June 20, 2018
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Dec. 24 Letters to the Editor

Are these cuts sensible?

I read with sadness the governor’s plan to shut down Dorm III at the Charleston Correctional Facility. My biggest concern is for the 45 inmates who would have to be transferred to other jails.

I fear the harm that this could do to them, they who have been doing restitution service and have had the profitable experience of working in several communities around Bangor. Their 15,000 hours of free labor is no small contribution to our communities, and also to the lives of these inmates.

I hope if this plan does get passed that every one of these inmates will be moved to jails where they will be given similar work opportunities. Why should they have to languish idly among those who have committed more serious crimes? I also understand that our jails are very crowded.

I also dislike the suggested cuts of two probation officers and two juvenile corrections officers. If we really want to help offenders to change their lifestyles and make good on the outside of jails, are these cuts sensible?

We are talking about lives — many of whom I believe can become good citizens, if they are given needed help.

Mary Pearson



‘Despicable’ defined

The BDN’s Dec. 16 editorial called that Iraqi journalist’s throwing of shoes at President Bush a “despicable” act. Interesting choice of adjectives.

If the shoe toss was despicable, I wonder what grade of adjective could be assigned to a government that: launches an unprovoked attack against a Third-World backwater with a tinpot dictator; constructs a gulag of secret prisons; routinely tortures captives; uses white phosphorus as a chemical weapon against enemy combatants; and sacrifices more than 4,000 of its own soldiers to satisfy the bellicose impulses of the president.

I can’t think of one. “Despicable” just may have to do.

Robert Klose



Apples to apples, please

It’s unfortunate that two coastal residents, Emily Chaney (Letters, Dec. 16) and Betty Heald (Letters, Dec. 20), both make a comparison between the lack of funding for breakfasts at two assisted living facilities and the increase in funding for snowmobile trails.

The $300,000 increase in trail funding (the first increase in four years) is a direct result of an increase in registration fees that we, the snowmobilers of Maine, asked for. In fact, we asked for much more of an increase so that additional monies could go to Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, specifically the Warden Service. Unfortunately the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee did not see fit to increase the registration fees by more than $2 even though the state agency is struggling financially.

The snowmobile program in Maine is not funded by taxpayer dollars — it is a true “user-pay” system. Registration fees pay for the trail maintenance programs, which are administered by volunteers at clubs across the state.

Snowmobiling is an activity that brings money to the state with an economic impact of roughly $350 million. I’ll say it again — snowmobilers make money for the state of Maine. So please, compare apples to apples, not to sour grapes.

Rick LeVasseur


Maine Snowmobile Advisory Council



Sad day Down East

They are turning off National Public Radio and public television too! Not for the more populous and moneyed areas of the state: Just Washington County and some of Aroostook County. I guess they just can’t imagine how we depend on hearing the music and stories and doings and the controversies and the news and seeing shows offering substance and entertainment. Our need and pleasure are disproportionate to the money we can possibly contribute considering our numbers and demographic.

Was this the only way to save the money? Perhaps programming became more important than service? How is state funding justified if we are not served? I have depended on NPR especially all my adult life — in call rooms overnight in hospitals, in the car on the way to work at all hours, in the Bahamas, in Key West, now here in Pembroke. What a sad day.

Helen Swallow



‘So what?’

President Bush reacted to the shoe-throwing incident with a shrug.

Asked if al-Qaida was in Iraq before the U.S. invaded, he replied, “So what?” In a recent television interview, Cheney acknowledged his role in allowing the torture of U.S. prisoners.

How callous these men are! Will they escape punishment (like Kissinger)? Or be punished years later (like O.J.)? Be imprisoned (like Milosevic)? Be remembered as thugs and dictators (like Pinochet)? Or merely disgraced and vilified by their many victims?

Peg Cruikshank


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