Camden Herald letters to the editor Oct. 15

Oct 15, 2020

Vote yes on Camden ballot question 2

I’m writing to recommend a Yes vote on Article 2 on the town of Camden. Passage will enable Camden to move forward to build a half-mile-long new sidewalk along Washington Street that will provide safe pedestrian access to the town’s Shirttail Point public park. To reach this swimming area, walkers have had to navigate along the shoulder around parked cars, trees and culverts as passing cars veer into the opposite lane on a blind rise and corner to steer clear.

Improving the safety of pedestrians and drivers along this stretch has been a high priority. Camden has been working for 10 years to get this project done; the town was awarded a Maine DOT grant in 2010 for the project.

After that award there have been many hurdles; among them was the discovery that the paved road wanders in its right-of-way, leaving not-quite-enough shoulder room for the needed sidewalk in one section, impacting four landowners. Agreements were reached with three of them. But the non-resident owner at 225 Washington St., a one-acre waterfront property abutting the park, objects to the compensation package offered and is concerned about loss of the shoulder for renters’ parking.

The 120 square feet referred to in the ballot question consists of a wedge of land ranging from about three feet at its widest point (at the park entrance), narrowing to a point at the far end. At the part of the shoulder where their car is usually parked, the “taking” is a strip ranging from 2 feet to 1.5 feet wide along its length.

The town arrived at the compensation value by following the Maine State-mandated, peer-reviewed method and is constrained by that required methodology for valuation. It also offered additional compensation, including relocating a fence and plants, creating a 20-foot parking space and providing permission for additional access to that lot from town land. The landowner thinks the offer package unfair.

Since the town cannot legally increase the financial compensation offer, it cannot remedy that further. Since negotiations have broken down, the town must now ask the voters to choose between the wishes of the property owner and the safety needs of the public (in ballot legalese, voters would be approving an “Order of Condemnation,” with “just compensation,” for 120 square feet at 225 Washington St., for the purposes of sidewalk improvements.

A Yes vote on Article 2 will enable the town to proceed with bidding out this project. Please vote Yes on Article 2 – we need that sidewalk!

Anita Brosius-Scott

Camden

Vote yes on Article 2

The only question before the voters on the town of Camden November Ballot is Article 2, asking to approve an “Order of Condemnation,” with “just compensation,” for 120 square feet at 225 Washington St., for the purposes of sidewalk improvements.

The Camden–Rockport Pathways Committee endorses the approval of Article 2 because it reinforces the construction of sidewalks and pathways throughout town to ensure safe transit for pedestrians, a hallmark of healthy communities.

The sidewalk improvements that approval of Article 2 promotes will ensure that the young and old will be able to walk safely along Washington Street, especially to Shirttail Point, a popular town park and swimming spot. This half mile sidewalk extension has been on the Pathway Committee’s Master Plan since 2007.

The town recognizes that a safe pedestrian way is needed to connect the nearby dense residential areas to the park, and the Pathways Committee agrees.

In 2010, Camden was awarded a Maine Dept. of Transportation Quality Community Programs for this sidewalk extension.

With ensuing surveys and engineering, sidewalk planners learned that the road’s right-of-way wanders, requiring agreements with four landowners whose property abuts Washington Street.

Three landowners worked out an agreement with the town; the fourth did not, disputing the financial compensation for approximately three feet of municipal encroachment as well as other accommodations Camden was willing to make.

When such a dispute arises, state statute requires voter approval for Camden to move forward with acquiring the property.

By voting yes on Article 2, Camden will finally be able to construct a sidewalk along Washington Street for the public to use for safe transit. It is a positive step for a town that cares about healthy communities and public safety.

Geoffrey Scott, Chair, representing the Camden Rockport Pathways Committee

Camden

Supporting Rep. Bill Pluecker

I live in Hope and and have been on our town’s budget committee for four years. Each year we struggle with our local budget. Over the last many years until 2019, the municipal share we received from Augusta has continually decreased and has caused a lot of stress on how to pay for all a small town must do, including providing a quality education to our children.

