Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor, May 17

May 17, 2018
Blizzard, a 9-year-old cat who lives in Union, is missing from his home.

Help sought to find missing cat

Our dear Blizzard has gone missing, and we are hoping to have the community’s help in bringing him back home. On April 25, one of a cat owner’s worst nightmares occurred, when our cat carrier broke apart in the All Creatures Veterinary parking lot (818 West St., Rockport).

Blizzard bolted into the woods, and was not to be found. Already a very timid cat who experienced his first weeks of life in the wild, Blizzard ran away in a panic from the unfamiliar sights and sounds.

Nine winters ago, a baby Blizzard was captured during a storm by my partner’s sister, Heidi, and cousin Lori. For several months, Heidi and Lori had been working to capture and rescue feral cats that had settled in their area. This day, they had been by the area and saw a young kitten. After pursuing him through deep snow, they were able to capture him. Scared and confused, little Blizzard came to live with us. We set him up in a small room with food and litter, and would go and sit with him several times per day. Through patience and persistence (and a bit of string tossed his way to play with), he came to love to be petted and played with.

Blizzard adjusted to our home well, spending most of his life with us as an indoor cat. He has bonded closely with the other cats in the household, and is comfortable with dogs who are quiet-natured. He has a very sweet soul, and is very gentle. His absence has been deeply felt by both the humans and the other animals in the household, particularly by his buddy Atticus.

Blizzard is a dark grey cat who weighed around 15 pounds at the time of the accident. He had all of his teeth removed a couple of years ago, due to a health issue, and is likely having a difficult time finding food to eat. He is a neutered male and has a saggy belly flap. Blizzard is quite feral by nature, and will not come to anyone. If seen, we ask that you please not call or chase him, but observe landmarks where you have seen him and take note of which direction he is going in. Please call us immediately at 542-2303. Once we have a possible area that he has settled in, we believe that we will have to lure him in with food, and live-trap him. The last confirmed sighting was April 27 via a photo on a game camera set up in the woods behind the vets’ place.

Maine Lost Cat Recovery is offering us advice and emotional and material support, and we thank them immensely. We also wish to thank all of the wonderful and kind souls who are already helping with the search, including keeping an eye out for him, and allowing us to set up feeding stations. We appreciate any help that you might offer, and so hope that it will result in a homecoming for our Blizzard.

Again, call 542-2303 with any sightings.

Clairlynn Rountree

Union

Disagrees with Sutton suporter

In her letter describing the conversation she had with Rep. Paula Sutton {Courier-Gazette, May 10, Letters], Debra Andreasen expressed how happy she was that our District 95 representative cleared things up for her regarding her vote on LD 1874. This bill will fund a program that supplements Child Protective Services by coordinating the community-based efforts of schools, police, churches and nonprofits in identifying cases of child abuse and neglect. Such a program has been running in much of the state for two years and, contrary to the governor’s claims, has been proven effective. Marissa Kennedy and Kendall Chick, two children recently lost to extreme abuse, lived in areas covered only by Child Protective Services.

Rep. Sutton’s “no” vote on LD 1874 is, in fact, agenda-driven and, along with all her votes, completely in line with the ideology she shares with the governor. As she herself said, the optics surrounding her vote are objectionable. The odor is even worse. Fortunately, in November we have an alternative to Rep. Sutton.

Harold B. Mosher

Hope

Chocolatier supports cruise ships

Bixby & Co.is strongly in favor of the continued welcoming of the passenger cruise ships, regardless of size, to our community, and we are against the notion of imposing a moratorium.

Bixby & Co. is a manufacturer of artisan chocolate products and is located in the former historic ice house owned by the O’Hara Corp. We brought the business from New York State to Maine in 2013. The city of Rockland Economic Development Office and the chamber strongly encouraged us to come to Rockland and assisted in finding suitable space for our factory. We had other options to consider, but chose Rockland because of its supposed pro-business attitude and strong encouragement.

In August 2017, after extensive and very expensive renovations, Bixby opened the first bean-to-bar production center in Maine, with a tasting room and retail store. This is where we make craft chocolate from the cacao beans. The tasting room is for our visitors to sample the chocolate made from scratch and learn where chocolate originates. The tasting room offers another magnet for experiential tourism, which is right on trend with the yearning of today’s tourists. One of the reasons we heavily invested in the ice house renovations was the anticipation of brisk tourism visits to our tasting room and retail shop from the passenger ships, bus tours and vacationers during the short seasonal tourism period.

