Letters to the editor — The Camden Herald

May 04, 2017

Collins, you are my senator

The successful interference by an enemy power of the United States in our 2016 elections should be number one priority for all Americans. Our nation’s basic founding principles of democracy are at risk. Several politicians of both parties are/were targeted. Speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Marco Rubio shared that he has clear evidence he was/is targeted.

Midcoast Maine Indivisible’s main purpose is to communicate with members of Congress about concerns. Citizens are becoming more active and better informed about our political issues than we have seen in decades.

In this context I am saddened with the response by Susan Collins and her staff. Efforts have been on-going for months to meet with the Senator; requests have been ignored or outright refused.

A town hall for Susan Collins was held in Thomaston Maine on April 20. It was filled with concerned, caring Maine citizens who asked thoughtful questions in an upbeat, orderly, and respectful atmosphere. The town hall was like a living Norman Rockwell painting.

Susan Collins was not sitting in the red leather chair provided for her, an American flag and a table with water nearby. However, the worst response was from her staffer Annie Clark. In an article in VillageSoup, Clark accused Maine citizens of lying and blamed them for the senator’s lack of response to their efforts.

For the record, I voted for Susan Collins. However, her behavior is making it increasingly difficult for me to support her in the future.

Penelope Ray


A name for Camden's Riverpark

The public is being given the opportunity to vote on a name for Camden's new park on the Megunticook River. I offer some thoughts on the subject of naming, based on my longtime experience as a public relations and advertising professional, and my familiarity with the site gained as an advocate for establishing the Megunticook Riverwalk.

What's in a name? Quite a bit, actually. And why does choosing the "right name" matter? It matters a lot. A successful name for this soon-to-be public space should be authentic and descriptive, while making it clear where the place is located — in CAMDEN — and what it intends to be — a RIVERPARK. The perfect and logical name — CAMDEN RIVERPARK.

So what are the important aspects to consider when naming the former tannery property in Camden? They are: unique geography and location, human history (including its conversion from a brownfield site to a community space), and the future uses envisioned for the community.

The most important attribute of the site is its geography — its location in coastal Camden, Maine and its proximity to a river — the Megunticook River — connection our Megunticook Lake to Camden Harbor and the sea. Human history associated with the river begins with native American occupation, followed by early colonists who depended on its water to power lumber and flour mills.

Next, came the period of industrialization when industry (such as Camden's former tannery) located their operations along America's rivers where they had easily available and cheap water for use in their industrial processes and convenient dumping ground for getting rid of industrial (toxic) waste. During this period, towns and cities turned their backs on rivers — which were often no more than cesspools (at one point, the Cayahoga River, which runs through Cleveland, Ohio, actually caught fire.)

In response to this came the environmental movement, with its push, early on, to clean up the nation's toxic and polluted rivers. Riverside industries were identified as polluters and new legislation was enacted, forcing them to clean up their operations and sites or be subject to civil and criminal penalties. Faced with this, many companies (such as the former tannery in Camden) simply closed down and abandoned their properties.

The resulting brownfield sites, so-named due to their load of toxic water and soil, often became property of the towns where they were located. Abandoned buildings were torn down, properties were seized for nonpayment of taxes, and communities (such as Camden) were burdened with financing site clean ups themselves.

Today, we have entered a new era, as communities across the United States are reclaiming their rivers and their brownfield sites, celebrating and embracing their rivers, and transforming former industrial sites into community spaces and riverparks. There are many examples of similarly created riverparks in Maine, and now we look forward to having one of our very own in Camden.

Taking all this into consideration, the logical choice for the name is CAMDEN RIVERPARK.


1) The property belongs to the citizens of Camden; 2) the Camden taxpayers funded the cleanup of the brownfield site; 3) Camden citizens pondered the site's reuse for years until a committee of citizens, meeting for several years, reached a consensus that it should be a community space — a farmers' market and park along the river; 4) it is now the official home of the Camden Farmers' Market, thought to be the oldest continuously operating farmers' market in Maine; 5) "Camden" has already established its own highly recognizable identity and "brand" throughout Maine and the U.S.; and 6) it's our park!

And why RIVERPARK (one word)? 1) That is the accepted term now for community-created parks along rivers, particularly in urban areas on reclaimed industrial sites; 2) as is Megunticook Riverwalk (one word) also the customary term for community walks along rivers in urban areas.

Finally, why not TANNERY PARK? 1) Naming it this implied the tannery may have donated the site to Camden; 2) the site's use for a tannery is only one aspect of its history during several centuries of human settlement, and while it is important to interpret (through dioramas and signage) the geologic and human history of the river, as well as its transformation from a brownfield site, naming the new riverpark for only its most recent (and toxic occupant) is not the way to do that; 3) in sum, the tannery occupation is worthy of interpretation, but not celebration; 4) not place-sensitive — a "tannery park" could be located in any old place; and finally, 5) sounds too much like Battery Park.

So everyone, let's hear it for our community's new park — the CAMDEN RIVERPARK! (and, hey, we won't have to change that banner!)

Nancy Caudle-Johnson


Moving to Camden

We bought a nice farmhouse close to downtown Camden in 1997. During the 20 years we have spent a lot of time and money driving the 900 miles from North Carolina to Maine at least two to three times a year.

