Camden Herald Letters to the Editor Feb. 7

Feb 07, 2019

Legislators call for preservation of Title IX protections

As the state representatives of Knox County, we recognize the historical and present-day impact of sexual violence and harassment on our community and students. While all people and communities are affected by these acts, we also recognize that this is a symptom of our society that disproportionately affects women in our communities.

Because this is a societal issue that affects the fundamental structure of our schools, workplaces and community institutions, it must be addressed in a comprehensive way that requires the involvement of the federal government. Our federal Constitution mandates that the government protect the individual liberties of our citizens, and sexual violence and harassment fundamentally threaten these liberties.

We recognize that it is fundamentally more difficult to be a survivor of sexual harassment and violence than it is to be accused as a perpetrator. While recognizing that all people have the right to defend themselves in front of an impartial judge before being convicted, as a society, we should encourage people to give voice to their experience of violence and harassment, and to have the strength to confront the perpetrators. As more people come forward with their stories of abuse, our society will become more adept at responding empathetically and professionally to their experience.

This is the role that Title IX has played in our legal system for the last 30 years, and its work is not yet done. It is remarkable that in this time when we are seeing so many people come forward with their stories of the role of sexual violence and harassment in their lives,  rule changes are being proposed to make it more difficult to pursue legal remedies under Title IX. It gives the appearance that these changes are based on a political motivation to quiet the survivors and protect the perpetrators. Even if this is not the intent, this motivation is being clearly communicated by the timing of these hearings.

It is time to double down on our 30-year legal commitment to the rights of students who are coming forward with their own stories of surviving sexual violence. It is time for us, as a community, to welcome and really hear these stories in a way that brings compassion and commitment to changing the societal ills that give space to these attacks. These are fundamentally hard stories to hear for both those who have experienced a sexual assault and those who see how they did not step forward to speak out when given the opportunity. This is our opportunity to speak out. This is our time to step up to the challenge of sexual violence and harassment in our schools and community, and not let our past define our future.

As the state legislators of Knox County, we call for Title IX to be protected in its current form, with its protections for the liberties or all people, accused and survivor alike.

Sen. David Miramant

Senate District 12

Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos

House District 91

Rep. Anne Matlack

House District 92

Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center

House District 93

Rep. Vicki Doudera

House District 94

Rep. William Pluecker

House District 95

Rep. Genevieve McDonald

House District 134

 

Support for bus drivers

On these cold, dark, icy winter mornings, I give thanks for the dedicated bus drivers in our district. While I nurse a hot coffee at home, they are venturing out onto roads often made treacherous with ice and snow. They have long routes, repeated four times each school day, so in mid-winter they start their routes in near-darkness and end them near dusk.

They’re remarkably skilled at maneuvering through crowded village streets and along steep and winding rural roads. I watched one day as the capable driver of our children’s bus route, Deacon Ward, backed that behemoth bus into a space I would have had a hard time fitting my compact car into. And Deacon has safely transported our oldest son — a senior — since he first entered kindergarten!

While their driving job is only part-time, the shifting school schedule, due to snow days, late openings, early-release days and more, makes it nearly impossible to juggle other weekday work.

There’s a shortage of bus drivers statewide and locally because we don’t offer enough to these skilled, patient and flexible district employees. They navigate challenging road conditions with crews of boisterous kids who are rarely as polite or appreciative as they might be; by many measures, they merit hazard pay!

Day in and day out, we entrust our children to these drivers. This year, I hope the school district starts providing the compensation they deserve.

Marina Schauffler

Camden

 

Thanks to Winterfest volunteers and supporters

Camden enjoyed a successful outdoor festival last weekend: the Winterfest community celebration in Harbor Park and the Amphitheatre. The Camden Public Library is pleased to be able to host the annual festival, thanks to the financial support of the First National Bank.

There were many moving parts to the celebration, and the Winterfest Committee would like to thank all the many volunteers and participants. Volunteers included Lisa Collins and Laurie Roy and rest of the team from Maine Coast Orthodontics who served the hot food outdoors, with chowder and soup donated by the Waterfront and Mariners, hot dogs from French & Brawn, and hot chocolate from Boynton McKay. Volunteers from West Bay Satellite Rotary included Libby Schrum, Shelly Butler, and Cindy Allen. Ken Gardiner kicked off the day with his unmatchable audience-participation Hokey Pokey.

The volunteer ice carving team was led, as always, by master carver Tim Pierce of the Samoset, with Hector Pietra-Santa, Zachary Fowler, Matt Brown and Abe Dugal.

In addition to the ice carving, Jen Porter and SunDog Outdoor Expedition organized the exciting Polar Plunge; Hank Lunn and All That Jazz provided live music indoors during the ongoing Kids Crafts, hosted by children's librarians Amy Hand and Loraine Murray; DJ Terry Frank provided music outdoors and Portland's Dark Follies provided energetic outdoor entertainment in the Amphitheatre. Noah Kleiner of Equinox Guiding Service and Tim Barter of MaineSport, offered live demos and information.

Thanks to all for their contribution to a bracing celebration of winter! Winterfest events continue through the week with support from the Camden Opera House, with a classic comedy performance by Pinot and Augustine on Wednesday evening, and the Mallett Brothers with the Oshima Brothers on Thursday.

Sincerely,
Ken Gross & Cayla Miller
Winterfest Committee of the Camden Public Library

 

Ragged Mountain Ski Patrol thanks the community for its generous boost

The Ragged Mountain Ski Patrol, a group of volunteer skiers who help keep the Camden Snow Bowl safe, fun and accessible, thanks the community and its businesses for helping to raise money for important patrol investments.

We especially are grateful to Robert Morgan, of Flatbread Pizza, for providing the venue, as well as Camden Snow Bowl Manager Beth Ward; Andrew Dailey and Brian Kelly at Sidecountry Sports; Sam Appleton, at Waterfront Restaurant; Mark Senders, at the Bagel Cafe and Jeff Boggs, at Maine Sport Outfitters, for generously donating raffle items.

The Jan. 22 pizza dinner fundraiser raised more than $1,000, with the proceeds going toward paying National Ski Patrol dues, ski and binding checks, Lids for Kids (an effort to get helmets on the heads of young skiers) and other expenses.

The 43-member ski patrol is on duty at the Snow Bowl throughout the winter, helping skiers who suffer minor inconveniences, as well as major injuries. Patrollers assist and transport skiers, boarders, or whoever may be in distress from all ski trails on Ragged Mountain, in any conditions, back to the lodge.

Patrollers are also on duty throughout spring, summer and fall, when off-season events, such as outdoor running challenges and leaf-peeping chairlift rides are underway at the Snow Bowl. And if the lifts ever stop running, the patrol is nearby to help passengers evacuate.

While the patrollers pick up the cost of their own training and devote many hours to keeping their outdoor medical care and rescue skills honed, there is not a lot of money for other expenses.

Add to this time spent prepping for and attending, Outdoor Emergency Care refresher courses and hosting refreshers for patrollers from other mountains, paying for CPR courses and costs associated with lift evacuation training — well, there’s a lot that the volunteer-driven Ragged Mountain Ski Patrol funds!

Thank you, Midcoast citizens, for contributing to our ongoing efforts. We hope to see you at Ragged Mountain, enjoying all that the beautiful outdoors in our community has to offer.

“You fall, we happily pick you up!”

Duncan Matlack, Ragged Mountain Ski Patrol director
Camden

 

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