2016-11-04 / Letters

Election Letters

To the editor:

The future of KLPD’s three dams on the Mousam is the subject of questions 4, 5 and 6 on next week’s ballot. Many opinions and perspectives have been swirling around town, and there has also been a fair bit of misleading information.

Unfortunately, the cost summary on the Save the Mousam Dams website is in this category. It contains significant errors and misinformation, and, as far as I can tell, there are three major entries in that chart that are off by about $5 million each.

The first is that they added a $4.7 million expense for fixing infrastructure, riverbanks and culverts. A footnote says this was a “cost estimate to reconstruct 9 miles of exposed riverbank at $100/feet.” Compare this to the fact that expenditures on this scale have not occurred at other river restoration projects in Maine, even at much larger dams and rivers.

The second is their one-sided assumptions related to fish ladders. They assume that fish passage would not be required by FERC because there are only “9 fish” in the river. This is a red herring if ever there was one. The “9 fish” refers to two days in May 2009 when Wells Reserve volunteers set up nets to see what species of fish might be caught and documented. This was not remotely considered to be an attempt to gauge fish populations in the river. The existence of significant numbers of fish in the Mousam, and the potential for significant growth in these numbers, has been documented by various agencies and by the many people who come from near and far to fish the lower Mousam. The cost for fish ladders should be the same in any scenario in which the dams remain in place.

The third error and most glaring error relates to the value KLPD derives from its hydropower. The Save the Dams chart presents three different scenarios. Under the first one, both the costs of producing the hydropower and the revenues derived from the sales of that power ($6.9 million) are included. That’s fine.

What’s not fine if that in each of the other two scenarios, the $4.7 million cost of purchasing power to replace the hydro is counted, but the revenues from the sales of that purchased electricity are not. You can’t just count the revenue in one scenario and not count it in the others. That’s $6.2 million in revenue missing from the other two scenarios. That’s why when Wright Pierce reviewed these numbers submitted by Mr. Kolff, they concluded that they did not make any sense, and GZA agreed.

Wright Pierce and GZA GeoEnvironmental are two well-established and highly regarded engineering firms with extensive experience in hydropower related projects. Their analysis of KLPD’s dams was thorough and is in line with costs experienced by other hydropower facilities.

In June, KLPD determined that it lost $156,000 on its hydro operations over the last 6 years, and that it had spent another $180,000 exploring relicensing possibilities. These costs will only increase as the dams continue to age. The costs tallied in the WP reports are only the beginning. This was made quite clear by the report provided to KLPD by engineer Bill Clewes.

WP has projected the cost of future KLPD generated hydropower at $0.25/kWh. The power that KLPD purchases from the New England grid costs about $0.09/kWh and the solar power that KLPD is actively exploring is also expected to cost about $0.09/ kWh.

The stark reality of the economics of the aging dams is what led the trustees to vote to not pursue relicensing. They made a logical decision based on sound information with the interests of the ratepayers foremost in their minds, in line with both their stated mission and their legal fiduciary responsibility. The ballot questions do not reference any projected costs, and, in fact, the costs provided on the Save the Dams website are seriously flawed and misleading.

We urge you to vote no on Questions 4, 5 and 6.

Bill Grabin

To the editor:

As you may know, the Kennebunk Kennebunkport and Wells Water District has taken a position against the practice of adding fluoride to the drinking water of its customers. The upcoming local referendum will give everyone living within the towns we serve an opportunity to end water fluoridation and regain control of what they ingest at home, at school or at work.

The state-mandated wording for the referendum question is a bit confusing. Due to this wording, the answer we at the water district support is no.

We have several reasons for our opposition to water fluoridation for our customers. In addition to the reasons and facts presented on our website www.kkw.org and www.rethinkingfluoride.com, we feel the following are important considerations:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has clearly stated for many years that surface application of fluoride, not swallowing, is the way fluoride helps to protect teeth from cavities. The American Dental Association understands and agrees with this, as they published in their journal JADA No. 131 in July of 2000. So, why swallow it?

It is now known in all scientific circles that we are now ingesting fluoride from a variety of sources, to the point that dental fluorosis (white blotches on the teeth), an indicator of childhood overexposure to fluoride, has affected over 40 percent of American adolescents. We already have naturally occurring fluoride in our water supply sources; about one-third of the optimal amount. With overexposure to fluoride being a proven fact, why add more?

