Thanks to Sen. Collins for securing job training funds

To the editor:

It was recently announced by Senator Susan Collins’ office that she was able to secure $4.6 million in funding in the Fiscal Year 2022 Labor Appropriations bill to support training for jobs in heritage Maine industries like logging, seafood manufacturing, agriculture and wind energy industries.

If the budget bill is approved, nearly $1 million of the funding is earmarked for Southern Maine Community College to help the campus acquire a mobile welding training lab for use at all seven community colleges.

Considering the growing need for welders, this would be a tremendous investment. We need more skilled workers in Maine, and to make that happen, we need investments like this one. Please join me in thanking Senator Collins for her support.

David Woodsome
Maine State Senate District 33

Developer fined and has housing proposal for Biddeford

To the editor,

I read in the Courier that LLC South Street Village is being considered and is proposing to build a 192 unit development on South Street and at the same being fined and paying $30,000 as a civil penalty for harvesting timber in 2018 and 2019 without first preparing and submitting the required site specific harvest plan to Maine Forest Service for clear cuts. These articles were separately written in the the issue of last week. I seriously hope that the City Council and the City does its due diligence when working with LLC South Street Village if approved for the project to ensure that no further violations occur. Our natural resources need to be protected.

Nancy Berg
Biddeford

Wear bright colors now

To the editor,

In the past few days, I have barely missed seeing 2 dog walkers wearing dark colors, in the dappled morning sunlight on the Burnham Road in Saco.

Yesterday, I almost did not see a bicyclist in the same a.m. sun/shade combination. He was also in dark clothing.

Please, if you are a walker or bike rider in Saco/ Biddeford, wear bright orange, or a flashing bike light, a fluorescent stripe, white, even pink light up shoes!

Let’s avoid accidents on our roads.

Remember, daylight savings time is coming soon.

Dorey Hilshey
Saco

Vote no on Saco sewer bond

To the editor:

I will be voting “NO” on Saco’s Bond Question #1 to borrow $50 million to upgrade our sewage facility.

Saco cannot find the funds to fulfill its present obligations, so it is in no position to incur more debt for another project. What proof do I have of this? Just take a brief walk around any of our public-school buildings to see blatant examples of neglect. Saco took pride in its appearance in past decades and funded the planting of aesthetically pleasing ornate bushes and flower beds around all our schools. If you look at them today, those bushes are now being smothered by various invasive vines and trees, and thistles and other weeds are overtaking the mulched flower beds.

Another example are the unsightly historical plaques in front of numerous historical buildings along Saco’s Main Street.

Again, another example of a good project undertaken by the city whose attention and funding for upkeep has since moved elsewhere.

And finally, do you remember the horrible condition of the city-owned section of York Hill from where you cross the bridge from Biddeford until you reach the railroad tracks at the top? There appears to have been no funding available to get this area mowed until after Labor Day, and many of our ornate apple trees in that area are still being swallowed up by invasive vines. If the City of Saco wants to indebt us to upgrade any facility in the future, it will first have to prove they have the will and the funds to maintain what they are currently responsible for today.

Ted Sirois
Saco

Vote Alan Casavant for Biddeford mayor

To the editor,

I am writing to endorse Alan Casavant for mayor.

Biddeford today is viewed as one of the best places to live and work in Maine. Many people in neighboring communities look with envy at our schools and our economic development progress.

We have new businesses opening throughout the city and more people — retirees, young people and families — moving here, who appreciate the vibrancy they see in town. You don’t need to leave town to shop or go out to a nice restaurant. I am proud of our schools, where my children have had a great experience. And with their success in developing the downtown and mill district, which has led to a more stable tax base, the Mayor and Council have helped hold off neighborhood property tax increases that have hit other cities.

I believe Mayor Casavant deserves our support for re-election and hope you will join me in voting for him on Tuesday November 2.

Marty Grohman
Biddeford

To the editor,

As a former Saco councilor and Biddeford business owner, I have been very impressed with how Biddeford transformed itself into a young, economic hub of Southern Maine. While many in the public and private sector made the difficult choices to bring Biddeford to where it is today, it was uniquely Alan Casavant who led the charge for change. From closing MERC to backing workforce housing, from filling the industrial parks to re-invigorating the downtown, Alan has been in the forefront of moving Biddeford forward.

Some who feel that Alan does not have the energy to see things through in this upcoming term obviously don’t know Alan or even the last decade history of Biddeford. I see Alan everywhere: city meetings, sporting events, festivals, church, or out in local shops. And has enough energy left to constructively engage with folks online, friend or foe.

Alan has my full support across the river, and I hope my Biddeford friends in our twin cities do as well.

Kevin Roche
Saco

To the editor,

Since 2011, I have had the joy to be able to observe Alan Casavant as the mayor of Biddeford. To others he may be a favorite teacher, community supporter, or local friend as a Biddeford native. Mayor Casavant has demonstrated true pride and ownership of the mayor title of a city primed for renaissance to continue flooding through the streets. I have no doubt that attitude will continue to lend support in Alan’s re-election as mayor candidacy.

