Camden Herald Letters to the Editor Oct. 11

Oct 11, 2018

Support for Owen Casas

With so many seats to fill in state, county and local government, and all the trouble we have filling positions, I wonder why the race for House District 94 so frequently forces me to choose between people I not only respect, but also like personally. I have agonized over some of these choices and I know I’m not alone.

So here we are again, presented with two great options for one job. Even my eight-year-old pointed out a few days ago how much easier it is when there’s one person you do like and one you don’t.

But that’s the nature of small communities and it’s one of the reasons why I love being involved in local government. The people I disagree with on one thing turn out to be my biggest allies on the next, and most of it has nothing to do with political parties.

For me, the decision to support Owen comes down to what I’ve seen over several years of watching him on the Rockport Select Board and working with him on the Mid-Coast Solid Waste Board, as well as paying attention to the decisions he has made in Augusta. He continuously seeks to improve himself and receives criticism and feedback perhaps better than anyone I know. He has good things to say even about those who criticize him, and he is generally more concerned with process and compromise than with his own personal agenda. These qualities and others made him an easy and unanimous choice to be chairperson of our four town Mid-Coast Solid Waste Board this year. He cares deeply about the environment and relentlessly seeks common ground.

After his unsuccessful run against Joan Welsh, I was impressed by his willingness to buckle down and get more experience by running for the Rockport Select Board.

Just as I have seen at the local level, there is a massive learning curve to all elected positions, and two-year terms seem too short for the legislature. I also think that few things can prepare you for the state legislature better than serving first at the local level. Party affiliation becomes virtually irrelevant and the the best work gets done by showing up, being prepared, and keeping at it. Part of me thinks state and federal government would run better if everyone started out serving first on select boards and city councils.  

While I understand that our system is centered around political parties, as a lifelong Democrat, I see no reason to replace Owen. He votes with the Democrats the majority of the time, but looks for opportunities to compromise. When the votes fall along party lines, he has voted about 70 percent with the Democrats and 30 percent with the Republicans.

He has been a reliable vote on environmental issues and has the endorsement of the Maine Conservation Voters and the Maine Sierra Club. On labor issues, he has the support of Maine State Employees Association. He supports universal healthcare, renewable energy, and has a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood.

Two years in the legislature have given Owen a great start and I expect his best is still yet to come.

Allison McKellar


Supporting Vicki Doudera

I'm voting for Vicki Doudera for state representative because she understands our local businesses and what they need. Vicki and Ed started a successful lodging business, owned another, and Vicki has been active in our chamber of commerce for years. She stays involved in issues that are important to the lodging industry and continues to work with business owners in her job as a realtor.

Vicki will work hard in Augusta to address our workforce shortage and cut down on the bureaucracy, because she knows firsthand that our small businesses are what drive the Maine economy.

David Dickey


Support for Paula Sutton

I am writing to express my support for Paula Sutton in her reelection bid for House District 95.

I first met Paula during her first campaign for public office. I was immediately impressed with her direct, no-nonsense manner and her willingness to provide answers to my questions without the political doublespeak we have become accustomed to these days. Since that time, I have found Rep. Sutton to be responsive to questions and willing to listen to my concerns. While I am sure we won't agree on every subject, she has proven to do exactly what she promised during her campaign. I believe Paula truly works for the people of Maine and look forward to her continuing to work for us in Augusta.

Jeffrey Blake


Sen. Miramant works to protect Maine's natural resources

Over the past year, my husband and I have explored the country as full-time travelers, visiting the beautiful landmarks of our incredible nation. Although we’ve been gone from Maine for a few years, when asked where we’re from, the answer is always Maine. This is undoubtedly met with one of two reactions, either people who have been here and remark on its beauty or people who have not yet been here who have heard of its beauty and plan to come to see it. There is no middle ground.

Maine lives in the ranks of notably beautiful places that everyone wants to visit and appreciate. While living in Maine, it was often easy to take it for granted but after a year of traveling the rest of the country, it’s easy to see that what we have in this incredible state is special. Because of this, I know that protecting our home and the natural environment of Maine is of increasing importance.

My dad, Maine State Senator Dave Miramant, knows that to protect our quality of life and our health, we must keep our land, air, and water clean and productive. This matters not only for tourism but for all aspects of the Maine economy, from the fishing industry, food production, and a sense of place and beyond. Our environment is our way of life.