A mounting body of evidence suggests that overexposure to fluoride carries with it a variety of health-related consequences. In 2009 the EPA listed fluoride as a neurotoxin, with “substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity,” which is their highest rating. You may have noticed that all over-the-counter fluoridated toothpaste and fluoride rinses there are clear instructions to immediately call the Poison Control Center if swallowed.

And what about choice? Shouldn’t the public choose, on an individual basis, whether they want to ingest fluoride? With the many economical options available for safe and effective topical application (toothpaste and rinses) why force everyone to ingest fluoride while drinking water, the most important substance they need in their diet?

As your drinking water provider, whose mission is to provide the safest possible drinking water to our customers, adding fluoride to your water seems to us as being unnecessary, unsafe and inappropriate. Why? We are adding fluoride, with an acute toxicity greater than lead and only slightly less than arsenic, which does nothing to improve the quality and safety of drinking water.

We cannot, in good conscience, stay silent on this issue any longer. For us, there’s obviously doubt in our minds as to the safe and effective water fluoridation dogma we have all been taught to believe. We say: when in doubt, leave it out. Please vote no and we can immediately stop adding the fluoride. Then everyone can have a choice.

Norm Labbe, superintendent
Kennebunk, Kennebunkport
and Wells Water District

To the editor:

How well I remember that morning some years ago sitting down in one of my business associate’s (Paul) office and listening to his frightening tale of his son’s life threatening ordeal. It had been a Sunday morning and he and his wife awaking found their son lying on their bathroom floor unresponsive.

In a state of panic they rushed him the emergency room of their local hospital.

It was there that they were informed that there son was suffering from fluoride poisoning as a result of ingesting toothpaste.

Paul told me at that point he was livid and ready to sue the toothpaste company.

Fortunately his son received the appropriate treatment for toxic fluoride and was released all right from the hospital.

Unfortunately the case for fluoridation is not all right, because the Kennebunk water department is required by law to put it in our drinking water. This means that every time you drink a glass of water, cook a meal with it, shower in it or go out to a local restaurant you are consuming some level of this toxin.

I struggle to understand why when much of society is focused on getting the proper amount of exercise, and eating organic vegetables we must subject our bodies to water containing the harmful toxin fluoride.

I will be voting no in November to support the Kennebunk Water Department’s desire to stop adding fluoride to our water.

Kin Liversidge

To the editor:

There is a citizen’s referendum regarding the future of the dams on the ballot for the upcoming election. It’s important for people to know that while this vote is non-binding this is the only chance that ratepayers have to weigh in before FERC issues a binding mandate that we will have to pay for. And we will be paying for this mandate through our electrical rates.

The following numbers are from KLPD and have been double checked and independently verified. Option 1b, due to the type of fish passage that has already been determined as the one that would be mandated, is the projected cost of keeping the dams.

Option 4, which is to remove the dams, could be at least halved if KLPD applies for grants from various federal programs: $1.25 million vs. $16.9 million. This is why I’m voting no on referendums 4, 5, and 6 to remove the dams.

The bottom line for most of the public, is the cost of keeping these dams. We have lost over $300,000 over the past five years trying to harness hydropower energy. Unfortunately, these dams were built to run a mill, not supply energy to a whole town.

The equipment is antiquated, and can’t be updated and made profitable. There are dams that are efficient energy sources.

The Kesslen, Twine and Perkins dams are not now and never will be economically profitable sources of hydropower. This is why the board at KLPD voted not to relicense the dams. We have been asked to weigh in whether we believe it is in our best interest to spend over $16 million, plus endless future costs for maintenance, re-build, and liability to keep these cement walls blocking our river.

The cost to remove is only $2.5 million, less grants offered by local and statewide environmental groups who all support removal.

The historic town of Exeter, New Hampshire, is removing the dam that was in the center of their town at a cost of $1.8 million less $800,000 in grants - for a net cost of $1 million. Their dam, like thousands of other ‘deadbeat dams’ is being removed in favor of restoring the river. Safety is also a concern. These dams will breach again – they have twice, and anyone familiar with concrete under force of water will concur.

