Letters to the Editor: Please don’t allow CMP corridor

To the editor:

I would like to thank the people who have written letters to the editor, that do not want to have a CMP Corridor through Maine.

I am one of a few, from the Dead River, Flagstaff area, who can remember about getting driven from our land and homes by CMP 69 years ago. Their project that time was to build a dam and flood the area, which they did. It had been talked about for years, but finally in the ‘40s officials from CMP came to the homes of people in Dead River and Flagstaff to buy their land and homes, and told they would have to move. No one was happy that this was happening.

But CMP won that time and flooded the area. I have pictures of the tops of the houses of those who had refused to sell, sticking out of the new lake. I have many sad memories of the whole process. Many men were called there to cut all the trees, and fires got started, we were surrounded by raging fires on more than one occasion, it was not pleasant!

According to the map in today’s paper, that shows where this corridor will go through Maine, it will pass near where one of my sons and two of my brothers have camps on Flagstaff Lake. I cannot describe the peace and quiet that is in that vicinity that exceeds all understanding…. Perhaps it is because it is near to where I grew up in Flagstaff, but I call it “Up in God’s Country!”

And so my small voice for the wilderness begs you, please, don’t let this CMP Corridor become a reality in our beautiful, special State of Maine!

Marilyn Rogers-Bull
Solon

Letters to the Editor: Transfer station explanation

To the editor:

In [last week’s] edition of The Town Line there appeared a letter to the editor from Geoff Hargadon, of South China. Mr. Hargadon is aggravated by what he perceived to be a decision by the Town of China to “nearly simultaneously” re-pave Alder Park Road and cut the Transfer Station hours. I would like to offer some clarification for Mr. Hargadon and readers of the Town Line.

First, Alder Park Road is not a town road. It was paved by the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) according to their own schedule. The MaineDOT does not coordinate with the Town of China on these projects, except that MaineDOT sends us a notice of their intentions a bit in advance of the start of the work. Then, the hours for the transfer station include a long day on Thursday until 5 p.m,. and it is also open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturday each week, in recognition that we need to offer the expanded hours for those who are only able to use the transfer station after normal work hours. We realized that this would require some adjustment on the part of users of the transfer station, but the decision was made as a compromise between providing expanded service to the community and enabling our employees to enjoy a more traditional work schedule.

I hope this information clarifies for Mr. Hargadon and The Town Line readers about the paving of Alder Park Road and the operation of the transfer station. As with anyone, I welcome the opportunity for Mr. Hargadon to visit me at the town office with any concerns he may have.

Dennis L. Heath
China Town Manager

Letters to the Editor: Others need to pitch in

To the editor:

On Saturday and Sunday September 15 and 16, with the encouragement of Richard Dillenbeck and along with other China residents, I and a “team” of three other members participated in an organized trash pick-up along Lakeview Drive. Our group consisted of myself and my wife Nan, and Mary Benziger and Donna Loveland. Together, we policed, to use the military term, the portion of Lakeview from the Route 3 intersection to the China Diner. As a result of this activity, I have a number of comments.

First, over the two days, we picked up about seventy-five (75) pounds of trash and returnable bottles. One of those bottles, by the way, contained a needle; no one was injured. This is over a length of highway about a mile and a half, from both sides. And, as I have told many people, this year seems to be better than most, having observed much of Lakeview close-up while riding my bike. One of the most disturbing facts about this debris was the number of nip bottles and beer cans. There are obviously some very impaired drivers along our roads; just what we need with distracted driving. Also, even though all four of us were wearing fluorescent clothing to show up better, few if any drivers slowed down at all as they passed us. This included dump trucks and tractor trailers that gave us a good breeze.

