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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Fire Fighters - REAL Local Heroes.

Lest we forget
It takes a lot of courage to run INTO a burning building. Bill Johnston showed an enormous amount of courage going inside the building in Mexico to fight the fire and make sure no victims were inside. It took even more courage for Rumford Fire Deputy Chief Chris Bryant, Rumford Firefighter Ed Carey and Mexico Firefighter Allen Chartier to rush in to dig him out. After all, the roof of the building had just partially collapsed on top of Bill. It had to be clear to everyone that the danger of going inside that building was extremely high. These Firemen willingly put their own lives in danger to save a “brother”. They often put their own life in danger to save the life and property of all of us here in town.

Firefighting is a dangerous job. That’s why our firemen train like they do and why there have been such trouble with keeping a highly trained call force in town. It takes a huge commitment to stay up with the training to be a volunteer firefighter. Not many have the time or the energy for such a commitment.

Our firefighters don’t do this job because of financial rewards. They could make more money in other professions. They do it because of the type of people they are. They do it because they want to feel good about their chosen profession. They want to help the people of this community. They want to save lives, even if it means putting their own life in danger. Anyone that knows the Firefighters in our surrounding communities can see that in these people. The same can be said for our local Police Department and Ambulance personnel.

Our local Firemen have been getting a really raw deal lately. They are having to suffer through having one of our Selectmen, Mark Belanger, filing a formal complaint against them for endorsing a candidate other than himself. They have been subjected to ridicule and attacks on a particular website in town. They have seen their budget cut severely and repeatedly. It has to be demoralizing. Yet they have maintained themselves as the professionals they truly are, risking their own lives to save others.

They are true heroes in our community. We at the RFP want to publicly thank them for their selflessness and let them know how thankful we are that they are here. If you have a minute, stop by the fire station to offer some quick words of support. I’m sure they could use it.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bill Johnson for a complete and speedy recovery. Our thanks go out to him and all of our local heroes that worked to save him and that work to keep us safe on a daily basis.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Meet the REAL Barack Obama

Don't listen to the nonsense. Listen for yourself as Barack describes who he really is and what he believes in this historic speech.

Monday, June 23, 2008

TRR site posts inaccurate information - from someone who knows

Submitted by James Doar

A lot of what appears on the Rumford Distorter annoys me, but right now two stories in particular were brought to my attention. The first is the computer contents nonsense. I never asked for my hard drive to be erased, in the waning hours or otherwise. You can corroborate this story with Len Greaney. The lap top crashed in April-May. I spoke with our computer people at Advanced Microsystems in Lewiston. They heard my description of the issue and suggested it was the hard drive. They recommended buying an entirely new machine. A member of the town staff, who is knowledgeable about these things, said we could probably fix it. I thought, "that's smart, I'll fix it for $100, instead of replacing it for $500." It was out of my office for over a month. In the meantime, I borrowed a laptop from the PD; they are understaffed, so have some surplus equipment. I found a new hard drive on E-bay (which I purchased on my own credit card) and asked a staff member to replace it. The employee backed up everything on the old computer before replacing the hard drive. Not that it was necessary; we put everything on a server which is saved to a remote profile. This is what allowed me to continue to function while using one of the PD's computers. No matter what computer is used, as long as the user is logged in they can access everything on that "computer." In fact, I worked from my personal laptop for two days while snowed in at Jackson Hole, and two days from both Terri's computer and from Debbie's computer. I accessed personnel and union information available only to the town manager from those two computers.

The second is the LD1 "spending cap." There is no such thing. LD1 is a "tax cap." If it were a spending cap it would be easy. For the moment I am going to ignore the fact that Jennifer Norris and Ron Theriault were largely responsible for the question being on the ballot (how responsible is it to cut town departments and give money to social service organizations over which the town has no control?). LD1 is one small piece of a total municipal budget (actually it affects the school budget also, but in this regard the state is failing us - I think). If we think of a municipal budget as getting funded through two separate "pots" of money, then LD1 may make more sense. The first pot is property taxes; it is the largest. The second we'll call "other." Other comes from things like excise taxes, state revenue sharing, and carried balances. If we have a $7 million budget, can count on $2 million of other, then we need $5 million in property taxes. LD1 gives us a formula, not altogether arbitrary, that determines how much we can increase the total amount of the tax commitment used for municipal purposes from one year to the next. If we can only increase the total commitment to $4.9 million, then we need to find $100,000 somewhere. We either ask the voters to approve an additional $100k in total property tax commitment, cut the budget $100k, or find it in "other." It's not easy and each choice has its pros and cons.

