Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor Jan. 07

Jan 08, 2021

Post office blues in Thomaston

What is a newspaper for? It has many parts. There is a professional calling for the special parts of reporting the news and investigation of particular issues and concerns that are ongoing.

I am disappointed that The Courier-Gazette is weak in both parts. It appears to me that only one person fills the first part. That is Stephen Betts. He has the very traditional role of covering the courts, the so-called "police blotter" and other municipal departments such as the Center for Disease Control, currently writing up the COVID-19 reports of Dr. Shah. Stephen Betts is an experienced journalist who, at this time, occupies page six and is confined to Rockland.

My complaint is specific for a major problem that should have an investigative journalist. That is the very poor service of the Post Office, a most essential service in our daily lives. It looks like a crisis to me in a public utility/service that goes back to Benjamin Franklin, the first postmaster. Our municipal post masters are overwhelmed right now.

So, why is a newspaper not covering it? Why is there no apparent paid position for this essential journalistic position?

To illustrate the crisis, I offer only two items of my own experience.

The glossy notices for Christmas mailing we received were not reliable when we took four packages to the Thomaston post office Dec. 17, so we mailed four boxes to Virginia, Maryland and Maine priority mail.

Only one arrived on Christmas Eve. Two to VA and MD arrived Jan. 2. The 4th package was mailed to St.David/Madawaska. It finally arrived Jan. 2. Remember when we had next-day, first-class mail delivery all over Maine, the one area code 207?

Thanks to the tracking receipt, we eventually found two boxes in Maryland, nowhere near the addressees, and those finally arrived, yes, on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021.

It was not only packages that were mis-directed or late. On Tuesday, Dec. 29, last week, I received two cards from New Jersey. One was posted Dec. 12 and the other the Dec. 19.

I have grown weary of the personal essays on pages four and five of The Courier-Gazette. So, I ask you Mr. Publisher, why is there not a paid professional investigative journalist on staff?

Carmen Lavertu

Thomaston

A note of reflection from the Sherriff

At this time of year, it's good to reflect. 2020 is on its way out, thankfully, and we are ushering in 2021.

But some things don't change, and that is the mission of the Knox County Sheriff's Office. Members of the Knox County Sheriff's Office are committed to making Knox County a safe place to live and are dedicated to the protection of all we serve. We endeavor to provide exceptional law enforcement service, free from prejudice or favor, with leadership, integrity and respect.

Here's a few ways we accomplished those goals this year:

  • Knox County S.O. has delivered 32 five-gallon buckets to our Sand for Seniors program already this winter.
  • We worked through the Knox County Triad program to protect seniors from scams.
  • We delivered more Meals on Wheels food packages and participated in food drives this year, because COVID-19 kept some from being able to make deliveries.
  • We continued work on helping those coming out of our jail to be more successful in rejoining the community. With the help of a grant, we hired a former local legislator and continued work with the Knox County Recovery Collaborative to help with services for those being released from incarceration that include employment, housing, healthcare and transportation. Our goal is to reduce the return to jail rate, and we have seen it work successfully in other Maine counties. Our partnership with Waldo County is critical in this effort.
  • We finally have two deputies on the islands, one on Vinalhaven and the other on North Haven, who feel welcome and are already making positive gains in forming relationships and trust there.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office wishes you a happy and safe new year, and know that we are here when you need us.

Sheriff Tim Carroll

Knox County Sheriff's Office

Rockland

Responding to the Rockland City Council

“Ladies and gentleman, a cell tower is to be erected next to Pizza Hut. There’s no stopping it, now.”

Unless a wealthy, big hearted humanitarian or company wants to purchase the lot at 182 Camden St.? They would have to deal with the fact that Bay Communications has leased the far corner next to Pizza Hut for the ominous 120-foot cell tower to be erected.

I’m very disappointed that a professional local realtor in our fine community is not more concerned with the health of our residents. Having a cell tower on Rte. 1 is not a benefit to our touristy community.

The local realtor that placed the lot next to Pizza Hut smack dab on Rte. 1 into the hands of the developer Bay Communications (who are from the Boston, Mass., area) for the cell tower to be built, finds me saddened with this action.

Actions were taken by attorneys in Portland; representing our City Council was disturbing. They did not insist on having our Planning Board members represented at the meetings to discuss the proposed contract with Bay Communications.

Shame on them. Shame on our City Council members for not insisting upon our Planning Board (who supported us, the people) being there.

Aren’t they friends with the Planning Board members? I think they could’ve figured out a way to include our Planning Board in the decision making process. Our Planning Board is not from Bangor, they are from Rockland, for heavens sake.

How would the highly skilled Portland attorneys not know this to be problematic, why did they not insist something is wrong with this picture. I have been asked, will I take action? No!

The actions involving this particular issue, the cell tower going up on Rte. 1, is my deep concern and now must end with prayers sent to protect all of us from undue unstoppable radiation to be emitted all over Rockland and the globe, our shared planet of habitation.

Please, dear God, bring us miracles beyond which I cannot comprehend. Let Thy Will Be Done, not my will.

Ananur Forma

Rockland

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Comments (4)
Posted by: ANANUR FORMA | Jan 11, 2021 17:36

Hi Barry, I did not make a comment about the postal service, think you are referring to commentary by Katherine.

Too bad about your seitan.



Posted by: Barry Douglas Morse | Jan 09, 2021 11:18

Ananur, from my own national reading, I suspect the postal problem is a national one, but one with consequences that are experienced locally.

It isn't just a national issue because, from my breakfast table here in New Jersey, I can't tell that someone in Knox County is experiencing what I'm experiencing by reading The Times, for example. Problems like these need to bubble up from local news - or from letters to the editor.

So I'll share my worst recent experience: In early December we ordered - two-day guaranteed - the best seitan steaks we could find on the east coast from a company in Brooklyn, 20 miles away. They were perishable, but vacuum-packed, frozen, and shipped with dry ice.

They finally arrived(!) on January 5, almost two weeks late. Of course they went straight into the garbage.

Back to our holiday dinner: fortunately we arranged with the vendor to meet on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge for a replacement handoff.

Meanwhile, every day we receive and redistributing letters intended for other recipients all over town.

I don't think it's just a resources issue. Postal workers have been told, over and over, by the president of the United States, that they're worthless. If I were a postal worker, I would be demoralized.

From a standpoint of what the Courier-Gazette can do, it certainly would be valuable to get the view from the local US postal service itself.



Posted by: Katherine Holland | Jan 09, 2021 10:16

Carmen Lavertu: generally coverage of the US Post Office is considered national news since it is a federal organization. If you read a national rather than a local publication you could learn about the severe cost cutting measures of Postmaster General Lovejoy which began last summer. You can read about those here: https://www.npr.org/2020/08/11/901349291/postal-workers-decry-changes-and-cost-cutting-measures. Although he was then shamed into stopping many of these measures due to their anticipated effect on delaying mail delivery, including mail-in ballots, many remain in place. Those, in addition to the number of workers out sick with or in quarantine due to COVID-19, are what is causing the delay in USPS mail deliveries. The recently passed COVID recovery bill does include some funding for the post office.

But the unique burden placed on the USPS to provide funding for pensions 75 years into the future - something no other federal or corporate entity is required to provide - is an even more critical issue. You can read about that here along with a way to correct the problem: https://ips-dc.org/how-congress-manufactured-a-postal-crisis-and-how-to-fix-it/.

 



Posted by: ANANUR FORMA | Jan 09, 2021 10:07

thx



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