Caregiving resources are available

To the editor,

Caregiving may be one of the most important, and challenging, roles you’ll ever assume. No matter where you are in your caregiving journey — starting to plan; taking care of a family member in your home, in a facility, or from a distance; or managing end-of-life caregiving responsibilities — having resources at your fingertips can make the process easier.

At AARP Maine, we want you to know that you are not alone. We have gathered helpful resources that are available to Mainers who may experience loneliness this year as well as a resource guide for caregivers. Resources include AARP Friendly Voice calls, technology trainings, volunteer opportunities, and more. For caregivers, our guide provides a starting point to help you find the support you need throughout your caregiving journey, including government and nonprofit resources both in-person and online. Both guides are available at www.aarp.org/me.

If you have a friend or neighbor who lives alone, consider checking in on them by phone or text, or leave a friendly note at their door. Visit our website for more health and long-term care resources, news and updates, and events. If you have any questions, email us at [email protected] or call us at 866-554-5380. We are all in this together.

Bridget Quinn, advocacy and outreach director

AARP Maine

Grateful for school district leadership

To the editor,

Now that it’s so close to Thanksgiving, I wanted to share what I’m feeling grateful for at the moment. After over a year of waiting to be able to vaccinate my 9-year old kid, I feel incredibly grateful that she’s now protected from COVID-19 (especially now, at a time when Maine’s COVID hospitalization rates are at record high levels).

I am especially grateful to Dr. Terri Cooper, our RSU 21 superintendent, and all the RSU 21 staff and teachers who somehow made it possible to vaccinate our daughter at her school, free of charge, on the very first day that FDA approval was granted for her age group. I can’t imagine the planning, organization and commitment it took to pull off such a smooth and timely school-based vaccination clinic.

They couldn’t have made it easier for RSU 21 families. Huge thanks to Dr. Cooper and all her staff for the impressive and important role you are playing in protecting our kids and community. Your hard work will go a long way in making sure that our students and staff stay healthy so they can continue to focus on education.

Thank you for reading. Be safe and have a happy Thanksgiving,

Brian Fairfield

Kennebunkport

Properly dispose dog waste

To the editor,

I walk my dog each morning and sometimes afternoon at Rogers Pond. It’s so wonderful to have this place in our town. This morning I met a man who was trying to take out bags of dog waste from the water with a long big branch he had found. Everyone, please don’t abuse this wonderful place that is paid for by your tax dollars.

Put your dog waste bags in the waste bins that are provided right there along the walk.

Nancy Beers
Kennebunk

Information needed for services, assistance

To the editor,

It has come to my attention that the committee which I helped to form in Kennebunk five years ago, The Committee on Aging, has been disbanded after seven of its members resigned. The purpose of the committee was to help seniors with their daily lives and provide them with information about various services.

Without knowing the reasons for this, I can only express my disappointment with the town of Kennebunk for its lack of support for its committee structure and this committee in particular. The many volunteers working with various committees in town government are dedicated people who only seek to help the town to function efficiently and to serve the citizens of Kennebunk.

Because 35 percent of Kennebunk’s population is 65 years of age and older, there is a tremendous demand and need for information about services and aid. Now that one means of help has been eliminated, the demand will be even greater.

Bevan Davies
Kennebunk

Editor’s note: The first paragraph of the following letter was omitted from the Dec. 3 print edition of the Kennebunk Post. The letter will be printed in its entirety in the Dec. 10 publication.

Recall doesn’t benefit school district

To the editor,

Petitions to recall RSU 21 School Board chair Art LeBlanc and school board member Tim Stentiford were filed in the Kennebunk town clerk’s office Monday, Nov. 29. What were the reasons stated for the radical step of removing two hard-working, civic-minded volunteers – before their terms are up – during a pandemic, when K-12 education challenges are at their peak?  Statements full of factual inaccuracies, glaring omissions, and flawed reasoning. Both petitions try to connect LeBlanc and Stentiford’s role in negotiating a teachers’ union contract this past June to the departure of “43 teachers and ed techs” since the beginning of the 2021 academic year.” In fact, publicly-available school board records reveal that teacher turnover since August 2020 is better than the state average during non-pandemic years, and all teaching positions are filled. Instead, LeBlanc and Stentiford should be applauded for helping to negotiate a teacher contract this past June that 90 percent of teachers approved.

The petitions’ remaining four arguments are no more convincing.

First, RSU 21’s lack of a “Curriculum Committee since the fall of 2017” can’t be placed solely at LeBlanc’s feet, since he didn’t even join the board until July 2020. Once our new superintendent, Dr. Cooper, started work in August 2020, pandemic challenges justifiably monopolized board energies. As someone who has herself applied to join the Curriculum Committee as a community representative, I know the board is working hard to get this committee up and running.

Second, far from demonstrating a “lack of executive function,” LeBlanc has done a commendable job of moderating board meetings and allowing every public voice to be heard. Community discussions about complicated pandemic issues are bound to be “contentious” and “last for hours,” as everyone fumbles through this new territory. LeBlanc’s efforts, to ensure public comment complies with the board’s rules of order, hardly rises to “bullying;” rather it’s exercising his duty as board chair.

Third, the additional expense of hiring human resource personnel, spearheaded by Stentiford, has more than paid for itself. Those personnel have brought our school board into compliance with Maine Education Law, reduced legal and consultant expenses arising from past mismanagement, and provided board members the data they need to make teacher, ed tech, and staff salary scales and benefits competitive.

Fourth, blaming Stentiford for ensuring the district uses federal pandemic funds for their legally-required purpose of keeping our students safe and healthy is perhaps the flimsiest accusation of all.

So don’t be fooled into signing the recall petitions that their supporters will be urging you to do over the next 30 days. Their stated reasons for the necessity of a recall don’t add up, which leaves you wondering about their true intent. This much is clear. A recall doesn’t benefit RSU21 teachers, ed techs, or staff, and the chaos it creates certainly won’t benefit our students who are trying to make up for lost learning opportunities during the pandemic.

Claudia Sayre

Kennebunk

Trying to do the best we can

To the editor,

I spent several hours on Sunday re-watching the at times nauseating proceedings of the Nov. 9 and Nov. 23 Kennebunk Select Board. At issue was a citizen’s complaint regarding an alleged violation of the select board’s code of ethics, which took place on Nov. 9.

There is no question in my mind that item No. 4 of the code was violated by the chair, Blake Baldwin. Disgraceful, “disparaging remarks” were directed toward resident John Costin by Mr. Baldwin. Now what? Will the board publicly vote to acknowledge the violation? What is the penalty for violating their own code of ethics? The document has no purpose if there are no reviews or penalties for misconduct. I think this needs some public pressure.

I want to say publicly: John, thank you again for every single thing you do for this town. Without your and Rachel’s dedication and oversight, we would be a sorry mess.

Regarding the overall issue of lack of resident participation at board meetings and on town committees, I fatigued long ago of being on the receiving end of disrespect when I got up in front of the board to voice my opinion on some element of town governance. It’s about time board members learned that many formerly engaged and interested people have likely tuned out of town politics because they got tired of condescension as they bravely spoke at the board’s lectern or were met with silence instead of a decent response during a public comment period because of “policy.”

And finally, make no mistake, residents do watch these meetings. To that end, select board members: watch your comportment. I know using Zoom is challenging, but please cut your video feed temporarily before attending to personal hygiene or eating, or closing your eyes in what looks like your excruciating boredom. We’re all trying to do the best we can here.

Susan A. Bloomfield

West Kennebunk

 

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