That's the nuts and bolts of LD1, almost. At the risk of being even more wonkish, the Distorter is completely wrong about what happens if LD1 is voted down, but the budget articles are voted up. No one goes back to the drawing board. The town either finds the money in "other" or simply doesn't spend the money. As long as the total tax commitment doesn't go above that set amount the town adheres to LD1. Think about it like this: If you need a new roof for your house and you saved $10,000 for it, but the contractor says it will cost $10,500, you either find the $500 somewhere or work something out that allows you to not spend that $500. Maybe it means you supply some sweat equity, maybe you use a cheaper material, who knows. The town's people vote an appropriation (google it); it is simply the legal authority to spend. Nothing says it has to be spent, just that no more than it can be spent (not including grants and carried balances). It's easy to get lost in the details, but conceptually it is pretty straight forward if you ask the questions.


Who's passing this kind of information to TRR?

The Following information was posted on the TRR. We at the RFP are not even sure if our Selectmen currently are aware of this. Why would TRR have this information even before our selectmen? More importantly, why does TRR have information that is typically considered confidential and handled in executive session?

President of the Firefighter's Union Suspended

Submitted by TRR Staff at 6/23/2008 07:48:00 PM

The Rumford Reporter has learned that Private Mark Tripp, President of
the Local Firefighters Union, has been suspended without pay for his role in the
violation of Section 10 of the town By-Laws during the recent elections. Tripp
was responsible for organizing a vote to approve the submission of a letter to
the editor in The Rumford Falls Times that supported electing both Greg Buccina
and Rob Cameron for Selectmen. The letter also reminded the public that if they
voted for the Finance Committee's recommended budget that the service the Fire
Department provides would be compromised. The letter was signed by Mark Tripp,
President of the Union. Section 10 of the Rumford By-Laws prohibits the Police
and Fire Department employees from engaging in political activity of any kind.
Other Fire Department personnel were disciplined as well but the details are
unknown at this time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Rumford Free Press is pleased to announce our new forum: The River Valley Free Press.

All of us here that have been involved with the start up of the Rumford Free Press are extremely pleased with its success. The RFP came online on May 21st, submitting 42 posts and receiving hundreds of comments during that time. We only been counting the traffic on the site since June 7th and have received close to 4,000 hits just during that time. Despite our success, there are some issues and limitations with the site.

One of the primary reasons that we created the RFP was to give members of the community a place to voice their opinions and communicate with each other. After awhile it gets kind of confusing to follow new comments on older posts, limiting communication. Readers of our site also have difficulty starting their own topics of discussion. We also believe that it’s pretty limiting to think that Rumford is the only part of our community that could benefit from open communication. We would like to include everyone in the River Valley Community.

So, to enhance communication, the RFP is pleased to announce our new forum, the River Valley Free Press. At this site, residents can start their own threads and have ongoing dialog with each other on any topic that they are interested in, from exchanging recipes to politics.

You don’t have to register to read what is on the site. If you want to post your own topics or respond to others, you will have to register and be signed in. The reason for requiring registration is to provide a way to discourage those who would post "destructively" as some did on the Open Doar. It allows for easier moderation. It also offers continuity for people reading comments posted by others.

We do not track your identity and we don't collect any personal information other than a valid e-mail address. Feel free to register under a user name or nick name. We can see who your Internet provider is but not who you are or where you live.

The rules regarding posting information on the forum is posted on the site. We ask that people use the forum responsibly and although we can feel free to disagree with each other, we ask that everyone treat others with respect.

So, with these guidelines in mind, we hope you enjoy the River Valley Free Press.

Thank you C for your contribution to this post and all of your work on the Forum.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Did you ever watch the Spiderman movies? I read the comic of that superhero all the time as a kid. He was one of my favorites. In the Spiderman movies that have been released, Spidey’s Uncle Ben tries to teach Spidey an important lesson; With great power comes great responsibility. That lesson has come home to us here at the Rumford Free Press as well.

Having a Website in town that releases information to the community is like having great power. We found that out when a member of the community was viciously attacked because people thought they were behind this website. This person suffered greatly due to these attacks. We really came to understand just how much what we do on this site could affect others.

The written word is a powerful tool. You have power to greatly influence the community that you are trying to serve. You can really affect people’s lives, a lot of people, in both positive and negative ways. You can affect the whole town. That’s great power. It should be used wisely.

The RFP believes that if you wield such power, you have a responsibility to make sure that the things you print are accurate. One of the reasons that we created this site is because we were aware that there were many inaccurate and at times irresponsible things being printed on the other website in town, The Rumford Reporter. Want some examples?

Take this quote from TRR about our Fire Department. “Members of the Union then moved to the high school driveway where several firefighters, who were on duty that night, helped pass out the union flyers to taxpayers as they arrived for the Annual Town Business Meeting.”

The members of the Fire Department that passed out flyers WERE NOT on duty that night. Here is the response from a member of the Fire Department. “This is a flat out lie! I can produce payroll sheets for that night and they where not on duty.” - Mark Tripp.

