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Dec. 6 Letters to the Editor

School choice point

The column “Good, bad news for state’s school choice tradition” (BDN, Nov. 24) about school choice in Maine had misstatements regarding the towns of Etna and Dixmont. These two towns make up SAD 38. I have been a school board member representing Dixmont for more than 20 years.

The column stated that because of consolidation Etna and Dixmont no longer have school choice. We have never had school choice. SAD 38 does have a process in place to petition the school board to allow a student to go to another secondary school. This is a process that does not exist, as far as I know, in any other Maine school district except SAD 23.

This process requires the student and their parents to provide evidence that the educational program they want to pursue is not provided by the school with which we have secondary tuition contract. This must be approved by the board.

This process will not be part of the new regional school unit that voters approved. In the consolidation plan that was approved, there is a clause that allows any student who has received a waiver to finish his or her secondary education at the school he or she is currently enrolled in. The voter-approved plan also allows for the siblings, within four grade levels, of any student who currently has a waiver to also have this opportunity. No one involved with the consolidation plan, except one member from Etna, voted against this part of the plan.

It’s too bad an issue this important to people on both sides cannot be discussed without misinformation.

Phil Dolan


Wind compensation

I believe wind power is environmentally responsible. However, if one is in favor of more commercial wind farms in Aroostook County, ask yourself what is the benefit to the County and its people? There is likely to be no benefit and certain to be many costs.

The change of scenery for us, our neighbors and tourists is a big cost. The Maine Power Connection, which would allow all the wind energy from wind farms to be exported to southern New England, is expected to cost us $625 million.

The wind developers are big ventures with no benefit to Aroostook County. Think about resources — we usually expect to be paid for our forest, farm and ocean products leaving. Let all future commercial wind farms be subject to a 1 cent per kilowatt-hour tax to benefit Aroostook County and the state of Maine.

This would give us a benefit from the change in scenery with the over 250 miles of new high power lines along with hundreds more wind turbines.

Do not be fooled by the marketing terms like a half-billion dollars invested in Aroostook — 99 percent of this money goes overseas to the factories that make turbines and towers. Only gravel, cement, motels and food benefit Aroostook.

I am a proponent of wind power as I believe it is environmentally responsible, but let us be compensated for living in a changed Aroostook through a resource tax of 1 cent per kwh leaving Aroostook.

Ryan Hines


Politics, religion, taxes

Under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, in order to qualify for tax exemption with donations that are tax deductible, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for tax exempt purposes. It may not attempt to influence legislation, and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against any political candidate.

How often is this prohibition observed? Apparently not very often.

According to a Nov. 13 Associated Press story, a South Carolina Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they cannot receive Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama.

Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, said: “The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.”

“There is no such thing as separation of state and church in the Constitution. It’s a lie of the left,” according to Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition.

More recently, we have the Maine Marriage Alliance, which is promoting a constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriage. According to the Dec. 4 BDN, Rev. Bob Emrich, pastor of a Baptist church in Plymouth, urged other pastors and their congregations to contact their legislators in support of such a constitutional amendment. According to the Maine Marriage Alliance Web page, readers are asked to “send your tax deductible contribution.”

The issue isn’t about Barack Obama or same sex marriage at all. It is about using some people’s religious beliefs to solicit allegedly tax deductible contributions for blatantly political purposes, which is against the law.

Brent R. Slater


Exploiting wildlife

In response to the Nov. 24 article on the deer herd being down: My wife and I have hunted and fished in Maine for more than 60 years. It’s true winter takes a toll on the deer herd. It has done so for many years. The herd has always bounded back big and healthy. When we were younger, it was easy to go out and count anywhere from 10 to 20 in most any field or crossing the road. Not anymore.

We fished the brooks up north, and we would have to wait for the moose to leave the brook so we could pass. Then the moose hunt was opened, and we noticed we were seeing fewer moose each year. The last time we fished the brooks we counted two moose. Could the moose be overhunted?

The state gets $330 million in retail sales for business and $130 million in wages and salaries and more than $27 million in tax revenue. Do you think with the chance of losing that much revenue the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is telling us the truth about overhunting and urban sprawl?

I think the governor should check with the old-time hunters and trappers who know what really is wrong and not rely on the DIF&W and the so-called biologists.

Maybe, in my opinion, to bring the deer herd back, restrict hunting for two years. This will never happen due to the loss of revenue. The state should not be exploiting the deer and moose for revenue.

Richard Turner


Presidential succession

I am writing in response to “Bush should resign” by Bohdan Slabyj in the Nov. 2 BDN. Others likely wish that Bush would resign and thus allow Barack Obama to start his presidency. That is idle wishing however.

When the current president can no longer serve his term, due to death, becoming incapacitated or resignation, the vice president assumes the presidency. With a Bush resignation, Vice President Cheney would become the president. The Constitution then makes provisions for the speaker of the House to move into the vice presidency and the process continues on through all members of the president’s Cabinet.

The only way the president-elect can become president is to wait until the term of the current president expires and the inauguration takes place.

Despite wishes to the contrary, Obama supporters still have a few weeks to wait.

Christopher Whitaker


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