Letters to the editor, Week of March 23, 2017

Thanks to sponsors

To the editor:

Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District’s (KLSW) 70th Anniversary Environmental Education Fundraiser held on March 7, at Flatbread Company, in Rockport, was a great success. In addition to raising funds, the event celebrated the winners of this year’s K-6 Conservation Poster Contest on the theme “Healthy Soils Are Full of Life.” Lots of poster contest winners from schools in Knox and Lincoln counties attended to celebrate and view the gorgeous gallery of winning posters, which were hung all around the restaurant. A good time was had and they raised $600 to support the K-12 programs which are free to all Knox and Lincoln K-12 students.

We extend our most heartfelt thanks to Flatbread Company for selecting the Conservation District as a community recipient of their donation program, everyone who showed up to enjoy pizza (and buy raffle tickets), and our generous raffle prize donors: Mystic Woodworks in Warren for one of their beautiful wooden cutting boards; Final-Lee Acres & Wandering Goat, in Union, for a native bee nesting box and Gardeners Goat Milk Soap; and Maine Summer Dog, in Union, for two hand-painted wooden gardening signs. In addition, the Conservation District donated a $70 gift certificate for our spring plant sale coming up on May 6 and 7, at Union Fairgrounds; a Bokashi Composting Kit; and a Sure-Close Kitchen Compost Pail. Winners of the evening’s raffle are: Ann Mynttinen, Rockland; Cindy Kava, Rockport; Riley Neugebauer, Lincolnville; and Becky Ford, Camden.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to making this event a winner – and you may want to visit our website to treat yourself to a slide show of the winning posters (www.knox-lincoln.org/k-6-postercontest).

Hildy Ellis, District Coordinator for the Board and Staff of Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District

Letters to the editor, Week of March 16, 2017

Need to keep government accountable

To the editor:

On March 7, I attended a public hearing on L.D. 430 – “An Act To Amend the Exemption for Highway Contractors and Subcontractors under the Arborist Licensing Laws”. The bill is sponsored by District #79 Representative Tim Theriault and was submitted at the request of a licensed arborist who owns a tree pruning and removal business in China.

The purpose of the bill is to force the state of Maine to have or hire an arborist for any highway related tree removal that requires the use of an aerial lift. This bill would put money into the pockets of licensed arborists at an added expense to taxpayers.

At the public hearing on the bill, Representative Theriault had nothing to say about it, good, bad or indifferent. The constituent who requested the bill had no information about it, appeared not to know what it says, and did not even have a copy of it while giving his oral testimony. Neither proponent gave any written or verbal explanation of the bill or stated why it was needed. The bill was opposed by the Maine Dept. of Transportation and the Associated General Contractors of Maine.

L.D. 55, Representative Theriault’s bill for taxing the customers of the Kennebec Water District $650,000 over a period of 15 years, was killed unanimously by the legislative committee. It was named “An Act To Provide Funding for the Restoration of China Lake,” but this ill-conceived and poorly written bill contained no explanation for how the money would be spent, who would spend it, who would be held accountable, how success would be measured, or why the customers of KWD should have to pay for a problem that they did not create. Our government should not be in the business of taking money and then giving it away without any provision for accountability.

OUR government is only as good as the people in it. If we fail to hold OUR government accountable, we unfortunately get what we deserve.

John M. Glowa, Sr.
South China

Letters to the editor, Week of March 9, 2017

Thanks for all the help

To the editor:

The members of the Branch Mills Grange, #336, of Palermo, extend their most sincere gratitude to the numerous volunteers who gave so generously of their time, skilled labor, and construction know-how to repair the foundation of our Grange Hall. We would like to formally recognize Gary Dyer, Jeffery Grady, Jamie French, Reggie French, Brandon Haskell, Tony Tuttle, and Colin Dyer who collectively donated several hundred hours of their time, Many thanks also to Dusty Haskell who voluntarily performed all earthworks related excavation, back-filling, grading, foundation removal, and temporary underground anchor placements.

We’d also like to recognize Blane Casey Building Constructors, of Augusta, for the loan of needed construction equipment, and Mattingly Concrete Products, of Anson, for their help and support in the pouring of the concrete. Thanks to S. D. Childs, of Palermo, for providing gravel for the footing drains, and to Gerald Pottle and James Grady for cables and turnbuckles to stabilize the building. Thanks also to Gary Robinson and Scott Bailey for removing the brick hazard from the chimney to allow for safe egress from the basement. Additionally, we thank Mrs. St. Pierre for the use of her land to access the building’s basement.
The dedication of these selfless volunteers, as well as the generous donations from the residents and businesses of Palermo will ensure that our Grange Hall will proudly stand for another 100 years.

