Camden Herald Letters to the Editor June 13

Jun 13, 2019

Help fill the Missing Types

Imagine a world where the letters A, B and O have gone missing. For example: _meric_n Red Cr__ss. You can’t help but notice that something is off. These aren’t just random letters. A,B and O are the letters that make up the major blood groups and when there’s a blood shortage, types A, B, O and AB blood really can go missing from hospital shelves. This summer, The Red Cross will launch our second annual Missing Types campaign to encourage blood donations.

To help raise awareness for the need for blood donors, businesses, organizations and individuals across the country - including local partners The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal - are joining the Missing Types movement by removing the A’s, B’s and O’s from signage, websites and social media. The goal of Missing Types is to get people to take notice and take action by donating blood.

The need for this campaign is real. Each year, more than 21 million blood components are transfused to U.S. patients, with the Red Cross providing about 40 percent of that supply. Despite blood’s lifesaving role, only three out of 100 people in the U.S. give blood each year.

Blood donations help people undergoing cancer treatment, those receiving organ transplants, accident victims and other patients. As the CEO of the New Hampshire and Vermont Region of the Red Cross, I meet so many people whose lives have been impacted, if not saved, by blood transfusions.

On behalf of the Red Cross, I’m inviting you to help fill the Missing Types by giving blood this summer.

Patricia Murtagh
Chief Executive Office
American Red Cross Maine Region


Government based on trust

Our system of government, whether local or federal, is based on trust. We trust that our elected officials will do the right thing. Without this trust, we get bogged down. For government to function with any semblance of efficiency, trust in government is essential. I fear that we are allowing individuals to erode our trust in our government.

Ever since the Vietnam War, our government has failed to keep our trust. Since the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and the lies surrounding the Vietnam War, the proportion of Americans that trust that the government will do the right thing “most of the time” has eroded from 77 percent to 17 percent this year, according to this Pew poll:

The mistrust in federal government, whether it is merited or not, has had a detrimental effect on local town government. People who feel marginalized by federal government feel the same way about local government — they are concerned that elected officials are acting only in the best interest of themselves or, say, the school board.

During a town meeting that I attended, a school board member raised the concern that the town has a greater responsibility to ask the taxpayers how to spend money in relation to the school because so many tax dollars go towards the school. I question this philosophy. More oversight is not required of the school committees — they already have budgetary decision-making power.

As a resident of Appleton, I can understand the displeasure that many feel about paying taxes that seem disproportionately high. This displeasure is often channeled into mistrust for municipal government when people begin to wonder just where their tax dollars are going. Without oversight of government, corruption and fraud could take place, but this oversight needs to occur through the right channels. This does not mean accosting town officials at budget meetings. Contacting officials privately or attending committee meetings is a much more effective and efficient method of knowing where your tax dollars are going.


August Gray



Maine's Arbor Day - It takes a village

I want to thank the many people who contributed to the wonderful statewide celebration of Maine's Arbor Day that took place at the Camden Library May 20. It was indeed heartwarming.

As a longtime advocate for Camden's trees, including 25 years as Camden's Arbor Day and Tree City USA Coordinator, it gave me the greatest pleasure to have the privilege of hosting this year's program in Camden.

The rain, though good news for trees, meant we were not in the Amphitheatre, but seated indoors in the Camden Library's beautiful historic Reading Room, its Palladian window framing the spectacular view of Camden's harbor and swaying trees -- and easily (in my humble opinion) one of the loveliest venues in the state of Maine.

The Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, Amanda Beal and the Director of Forestry, Patty Cormier, as well as representatives from Maine's other Tree City USA municipalities, were truly impressed by the wonderful turnout of Camden residents and by the many dedicated individuals, committees, and organizations who support the planting and preservation of trees in our community.

Special thanks to the library and its staff, especially Director Nikki Maounis for graciously offering the Amphitheatre and Reading Room for the ceremony and to Assistant Director Ken Gross and Director of Library Parks Dave Jackson.

To members of the Camden Select Board - all were present -- and to town managers past, Roger Moody and present, Audra Caler-Bell.

To the exhibitors - the Library's Campaign for the Future; Beedy Parker's exhibit about trees and climate change; the Camden Garden Club's history of the garden club's tree planting program.

To Commissioner Amanda Beal and Director Patty Cormier for timely remarks about trees and climate change; to Jan Ames Santerre, director of Project Canopy, who makes these events possible and for choosing Camden for this year's Maine Arbor Day celebration; to Jan's staff for their help and the wonderful Tree City USA posters; to the State of Maine for the delicious food and the Amphitheatre's "Prairie Dream' paper birch.

To the TREEKEEPERS crew for planting the birch, setting up chairs and tables in the Reading Room and Picker Room and many other tasks large and small; to Douglas Johnson for birch and beech boughs framing the podium; to Emilie Disney for photography and Violete and Finley Hermans for distributing programs.

Finally, thank you to those who raised TREE CITY flags over Harbor Park, the Public Safety Building and the town offices during Maine's Arbor Week.

Yes, it truly takes a village to grow - and sustain - a tree program.

Nancy Caudle-Johnson



Thank you from Soups On!

On behalf of the members and staff of The First Congregational Church of Camden, I extend heartfelt thanks to the more than 70 volunteers who came forth to make the 14th season of our Soup’s On! luncheons such a wonderful success. These are the folks who served as chefs, bakers, wait staff, greeters, set-up and clean-up crew, table decorators and musicians -- volunteers not only from our church, but from other churches and the community at large, who so enthusiastically served a total of 1,298 meals to Camden area residents and visitors on 20 Wednesdays between October 31, 2018 and March 27, 2019.

A crew of 18 volunteers served an average of 65 guests each week. Guests and volunteers say that the fellowship at the lunches is as important as the delicious soups. As a result of this amazing outreach program, many new friendships have been made over the years.

We gratefully acknowledge the following businesses who generously donated food to Soup’s On this past year: Hannaford Supermarket, The Market Basket, French & Brawn Marketplace, and Graffam’s Seafood Market. We would also like to thank the many talented musicians who donated their time to provide us with weekly entertainment, including Miners Creek Band, Nan Jones and the Rusty Hinges, Mike Fletcher and Suzanne Scott.

Rest assured, we are already planning for the 15th season, which will convene in late October 2019. Whether you come as a volunteer or a lunch guest, we hope to see you at First Congregational Church of Camden for Soup’s On!


Debbi Hitchings
Soup’s On!

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