The other thing that became very obvious as we moved about was the simple fact that this is not really an activity that is suitable for older folks. While all four of us are in very good physical condition, relative to our age, we are “getting along in years.” Granted, our timing could have been better; we started on Saturday after noon, and it was hot and humid. On Sunday, three of us, my wife not included because of some physical issues left over from the day before, got started earlier and finished the job. My point is this. We very likely will not participate in this very worthwhile activity again due to the potential toll on our bodies. It is physically challenging, what with the climbing over guard rails, wading through potentially tick-bearing grasses and climbing up and down hillsides along the roadside. Other community members need to pick up the ball.

We all want to leave a positive legacy for those who come after us. Having and sharing a positive and constructive view of the way we deal with our environment is one of the best ways to start that process. It would be wonderful to see families, school groups, youth organizations and any younger citizens outside helping to undo the damage caused by the, hopefully, small percentage of our population that drinks and drives and stupidly throws trash out of their car windows as they move along our roadways. Safety is obviously a prime concern when venturing out into this kind of activity and care must be exercised. However, our world’s environment is balancing today on a very risky tightrope and it needs to be protected in any way possible.

In conclusion, I admire Mr. Dillenbeck’s devotion to this cause and I’m glad that Nan and I and others were able to contribute to its success. However, this wasn’t a “one shot” deal and others need to step up to further the cause. Thanks in advance.

Bob Bennett
South China

Letters to the Editor: Re-paving and closing early a waste

To the editor:

It seems ironic the town [of China] decided to re-pave the road to the transfer station and nearly simultaneously cut the hours the transfer station itself is open. And how does a 3 p.m. closing time help residents who work regular jobs?

What a waste!

Geoff Hargadon
South China

Letters to the editor: Never ending detours

To the editor:

I live out on the never-ending-detour road. All my neighbors are scoping out the new neighbors we rarely see on a pleasant 4 mile-ish roundabout. Not bad, but the 25 mph, narrow, no center line, blind hills, roadside brush/trees; it takes what seems to be ten minutes, each time back-and-forth; when will it end? Pity the families, with all the traffic through what was once a quiet road. One place has lost at least two birds to the traffic. I hope for no accidents or personal injury.

I feel like we’re all idiots sitting at the red light that doesn’t change, 2 a.m., no traffic to be found. I’ve complained that it must be a ‘state’ job; for the shut-downs at break and lunches, and three days of about nothing, setting-up the detour, getting their equipment parked in the road, concrete barriers – and that, insult-to-injury, occurred just in time for the three day weekend; not working, just us, watching nothing for work as we drive by too often, each time more annoyed. State crew, maybe, but definitely a union job.

Maybe it’s too important, dangerous even, to put off starting after the long weekend. Maybe I should hope someone on the crew isn’t scheduled for vacation time. But, for the disruption to traffic, the headaches of people who regularly depend on that section of road, and safety issues; where’s the ‘effort’? I’d think, to get the job done, someone would spell the shovel operator for his lunch; keep digging. Would it be to much to consider longer days working, maybe even two shifts, And who closes, detours, a road, barely starting the work, only to take the holiday weekend off?

Thanks guys, and even for letting us know; we didn’t. We don’t get the paper, was it published somewhere? A sign; “Road closed next week for culvert replacement”? I don’t see everyone to know, but no one yet has told me they had heard anything prior to the closing/detour. That’s not respectful to us at all, like we’re nobody, nothing to be concerned for; it’s not right! Meanwhile, they work, take breaks, have no traffic to worry them, and keep them safe. Them, but no concern for us it seems.

Dean DeWitt
China

Letters to the Editor: Thanks supporters

To the editor:

John Glow (image credit: ballotpedia)

I want to begin by thanking those who supported me in the recent Democratic primary for Maine Senate District #15. My biggest margin of victory was in China and I send a special thank you to my friends and supporters who voted for good government.

I believe it is important for the people in Senate District #15 to know that I ran for this Senate seat, not because I was recruited by the party. In fact, the Democratic Party did everything it could to keep me off the ballot in November. I ran for this Senate seat because Maine is desperately in need of qualified, capable individuals who know how government is supposed to work and how to fix it. I ran for this Senate seat, not for the Democratic Party or for the special interests, but for you.