Branch Mills Grange members

Letters to the editor, Week of February 23, 2017

Lake restoraton bill ill-conceived

To the editor:

In a letter to the editor published in the January 26, 2017, edition of The Town Line, I raised several issues regarding Rep. Theriault’s L.D. 55, “An Act To Provide Funding for the Restoration of China Lake.” On February 16, the public hearing on the bill was held before the legislative Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology. I attended the public hearing, in part because Rep. Theriault did not reply to my requests for information and because the bill itself contained no information other than its purpose to “charge a fee to customers of the Kennebec Water District (for a limited number of years) to be used to restore the water quality of China Lake.”

This poorly written and ill-conceived bill is silent on such details as what Rep Theriault means by “restoration,” how this “restoration” would be conducted, whether or not “restoration is even feasible,” how much “restoration” would cost and how long it would take, why “restoration” is needed, whether or not it would result in “restoration” of China Lake, where the money would go and who would oversee and be held accountable for this “restoration,” why the customers of the KWD would be assessed this tax when they are not the ones responsible for polluting or “restoring” the lake, why there is no DEP involvement when it is the statutory responsibility of that agency to preserve, protect and enhance the waters of the state, why no state funding was requested, and what systems are in place to insure that the monies collected are properly spent.

The committee and the public heard very few answers from Rep. Theriault. Perhaps this lack of information prior to and during the hearing was an attempt to stifle public comment. Rep. Theriault did state that his intent was to collect $43,000 per year from KWD customers over a 15-year period for a total tax on KWD customers of some $645,000. He stated that the money would go into a fund managed by the town of China and would be used to pay for various projects. That’s it. He provided no evidence of who would be held accountable or that this tax would result in any “restoration” of China Lake.

Rep. Theriault’s bill is an excellent example of poor government. It provides for no accountability of what would amount to a slush fund for the town of China to use as it sees fit. It taxes individuals who are not responsible for either creating nor correcting the problem. It ignores the responsibilities of private citizens, the state and the town of China to comply with and properly administer laws intended to protect water quality. It hands over hundreds of thousands of dollars to the town of China and neither asks for nor provides any evidence that the water quality of China Lake will be restored.

As a resident of China for more than 30 years, and as a former employee of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, I know that China Lake is China’s most important natural, cultural and economic resource. One way to continue the process of improving the water quality of China Lake could be for the town of China to hire a China Lakekeeper, much like Portland’s Casco Baykeeper and New York’s Hudson Riverkeeper. This individual could be the point person for the town for all lake related matters and a strong advocate for the lake by working to insure that citizens and the town live up to their legal responsibilities for environmental compliance. Poorly crafted legislation that makes others pay for our mistakes is not the solution. Hard work and holding people and our government accountable for their actions would be a good start.

John M. Glowa, Sr.
South China

Letters to the editor, Week of February 9, 2017

Communication two-way street

To the editor:

After reading last week’s letter from John Glowa regarding Rep. Timothy Theriault’s failure to respond to questions about his five bills being presented during this legislative session, I felt prompted to share my experience.

Last fall, after reviewing Mr. Theriault’s legislative ‘score card’ on several websites, I was disappointed and puzzled by some of his decisions. On October 31, 2016 – in preparation for the following week’s elections – I sent him an e-mail asking if he could explain why he voted against LD 92 (Increase Minimum Wage to $8/hour), LD 319 (Expand Coverage for Reproductive Health Care & Family Services), LD 325 (Strengthen Recycling of Single-use Plastic Shopping Bags), LD 341 (Prevent Tax Haven Abuse), LD 633 (Provide Affordable Coverage Options to Low-income Uninsured Citizens), LD 977 (Improve Child Care), and LD 1165 (Toxic Chemical Protections in the Workplace). I also asked about LD 1378, which addressed the release of Land Management Funds; I wasn’t sure if he had voted to override the Governor’s 2016 veto, but hoped that when the amended version of the bill came up in January 2017, he would vote to release the funding which the citizens of Maine had already approved.

In addition, I asked why he supported LD 652 (Carry Concealed Handguns Without a Permit), LD 750 (Allow Regulated Metal Mining), and LD 1397 (Divert Timber Harvest Revenue to Affordable Heating).

After receiving no response and thinking perhaps he didn’t check or have access to his maine.gov e-mail when the Legislature was not in session, I forwarded my original request on November 10, 2016, to another address which I found on the town’s website. Although it was post-election, Mr. Theriault had been re-elected and I wanted to better understand his earlier voting history.

