Letters to the Editor, Aug. 10

Aug 10, 2017

Time to talk about spending priorities

An important fact has been largely overlooked in the heated debate over Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

For years, fiscal conservatives have been harping on the imperative to slow the growth of entitlement programs. Their concern is that, without curbing the growth of these large and quickly expanding programs, the government will continue to rack up large annual budget deficits, which add to our present $20 trillion national debt. Most thoughtful people realize that the ballooning of our federal debt is a very serious problem.

With that thought in mind, I have to ask myself why the Republicans are so gung-ho to pass legislation that produces only $119 billion (House bill) or $321 billion (Senate bill) in reductions to the federal budget deficit over a 10-year period? Those estimates come from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That works out to an average of $12 billion to $32 billion per year. While that’s a lot of money to us regular folks, it’s a drop in the bucket when compared to the government’s operating deficits, which have ranged from $587 billion to $680 billion over the past four years.

Is it worth throwing 15 million Americans off Medicaid (by 2026) to save $32 billion, or less, per year?

Rather than tinker around the edges, we need to have a serious conversation about our public spending priorities. Taken together, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid make up just over 50 percent of current budget outlays. Defense (14 percent) and interest payments on the national debt (6 percent) come to another 20 percent. Everything else the federal government does (e.g., education, law enforcement, national security, veterans' benefits, infrastructure spending, public health, research, foreign aid, etc.) accounts for the remaining 30 percent of spending.

It’s apparent that something has to give if deficits are to be brought under control. It’s equally apparent that some combination of reduced spending on the big entitlement programs (and defense) and tax increases will be needed to get closer to balancing the books. Refusing to put entitlement reform (Democrats) and taxes (Republicans) on the negotiating table is unrealistic and just kicks the can down the road. If we don’t pay for these services today, our children and their children will be left to foot the tab.

Steve Mansfield


The people voted for Clinton

I commend the Concerned Citizen who wrote last week’s column entitled “Here’s why," [Another View, Aug. 3] in which he affirmed his strong support for President Trump. I’ve wondered how the president’s base is holding up after the last six months of chaotic misgoverning in Washington. It takes real courage to admit such support … or maybe it’s stubborn refusal to accept facts and reality … something like keeping your foot firmly down on the accelerator as your car spins out of control.

Although it’s quite clear that facts and truth have become irrelevant in this new conservative regime, I must correct Mr. Frederic about one of the many facts he’s got backwards: “the American people overwhelmingly rejected the Obama legacy and the Democrats’ empty wagon narrative.” I presume this implies that the popular, or people's, vote went overwhelmingly for President Trump. In fact, public records confirm that Hillary Clinton received 65,853,516 popular votes, while Donald Trump received 62,984,825 which is nearly a 3 million-vote difference in favor of the empty wagon narrative. In Maine, the vote was similar, with 357,735 of us going with Hillary and 335,593 for Donald. The elites of the Electoral College chose Trump, the people voted for Clinton.

John Shepard


Seeks help piecing together family puzzle

On Oct. 31, 1948, my mother, Maude Cumberland Reynolds, gave birth to a son and placed him for adoption. Until January of 2015, no one in my family had any knowledge of this. Fortunately, he had been told that he was adopted and was able to locate me and my sister. We are delighted to have another brother in our lives. It is especially meaningful, since our other three brothers have all passed. I would love to be able to find a few more of the pieces of this puzzle. All the adults involved at the time of the adoption have passed and took these secrets to their graves. Here is what we know:

Raymond Earl was born to Maude Cumberland Reynolds on Oct. 31, 1948, in Rockland.

Maude was 33 years old at the time, and had been divorced from (Reynolds) for 11 or more years.

She had two sons by her first husband (Ralph Reynolds), ages 11 and 13, who were living with her parents in South Portland. Her parents were Tom and Minnie Cumberland. We don't know if her parents had any knowledge of the pregnancy, but we are quite certain her sons and siblings did not.

She  named her first husband as the father on the birth certificate, and also stated that he was deceased. He was not, and did not pass until 1970. We are sure he is not the father. They didn't have any kind of relationship after the divorce, even though there were children involved. Her two sons by that marriage never knew their father.

On Nov. 28, 1948, Maude married Ralph Dunton and moved to New Sharon with her two older boys, Ralph and Douglas Reynolds.

DNA testing has confirmed that Ralph Dunton is not the father of the baby she placed for adoption.

On Jan. 20, 1949, the adoption was final. The adoptive parents were Elroy and Geneva Nash. They lived on Myrtle Street in Rockland at the time. They named the baby Norman Elroy Nash. Elroy Nash was a commercial fisherman.

The Nashes moved to Southwick, Mass., sometime in 1950.