Ocean warming and acidification have changed the Gulf of Maine. My dad is working to mitigate the effects of decreased fish populations and lobster migration Downeast. He is calling for action to reduce pollution that causes these larger impacts and affects our way of life. Based on his voting record, my dad received a 100 percent rating from the Maine Conservation Voters. That is something to be proud of and celebrate.

My dad has always appreciated Maine’s natural beauty and resources. Continuing as state senator, he will always work to advocate for the community, which necessitates protecting our natural resources. Please vote to re-elect my dad, Sen. Dave Miramant, on Nov. 6, so he can continue to do this important work.

Thank you,
Ashley Miramant Ridley

Questions for all candidates

How recently have you visited your local public schools? Did you ask about their “school shooter” protocols? Did you think about whether handicapped or other disability disadvantaged youth would be able to follow them? At a school I visited the students were expected to jump out windows, requiring them to break windows five feet off the inside floor, then fall six feet to the ground outside and run across open space to the woods? Were the teachers expected to stay behind with those who couldn’t make it?

Do you think about any of these things when you vote against any common sense gun control proposals? Do you think this is something your children should be expected to do?

Nancy Lloyd


Supporting the Rockport Library

I was excited to see the mural representing the new library building which now covers the front of the old library. It is an inspiration to vote yes on Articles 2 & 3 on Nov. 6.

Libraries are the heart of a community, the place any and all may go not just to borrow books, but to meet new people, to hear lectures, for study time with a tutor, to do research, to learn how to use the computer or smart phone. For some the library is their only access to a computer or internet. A library is a place for young & old, rich & poor — all are welcome and served.

This proposed new library will provide more space, some 7,000 square feet for current needs and 3,000 square feet for future expansion, at a cost of about 11 cents a day (about $40 per year) for the average Rockport taxpayer. Where else can you get so much for so little?

Yes, the full cost of the new library is more than the $1.5 million we will vote on, but the rest of the cost will be covered by private donations. A group of wonderful Rockport residents, the Rockport Library Foundation, has been working hard to secure donation pledges. Even if you are unable to make a tax free donation to the foundation to help cover the remaining cost of the library, please vote yes on Articles 2 & 3 on Nov. 6.

Helen A. Shaw


Vote yes for Rockport Library

During the past several years, the Rockport community has discussed important issues relevant to the need, design, location, and functions of a new library building.  This cooperative effort has resulted in many compromises as we inch towards a consensus.  Voters have an opportunity in November to contribute to this process by voting in support of Question 2 (the bond) and Question 3 (the bridge loan).  Your vote is critical.  Please remember that a recent library ballot question was decided by less than ten votes.

The importance of our library is well recognized.  It provides a safe, welcoming space to users that range from mothers with infants to senior citizens.  It offers Internet access, hosts a variety of language and interest group meetings, supports one of the finest inter-library loan programs in the United States, is staffed by gracious and knowledgeable professionals, and affords meaningful volunteer opportunities.   And of course it has a great selection of wonderful books, periodicals, newspapers, and audio materials.  In Rockport, our concept of a library remains strong, but we desperately need a new building.

Libraries have been a hallmark of respected civilizations since the ancient Egyptians.  As towns developed in the United States, the best were characterized by the prevalence of churches, schools, and libraries, as was clearly the case in Rockport.  We ask that you consider continuing this tradition by casting your important ballot in November and voting yes for Question 2 and Question 3.

Marie and Larry Novotney


Save your bags and vote yes on plastic bag ordinance

I am an unabashed newspaper fan. About 5:30 each morning, two Maine dailies are tossed on my steps, each encased in a spanking new, single-use plastic bag. These, plus the weekly Camden Herald delivered to my door - also plastic wrapped - amount to 14 bags a week and a whopping 728 bags a year!

Casting around for recycling ideas, I was reminded of Camden Select Board member Alison McKellar opining (when the Camden Conservation Commission submitted its proposed ordinance banning single-use plastic bags to the Select Board) that plastic bags have many handy uses - including for dog poop.

It is certainly true that the world seems to be going to the dogs and every bit of poop collected will be helpful. Therefore, I'm more that happy to pass on (for free) my pristine plastic bags, perfectly sized for human hands and pet poop.

