Katrina Smith announces re-election bid campaign

Katrina Smith

Maine State Representative Katrina Smith, District #62, has announced the launch of her re-election campaign to the Maine State House. Elected in 2022, Rep. Smith has served the last session on the Inno­vation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee overseeing Economic development, licensing and growth initiatives for the state of Maine.

“I will continue to be a voice for the people of my district and have been so grateful for their ongoing support and encouragement. I am always available to my constituents and no matter the political party will continue to tackle the problems that are important to them,” Smith said.

“I look forward to continuing to represent the towns of China, Palermo, Somerville, Windsor and Hibberts Gore and hope to talk to as many people as possible during the campaign season!”

Katrina can be reached at katrinaformaine@gmail.com, at 207-230-9583 or on her facebook page: Representative Katrina Smith.

LETTERS: CMP, PUC should treat all customers equally

To the editor:

An open letter to Central Maine Power Co. and the Public Utilities Commission respectively, as a retired electrical/contractor/engineer. We had trouble with both entities just after moving to Maine in 1988. [We] built two homes with baseboard electric heat and was told by a CMP field engineer that we were stupid to go with electric heat.

This was long before the new green energy fad, so all us electric people using baseboard heat were ahead of the curve when it came to zero carbon emissions. CMP and the PUC were so anti-electric heat that we were hit with a 12 percent luxury tax, and, to make things worse, were given a TOU meter which is a punitive meter because we used more than 2,000 KWH in one month.

Now, to my gripe. I got a flyer from CMP stating that heat pump users may get a special rate? What about us loyal electric heat people who have paid dearly for heat with no complaints. I lived in a state where the power company had a special rate for all electric homes. But not in Maine. I never saw such a company that punishes you for being carbon neutral, plus is CMP a business where the more you use they give you a discount? Of course not!

Gone are the good old days when Paul Flannagan was president of CMP and Steve Ward was the chairman of the PUC. In closing, I’m hoping my letter wakes up some of our legislators and push CMP and PUC to treat all electric heat homeowners fairly.

Frank Slason

LETTERS: Is history repeating itself?

To the editor:

I would like to express some of my personal opinions on immigration. Let’s go back to circa 1600 when Europeans claimed refugee status, i.e., due to religious persecution. Bear in mind refugees come in all sizes from good, bad and even criminals.

The Native Americans welcomed the refugees and taught them how to survive in their country. How were the Native Americans repaid? They lost their country.

Now fast forward to 2023, and here is history repeating itself? My liberal friends tell me, “this is a big country, we can accommodate everyone.” Now, the word is out that Maine is a big benevolent welfare state and ready to put out the welcome mat to everyone, including the overpopulated African nations.

Ask this question: Is what’s happening now a case of history and/or karma? To wit, is history repeating itself and or is this a case of karma for the Native Americans who welcomed everyone into their country, and are now living as second class citizens, stuck on reservations located in a country they once proudly owned? Perhaps they will witness their once great country become a banana republic!

Frank Slason

LETTERS: Moving too fast to electrification

To the editor:

A few ideas on what I see coming due to the electrification of America.

First, within a decade the government will require all citizens to own electric cars which will mean upgrading everybody’s electric service.

Second, we will have all oil, gas, natural and propane stoves, heaters, ovens, home heaters removed and replaced with not only heat pumps, which also require heat back-up, and or electric baseboard heaters and others.

Third, all this electrification will be putting an enormous strain on the electric grid, which means we will need a grid that must be able to carry the loads which presently they cannot. As the loads will be not only double, triple, and even quadruple. Where we will put these new towers is another future problem as we all ready know is a problem in Maine.

Fourth, as we know the ultimate goal is to become carbon neutral. Well, solar panels wear out and wind mills freeze, break down, etc. And to all my wood stove neighbors, beware, that will be the last thing with the government telling everyone to throw out their wood burning stoves as they are also a pollutant.

As a retired electrical contractor/engineer, I am all for electrification, but feel we are moving too fast on alternative “green” energy.

Frank Slason

LETTERS: Thoughts on going carbon neutral

To the editor:

A few thoughts on going carbon neutral. Must first mention that while everyone is concerned with oil prices on consumers, what was omitted was the cost to us carbon neutral electric consumers who are feeling the costs of our electric bills which on average right now are over $400 per month, for electric heat.

What I am seeing happening in the future is the trouble when all this conserving and getting off fossil fuels is the following: first is the push to solar panels which are not biodegradable and also wear out. Must add they are ugly and destroying all our precious farmlands. Remember solar panels were first introduced out west and down south where there is plenty of sunshine.

Wind power is a much better alternative and even then, wind doesn’t always blow. Why not go nuclear power? Yes, there are risks but so are there with solar and wind. To continue with carbon neutral we are going to first get rid of all the family gas ranges, natural and propane, and replace them with electric induction ranges, and also regular electric ranges.

Next, we will all need electric cars, adding to the grid load. Bear in mind the experts don’t tell us all this changing won’t be able to augment and add the capacity to the grid, which means we will need to build more transmission lines along with the non-fossil fuels for generating electricity. My suggestion is to build small nuclear plants around the country to offset the cost of just a few huge ones like they have in Europe. Incidentally, Poland just signed a big contract with Westinghouse to build a new nuclear plant there. Also, must add where I came from, in just a radius of 40 miles, we had three small local power plants owned by consumers and all even had electric heat rates for us.

Don’t be fooled that heat pumps are going to solve all our problems. The manufacturers of them even suggest electric heat back up for them, and we all will be using electric heat to heat our homes, too, adding more load to an already over-stressed grid.

I recall the 1960s when power companies would supply all the appliances free if you went all electric, including heat. Looks like maybe history will repeat itself in the future.