OK, so everyone makes mistakes. Let’s give TRR the benefit of the doubt and agree that this was just a mistake. It’s a mistake that has really hurt the reputation of the Fire Department and caused a lot of anger. Wouldn’t it be responsible for TRR to print a retraction and apologize? None has been printed to our knowledge. Instead we get a picture of a fire truck parked in front of the fire station with the ridiculous criticism about how the RFD blocks the sidewalk for our citizens. They have been saying for years that they need a new building and have been trying to do the best they can with what they have. Do we really need to criticize them because they have to park their vehicles on the sidewalk sometimes?

There are a lot of other examples of what we consider the misuse of power. What about attacking our Police Department for giving tickets? When town leaders that were “friends” of the TRR were caught not wearing their seatbelt, we were treated to a couple of TRR articles that told us there was a conspiracy that the RPD is out to get them. It didn’t matter that there is a state campaign to let the public know that the police across the state are going to enforce the seatbelt law and that you can now be pulled over for nothing more than not wearing it. It’s been all over the radio and we’ve all seen the “Click it or Ticket” campaign.

This “conspiracy theory” that blames the police honestly sounds pretty paranoid. They also told people how to get out of tickets. The worst thing they did though, was stir the community up towards the RPD. Our local Police force has an extremely difficult job. They put their life on the line every day to protect this community and are constantly dealing with difficult, high stress situations. Our town leaders and any responsible media outlet should be supporting them instead of trying to turn the town against them. That sort of writing is irresponsible in any aspect of the word.

While we talk of our Police Force and Fire Department, we want to add that we are extremely fortunate to have the high quality personnel we have working in these positions. How long do you think the really good ones will stick around in this environment? They will leave for places where they can concentrate on their jobs instead of fielding personal attacks and ridiculous criticism. We have already lost officers who publicly stated they were leaving due to the negative political climate around here. Who can blame them?

There are other examples we could cite. In fact, we could go on for awhile. Instead, we are offering a public challenge for the TRR to move towards more responsible and credible writing on their site. They have the opportunity to offer a great service to this community. We are simply asking that they use it responsibly.


Dear Parents and Players,

Summer is rapidly approaching and it is with a great deal of enthusiasm that we offer a summer basketball camp that will be fun, exciting and beneficial to the young people of Mountain Valley and the surrounding communities. The camp will run from June 23rd to July 3rd, the camp will open to boys and girls in grades 2-10. Although the format of the camp is set up for fun, we still have work to be done. With the help of some of the current players and coaches of the boys' program we hope to have a very successful program. Mountain Valley basketball has enjoyed a great deal of success over the years and with continued hard work during the summer camp we hope to continue that success in the future.

The camp is open to any youngster that has the desire to learn more about the great game of basketball, regardless of previous experience. The goal of the camp is to fulfill the individual expectation of the participants, whether it is playing in the championship game in the State Championship or engaging in healthy exercise and friendly competition.

The camp will be broken up into grade levels and different aspects of the game will be taught at the different levels. The idea behind the camp is to give the campers a better understanding of the game. We hope that every camper can look back on their experience and say that they are a better basketball player now than when they started.

At the present time we do not have games scheduled for the younger age groups that would require them to travel. We may however, break up into teams and have games among the players in the camp if the numbers allow us to have games. By having the camper play games this will give them a chance to get a feel for competition as well. The older age groups will have games as well as individual work. Transportation to away games will have to be provided by parents and players. Game schedules will be announced, as they are made available.

If you wish to enroll in the summer basketball program please complete the attached form and return it by the pre-registration date to the address given. The cost of the camp will be $90. Each camper who pre-registers to receive a camp T-shirt. Discounts will be available to families with more than one camper. Please call for discount prices.

We hope to make this the best summer camp in the area!!! Come join the fun and remember: “Defense equals Championships, hard work equals results.” At Mountain Valley, we do both!!!! Falcon Pride Lives in all of Us!!!

Please feel free to call if you have any questions or concerns. You may contact Coach White at 364-3851 with your questions. Be sure to tell all of your friends about the camp and get them to attend as well.
Coach Gerrish, Coach White



GRADES: 2-4 8 – 9 A.M.GRADES: 5-7 9 – 10:30 A.M.GRADES 8-10 10:30 – 12:00 P.M.




Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ethics – Middle School Style

Submitted by Judy O’Neil

This article is meant as a tribute to ethics being taught today in our local school system. We may not be able to change the political climate of Rumford today but our schools are doing an excellent job in preparing children for ethical decision-making in the future.

“Mom, what does ‘ethics’ mean?” My eleven-year-old daughter hunches in study over her vocabulary list. Using words like “values” and “principals of a society” in an attempt to boil it down to sixth-grade understanding, I brighten when she says, “Oh, I get it, the difference between doing what’s right and what’s wrong while thinking about everyone involved, right?” Phew! Nice way to wrap up a complex topic for my overcrowded adult mind. Remember the essay, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”? Well, I would say that kindergarten is just the bare beginning in the teaching of ethics; middle school is where the true understanding begins.