The political system is rigged in favor of the parties and it must be reformed. Party politics is a huge problem in government. Too often it is an impediment to solving our problems as politicians put party before people. I ran on the pledge of not being a rubber stamp and at least 1,350 of you agreed with me.

I spoke with many folks who are fed up with “our” government. This is unfortunate, but I don’t blame them, because it is no longer our government. Those who have the least in terms of material possessions are often the first to give up and surrender their right to vote. I tried to remind those who have very little that they do have the power and that their only opportunity to exercise their power is their vote. I ran for office because I refuse to give in and give up and this election has only strengthened my resolve. As I went door to door during the campaign, and as someone who spent nearly thirty years in State government, I ended many conversations with the following, “Don’t give up. That’s what the government wants you to do.”

John M. Glowa, Sr.
South China

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Important vote coming Saturday in Somerville

To the editor:

I’ve heard concerns expressed about a new comprehensive plan (Plan) being considered in the Town of Somerville. Some worry that passing the Plan gives selectmen the right to change regulations for things suggested in the Plan, or to vote whatever they want to do if the Plan isn’t specific enough.

Fortunately, that’s not how ordinances and comprehensive plans work. Ordinances are the documents that implement regulations in municipalities. Somerville has a number of ordinances already:

  • Cemetery Ordinance;
  • Floodplain Management Ordinance;
  • Holding Tank Ordinance;
  • Land Use Ordinance;
  • Planning Board Ordinance;
  • Shoreland Zoning Ordinance;
  • Site Plan Review Ordinance; and
  • Subdivision Ordinance.

By state law only certain ordinances such as traffic ordinances can be adopted by vote of the Selectmen. Other ordinances by Maine law require a vote of townspeople, either at town meeting or secret ballot. That won’t change.

A comprehensive plan is a vision of what challenges the town faces and what can be done in response to those challenges. Passing a plan doesn’t give Selectmen any new authority. It merely provides a vision to guide the Town’s future, including what needs to change such as better broadband, and what shouldn’t change, such as the rural nature of Somerville.

Passing a comprehensive plan does NOT alter who has authority to adopt ordinances, nor the process, as set in Maine law, Title 30-A, Chapter 141.

The Plan we will be voting on suggests ways to be more farm and business friendly and it seeks to make our town a place where young and old can better afford to live, and to thrive, together.

If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to visit the Town office to get a copy of the comprehensive plan to see for yourself what the Plan really says before the vote on it at Town Meeting, this Saturday, June 23.

Chris Johnson
Somerville

Letters to the Editor: Support Alna’s citizens

To the editor:

I am writing as a longtime Alna resident to ask you, the people of the other towns in RSU #12, to approve the Alna Amendment when you vote on June 12. It will be on its own ballot.

After extensive analysis, the RSU board determined that this amendment will not affect any other RSU towns financially, or in any other way.

The amendment will end Alna’s current practice of taxpayer-funded private K-8 school tuition for children who become Alna residents after June 30.

Alna will, however, continue to pay private K-8 tuition for all children living in Alna as of June 30, for as long as they live here. This change harms no current Alna resident.

In addition, all current and future Alna students will have taxpayer-funded K-8 public school choice and public or private high school choice.

The townspeople of Alna voted overwhelmingly in March to end subsidy of private schools with public, taxpayer money. This policy, which we never chose, has made us a magnet for families who move to Alna just to access private school subsidy, because we are one of only two towns in Maine that have this benefit. As a result, we have the highest taxes in the RSU and in Lincoln County, and more children per capita than any other RSU town. Between 2013 and 2017, 33 children moved to Alna. Thirty of those children (91 percent) enrolled in private schools. Most of the children of our long-term families attend public schools.