Frank Slason

LETTERS: Overjoyed to see the Wreaths Across America

To the editor:

As a veteran, I was overjoyed to see the Wreaths Across America honor the people of America at Arlington National Cemetery, but also the unsung heroes at Hannaford, in China, who graciously and with big hearts received the 50-plus caravan that stopped in China on Sunday morning, December 11, and greeted all of them with coffee, sandwiches and doughnuts, and even a portable toilet. God bless them all!

It is very sad to notice over my 90 years how so many of our ceremonies of our heroes from the past, present, are not mentioned in print, TV or radio. Did any of you readers notice anything about December 7 [Pearl Harbor Day]? I certainnly didn’t.

If this letter is late getting printed and by some miracle the media did in fact cover the Wreaths Across America, besides the one liners mentioned on TV and never mentioning China’s wonderful reception for them, I apologize.

Frank Slason

Somerville farm to hold Yule Goat fundraiser

Bacchus is one of the Yule Goats at Pumpkin Vine Family Farm, in Somerville. (photo courtesy of Pumpkin Vine Farm)

Pumpkin Vine Farm’s Yule Goat celebration, which aims to help spread the magic of Christmas from Scandinavia to India, is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, December 11, at the 217 Hewett Road farm, in Somerville.

In Scandinavian tradition, the Yule Goat brings presents to children at Christmas, accompanied by the Tomten, a farm gnome that looks after the well-being of the animals, according to a news release from farm owner Kelly Payson-Roopchand.

This year, the Yule Goat is raising funds for underprivileged schoolchildren in Varanasi, India.

People can attend the holiday event for free, then pass on the gift through a purchase of a special fundraising goat calendar and/or direct donation. The festivities start with a traditional Scandinavian story followed by handcrafts and hot chocolate by the fireside.

Those who attend are encouraged to wear winter clothes and boots so they can take a hike with Yule Goats dressed in their bells and blankets to decorate a tree for the wild birds.

After a visit to the barn, people can browse local crafts and farm-fresh treats at the farmers’ market. The market will include snacks, holiday gifts, and all the fixings for a holiday table.

For more information, visit pumpkinvinefamilyfarm.com, email info@pumpkinvinefamilyfarm.com or call 207-549-3096.

LETTERS: Is Poland more forward thinking than us?

To the editor:

Concerning the new trend toward the electrification of America, just a reminder of what’s to come. This stampede to electric cars and heat pumps all need electric back ups and will put a big strain on our already crumbling grid.

Electric vehicles will have to beef up their electrical services and night workers will charge their cars during the day while day workers will have to charge their vehicles at night, thus putting a 24 hour a day strain on the grid.

My other view is all this stampeding for green energy is false, as solar panels are not biodegradable and also not permanent, so when they fall apart in possibly two decades, what do we do with their junk? I must add that solar panels are the ugliest sight ever and what do we do when these solar people finally con all the farmers into selling their land? Starve?

With the above in mind, it would seem logical to concentrate on nuclear power, our only hope for the future of this country. I must add an engineering company in America just signed a contract with Poland to build a brand new nuclear plant in Poland. Maybe Poland is more forward thinking than us, eh?

Frank Slason

Slasons observe 66th anniversary

Frank D. and Diane E. Slason, of Somerville, recently celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. A small celebration was held at the Heritage Rehab & Nursing Center, in Winthrop, where Mrs. Slason is a resident.

Maine Farmland Trust awards grants to local farms

Ironwood Farm, in Albion, owners Nell Finnigan, left, and Justin Morace. (internet photo)

Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) announced the award of six matching grants totaling $300,000 to Ironwood Farm, in Albion, and five other farms across the state upon their completion of MFT’s Farming for Wholesale program, a two-year program that offers up to 100 hours of individualized business planning and technical assistance to farmers who are seeking to grow their operations. The six farms will implement business plans focused on scaling up for wholesale by investing in equipment and infrastructure to streamline their production, improve their ability to sell to wholesale markets, and make their businesses more profitable.

The 2022 grantees are Apple Creek Farm in Bowdoinham; Bahner Farm in Belmont; Bumbleroot Organic Farm in Windham; Farmer Kev’s Organics in West Gardiner; Ironwood Farm in Albion; and Pumpkin Vine Family Farm in Somerville.

Each farm was awarded $50,000, and will match the grants with $50,000 of their own investments, introducing a total of $100,000 of new funding to grow their businesses. All six farms participated in MFT’s Farming for Wholesale program and worked with business advisors to research and define robust business plans that focused on scaling up for wholesale markets. These grants are competitive and applications undergo an extensive review process by a committee of MFT staff and industry consultants.

In their business plan, Nell Finnigan and Justin Morace of Ironwood Farm, an organic diversified vegetable farm in Albion, planned to scale up their best crops to help them grow sales to a level where they can support full-time, year round employees who are paid equitably, as well support a living wage for the farm owners. Finnigan and Morace plan to do this by using grant funds to construct new vegetable-handling facilities and cold storage.

Pumpkin Vine Family Farm, in Somerville. Anil Roopchand, center, with children Kieran, left, and Sarita. (The Town Line file photo)

Another award recipient was Anil Roopchand and Kelly Payson-Roopchand’s Pumpkin Vine Family Farm, a goat dairy and farmstead creamery, in Somerville. Their business plan identified a need to increase the size of their goat herd, as well as the capacity of their on-farm infrastructure, so their farm can sell products to diverse markets, including expanding their ability to provide wholesale goat milk to other local creameries. As a result, Roopchand and Payson-Roopchand plan to use grant funds to buy new equipment, as well as investing in an expansion of their barn and a manure pit.

Learn more about MFT’s Farming for Wholesale program here: https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/farm-viability/workshops/.