My son returned from Afghanistan last week after a nine-month deployment. On Feb. 6 at 8:30 p.m., he texted that he had “just landed in Bangor, Maine,” and they “had a line of people to greet us.”
I want to thank all those wonderful people who took a chunk of time out of their day after all these years to make my son feel special as he landed in America since I couldn’t be there to welcome him home. You are deeply appreciated. Thank you.
I would like to make a comment that concerns Eastern Maine girls Class B basketball that involves a very successful coach, now two years removed from coaching the Nokomis Warriors ladies’ team, leading the team to the Eastern Maine championships in 2010 and 2011.
Her name is Kori Dionne, who just happens to be my daughter. Due to a grievous error she made one night, she was forced to resign her coaching position. It was a difficult time she went through. Although there were issues surrounding her situation that sicken me personally involving people in the Newport area, Kori has chosen the high road.
Having helped to raise her and watch her mature into a beautiful young woman, I just want to say that she’s still the best coach in Eastern Maine Class B girls basketball. I, along with a lot of other family and friends, look forward to seeing her rejoin the coaching ranks of basketball at whatever level of coaching that may be sooner rather than later.
Check Box 7 for libraries
Mainers have an opportunity to support our state’s free public libraries when filing their Maine taxes. By using “Schedule CP – Voluntary Contributions,” filers can make a donation that directly supports Maine public libraries. Last year, money raised from the income tax check-off program was used to purchase e-books available throughout the state.
Most people aren’t aware that public libraries are locally funded. In Maine there is no direct state aid, no mandate that a locality have a library or, if there is a library, no requirement it be funded at a certain level. Libraries receive funding from the towns they serve, and many, regardless of the amount received from that locality, rely on donations, gifts and volunteers.
With that funding, Maine’s public libraries play a crucial role in our communities by contributing to the area’s prosperity and growth through fostering the spirit of exploration, the joy of reading, the pursuit of knowledge, and by preserving our unique local history. Libraries play increasingly critical roles in economic and workforce development, early literacy and digital literacy. It is that place where everyone, from cradle to grave, can connect to books, information and ideas needed for work, recreation, education and inspiration.
The tax check-off isn’t a replacement for your annual contribution to your local library, but it is a convenient way to help make all libraries in our state stronger. While filling out your state tax form this year, please check Box 7 for Maine’s libraries.
Director, Bangor Public Library
Democrat against wind
As a lifelong Democrat, I am concerned about the inroads out-of-state wind corporations have made on our politics. The latest example is Democratic Senate President Justin Alfond’s bill that I call the “Corporate Windpower Revenge Act.” It would, in effect, retaliate against the Department of Environmental Protection for rejecting two questionable wind power site applications and against Maine residents who wish to have their concerns taken seriously at future wind power hearings.
Alfond’s bill addresses these concerns by stating that in the future, all Maine agencies may only consider the “testimony of qualified experts … and … evidence supported by independent confirmation of reliability.” So the corporations must believe that the DEP acted on false or faulty facts when it rejected the two applications.
At a hearing, a corporate attorney urged the DEP to disregard the testimony of citizens because they were not credentialed “experts,” meaning that expensive representatives that only the wealthy taxpayer supported corporations would hire should be heard. Mere citizens usually cannot afford to hire experts. She also complained that the 1,000-signed petition formulated by local citizens should be disregarded partly because the signatures had not been validated and may be fraudulent.
I am appalled that a leader of my party, the party of Ed Muskie and George Mitchell, in the interest of out-of-state corporations, is seeking to eliminate the right of Maine citizens to be effectively heard at future hearings on issues of great interest to them. I think it may be time to organize a Democrats Against Wind Power organization. I know there are many of us.
Support LD 616
Last month, my wife and I traveled from Trescott Township to testify before the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee in Augusta in support of LD 616, a bill to amend the Maine Wind Energy Act of 2008.
If enacted, LD 616 would serve to restore to Unorganized Territory residents within “expedited permitting areas” an opportunity to speak out regarding the development of large-scale industrial wind projects in their communities.
Opponents of this bill spoke at length of the benefits we would realize from wind energy, but only when pressed by Rep. Larry Dunphy, R-Embden, did any comment on the issue of citizen rights. Many persisted in ignoring that point. Those who did address the question expressed regret for this consequence but went on to describe the inconvenience of allowing local residents to be heard.
One described local input as an “encumbrance.” Another claimed open hearings prior to permitting to be an added “layer of bureaucracy.”
Well, the “voice of the people” is not a “layer of bureaucracy” but the fundamental bedrock upon which our democracy, our “bureaucracy,” is built.
No law can be just that denies a resident the opportunity to be heard on issues regarding the industrial development near his or her home. Let your local representatives know you support the passage of LD 616 to return to residents in Unorganized Territory expedited permitting areas the right to be heard.