Ghost towns

By Dale E. Landrith Sr. | May 21, 2020

When I have a letter to mail, I like to use the drive up mailbox at the post office in downtown Camden. In driving down to mail a letter this evening, I observed just how empty downtown Camden is of people and cars. Empty parking spots are everywhere and the sidewalks had no folks looking into shops or hunting for a restaurant. The visible Camden economy appears nonexistent. I can only imagine other touristy towns in Maine as being the same.

What do Bar Harbor, Boothbay, or Old Orchard Beach look like? With Memorial Day weekend upon us, I suspect that when they should be bustling with all kinds of folks, they are virtual ghost towns.

Where are all the folks? Tourists are for all practical purposes banned from coming to Maine. They would need to have two weeks and one day of vacation time in order to have one day to be a tourist. Whether we who reside full time in Camden, Bar Harbor, Boothbay or Old Orchard Beach like it or not, tourism is critical to many local businesses' survival. Where are the local folks? The general population is either scared or prohibited from engaging in economic activity. This must cease to be the case.

Gov. Mills must relent and let Maine have the freedom to resume normal business activity. Some other states that have been much harder impacted by COVID-19 have begun to return to normal. The governor of Georgia was highly criticized for opening his state. Two weeks has become the measuring stick for those newly exposed to the virus and yet Georgia has now been open for three weeks and no major outbreaks have occurred. The same is being realized in other states. There has been a post on social media recently comparing four non-lockdown states with three lockdown states. Both groups have about the same population. The non-lockdown states had significantly fewer cases of the virus and significantly fewer deaths. In states that have significant rural geography, there is no correlation to lockdown and the virus or death.

Small business owners are almost always family businesses. It takes hard work and enormous risk to start a business. There is huge satisfaction in watching that business grow and become successful  To have that business be shut down by extended government edict and then experience the economic fallout and bankruptcy is heart-wrenching. Many of these businesses have employees that become part of their family. The stress of this experience can be psychologically and physically devastating even to the point of death.

Recently, Rick Savage, a restaurant owner in rural Maine, attempted to open amid the shutdown. Savage was on the record that he had reconfigured his restaurant to meet current CDC standards of “social distancing for tables and sanitation.” Hundreds of folks showed up to have a meal and show support.  None of these folks were forced to patronize the restaurant. They just wanted their freedom back.

Gov. Mills out of spite responded with a hammer and ordered DHHS to revoke all of the restaurant's licenses and seek a court order to enforce its closure, even to the point of revoking his liquor license when no alcoholic beverages were served. This is government out of control.

Restaurants are going to be permitted to open but with restrictions that only allow them to use one third to one half of their capacity. If these businesses could operate profitably and efficiently at these reduced capacities, then they would not have the larger space. The government is stating that they can open but ignorantly disregards that they will not be profitable. With reduced seating, wait staff will experience reduced income from fewer customers and thus less in tips.

Lodging businesses are being permitted to open but must make sure that out-of-state customers must quarantine for 14 days prior to being permitted to move about freely. It is not hard to figure out that those out-of-state customers simply will not come under those conditions. Let the businesses decide if they want to take the risk of opening and let their customers decide if they want to take the risk of patronizing those establishments.

There is a sign on Interstate 95 as one enters Maine that states, “Maine – The Way Life Should Be.” That is not true today. For a while that sign stated, “Maine – Open for Business” and that is what it should say today. Then one day in the future Maine can once again be “The Way Life Should Be.”

Another View is a Maine Press Association award-winning column written by Midcoast conservative citizens/writers Jan Dolcater, Ken Frederic, Paul Ackerman, Doc Wallace and Dale Landrith Sr.


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Comments (23)
Posted by: Dan Dunkle | May 28, 2020 10:42

I always encourage people not to engage in name-calling. One side called someone a troll and then the other called someone a pimp. Well, how helpful is that? We champion robust debate of the issues. We live in an unprecedented moment when our concern is about both the safety of the populace and the economy. There is room for discussion here. Anyone who is passionate about politics is someone who is engaged in their community and interested in being an active citizen. From that perspective, you all have common ground and value.

Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 28, 2020 10:01


Point taken but you should know I am liberal or "leftist" as you state.

I don't consider myself a troll as I prefer a more reasoned debate when possible.

Posted by: RALPH WALLACE | May 28, 2020 08:49

Mr. Riley;  Thanks for the constitutional update. However, your lesson should have been directed at Mckusic. I have no disagreement with your view - that was PRECISELY the point that I raised about HIS criticism of the writing in "Another View." I suggest that you re-read this depressing thread.. As far as Melchiskey's obscene comment goes, "Village Soup" would be entirely within their rights to remove his post - based upon community standards. Further, should "Village Soup" continue to allow such inappropriate language, this comment section will descend into a vile free-for-all that will result in even fewer people taking the time to read it - perhaps a fitting result for the small group of leftist trolls who regularly opine with poorly-written, ad hominem attacks on almost every column.

Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 27, 2020 10:10

Here is a perfect example of what I posted about below.