Maude and Ralph Dunton went on to have three children together -- Pamela Jean (1950), Clyde Earl (1951) and Bonnie Sue (1954).

I think it is likely that she lived with the Nashes during the latter part of the pregnancy, but it is only speculation based on a few things we know. My hope is that there are people in the Midcoast who remember something and would be willing to share it.

I know of no family ties to the Rockland area, so am not sure how or why she got there and found the Nashes. She was born in Calais and later lived in Lubec. Her parents moved to South Portland sometime in the 1940s, and as far as I know, she lived with them from the time she divorced in 1937 until she turned up in Rockland during the pregnancy. Thanks to all who read this and spread the word. You never know where a clue will turn up.

I can be contacted by email at Collinsbon5254@yahoo.com.

Bonnie Brann

New Sharon

Lobster Festival says thanks

On behalf of our officers, Board of Directors and members, we would like to take a moment to thank you!

A huge thank-you to all of our nearly 1,300 volunteers – who worked tirelessly to make the 70th Maine Lobster Festival a success. From the first day of setup through the last day of tear-down, you have been with us through it all. We hope you had a great time and had the opportunity to meet and speak to folks from all over the world! We can’t wait to have you back for the 71st! You are all amazing ambassadors for Rockland and Midcoast Maine.

A big thank-you as well to our local businesses, civic groups and athletic teams who gather their troops together to volunteer in the food tent, pancake breakfasts and gates. We appreciate the partnerships! We know you donate your time to the Maine Lobster Festival and we are so glad that you do!

A shout-out to our Rockland Downtown merchants and businesses. We value you as our neighbors and hope that the festival was successful for all of you this year. As we continue to grow with more international reach, we rely on our successful partnerships to make Rockland a premier destination in Maine!

A high five to Rockland Police Department, Rockland Fire Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Department and so many other area first responders who are dedicated behind the scenes to keep us safe every day -- and watch over and protect us during the festival. We are proud of our Coast Guard and grateful for their service. We can’t thank you enough for all the work you do!

And special thanks to the city of Rockland, the harbormaster's office, Rockland Public Works and all the other members of the team who partner with us to make it happen.

And finally – to our friends and neighbors – we thank you! We know the traffic is crazy and there’s no parking – but we also know that thousands of visitors are awed by the beauty of Penobscot Bay and the bounty it provides us and we are all so proud of this place we call home. We hope you had the chance to come down and visit, see friends old and new. We cannot thank you enough, and after we take a breath or two, we’ll start working on the 71st Annual Maine Lobster Festival! We’ll see you all next year Aug. 1 to 5, 2018.

Cynthia Powell,


Maine Lobster Festival

Trekkers thanks community for another successful fundraiser

On behalf of Trekkers, I extend my sincere appreciation to everyone who participated in our inaugural Fired Up Fundraising Event. A year ago, the event was just an idea; let’s get local chefs to cook on the same BioLite camp stoves Trekkers uses during expeditions. Thanks to an amazing event committee, the support of five of the area’s best chefs and some wonderful sponsors, it was a night to remember: 130 people attended the sold-out event on Waterman’s Beach July 20. I am so pleased to share that, thanks to everyone involved, this was Trekkers’ most successful fundraiser ever. More than $50,000 was raised to support Trekkers' mentoring programs for seventh- to 12th-grade students from Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston.

A huge thank-you to our event sponsors, BioLite, Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine, Philbrook & Associates Bookkeeping & Business Services, Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars, Naretiv and Granite Gardens.

The event was built around amazing food prepared on BioLite wood-fired camp stoves. In other words, it wouldn’t have been possible without the participation of some our area’s finest restaurants and chefs. Thank you to: Kerry Altiero – Café Miranda; Sara Jenkins – Nina June; Dustin Martin – Primo; Tim Lewis; and Melody Wolfertz – In Good Company.

Thank you for the generous contributions from Sandy Manahan and Lorri Cousens; Mark Benjamin and Ari Meil, Naretiv; Adam Bullard and Just Teachers; Hammon Buck, Plants Unlimited; Mark Haskell, Mark Haskell Photography; Dee and Phoebe Megna; Samoset Resort; and the Maine Lighthouse Museum. Our committee members included Jacquie Chamberlain, Mike Hersom, Dee Megna, Alyssa Rolerson, Britta Sturks, Paula Coyne, Amie Hutchison and Shari Closter. All of the photography at this idyllic setting was beautifully captured by Mark Haskell of Mark Haskell Photography.

We are already looking forward to next year’s event, when the community can come together again to enjoy this very special Trekkers evening.

Amie Hutchison, Executive Director

Trekkers Inc.

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