Biddeford’s long and windy history may come across as difficult to understand the past and where Biddeford has come from as a community. Alan, unlike many, understands the depth of the City of Biddeford ecosystem that dates back to pre colonial time. Alan’s understanding and saturated experience with the cities antiquity I know is a powerful force that will to hoist our beloved area back to a thriving environment of people, growth, economy, and progress.

Nicholas Scavuzzo

To the editor,

I was born and raised in Biddeford, but moved out of state to pursue my career in 1998. I came back frequently to visit my dear family, but each time I was harshly reminded of why I left: a dying mill town on life support, slowly being choked out by its centerpiece attraction, a behemoth trash incinerator smack dab in the middle of the city center. The symbolism was too painful to be even comically tragic, so for many years, I felt nothing by grief for my beloved hometown. But over the years of following Biddeford’s “renaissance” (almost singlehandedly manifested by the sheer will, passion and perseverance of Mayor Alan Casavant), and after just visiting myself, I couldn’t be prouder to at long last proclaim, “I’m from Biddeford!” I routinely see our town pop up on national “bests of” lists … a hidden gem worth driving out of your way to experience, rather than driving around it to someplace better, and it makes me smile endlessly. It’s pretty obvious that keeping Alan’s steady hand at the helm will continue to steer Biddeford into better waters … waters that people will gladly traverse just to see this transformation, since it has literally risen from the ashes. Now that’s an irony I can get behind!

Jon Boisvert
Raleigh, NC

Vote Victoria Foley for Biddeford mayor

To the editor,

As Mayor of Biddeford, Victoria Foley will focus on the future. She will bring new ideas and energy to the city’s planning and growth process while keeping property taxes low. She will work for positive change roughout the city — from downtown businesses to the rest of the community — for new residents, working families, students, and for senior citizens like me.
Victoria, a former Biddeford City Councilor and State Legislator, serves on Biddeford’s Downtown Development Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. She serves in leadership roles as Advisory Board Chair of the Southern Maine YMCA and as a Board Member of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Southern Maine.

As I have gotten to know Victoria I have been impressed by her intelligence, her commitment to Biddeford, and her clear ability to be a strong leader.

Join me in voting for Victoria Foley for Mayor of Biddeford.

Pam Fenrich
Biddeford

To the editor,

I do credit our current Mayor for his service to the City of Biddeford. The City has been well served by our elected officials and employees. However, I think we are moving too fast and without a focus on Smart Growth.  Rather than full-steam ahead, we desperately need a thoughtful plan, also known as the Comprehensive Plan. Please consider that we are still working on the new Comprehensive Plan, due ten years ago, coincidental with Mayor Casavant’s five terms. It’s time for a change, a fresh look at the future. I’m not voting against the Mayor, rather I am voting for Victoria Foley. I hope you will see the light too.

Ken Buechs
Biddeford

To the editor,

I am supporting Victoria Foley for Mayor of Biddeford because she is a highly qualified candidate, having served on city council and as a state representative, and she has a clear vision for how to realistically improve Biddeford for residents and business owners alike. I appreciate that during the debate on Wednesday evening, Victoria highlighted the responsibility of the city government to reach out and actively choose to include all residents, not just those that are conveniently reached via social media or those that can easily attend city council meetings because they work during the day instead of the evening. It feels meaningful to me to have a leader that is conscious of the diverse needs of the community and, importantly, one that is eager to respond to those needs. If that feels meaningful to you, too, I hope you will join me in voting for Victoria Foley on November 2nd.

Katia Johnstone

To the editor,

Last spring, I got talking with a fellow volunteer at the Biddeford Food Pantry about ways the City might better address the current housing crunch. They scoffed and said something along the lines of: “Folks at City Hall don’t care what we think.” While I personally like to think that “folks at city hall” DO care, I can see where this person was coming from. It takes time to attend City Council or Planning Board meetings. It takes even more time to access and read (let alone comprehend) dense documents explaining the projects being discussed at these meetings. For average residents, these realities are serious barriers to participating in local decision-making on key issues like affordable housing and development. If broad public input is truly desired, the City needs a more outward-facing approach to community engagement that can make it easier for all residents to take part. I support Victoria Foley for Mayor because she is committed to proactively seeking early-stage public input on proposed large-scale projects, so that Biddeford’s future is shaped by input from our entire community, not just a select few. Visit victoriafoley.com to learn more about her stance on specific issues, and please VOTE for Victoria Foley for Mayor of Biddeford this November 2nd.

Cat Bates,
Biddeford

To the editor,

Cities have countless moving parts. I see this every day as a Main Street business owner, serving on Biddeford’s conservation and climate change committees, and engaging in the local arts community. While economic development is vital, it must be pursued with strong vision and in service of our citizens. We need a leader who can effectively foster growth that doesn’t come at the expense of our rich natural resources or quality of life for our residents.

During the mayoral debate last Wednesday, Victoria Foley offered a clear and compelling alternative to business-as-usual in Biddeford. She values having a strategic plan that reflects the multiple goals and varied needs of the community. Many Biddeford residents have been frustrated by a lack of information from the city, but Foley’s professional experience in communications has and will continue to improve that. Victoria is involved in many facets of our community and has the ability to skillfully oversee the many moving parts of our city.

