to get them voted into ordinances. So she tabled the motions and waited out until she was senior enough to get voted into the mayor's chair and here come the same old proposals up again to change the zoning ordnances to make Rockland housing look like San Francisco or Santa Barbara, where every garage has two families living in it. And you only need one TV between three houses because you are so close.

If this is the image that the mayor wants for her city, then let her move there. Don't go against the city's Comprehensive Plan, but work within it. The ordnances and vision within the Comprehensive Plan, voiced by the citizens, must drive the decisions of the council, not the City Council changing the ordnances within the Comprehensive Plan to meet their own vision. Remember, City Council, you work for us, the Rockland residents. I encourage voters to get involved so we maintain the voiced vision for our city.

Jim Kalloch


Pay attention to teen depression

Depression is a serious problem and it needs to be fixed. Yes, there is a medicine, but who likes to take a pill twice a day, especially teens? I think that there should be a drink of something or something that you can put  into a drink and drink a glass once a day in the morning.

Also, depression affects teens' school work, because most people can't focus. It also affects their grades. Teens will even exclude themselves from everyone because they don’t think they are enough for other people, they think they are nothing. Most likely they will never raise their hand in any class, and keep their head down in the class or the hall. They might not find anything they like to do.

Also, they will forget a lot of stuff, sometimes very important things. Teens don’t like to talk about it, especially to their parents. They sometimes will tell their friends, but most likely not. If they do tell their friend, they will try to get them to have a fun time with their friends, but they will probably be really sad and you wouldn't know because they are faking a smile.

They could eventually stop eating because they feel like a nothing and don’t need to eat. If you suspect that a teen is depressed, ask them and have a conversation. If you are close, try to get them to open up about their depression.

Alison McDonald