In kindergarten everyone learns how to be a “good” girl or boy, and is taught the basics of the golden rules, but that teaching really doesn’t begin to solidify until kids reach early adolescence. Especially in middle school, students experiment, struggle and grow as they learn to fit into a society of their peers. It can be a rough, hostile environment as young minds explore for the first time what abstract concepts such as justice, freedom, equality, hatred and prejudice really mean in the context of every day life. Kids face tough, ethical choices daily, and receive guidance from the schools in many ways. The boundaries and ground rules are posted in every classroom. Consequences are swift and direct, and the balance of power between two students can sometimes be restored with a face-to-face, mediated encounter which takes place in a safe environment. Yes, the school can do a great job with the kids and it’s even better when backed up by parents’ understanding and support.

Building support is the strength of our local middle school staff. Even though I’m probably old enough to be his mom, sometimes I think Principal Ryan Casey of our Mountain Valley Middle School has taught me more as a parent than he has taught my daughters. He bravely dives into the jungle where the protective mother lion stands ready to defend her cub. He listens compassionately and explains patiently until I see where he’s coming from. Thank God for people like Mr. Casey, Mr. Cayer and others teachers who understand that reaching parents and other caregivers is key to the maturational development and ethical foundation of the student; a student they hope will be able to function effectively in adult society in just a few short years.

Creating this strong, ethical foundation is critical to the creation of strong, well-grounded adults who are able to thrive no matter where they go. Grown-up life is so full of mind-boggling challenges and it is sometimes hard to hear the voice of our own values and the values of the society we live in. We worry about our reputations and how we look to others. We sometimes think values and rules are great for our children but not for us because we’re already good enough, or we’ve paid our dues. We struggle with decisions that have far-reaching consequences. These are the times I can simplify the clutter in my mind by asking what I would teach my children and, at the same time, asking if they would be proud of my actions. When I get really stuck, I just ask the experts – my middle school daughters.

Town Government

How do you think our local government can work more efficiently? What is missing? What is right and what is wrong?
I have a few thoughts regarding this, please correct me if I'm wrong.
Many elected and appointed positions seem to have no requirements regarding qualifications. If I were to go apply for a job, most would require that I possess certain skills. The town is a business. Most businesses require that employees possess the needed skills for the job, perform to certain standards and continuing training. Why isn't our town doing this? It seems our town has the same type government and expectations of those serving that they may have had a hundred years ago. "We'll appoint Jeremiah to the finance committee because he knows how to add" or "We'll appoint Jebediah to selectboard because he can talk loudest". I know these examples are a bit outlandish, but in this day and age I feel we need a finance committee that its members are schooled in finance. We need a selectboard that has training in public relations, finance and municipal management.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Strathglass Park

Strathglass Park 1912

When Hugh Chisholm traveled this area in the late 1800's, he recognized the awesome power of what was then called Pennacook falls. He built a power plant to tap the power of the falls and all other infrastructure was built around it.

As the population of the town swelled to build and sustain the infrastructure, new housing was desperately needed. From this need, Strathglass Park was born. This beautiful housing complex was an advanced architectural design at the time. The buildings on the outskirts of this oval shaped park faced each other, creating a feeling of community within the park. Hugh Chisholm clearly understood the importance of creating a feeling of community for the people that came here. The RFP is thrilled that residents have formed the Strathglass Park Association and are working to revitalize this beautiful and historical landmark

Friday, June 13, 2008

Election Procedure/Law

I’m wondering if I am wrong and/or the only person concerned that the election process this June may have been in violation of Maine state law? If I am interpreting the town charter correctly the selectmen are in charge of making sure the election procedure follows the general law of the state. The law of the state says that the selectmen must appoint election clerks who take an oath before assuming their duties. The election clerks, NOT the selectmen, count the ballots by separating them into stacks of 50 which are then labeled with the tally and the name of the election clerk. - the selectmen's hands should have been no where near the ballots during counting. Does anyone know if there was a recount? Or even if the ballot tally and the voter checklist were compared? I’ve heard nothing. If I'm not interpreting the charter and state law correctly, could someone please clarify it for me?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why not Madigan?

The town of Rumford is looking for an interim town manager, just to fill in until the vote on the Charter amendment to see if the town is in favor of allowing us to share a town manager with Mexico. If that is the case, why not ask John Madigan to fill in while we wait. Does the Charter prohibit from hiring John on an interim basis? It just seems to make sense to have the man that all five selectmen supported for the position to get a head start on managing town events.

Rumford Free Press Reaches Milestone

The Rumford Free Press has proven to be a popular website in our community over a very short time. We are pleased to report that we reached a milestone yesterday, logging almost 500 hits on the site.

