Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette

Jul 17, 2014


I was a little confused by your July 10 editorial. You say you find it “curious” the current Republican Speaker of the House seems not to be bothered by the signing statements and executive actions engaged in by former President George W. Bush, a Republican. I don’t find that curious, it is called “party loyalty.” Yet you validate the proposed lawsuit against this Democratic president for the same actions President Bush engaged in.

I find a number of things curious about your position. First, with all the serious problems this country faces at the moment: immigration, lack of jobs, bridges and roads falling apart, the need for tax dollars to go to research to discover new antibiotics and a cure for Alzheimer’s, to name just a few, I find it frivolous in the extreme to spend our tax dollars on such a lawsuit.

Second, were there to be any suing done, how about former President Bush taking us to war on the pretext of weapons of mass destruction, when there were none, and many tried to tell him that. I have two sons who have served in the military. How did parents like me, especially those who lost children in Iraq, feel when President Bush made a joke about not finding such weapons? On TV we watched as, at the 2004 Radio and Television Correspondent’s Dinner, President Bush crawled around the floor of the Oval Office pretending to look for weapons of mass destruction under the furniture. “Nope, no weapons over there,” he said. That was sickening and disgraceful. That warranted a lawsuit!

As I write this, perhaps I am more saddened than confused by your position.

Judith Church Tydings

South Thomaston


Last Thursday's editorial titled "Bear baiting, hounding, trapping is [sic] necessary" referred to Maine's current bear-hunting practices as "wildly successful." This is laughable in view of the fact that Maine's bear population has grown 30 percent in the past 10 years. Baiting is the problem, not the solution. With 6 million tons of bait consumed by 30,000 bears, each bear could be getting fat on about 200 pounds of junk food. Fatter female bear cubs at a younger age and produce more numerous cubs with a better survival potential. In addition, the smell of humans lingers at bait sites, and bears associate that smell with food, leading them to follow the trail into humans' territory. If we want to avoid human-bear conflicts, we must stop feeding the bears.

Opponents of Maine's bear referendum also accuse proponents of having an emotional response to a Humane Society agenda, yet they themselves use preposterously transparent scare tactics to raise alarm about how Maine will be overrun by dangerous, destructive bears. Who's really playing on our emotions? Besides, since when did compassion for other species get such a bad name? If you think Maine's current bear-hunting practices are necessary, not cruel, go to fairbearhunt.com/cruelty before you vote on this referendum.

The editorial offered data about bear hunting in some other states, but didn't mention the truly successful bear management practices in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, all of which banned baiting and hounding more than 20 years ago (trapping had been outlawed there many years previously). When the referendum passes, Maine's hunting laws will more closely resemble those three states, where the number of bear hunters has risen by an average of 289 percent. Interest in fair-chase bear hunting has increased dramatically, along with bear take. Since Oregon prohibited bear hounding and baiting in 1994, bear tag sales have tripled. In Washington, the number of bear hunters has almost doubled, and the number of bear hunters in Colorado has more than tripled. Go to fairbearhunt.com and read the very informative Washington case study about what happened when baiting and hounding were discontinued. In summary, the number of bears taken increased by 16 percent.

Remember, baiting is the problem, not the solution, so please join me and thousands of other Maine residents who will be voting Yes on Question 1 in November.

Wendy Andresen


In God We Trust

In the July 10 VillageSoup newspapers Mr. Springer calls into question the facts of the article entitled, “In God We Trust." The only problem with Mr. Springer’s assertions is that what he calls into question is either poor reading on his part or misinformation by him.

The entire point of the article was that the Founding Fathers were for the most part men of the Christian faith. The title “In God We Trust” was used as a common phrase today that would portray their faith. It was never stated that the phrase was used or invented by the Founders. The fact that “In God We Trust” became an official motto and then used on our currency later in history was only made possible by the fact that the Founders were men of the Christian faith and that the country was founded on Christian principles. The idea presented was simply that it was faith in God that gave them comfort as they made speeches, wrote letters and memoirs, and some as they signed that Declaration.

