Camden Herald Letters to the Editor Nov. 28

Nov 28, 2019

A wake-up call for all of us

At age 66, drug addiction has abruptly affected my family and me. Like so many people, until last week, I saw drug addiction as someone else’s problem. But like a bolt of lightning, I learned it now affected me and will affect every one of us, one way or the other unless we unite and do something about this growing threat.

Greg, my nephew, was 38 years old and had a big heart that endeared himself to many. Last Tuesday, suddenly he was gone - another victim of an epidemic claiming 70,000 American lives each year. Drug overdose has been the Number One cause of death in America for the last three years for people under age 50. While overdose deaths grab the headlines, another 20 million Americans struggle with addiction and nearly 50 percent of all Americans personally know someone with addiction.

What has been the response in our community and our country to the worse public health crisis in American history? Not much. Not much at all.

While the human, societal and economic toll of drug addiction is causing a progressive decline in America, our government and we are investing very, very little compared to the amount needed to turn this problem around.

Compare this epidemic to World War II. Four hundred and twenty-thousand Americans died in that six-year war. Every six years, that many young people die of drug addiction with no end in sight. At least the war came to an end.

I founded the Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition in 2016 to start the fight in Midcoast Maine. As of 2019, we finally have established our first “beachhead” with two sober houses for men, women and children affected.  This is our “Normandy.” It took us three years, with many casualties, to get this first foothold on the mainland of addiction. The war is still 99.99 percent ahead of us.

The Allies won the war because they pooled their manpower and resources in a very difficult and bloody conflict.  The drug addiction epidemic will not solve itself and it deserves the same kind of “all out” effort WWII deserved.  If we failed to defeat the Axis powers, we would all have lived in a world run by horrific dictators.

If we fail to rise to the challenge of confronting drug addiction in America, everyone will personally become a direct or indirect victim and America will become a hopelessly impoverished country.

Please join with The Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition to engage the enemy and to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.  Please visit or contact us at Thank you.

Ira Mandel

Camden, Maine


Crossing the line

We certainly have crossed a line in politics when the owner of this newspaper is criticized for writing simply that we should be nicer to one another.

In a recent column, “Standing against Susan Collins, the Senator,” a student at the Watershed School in Camden delivered a long, painful diatribe against our Senator. Not that I have any inclination to believe a word the writer wrote, but the fable reads like it was drafted by a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee which is spending millions to try and defeat Collins.

The writer seems to believe Collins is a corporate hack who doesn’t care about Maine.  Give me a break.  If Collins didn’t care about Maine, she certainly would have found a different job a long time ago where she isn’t subjected to name-calling and unfair attacks on a daily basis, not to mention all of the death threats she has received.

The writer accuses Collins of “avoiding her constituents,” but I checked with Collins’ office and I was told that the writer actually had a meeting scheduled with the Senator earlier this year, along with a group of students from her school, but they canceled the meeting – not the Senator.  On a related note, I tried to attend a event advertised in Village Soup with Democratic candidate Sara Gideon earlier this year, and they asked me to leave!

It’s clear the writer has no intention of supporting Susan Collins.  That’s her choice, but she should learn that playing fast and loose with the facts is irresponsible.”

Paula G. Sutton

Warren, ME

Editor's Note: Sutton's letter has been edited since its initial publication to remove an inaccurate statement. In addition, Pearl Benjamin, who wrote the column this letter responds to never requested a meeting with Sen. Collins, nor did she cancel one, according to her family. Her name was listed on a form as part of a school trip to Washington, and the class visit did not take place due to a scheduling change during the trip. This letter was a response to the column "See and Heard," published in the Nov. 14 edition of The Camden Herald.


Thank You!

During this season of thanks - and all year long - United Midcoast Charities is grateful for the generous community members who support our Midcoast nonprofit community.

With the support of our donors, UMC's 2019 grant awards brought our three-year giving to $1.5 million to nonprofits in Knox and Waldo counties.

United Midcoast Charities awarded its 2019 grants to agencies that work to create impact in our four focus areas: food, housing, health and safety, and economic security. A complete list of 2019 grant recipients in each focus area is available on UMC’s website.

We are also grateful to the hardworking nonprofits who turn UMC grants into life-changing support. The 2018 grants provided:

20,600 nutritious meals to food-insecure people in Waldo County

20,000 nutritious meals to food-insecure people in Knox County

Comprehensive reproductive health care to 519 low-income, uninsured, and underinsured Maine people

4,000 hours of bereavement and end of life support to 139 people and their families

Financial assistance so that 80 children from 18 towns in Waldo County can access high-quality care while their families work

236 seniors in need with hot, nutritious meals in their home

Restorative justice services and education to help 198 people retain or recover employability

Free after school and summer programs with free transportation, supportive adult relationships, and nutritious meals for 450 children

In-home nursing services to help 226 low-to-moderate income seniors remain safely at home

A free university course to 21 local adult students

Direct service to 656 people affected by domestic violence

Assistance for 668 clients experiencing homelessness to transition into safe affordable housing

And MORE – see the entire list on our website:

UMC's year-end fundraising to support the 2020 grant awards is currently underway. We invite you to join us with a contribution toward next year's grants!

On behalf of UMC’s more than 30 nonprofit grantees, Thank you!


Megan Williams                                                  
Executive Director

United Midcoast Charities

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Karin Leuthy | Nov 29, 2019 15:08

Ah, Paula Sutton, the Hope/Union/Appleton/Warren rep who was voted out of office because constituents rejected her LePage-style politics, anti-immigrant fervor, and intellectual dishonesty. Remember the anti-Muslim fliers and the column in this paper that were repudiated before the midterm election? That was Paula. Remember the legislator that wouldn't agree to an interview by this paper unless the questions were vetted in advance and she could answer in writing? That was Paula. Remember the legislator who wrote that climate change would be good for Maine farmers because it would extend our growing season? Yep, Paula. I also remember the rep who answered my question about why she voted against Maine's equal rights amendment like this: "One of my favorite movies is the Wizard of Oz , especially the scene at the end where Dorothy finds out that she has had the power all along but she just did not know it.  My feelings are similar on women's rights." It might surprise some readers here to learn that Paula Sutton is lying in her letter about students (some of whom were once her constituents). But it doesn't surprise me one bit.

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