We want to thank everyone who comes to the website to share their views and participate in this sort of online community building. We would like you to think of this website as your website, full of the comments and ideas reflecting a vibrant community full of diverse and wonderful people.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Cameron and Belanger

It’s with mixed emotions that we announce that it appears that Mark Belanger and Rob Cameron were elected as Selectmen. Rob has always conducted himself extremely well when working on behalf of the town. It is hoped that he can bring stability to what has been an unstable situation. Mark Belanger appears to have been less than forthcoming when explaining the reasons for his actions on behalf of the town. The residents of the town have spoken and the RFP is hopeful that the Selectmen can move forward with a fresh start and focus on what is in the best interest of the town. Congratulations to both selectmen.

It is the opinion of the RFP that Mr. Buccina did an exceptional job under extremely difficult and often hostile conditions. We want to express our appreciation to him for his efforts on behalf of our community and wish him well.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

More Information on the Rumford Fire Department.

The Rumford Fire Department but has been getting steadily cut. The RFP believes members of our community should be aware of the following information:

For fiscal year 06-07 the Department budget was $977,000.
For fiscal year 07-08 the Department budget was reduced to $900,000, a $77,000 cut.

This year the Selectmen recommended $799,000, a $101,000 cut which will cut 3 positions that are currently not filled.

The Finance Committee recommended $707,000, a $193,000 cut which we will cut 5 positions, 3 which are currently vacant and 2 firefighters that are currently employed.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Who is write in candidate Richard O. White for Rumford Selectman?

Most of the tax payers of Rumford would know him as Rick White. You may have seen him roaming the side lines at many of the local sporting events for Mountain Valley High School or teaching at Mountain Valley Middle School until this year. He coaches football, basketball, and lacrosse and was a long time member of the Rumford Parks Commission until this past year.

Richard is married and is currently teaching Health at Molly Ockett Middle School in Fryeburg. He graduated from Rumford High School and went on to play college football before going to work in the mill. Richard also served in the US Army in Military Intelligence . He returned to school and finished his Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Education.

Why do you want to be a Selectman for the Town of Rumford?

I have been approached by a number of people in the local community to run and I felt that this is another way to serve the fine people of Rumford. I'd like to give back to the community that gave me so much when I was growing up on Penobscot Street. My oldest children have been a great help in getting the word out about me running. They have made all the signs and placed them all over town. This community is very important to me and I would like to see it become what it once was. The population trend in town is going down and we need to reverse this trend by bringing in new businesses. We also need to find ways to keep the younger population here in town. Along with these Richard sees the fighting within the community on different affairs as a hindrance to the rebirth of Rumford. We all need to work together on the issues for what is best for all of us in Rumford. We need to stop special interest groups and work for the good of the majority of tax payers in town. Difference of opinions on the issues is good and constructive when done in the right manner. We have gotten enough black eyes. We have a lot of great things going on in town. Let's build off these and continue to rebuild this town together. We need to work on the fractured relationships and rebuild the trust in this community.

How do we resolve the issues facing Rumford?

The first thing we need to do as selectmen is rebuild the trust that the great people of Rumford once had in their Selectmen. We can achieve this by giving them their voice back. We need to listen to the tax payers and provide them with the best options and information that is out there. I will be their voice in the board meetings and work to bring new business ventures to Rumford. As a board and a community we can rebuild the town one business at a time. We also should recognize the businesses that have been the main stays of this community and Thank them. We should feature a new business each month on the town website and in the press. We should promote what we have and what we could have.

In closing he would like to see the fine people of Rumford write him in as a selectman. When going to the polls on Tuesday if you would like to vote for Rick you will have to write in Richard O. White. If you want to see a change in the attitude around town then write him in.

Support the Rumford Fire Department

"DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Authorities in Dartmouth, Mass., say a couple trying to beat the high cost of gasoline accidentally caused a fire."
The headlines like the one above could be happening a lot more frequently this winter. High energy prices are causing a major crisis for a lot of families. This winter fuel prices are likely to be even worse. People are more likely to try to stay warm with home made devices, hastily and improperly installed, causing an increase in fire danger in our community.

The call force for the town has dropped to a dangerously low level after Selectmen cut their pay retroactively last year. Now the Town Selectmen are suggesting major cuts to the Fire Department in this new budget. The Finance Board is suggesting even more. Until the call force is built back up again, I’m suggesting that the town limit the amount cut to the amount recommended by the selectmen. That would give us a little time to rebuild the call force and ensure the town has adequate fire protection. Please let our selectmen know that public safety is crucial for our community.

If you find yourself downtown, why not stop by and chat with the Firemen or send them a quick note on here. They could use some support. They have been getting some pretty unfair, even ridiculous criticism lately. Let’s not let the debate over town budgets get personal with them.