Let’s hope there are no fishermen, or children at Rogers pond at the time! This is awful to think about, but it can and has happened in the U.S.

Native Americans have a 10,000-year-old link to the Mousam River. While discussing our industrial history, please consider a time when fish ran freely, providing sustenance and life to those who lived here. This town can and should come together to encourage thoughtful restoration ensuring the dam removals result in content citizens instead of contention.

I urge the residence of Kennebunk to please vote no on referendums 4, 5, and 6 and remove the dams. We know the costs and it is too high.

Barry and Jennifer Braddick

To the editor:

I’m a retiree living in Oregon but make frequent trips to visit family in New England and have spent many enjoyable vacation days in southern Maine.

I heard about the fluoridation issue in the Kennebunk Kennebunkport and Wells Water District and it sounded familiar. Another coastal vacation town, Newport, Oregon, voted decisively a few months ago to stop fluoridation here. Three years ago, Portland, Oregon also turned down fluoridation by a large margin.

I applaud the KKW Water District for its public stance opposing fluoridation. I once supported it, but like many people I know, changed my mind once I started studying the science on its ineffectiveness and health risks.

The biggest part of my work career was 21 years with the American Cancer Society, where I served as the state director for Oregon for five years. The ACS also once supported fluoridation, but now takes no position. And although many U.S. health organizations do support it, many don’t, including the American Diabetes Association, National Kidney Foundation, American Thyroid Association and Endocrine Society.

These organizations don’t oppose it – yet – but they all deal with diseases linked to definite or possible increased risks from fluoride identified in the National Academy of Sciences’ 2006 report Fluoride in Drinking Water.

Indeed, the vast majority of the world’s nations, cities, health and medical organizations don’t support fluoridation either.

Rick North
Durham, Oregon

To the editor:

I am writing in support of Jonathan Kilbourn who is running for state Senate. I have worked with Jonathan on issues that affect seniors in our community. I find him to be an original thinker who has the energy and commitment to make change happen in Augusta.

He believes in policies that are fair and has the ability to bring people together.

A balanced approach is needed to solve our state’s problems. That is what Jonathan can offer.

I would be proud to have Jonathan represent me.

Julie Allaire

To the editor:

I first met Judge Nadeau in 2008, at a guardianship hearing in the York County Probate Court. Judge Nadeau is very thorough, precise, compassionate and thoughtful. Experience and knowledge is very critical to rendering just and fair decisions for the families, children, and incapacitated adults who come before this court.

Judge Nadeau stands up for the people and he is the only one in this race with any significant experience in probate. Both opposing candidates have little to no experience in probate.

Judge Nadeau’s record from the bench is impeccable. Experience matters, and I urge every voter in York County to put politics aside and look to the facts, that Judge Robert Nadeau has the most experience and is the most qualified out of all the candidates in this race. Vote to re-elect Judge Robert Nadeau on Nov. 8.

Mark Croteau

To the editor:

I am supporting Bernard Broder for York County Probate Judge. In the past, I always felt uncomfortable about voting for a probate judge, because I never understood the responsibilities of a probate judge or knew how to evaluate the candidates, but this election is particularly important, and I would like to share what I have learned.

The responsibilities of a probate judge involve things that are personal to us. For example, estate settlements, family trusts, guardianships and conservationships, adoptions, involuntary commitments and name changes.

This is a position that covers intimate and personal issues and requires a thoughtful, experienced individual with a strong background in social services and law, and someone with a caring temperament and commitment to our community.

Bernard Broder has a wealth of experience, both through his law practice and an extensive amount of social service training, hospice and adoption and experiences, which makes him exceptionally qualified to be probate judge. Bernard Broder is a very thoughtful, even-tempered individual that lends itself to fairly deal with very emotional and personal issues.

I am supporting Bernard Broder, who is running as an independent, over the other candidates because of his professional experiences and his demeanor. Please join me by voting or Bernard Border for Probate Judge of York County.

Amy Davidoff


To the editor:

We confidently recommend Jonathan (Jay) Kilbourn in his run for the office of state Senator. Jonathan is a good listener and demonstrates empathy in hearing citizens’ concerns.

He has a keen insight into our state’s needs and problems and is not afraid of the hard work involved in addressing issues. In this age of divisive politics, Jay shows open-mindedness and a willingness to work across the aisle.

