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Nov. 28 Letters to the Editor

‘R’ makes a difference

Since the Nov. 19 article in the BDN, my office has received a number of expressions of condolence from those who only glanced at my picture and misread the headline, “Dearth of rheumatologists in Maine …” As Mark Twain might have clarified, “The report of my ‘dearth’ has been greatly exaggerated.”

Sidney R. Block



Study food choices

Thank you for the excellent nutrition lesson in the Nov. 20 “High Cost of Soda” editorial.

It is gratifying that the president-elect of the American Dental Association started the discussion and we in the nutrition community are grateful that many people are interested in food choices that will promote health.

The editorial correctly referred to the programs that are providing guidelines for sound nutrition as school nutrition programs, WIC and Head Start. In addition, Cooperative Extension and the Maine Nutrition Network are cooperating with USDA to spread the word about wise choice in selection and preparation of food.

As the editorial pointed out, there is no simple answer. We hear thoughtful rationale for banning some items as well as reasons for maintaining freedom of choice. You have opened a door for debate, for consideration of the best way for all of us to learn how to select foods that promote health and prevent disease.

In these difficult economic times, each of us can study, discuss and search for sensible solutions that will allow us to use our resources to the best advantage.

Katherine O. Musgrave



Stop methadone funds

If a drug is your problem, how can a drug be your solution?

For two years I have worked with women with drug and alcohol problems in the Penobscot County Jail. I hear story after story about the methadone clinic. These women wish they had never started methadone and feel like it’s almost impossible to get out of the methadone system.

The story I heard last night put me over the edge. A woman from Pennsylvania moved to Maine. She was told how easy it is to live off the state funding in Maine and get methadone at the clinic. After two years of constant methadone use and manipulation of this broken system, she now sits in jail, again funded by the taxpayer.

My mom has a state-funded job working with adults with mental disabilities — people who truly cannot help themselves. Whenever there are state budget cuts, my mom knows she might lose her job.

I understand that Maine needs to balance the budget but please, before we cut more state-funded programs and education, we need to revisit the methadone issue. The taxpayer needs the truth. How much of our tax dollars are used to fund the methadone programs? How many stay clean and sober? What is the success rate? I would be willing to guess the success rate of an educated child in a properly funded school is higher. I feel this is an injustice to the addict and to the future of our state.

Carrie Smith



Surprised at racism

To say the least, I am appalled to read the article concerning the anti-Obama betting pool.

My husband and I moved to Maine from a Southern state 2½ years ago. To read in the newspaper where we used to live such racial ideas would not have been surprising, but up here in Maine. What a horrific awakening!

Bets on the assassination of our President-elect Obama seems unreal — in Maine? Dear me!

Steve Collins, the owner of the store, took the easy way out to avoid the onslaught of those of us who believe, like him, in freedom of speech, but using intelligence and some kindness in our words. Shame on him for allowing his store to spew hatred!

I guess “the good old boys” live up here, too, but in beautiful, quiet “live and let live” Maine — those who try to live peacefully are not happy with them.

Mr. Collins and all “gamblers” need to apologize to the rest of us who aren’t tolerant of your actions.

Shirley Danielson

Blue Hill


Brutality of trapping

The Bangor Daily News and Kevin Miller did a good job on the story, “DIF&W to revise trap rules” (Nov. 25). If the intent of this story was to tear away the blinders of apathy that shield us homosapiens from seeing how we treat our fellow creatures, the newspaper succeeded magnificently.

I read with my usual detached manner about how DIF&W will be revising rules until I turned the page and was brought to a shuddering halt with the stark reality of how these creatures are killed. And I wept: for the long, agonizing death that animals suffer at the hands of men; for the inability of people to understand the harm that is being done; and for the ceaseless conflict between lobby groups with no resolution in sight while our creatures, great and small, continue to suffer.

I can only hope that this jolt will be felt by many, and will bring about a realization of how brutal we’ve become. Then perhaps the tide can begin turning toward a more gentle way.

Deborah Aldridge



Scooters, not trucks

I just finished reading the article about the new traffic circle in Calais. I traveled the circle while working in the area. It must have been designed by the owners of a scooter.

Nearly two-thirds of the tractor-trailers I followed went on the curb. I fully admired the few that did not. Many of the smaller pickups and cars with trailers found the curb also.

There was room to enlarge the circle and properly make it safer and much more trucker-friendly.

I agree also with Ernest James about winter maintenance. It will be a challenge.

I though the new crossing was to make things go more smoothly, quickly and efficiently. I could also complain about other construction in the area probably connected with this mess, but, “enough said.”

Duane Wardwell



Take down those flags

In deference to the feelings of those folks who decided many months ago to festoon random stretches of utility poles with American flags, presumably in support of the occupation of Iraq, I held my tongue. To me they served to diminish the powerful symbolism of our nation’s flag by indiscriminate overuse. They also violate the rules of flag etiquette — ask any Boy Scout.

Now those flags have turned to rags, tattered and torn. While their present condition is a fitting symbol of the state of the country, it too is not something I need constant reminding of.

It is time for them to come down. In respect for the country and its symbol they should be removed and disposed of properly.

Let the resident who wishes fly his own flag. That means something.

Roger Clifford


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