A high stakes game of chicken

I’m happy about the outcome of the Med-Care situation. We get to keep their services and perhaps make some changes to the Inter-Local Agreement. I’m sure there are a lot of others happy about it as well. Does the end justify the means? I’m not so sure.

I’m not as happy with the process that it took to get to this point. Instead of working with other towns to get some agreement to fix this situation, we once again told everyone in the area that things will be our way, or else. In the process we caused a lot of unnecessary angst in our community and a lot of other communities that have partnered with us.

The Inter-Local agreement is an agreement between 11 towns. We collaborated to come up with the agreement and we surely could do so again to amend it. In the mean time we have an opportunity to talk to the other towns and Med-Care about what would work best for everyone. Rumford is talking about building a station for the Fire Department and I’m already hearing talk about building something to house both the Fire Department and Med-Care. If we are going to continue to collaborate with other communities, our selectmen need to do just that, collaborate, not just dictate how things are going to be.

It’s interesting to note that most everyone agrees that Med-Care needs a new building. It was the process that Med-Care followed that seemed to cause the trouble. Our Selectmen and many in the surrounding communities felt like Med-Care tried to dictate how things were going to be instead of working with us. There is a price that you pay when you do that. I hope our Selectmen take a lesson from the Med-Care situation and from their own past experiences about what happens when you dictate to others.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Limits on Free Speech - - What the Supreme Court Has Said

''[I]t is well understood that the right of free speech is not absolute at all times and under all circumstances. There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or 'fighting' words--those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.‘” –Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942)

Submitted by C

NewPage profits and closures

Submitted by Kevin Saisi
NewPage Taking 25,000 Tons Of Market-Related Downtime And Shutting Down Niagara, Wisconsin Paper Machines July 2008MIAMISBURG, Ohio. – June 5, 2008 – NewPage Corporation today announced that it will be taking approximately 25,000 tons of coated paper market-related downtime in June and July throughout its mill system. Several machines will be involved, and each will take advantage of specific times to complete planned maintenance and capital work. Moreover, NewPage had announced in March that it would continue running Nos. 43 and 44 paper machines at its Niagara, Wisconsin facility until the fall of 2008 (previously scheduled to close in April) due to unusually high market demand earlier this year. However, based on changing market conditions, the Niagara facility will permanently close the paper machines on July 12, 2008. This will reduce production by an additional 50,000 tons. The Niagara machines produce lightweight coated groundwood papers used in magazines and catalogs. “We have been observing an increase in coated paper inventories at a number of printers, along with a slowdown in demand as advertisers deal with an uncertain economy,“ said Rick Willett, president and chief operating officer. “Since we are committed to balance our production to consumption, we are diligently taking steps to reduce our production over the next two months.” This downtime and closure of the Niagara, Wisconsin paper machines are in addition to the permanent closure of two paper machines announced as a part of the company's integration plans (approximately 230,000 total annual tons of capacity): The No. 11 paper machine in Rumford, Maine was closed at the end of February 2008. No. 11 machine produced coated freesheet and groundwood papers for magazines and catalogs. The No. 95 paper machine in Kimberly, Wisconsin was permanently closed at the end of May 2008. The No. 95 machine produced coated freesheet papers for publication printing, and specialty papers for pressure-sensitive or glue-applied labels.“We remain committed to our customers and will continue to offer a broad portfolio of printing papers to meet a wide variety of needs,” said Barry Nelson, senior vice president of sales. “Products produced on the closed machines have been transitioned to more efficient paper machines within our integrated mill system. Customers were notified of our plans at the time of our integration restructuring announcement January 16. At that time, we began diligently working with individual customers to transition their business to other machines through a product qualification and trial process. With our announcement of market-related downtime, it is clear that our recent price increase is not supply and demand driven; rather solely to offset increased inflationary costs from energy, raw materials and transportation.” To learn more about NewPage Corporation, visit About NewPage CorporationHeadquartered in Miamisburg, Ohio, NewPage Corporation is the largest coated paper manufacturer in North America, based on production capacity, with $4.7 billion in pro forma net sales for the year ended December 31, 2007. The company's product portfolio is the broadest in North America and includes coated freesheet, coated groundwood, supercalendered, newsprint and specialty papers. These papers are used for corporate collateral, commercial printing, magazines, catalogs, books, coupons, inserts, newspapers, packaging applications and direct mail advertising. NewPage owns paper mills in Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nova Scotia, and Wisconsin. These mills currently have a total annual production capacity of approximately 5.5 million tons of paper, including approximately 4.3 million tons of coated paper, approximately 920,000 tons of uncoated paper and approximately 300,000 tons of specialty paper, as well as approximately 3.2 million tons of pulp.

