To the Editor

To The Editor:

Recently I visited Calais High School with the intention of getting the staff and students interested in participating in our first Bay of Fundy International Marathon.

As a retired educator of some thirty four years I have a keen awareness of the dynamic of a school whenever I enter the building. So it was on the day I met with the school principal Dan Cohnsteadt. Mr. Cohnsteadt was enthusiastic about his school, the staff and student body. After I had discussed the schools possible involvement with the marathon, we toured the building and I met some staff. Everyone I met shared a commitment to the school and the students. Education was evident everywhere. The halls had been decorated ready for winter carnival and Mr. Cohnsteadt indicated that teachers would stay until eight o’clock in the evening to assure well decorated halls. They receive no overtime for this.

The City of Calais should be proud of their high school and the comprehensive curriculum it offers to the student body. It should also be thankful they have a fine principal who has a keen understanding of educational trends.

Currently education has fallen victim to many bureaucrats and pundits who dictate policy and who have never set food inside a classroom. It takes courage to recognize a good school and willingness to fight for its future. I hope the good people of Calais will have that courage and take the time to see what a find job is being done there.

My compliments to the staff and students.

Rachel Rubeor

 

To The Editor:

After reading Ms. Caso’s Letter to the Editor in the Calais Advertiser’s March 7th, 2013 edition, I feel the Citizens of Calais need to know the facts regarding the statements made in her letter.

The Freedom of Access Law is quite specific regarding what and how an entity must handle such requests.  As to the 5 day requirement, the Law requires a written notice only when an entity refuses to provide the requested information.  The notice of denial must state the reason for the denial.  The Law also states an entity receiving the request shall acknowledge and respond to the request within a reasonable period of time regardless of whether the request was delivered to or directed to the public access officer.  The Law further requires the entity to provide the requester an estimate of time necessary to complete the request and the total cost to provide the information.

The Bangor Daily News sent a request to all State of Maine Police Chiefs requesting the name, addresses, and dates of birth of concealed weapon permit holders maintained by the local police department.  Upon receipt of the request, Chief David Randall immediately pulled the information and provided the list to City Manager Diane Barnes on February 14, 2013.  

As the Freedom of Access Officer for the City of Calais, Mrs. Barnes contacted the City Attorney and the Legal Department of the Maine Municipal Association.  Both confirmed we were required by law to provide the requested information.

In true form, Mrs. Barnes notified all of the City Councilors via email at  9:38 AM on February 14th.  At 12:57 PM on February 14th, in compliance with the law, Mrs. Barnes emailed Susan Young from the Bangor Daily News stating the following:

“As the freedom of access officer for the City of Calais, I am acknowledging your request under the Freedom of Access law to provide you with the records of concealed weapons permits including names, addresses, and dates of birth of permit holders, that are maintained by the Calais Police Department.  The estimated cost to provide the records is approximately $12.00  I estimate that I will have the information you requested by February 22, 2013.”

At the time, with pending emergency legislative action, Mrs. Barnes at no time was “trigger happy” nor was there any time anyone’s information was ever released  to the public entity.

As an added note... Emergency legislative action enacted on February 15th  temporarily protects concealed weapons permit information from such Freedom of Access requests, pending deliberation on long-term legislation.  In addition, the Bangor Daily News withdrew their request!

Marianne Moore

Mayor – City of Calais

 

To The Editor:

I am shocked and disappointed that your newspaper would publish a letter to the editor that contained false information that was not verified by your publisher.  I am referring to a letter to the editor submitted by Kathleen Caso and published in the March 6th 2013 edition of the Calais Advertiser that contained unsupported derogatory accusations or false statements that is damaging to my reputation as a public official.  As City Manager, I hold a position of public trust and have gained notoriety and general name recognition within this community.

On February 27, 2013, we met in my office and discussed a headline that was printed in the February 20th edition of the Calais Advertiser “Calais Poised to Jump the Gun” that led the general public to believe that I had submitted the names of the concealed weapons permit holders to the BDN as required under the FOA law or that I did not follow the law in some way.  I also explained to you that day that I responded back to the BDN acknowledging the request, estimated the amount it would cost to provide the information, and estimated the time the information would be ready.   All of which is required by under the law.  Because of our conversation, you published a correction in the March 6th edition of the Calais Advertiser.  Ms. Caso’s letter warranted more investigation from the publisher of your newspaper before being printed.   

Diane Barnes, 

City Manager