Last night Trump tweeted,

“Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices.”
“We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,”

Under the constitution and 1st Amendment this is a perfect example of what the the government CAN NOT DO.

Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 27, 2020 08:44


The constitution/bill of rights, free speech, does not apply to private entities such as Village Soup, Facebook, Twitter, the company you work for etc...
The constitution is the document where by the governing governs the governed.
In short it's the law of the land that restricts and instructs government action and control over the states and the people. In later years the SCOTUS ruled it applies to the state and local governments as well. History is replete with stories of the states and local governments ignoring the constitution. Some still try to get away with it!

Non governmental entities like corporations, media, Village Soup, the local hardware store etc... are free to edit, censor, delete and block at their hearts content.
The 1st Amendment does not apply to the private world it applies to the governments federal, state and local.
All social media, from both sides of the aisle,  censors content all the time and they are free to do so. They throw people off their platforms all the time. They are free to do that at will. No restrictions.
Twitter is now adding fact checks to Trumps tweets. They can delete them if they want put due to the federal records act they would have to be preserved and archived since his tweets are part of his presidential records.

Free speech also has great responsibility. It's the old you can't yell fire in a crowded movie theater where there is none.
You can't slander or libel, If you sign NDAs you're not free to talk about or publish anything that NDA covers. If you do the owner of those NDAs is free to sue you into oblivion. I worked almost my whole working life years as a contractor to DOD and there are a stack of NDAs I've signed as high as my neck and those are for life. I can't talk or publish anything about the work I did. If I did I could go to prison not just be sued by a former employer.
So if Village Soup decides to delete a post, block a user or permanently  throw them off the platform they are free to do so without reputations.
The user can scream 1ST AMENDMENT, FREE SPEECH, MY RITES until they are blue in the face but they have no recourse.

Posted by: RALPH WALLACE | May 27, 2020 08:30

Thank you for balanced reason, Mr. Shepard.

Posted by: Ralph Stanley | May 26, 2020 18:59

If you think that opinions, comments, observations, innuendo, insinuations, poor verbiage, dumb speak, stupid ideas, identity politics, more of the same should be censored you are WRONG. Trump can Twitter all day and it amounts to zero on the scale of censorship. It is free speech. You give one inch, one inch on curtailing free speech than you need to rethink your rights under the 1st amendment to the constitution of the US. GET THIS RIGHT.

My question is why do these folks, the Dolcaters, the Landriths, and any and all who take up space here in this commentary, feel the need to dominate this forum. You are all apparently from the Rockland area. Can you not participate in your area? There are issues here in Belfast that are locally important. Not Trump. Not BIden. Not Democrat or Republican. RIght to open this or not open that. Give it a rest. GIVE IT A REST.

Posted by: John Alden Shepard | May 26, 2020 16:14

I have to agree with Mr. Wallace that the aforementioned response is most inappropriate and embarrassing to those of us who value reasoned and respectful dialog. I think Mr Melchiskey should apologize and I'd like to believe his crude comment does not represent the majority of commentators from "the left" or anywhere else around here.

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | May 26, 2020 11:52

For those to know,

Melchiskey is the same individual that the Knox Democrat Chair sent me to talk over our plan to raise dollars for low income heating Knox County.  I went to his home and explained the idea that if both parties worked together we could raise more funds for the low income heating assistance After explaining it to him, I received the enthusiastic response, I don't trust you and then repeated it. I left and on our own the Knox County Republicans raised over $150,000 over a 5 year period with zero administrative expense  The Dems contributed  -0-   I feel pity for this individual. . Some things change but not Melchiskey.

Jan Dolcater  Rockland

Posted by: Ralph Stanley | May 26, 2020 09:49


Nordic was fighting a losing battle from the onset. with the World Oceans facility going up in Buckspport, along with Cook Aquaculture's numerous facilities in Maine already, Nordic is already stressed with an infrastructure burden that will too easily push it out of competitiveness as market prices waver. As a former seafood plant manager, I can attest to what happens when investment dollars don't produce for the investors. As it is right now with Whole Oceans, they have direct water access, they have the facility size, and they will have processing capability. I don't know what fairytale market the Nordic people are looking to cater to, but all I see is a questionable business investment opportunity looking for a place to happen, and especially with a local population economically depressed enough and illiterate enough to bypass common sense. If Cook and Whole Oceans weren't in the picture, I'd say let Nordic give it a go, but they are already in the picture and their infrastructures appear to be far less complex than the handicap that Nordic will be coming to Belfast with. As Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association. has stated relative to Nordic's proposal, ............... “They are taking a big risk, ..." Nordic may be taking a big risk, but the bigger risk is the one the people in Belfast are taking.

Posted by: RALPH WALLACE | May 26, 2020 09:35

Melchiskey - Your troll-stupid, obscene comment is why "Village Soup" should exercise a community-appropriate filter on this page.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | May 25, 2020 12:29

One of the good things that we have seen coming out of this Covid-19 is that we haven't heard Governor Mills malign anyone. Setting an example has to come from the top and here in Maine she is it!  It isn't political, it is survival. We are all just people and neighbors living in community. Just came from the grocery store. Most people were wearing masks and practicing social distancing; without being asked. It is a great opportunity to have positive interaction with staff and customers alike. Saying, "Thank you for wearing a mask." is pretty simple, yet you will always get a positive response because it is as difficult for them as it is for you.

