Mayor Moore Responds to Boston Globe Article

By Lura Jackson

Calais received national attention last week as a result of its front page appearance in the Boston Globe. The article (written by business reporter Megan Woolhouse) primarily addressed the reception to the work for welfare requirement reinstated by Governor Paul LePage as well as the area’s economic recovery following the 2011 recession. However, with its references to the availability of drugs and the absence of positive points, some residents—including the Mayor—have felt that the article paints an unfairly negative portrayal of the town.

“I was really frustrated because I was trying to get in some of the positives,” Mayor Marianne Moore said, explaining that she had made several comments about the city and its progress with economic development. While it is true that the city has struggled with recovering over the past few years, plans are now in the works with Baileyville and Eastport to form a corporation to identify what funds can be raised to bring businesses to the area. The opening of retail businesses in the past year (including Tractor Supply and Tim Horton’s) has provided new jobs in town while the tissue plant in Baileyville will bring jobs to Calais residents as well. “We have to get out of the mindset that growth has to happen in Calais. If it happens in Baileyville, that’s good for Calais, too,” Moore said.

The close relationship that Calais enjoys with St. Stephen was also omitted from the article. Many residents of both countries frequently travel back and forth across the border, and success in one community is celebrated in the other. The completion of the $20 million Garcelon Civic Center will provide a new source of activity and wellness for local families on both sides of the river. 

The fact that Calais is a focal point between its neighboring communities is one of the best features of the town, Moore emphasizes. “That’s why I made it my home. That’s why I moved here. It’s a year-round town. It has so much going. It’s a service town,” she said, adding that she was able to meet the requirements of a population of 5,000 for a Curves franchise by demonstrating how Calais draws in business from nearby towns. 

“I really didn’t like the comment that the busiest place in town was the methadone clinic. I wanted to ask her, ‘Have you been to Wal-Mart?’ I didn’t appreciate that comment, because it’s not true.”

Though she acknowledges that “doom and gloom sells newspapers,” Moore is disappointed that the town was cast in such an unfavorable light. “I want to sell Calais. I don’t want everybody to walk away from it. We’ve worked through a bunch of stuff in the last couple years. I feel proud of it.”

When contacted for comment regarding the negative tone of the Boston Globe piece, Woolhouse responded simply that she stood by the article and its statements.