Bill Pluecker ran in 2018 assuring voters he would work to increase the municipal share and also increase the state funding that is meant to support local education and take some of the burden off the property taxes in Hope and all the other towns and cities in Maine.

Bill Pluecker has delivered, and I hope you will join me in voting to re-elect Bill Pluecker for House District 95.

Ellie Goldberg

Hope

Supporting Gordon Page

I first met Gordon Page 33 years ago when our sons played together in Little League. Gordon was a coach and a very good one. We served on the board of directors and we both have been Little League President. Over the years, I have been very impressed with his ability to get a job done and that is all you can ask for. He will do the same as your next Maine Senator.

Gordon is very fair minded and has lots of integrity. You already know that if you have met him and if you haven’t met him then take the time to do so in person if you can or by going to his website gordonpageforsenate.com. You can chat with him on-line. His accomplishments are too numerous to list here but most people will remember his service to our community as president of Rockland – Thomaston Area Chamber of Commerce and as executive director of Rockland Main Street Association.

I want you to learn more about Gordon and I am sure you will be as impressed with him as I have been these last 33 years. Based on my knowledge of Gordon, he is an independent thinker and will not vote strictly on party lines. He will do what he thinks is best for his constituents and Maine as a whole. He will not continue the acrimony in the State House and will bring fresh ideas. It is time for a change and Gordon Page is ready to make those changes.

So please go to that website or meet him if you can and really drill down on who Gordon Page is. Learn about him, think about him and understand him and when you do, I am sure you will, like me, vote for him to be our next Maine Senator from District 12.

Dennis E. Norton

Rockport

Mainers Already have a Keeper

How many times have you been in a conversation about our reps in DC and said something like, "Why can't they work across the aisle for our benefit? Or perhaps, "Why is it that party politics always comes first?" Or in desperation you say, "I don't believe a word he/she says, it's all BS.” Well then, if this is you, consider the following two guidelines. First: how about a cool, patient, analytical and honest examination of each issue and its long term impact on America's future? Second: how about following the oath of office principles, whereby the reps swear to uphold our U.S. Constitution?

Well, you might think: "that' ain't happenin, not in Washington, that's unheard of." Well yes it has and is happening with one senator and that senator is Susan Collins. Time and again through the years, we've seen her take the honest, careful approach. Time and again, we've seen her stay out of the media party aligned limelight.

Are you really considering throwing Senator Collins overboard? Considering replacing this level of outstanding, exceptional integrity? Speaker Gideon talks warm and fuzzy, but she is a mud slinger from start to current. And her campaign is turbo charged with out-of-state megabucks to boot. And then there's Gideon's sticky unanswered ethical problems? Let's rehire Senator Collins. Her hard earned Maine-style integrity has proven her to be a Keeper. DIRIGO Maine means we vote Collins.

Jon Kuhl

Camden

Senator Miramant: there’s no one better suited for the job

As a recent transplant to Knox County, I offer my support of Sen. Dave Miramant for reelection to the Maine Senate for many reasons, several very close to me.

It’s heartening to know that Dave’s focus on the protection of our environment aligns with my passion for protecting and enjoying the world’s ocean. With the Gulf of Maine being the fastest-warming body of water on the planet, we have a front-row seat to climate change. Dave’s ability to balance and manage the needs of the fishing community, the fisheries they depend on, the fragile coastal ecosystem, and the need for environmental responsibility, demonstrates his leadership and vision for the future of our marine industry, community and beyond. His understanding of renewable, clean energy technology, its application, and its role in reducing our fossil fuel dependence exhibits his forward-thinking strategy for our future. These are needed qualities to effectively lead Maine toward a sustainable future.

As a commissioner of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Senate Chair of the Marine Resources Committee and a member of the Coastal Caucus and the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, Dave has the expertise and clearly demonstrates his dedication to marine resources and protecting the environment.

I’m currently exploring the opportunity to develop a coastal business. Knowing that Dave supports entrepreneurs and has firsthand knowledge of the challenges they face gives me comfort. His reputation precedes him, and I already know that I can count on Dave to be responsive to me, and knowledgeable in his efforts to help me and my business succeed.