Posted by: Stephen J. Melchiskey | May 25, 2020 10:27

I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head with your suggestion to rename the group the "Wrong View". However, "Twisted View" might have served as well. Then there's the problem of what to call the group. "Concerned Citizens" just is too banal and lacks the zing of the groups ultimate purpose. Why not try "Pimps for the Status Quo", it so well sets forth the goal the  Concerned Citizens seek to achieve.


Posted by: John Alden Shepard | May 24, 2020 17:58

I fear that "Doc" Wallace's persecution complex may be getting the better of him. Is he so frightened of the "illiberal morality", "dem left" and "lefty trolls" that he must keep calling everyone who disagrees with his ideologies such silly names? Buck up "Doc" we're all just people and neighbors in this community.... though we may have the temerity to think for ourselves we're not that scary.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | May 24, 2020 15:34

Ralph Wallace...I don't see this virus as a political issue. It has however been made one by people such as yourself and Landrith. Seems to me all you two and your beloved Republican party care about is money. I want you and Landrith to get out among those that only care about themselves, don't need to wear masks or frequently wash their hands. With all your money and you still can't buy common sense. There is nothing I would like better then to stop at a store anytime I wanted to, but the reality is I cannot be sure who is being safe and who isn't. So if all you wealthy Republicans want to get back at then go to it. Thank the good Lord we travel in different circles. Try watching something besides Fox News.

Posted by: RALPH WALLACE | May 24, 2020 13:16

Ahhh   … Richard - the classic illiberal morality - unless there is complete agreement with the Dem left, one is "part of the problem." Last time I checked, we had a two-party political system. I hope we never achieve your ideal of a one-world, socialist, one-party system. On this Memorial Day Weekend, I would remind you that our fallen fought for this great Republic which guarantees freedom of speech and thought. Thankfully, the owner and editors of these papers give the writers of "Another View" the opportunity to express the conservative (excuse me, the "wrong") viewpoint. Were they to re-name our column, "The Wrong View", it would save you and all the lefty trolls your valuable time in always correcting us "problem folk," Happy Memorial Day.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | May 23, 2020 09:24

"Where are the local folks? "   When going uptown and seeing 4 out of 5 not wearing a mask because of mixed messages most of us stay home. If people were doing what they were asked business would pick up.  "Another View" is great. It gives us the challenge to look at ourselves and see if we are working to be part of the solution; along with Governor Mills and Dr. Shah; or part of the problem. :)

Posted by: Harold Bryson Mosher | May 23, 2020 05:45

Mr Landrith and Mr. Wallace, I am sure we could agree that Maine faces more economic damage from the lockdown than any other state.  Perhaps this is why Governor Mills is relaxing restrictions to a greater extent than any other state in the region, doing so while imposing conditions that promote safety.  Yet you seem to think that she should stop taking the advice of people that know what they are talking about and listen to you.  I don't think so.


Posted by: Bill Packard | May 22, 2020 17:52

3 active cases in Knox County. 2 in Waldo, and 6 in Lincoln. We've over 10 in the region. This could be devistating.

Posted by: Michael Scott Tripp | May 22, 2020 15:01

Yeah Mr. Wallace, 95000 plus  deaths in 2 months may be a drop in the bucket to you but it kinda bothers me. In fact it makes my blood boil. South Korea had its first reported infections around the first of March like the United States did, and three weeks later they actually had more cases than we had.Fox news won’t tell you this but I just looked up their numbers- 11142 reported cases and 264 deaths. 264! To be fair they have more experience in dealing with viruses in Asia than we do and they don’t have a moron for a leader. Is that what you call winning?Let me up I’ve had enough(Tom Petty):)

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | May 22, 2020 13:51

The only reason Maine is where it is today is because those in the know have kept that 14 day quarantine. Karen's idea is excellent; if businesses are serious about being part of the solution instead of adding to the problem.  Step up to our leadership team and give them a few kudos instead of tearing them down.   Years from now we will look back and see who is right.   Thank you Governor Mills and Dr. Shah for your willingness to keep us all well informed as we move forward together. You are appreciated!

Posted by: RALPH WALLACE | May 22, 2020 09:43

Good suggestion, Karen. However the "crush of tourism" pays the bills for Mainers to have a decent living, and "staycations" while helpful, can't come close to compensating for that "crush." The 14-day quarantine requirement by Mills will kill tourism and, sadly, is not justified by reasonable health concerns.

Posted by: Karen A Grove | May 21, 2020 12:19

And again I strongly suggest that the local Chambers of Commerce launch an advertising campaign within certain sections of the State of Maine inviting Mainers to explore their own state without the crush of tourism from away.  It's a perfect opportunity to see your own backyard.  We don't have to do the 14 days quarantine.  Just bring your driver's license to prove you're from here.



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