I want Biddeford to be a place where I can continue to afford to live, enjoy abundant natural resources and locally-grown food, and connect with people at art and cultural events. With Victoria Foley’s strategic and thoughtful leadership, the future of Biddeford is a safe, sustainable, creative place we are all happy to call home.

I’m voting for Victoria Foley on November 2nd—I hope you will too.

Chrystina Gastelum
Biddeford

To the editor,

We have a unique choice before us in this year’s mayoral race, between two candidates who are highly qualified, care deeply about Biddeford, and often seem to agree on how to tackle the problems facing our community. While either candidate would be capable of finishing the work at hand, Victoria Foley has demonstrated that she has a clear, long-term vision for what should come next.

Candidate Foley’s cognizance of critical issues like affordable housing and climate change preparedness, her breadth of experience in local and state governance, and her understanding of both the strengths and weaknesses of our current approach to city planning are why she has my vote in this year’s race. Her dedication and solid ideas for improving the inclusiveness of community outreach programs were also on display in this week’s mayoral debate.

Victoria is the right candidate to lead this community forward, and I hope you will consider adding your vote to mine by voting Foley for Mayor this November 2nd Now — not two years from now — is the time to shift the energy and perspective of city hall.

Drew Chambers

To the editor,

This election day we have an important decision in front of us: who will we elect to be the next Mayor of Biddeford? The good news is that we have two competent candidates from whom to choose. It is Victoria Foley’s energy, experience, and commitment to gathering a diversity of perspectives that have secured my vote for mayor this Nov. 2nd.

As a business owner and resident of Biddeford, I have an interest and pride in our town’s politics and growth. But it wasn’t until Victoria personally sought me out and encouraged me to get involved that I joined the Recycling and Solid Waste Commission. And I am not the only one. Victoria has been the push that so many residents have needed to get involved. It’s not enough to hope that people come out of the woodwork and ask to participate in shaping our town. That approach will inherently exclude some of our citizens. Our next mayor needs to actively recruit a diversity of residents so that all of our voices can be heard in city government. I encourage you to please join me in voting for Victoria Foley for Mayor on Nov 2nd.

Katie Tomai
Biddeford

To the editor,

I am writing to share my reasons why I will be voting for Victoria Foley for mayor of Biddeford.

This was not an easy decision for me. Her opponent, incumbent Alan Casavant has overseen many positive changes in our city over the past ten years. I’ve been part of this community for twenty years, working here since 2001 and living here since 2006. As such, I have witnessed many positive, significant changes in our city ∞ the formation of our Heart of Biddeford Main Street organization for one, and the closure of our city’s trash to energy plant, for another, both of which were instrumental in spurring new interest and investment in Biddeford. Exciting new businesses and industry were compelled to set up shop along our flower-lined Main Street and in our empty mill spaces. Art galleries and upscale eateries and coffee shops set their roots. We’ve all been witnessing a true renaissance. And more and more people choose to move to our city.

This is part of a larger issue/problem — growth, and its limits. As we watch revitalization of our city, we need to strike a balance, striving for sustainable growth, and growth that serves the needs and aspirations of ALL members of our community. It concerns me that many of our long-term, elderly, and New American residents will no longer be able to afford to live here and may soon be displaced. A friend recently shared that he has to find a new place to live because his landlord raised his rent by $350.00 a month. That’s a shame. He has lived and worked here for years.

For the past ten years, Alan Casavant has admirably and with enthusiasm served as our city’s mayor, cheering Biddeford on and riding the wave of excitement this renaissance has generated. He is running for a sixth term. I have voted for him in the past, but this time, I will be voting for Victoria Foley.

As Victoria Foley says, ‘I have the energy, curiosity, and commitment to ensure all voices are heard and valued.’ As Mayor, she ‘will work tirelessly to set an agenda that positions our city for sustainable success in the long-term.’

Holly Culloton
Biddeford

To the editor,

Biddeford’s growth and development over the past decade is undeniable. The accolades the city receives, the businesses and investors flooding to the city is thrilling to watch! It also raises concerns. I am voting for Victoria Foley for Mayor of Biddeford because she is committed to finding a healthy balance between championing Biddeford’s growth and meeting the needs of its residents. And she has plans to meet those needs.

To improve access to affordable housing, Victoria plans to work closely with City Council to change development codes to include a community housing requirement. This will ensure a portion of any new development will be attainable for families and individuals across a truly diverse economic spectrum, including working families and low-income households. It is one of Victoria’s top priorities to keep Biddeford affordable – so those who helped build Biddeford into what it is today can continue to live here for years to come.

Victoria’s long-time involvement in Biddeford government demonstrates her commitment and love of this thriving city. Her ideas prove she is the innovative leader we need to continue moving Biddeford forward for all residents.

I am voting for Victoria Foley on November 2nd, I hope you will join me.

Anne Nadzo
Biddeford

filed under: