Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor, June 7

Jun 07, 2018

Seth Hall makes pitch to Waldoboro voters

Having been an active and enthusiastic member of numerous Waldoboro boards and committees for some time now, I feel that I have developed a pretty good feel for how things work in the town of Waldoboro, and sometimes, how they don't work as well as they might. I'd like to help change that.

My volunteer board and committee memberships have included the MSAD 40 School Board, the Region 8 School Board, the Economic Development Committee, as one of the founding members of the Communications Technology Committee, and most recently, as the chairman of the EDC's Renewable Energy Subcommittee (the folks who brought Waldoboro its spiffy new Solar PV array at the Transfer Station.) I also served on the Planning Board for quite a while, including as its chairman for a number of years.

I am proud of the work we volunteers have done, and continue to do, on behalf of the town and its residents. Without the efforts of our committees and boards, getting a lot of this work done would be impossible for our town staff. Two good examples of this are: the amazing work that the Shellfish Conservation Committee has done over the years to clean up and protect our river, the Medomak, and its fishery; and the Renewable Energy Subcommittee, which this year investigated, planned for, negotiated and brought to fruition a Solar PV Power Purchase Agreement, with Sundog Solar of Searsport. The result of this effort is that the town will be saving about $2,500 this first year on its municipal electrical bill, and even more each subsequent year. The long-term, 30-year potential saving to the town from this project approaches $400,000, which no one can deny is real money that taxpayers won't have to spend!

Having been involved in Waldoboro politics for some years now, I've been able to observe how the Select Board thinks about, and plans for, the future. After all, being a member of the Select Board is not a popularity contest: members are there to do real work, such as managing the budget, ensuring the public's safety, and making possible the best schooling for our children. In addition, I believe that the Select Board should take a more active lead on some issues, and that in particular, members should spend a lot of time thinking about the economic development of the town.

I believe that the Waldoboro Select Board could, and should, do a lot more in terms of leading the charge on issues like expanding access to broadband internet service for all town residents, increasing the efficiency of the town-owned buildings and their energy systems, and planning for expanding business opportunities in town, through creative and innovative approaches, like TIFF zones, Community Development planning and grants, and making our Historic Village District a destination for both businesses and tourists. These are areas I have considerable experience in, and a pretty good track record putting into practice, in my own small business right here in Waldoboro.

By taking a more direct and active role in the areas mentioned above, our Select Board would be offering real leadership, and would no doubt encourage even more participation by residents on our committees and boards. In addition, they'd be sending a message loud and clear that Waldoboro is a great place to live and raise your kids, and to start (or move), a business.

I would like to help move Waldoboro forward in all of these ways, and if you believe that I might be able to help as a member of the Waldoboro Select Board, I'd greatly appreciate your vote on June 12.

Seth Hall

Waldoboro

No to Waldoboro pot ordinance

I am writing to urge Waldoboro voters to say no to the Ordinance Prohibiting Retail Marijuana Social Clubs and Retail Marijuana Establishments in the Town of Waldoboro.

First the disclaimer. I am a member of the Waldoboro Select Board. I do not speak for the other members of the Select Board. The views in this letter are mine alone.

I am against the proposed ordinance because:

1. It is unnecessary. The Waldoboro Select Board established a Marijuana Committee to explore options available to the town regarding marijuana and to provide information about marijuana to Waldoboro's residents. The committee is just beginning its work. The Marijuana Committee did not recommend the ordinance to the Waldoboro Select Board.

2. The proposed ordinance accomplishes no more than Waldoboro's current marijuana moratorium does. The marijuana moratorium will remain in place until the first week of July, and the Select Board can extend it in 180-day increments until the Marijuana Committee submits its recommendations to the board.

3. The ordinance gives no guidance about how to deal with individuals in Waldoboro who are already involved with marijuana, whether as growers or nonmedical users.

4. The ordinance does not define "retail marijuana product," making the reach of the ordinance unreasonably broad. The Ordinance, as drafted, is fraught with unintended consequences, and it could be costly to enforce.

The Waldoboro Select Board established the Marijuana Committee to do its work and to make recommendations. Allow that process to work its way through. Please vote no on the proposed marijuana ordinance and encourage the Waldoboro Marijuana Committee to complete its work.

