From Magic City Morning Star

Sally Bouchard
Diversity in Millinocket
By Sally Bouchard
Mar 13, 2006 - 6:58:00 AM

The Katahdin Area had an economic summit, which came to the conclusion that the area needed both manufacturing and tourism in order for it to grow.

Many of us have been saying that for at least two years now, and we were said to be negative and anti-tourist.

We knew that this area need more than tourism to if this town would continue to be a viable community.

Don McNeil, the former president of MAGIC wanted tourism to be number one on our list for new growth.

Bruce McLean, the director of MAGIC, stated that Millinocket should be a gateway community like Bar Harbor, which is nothing but a tourist area.

Manufacturing and tourism is what the headlines said; yet if they would have paid attention to what the people were saying instead of discrediting them; and been working toward that goal, maybe MAGIC could have had something in Millinocket before now.

A lot of money has been spent and Millinocket has nothing to show for it. We need jobs in Millinocket, as do East Millinocket and Medway. We, the people of Millinocket, know that the other two towns also needs jobs but it is Millinocket that has been putting out most of the money and has least to show for it. East and Medway are getting the jobs.

It is Millinocket that gave the loan to Allagash Valve, which is located in Medway, and it is Millinocket that will be held responsible if the loan is not repaid. It is Millinocket that will be responsible for the Brim Nessís loan. It is Millinocket that wants accountability from MAGIC and we are tired of all talk and no action.

It was Millinocket that fought having the Wilderness Society in the area. Now East Millinocket is fighting the Katahdin Land Swap, but where were they when we needed them?

We, the people, know that Governor Baxter left the land for the people of Maine. We also know that the officials of Baxter State Park have been keeping the people of the Katahdin Area from enjoying the Park like we use to in the past. They want the people from out of state, because they pay and we donít.

Baxter State Park and the Allagash are two places in Northern Maine where the people who have lived there for generations are losing the battle for their heritage.

We are the people from Maine but, like Baxter State Park, MAGIC wants tourism and they are forgetting the people from this area. Having economic summits and bringing in people from away to talk about what is best for this area has been done before.

Instead of listening to people from away, talk to the people who live in this area. They might not have the education but most of them have common sense and know that having only tourism for jobs is not what is best for the Katahdin Area, including, Patten and Sherman.

We, the people of Millinocket, know our heritage and we will fight for that heritage; and we will fight for the Al Coopers and all the rest that will lose their heritage if the state and MAGIC keep on promoting tourism over good-paying jobs.

No, I didnít go to the economic summit but I did go to the vision committee meetings a few years ago, and I am tired of endless meetings that are all talk, and no results. Like many of my fellow citizens, I have lost all trust in the organizations that are supposed to be working for the citizens of Millinocket. No matter how loud the voices of the people are, money talks louder and we, the people, are the losers.

There is no common sense in all of this. Democracy and our Bill of Rights are disappearing, trust in our public officials is gone, and it will take more than talk to bring back the credibility that MAGIC and its friends have lost.

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