Thursday, June 26, 2014: Clifton wind turbines, school report cards, Andrew Wyeth art

Posted June 25, 2014, at 10:49 a.m.

Support Gratwick

I am writing in support of Democrat Geoffrey Gratwick in this November’s election. Maine needs more middle-of-the-road members in the state Legislature. Gratwick genuinely cares about the citizens in his district of Bangor and Hermon, regardless of their party affiliation.

He tries to benefit all citizens by listening and incorporating ideas into public policy. He makes every attempt to work with other legislators to create fair and progressive policy for all Maine citizens, not just a privileged few. The future of our state depends on the election of Democratic candidates with these unique qualities this fall.

E. Jeff Barnes

Bangor

 

Clifton vote

On July 1 the residents of Clifton will be voting to modify their wind power ordinance, reportedly to accommodate the Pisgah Mountain project.

The changes proposed by the planning board will weaken or reduce the minimal protections provided by the current ordinance.

Industrial wind turbines are the largest machines on our planet and can be destructive to both wildlife and humans if not sited properly. Their impacts can be felt across miles, not feet. For example, folks with camps on Davis and Holbrook Ponds in Eddington and Holden may experience visual, sound and nighttime lighting impacts from these turbines.

Setbacks are a very important element to any ordinance, and their purpose is to protect owners on both sides of a property line. For most categories of developments, standard ordinances provide clear-cut guidelines for property-line setbacks that are easy to understand and to comply with.

However, because wind turbines are so tall, and their 50-ton motors are so powerful, they do not recognize property rights or boundaries.

I urge voters not to approve these amendments on July 1, but rather to take time to really look at what the impact will be on themselves and their neighbors. There are other hills and mountains in Clifton, and a weak ordinance may quickly attract more wind developments. The accumulative impacts of wind turbine sprawl will not only change the rural character of Clifton but also its neighboring communities

Greg Perkins

Holden

School recognition

Recognition is in order for Brewer High School. The Maine Department of Education recently released its report cards for Maine schools, and Brewer received a solid B.

At a time when national news seems focused on everything that is wrong or needs to be fixed with the American education system, it is reassuring to know that our local school is making the grade.

As a lifelong Brewer resident and past member of the Brewer School Committee, it gives me satisfaction knowing that our students are performing well by our state’s standards.

I am confident that our school administrators and teachers will continue to maintain and exceed these high standards, always striving for that A+.

Brewer schools have been and will continue to be a great place to learn, achieve and to become prepared for what lies ahead. Well done.

Joseph L. Ferris

Brewer city councilor

Brewer

Wyeth fan

I have long been an unabashed fan of Andrew Wyeth and a fan of several works by family members.

I read with dismay the article by Philip Kennicott about the National Gallery exhibit, in Washington, D.C., of Wyeth’s “window” paintings, and his interpretations. I found a thread of “haughty art critic” in his words. As he pointed out, there have been Wyeth haters over the years.

Art critics and otherwise have reviled Wyeth for not fitting into a “round hole.”

Wyeth’s home in Chadd’s Ford was the genesis for some of his images that were dear to his heart. He chose to lie in rest here.

His paintings of Maine, specifically, have brought comfort and peace to many of us Mainers who, for whatever reason, lived away. I have several prints and have often stopped to gaze out those “windows” and felt the Maine breeze on my face.

Surely, that talent should be respected by art critics.

Sharon E. Webber

Calais

Waste of money

Please tell me that these expectant mothers who are having their bellies painted cannot find anything better to spend their money on. Honestly!

Alberta Farthing Owens

Baileyville

Toxic chemicals

There has been a lot in the media lately about phthalates, a group of chemicals used in soft plastics and vinyl and in many shampoos and other personal care products, especially scented ones. Even though studies show that these chemicals endanger users’ health, manufacturers are not currently required to disclose which products contain them.

I wonder, are there phthalates in the plastic bags in which I freeze my blueberries and other foods? Are they in my granddaughter’s cute plastic raincoat, slowly killing her? I grew up on a small farm in western Maine with healthy food and have managed to live quite a few decades by continuing to be careful about my food, clothing, etc., but I can’t be careful if I have no way of knowing which products contain dangerous chemicals.

More than 2,000 Maine citizens recently petitioned the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to gather information on which products contain phthalates. I urge that department to respond to the petitioners. We have a right to know which products contain toxic chemicals.

Fern Stearns

Orland

 

Not a national park

In the past, Mainers have stood together to keep control of large areas local. Baxter and the Allagash are good examples of where we sought to be responsible for our lands ourselves.

We now are faced with the possibility of having some of our forest lands put under federal control.

I have been to federally run parks. They are understaffed and under-repaired. Interactive displays are in disrepair, and facilities often need paint and normal upkeep.

I think Maine lands need to be controlled by Mainers. We have a wonderful example in Baxter State Park.

If it turns out we cannot do the job as it should be done, perhaps the present owners can be responsible park owners themselves.

Beverly Bryer

Bradford

 

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