The Working Waterfront

Our readers have opinions

Letters on books, photos, stories, and history

Posted 2024-04-16
Last Modified 2024-04-16


Photo correction

To the Editor:

The photos of the storm damage in the February/March issue of the newspaper were great, but the ruined lobster shack in Bernard on Mount Desert Island is not the town wharf, as the caption read, but a private wharf and shack down the road a few hundred yards.

The town wharf made out just fine.

Bill Weir
Bass Harbor


Information helped victim

To the Editor:

Thank you for the beautiful coverage by Tom Groening of our Damariscotta “Break the Silence of Domestic Abuse” event on Nov. 7 at the Skidompha Public Library (“Domestic abuse—voices and vocabulary found,” December/January issue).

The article has already helped at least one island dweller.

A woman living on a Maine island got in touch with me wanting information to provide to her friend who is trapped in domestic abuse so her friend could see the patterns of abuse and know she was not alone. I was able to suggest the caller get a hold of the current issue of The Working Waterfront and hand that to her friend, since all the information she was seeking was in that story.

This coverage of us in The Working Waterfront spreads the word to Maine’s island and coastal communities about Finding Our Voices as a statewide, grassroots, and survivor-powered resource for women and children trapped in domestic abuse and the friends and family who are worried about them. The timing, as winter set in, was important.
Thank you, Island Institute, for this important newspaper.

Patrisha McLean
Founder/CEO Finding Our Voices


Dissenting review

To the Editor:

First of all, thank you for the work you do—The Working Waterfront is an excellent publication.

I read Tina Cohen’s review of Martha Tod Dudman’s Sunrise and the Real World in the February/March issue of The Working Waterfront, and I must admit to being somewhat puzzled. As a work of fiction, it was a fast and engaging read with descriptions of the Sunrise facility that were authentic.

Facilities such as this were, and maybe still are, largely staffed with the undertrained, underpaid, underappreciated, and unprepared. However, this was not the point of the book, which was not so much a piece of historical fiction as a great story with an amazing twist, that kept me enthralled until the bitter end!

John B. Macauley
Otter Creek


Chasing submarines

To the Editor:

I enjoyed the December/January issue’s “In Plain Sight” column by Kelly Page of Maine Maritime Museum on the wooden vessels built in small boatyards in Maine during World War II.

My dad served as a captain of SC 698, a subchaser, in the Pacific during the war. The subchasers, at 110 feet—about the size of the smaller Vinalhaven ferries—with three officers and 24 crew members, sailed from the East Coast to the Pacific, often without radar or electronics relying only on celestial navigation.

My dad had grown up sailing and was part of the “90 Day Wonders” who were rushed through training to fulfill the need for officers with prior experience on the water. At the end of the war he was a lieutenant commander of a destroyer escort.

Ted Treadwell wrote two books on his experience during the war as a junior office and captain of a wooden subchaser. His books, Splinter Fleet and Taste of Salt, gave me insight into those experiences not talked about by those who had served on those small boats as part of the under-appreciated “Donald Duck Navy.” They are very good books and makes one much admire those who serve and work today on relatively small boats.

Ruth Cutler
Vinalhaven and Ashford, Conn.


Boothbay Harbor church.
Boothbay Harbor church.

JFK connection

To the Editor

I was reading The Working Waterfront’s February/March issue and noticed the photo of Boothbay Harbor before 1951. I live in Portland but grew up in Boothbay Harbor. I am 77 years old and still have relatives in Boothbay Harbor.

The church in the photo is Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church. President Kennedy went to that church in the same year that he died. It is located on Atlantic Avenue on the East Side of Boothbay Harbor. The main part of Boothbay Harbor is located on the West Side of Boothbay Harbor. Boothbay Harbor has changed significantly over the years. The white house in the photo is where a good friend of mine grew up. He is still a fisherman and still lives in that house!!

Atlantic Avenue has grown a lot—hotels, motels, restaurants, and condo developments. The movie Carousel was filmed in Boothbay Harbor in 1956 at Brown’s Wharf on Atlantic Avenue.

Ken Pinkham


More on the church

To the Editor:

The church building in Boothbay Harbor shown in the February/March issue is now part of a multi-church grouping from Brunswick to Newcastle, and most photos are of the white version that anchors postcard photos so well. As for the history: The foundation was laid in 1916, the steeple finished in 1924, and the church consecrated in 1926. Originally, the exterior was covered in cedar shakes, then painted white in the early 1950s (at any rate, before my husband moved here ca. 1955).

Mary O’Keefe Kellogg
East Boothbay


Point, counter-point

To the Editor:

As a long-time reader, I have followed closely the articles and letters in The Working Waterfront concerning the issues surrounding lobstering, trap lines, and right whales. The paper will print a story with very well-reasoned arguments from the lobstering community and industry representatives and excellent points are made.

However, some of the points made leave questions that beg to be responded to directly from the other side. Unfortunately, many of those points are not taken up until perhaps another issue of the paper, maybe months later, and again specific points may not be directly addressed.

There never seems to be a article where the sides are talking directly to one another and about very specific points raised by each. The whole exercise is fragmented and I as a reader am left not knowing what to think.

With your most recent issue I fear same thing may happen with concerns about seaweed farming and the science regarding health and sustainability of these practices. My hope would be that the Island Institute through The Working Waterfront could sponsor a forum where both sides are present, discuss this back and forth, and take questions. Or it could just be a joint interview and printed in the paper. One way or the other, I for one am needing a bit more help sorting through these very important issues.

Michael Hussin
Pelham, Mass.

The Working Waterfront welcomes letters to the editor, which should be sent to Tom Groening at with “LTE” in the subject line. Longer opinion pieces are also considered but should first be cleared with the editor.