The Working Waterfront

Letters to the editor: Family leave, Portland and kayaking

Staff Writer
Posted 2016-08-24
Last Modified 2016-08-24

Congrats on family leave

To the editor:

The more I know of the Island Institute, the more I respect and appreciate your work.

One small part of that work, The Working Waterfront, is by far my favorite publication. A wonderful variety of important issues, delightful columns, photos and more.

What is prompting me to write is Rob Snyder’s Field Notes column in the August issue about paid parental leave. I was fortunate after my daughter was born that both me and her papa were able to be home with her for those first weeks. It makes such a difference for the whole family to be together at that time.

Congratulations and thank you for modeling this practical, meaningful policy to us all.  

Jean Berman

Peaks Island


We need Portland

To the editor:

Dana Wilde brought back some great memories in his “Portland Recollections” pieces (July and August issues). My parents left Camden after World War II and settled in Portland and I spent my first 11 years there. Most of that time we lived on Belmont off Forest Avenue and I can still remember discovering Amato’s Italians.

Years later, back in the 1990s, I rediscovered Portland during a 20-year career as a sea urchin buyer. Urchins were king on the Portland waterfront in those days and it was the perfect setting for a gold rush style fishery. There was a core group of locals who learned the dive game before it began moving east and they led the charge. Lloyd Covens, a part-time magician from California, was the first person to recognize the potential of the fishery and deserves credit for that.

There must have been at least a dozen processing plants with hundreds of workers in some of the bigger plants and the industry attracted people from all over the world. Japanese buyers loved the city. I had many occasions to host Japanese clients and once they found Portland, it was hard for them to leave. 

Many people have a negative view of the industry but in fact, part of the plan was getting rid of the urchins for the good for the lobster industry. Kelp beds came back, providing ideal habitat for juvenile lobsters and lobster traps no longer came up with urchins in them.  

Portland is a special place and Wilde made it come to life. Don’t you always get a little thrill as you approach Portland on 295 and see the marshes and the waterfront on your left? Especially at high tide. There is a certain comfort in having Portland close by.  It’s cosmopolitan and we need that in Maine.  

Jim Wadsworth



Paddle safe

Thank you for the excellent article on the joys and pitfalls of ocean kayaking (August issue).

I paddle almost every day all year round (weather permitting) from my home on Bass Harbor.

As lieutenant of the Tremont Fire Department, I head up the cold water rescue team.

I teach boating safety courses at the high school and train kayak guides in CPR and first aid. I have kayaks for my four grandkids and we practice safe paddling skills.

We need more articles like yours on safety and wearing PFDs.

Bill Weir



Easy on the eyes

To the editor:

The current layout of the newspaper is excellent! It is so nice, and easy to read the whole article on one page and not be circling back and forth to finish up a story on another page and then try to find where you left off to go on to the next story.

The articles and stories are so well-written, informative and yes, some grandly humorous. The whole paper is looked forward to each month. I have been reading it for over a decade.

Joanne McCartan



Have an opinion about life on our coast and islands? Send comments, complaints and compliments of about 250 words or fewer to with the subject line LTE. Please include full name and town of residence.