Med-Care Issue

Submitted by Kevin Saisi

Fellow Citizens of the River Valley,At the Rumford Town Meeting I asked Steve Brown, President of Med-Care to identify where their agreement provided them the authority to buy land and build a facility. I pointed out that the Powers section only provided authority to purchase Ambulances, Equipment, Supplies and Materials. The contract also says that Med-Care has the authority granted under a certain statute within the limitations of the agreement. I believed it followed logically that any powers granted in the statute were limited by the Powers provisions.

It should be noted that Med-Care knew thet the question would likely be raised by me. An email raising the question was sent out to various people in town and was forwarded to Board member Jim Pulsifer earlier that day. This is why I was astounded that they did not have the answer to my question. After we left the Town Meeting Mr. Brown, Mr. Pulsifer and myself had a brief discussion in the hall. At that time they identified that the authority was implicit, as they were charged with forming and maintaining the ambulance service. In discussing the issue with Town Solicitor Tom Carey tonight, I was informed that he interpreted the contract as providing the authority. He offered me the opportunity to visit his office so that he could explain it to me with the lawbook present. I respect the opinion of Mr. Carey and am willing to admit when I have made a mistake. His years of experience and education far exceed my limited education in the legal system.

After the Selectman's meeting tonight, I was informed that some Med-Care staff were upset with me for asking the question. Given the lack of compliance to the rules demonstrated by our town leaders in the past two years, I believe it is important to question when things aren't clear. Just because a board is made up of honorable people doesn't mean that they will always function in an honorable manner. Sometimes the ends justifies the means in the minds of some leaders. I am glad to see that this is not the case with Med-Care. I am also glad thet the resolution to the issue that does not result in the destruction of our flagship inter-local organization. I respect their dedication and professioanlism in the way they perform their duties.

As for my questions, I can asure you that I will continue to inquire when I am unsure of something. I will also continue to point out when something is wrong. It is by full participation by the public that our government remains honest and ethical.

Kevin N. Saisi

Sometimes you have to do what’s right for the town.

That means even if you have to agree that things can’t always be the way you want them to be.

I would think that by now most of us would understand that Rumford is not an Island. We have to look for ways to reach out to others communities to meet our needs. We have to work together with other communities and not just try to dictate to them. For some in our Town, that continues to be quite difficult.

If our selectmen think that they can provide Ambulance coverage cheaper, or better, than they might be justified in this holdout with Med-Care. They can’t. After we provide 2 new trucks, retain some paramedics, pay for their ongoing training and find a place to house them ourselves, we will be paying considerable more than we are now, even with the new building and we will be receiving less service. We can’t provide better service in our small town that Med-Care does with the resources they have.

BTW, what’s the time frame for doing this? Have we just put our citizens at risk?

I believe our Selectmen need to work together with other communities and not just think we can dictate to them, as we are clearly trying to do with the Med-Care situation. I encourage our citizens to call their Selectmen and ask them to sign the Inter-Local Agreement and then work with the other towns to amend the Inter-Local agreement if they want to. All the communities collaborated to create the Inter-Local agreement, we can surely collaborate to modify it.

Ask our Selectmen to make sure that they put the safety of our citizens first.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Extremely disturbing, abusive comments received by the Rumford Free Press

The RFP has been quiet in creating new posts lately. Some disturbing things have occurred that have caused us to pause and reflect. It has made us realize that running a website is a huge responsibility. We want to be responsible citizens of the community, contributing positively and working to improve things in our town and for our residents. The Rumford Free Press was created with that goal in mind. We needed to take some time to think things through a bit before deciding how to deal with this issue.

The Rumford Free Press has been receiving some extremely disturbing comments. Apparently someone believes they know who is operating the Rumford Free Press and have sent the comments in an attempt to attack, intimidate and control that person.

What we have been receiving is extremely cruel, bullying and threatening. It’s no different than the school yard bullies we all unfortunately remember so well. We believe that the only way to stop bullying behavior is to stand up to it. Expose it for what it is and for all to see.

More importantly, we feel an obligation to try to protect the person they are attempting to victimize. With these goals in mind, we've decided to edit several of the comments and post them here. We have also informed the intended recipient. We have received other comments so vile and disgusting it’s impossible to edit them to make them fit to print. These edited comments just provide a taste of what we've been getting. Here they are:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "More Med-Care":

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Rumford Selectmen's Race":
[Name edited out] you can't hide. You have been caught red handed and now
you will PAY.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Rumford Selectmen's Race":
[Name edited out] you have been caught. I would give up, because you are
next to be run out of town, you slut.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Submitted by …":
Guess what [Name edited out]? If you keep bashing the TRR on As Maine Goes,
our next headline will be "[Incredibly spiteful comment edited out]" both on the
TRR and on As Maine Goes. Now that we know you are island girl, we will kindly
forward all those slanderous posts about [Name edited out] so she can sue your
ass, too. If you think Lovejoy had it bad...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Submitted by …":
We gave you a little teaser on As Maine Goes in response to your latest
ridiculous comment. All we need to do is edit the comment and complete the

[Name edited out] is Island Girl
[Name edited out] is Island Girl
[Name edited out] is Island Girl

[Name edited out] has been wondering who made those slanderous comments and
she already has a lawyer. We have your IP address from Doar's Blog and once our
hacker friends confirm the IP address on this blog, you'll be paying big money
to get out of this one. Have fun with that. What goes around comes

This appears to be "the little teaser" on As Maine Goes, as talked
about in the above post. The administrator of As Maine Goes has been contacted and requested to pull the victim’s name from the post to protect them.

