Public input needed on jail plan

As a Penobscot County resident and volunteer at Penobscot County Jail, I am hoping as the process of how best to accommodate the incarcerated population in this county goes forward, we the people get an opportunity to weigh in on what the jail’s potential new footprint could look like.

Preferably, we will get to do so before that plan is submitted as a referendum question for taxpayer consideration. It makes sense to re-imagine the new jail with staff, inmates and lower recidivism rates in mind (Maine has the highest recidivism rate in New England). Taxpayers would then get a facility that addresses overcrowding and include more room for restorative programs with a proven track record for reducing the inmate population.

What we need, before this issue goes to referendum, is an opportunity for county residents to be part of the conversation in a public forum.

Monique Gautreau

Bangor

Bar Harbor housing idea

Bar Harbor has a shortage of affordable housing. Over the past 20 years, large hotel owners have bought up many houses and apartment complexes in the downtown residential areas to house their seasonal workers. I grew up downtown, and I have fond memories of playing with children in my neighborhood. That area is literally a dead zone now with empty houses for half of the year. In season, these houses and apartment complexes are filled to the brim with employees.

In recent years, two large hotel corporations bought the affordable housing complex on West Street Extension and the apartment building located between School Street and Ledgelawn Avenue. Many year-round families were evicted from their homes and had to leave Bar Harbor in order to find a new home.

I suggest that from now on, anyone proposing to build a lodging facility in Bar Harbor should be required by the town to have sufficient and safe housing for their seasonal workers on the hotel property. If they cannot do this, then they should be denied permission to build.

Katherine Whitney

Bar Harbor

NECEC moves Maine in right direction

I served in our military and have been all over the world, including serving a tour of duty in Iraq. After an honorable discharge, I’m happy to be back home, and enjoy hunting and fishing all over our state.

My love of the outdoors is why I love Maine so much. It’s also a major reason why I feel it’s important for Mainers to support the New England Clean Energy Connect.

NECEC creates a corridor for a transmission line to run hydropower from Quebec to Maine. There are other corridors around Maine much like what the NECEC would create and they are excellent spots to hunt. Hunters can set up near a new trail, road or right-of-way as they wait for a moose or deer — depending on the season. Projects like NECEC improve and enhance access to these spots and give us a path to remote parts of Maine.

I know there is concern about the corridor and power lines harming the natural beauty of our woods and wilderness. But that feels like a minor inconvenience in comparison to what our forests and environment will look like if climate change continues to go unchecked.

We must reverse our dependence on fossil fuels as quickly as possible and turn our attention to renewable energy. NECEC goes a long way to doing that. Is it a solution to all our climate change challenges? Of course not, but it gets us moving in the right direction.

William Stover

Augusta