Resident also calls for response to removal of trees from Snow Marine Park

Rockland woman urges city to ban pesticide following cancer diagnosis

By Stephen Betts | Apr 12, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Assistant Rockland Code Enforcement Officer William Butler, right, and Mechanic Street resident Kerri Post stand near where trees were cut at Snow Marine Park in Rockland.

Rockland — A Rockland woman pleaded with the city Monday night, April 8, to ban the use of the pesticide Roundup after a neighbor used the chemical mix and she was later diagnosed with cancer.

"I'm living proof that Roundup causes cancer," Kerri Post said.

The Mechanic Street resident also called for the city to take action on the removal of trees by her neighbors Ken and Jennifer Chipman from the city-owned Snow Marine Park.

In the spring of 2016, Jennifer Chipman used commercial-grade Roundup for what the Chipmans said was to remove some tall weeds along the side of the road that were blocking their view when leaving their driveway. The Chipmans maintain that the Roundup was used on the city right-of-way, while Post said the use extended to her yard, which abuts the Chipmans' driveway.

Raymond Connors, the chief of compliance for the Maine Board of Pesticide Control, issued an advisory letter to Jennifer Chipman in April 2017, stating that her use of Roundup was against Maine law. The compliance officer also pointed out that using the herbicide on the city's right of way, where the public has access, is a violation unless one has a commercial applicator's license.

The board took no action other than the advisory letter.

Post said that after the pesticide was applied by her neighbor, she cleared out the dead vegetation and planted some sunflowers by hand. She said later that year she began experiencing back pain and was diagnosed in October 2016 with stage four lung cancer.

Rockland Assistant Code Enforcement Officer William Butler also expressed concern that the pesticide could have flowed down to Snow Marine Park.

There are multiple lawsuits filed against the manufacturer of Roundup arguing that it causes cancer.

Rockland City Councilor Ed Glaser said Thursday he expects to propose an ordinance later this year regulating the use of synthetic pesticides in Rockland. Glaser said living along the coast, the use of these chemicals poses a risk to the waters and marine life, as well as a risk to humans.

At the April 8 council meeting, Post also urged the city to take action in regard to the Chipmans' removal of trees from Snow Marine Park.

Post said her neighbors had removed at least a dozen full-size trees in Snow Marine Park adjacent to their Mechanic Street home while she was first hospitalized with cancer in the fall of 2016.

Ken Chipman said, however, that he cut only the trees he was given permission to remove by city officials at that time.

Butler said Tuesday, April 9, his investigation had concluded that the Chipmans removed far more trees than they were given permission to. He said city officials at the time only gave permission for the removal of some brush and trees no thicker than a thumb.

Public Services Director David St. Laurent, who had met with Ken Chipman before the removal, said his recollection was that some smaller growth could be removed, but permission was not given for the removal of a dozen or more full-size trees.

Butler said he had recommended to the city manager that trees be replanted and the Chipmans pay for the work.

Ken Chipman said they had no intention of paying for the replanting, since they did what was approved.

Butler said that the removal of the trees increases erosion concerns on the banking on the northwest side of the city-owned park.

City Manager Tom Luttrell said he plans to visit the site with an aborist this spring and will follow that person's recommendations. Luttrell said he has not decided whether he will follow Butler's recommendation to bill the Chipmans.

Butler issued a letter to Ken Chipman in November 2018, informing him that he could no longer mow grass or remove any vegetation from city property, saying that without city permission it would be against a Rockland ordinance.

Ken Chipman said Butler should recuse himself from this matter, because he is friends with Post. He said that Post's comments to the City Council April 8 were just another example of the harassment she has inflicted on him and his wife over the past several years.

The Chipmans filed a harassment complaint in Knox County Court against Post in September 2018, claiming she repeatedly used threatening and intimidating language toward then and would trespass on their property.

However, Judge Susan Sparaco ruled in January 2019 that there was no harassment.

"The court does not find that Ms. Post was intending to cause fear or intimidation; rather the evidence suggests that Ms. Post's intent relative to the Chipmans was to keep them from encroaching upon and using what she believes is her property," the judge ruled.

Comments (13)
Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 22, 2019 20:57

Elizabeth Ignaszak

And you quote,

"...but publicly embarrassing the Chipman’s in this manner (with no medical or scientific proof) to make a point about the potential link between Roundup and cancer is malicious and inflammatory."

When anyone is approach for an interview by the media, they open up themselves, spouses, children, extended family and friends to ridicule.   It is very unfortunate that this is the way it goes, but it is.  Reports want readers to read their reporting so they have to write a headline that will capture the public's attention.