To facilitate this, I'm hoping our own local animal shelter - PAWS - will step up and accept plastic newspaper bags and make them available to people with pooping pets. It's all for a good cause.

Vote Yes on the citizens' referendum to support Camden's single-use plastic bag ordinance.

P.S. This is not a joke -- I'm saving my bags.
Nancy Caudle-Johnson

Support the ordinance banning single-use plastic bags

I support the ordinance on the upcoming Camden ballot which will ban single-use plastic bags.

Although thin plastic grocery bags don't seem to amount to much and it's easy (yes, I do it) to cave in a grab them, I know they're emblematic of the throw-away plastic culture we've all been lured into. I, for one, could use help to kick the nasty habit.

Just like the Red Sox cap so many in Red Sox nation proudly display, I'm learning to enjoy flaunting my co-op canvas bags — displaying allegiance to the Blue Hill, Belfast, Good Tern, Rising Tide, and Portland Food Co-ops (as well as my great love of food)!

As a past chair for more that two decades of the Camden Conservation Commission, I want to commend and thank current commission members for taking the initiative to research and propose this ordinance for our town -- and then to collect sufficient signatures to place it on the ballot as a citizens referendum after our (not yet enlightened) select board turned it down.

Join me in voting Yes! To clean up the mess we're making of our earth, we all need to pitch in.

Douglas N. Johnson

AIO Weekend Backpack Program

I was living hand to mouth in my early 20s, as many in that age bracket do. I had a car payment, car insurance, rent, utilities, gas and food, that were my responsibility to cover. I was working retail at LL Bean: a better than minimum wage job that had great health insurance, but still by no means a job that I felt I was secure in financially.

I had just taken out money from my savings account at my bank to make a car payment when the teller looked at me and said, “You do realize that leaves you with $7.35 cents in your account?” The shame associated with that statement cut me to the core. Did she announce it on the intercom? No, but she might as well have in the way I heard it.  I was solvent. Maybe just barely, but I was paying monthly bills and “just” getting by.

One thing I don’t ever remember during that time was being hungry.  I know now, many years later, that this is not the case for many Mainers. Hunger affects working people, as well as the unemployed, the disabled, the elderly and, of course, their families. As adults, it’s bad enough to be hungry. But for children, being insecure about their next meal has devastating collateral results. Hungry children can’t concentrate, and so don’t learn well.  They’re often ill or absent, fall asleep or act out in class. The federally-funded breakfast and lunch programs at schools help. But what happens for children after school for supper? What happens during the weekend?

My husband and I recently became involved with AIO’s Weekend Backpack Program. This is run by volunteers and every Friday sends food home for more than 300 school-aged children in 18 schools across Knox County.  Nutritious breakfasts and lunches for the child, plus ingredients for a family meal, are packed by an assembly line of volunteers on Thursday mornings.  Then some of the volunteers deliver the filled bags to the schools, where teachers, office staff, or volunteers discretely insert the bags of food into the children’s backpacks when no one is there to see. 

AIO’s weekend backpack program buys the food for the three rotating menus from Good Shepherd Food Bank in Lewiston-Auburn.  The cost is $225 per child per school year.  The program receives no government money but is entirely funded by donations, from individuals, businesses, civic groups, and grants.  It arrives on an 18-wheeler on the first Tuesday of every month, along with the food ordered by all the Knox County food pantries.  The backpack food is transported on volunteers’ trucks to Nativity Lutheran Church on Old County Road, Rockport, to await the Thursday assembly lines. This is not field-ration food, but high quality, nutritious fare - whole grain, low sugar, low sodium, high protein, like turkey chili, spaghetti sauce and pasta, apple sauce, oatmeal bars, canned vegetables, milk.

It is not a cure for hunger. Until adult hunger is cured, there will always be children in need. But this is an important supplement to lessen children’s food insecurity.  It’s local and much needed.  I am so grateful that an organization such as AIO’s Weekend Backpack Program exists, and I am proud to be associated with it as a volunteer.

My financial situation in my early twenties was challenging and a concern to me at the time. But over my life, the experiences I’ve had and the observations I’ve made, have provided me a very different perspective on what it can mean to “go without.”

Heidi Getchell Perkins


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