We are a small residential town with no commercial tax base. We cannot afford to continue this policy. In addition, about half-a-million Alna dollars are now diverted from public to private education every year.

Please support Alna’s vote. Vote YES on the Alna Amendment.

Susan Marcus
Alna

Letters to the Editor: Please help your friends and neighbors in Alna

To the editor:

Alna is one of only two towns in Maine where children can attend private elementary schools and the taxpayers will pay the tuition. Alna citizens never chose this policy; it is a historic fluke that predates school consolidation. In recent years, as word of our unique subsidy has spread, many families have moved to Alna for the sole purpose of sending their children to private schools at the expense of the rest of us. Some people even fraudulently give an Alna address when they actually live in other towns. Landlords market Alna’s subsidy, like this internet ad: “available for school year rental, September to June. Alna is a school choice town. Children can go wherever they choose and the town will pay the tuition.”

Of the children who have moved to Alna in the last five years 91 percent attend private K-8 schools; we now have more children in private schools than public ones, more children per capita than any other town in RSU #12, and the highest taxes in Lincoln County.

In March, Alna citizens finally said enough is enough. With a record turnout, we voted by an almost 2-to-1 margin to petition the RSU school board to allow us to be free from forced payments to private K-8 schools for children who arrive in Alna after June 30. Even though the private school families now living in Alna are “grandfathered” and will not be harmed, this losing faction lobbied the RSU board to ignore our vote and force us to continue these subsidies for future arrivals. Your board representatives rejected this appeal and honored Alna’s wishes by a vote of 13-2. Now this same losing group will try to convince you – the voters of RSU #12 – to overturn the vote of their own town and force us to keep our doors open to a continuing migration by families who, like them, see Alna not as a community, but as a private school checkbook.

Please honor the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the average folks of Alna, young and old, parents and seniors, new arrivals and long-term residents alike and help us put an end to this by voting “YES” on the Alna Question on the RSU ballot on June 12.

Doug Baston
Alna

Letters to the Editor: Urges “Yes” on Winslow school budget

To the editor:

June 12 is coming up fast and the citizens of the town of Winslow will be given the opportunity to vote on an $8.1 million school bond to give us the final opportunity to move out of the long standing junior high and move into an updated and more efficient facility that will be built in a two-year period. I will be voting yes on the project and let me give you some background on this decision. Approximately two-and-a-half years ago I started to attend meetings on the recommendation of what to do with the Junior High.

At the time I thought the best process would be to have a K-8 program at the elementary school and just have a high school with an expanded auditorium. After attending these meetings, I was asked to join the building committee on the formation. During this long, time consuming process with 26-plus people from our community and countless hours of analysis, it became very clear that the best benefit for all programs in the school and for the existence of other outside programs such as Winslow Rec (and other sport programs), having the elementary school become a K-8 would not suffice. Field space would be lost, gym space would be limited, and even with an expansion to the K-8, the setup would not be best possible fit for the elementary school and more investment would be required even after the expansion was done, costing taxpayers even more money in the future.

The high school option gives the taxpayers the best option of everything. An expanded gym, classroom space for junior high students, a cafeteria that will be able to serve the entire student body, and an auditorium that is less than what we have now but that barely exceeds the state minimum standards of state of Maine buildings. The efficiencies will provide savings to the school and in return, these savings will be passed onto the taxpayers in reducing the bond every year, for many years even after the bond is repaid.

Certain town council members have been giving the public incomplete facts and estimates, while using town resources to convey these inaccuracies. By voting no, taxpayers will be paying more in the future for school expansion due to the rising costs of materials such as steel and pure inflationary costs of raw material. Interest rates are increasing, and time is working against us in the existing junior high. Let us not delay, time is against us. Join me in voting yes to move Winslow forward and place our biggest investment into our infrastructure and our students that will continue to return dividends to us, the taxpayers, in the future.

Cory W. Dow
Winslow