Courier-Gazette, Letters to the Editor, July 18

Jul 18, 2019

Response to Hatchet Cove letters

This letter is in response to four recent letters in the Courier-Gazette that claim the Hatchet Cove Farm participants in a Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners-supported agricultural internship are receiving a raw deal. For a decade and a half, the farm’s owners, Bill Pluecker and Reba Richardson, have sponsored interns who arrive interested in learning how to make a go of a small farm business. There are 10 small farms in Maine that were started by people who were Hatchet Cove Farm interns. Yes, the interns receive a stipend of $3 an hour plus room and board. They also receive formal instruction in how to run a small farm, going well beyond the time they spend picking vegetables and other unskilled tasks. A more detailed description of MOFGA’s internship program is on its website. This 40-year-old program has made Maine the only state that has seen an increase in the number of small family farms.

Learning comes at a price. Skill-building requires work that demands some determination. Student teachers pay for the privilege of managing classrooms for months on end to prove themselves. Medical residents, having spent 20 years in school, face long hours of “scut” work at teaching hospitals. The hoops that participants must jump through are viewed as coming with the territory; they flesh out resumes.

So, why do the four letters single out Hatchet Cove farm? The first letter claimed that Bill Pluecker’s voting record as a state representative, along with the conditions of internship on the farm he and his wife run, point to hypocrisy on his part. That letter appeared in the July 4 issue. The July 11 issue, along with a defense of the internship program signed by former participants, had three letters supporting the original attack. The tone of these letters gave a reader to believe that the first letter came as an enlightening surprise. However, one of the July11 letters, which demanded that Pluecker “stand down” and told his customers to cancel their orders, was from Kerin Resch, husband of Paula Sutton, who lost her District 95 seat to Pluecker last November.

If these letters are a kickoff for a 2020 campaign of Sutton’s, she should know that while the technique of using an opponent’s proudest accomplishments against them by attacking their value has been used successfully, it should be wielded more subtly to be effective. Ask Karl Rove. Also, attempting to sabotage a family’s livelihood simply is not right. Winning is good, but it matters how we win. An honest discussion of political and economic differences is always better than distorting facts, distributing hogwash and grasping at straws.

Harold B. Mosher

Hope

Offers thanks to 'good neighbors'

We greatly appreciate the Rockland County American Legion, Rockland Kiwanis and other good neighbors who have stepped up to volunteer and care for our city parks. Their longstanding tradition of supporting our community continues!

Thank you, Russ Wolfertz, for organizing a team from the American Legion to bring equipment to haul out dead and diseased bushes from Chapman Memorial Park, and then tidying up the garden beds. Fresh shrubs and colorful flowers are now a pleasure for all who rest on the benches or travel by the downtown veterans' memorial.

Thank you, Marcia Whitten, for gathering Kiwanis members and their families, and to the Kiwanis Aktion Club for adults with disabilities, for cleaning up Kiwanis Park on Warren Street; rallying to carry and rake a mountain of wood chips to distribute beneath the playground equipment and hauling a heavy load of gravel bucketful by bucketful to upgrade the pathway. Parents and children have enjoyed the freshness and cleanliness of the neighborhood park ever since.

And for all the neighbors who happened to be there at the time and joined in the fun of working together as a team to clean and beautify our parks, we thank you, too!

The more the merrier.

Rose Wilson

Rockland Parks and Recreation Committee

Need for blood never stops

Summer can be a busy time full of fun activities and vacations, but the need for lifesaving blood transfusions never stops. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

Right now, the American Red Cross is facing an emergency blood shortage and urges eligible donors of all blood types to give as soon as possible to help avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients this summer. This follows a difficult Fourth of July week, where donors were less available to give and hundreds fewer blood drives were held compared to an average week as people celebrated the holiday. There is currently less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand.

Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those being treated for cancer or sickle cell disease don’t get a holiday from treatments that are critical to their care. More donors are needed now for these friends, family and community members who depend on lifesaving blood products.

On behalf of the Red Cross, I’m inviting you to roll up a sleeve and give the gift of life. About an hour of your donated time could lead to a lifetime of summer memories for patients in need.

Patricia Murtagh

CEO

American Red Cross Maine Region

Portland

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