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Oct. 6 Letters to the Editor


Downeast EMS costs

An article concerning the Calais City Council and the Downeast EMS ambulance service appeared in the Sept. 16 issue of the Bangor Daily News. There wasn’t enough information to understand the financial issues involved.

Downeast EMS requires contributions by the communities to break even, called “stipends.” The amount of stipends this year is $383,358. For most communities, this is calculated as $15.50 per capita, but Eastport, Calais and Lubec all have agreed to pay significantly more to ensure the financial health of the service. These municipalities each pay about $94,000 in stipends, resulting in higher per-capita rates. They work together to ensure the vitality of Downeast EMS.

All three communities also spend money not currently tracked by Downeast EMS to maintain ambulance stations in their communities. Calais does have greater expenses to maintain its station and staff, and receives a reimbursement to offset those expenses. It is fair to say that the “lion’s share” of the stipends to Downeast EMS is shared by the three largest communities in the organization in an effort to provide quality emergency service to as much of eastern Washington County as possible.

Downeast EMS is a success story of regionalization. Mayor Vinton Cassidy and the Calais City Council have raised important questions about the efficiency and structure of the ambulance service and have qualms about its costs. The authority board must take their questions and concerns seriously and provide proposals to address those questions.

All communities should keep in mind the importance of providing quality emergency ambulance service to all in the region.

Brian Schuth


Eastport City Council

William Daye


Lubec Select Board

Praising Wahlstrom

While I agree with Renee Ordway’s praise of Jeff Wahlstrom as an effective member of the Bangor School Committee who is “thoughtful, energetic and innovative,” “‘Cranky guy’ ready to exit school panel’ (BDN, Sept. 20-21), I feel it is necessary to add to the list of accomplishments gained during Jeff Wahlstrom’s short tenure on the Bangor School Committee. He was instrumental in the move to have school committee meetings broadcast on public access television, which opened up the sessions to the public in a whole new way. Jeff also played a role in recruiting two new, bright parents of young children who attend Bangor schools to the committee. He voted with other like-minded committee members to elect a new chairman of the school committee for the first time in more than 20 years.

These are all positive changes that the community will enjoy for years to come. One person can make a difference. Jeff’s decision not to run for re-election is disappointing, but I am grateful for the three years that he devoted to the committee and for his sincere effort on behalf of all children in Bangor.

Brad Coffey


Revisiting ‘crisis’

The current “crisis” reminds us that the last time the Bush-Cheney administration insisted that Congress needed to take emergency action, the result was an unwarranted invasion of Iraq that has cost thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. Has anybody, other than Halliburton or Blackwater, benefited from our occupation of Iraq? Two sayings come to mind: “Fool us once, shame on you; fool us twice, shame on us” and “Act in haste, repent in leisure.”

Ted Curtis


Bail out Mainers, too

The proposed bank bailout of $700 billion is probably an underestimate, but even then, it will cost every person in Maine more than $2,000.

Can you afford to lose that much money? If you can’t, then you need a bailout, too.

Don’t just call your representatives or senators and tell them to go slow or add a few amendments to this giveaway for greedy bankers. Demand your own bailout, too.

We might still have capitalism for the average person, but it’s a free ride if you’ve got money and power. Time for everyone to play by the same rules.

Larry Dansinger


Support Obama-Biden

I support Barack Obama and Joe Biden to lead our nation for the next four years because of the problems facing our country today: the economy, health care, education, jobs, energy, and how to bring our troops home from Iraq in a safe and responsible manner. These are the issues that the people of this country care most about. The Republicans cannot talk about these issues because doing so would spotlight what they have failed to do for this country during the last eight years.

The problems facing our country today call for leaders with strong problem-solving skills and a willingness to listen to all sides of an issue. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are two intelligent people who have the ability to listen first and then take action. They will surround themselves with a cadre of intelligent, perceptive, knowledgeable and concerned people to be Cabinet members and advisers. Barack Obama’s keen sense of analysis and his ability to work with people will help him begin to address the many problems we face related to the issues. A vote for Obama and Biden is a vote for harmony and stabilization in our country and in the world community.

Jean Snyder


McCain a U.S. hero

I have the utmost respect for veterans. Many put their lives on hold here in the United States to serve their country. John McCain served above and beyond the call of duty for his country. He endured torture for six years in the infamous “Hanoie Hilton” POW camp. How many of us could have endured such treatment like John McCain did?

When he says “Country First” he means it. He wants to continue to serve the American people. He has nothing to prove to himself. He only wants to continue to serve a country he loves. This isn’t a resume builder like it is for Barack Obama. McCain isn’t on a mission of self-discovery like Obama. McCain already knows who he is.

I’m not ready to sacrifice this country on the empty words and party line of the Obama campaign. The party line that if McCain is elected it will be another Bush term is laughable. This statement insults the general public and insinuates that they will not educate themselves about McCain and his accomplishments.

McCain has earned his mantle of integrity and is a true maverick and American hero. I would certainly trust the future of our country in his hands.

Jeane Linehan


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