Camden Herald Letters to the Editor May 16

May 16, 2019

'Mystified' by legislator's stand on vaccination requirement

As longtime fans of Sen. Dave Miramant [D-Camden], we are mystified by his stand on legislation allowing parents to claim their religion as justification for not having their children vaccinated. This makes no sense to us.

Medical conditions should be the only permissible exemptions. People are free to believe that their god opposes vaccinations, though the religious community as a whole does not hold that view. But religious views have no place in legislative decisions affecting public safety.

If people send their unvaccinated children to public schools, they are imposing their beliefs on everyone else and putting other people’s children at risk. Diseases spread when enough people are not immunized. Herd immunity is a fact.

The right to one’s own beliefs cannot supersede the right of the whole community to be protected from serious health risks. If parents choose not to believe the extensive scientific research into this question, those parents are free to homeschool their children.

Miramant is a man of good conscience and intelligence, but in this, he has it wrong. His vote to allow a “religious exemption” is putting children and other medically vulnerable people at serious risk. We are urging all of Knox County. Please tell him: .

Sherry and Bruce Cobb


Ellie Goldberg



Consider taxpayers when creating the school budget

As a lifelong educator and former superintendent of schools for systems much larger than the MSAD 28 and the Five-town CSD, it is difficult to believe that I am writing to strongly oppose the proposed budget increases for the next school year. The combined impact of the two school budget increases upon a Rockport resident is a whopping 16.91 percent! Were this rate of increase to continue, a resident’s tax load would more than double in less than five years – for school taxes alone - apart from town municipal tax increases!

Now, to really rub salt into the wounds of the affected taxpayer, the superintendent explains that the board “did not consider the increased debt burden because earlier voter approval of building projects gave acceptance of additional expenses” and therefore would not be considered as “a trade-off for a lower operating budget.” I know this type of edu-speak rationale well, and, thankfully, my previous boards and I never used it. What the superintendent is saying is this, “Folks, by your approval of the building project in year one, you have given us license to increase your taxes by extraordinary rates in every year following.”

And I can already hear the responses to this complaint: (1) ….but it’s for the children – they are our future; and (2)….your children were supported by school taxes, now it’s time to pay for ours; and (3) ….with lower class sizes and new technology, education is more expensive today. Know that world all too well. Didn’t buy it as an education professional, don’t buy it today. It is time to flip that education budget telescope around, take a look at what taxpayers can afford (how many property vales are going up 16 percent per year?) and offer a reasonable, corresponding budget proposal.       

Ralph Wallace


A big “Thank You” as we step aside

Eighteen years ago my wife Bette and I arrived at a crossroads.

After three decades teaching at middle schools in Ellsworth, then at Camden’s CRMS and MET – and Bette teaching at Children’s House Montessori School – we chose to risk opening a 21st century preschool focused on peace and nonviolence. For some time we recognized the need for more diversity in preschool offerings in Midcoast Maine. While our community was home to several quality preschools, Bette and I felt there was need for a different approach to preschool learning. Encouraged by young families, many of whom were former middle school students and summer day campers, we decided to establish Stepping With The Stones as a place where the important first steps toward a lifetime of learning were reinforced on a daily basis.

From day one, our mission was to build cognitive skills in fun and socially compelling ways. We provided numberless, highly interesting exploratory activities designed to foster the child’s creativity and risk-taking. We successfully put the “school” into preschool, while having lots of fun! We call it “The Learning Advantage.” But, the cornerstone of our three-year curriculum was the exciting development of skills of peace and nonviolence and we worked to reinforce the same throughout the entire preschool year. This combination of cognitive and affective learning while with the trusted Stone family was indeed what so many young families sought in a preschool experience! They found it at Stepping With The Stones Preschool. And we’re proud of our many years of success!

Over the years our family-owned, private Stepping preschool was complemented by our equally successful SWTS summer day camp program.

It is with fond memories and lasting friendships of our 18 years as a leader in preschool education that Stepping With The Stones announces it will close operations on June 14, 2019. We warmly endorse Jennessa Tyler, who this fall will operate Seaside Village Preschool at the same 12 Lions Lane, Camden setting.

While Bette will relax and retire some, I have no intention of slowing down! My next chapter will focus on the other side of the spectrum – elder and senior care. I’m excited to see how this new venture will evolve!

Bette and I want to extend our fully sincere thanks to all of the parents, grandparents, students and campers and counselors, school administrators, employees and teaching colleagues who have supported us over the years! My success over these many years is attributed much to the inimitable support, expertise, and hard work of my wonderful wife Bette and our three talented daughters, Suzanne, Joanna, and Angie.

With heartfelt gratitude & sincere appreciation to all,

Jerry Stone
Founder & Administrator Stepping With The Stones


[The following letter refers to a story by Susan Mustapich in the May 2 Camden Herald.]

A Joy to Read
As a former high school college counselor and later as a college admissions officer, it would have been exciting and a pleasure to work with Augusta Stockman and Tessa Mott. I loved their comments about their motivation and their excitement and their willingness to follow their passions and see where they fall. I remember a student telling me once that she viewed her course options in college as a huge buffet where she could consume as much as she wanted. I used to say about her: " She never met a course she didn't like. "

Reading Augusta and Tessa's stories made my day. They are going to live exciting and fulfilling lives. I hope they will tell us how they are doing from time to time.

David Hilyard
Suffield, Conn.
Summer Resident


[Editor’s Note: Eva Morris is the organizer of the 2019 Mid-Coast Maine BestLit Review.]

Storytime Moms Tell All!

Last Friday, I saw the most wonderful presentation, 'Storytime: Moms Tell All!' presented in the Blue Cafe, Camden Opera House, second floor. Liza Walsh, co-president of event beneficiary Youth Arts really achieved something special with this group performance. Not only were the 10 storytelling moms really funny, and eye-opening too, they were also very very good presenters. I mean, I've worked with authors for years, but these charismatic creative storytellers really had the room in the palms of their hands. And even though I'd never had children, they created, with their individual performances, an empathy, and curiosity about a mom’s life. Then with the addition of laugh-out-loud humor, it became such a fabulous evening! Martie Cooper, Erin Donovan, Heather Kashner, Beth O'Connor, Nicole Recht, Denyse Robinson, Sessa Salas, Karina Shorten (oh, what a story!), Anneli Skaar and Erin Meyer, congratulations on a great job. You put on a really great event!

It's regrettable that the local papers don’t do reviews after standout events, so I'm forwarding this to Letters to the Editors instead, to say Ms. Walsh, you organized a fabulous, confident performance piece that everyone in that standing-room-only room clearly enjoyed. It was overwhelmingly entertaining and thought-provoking. Thank you for all the work you and the storytelling moms put in on it. It was awesome, and wonderful.

Eva Morris,
Camden visitor


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