On November 28, I forwarded my e-mail yet again as I’d received no response nor any returns indicating the addresses I had used were not valid. On December 1, Rep. Theriault responded, asking for my phone number and a good time for him to call “to talk about my concerns.” On December 3, I sent him the information as requested and thanked him for contacting me.

Two months later, I have yet to hear from our representative. At this point, I do not want a telephone call from Mr. Theriault. If he feels inclined to respond, I would prefer he do so by e-mail, or better yet, to The Town Line so that its readers will also be informed of his voting rationale. Our elected officials need to remember that the process does not end with the tally of votes on election day. As representatives of their communities, I believe they should be responsive to inquiries of their constituents. We’re being encouraged to be more active and take an interest in our government, but communication is a two-way street.

Jayne Winters
South China

Letters to the editor, Week of February 2, 2017

Disagree with obit

To the editor:

Why?

When our son’s obituary was printed in your paper we were so saddened to see that you took it upon yourselves to rewrite what we had written for our hearts.

God forbid that this should ever happen to us again but if it should be we would rather you not print the obituary at all if you feel the need to rewrite what we as parents wrote.

Carrol and Susan White
China

Letters to the editor, Week of January 26, 2017

Hold reps accountable

To the editor:

In 2016, I ran for State Representative for House District #79 which contains China, Albion, Unity Plantation and most of Benton. The voters re-elected Representative Timothy Theriault. During my campaign, I told many voters that as a state employee of nearly 30 years, I know that government is broken. It is broken, in part, because of the public’s failure to hold elected and appointed officials accountable for their actions and inactions. As a citizen, taxpayer and voter, I believe it is time to hold our State Representative accountable.

During his campaign, Representative Theriault cited jobs, taxes, advocating for seniors and veterans, and protecting the Second Amendment as priorities. During this legislative session, he is sponsoring just five bills. They involve tree specialists, left hand turns at red traffic lights, game confiscated by IF&W, municipal accountability of funding for volunteer fire departments, and proposing funding for the “restoration” of China Lake. None of his five bills has much, if anything, to do with his campaign priorities.

The first three bills only have the titles available so their contents are not yet public. The fire department bill would repeal current statutory language about municipal funding of volunteer fire departments but would not provide any funding for them. The China Lake bill would “charge a fee to customers of the Kennebec Water District to be used to restore the quality of China Lake.” The bill contains no details about how he defines “restore”, how the lake would be “restored”, how much it would cost, how long the fee would be assessed, who would collect and spend it, why it would be paid by the customers of KWD, how long it would take to “restore” the lake, who would “restore” it and who would be held responsible for its “restoration.”
I’ve asked several questions about this bill to Representative Theriault and have yet to receive a reply. The public hearing on the bill (L.D. 55 “An Act To Provide Funding for the Restoration of China Lake”) will be heard by the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, in Room 211 of the Cross Office Building. Perhaps Representative Theriault will provide the answers to these questions when he presents the bill at the hearing.

I encourage all voters to hold their elected representatives accountable. I recommend that you communicate with them via email or letter and insist that they also respond in writing. The public can rely on few politicians to provide us with a complete picture of their actions and inactions. Most tell and show us what they want us to believe. To track the status of these and all other bills, go to the Maine legislature website at www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_128th/billtexts/.

John Glowa
South China

Response to KWD regarding alewives

To the editor:

Thank you to the Kennebec Water District (KWD) for their thoughtful Community Commentary. We agree that care should be taken not to overstate the case for water quality improvement resulting from alewife reintroduction. KWD’s phrasing strikes us as most appropriate: “it is hoped that the alewife reintroduction will be a contributor to water quality improvements in China Lake.” Scientific evidence does not yet prove conclusively that reintroduction of alewives into China Lake will improve water quality, and certainly we know that alewife reintroduction on its own will not be enough. But we feel it is reasonable to hope that alewives, over time, will contribute to improved water quality, as long as other significant actions continue to be taken. Such actions include continued annual flushing, reduction of sediment runoff, and reduction of fertilizer, septic and animal waste runoff into the lake. We encourage people concerned about China Lake and Outlet Stream to move forward with a clear-eyed view of what is needed to restore ecosystems that have become so far out of balance. Alewife restoration is just one of many ways that we can improve these ecosystems. All agree, as KWD says, that alewives will help to improve the ecosystem in China Lake, including a more robust food chain. We expect these improvements to help sport fish in the lake, as well as birds and animals that make their homes on the shore. We look forward to the restoration of alewives to China Lake, and to the many ecological benefits that we know for certain will result. We hope that water quality improvements will, over time, prove to be among them.

