April 3, 2014

Letters, Camden Herald

Apr 03, 2014

Please don’t insult us

Fox Hill Real Estate’s recent assertion that if Fox Hill/McLean is allowed to move forward with their facility at Fox Hill under a CLA definition, there is no danger of future facilities pulling the same maneuver, because it is “hard to get a license” is patently false. CLAs are highly encouraged by the state, and are extremely helpful to achieving independent living for many citizens who could not otherwise do so. They are a necessary part of the fabric of every community and we need more of them.

The problem we have is that what Fox Hill/ McLean is proposing is NOT a CLA. Allowing Fox Hill/Mclean to inappropriately use this definition to justify placing a 24/7 commercial facility into a neighborhood is a danger not only to Camden, but to the entire state. We don’t have to look too far to find a good example of another facility who could have very easily played these games. Let’s take a look at the new Sussman House, currently being built in Rockland. Here is the description of their facility from their website:

“Sussman House will provide state of the art pain and symptom management combined with compassionate care, away from the hustle and bustle of a hospital or a rehabilitation facility. The atmosphere will be one of peace and tranquility and the interior design and furnishings will look like, act like, and feel like home.”

The Sussman House, currently undergoing construction in Rockland, may have loved to locate in one of the many beautiful waterside estates in the area, but commercial operations are not permitted there. So they are building a new structure in a permitted zone — something our group has implored Fox Hill/McLean to consider since discussions began.

We applaud the Sussman House for following the zoning code and building its facility in an appropriate zone. We thank them for not playing endless legal and public relations games and dividing a town as a result. We thank them for not unfairly accusing our group of fear or prejudice towards those they are serving. We thank them for not using FHA laws to try to shoehorn their facility into the middle of a quiet, residential neighborhood.

Rules apply to everybody, Fox Hill/McLean. Your claims to be a CLA are disingenuous and insulting to all of the people who peacefully coexist in such arrangements throughout our communities today. Your expectation that citizens won’t see the difference between your proposal and a CLA insults our intelligence.

Louisa P. Enright



Don't they realize?

I own a small business in Camden: Mount Battie Take Out. I work very hard to give my customers an experience that will bring them back again and again. I do this with service and with excellent food. I give my customers more than they expect and their reactions and my reviews online indicate how pleased they are. And you know what? They come back and they tell their friends to visit Camden.

My question is this: why is it that a small group of people with deep pockets to pay for lawyers and a Portland Public Relations firm think it is okay to use Camden as a federal case so they can again try to stop McLean from locating at Fox Hill? They called the clients who might use McLean "over-drinkers." Don't they realize that there are many recovering alcoholics who visit here and live here from all economic backgrounds? Don't they realize that everyone is tired of this small group's manufactured complaints? McLean will bring a much needed boost to the local economy and save lives. Please, stop driving people away from our town.

Gary Oliver






With due deference to your status as Editor, I, as a retired veteran educator respectfully disagree with your Editorial of 17 March, "Accreditation counts."

When I retired from teaching, I had resolved to "leave it all behind me," but I didn't, because I couldn't. Despite having qualified for Administrative certification as Principal and Supervisor, I elected to stay in the classroom. I enjoyed the Sciences and Maths I taught. I also enjoyed being with the students be they in the grades or in my college classes. I miss them all and correspond with many to this day.

Having recently turned ninety, I resolved to make one last attempt to rid myself of the last vestiges of that professional life. (Though it is proving in vain.) So it has been in the last several weeks that I have been purging files which I started to garner since teaching my first Physics class back in 1949. That class started a series of professional experiences the likes of which few educators might be sorry or happy to recall.

I view it as a coincidence that within the hundreds of pounds of paper I am disgorging are the records of my experiences of being on both sides of the Accreditation process. My first were on the receiving end, and later participating as a Committee member in at least two that come to mind.

I hope it isn't the cynicism of old age, but I cannot help but reflect on certain subtleties regarding such committees. The first is the mystique of an official status which, unless things have changed since my time, means nothing. One needs ask, accreditation for what? Compared to what? Our own Maine State DOE already has a formal and totally official evaluation process which I might add rates our school at a rather respectable standing.

It seems no one is aware of who or what constitutes the committee. Again, unless changes have been made since my time, the members of the committee are educators very much like those on our own staff and faculty. They come from schools, which I dare guess are for the most part not of the quality of ours. The members of our Board of Education would do well, if they haven't already done so, to equip themselves with a roster of the committee members as well as their schools and make preliminary comparisons. If in the course of the visit reason was found for criticism, which can easily happen, the committee has no official leverage to bring about remedial action except through public exposure which would prove detrimental to the college bound. In effect, such an accreditation visit could well be self defeating.

So how does all this come about? Again, presuming things have not changed since my time, some months before the official visit, our people are issued what in essence are voluminous questionnaires. In my time these were formal official looking hard bound manuals. I can only presume that nowadays this is all done via the tube. The psychology is to stress our people to be earnest and thorough in answering or making statements. (Some of which would be better kept private). The process is euphemistically called a "self evaluation." A professional confession if you will. Skipping a multitude of details, on the day(s) of the formal visit, this same information is hashed over by the parent committee. (Obviously they don't have much of any other information.) If praises are warranted, the committee basks in their "revelations." Conversely, if faults are found, the committee takes credit for their discovery. What gets lost are the thousands of teacher hours consumed by our people in all this.