Mr. Springer seems to have a problem with some of the men who were mentioned. He is correct that John Dickenson did not sign the Declaration. The only problem with Mr. Springer is that he evidently does not read very carefully. John Dickenson was credited in the article with signing the Constitution, not the Declaration. It is true that other men mentioned in that article also did not sign the Declaration, but once again it was not stated that they did sign the document but proper credit was given to the source of their words. Mr. Springer also seems to portray John Dickenson as some sort of bad person because he “opposed independence and hightailed out of Congress." Mr. Dickenson was from Pennsylvania and was highly influenced by the Quaker set of beliefs. He deplored violence and wanted to find another way to change England’s actions toward the colonies. He did not vote against the Declaration but abstained. After the Revolution he actively participated in the forming of the Constitution.

Mr. Springer also wonders why Thomas Jefferson was not quoted. However, Mr. Springer is caught in his own misinformation, as Thomas Jefferson was quoted and Mr. Springer even acknowledged it. Mr. Jefferson is regarded as the author of the Declaration. Phrases from the Declaration, showing faith in God, were included in the article; “Nature’s God” and “Divine Providence." What better way to quote Thomas Jefferson than to show his faith by using phrases from the Declaration itself.

One should not discredit someone else’s writing by leading readers to believe that facts are being quoted, when in fact, a misuse of the facts is being put forth.

Dale Landrith Sr.


May I use your bathroom?

Last week my husband and I went to one of our favorite local restaurants for our usual delicious hamburger. We were just off island, and had been mowing the lawn at our home here on the mainland. Since we have our house rented out for the summer, we came over to take the garbage away and tidy up the yard. Finished with the work, and now hungry and hot, we were delighted to find an empty table. We sat down under the air conditioning and ordered our hamburgers.

Sadly, I won't be going there again. The extremely bad customer service out-weighs the delicious hamburgers. No, the girls are not at fault. They are all friendly and helpful. I'm talking about the owner.

After ordering, I stood outside the locked bathroom door for quite a few minutes before I went to one of the girls and suggested that someone may have inadvertently locked the door behind them, only to be told that it was now for "Employees Only." There was no sign on the door, and as I had always used the bathroom for many years, I was dumbstruck. My husband and I had been living on an island, our house on the mainland rented, and I not only had dirty hands from mowing the lawn, but I really had to go! I told one of the girls that I couldn't possibly sit down and enjoy my lunch in such a state. She looked uncomfortable and replied that it wasn't up to her, but that was now the rule. I went to my husband, who was sitting at our table and told him that we had to leave. All this time, the owner was busy cooking, glancing up, but mostly keeping his head down as if this had nothing to do with him. My husband looked at him and asked him if he was the owner. He said yes. John asked him if he would make an exception and allow me to use their bathroom or otherwise we would have to leave and we would probably never come back. Then the owner asked the stupidest question I have ever heard. "Is it an emergency?"

Believe me, we know all about the public sometimes leaving bathrooms a mess. As former owners of Kate's Restaurant for 12 years, from 1988 until 2000, we had our favorite plumber practically on call. I recall one busy Friday, a plugged toilet and some unhappy customers and owners. A cheer went up when he arrived to save the day. But, I never dreamed of ticking off a customer by suggesting that they not use the bathroom. We stood on our heads to keep our customers happy. When you're in business, you do everything in your power to do that. There are plenty of mistakes you can make inadvertently without doing it purposely. Yes, right now they have plenty of customers. They were, and will continue to be busy, until the tourist season is over. They probably won't even remember me. But something tells me the owner is in for more problems in the future when he treats loyal customers in such a cold way. How can you expect people to not go to the bathroom? We are only human. I have never been in any eating place except a take-out that didn't allow you to use the bathroom.

Kate Oakes

Spruce Head

Concert series

On Sunday, June 29, Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery hosted the first of its four free summer concert events at its Union-based farm and vineyard. The highlight of Sunday's show was the performance of folk singer and songwriter legend Jonathan Edwards, who resides in Portland. With a crowd of 400 people in attendance, Edwards played new songs as well as his old classics, including "Sunshine," accompanied by the skilled Thomas Snow on keyboard. The duo appeared in Union due to generosity of Elmer Savage , who operates the vineyard and winery at their beautiful farm on Barrett Hill Road with members of his family.