We are particularly impressed by Jay’s dedication to help protect Maine’s environment as well as his interest in helping Maine’s elderly population seek affordable housing, transportation, and health care.

Please join us in voting for Jonathan Kilbourn.

Claire and Dan Unsinn

To the editor:

Taking care of our beautiful state’s natural resources is very important to me. I want to be represented in the Maine Senate by someone who shares my values on this issue.

I want to be represented by someone who looks toward the future, thinking creatively to solve the problems that affect our state. Someone who understands that the easy way isn’t always the best way.

I support Jonathan Kilbourn for State Senate.

Jacqueline Peters

To the editor:

Just a word concerning Scott Ducharme running for the District 8, representative to the Legislature. I’m a Kennebunk native son and have known and worked with Scott beginning in the early-1980s.

He’s a man of his word, definitely has the affairs of the town and state in mind, is well educated and intelligent, able to work well with others and one who would represent well our district.

James M. King

To the editor:

Jay Kilbourn is a first-time candidate for legislative office, a business consultant from Kennebunk, who deserves to be elected to the state Senate.

Jay has served on the school board for six years. He founded an organization that helps seniors with transportation, housing and health care. He has volunteered with community organizations that provide housing, that conserve land and that help farms and that provide food supplies.

Jay also brings 26 years of business experience to the state Senate.

Jay has the experience, intelligence and passion to address the critical issues facing our state – high property taxes, our energy costs, quality education, the opiate epidemic, domestic violence and personal security.

Jay Kilbourn will be a fresh voice in the senate for the people of District 34.

Janet T. Mills

To the editor:

I am enthusiastic in my endorsement of Stedman Seavey for state rep in District 9. Although not Republican, I’ve seen that party affiliation matters less, in the long run, than the qualities which make a worthy statesman. Sadly these days, personal integrity doesn’t count as highly as it should. When one can appreciate one’s representative for their sterling character, that is something to be valued. This is not someone to throw out of office.

Stedman was my top choice in his previous race when I wrote a letter of support. I’ve known him as a neighbor and customer, and always appreciated his focus on service.

Another quality is his attention to concerns which matter to the people he represents. Stedman takes these things seriously. I have never heard otherwise.

I watched him voting the last day of the session, and was impressed that he voted his own way, and did not just vote along with his party.

I value his concern for constituents, on such matters as health care, where he doesn’t line up behind our deplorable governor.

It’s clear to me who the better candidate is.

Laurie Dobson

To the editor:

How many glasses of water do you drink each day?

I try to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day as advised by health officials.

Just recently I have learned that by the time I empty that second glass of water I have begun to poison my system by overdosing on fluoride.

How? In two 8-ounce glasses of fluoridated water there is more than 0.3 mg of fluoride. My toothpaste label warns against over consumption of fluoride: If more than 0.3 mg is swallowed “... contact a poison control center right away.”

I shudder to think what this means for me and my health but I am profoundly concerned about the potentially damaging effects on my grandchildren.

I was surprised and disturbed to learn that there is research that reveals there is no relationship between fluoridation and tooth decay rate. Further, it has become widely recognized that increased exposure to fluoride has resulted in rising rates of dental fluorosis in U.S. children.

My concerns deepened when I realized that fluoride has been identified as an industrial chemical that can injure the developing brain. Fluoride appears on some of the same lists as arsenic and lead.

Common sense tells us that mass medication via our drinking water – dosing and overdosing everyone in a community – is probably not in the best interest of individuals.

Research tells us that what started out as a well intended step toward good dental health has gone awry.

This is an easy problem to solve. On or before Election Day, vote no for fluoridation. Our water district is with us on this one.

Joanne Hulsey

To the editor:

This letter is in support of Chris Babbidge of Kennebunk as a candidate for re-election as a Maine state representative. A former colleague at Kennebunk High School, I’ve known Chris for over 35 years. He has been elected three times to this seat and served both the people of Kennebunk and all Mainers well.

Chris remains committed to working for a vibrant economy and promotes well paying jobs that attract and keep our young people at home in Maine. In addition, he is running due to his commitment to preserve the quality of life that we value that is special to Maine.