The operator of the RFP has never posted on As Maine Goes although it appears a fan of our site may have. Most importantly, the person they seem to believe is operating the RFP has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS SITE.

The comments speak of "Lovejoy". We all know what happened to former Selectman Jolene Lovejoy. She suffered extreme political and personal attacks that had to be horrendous to live through. Over a year later, those attacks continue despite the fact that she is no longer a selectman. Now someone is being threatened with similar, perhaps worse attacks because it's believed they are operating the RFP.

There are those in town that make a big deal out of insisting that names are given when posting to websites. I’m wondering if perhaps this type of bullying behavior is why they want names so badly. It’s hard to threaten and intimidate people if you aren’t sure of whom they are. It’s harder to smear their name and discredit them through half truths or outright lies. I’d love to be able to reveal my identity and have open debates with people in the community about our issues. Look at what has been done and what continues to be done to the public figures of our community. Look at what they are threatening to do to someone just because they think they are running a website that gives the people in the town a voice, even though we’ve worked hard to insist people use their voice respectfully. If the abusers don’t know who we are, it takes away their power to personally attack us and forces them to debate on the merits of their argument.

The RFP is outraged at these attempts to intimidate us into closing this website and disgusted that there are members of our community that would treat others this way. We will not be intimidated. We invite other responsible, civic minded community members to join with us in trying to extinguish abusive behavior in town, in all its forms. It is well past the time to take our town back.

A letter from our Fire Department

Publisher of RFP, After tonight’s meeting I would like to take a opportunity to clarify a few false statements made by Ron Theriault, if you would allow me to do so here they are and thank you.

First thing is the fact that we had 85 call men when he was on the force. Records show at most there where around 30 or 35 members at one time. Currently we have around 7-12, and that is simply because of the training requirements and people work further away from home now rather than right in town. He then goes on the stress concern for the Mexico taxpayer bay saying they come over here for every fire because we have no one, but then in the same breath wants to decrease the size of our department.

Second is that we park the apparatus out front to be a inconvenience to the citizens walking by. I’m sure most people that have been here for any length of time will agree that the trucks have always been parked out front at different times for various reasons, not an inconvenience.

Third is the straw pole he just loves to down size. I truly believe had this “straw pole” gone the other way it would have been gospel to him, in fact the straw pole was sparked by the board of selectmen. Regardless of how he views it, it was a vote of the people!

Fourth is actually not a false statement, we do take a pumper or ladder truck with us most everywhere we go. The reason behind this is so if we get a call we have our tools with us and we can go directly to the scene. A fire truck is our tool box, without tools what good are the firefighters?

Lastly I would like to talk briefly about Ron and Jason talking about us breaking our contract by handing out informational flyers at the meeting. I can tell you this is not even mentioned in our contract, as a matter in fact a copy can be obtained at the Town Managers office, or stop by the station and one can be available for you to look at. The letter Jason was talking about tonight was one that was sent to the Selectmen Candidates from the Union asking some questions about themselves, careers, views, accomplishments and a few other things and they where also asked if they would meet with the Union to discuss there vision for the town if they got elected. It was a pretty simple self explanatory letter and questionnaire. I tried to address it with Jason at one point during the night but he ignored me so I never got to explain it to him.

If anyone has questions comments or concerns feel free to stop by the fire station to get info or if you ask most any firefighter they should be able to furnish you with the correct info. I can also be reached by e-mail @

Thank you,
Mark Tripp
Union President
LOCAL 1601
Rumford, Maine

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Building Our Economy

There has been a lot of discussion in the River Valley area about attracting new business. We’ve had some success over the years but need to continue our efforts. Steve Eldridge said in letter to the town at his departure something to the effect that building the economy of a community isn’t a sprint, it’s a sustained journey. Any ideas out there about how to build our Economy?

What's your favorite swimming spot?

Hey, let's open the discussion to our favorite swimming spots - ponds, lakes, rivers, frog ponds etc. What places do you think are the best to direct friends from out of the area to? Which places hold your best memories? Why are they wonderful? My personal favorite is Roxbury Pond, Silver Lake, Ellis Pond, but I also like Weld and Worthley for different reasons. Anyone wanna chime in?