Maine’s economy depends on a healthy environment and small businesses. Dave’s experience as a small business owner provides an intimate understanding of what makes them tick. Coupled with his experience leading us in the Senate these last six years, there is no one better suited for this job.

I fully support Sen. Dave Miramant to represent our district in the Maine Senate, and hope you will too.

Mark Haley

Rockport

Supporting Rep. Bill Pluecker

To chart a more harmonious course for the future of Maine, we need to be able to talk and work with one another. Rep. Bill Pluecker has set an example for us in this regard during his first term in the Maine House of Representatives.

As an Independent, Bill works with folks on both sides of the aisle. If you have taken an issue to Bill as I have, you have seen first-hand how he listens, identifies the problem and then works to find a solution. His mission is to help out folks like you and me.

Considering the challenges we are all facing in Maine today, I hope you will join me in voting to re-elect Bill Pluecker to represent us in Augusta and to forge non-partisan solutions to our problems.

Barbara Bentley

Hope

Supporting Gordon Page

It is my pleasure to enthusiastically support Mr. Gordon Page for Maine Senate District 12.

Gordon was literally the first individual to extend a memorable warm welcome to the mid coast community, when he approached me at the Captain Lindsey House in Rockland, which hosted a Rockland-Thomaston Area Chamber of Commerce Business after Hours.

As a result of our friendship, we ended up serving together on the Chamber Board for many years, including as president. His extensive involvement in the community exhibits his passion for our beloved area and its fine residents. I am especially proud and impressed with his support of the small business owners who have benefited from his past advocacy and leadership. Perhaps his strongest accolade is his devotion to his 27-year involvement with the Kiwanis Club, providing critical support to the children in our area.

I urge you to join me in voting for Gordon Page, whose proven and honorable leadership voice is needed right now in Augusta.

Respectfully,

Connie Russell

Rockport

Thank you to Waldo County General Hospital Aid

For more than 100 years, the members of Waldo County General Hospital Aid have helped to define the hospital as a place the community could turn to for compassionate and high-quality health care. From assisting in central registration to operating the hospital’s gift shop, these volunteers have brought comfort and cheer to our patients and care team members alike. We are a better hospital – and a healthier community – because they have been a part of our team.

And so it was with great sadness that we learned that the WCGH Aid Board of Directors had reached the difficult and painful decision to recommend dissolution of the Waldo County General Hospital Aid, effective Sept. 30, 2020.

We understand the reasons for the decision. Safety precautions around COVID-19 have prevented members from volunteering in the hospital, and there is no expectation that they will be able to return any time soon. In addition, the number of active members has dwindled over time, and new membership has waned as the pace of modern life leaves our younger residents little time to volunteer.

Rather than dwell on the sadness of this moment, I’d like to take a minute to celebrate Waldo County General Hospital Aid’s legacy of making a difference in the lives of their families, friends and neighbors.

Waldo County General Hospital Aid was formed in 1901 by a group of local citizens who believed that supporting their community hospital was the best way to promote the health and welfare of their community. Over the years, members raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, including $80,000 in the last five years to support the Waldo County Dental Clinic, the Oncology Patient Assistance Fund, the Cardiac Rehab Scholarship Fund, the Public Health Nurse Assistance Fund and the Employee Scholarship Fund.

In addition, members performed numerous duties that have helped the hospital run smoother and lightened the load of the professional staff so they could more fully focus on patients. Those duties included, among other things: holding monthly meetings on health care topics; raising money for the purchase of medical equipment; baking for events; delivering flowers and mail to patients; making crafts for the gift shop and tray favors for patients; running errands and volunteering at fundraising events.

We know that this was not an easy decision for WCGH Aid, but we hope its members will take great pride in their legacy of improving the lives of everyone in our community. They have made a profound difference, and we are all better for it. With our deepest appreciation, thank you.

Mark Fourre, MD

President

Pen Bay Medical Center | Waldo County General Hospital

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