Maine ferry fee hikes
New ferry prices have Islesboro, with its short trip to the mainland, paying the same amount for ferry tickets as those for isolated islands. Prices for pedestrians and even for cars were doubled. Currently, we are paying $5.50 for pedestrians and $13.75 for cars. It is to go up to $11 for pedestrians and $30 for cars.
We have done all the right things to keep young people on the island. Instead of closing the school when the enrollment went down, we remodeled and became a magnet school using a combination of donated funds and a bond issue. Private groups did fundraisers and built a community center. Another group raised money to start a home where injured or old folks could stay near family and friends instead of at a nursing home on the mainland. A bond issue put in fiber-optic cable so we now have some of the fastest internet in the country. We built a preschool with donations and tax money. We have a summer recreational program and affordable housing.
It has worked. Young islanders are returning. We have added new jobs on the island in the schools, community hall, and nursing home. New jobs beget new jobs.
The rest of Maine is losing its young people, but we aren’t.
The population will restart its downward slide. Our taxes will have to go up at the same time as work opportunities are falling. Once our population falls under 500, volunteers start burning out so there will be less civic responsibility.
Helping homeless female veterans
Not many people are aware that Augusta has one of six nationwide transitional living homes for female veterans and their children. But we do. The Betsy Ann Ross House of Hope opened in the fall of 2017 and currently houses five veterans and one child, with room for up to three more veterans.
Homeless female veterans are the fastest growing segment of our homeless population in America.
While there are numerous programs offered by the federal Veterans Administration, finding which VA program might be best is a challenge many veterans face. The Betsy Ann Ross House helps women veterans navigate VA programs, connecting them with the services they need. In addition, some women may find it intimidating to speak up for their needs within a system traditionally geared toward men. The Betsy Ann Ross House helps them there, too.
Being part of a military family, I’ve heard first-hand stories about challenges women face in the military and in acclimating back to civilian life. Any veteran is susceptible to challenges when transitioning from a combat zone to everyday life, but those are often compounded for women. Trauma such as sexual assault and harassment worsen the already difficult transition one must make in a military lifestyle. While there are many good programs out there for veterans’ needs, including housing, they are often ill equipped to deal with women who are victims of abuse.
The need for services the Betsy Ann Ross House offers is great.
Thompson for House District 92
I grew up in Connecticut, but have been lobster fishing on Monhegan Island since I graduated from high school. I moved to this rock nearly 20 years ago. So, at age 37, I can say that I’ve been “at it” a while, and I’ve met quite a few people along the way. One of them is Justin Thompson.
Thompson is running as a Republican to represent House District 92, which includes Cushing, Criehaven and Muscle Ridge Islands, Matinicus, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston. I want to tell you what I’ve seen from the outside looking in.
I first met Thompson at The Monhegan Island Inn when he was working as a truck driver. I would bug him all day, and it never bothered him. He was always tolerant and funny, two characteristics he still holds to this day. To be blunt, he’s no fair-weather friend, and he will make no fair-weather representative.
Thompson has an incredibly open mind, and he’s not a politician. He’s open to all sides, he’ll listen to you, and he’ll act. He brings unmatched passion. He has always realized the ramifications of decisions made by federal, state and local governments and how they affect the midcoast.
Thompson is socially liberal and fiscally conservative. All around, he’s politically creative, which is something we need. Thompson is his own man, and he’s not afraid to be exactly that. I hope this letter makes sure he now has others’ support.
John “JP” Kordak
Sweet for governor
Betsy Sweet is unquestionably the best choice for governor of Maine. After eight years of Paul LePage’s policies setting Maine back, it’s time to move forward, and there’s no one better at moving the state of Maine forward than Sweet.
For over 30 years, Sweet has been at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights and the rights of the disabled. No one in this race has done as much for as many people for as long as she has. She’s been on the frontlines in Augusta for more than 30 years, achieving progress that has had a tangible impact on Mainers, like paid family leave.
Her choice in running as a clean elections candidate shows her commitment to serving the people of Maine, not special interests, super PACs or large donors. The depth and breadth of her knowledge on every issue, the ease in communicating with anyone and everyone, and her experience both inside the halls of power in Augusta and as an activist make her uniquely qualified to take over the Blaine House and lead the state.
I’m a millennial. This will be my second time casting a ballot for Maine’s governor. But I doubt I will ever vote for anyone whose message resonates with me more than Sweet. I encourage all Mainers to join me in choosing a bright, optimistic view of the future by casting their ballots for Sweet on June 12.