In addition to all the teacher time lost, the Board of Education has to spend tens of thousands of dollars pandering to the slightest needs and wants of the committee over the days and nights they are on hand. And to what end??? Only to be told what we already know. I submit that we do not need an Accrediation Affiliation.

As for the parents of the college bound I submit your pursuit of "Prestigious schools" is but another manifestation of the myth of the "Emperor's new clothes" I strongly recommend an affiliation with ACTA. Its an organization that has, to date, objectively evaluated nearly two thousand colleges and universities and going strong. Their findings are mind boggling, especially with regard to the "prestigious schools" of the editorial..

In the final analysis, having taught at the college level, I can assure almost any parent, that an open checkbook at the ready will melt away many a would-be obstacle that would otherwise preclude admission.

As always, yours for better education.

Steve Masone



Caring for the earth - one tree at a time

This year marks a milestone for TREEKEEPERS LLC - as we celebrate our company’s 20th anniversary! For the past 20 years, since founding the company in 1994, we and our wonderful and skilled employees have worked hard to fulfill our company’s mission of caring for, preserving, and protecting Maine’s trees. We are proud that TREEKEEPERS LLC has earned a reputation for delivering knowledgeable tree care and arboricultural consulting services of the highest quality.

Unfortunately, our celebratory mood was dampened upon discovering (while leafing through Down East magazine’s April issue) that a person named Robert Stanley has begun advertising in the Maine media as a consulting arborist under the business name “Tree Keepers.”

Since 1994, we have done business throughout Maine as “Johnson’s Arboriculture- TREEKEEPERS LLC” and “TREEKEEPERS LLC” and both trade names are registered with the Secretary of State. We are deeply concerned about this infringement, the obvious confusion it will cause, and the potential harm to our company.

We wish to make perfectly clear that Mr. Stanley and his company (including his website and email address) are not affiliated in any way with us. We know nothing about him, his claimed professional qualifications, what services he offers, or the quality of those services. He has no authority to speak for or to act on behalf of our company. We have not authorized him to use the trade name “Tree Keepers” and we have requested him to cease doing business in Maine under that or any similar name.

For two decades, TREEKEEPERS’ licenced arborists have hand climbed, pruned, cabled, braced, and artfully shaped countless Maine trees. We have preserved cherished trees on historic sites and private landscapes; written specifications to protect trees during construction; planted thousands of trees, both large and small; worked (carefully) in Maine’s shoreland zones; appraised trees damaged by storms and vandals; sensitively designed and constructed beautiful walking trails; inventoried, evaluated, and pruned thousands of municipal trees; and preserved trees throughout the state after Maine’s 1998 Ice Storm.

Our senior arborist Douglas N. Johnson is Maine licensed, certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, the first Maine arborist to become ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified, and a member of the Maine Arborist Association, Tree Care Industry Association, the International Society of Arboriculture, Society of Commercial Arborists, and Society of Municipal Arborists.

We are grateful to live and work in Maine, for the opportunity to care for a valuable Maine resource, and for the many wonderful people we have met throughout this beautiful state while engaged in our projects. We love our work and our company. We look forward to continuing to bring you the very best arboricultural knowledge and skills while “Caring for the Earth - one Tree at a Time.”

Finally, we would sincerely appreciate your help in making this distinction and spreading the word. We are Nancy and Doug at TREEKEEPERS (one word) LLC. We can be reached, as always, at 236-6855 or 1-877-TREEKPR.

Douglas N. Johnson

Nancy Caudle-Johnson


Photo Treks support appreciated

On behalf of Trekkers, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone who contributed to the success of this year’s Photo Treks program. This expeditionary learning program took our students to three of Maine’s largest cities and allowed these young people a chance to experience the cultural diversity that exists within our own small state. After learning photography techniques from a professional photographer and capturing digital images during their visits to Lewiston, Augusta and Portland, the students processed their work and prepared for their gallery exhibition. We are grateful to all the talented and generous people who helped make this program so successful.

Our thanks go to the people who shared their lives and stories with our students during the 5-day expedition last October, when the group learned about various social justice issues here in Maine. Specifically, we would like to thank Tree Street Youth Center in Lewiston, Bread of Life Ministries Soup Kitchen in Augusta, Paul and Mary Nolt of Corinna, and the Nagaloka Buddhist Center in Portland. We are also grateful for the facilities at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro, which served as home base for the students and mentors during their expedition.

Special thanks go to everyone in the local art community who opened our students’ eyes to the power of telling a story through digital images. We are grateful to professional photographer and Photo Treks mentor, Kari Wehrs, for sharing this journey with the students and providing both technical training and artistic encouragement throughout the program. Thanks also to Maine Media Workshops for allowing us to use their facilities to process the photos, to Margot Kelley and Jenifer Mumford for curating the exhibition, to Jared Cowan of Asymmetrick Arts for matting the photos, and to Jonathan Frost for holding the opening at his newly-relocated gallery.

The program could not have happened without grant support from the K2 Family Foundation, mentoring support from Shane Lavoie, Sarah Young and Lindsey Evans. We are also grateful for all the wonderful student artists who participated in this year’s program. Of course, we appreciate everyone from the community who attended the gallery opening on March 14, and supported our students by admiring their artwork, which was showcased at the Jonathan Frost Gallery in Rockland.

If you have not had the opportunity to experience the students’ artwork firsthand, their photos will be on display and will be available for sale at the gallery until the end of March. One-half of the proceeds from any sales will benefit the Photo Treks program; the other half will go to the student. Thanks to the community for supporting this year’s program.


Don Carpenter

Executive Director

Trekkers, Inc


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