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Monday, May 12, 2014: One-minute hikes, Maine economy, Belfast food hub

Aislinn’s hikes

Thank you to Aislinn Sarnacki for her colorful and informative “one minute hike” articles. We are fortunate to have places to hike in this area.

Sarnacki identifies the degree of difficulty to which trails are wheelchair accessible, which is an added bonus for my wife and me. I use a wheelchair and regularly walk our three Boston Terriers.

We will definitely be taking some of Sarnacki’s hikes this summer. We also are looking forward to the completion of Brewer’s river walk.

Lionel El-Hajj


Top three states

While in Texas the last two weeks of March, a local Houston station stated that Texas was in the top 10 for business improvement outlook over the next few years, and the top three were Maine, South Dakota and North Carolina. This took me by surprise, so I started looking into why that might be.

I know South Dakota is constantly in the top tier for being business friendly, but how did Maine get this recognition? I would imagine some of the facts I subsequently found had an influence on this position: Maine paid the $750 million owed to Maine’s hospitals without raising taxes; passed the largest tax cut in Maine’s history, giving a tax cut to two-thirds of Maine’s taxpayers; and created 16,600 private sector jobs since 2010, resulting in an unemployment rate reduction.

We have a new shipping partner with Eimskip coming to Portland harbor and an agreement with Pan Am Railways, which will service Maine businesses wishing to ship to Europe and the rest of the U.S. Unemployment is down to 5.9 percent from 7.9 percent in 2011(this is due to private job creation).

Maine’s governor is working to reduce the cost of government and working to reduce electrical and medical costs, which have been a deterrent to existing as well as new businesses coming to Maine. Maine and North Carolina have in common governors with strong business backgrounds who know how to pay the bills and keep spending down.

Jon Kirsch

Lisbon Falls

Questions for Bellows

In response to a recent letter criticizing Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ record, let’s be fair and turn the mirror on her opponent.

Democrat Shenna Bellows supports raising the minimum wage to an arbitrary $10.10 an hour, which nonpartisan sources say would cause more than a half million people to lose their jobs. Small businesses have said they would have to lose employees. Many people working the minimum wage are women. Who is Bellows willing to fire in order to give someone else a raise?

Bellows supports Obamacare, which has caused millions of women around the country to lose their doctor. Bellows supports more government regulation and red tape that harms small employers and prevents them from hiring more workers. How does this help women and working families?

And just as Bath Iron Works announces it will hire hundreds more workers, Bellows has expressed support for turning the shipyard into a windmill factory, potentially causing the loss of well-paying jobs. How does this help those working families?

It’s easy to criticize your opponent, but I was always taught you should never throw stones if you live in a glass house.

Margaret Howson


Food hub fight

I hope reading Peter Wilkinson’s piece about Coastal Farms and Foods has alerted people to the plight of this extraordinary enterprise. Here is the perfect example of a relevant and visionary business model that reflects the economic, agricultural and social needs of our region.

It provided jobs, supported small farmers and large scale producers, provided food storage, food safety, incubated new businesses and promoted the time-honored tradition of Maine’s self-sufficiency. How can it lose?

Well, apparently, it can, and we, as a community, can lose a lot: all of the above, plus autonomy. “Food hub” seems to be the apt description of its function, but its mission is guided by a social conscience and intention to foster regional economies; these are the bases that enable people to find work, live better and create small enterprises, which keep our farms from going under.

It’s a pretty basic principle, which is frequently disparaged as being “naive” or too “optimistic.” As a small-scale entrepreneur, I can assert that starting a business is not for the faint of heart or dreamy-eyed altruist, but it will never succeed without that optimism, naivety or bravery.

What Jan Anderson has brought to the region is exactly the right concept at the right time and in the right place. Let’s keep this rare opportunity alive and contribute to its survival in whatever way possible so that in the future each of can say, “I am a part of the solution.”

The friends of Coastal Farms has opened an account at Down East Credit Union, 92 Lincolnville Ave., Belfast, ME 04915. Please consider helping this valuable asset.

Phyllis W. Sommer



New name

BDN columnist Erin Donovan is once again promoting her column and show under the title “I’m Gonna’ Kill Him,” with blood spots on the advertisement.

Apparently, Donovan does not read or hear the media reports of domestic violence in Maine and the United States. I find it offensive she chooses to continue to title her show with the insinuation of violence toward another, male or female. I wonder if this title would be acceptable if a male comedian entitled his show “I’m Gonna’ Kill Her.”

I find it interesting the Bangor Daily News accepted the ad, that Camden Opera House is hosting the event as titled, and that Rockland Kiwanis are accepting the benefits of the show.

As so many women, men and children have lost their lives to domestic violence, I would encourage others not to attend the event. Perhaps after a low attendance, Donovan will consider a different name for her show.

Marleen Athorp



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