Bixby has created many new jobs for Rockland and anticipates continued growth and adding more jobs. Bixby is a proud sponsor of numerous community events annually.

Our experience with the visiting cruise ship passengers has been extremely positive. The visitors are curious to learn about chocolate, polite and respectful. They come from far afield, as far as the UK, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and throughout the U.S.

They come to Rockland seeking a connection with an authentic Maine community with a working harbor, the nationally renowned Farnsworth Art Museum and the CMCA, inviting art galleries and shops, and premium restaurants. Anytime the passengers come our way, we see a healthy spike in our retail sales. I am sure we are not alone with the economic value-added of strong tourist sales from the cruise ships.

The cruise ship passengers drive an increase of the tourism economy for Rockland, and the Rockland community should warmly welcome them. According to the Maine Office of Tourism, the average on-shore spending of cruise ship passengers is $175 per day in meals, beverages and retail sales. The spending infuses immense new dollars to boost our local economy for creating jobs and general economic good. The cruise ships will go elsewhere if Rockland takes a narrow, “no growth” and “not in my backyard” position. This would be a tragic opportunity lost, with the added negative view that Rockland is anti-business and anti-economic growth.

For these reasons, we vigorously oppose the proposal of a moratorium and strongly support the continued welcoming of all passenger ships. Moreover, we propose that the Rockland Economic Office and the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce continue to work with the Maine Office of Tourism to recruit additional cruise ship visits.

Gordon McAleer

Bixby & Co.

Rockland

What's the winning mix of tourism for Rockland?

Rockland is on the rise. Our modest city is now an arts destination with some of the best restaurants in Maine. Tourists are drawn to its rugged coastal charm and the feel of a real working waterfront. The city’s economy is growing, with new businesses opening, while also having one of Maine’s highest concentration of manufacturing jobs per capita. We are a key regional economic hub for surrounding towns and the islands. Our city’s growth has led us to a crossroads, and we need to be mindful about how we proceed.

Everyone involved in the cruise ship debate agrees that tourism is an important economic driver for Rockland. How can we enjoy the economic benefits of tourism, but at the same time hold onto our small harbor town identity/community and also protect our unique coastal environment and the industries/people that depend on it for a living? The Cape Town Declaration of Responsible Tourism seems to have a viable solution that could be an excellent choice for Rockland and perhaps for the Maine coast.

They promote the concept of responsible and sustainable tourism, which includes the following characteristics. Responsible Tourism minimizes negative economic, social, and environmental impacts:

• generates maximum economic benefits for local residents and enhances the wellbeing of host communities and their tourism-related enterprises;

• recruits and employs staff following International Labor Standards and the standards of the 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (ilo.org);

• ensures that tourism enterprises do not operate to the detriment of other host industries;

• involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and personal opportunities;

• makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage;

• provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater appreciation of local cultural, social and environmental issues;

• is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence;

• minimizes negative environmental impact of their offerings;

• considers the volume and type of tourism that the host community and the environment can support;

• respects the the integrity of vulnerable ecosystems and protected areas;

• ensures that best practices are followed with consultation from environmental and conservation experts;

• uses resources sustainably and reduces waste and overconsumption.

The goal of responsible tourism is to “encourage planning authorities, tourism businesses, tourists and local communities to take responsibility for achieving sustainable tourism, and to create better places for people to live in and for people to visit.”

Rockland is a popular tourist destination. It makes sense to hold onto the reasons why Rockland is so appealing to visitors, as well as to its residents.

Independent studies (not funded by the cruise ship industry) show that the longer tourists stay per visit, the greater the chances that they will spend money and return. Tourists come to Rockland to enjoy our beautiful vistas, see our lobster boats, ride on our schooners, visit our museums, shop in our unique shops, eat in our interesting restaurants, and get a breath of clean ocean air. Let’s hold onto our small town status, and protect what is so special about Rockland. We should promote tourism, but selectively choose the type of tourism that fits best with our town and over the years sustains the type of development that will continue to draw visitors from near and far.

