The Working Waterfront

Our readers write: Street people, pinch-hitting, and Mueller

Posted 2022-02-16
Last Modified 2022-05-17

Street people thoughts

To the editor:

I just wanted to thank you and all the other writers (Cranberry Report columnist Barb Fernald is a friend) for your continued hard work on The Working Waterfront.

I just finished reading your Rock Bound column, “Who do we want to see on our streets?”

Nancy Sayre is an inspiration in your story as is your all-too-human admission of not really wanting to follow-up on her phone call for a story.

I spent the fall working on an oral history project on Roosevelt Island in New York City where I live. We got a small grant to help gather stories from our locals on their pandemic experiences during our lock-down in 2020. There were many times I did not want to follow through with voicemails and “recommendations.”

But it was my job and I always found that I was rewarded by further connections with my community.

The simple question of: “Who do we want to see on our streets?” says it all. When we “show up” it eventually does matter in our communities.

I also appreciate your publication’s acknowledgement of our continued need for diversity on our islands. Stephanie Bouchard’s article last year on the African-American community of Peterborough was beautiful and an eye-opener to me.

Histories and who gets agency to tell their stories has fortunately become an important part of our American narrative.
I thank you again for continuing to make our island communities better through your writing.

Thom Heyer
New York City and Islesford


Mueller Report redux

To the editor:

Someone might want to explain to Mr. Whitney out on Great Cranberry that Robert Mueller did not exonerate Donald Trump (Letters to the editor, December/January issue).

The Mueller Report laid out ten ways that Trump may have obstructed justice. He left it up to Congress to pursue these crimes. That was before Americans realized that Republicans in Congress would let Trump get away with virtually anything, including the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Edgar Beem


Island pinch-hitters needed

To the editor:

Thanks for the excellent breadth and occasional depth of content in The Working Waterfront.

I particularly enjoy the regular contributions of the “Big Four” island columnists, both because of how different one is from the other and also the insight each provides about their particular island.

I visited Vinalhaven for a couple of overnights for the first time probably because of reading Phil Crossman’s columns over the years, and I will go back next fall to explore more of the island and spend an extra night sitting at the bar at the Sandbar listening to locals spar and laugh for nearly free entertainment and more insight into Vinalhaven’s particular character.

This note is to wonder if similar voices might be heard from some of the other islands. Without a huge expansion of effort and space, one might recruit four or five more voices who might write two columns a year, featured on a rotating basis so as not to water down the presence of the Big Four. If the Big Four might like a small break, you could add one of the outsiders in while rotating a break for each of the Big Four and maintain the four-columns space and balance that exists today while adding some color from Chebeague, Swan’s, Peaks, Frenchboro, Cliff, for example.

I realize the regular reports from the Island Fellows add some of what I say is missing, but it doesn’t cover the impact gap between the Big Four and the rest of the islands.

If nothing changes, I won’t be crushed, but I thought I’d try out an idea with you during a reasonably quiet time of the year.

Richard Mersereau


What do readers think of this proposal? If an islander wants to take a stab at a one-off column reflecting island life, let me know. I’m at:
And keep the letters to the editor coming and send them to the above email address with “LTE” in the subject line. They should be 300 words or so. Longer opinion pieces should be cleared first with me.
—Tom Groening