Answer sought from chair

To the editor,

On Oct. 13, 2020, chairman Baldwin signed a revised Kennebunk Select Board code of ethics, which states under item 11: “… we agree to avoid situations where we might derive or appear to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in our official capacity.” But Mr. Baldwin clearly appears to derive personal benefit from actions made as select board chair: Mr. Baldwin owns and is president of Video Creations, a Kennebunk-based company. Its website (www.videocreations.tv) lists the town of Kennebunk as a client, and has a banner promoting their work for the town, which includes the town seal. Its work for the town is also posted on Video Creations’ social media pages. This gives the impression that the town is contracting with Video Creations directly.

Yet, if you look at the town’s budget section on its website, you will see that under Mr. Baldwin’s leadership, the town’s fiscal year 2022-23 budget has a $14,400 line item for a M. Davis to provide video services to the select board. Mike Davis is listed as an employee of Mr. Baldwin on his company’s website. Even if Mr. Davis is paid outside of Video Creations, there is a clear appearance of personal benefit derived. Literally, the largest item on the select board budget is to pay an employee of the board chair. It’s time for Blake Baldwin to give us answers.

Nate Durham

Kennebunk

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Activism over education at RSU21

To the editor,

This past week the RSU 21 administration allowed a protest to occur on school grounds during normal school hours where students were allowed to leave based on the teachers advising all students that they could not prevent them from leaving their course of study.

My frustration is not with kids attending a protest and understanding the need for activism based on individual values, beliefs, or opinions. This can be conducted outside of normal school hours.

I continue to be disappointed at the lack of quality education RSU 21 is providing.

As parents we expect RSU 21 to provide a quality education that sets our kids up for current and future success, minus all the political and social indoctrination that continues to be subjective, pushes conformity and strips individual values and beliefs. Values and beliefs that parents expect the RSU 21 administration to respect.

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On the day of this protest, my son was in math class. Just prior to 1 p.m., the teacher told the class that there was a protest at 1 p.m. and the teacher could not prevent them from leaving class to witness or participate in the protest.

If my son chose to leave math class, he would be choosing activism over a basic core education.

Furthermore, my son could have left math class and wandered the halls or sat in the bathroom or attended the protest to avoid a proper education.

Parents expect the RSU 21 administration to provide that proper education, but in this case, they have failed our kids in favor of subjective, social activism.

As parents, when do we say enough is enough?

When do we stand up and state our claim that our RSU 21 administration should be in the business of ensuring that quality education is the focal point and not subjective conformity and social justice endeavors, where they open the doors of the public schools and allow all our kids in to receive the same opportunities of an objective education.

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I encourage all parents and community members to reach out to your RSU 21 principals, superintendent and the school board and express the same desire/dissatisfaction that we expect more in our kids’ education.

James McMann

Kennebunkport

Support for select board candidate

To the editor,

As the town of Kennebunk continues to navigate a period of unusual volatility – and also unusual opportunity – residents are fortunate to have Leslie Trentalange on the ballot for select board this June.

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Leslie is a 20-year resident of Kennebunk who brings a lifetime of public service, both as a healthcare provider/nurse and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Most recently, she served as a COVID-response volunteer with York County Emergency Management.

Leslie’s experience working and living in several locations around the U.S. and abroad provides her with the maturity and breadth of perspective to tune out distraction and remain focused on the long term, shared objectives of our community.

As an professional actor, Leslie has been trained in active listening and adaptive communications that differentiate her amongst her peers in her ability to understand, respect and connect with a wide range of stakeholders (i.e. residents including both seniors and young families, administrative staff, fellow board members, etc.), regardless of background or politics.

If you’ve not yet had the opportunity to meet Leslie in person, I encourage you to do so. Her clear gaze, kind smile and warm, confident handshake are a breath of fresh air.

It is springtime, after all. Don’t we all deserve a breath of fresh air?

Please consider voting for Leslie Trentalange for Kennebunk Select Board on June 14.

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Tara Rubin

Kennebunk

Support for candidates

To the editor,

In 2016, I created what was essentially a rig job. It was a grassroots attempt to keep people struggling with opioid use disorder alive until they had more resources and more treatment access. A woman reached out to me, someone I had never met. She told me she had no experience in the field, was not a healthcare worker, but that she wanted to be part of the solution. She came to my office and volunteered to talk to incoming patients and help create systems where there were none. That woman was Miriam Whitehouse, who is now running for select board.

Leslie Trentelange is someone I know as a mother, an activist, a nurse and member of a small local business. She is also running for election to the select board. When members of York County needed coordination of access to vaccines, Leslie was there. When the community faced division and misinformation campaigns, Leslie was there. When the national organization Moms Demand Action was rallying against school shootings, Leslie was there, performing in a chilling one-woman play and giving voice to a woman facing partner violence.

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When there is a crisis, it is important that we have people who are ready not only to speak, but to act. When we hear an alarm of “somebody do something” it becomes clear who are the “somebodies” in question. Miriam and Leslie are those responders, and I can think of no one better to represent the needs of Kennebunk than these two outstanding citizens.

Merideth C Norris

Kennebunk

Candidates have ‘valuable experience’

To the editor,

Two new candidates are running for Kennebunk’s Select Board — Leslie Trentalange and Miriam Whitehouse. How refreshing it is to see qualified women in a position to move our town forward. For many years, Dorothy Stevens served as the only woman on a board of men, and she held her own. Those who follow her have a good model.

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Leslie and Miriam would bring valuable experience to the board. Leslie is a nurse who served in the U.S. Navy. She and her husband, also a veteran, moved to Kennebunk in 2005 and raised their children here, both attending local schools. The family owns a small business, Generation Dentistry in Arundel.

Miriam, a medical technologist, worked in the Southern Maine Medical Center laboratory and others, serving the area for about 40 years. She also raised her children in Kennebunk. She was a member of the Economic Development Committee.

Why are they running? Leslie says she wants to restore, or create, a board that proves to be a receptive, responsive, and communicative board to all citizens. Miriam said it seems as if town hall has become increasingly disconnected from the people who live and pay their taxes here and said she would like to see that change.

Vicki Adams
Kennebunk

Candidate will ‘listen and contribute’

To the editor,

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Voters in Kennebunkport would be wise to vote for Jon Dykstra for select board on June 14. I had the opportunity to work with Jon on the Solid Waste/Recycling Committee over the past two years. As the chair, Jon led the town’s effort to restart the recycling program after it had been curtailed due to major cost increases. Through Jon’s leadership, the committee guided contract arrangements with ecomaine and spearheaded promotional efforts among the town’s residents to restart what is now an extremely positive curbside recycling effort in our community.

Jon and his wife moved to Kennebunkport in 2016 but he and his family have summered at Goose Rocks Beach for over 50 years. Since moving here full-time, Jon has served three years on the town’s Budget Board, chaired the town’s Solid Waste/Recycling Committee, was elected as the town’s at-large representative on the Goose Rocks Beach Advisory Committee and serves as a board member of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust. As a trained geologist, Jon has a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College. Who could better help guide the town’s future as it deals with the tough issues of climate change?

I know first-hand that Jon will listen and contribute in many positive ways to our town based on his love of the community, his active involvement to date and his professional career experiences. Please join me in voting for Jon Dykstra for Kennebunkport Select Board.

Tom McClain

Kennebunkport

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