Always well informed, Chris has modeled a commitment to the democratic process. While teaching he encouraged his students to be involved in and serve their community. For years his students participated in the Model State Legislature.

While in office, Chris has served on numerous committees, sponsored or co-sponsored numerous bills and represented our district in a most professional manner. Chris has a passion for his work, maintains flexibility in his decisions while always responding to what is best for the people of Maine.

Chris is highly respected by his fellow legislators due to his continued dedication to his district and our state.

I will cast my vote for Chris in November and ask that you do the same.

Joe Rafferty

To the editor:

I am writing in support of the warrant article for Kennebunkport voters regarding an amendment to the land use ordinance regarding roomers. Many restrictions and safeguards have been added to the current ordinance and, in all areas of town, the owner must be in residence when up to two rooms are rented.

When an owner must sell for financial reasons, these houses are often purchased by investors or as second homes and we lose our most valuable year-around residents.

The option to rent up to two rooms offers a way for residents to keep their homes in the face of rising expenses and unforeseen circumstances.

Please vote yes on Kennebunkport’s Question 1.

Deb Bauman

To the editor:

I have had the pleasure of serving with Sen. Ron Collins in the Legislature for nearly six years. It is no exaggeration to say that Maine is a better place because of him.

Ron has served as chair of the legislature’s Transportation Committee which overseas the budget for the state’s roads and bridges. Under his leadership, major transportation projects have been completed on time and on budget. Maintaining our roads and bridges is one of state government’s most critical functions, and Ron has the years of experience, insight and wisdom to make sure it is done right.

In addition, I can also say that Sen. Ron Collins is one of the most respected members of the legislature, and for good reason. He votes on bills according to their merit and whether they are in the best interests of the people of York County and not along party lines.

Ron Collins is a thoughtful, principled and authoritative voice for the people he represents, and I urge the people of Senate District 34, which includes Acton, Kennebunk, Lebanon, North Berwick, Wells and Berwick to re-elect him to the Maine Senate.

Michael Thibodeau, senate president

To the editor:

With numerous independent studies all demonstrating that hydropower is not economically viable moving forward at KLPD’s dams on the Mousam River, the biggest concern that I have heard from people around town is about the potential impacts that dam removal might have on the Mousam River environment.

There is substantial confusion about what changes would happen if the dams were removed, and genuine concern that a pristine ecosystem will be destroyed. I fully understand and appreciate these fears.

Few things created by man have had such devastating ecological impacts as the damming of our rivers. Dams fundamentally alter and change river ecosystems, which are among Maine’s most productive, dynamic and diverse natural environments.

Some impacts are clear and immediately obvious. For example, if you dam a river like the Mousam near the head of tide, then numerous species of sea-run fish are prevented from getting to the critical freshwater habitats that they need to complete their lifecycles.

The Mousam’s dams decimated these ecologically vital runs of sea run fish, which existed for more than 12,000 years before the first dam was built on the river. Remarkably, many of these species – American shad, alewives, blueback herring, American eel and others – still return to the river every spring despite being blocked from essentially all of their freshwater habitat.

Even 250 years ago, people saw that dams had pretty severe impacts on rivers and fisheries. What has additionally become clear in more recent decades is that dams also change and alter the natural processes of our river environments. The impoundments created by dams are clearly not free flowing rivers, but they are also not a lake or pond. Artificial impoundments are a kind of ecological limbo for which neither the native biological communities that reside in rivers nor those that reside in lakes are well adapted.

Everything that lives in the impoundment or in adjacent riparian areas – from the vegetation and aquatic insects at the bottom of the food chain to the birds of prey and mammals at the top – reflect these impaired conditions. The result is a much simpler and less species rich environment. Add in that the dams and impoundments negatively impact water quality by lowering oxygen levels, increasing temperature and disrupting natural sediment and nutrient transfer processes and you have a broken ecosystem.

The Mousam of today is not pristine, it is broken and there is strong science that supports the extensive benefits of dam removal. This is why numerous science-based groups and public agencies officially support removing the Mousam’s dams. This includes organizations that have spent substantial time and money acquiring and managing land and important habitats in the Mousam watershed - notably The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A diverse array of other groups ranging from Maine Audubon to the Maine Lobsterman’s Association to Trout Unlimited also support dam removal on the Mousam. These organizations would not support restoring the river if they thought that the result would be detrimental to the environment.

