Camden Herald Letters to the Editor June 25

Jun 25, 2020

Coastal COVID-19 pandemic casualty in Rockport

Many of us recently received a letter from Connie Russell, general manager of the Samoset Resort. Due to the pandemic the Samoset Health Club will no longer be available for memberships.

I want to try and express what that means to many of us who have been enjoying the Samoset for over 30 years. I realize the Samoset Resort is a part of a much larger successful corporate hospitality group and this decision was not Connie’s alone. I can not begin to imagine how stressful this economic disaster, that threatens the survival of our friends in the hospitality business, must be.

I grew up in Rockland and have been extremely privileged and fortunate to travel the world quite extensively. For me there is no place like my home of coastal Maine. For many of us, the Samoset has been an integral part of our local shared community and sense of home. Our community is a very special place with very special people. Like others, I attended the Health Club every day. At the Health Club I have had the privilege of meeting many people that have become great friends. All of these people connections have made the Samoset a vital part of our midcoast community. I feel the Health Club members have given the resort a special sense of energy and welcoming vitality for new and returning Samoset guests.

I recently met with a group of the Health Club members regarding our loss. Not to be overly dramatic but it was like attending a funeral. I have friends who were in tears to see this letter of closure. Some people have chosen to live here partly because the Health Club was available to them for their physical and social benefit.

Sadly I will miss all the staff that provided great service and I hope many jobs are not lost. Many of these people have become good friends. The instructors and trainers like Sheryl, Chuck, Lorie, Erika, Karen, Dori and others will be missed. It was a privilege to meet and get to know all of these people.

When I was young growing up in Rockland, the Samoset was way out by the ocean and breakwater in Rockport. It represented a different world of wealthy summer people “from away.” Over the years the new Samoset has done so much for our local people and community. The Samoset had evolved, becoming an inclusive member of our shared community.

I am asking Connie Russell and the powers to be to try and open the Health Club when this pandemic is over. We need an advocate for our shared community. I personally feel the economic disaster we are going to experience will be far worse than we can imagine. I hope that the Ocean Properties Group can survive and thrive again with the rest of our community.

Bruce Kilgour



A missed opportunity

I was delighted to hear the Camden Hills Class of 2020 was celebrated with the traditional march downtown.However, it was with dismay that I watched the video of the class, marching shoulder to shoulder, close together.Leading the parade were mask-less educators, setting an example for all who followed. I could count the number of face masks worn by students on one hand. A small group of teachers wearing masks brought up the rear, like an afterthought.

We are in the middle of a global pandemic the world has never seen. The coronavirus is out of control in the United States with more cases per capita than any other country. Other nations have reduced the impact of this lethal virus with responsible, proactive behavior. Medical experts tell us the simplest and most effective way to contain COVID-19 is to wear a face mask to curtail its airborne transmission. Our nation has turned the simple act of wearing a face mask into a political football.

Politicizing wearing a face mask makes no sense. Consider for a moment politicizing drunk driving, with the rationale that someone has the “right” to drive drunk.Society understands that drunk drivers pose a danger and lethal risk to others. It also would make no sense to politicize wearing a condom or using birth control. To politicize wearing a face mask in the era of the coronavirus is as ridiculous as politicizing drunk driving and birth control. All of those behaviors are based on being responsible, considerate of others and protecting and safeguarding the common good.

In school we lectured to the graduating Class of 2020 ad nauseum about “safe sex” and the need to be responsible. Reality check: you can’t die from gonorrhea, herpes, or chlamydia, but today people are dying from COVID-19.

Our community and the educational leaders of CSD 5 missed a teaching moment; they modeled irresponsible behavior. When you don’t wear a face mask with the reality of COVID-19, your message is “I don’t care.”Leadership betrayed the young people of our community.Our community educators and leaders should be ashamed.

Penelope Ray



Poetry on Windows - Appreciation

The Board of the Stewardship Education Alliance thanks everyone involved in Poetry on Windows held June 1 through June 15 in downtown Camden in celebration of World Oceans Day, June 8. The S.E.A. mission is to increase community awareness of ways we can be better stewards of our watersheds, but we wondered how to do that during this challenging time. The answer was PoW — poems on windows of downtown businesses for people to enjoy on their own, and a Scavenger Hunt!

In order to care for something, you have to love it in your heart and poetry goes to the source. Students and teachers from Camden Rockport Middle School and CHRHS submitted original nature poems or selected favorite published nature poems, and local poets Dave Morrison and Kristen Lindquist also contributed their poems. We garnered the services of talented “scribes” who would honor the poetry with their artistry. Generous downtown merchants in Camden loaned space on their windows and we were off and running with ladders, white-ink pens and rags in hand.

The scavenger hunt attracted people to the shops and we have three winners! It took some time and dedication to find every clue and send the answers to us. Thank you for your hunting. The winners are Amy Rollins; The Landfair Family; and Erin Rollins.

The S.E.A. thanks our poets and those who submitted much-loved nature poems. Your thoughts about the natural world are the energy for our future.

Poems were submitted by Cassie Middleton; Amelia Mills; Amelia Lincoln; Winona Lincoln; Charlotte Thackery; Aaron Dowd; Emmett Edge; Lola Kydd; Caroline Kern; Aili Charland; Korsen Landfair; Dave Morrison, local poet; Kristen Lindquist, local poet; Jaime Stone, principal Abigail Kohlstrom; and Jane Stanley.

We also thank the scribes, whose can-do spirit and astounding talent created a beautiful visual experience. The scribes were Amy Rollins; Jane Babbitt; Sue Burwell; Kalla Buccholz; Emily Seymour; Samantha Zwecker; Morgan Cafferata; Matt Carter; Katie Kunkel; Kirsten Surbey; Maureen Egan; Jeff Lewis; Susan Lewis; and Wayne Ruesswick.

Finally, participating merchants were all helpful, welcoming and patient. If you enjoyed the poems and can pop into a store to thank them, please do!

Participating merchants were Cashmere Goat; Owl and Turtle Bookstore; Surroundings; Smiling Cow; Glendarragh Lavender; Marriners Restaurant;

Leslie Curtis; Camden Opera House; Zoots Coffee; Camden National Bank; Page Gallery; Once-a-Tree; Maine Sport; Leslie Curtis; Stone Soup; Boynton McKay Restaurant; and The Planet.

Dave Morrison has a poem entitled “Shake Hands with Your Heart” and I like to think that the poetry event allowed our community to do that very thing.

Elphie Owen

Board member, Stewardship Education Alliance

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