As we got closer to retirement, we began discussing, if we should stay in Chapel Hill, N.C. or move permanently to Camden. That choice really involved a lot of pros and contras, which makes the decision difficult. What about the cold winter and snow removal contra blooming azaleas in March? And what about the distance to the grand children? Etc. On these issues we have an almost clear opinion. The big, outstanding question is the health care. No doubt, we are extremely fortunate in Chapel Hill, having UNC and Duke Universities and hospitals a few miles driving from our home and family doctor and dentist within a walking distance.

So we began a search for a family doctor in the Camden/Rockport area but were quickly told by friends that medical doctors are few and far between. All the local doctor's offices are already busy and do not take new patients. some of them are working without collaboration with an insurance company. That sounded strange in our ears.

We talked to a representative in Maine for the insurance company we have in North Carolina. He joked by saying that MDs like to be in Camden during the summertime, however they disappear when we have the first snowfall. This must also be a problem for the permanent residents, as doctors retire and do not get replaced.

Can anybody give us advice to this question, which may be decisive for our final decision? I am fully aware that our friends and neighbors in Camden will consider this as a luxury problem, but that is the way it is, when you are spoiled.

Bent-Erik Carlsen

Chapel Hill, N.C./Camden

A ray of light shown into his dark soul

What do Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin, and Kid Rock have in common? They are exemplars of “reactionary white rage,” and all three have been guests of President Trump in our White House. They are collectively a window into Trump's dark soul, and telling indicators of his subliminal prejudices that will surely be worked into policy and operational decision-making by our Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose whole history is wrapped in white supremacist bigotry, and racist judicial activities. May God help the victims of his impending “justice.”

Here are some of the credits to Trump's preferred “entertainers:”

Nugent: called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel,” and called supports of Obama, like me, “pimps, whores, and welfare brats.” He also maintains that the Confederacy should have won the Civil War, which lets you know in no uncertain terms what his views embrace on African Americans and slavery. This man was Trump's guest in our White House!

Kid Rock has defiantly flown the Confederate Flag, and has screamed at black protesters to: “kiss my ass.” This man was Trump's guest in out White House!

Palin has repeatedly attacked President Obama as an “un-American radical who palled around with terrorists.” This woman was Trump's guest in our White House.

By celebrating these three exemplars of white trash, bigotry, and racism, Trump is giving America the middle-finger salute, and is letting us know in no uncertain terms just what his plans are for “Making America Great Again.”

It's certainly not an America that I'd be proud of, and if you voted for this scourge (a person who causes great trouble or suffering), I sincerely hope you are beginning to experience buyers' remorse.

J Brian Smith


Thanks for your support

Each year West Bay Rotary undertakes several spring fundraisers to support our outreach efforts in the community. On Earth Day we hosted an expanded eWaste event in Rockport. This year we provided paper shredding sponsored by First National Bank, eWaste recycling and drug disposal services with the support of the Maine Sheriffs Association and Rockport Police Department.

Close to 400 of our friends and neighbors took advantage of these free services. 8,200 pounds of paper was shredded, twice what we shredded in 2016 and thousands of pounds of electronic waste was dropped off (and kept out of local landfills) for recycling. Dozens of members of West Bay Rotary went to work on a cold and rainy day to ensure that the experience was quick and easy for the community. Our sponsors came out to help in the efforts as well.

We are so grateful for the support of Adventure Advertising, Albertson Builders & Services, Pen Bay Medical Center and Rockport Automotive for their support for this important event. Special thanks to Jake Barbour and crew for assisting with site preparation. Finally and most importantly, thank you to each member of our community who came out, participated and made contributions to this community event. Through the generosity of our community, West Bay Rotary raised $4,500 that we will be able to turn around and put back into vital community programs. Thank you for your continued support of West Bay Rotary.

Tom Albertson, event organizer


Thanks to Flatbread

Thank you to Flatbread Company and to everyone who attended Ashwood Waldorf School’s Serve-A-Thon benefit night April 11. Flatbread donated $3.50 for each large pizza and $1.75 for every small pizza that evening; with your support we raised over $500!

Ashwood’s second annual Serve-A-Thon was held April 28 and 29. During the Serve-A-Thon, Ashwood students, families, faculty, and alumni partnered with local nonprofit organizations to serve the broader community. Sponsorships benefit the school, while the service benefits the people, animals, and environment of Midcoast Maine.

Ashwood’s Serve-A-Thon is also extremely grateful to founding sponsor, Camden National Bank, and supporting sponsors Camden Coast Real Estate, Jensen’s Pharmacy, First National Bank, Camden Real Estate, and Cold Mountain Builders.

Sarah Ewing, fundraising coordinator

Ashwood Waldorf School


Comments (1)
Posted by: Maggie Trout | May 05, 2017 13:51

Re Moving to Camden - health care options -This letter was probably more of a statement about  the need for more medical-related resources here, but there is no question that it makes more sense to stay in NC in a situation that offers not only the immediate and quality care offered, and with providers with whom one have long-standing relationships; plus the other benefits to residing in a more urban environment.  One can, health allowing, always visit Camden and Maine.

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