I do want to stress that while these and many other organizations have lent a voice to restoring the Mousam, none of them are working to remove the dams. The people working and advocating for dam removal are members of the local community. Many, but not all, of these people are part of the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers Alliance (MKRA), which I co-founded back 2008 with several other local citizens that were increasingly concerned with the health of our rivers.

Removing our three dams from the Mousam will result in improved water quality and restored access to many miles of river and stream habitat for numerous sea-run and resident fish species. We will also reclaim at least 75 acres of now inundated land that will quickly become an interconnected and highly productive series of high-value wetland habitats, flood plain forest, and riparian corridors that will benefit all wildlife species great and small. The river itself will have long, slow moving stretches plus rapids, riffles, cascades, small falls and sandy beaches. There will be deep pools as well as shallow runs over sand and bedrock.

Water levels and flows will change with the seasons, and from year to year. It will certainly be different than what folks are used to seeing now, but we think the changes will result in something equally as beautiful and tranquil.

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to restore a healthy, vibrant, and productive river environment that will benefit populations of bird, fish, and wildlife species not only in the river, but in the estuary and the marine environment. The populations of the three species of river herring, which currently return every spring to the base of the Kesslen Dam, will grow relatively quickly. These fish will produce millions of juveniles that will feed dozens of species, including mink, otter, beaver, bald eagle, heron, osprey, striped bass, cod, haddock, seals, whales and pelagic birds.

Dam removal and restoring the Mousam is also going to be far less expensive than keeping the dams, building fish ways, and maintaining the unhealthy impoundments on the river. That is why we support restoring the Mousam River and urge a NO vote on local questions 4, 5, and 6.

John R.J. Burrows, Mousam
and Kennebunk Rivers Alliance

To the editor:

Right now most of us are sick of nasty ads, of criticism hurled, of accusatory strife when the ideas that might be weighed and debated are lost amidst the rancor. The ranked choice voting system, on the state ballot as Referendum 5, may seem confusing at first, but it may help if you compare this election system to an old fashioned scale of justice, like the one the Lady of Justice holds aloft. Let’s envision the scale with the brass cups for votes, a scale that weighs not only the popularity of candidates but weighs their ideas and opinions on governance in Maine.

Ranked choice voting gives you the power to rank candidates from your favorite to your least favorite.

On Election Night, all the ballots are counted for voters’ first choices and their weight is put onto the scale of justice. If one candidate receives an outright majority, decidedly the heaviest weight in a brass cup, he or she wins. If no candidate receives a majority, the votes of the lowest ranking candidate are eliminated from the scale, eliminating that candidate from consideration.

The voters who voted for that losing candidate have their second choices instantly added to the brass cup of their second choice candidate. This process repeats, and last-place candidates are removed until one candidate weights the scale with a winning majority.

Ranked choice voting works both when there are only two candidates and when there are three or more candidates. In this system your voice is truly heard.

For instance, you may see value in the governance that your second preference might offer, and you may, in the end, give your second candidate the chance to win over the candidate that you did not want at all.

This will have an effect not only on the election, but before and after.

With ranked choice voting, candidates will be more civil because they will want support of second choice voters in this and, perhaps, future elections.

I believe that ranked choice voting may enhance our democracy when it now it seems compromised by the negative exchanges of venom.

Lost ideas should be given weight. Ranked choice voting can allow voters carefully considered choice and voice.

Linda Miller Cleary

To the editor:

It’s my understanding that the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District pays the Mozaic Corporation about $20,000 a year for about 20,000 pounds of their hydrofluosilicic acid that KKW adds to our public water supply every year for the intended purpose of preventing tooth decay.

Nationally about 200 million Americans pay about $1 a year each for the fluoride that goes into the American water supply. Based on what KKW pays for our fluoride treatment, about two hundred million pounds of hydrofluosilicic acid, that would be about 25 million gallons, or about 500 railroad tanker cars of hydrofluosilicic acid, are dumped into our public water supply and our bodies every year.

Before the American Dental Association and hundred or so other government organizations designated hydrofluosilicic acid a natural resource, it was toxic waste. This is the deception that makes the magic of fluoridated water appear to work.