Bob Butler

Waldoboro

Rule-making could have far-reaching effects

On June 14, 2018, the Union Planning Board will begin the process of developing rules and regulations to control requests to the town for wedding/event permits. The work session at 6:30 p.m. is open to the public for attendance, but not for public input. It is important that the general public be aware of the board’s efforts, as the board will take into consideration written comments over the course of developing the rules and regulations.

The rules will have to cover a wide variety of situations, including, but surely not limited to, requests for weddings/events on lakefront property. When lakefront property is involved, loons and eagles could be seriously impacted, which would change the character of the lake forever. The lakes of Union are very important assets of the town and all its inhabitants, not just lakefront property owners, and need the board’s special protection.

The general public has a right to be aware of the thinking of the Planning Board members and the direction any rules and regulations might be headed. A free and independent press is vital to ensure that transparency is maintained. We are hoping that your publication will be willing to cover this process as it unfolds.

John and Stephanie Woodman

Union

Knox Dems host gubernatorial forum

Our Knox County Democrats' 2018 Gubernatorial Forum at Camden Hills Regional High School May 26 was a great success, both for the folks who attended and for the amazing students who participated in the planning and production of the event.

First, our thanks go to our chair, Zachery Annis, and the seven Democratic candidates for governor: Adam Cote, Donna Dion, Mark Dion, Mark Eves, Janet Mills, Diane Russell and Betsy Sweet. At what must be an incredibly busy time for them, they all took the time, on a holiday weekend, to spend the afternoon with us at the Strom Auditorium. They each had 10 minutes on the "hot seat" answering thoughtful questions posed by our student panel. We are so proud of this field of candidates.

Second, I want to thank all the students who participated in this event: Our student moderators, Eileen Monroy and Aidan Andrews; our panel of questioners, Pearl Benjamin, Greta Bishop, Jesse Bifulco, Jackson Chadwick, Iris Luce, Meredith Luce, Sam Maltese, Frances Ostensen, and Phoebe Walsh from CHRHS; and those who served as our student crew, Isabel Corona-Ferlauto and Matthew Young from Oceanside High School. They all did an amazing, professional job!

And finally, our heartfelt thanks go to the League of Women Voters (for registering voters at the forum), Liz Smith (former chair, KCDC), Tom Heath (CHRHS IT, with student Brad), Mary Winchell (corresponding secretary, KCDC), Amy Fischer, Penelope Padden, Gabriel Blodgett, Wyatt Sykes and Matt Annis (KCDC volunteers), Amy Ferlauto and Thad Feeney (CHRHS teachers), Flatbread Co. (for the pizza), Stop N' Go (for the juice), and Camden Hills staff.

We couldn't have done it without all of you, and we are extremely grateful. For people who were unable to attend the event, a video is available at youtube.com/watch?v=NH44TJtOXLA.

Nancy D. Davis

Events Chair, Knox County Democrats

Rockland

Support Fortman for state Senate

I am writing in support of Laura Fortman for state senator from District 13. I first met Laura about 10 years ago, when she was the labor commissioner for the state. She was attending a green energy expo at the YMCA in Damariscotta and gave a very impressive welcoming talk about jobs and green energy. She captured people's attention with her knowledge and warm, energetic spirit. I became an immediate fan.

After serving as labor commissioner, Laura became head of the Frances Perkins Center. I thought there wasn’t anyone around who was more suited to this. She embodies all of the ideals of that amazing woman who fought for workers’ rights, including minimum wage, Social Security and unemployment insurance. I was not surprised when she went on to work for the U.S. Deptartment of Labor, because of her obvious talent. Laura is very smart, but as a longtime Maine resident who came from humble beginnings, she wears her keen intelligence lightly, her warmth and down-to-earth energy shining through.

And this is key: we need someone in the state Legislature who represents working people, who connects with people, and who will be a truly independent voice, not someone who simply follows a party line. She genuinely cares. I hope you will join me in voting for Laura Fortman in November.

Kay Tobler Liss

Jefferson

Fortman has skills to be a good legislator

I am grateful to Laura Fortman for running for the District 13 Maine Senate seat this fall.

I believe her qualifications to represent us are excellent. She has worked minimum-wage jobs, juggled part-time work and parenting while attending college, led a sexual assault crisis center, served as Maine Labor commissioner for eight years, and as deputy administrator of the federal Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for three and a half years.