It is so very sad the Mrs. Chipman has cancer.  It would have been a more rounded article if Mr. Betts continued on with some scientific facts about pesticides.


Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 22, 2019 20:47

Wayne Keiderling,

I AM NOT SMALL MINDED!!! Do not judge what you do not know!   I simply asked a question!  Do you know why I asked it?  NO!!!  You should have asked my why I asked the question instead of judging why I did and making false accusations.  Never judge a person by what they write for we all read others posts in a different way!

Posted by: Linnea Ledwith | Apr 17, 2019 14:37

The point of this article is unclear and all over the place. It loses focus when it diverts to enabling one-sided and inflammatory accusations of the Chipmans being somehow responsible for Ms. Post's illness, implying connections that are non-scientific and glaringly speculative.  And then it moves on to trees, which is irrelevant to the title of the article... One can only conclude that it is a smear campaign, plain and simple. How Kerri Post has been able to incite others, most particularly the media, to fuel her hatred, give voice to what looks like an obsessive cause and allow her to get away with petty behavior towards others is quite something to take in.  The escalating situation is clearly causing undue stress to everyone involved, including her. No one is winning. And finger-pointing is doing nothing but placing blame, suggesting the un-involved take sides and undeservedly damaging reputations. This paper and its employees deserve to have their collective hands slapped for what looks like an attempt to engage the public in a neighborly dispute and for putting words out there that don't tell a full story. This is tabloid journalism, not objective local news. Shame on you, Steven Betts, for writing it.  Shame on the editors for allowing it to be published.  Shame on this town for participating in the escalation and shame on the comment that implies "transplants" might be less worthy of anyone's respect.

Posted by: Jill Valliere | Apr 16, 2019 12:43

I am shocked to read an article that allows  such a dispariging picture of two good people, based on a one sided account of a  very complex situation. We have been lucky enough to call Ken and Jenn Chipman good friends of ours for over ten  years. They are kind, generous, and have never caused harm or malicious intent to anyone. They offer help to any of their friends in need and have welcomed us to their home on many occasions. They are animal lovers and care for their friends pets when they are needed.  To paint such a negative picture of these good people based on one woman's belief's is negligent reporting on my opinion. I don't know their neighbor personally and can't and wouldn't comment on her character, but I have been told that she has been cigarette smoker during her lifetime which, in my opinion, may very well have been the cause her lung cancer. I hope that she is able to fully recover from her illness as I know that Jenn and Ken do as well. I also know that Jenn and Ken have offered their support to her in the past, and offered neighborly gestures before any of this, and she has turned them away. Many of us have used products inside and outside of our homes that we would not use today,  because we have learned that they are not as safe for the environment as the companies selling them would have us believe. Should we then be held accountable for any illnesses that our neighbors might develop in their lifetime because we were sold these products? I believe that the companies themselves should be held accountable. If cigarettes were the cause of her lung cancer, then why not lash out at the people who made and marketed them to her? What if I was living in her home, and developed lung cancer from her second hand smoke? Should I hold her accountable or should I hold the cigarette company accountable? As to the tree cutting issue, it is my understanding that Ken asked for, and received permission to remove those trees.  I hope that the author of this article might take time to speak with Ken and Jenn and hear their side of this story, and write a follow up, as this representation of their character is unfair and unfounded.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ignaszak | Apr 15, 2019 14:26

Is the intent of this story to educate the public on the potential harm caused by Roundup? The headline is certainly sensational – Rockland Woman Urges City to Ban Pesticide Following Cancer Diagnosis; makes one think the cancer diagnosis is related to the pesticide – doesn’t it?  Or is the intent to report on and escalate a boundary dispute?  Either way there are many missing facts and it is unfair to the Chipman’s who are kind and generous neighbors, Ms. Post whose lung cancer has unfortunately spread to her brain, and the public who are being misled by this story.

It is hardly news that cigarette smoking causes LUNG cancer.  Ms. Post, a smoker, has lung cancer.

Roundup may be linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and related cancers.  However, that is NOT the type of cancer Ms. Post is dealing with.

I’m very much in favor of Rockland considering a ban on harmful herbicides but publicly embarrassing the Chipman’s in this manner (with no medical or scientific proof) to make a point about the potential link between Roundup and cancer is malicious and inflammatory.  I know there are many people who have used Roundup to kill weeds in their driveway or lawn, never intending to harm anything other than a weed. An informative article could have been written without sullying anyone’s name.  Ms. Post is not well and it is sad to see her being taken advantage of on multiple fronts to make a point.  Sensationalizing a story in this way is unprofessional and not what we expect from our local journalists.