Pure Maine water is a natural resource, Hydrofluosilicic acid is not.

Alec Ferguson

To the editor:

Our biggest problem with Question 1, legalizing recreational marijuana, is how more drug exposure will affect our children. In a recent statement by Bishop Deeley of Maine’s Diocese of Portland, he urges a no vote on Question 1 on the basis that if passed, it “would make it legal for your children to possess marijuana, a fact recently confirmed by Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.” The bishop goes on to share, “A comprehensive report issued last month by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area states that since marijuana has been legalized, marijuana-related traffic deaths have increased by 62 percent and marijuana-related hospitalizations have increased by over 30 percent.”

At the Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colorado, there has been a 51 percent increase in children needing emergency treatment for marijuana related conditions. Many of these kids are getting their marijuana by ingesting marijuana edibles (candy, cookies, lollipops, etc).

Do you want pot shops and pot bars opening up next to our schools, churches, houses, parks and playgrounds? If your answer is no, vote no on Question 1 and stop the marijuana madness from happening here.

Cindi and Lionel Menard

To the editor:

I am writing in support of Jonathan Kilbourn who is running for state Senate. I have worked with Jonathan on issues that effect seniors in our community. I find him to be an original thinker who has the energy and commitment to make change happen in Augusta.

He believes in policies that are fair and has the ability to bring people together. A balanced approach is needed to solve our state’s problems. That is what Jonathan can offer.

I would be proud to have Jonathan represent me.

Julie Allaire

To the editor:

I was just 3 years old. I watched my father come into the house. He smelled awful and the whites of his eyes were bright red. I asked my mom what was wrong with daddy and she said he had been out fighting an awful fire.

The year was 1947, and my father fought in that fire for weeks – it’s known as The Fire of ’47. It burned most all of York County and the southern portion of Cumberland County. It destroyed many homes and most of the undeveloped lands around Kennebunk and West Kennebunk.

The lands around Kennebunk and West Kennebunk were not as populated then as they are today, so there was a lot of open land that burned.

A particular 55-acre piece of land bordering the Mousam River was flattened and nothing but charred ruin, but my father and my cousin thought it would eventually grow up to be something beautiful, so they bought the land for $1/acre. Then they made a deal with the State Forest Service – if they would provide them with seedlings of Maine’s white pine trees, they would plant them. And, so they did. Riding through West Kennebunk today, around this 55-acre piece that is not developed, you can still see the pine trees, planted in rows, and about 65- plus feet tall.

For the rest of my father’s life, he spent all of his free time on 25 acres of this land by the river, coaxing more tree growth and trimming trees so that they would grow tall and straight.

When he would rest, he would sit on the riverbank and fish and dream about his grandchildren playing in the river and in the woods. In 1971, my father built a hunting cabin by the river and kept it unlocked in case a hunter was caught out in the rain or cold.

On summer weekends, my whole family would come to the riverbank and have a cookout and us children would fish and play in the river. We never caught anything big, mostly just suckers, but we had fun and always managed to get really wet. After dark, we would sit for hours around the campfire, eating campfire food while the elders told stories, or sometimes we would sing songs.

My mom had a special knack for ghost stories and all us kids would climb into our sleeping bags, scared to death.

My parents are gone now, and all I have left are the trees and the river. Even though my father was so very weak from cancer, the week before he died he brought me down to the river and walked me over to an old tree, and told me never to cut that tree on the riverbank because that was our eastern property line. Then he walked me to another old tree on the riverbank and said never to cut that tree, because that was our western property line. He showed me that wherever the river went between those two trees was our property line. Today, those two trees are still the tallest trees seen on the river’s skyline.

Now I am old and retired and live in a home that has been built using my father’s original hunting cabin as its base. I spend my time caring for the land, the trees and my dad’s cherished Mousam riverbank.

I often canoe on the river in the remaining pristine wilderness areas of West Kennebunk, and once almost drowned when my boat sank in 6.5 feet of water. Nevertheless, this river is so beautiful and so peaceful – I used to call this my father’s little bit of heaven and now it is my heavenly retirement home, which I am also saving for my Father’s grandchildren.