Edwards' appearance in Union is the first in a series of free concerts that Savage Oakes is sponsoring this summer. The next concert features the Dave Keller Band on Sunday, July 20. Each event begins at noon, with food and beverages available for purchase. The music begins at 2 p.m. and with large crowds in attendance, it's a good idea to bring your lawn chairs. Mr. Savage has erected a huge tent on the property to facilitate the concert series. He has also built a permanent stage at the vineyard, so I expect this concert series is going to grow in future years into an important venue for musicians.

I can't say enough about the energy Elmer Savage has injected into our Knox County community. With his sister Sandra Savage manning the wine shop and tasting booth, the crowd in attendance was treated to a commanding acoustic performance by Edwards and accompaniment Thomas Snow. Mr. Snow just released a new CD entitled Thomas Snow "Friends" featuring special guest Jonathan Edwards. The duo played a long series of songs and were very generous with their time after the concert. Edwards, accompanied by his beautiful wife Sandy, stayed long after the music was over to talk with people, sign autographs, and reminisce about the 1960s and 1970s. Mr. Edwards is also releasing a new CD entitled "Tomorrow's Child."

The concert series is the brainchild of Elmer Savage. Working with Diana Ammon of Atlantic Music Productions, Savage's generosity to his community cannot be understated. The vineyard is sponsoring four free events this summer. Also appearing are the Adam Ezra Group on Aug. 9 and folk/rock musician James McMurtry Aug. 31.

I expect the popularity of these concert events to grow as word gets out. Few events bring people together like the American folk music tradition, and the headline names Savage Oakes is bringing to our communities at their expense is a rare act of generosity. For further information about this concert series, you can contact Savage Oakes at savageoakes.comor 785-2828. On behalf of our communities, I want to say Thank You Savage Oakes!!

Jeffrey Evangelos


Once again

Sunday, July 6 another funeral and another fantastic, happy, friendly, kind, smart man laid to rest – way, way too soon. Unnecessary. Way too sad.

Since standing by my wife when her son passed away under the same circumstances, and tried so hard, unsuccessfully to help her deal with this horrendous grief, I can’t begin to count the number of great kids from this area who have succumbed to this poison. And, as I was standing next to her in the receiving line, I couldn’t help but wonder if his killer walked by us, shook our hands and told us how very sorry he or she was for our loss.

You also can’t help wonder how much longer we, as a community, are going to put up with this. These pushers are domestic terrorists and should be treated as such. They are killing our kids as dead as the Taliban or any other terrorist group, and should be dealt with as such.

Law enforcement does not have the means or the interest in finding out where Tyler got this crap from. But, I am sure that some of his closest friends know — so speak up. Let’s get this poison and this scum off our streets and out of our kids’ lives.

Adrian Hooydonk

Spruce Head

Strawberry success

Once again we are thankful that the sunshine came through to our 67th annual Strawberry Festival at the fire department in Washington. We are always grateful for all the wonderful volunteers that come and help pick, hull, cook, set up, break down, clean out, serve, face paint, and eat all those wonderful strawberry goodies.

Especially we appreciate the Medomak Steel Drum Band under the direction of Julie Sanborn, who play the best tunes, and also the Playin' Possum Group, who are with us every year and delight all our customers.

Many thanks to Fire Chief Tom Johnston and Phil Munier for the set up. Many thanks to The Courier-Gazette for the great photos!

It takes a lot of good folks to put on this festival and the Ladies' Guild of Washington appreciates each and every volunteer. The festival is always the Saturday after the 4th of July. See you next year!

Mildred Melgard

On behalf of the Washington Ladies' Guild


Comments (1)
Posted by: Deborah A McKenney | Jul 18, 2014 12:46

In response to the letter titled, "Once Again", is it really helpful to mention names?   NO .  Does it hurt the family members and friends of the person that has passed?  YES. Please try to be respectful next time you are writing a letter to the editor.

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