Posted by: Wayne Keiderling | Apr 14, 2019 09:12




Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Apr 13, 2019 12:27

If Roundup is illegal to use in the State of Maine then why are all of the stores still selling it? If it isn't safe on public property then it isn't safe on private property. People don't care until it affects them and then they cry foul. The bottom line is money. As long as people use it, someone will manufacture it and businesses will sell it. Same thing with the road salt we pay for with our tax dollars that ruins our vehicles.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Apr 13, 2019 09:22

The damage of these industrial toxins goes deeper than most people realize.


"If, as Cicero said, your face tells the story of your mind, your breast milk tells the decades-old story of your diet, your neighborhood, and increasingly, your household decor. Remember that old college futon? It's there. That cool paint in your bathroom? There. The chemical cloud your landlord used to kill cockroaches? Yup. Ditto, the mercury in last week's sushi, the benzene from your gas station, the perftuorooctanoic acid (an anti-grease coating) from your latte cup and sofa upholstery, the preservative parabens from your face cream, the chromium from your nearby smoke stack. One of the ironic properties of breast milk is that its high fat and protein contents attract heavy metals and other contaminants. If human milk were sold at the local Piggly Wiggly, it would exceed the federal safety levels for some of those chemicals in food.

"On a body weight basis, the dietary doses our babies get are much higher than the doses we get. This is not only because they're smaller, but also because their food—our milk—contains more concentrated contaminants than our food. It's the law of the food chain, and it's called biomagnification.

"To refresh that lesson from seventh grade, here's how it works: Animals at the top of the food chain receive the concentrated energy and persistent chemicals of all of the biota underneath them. Each member up the food chain takes in approximately 10 to 100 times the load of fat-loving toxins of its counterpart below. This is why a slab of shark meat contains more mercury than its weight in plankton. Ocean food chains are longer than terrestrial ones, so people who eat many marine carnivores carry higher body concentrations of some chemicals than the vegan who lurks at your local salad bar or even the steak lover next door. The Inuit, although they live in the remote Arctic with little nearby industry, are the most contaminated population on earth, besides victims of industrial accidents. But don't picture Eskimo Man in sealskin on the top of the food chain. Picture his suckling baby, who occupies yet another trophic level higher up.

"If that's not creepy enough, some of the chemicals we pass on to our daughters will stay in their bodies long enough for them to bequeath them to their offspring. Even if we cleaned up our planet tomorrow, the industrial detritus of the last century has created a three-generation problem."
-Florence Williams, "Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History"

Posted by: Lucinda Lang | Apr 13, 2019 09:21

Herbicides are pesticides and all insecticides are made to kill.   Round Up and all pesticides are poison. There are volumes of research substantiating this information. Chemical companies made these products to kill, that is their purpose.   Invasive plants are routinely removed/killed by cutting them out. It may take more than once but it works. Using pesticides harms everything in area. There is a literal crises now in the food chain.  Corporations know this which is why they are producing GMO seeds/food.  GMO is food made in chemical laboratories.


Posted by: Ananur Forma | Apr 13, 2019 07:37


Monsanto has been “proven” in courts to be a cancer causing agent. There are many lawsuits against Monsanto because of roundup causing cancer.

Going to a doctor for an examine and finding oneself diagnosed with 4th stage cancer is NOT unusual. This happened to my beloved Mom, and friends I’ve loved. Banning roundup is not a bad idea, it’s a sensible idea. So sorry this lady is having to deal with 4th stage cancer. There are people who have gotten well and lived 10 more years even though they have 4th stage. Living in a time when there are so many chemicals to be concerned about (and research about) is not a friendly time. It deal require us to speak up and demand healthy options.

Posted by: Glen Douglas Miller | Apr 13, 2019 07:09

Mr. Betts....pesticide?  Or herbicide?  Not the same thing.

Also, she was exposed in the spring, but had stage 4 lung cancer by fall?  That's pretty fast, even for an aggressive cancer.


Posted by: TINA LAVIE | Apr 12, 2019 19:57

There should be widespread city support for an ordinance regulating the use of synthetic pesticides in the city. There is sufficient evidence that pesticides/herbicides and the like cause cancer.  There are also properties requiring cleanup in Rockland, which contain chemicals in the soil which are known to be carcinogens.  We should tackle these problems swiftly for a multitude of reasons, the health and welfare of our population is a good reason.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 12, 2019 08:46

Just curious to know if Ken & Jen Chipman are transplants from another State?


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