We really need our representatives to know how government works, or how it should work. The currently popular notion of candidates running with an agenda to destroy government institutions and policies without any good ideas on how to replace them is unacceptable. Fortman has extensive experience in and knowledge of state and federal government. She is skilled at negotiating solutions to complex problems and at listening to people of all walks of life.

We need representatives who know and who are open to learning how small business, fishing, education, agriculture, health care, science and innumerable other fields actually work. District 13 stretches from the shore to the farmlands. While it is not very culturally diverse, it does contain a population with a wide diversity of lifestyles and opinions.

Fortman has lived in Nobleboro, part of District 13, for 30 years, working with residents, agencies and businesses and getting to know our strengths, resources, needs and concerns.

Laura Fortman is the best choice to represent all of us in the Maine Senate. Please consider voting for her.

Linda Shaffer

New Harbor

Flawed fireworks ordinance

On May 26, I was awakened suddenly by a loud explosion that was set off in the next yard. More bombs were set off between 9 and 10 p.m. Then other bombs were set off in an intermittent pattern between 10 and 11 p.m. I called 911, and was quickly brushed off.

The Waldoboro Fireworks Ordinance is deeply flawed, and for the past three years or so has only encouraged explosion terrorism and neighborhood annoyance. The police are quick to tell you these explosions are only "fireworks," and not dynamite sitcks, which they sound like, and refuse to investigate. This ordinance has taken away our right to peace and quiet, and the quiet enjoyment of our property, along with the right to get a night's sleep.

Compare this situation to the police reaction to the school "bomb scare" racket. There is no explosion, and no one is harmed, but they send cruisers, firetrucks and ambulances to make a big thing out of it. Then they send a graffiti-sniffing dog to the restroom to lick off the word "bomb," and declare the school safe.

They make sure the press is there, so the whole thing gets splattered all over the papers, telling how they handled all the "danger"!

But if any crackpot wants to set off real bombs a few feet from a neighbor's house, they make a joke of it.

I have asked a selectperson to have a petition drawn up to ban fireworks in Waldoboro. I hope the locals will sign it.

Ray Perkins

Waldoboro

Memorial Day thank-you

On behalf of the Rockland Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade Committee, we would like to thank the following people for their contributions in making this year's event a success. Master of Ceremonies Walker Huchins, Mr. Bill Batty Jr. Mayor of the city of Rockland Valli Geiger, Carol Bachnofer, Mike McNeil, Mike McMahan, Horace Benner, Rob Gabe, Bay Winds North Wind Ensemble, Cornetist Chris Blum, Teri Crockett, for the playing of “Taps.” Color Guards from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps League, Knox County Sheriff's Department, veterans who participated in the ceremony and parade, Sail, Power, Steam Museum Capt. and Mrs. Jim/Meg Sharp, Owls Head Transportation Museum, Warren Kinkaid, Jake Barbour for the donation of a truck and flatbed for the parade, Maine AllCare float, Rockland Police Department, Rockland Fire Department, and to the people of Rockland for attending the ceremony and parade.

Marlene Hall

Gary Henry

Rockland

MCRC can help small employers with employee addiction issues

Recently, the Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition relocated its office to the central downtown area of Rockland to better serve the needs of the public and of the business community.

Over the past several weeks, even before MCRC conducted outreach to local businesses about its services, two Rockland companies directed employees to us for help. Both employers directed employees to us who were dealing with issues including addiction to alcohol and to drugs.

Neither of these small employers felt able to address these situations on their own. While larger companies often have human resource departments with many resources, most small employers find themselves unable to manage problems outside of their comfort zone. Too frequently, in a market where employees are hard to find, employers have to let go employees who are valued, but whose job performance suffers because of addictions out of control.

By working closely together with MCRC on behalf of the employee, situations such as these can be salvaged and valued employee be retained.

MCRC is also often contacted by hard-working, talented people in recovery who are in need of a job. MCRC will assist these individuals with job placement by staying involved to be sure recovery support enables them to perform at the level needed by local businesses.

For questions or for help, call the MCRC “Recovery Coach” hotline at 701-1182.

Ira Mandel

Executive Director MCRC

Rockland

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