Matt Streeter
Project Manager
Alewife Restoration Initiative

Letters to the editor, Week of December 22, 2016

Tip of hat to China and Palermo officials

To the editor:

Palermo has entered into a relationship with the town of China, effective January 1st, to use China’s transfer station. This change will bring a more convenient way for Palermo residents to process their recycling and trash. A more detailed flyer about these new services will be coming out soon, but here’s a quick summary of what to expect.

You’ll need to get a transfer station sticker from the Palermo town office. There is no charge for this sticker. During the transition you will be able to use your driver’s license, to show residency in Palermo, until you’ve had time to get your sticker. Bags will be available at the town office and Tobey’s and will come in either 5 – 30 gallon or 8 – 15 gallon bundles for $10 per bundle. China’s transfer station is located at 191 Alder Park Road in China and is open from 7AM to 5PM Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Rather than accumulating recycling and trash for that long trip to Union, start thinking about taking advantage of the convenient location and deposit recycling and trash as trips are made to Augusta and Waterville.

A tip of the hat to the Palermo and China select boards for making this possible.

Bob Kurek
Palermo

Letters to the editor, Week of December 15, 2016

Coal for Christmas to driver

To the editor:

To the person who hit the dog and didn’t stop on Rt 32, in Jefferson, on Sunday morning (12/11) at 7 a.m…I will call you a coward because the paper will not let me print what I would really like to call you and what I am sure other pet lovers and fur baby parents reading this will be thinking.

This fur baby you hit, a Rottweiler, a puppy, “Baby” was new to the family having just filled the void of a recently passed fur baby from cancer “Bota.” She was a lap dog, “Roy’s” playmate, loved to go camping, rides, and cruise on the golf cart.

You left her people, kids, grandkids, devastated at this holiday season.

No, she shouldn’t have been in the road, but you didn’t need to be so heartless as to not stop and offer your condolences, it wasn’t a squirrel, turkey or a cat for that matter. Someone reading might say maybe you didn’t know you hit something, well the pieces of your car left in the road beg to differ.

I hope Santa leaves you COAL for Christmas. PS: if you want your car parts, stop and get them. Trash is Wednesday.

Kathy McDaniel
Jefferson

Letters to the editor, Week of November 17, 2016

Wishing everyone well

To the editor:

I want to thank the 1,757 residents of China, Albion, Benton and Unity Twp. who voted for me on election day. It was a wonderful learning and growing experience and I gave it my best effort. I have spent more than thirty years working for the people of Maine. My career in environmental protection aside, my primary focus has been to work to fix Maine’s very broken system of fish and wildlife management. I am already back doing that work and I will redouble those efforts.

Maine’s problems are too great and too many for a single election to dampen my spirit. If anything, my desire to work to fix broken government and to work for Maine is even greater. I know my race was not decided based on qualifications, hard work or character. As children, we were told the importance of honesty and hard work. Some of us learned that lesson and I still believe both will win out in the long run. My opponent well knows what I am referring to.

I wish the residents of District #79 well over the next two years. 2,940 of you have decided that you are satisfied with the kind of representation you have been receiving in Augusta. I and 1,757 others believe we can and must do better.

The next election cycle starts one short year from now. Until then, we will be watching.

John M. Glowa, Sr.
South China

Thanks voters

To the editor:

To the citizens of Maine House District #80. I’d like to take this opportunity to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to the people of Vassalboro, Windsor, Somerville, and the House District #80 portion of Augusta for selecting me as your next representative to the Maine House. Getting to meet many of you as I was visiting door to door over the past several months was truly a rewarding experience. My promise to you is to work diligently in the Maine House of Representatives with members of all parties as we seek to make Maine a better place to live and work for generations to come.

I would also like to thank my predecessor, Lori Fowle, for her dedication and the hard work she has done on behalf of District #80 residents over the past four years in Augusta. Her efforts as a public servant are very much appreciated, and I want to convey my best wishes to her.

Dick Bradstreet
Vassalboro

Condemning the riots

To the editor:

As a veteran who served during two wars, I am appalled at the actions going on concerning Donald Trump winning the election. Watching these protests, all I can think is that we are reverting to a third world culture where citizens say, to hell with law and order if they don’t get their own way. [I] must blame the media for most of our problems and hyping all these protests and riots.

Thank God Trump is remaining a gentleman and not falling for all this hype, but where is Hillary and Obama? Why are they not [condemning] all this anti-new president terrible display of ignorance, arrogance and criminality?

Too disgusted to continue and really fear for our republic that all of us love and would die for.

[I] hope cooler heads prevail and the media would pull in its horns. [I] will pray our republic survives and sincerely hope Washington gets its act together.

Frank Slason
Somerville