Let’s agree to promote sustainable, responsible tourism which will not only ensure our economic growth, but also maintain our quality of life and the unique aspects that make Rockland and its surrounding area a desirable place to visit and live. What is our alternative, irresponsible tourism? I encourage residents, businesses and organizations from Rockland and surrounding towns/islands to join us in forming an Alliance for Responsible Tourism. Our website (ARTRockland.org) will be coming soon, with details to follow.

Sally Wylie

Rockland

Backs Eves for governor

As the June 12 primary election fast approaches, I strongly urge you to consider casting your ballot for Mark Eves for governor. I am enthusiastically supporting Mark’s candidacy and do so for a number of reasons.

First, Mark supports many of the policy goals that I think are important to the future of the state of Maine, including health care for all, by expanding Medicaid, allowing all Mainers to buy into Medicaid on the health care exchange and pushing for the creation of a federal single-payer system;iInvesting in education by fully funding our schools using a progressive tax structure where the most prosperous among us pay their fair share, establishing a minimum teacher’s salary of $40,000, instituting universal pre-K programs and expanding vocational education; standing up to the NRA by banning assault weapons and high-capacity clips and instituting background checks on all gun sales.

Second, I support Mark as I think it has become painfully obvious that Maine's governorship, just like our presidency, is not an entry-level job. It's a demanding position requiring relevant experience. And Mark Eves, while by no means a career politician, has served four terms in the Maine House, two as speaker, and thus possesses that requisite experience,

But the primary reason I'm endorsing Mark is that his temperament and demeanor will enable him to bridge the toxic divide that has plagued our state for the past several years. To heal the many wounds that have needlessly festered for so long, Mark's vision and positive “can do” attitude will result in the governorship's being restored to a position of championing the people and institutions of our state.

John A. Spear

South Thomaston

Representative District 92

Opposes changes to Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act has faced dozens of legislative attacks in Congress recently, with the most recent one showing up in this year’s version of the Farm Bill. The latest proposal would allow pesticides to be approved without considering the harm they pose to endangered species, essentially making it legal to kill an endangered species with a pesticide.

Having worked as an endangered species conservation scientist for the state of California for 15 years, I know that unregulated pesticides pose significant threats to populations of fish, bees, birds and other wildlife. Consider how many birds, insects and bats pollinate the crops we rely on for food and fiber. The Endangered Species Act is one of our nation’s most effective environmental laws, and serves as an essential safety net for imperiled plants, fish and wildlife. The success stories are easily found, such as the resurgence of our national bird, the bald eagle, since the control of DDT.

The Endangered Species Act passed Congress in 1973 with nearly unanimous support, and a national poll in 2015 showed that 90 percent of voters support it . The ESA allows for flexibility in protecting endangered wildlife and ensures federal, state, tribal and local officials work together to bring imperiled species back from the brink of extinction.

I urge our congressional delegation to oppose exempting pesticide use and any weakening of the Endangered Species Act in the Farm Bill.

Gail Presley

Rockland

Pen Bay staff cares

As a snowbird with multiple health problems, I feel compelled to comment on the complaints I hear about Pen Bay Medical Center. When I'm home in the summer, I feel blessed to have such a group of health care employees who care.

I was in the hospital five times last year, som times here in Florida and some in Maine. Pen Bay and its medical staff is as good and better than facilities in the other two states I have lived in.

The Anticoagulation Clinic is outstanding. There are many professionals and rooms to expedite the treatment. The process in Florida is a nurse in a small room and lots of people waiting. Recently, my primary doctor has hired a nurse just to do the INRs. Much better. The best thing about coming home for the summer is Dr. Mark Eggena's office. You don't have to wait an hour to get taken care of. You feel like they care.

Last year, I asked my doctor's office in Florida to send my records to Dr Eggena's office. No response. Marlee called three times before they faxed them up. Very organized office. Dr. Cheryl L. is part of the well oiled machine. The others are Kayla, Marlee, Maggie, Margie and Samantha. Hope I haven't missed anyone. Also, I always get a copy of my visit so other doctors can see what's going on.

Sandra Zimmermann

Owls Head

Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Robin Gabe | May 17, 2018 14:09

Yes, Sandra, you did miss someone in the Infectious Disease Practice with Drs. Eggena and Leichty. Jennifer Guilfoyle, FNP, is the third practitioner there and is really wonderful. She brings the person skills of a nurse to the provider relationship. I wouldn't consider going to any other provider.



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