I urge all those who are, or can be, involved with the fate of the Mousam River in Kennebunk, to think carefully about what they do with those dams. As the second generation living on this riverbank, my whole life’s history is intrinsically tied to this river and now all of my retirement funds have been sunk into retaining and honoring my father’s legacy here.

If the dams go away, all of my father’s efforts to protect and rebuild this riverfront and all of my life’s savings will be lost. My family’s memories will fade away, along with the wonderful and thriving ecosystem that has grown up around the river in the last 150 years.

I beg anyone who has any say about the three dams on the Mousam in Kennebunk, to work hard to prevent them from being torn down. Even if it is too costly to keep generating electricity from these dams, why spend $1.5 million (plus or minus) to tear them down? Why is a future hoped for ecosystem more important than the one we already have?

Surely, our selectmen and the town manager in this town can see the huge potential loss to our town (especially to the beauty of this area) if the dams are gone. And it would be a crime if all the animals, birds, fish, invertebrates, turtles (who lay their eggs in my driveway), and the beaver have to die to make way for this future hoped for ecosystem that someday may arrive.

Additionally, why would new fish or eels seek to spawn in less than one foot of muddy water that is filled with the affluent from four different towns?

Would they spawn in the trash that has been sunk into the mud at the bottom of the river, plus 150 years of downed and rotting trees that sit in the bottom mud?

I am putting all my faith and courage into the powers that be – please do the right thing.

Nancy J. Campbell-Jones
West Kennebunk

To the editor:

Having friends on the Kennebunk area, I am watching with envy the movement by the people to bring the fluoride issue to a vote. I would like to do the same here in my own community.

I want to thank the people who collected the 3,200 or so voters’ signatures to put this issue on the ballot and gave the power back to the people where it belongs.

Trying to research water fluoridation is like going down a rabbit hole. So many dire tons, so many studies and claims.

For me, that’s a red flag. If I’m going to ingest something into my body, I’d like full agreement whether it’s good for me or not. One thing we can agree on is we’re far from agreement on water fluoridation. The FDA has approved all prescription drugs except fluoride. Yet it’s the drug put into our drinking water. Maybe the list of side effects would be too long to list in a TV commercial.

Maybe this is a matter of science evolving faster than the advertising. I think we have enough doubt to question the safety of water fluoridation, something that was proposed and implemented 60 years ago, long before we had fluoridated toothpaste and rinses that put the fluoride exactly where it belongs, on the teeth. Then we spit it out, we don’t swallow it.

Best wishes to you and your community. I hope you set a precedent and we all get back to our choice of what we ingest into our bodies.

Muriel Soucy

To the editor:

Senate District 34 candidate Jonathan Kilbourn would be a strong voice for universal and affordable health care in the State Senate. For 15 years I have worked for public health in Maine, these days as the co-chair of the York District Public Health Council. The most serious issue we are now facing is the opiate overdose crisis.

We are hampered in this work by lack of support from the State for proven strategies in drug treatment, rehabilitation and prevention.

To properly do our work we must break the shackles of unnecessarily limited Medicaid funds. Our state legislature has passed expanded Medicaid five times but not been able to override the governor’s veto.

Jonathan Kilbourn knows that Medicaid expansion will help us address the very dangerous drug crisis now on top of us, reduce overall health care costs and provide needed security to our most challenged families. For example, Medicaid expansion is being used by other states to provide treatment through drug courts and to inmates who are hospitalized or released from prison.

These other states are seeing savings in their criminal justice systems because of fewer people entering the system for drug-related offenses.

Medicaid expansion results in job creation and economic development and will help our working families. Please join me in supporting Jonathan Kilbourn for State Senate in District 34.

Ted Trainer

To the editor:

Ron Collins’ long and stellar record as state Senator tells clearly you about his work for the people of the 34th District and the state of Maine. He is incredibly knowledge- able about the issues ; listens thoughtfully, researches carefully; speaks articulately and eloquently. Ron is fair, open minded, honest – all of those qualities we seek from those whom we elect. Ron Collins truly works hard and always represents us in Augusta. He is very approachable and willing to assist his constituents with issues large or small.

I have known Ron Collins for more than 40 years and enthusiastically support his re-election to the Maine State Senate. I am confident that he will continue to work hard and successfully.

Please join me in supporting him so he might continue to do great things in Augusta during the next session.

Francine M. Keating

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