Save the Dam Falls!

Thomas Paine wrote “Such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.” Unfortunately, the Select Board in Camden has chosen what it considers the “best option” to address Montgomery Dam and sea wall concerns in our harbor while leaving the residents of Camden essentially uninformed from its predetermined choice. The truth is the Board members are working diligently to push through a proposal that involves dam destruction and rearrangement of one side of Harbor Park.
Please, Select Board, do not proceed in isolation, but share the multiple options presented by the Interfluve study and create an open forum for differing opinions and perspectives. Do not continue to disregard or dismiss those businesses and Camden residents who have reached out repeatedly over several years now for a respectful exchange of ideas and information. Your efforts have not succeeded in wearing these business owners and residents down but has encouraged them to carry on with their strong spirit and determination that consistently contributes significantly to the heart and fiscal success of this town.
The truth is, residents and our visitors from away, who are the touchstone of our business economy, want to experience the accessibility of the falls. At the same time, they understand and support efforts for repairs as needed for the Montgomery Dam and sea wall to be followed through on with safety, efficiency, and fiscal responsibility in mind.
Let’s not destroy our heritage needlessly when there are multiple options available. The options just ask for the “liberty of appearing.” The truth is, reasonable and thoughtful Camden residents welcome being part of the process and having all the options from the Interfluve Report presented and not just the one choice of the Select Board being steered over the falls.
Jennifer Healy
Camden, Maine

Engage in the Public Process

The Megunticook River Watershed Restoration planning project, which includes the potential removal of the Montgomery Dam in downtown Camden, has received quite a bit of media coverage — some good and some bad. I’ve personally been involved in the removal of two dams here in Maine and these processes are always controversial, involve many stakeholders, and take a long time. It’s my impression that this Megunticook River process is a very open, honest and respectful one, which is trying to make some necessary and tough decisions while listening to all perspectives.
The stated goals of this project are to assess viable options for: flood control and mitigation; improved fish passage and watershed connectivity; addressing rising sea level changes on the inner harbor and infrastructure due to climate change; and preservation of the town’s beauty and economics. The town is working with or has received funding from the Midcoast Conservancy, The Island Institute, Coastal Mountain Land Trust, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, NOAA and others. They hired Inter-Fluve, a firm of scientists and engineers which specializes in this kind of work, to collect data, assess alternatives and develop recommendations for the river, its dams and watershed issues. This work has been going on for over 3 years and is now producing its first, preliminary recommendations, e.g., what to do with the Montgomery Dam.
If you are interested in these issues, there are many ways to become knowledgeable and involved. There’s lots of information on the Town of Camden website, including recordings of prior meetings, maps showing dam locations and copies of the consultant reports. There are scheduled, recorded, public meetings where you can listen and participate, and you can always contact our town manager and select board members.
By its nature, the potential removal of the Montgomery Dam is complex and controversial. There are many factors to consider including: flood control, fish passage, aesthetic beauty and value, short term repairs and long-term maintenance costs, impact on Harbor Park and downtown businesses and others. Please look at the facts and engage in this public process before we are asked to vote.
Roy Hitchings
Camden

 

Woke Danger

The woke assault on society is now in high gear. I suppose we can all tolerate gender-neutral pronouns and virtue-signaling maskers, but we need to draw the line on “systemic racism” and now its treatise, critical race theory (CRT.)
Let’s cut right to the chase on this blight. Pick your analogy, Trojan horse or wolf in sheep’s clothing. CRT is not what its proponents say it is. Their argument goes like this: Our children must know our country’s history. At the onset of colonization, our settler forefathers participated in the wicked practice of slavery. History must acknowledge this wrong.
All reasonable people can agree with this premise, but the woke proponents don’t stop at this historical acknowledgement. They use this premise to blatantly devolve into the theory of monomania – that racism has been systemic ever since. It is damming, inescapable, and like all the original white slavers, all white people are racists.
Perhaps high school and university students have the reasoning capability and life experience to question the racist extension of the CRT premise, but grammar school children do not. Young minds are, understandably, incapable of applying historical nuance to this insidious racist claim. They will simply be taught (brainwashed) that one’s value or worth is strictly a matter of skin color – preeminently, white children are bad – i.e., racists.
It is adherence to theories such as this that empower the woke folk of today to justify the false claim that all of America is steeped in systemic racism. I conclude with a plea to parents of young children. Before school starts this fall, call your school superintendent and ask for a straightforward answer to this question: Will C.R.T. be part of my child’s curriculum?
Doc Wallace
Former School Superintendent
Rockport

Thanks from the Camden Garden Club

On Thursday, July 15, the Camden Garden Club hosted its 73rd annual Garden Tour, which included five lovely Camden gardens and the historic Conway House. Our club members, including five Master Gardeners, guided participants through outdoor wonderlands featuring gazebos, harbor views, ancient trees, relics from 18th Century farms, water features, rare specimens and much, much more. The tour, which was suspended in 2020 due to COVID, also paid homage to Camden’s historical past by including two historic barns and the Conway House, believed to be the oldest dwelling in Camden.
This one event is the Garden Club’s major fundraiser for various projects in and around the town of Camden, which include hanging baskets and holiday wreaths for lampposts, plantings in traffic islands, horticultural programs throughout the year and post-graduate scholarships.
For the second time, the tour also featured a plein air artist who painted in one of the featured gardens on Tour Day. This year, noted local artist Cali Veilleux donated her painting of the Alden House to the Garden Club, and the painting was raffled at the end of the day to benefit the Club’s Scholarship Fund.
The Camden Police Department, along with many other community volunteers, guaranteed that our more than 460 participants were safe and secure as they ventured about town. Tickets were picked up and sold at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce office at the Public Landing, as well as at many shops in town. This event has become a fixture of Camden’s summer season, and participants from all over the country, and all over Maine, plan their vacations around it. The Camden Garden Club is grateful for the support of Maine Home + Design, many local businesses, organizations, and the town of Camden, which helps make the tour a success. And of course, our heartfelt thanks go out to the homeowners who every year allow us to invade their spaces to share Camden’s beauty with the world!
Debra Stokes, President
Susan Reider, 2021 Tour Chair