Small town safety

Last week I had the opportunity to witness volunteers at work here in Burnham and I was totally impressed.

People fell right into place: these guys stopped traffic, this one communicated with the volunteer ambulance crew from Unity and there was communication to bring in a LifeFlight helicopter.

Those people had their positions. Along came a lady who is a veterinarian, she communicated to the first responder who arrived. The first responder started putting care in place.

There were people providing emotional support for the pickup driver who was hit by the motorcycle driver. The only concerns being displayed were for the two major characters. People who were not involved stayed back out of the way but were handy in case more help was needed.

I’m not taking the time to catch up with all the names of the volunteers involved; if they see this they will know who they are. But a big thank-you to the volunteers of the Burnham Fire Department, the Unity Ambulance crew, helicopter crew and all others who were showing they cared.

I have to add one thing: Bikers, please wear your helmets. I know for a fact that a helmet makes a difference. When my head hit the pavement, thanks to my helmet, it bounced 3 times with no injuries. Would have been a completely different ending without it.

Debbie Walker


Confusing to voters

Charlie Summers, Maine secretary of state, has proposed wording for the same-sex marriage referendum in November that is incomplete, misleading by omission and potentially gives an unfair advantage to the opposition.

As a deeply religious person and a strong supporter of religious freedom and liberty, I urge readers to contact him by email ( or phone (626-8400). Please ask him to retain the wording proposed by those who have gathered the signatures for this law: “Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples that protects religious freedom by ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs?” The deadline for public comments is 5 p.m. July 16.

The title of the law that was approved by the secretary of state last year is An Act To Allow Marriage Licenses for Same-sex Couples and Protect Religious Freedom. The citizens’ initiative that will be before voters this November will do both things. It will allow marriage licenses for same-sex couples and protect religious freedom for clergy people and religious institutions not to perform same-sex marriages.

The proposed version, “Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?” is confusing to the voter, potentially opens the door to misleading advertisements and can be used by opponents of this law to evoke fear and distrust with regard to religious liberty. It should be revised by the secretary to reflect the full intent of the law.

Douglas Kimmel


Turbine effects

An application for an industrial wind development in eastern Maine is pending before the Maine Department of Environmental Protection with a decision to approve or deny expected soon.

This proposed development consists of 14 459-foot-tall turbines across scenic Passadumkeag Mountain — one of the highest points between Mount Katahdin and Cadillac Mountain.

The turbines would be four to five times as tall as the largest white pines the region is noted for. In addition, red, pulsating lights would be fixed atop the towers, severely affecting the nighttime views of this largely undeveloped area and reflecting across many nearby lakes.

Maine law requires such developments to have no unreasonable effect on scenic resources of state or national significance. This project, proposed by Quantum Energy, would be well within view of four bodies of water (Nicataous Lake, Spring Lake, Saponac Pond and Lower Pistol Lake) that are rated either “outstanding” or “significant” for their scenic character by the Maine Wildlands Lake Assessment.

The turbines would be within a few miles of Saponac Pond, and would literally loom over camp owners and those recreating on this very special body of water. A third party hired by the DEP to measure visual effects stated specifically with regard to the effect of the project on Saponac Pond, “this project would dominate the views that many users would experience.” Driving by Saponac on Route 188, you can’t help but agree.

If the visual effects of this project are not determined to be unreasonable, what would be?

If you have concerns about this project, contact the DEP project manager at 446-9026.

Chris Jackson


Arts in the Park

This past weekend we were blessed with some of the finest days of the summer so far, and the people came and came to attend Arts in the Park, (although I think the locals held out for the cooler weather on Sunday) and as they made their way to and from the event, the town was bursting at the seams.

This was the 17th annual event and was better and more successful thanks to the support and help from many — the artists, organizing committee, volunteers, musicians, food vendors, sponsors — especially the Bangor Daily News, our media sponsors who not only provided terrific coverage that attracted many visitors but also staged the midcoast photo contest. It takes a village.

The event will be back July 12-13, 2013. For information, visit or “like” us on Facebook.

Chris Urick


Driver’s license renewal

My Maine driver’s license is due for renewal in August. And for the first time in my life, I’m now required to provide proof to the state of Maine that I am an American. Not only that I am an American, but that I actually live where my current Maine driver’s license so indicates. I wouldn’t object if this was a one-time-only requirement, but the Driver License Renewal Notification seems to imply that the foregoing prerequisites may be required on each subsequent renewal. If so, why?

I was born in Patten in 1933 and, except for the 20 years that I was on active duty with the USN, I only have resided in Maine. And the Maine driver’s license is the only one that I’ve had these past 63 years. But, apparently that’s not enough.

Now I wonder. When the legislators finally decide that I need to provide some personal identification in order to vote, will the state then accept my Maine-issued driver’s license?

Donald C. Grant