Jan. 2, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Posted Jan. 03, 2009, at 2:02 p.m.

Retain a minor’s right

In Maine, a minor’s right to confidential access to reproductive health care is guaranteed. Confidential access to these services helps reduce a teen’s risky behaviors, particularly the behaviors that lead to STDs and pregnancy. In this coming legislative session, opponents of a minor’s confidential access to reproductive health care will try to make it so minors have to consult a parent before acquiring contraceptives or get reproductive health care of any kind.

Maine’s teen pregnancy rate has been decreasing dramatically since 1984, from being a state with one of the highest teen pregnancy rates to the state with the fifth-lowest. This is due to increased access to family planning services and, most importantly, confidential access. This decrease shows that parental consent laws do not convince adolescents to share their health concerns with their parents but instead increases their health risks.

I am 23 years old now and I remember taking confidential reproductive health services for granted. Now a minor’s right to confidential reproductive health care is at risk and I feel the need to be a voice for these young people.

I can’t imagine the position I would be in now if I hadn’t had access to reproductive health care as an adolescent. Maine already has an issue with teen pregnancies and we already have a surplus of parentless children. If we take away a minor’s right to confidential reproductive health care we are guaranteed to only see an increase in these issues.

Ashley Zook

Unity

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MPBN not worth cost

In his Dec. 27 Op-Ed, MPBN vice president for advancement and new media David Morse writes: “With the state reducing the funding for our signal distribution, we have no option but to cut back this signal distribution to a level that we can afford. The only other option would be to eliminate our news-gathering operation and stop producing Maine’s only weekday statewide radio newscast, ‘Maine Things Considered,’ and the state’s only weekly statewide public affairs program, ‘Maine Watch with Jennifer Rooks,’ actions that we would consider to be an abdication of our responsibility to keep the residents of Maine informed about what is happening in their state.”

Isn’t shutting down coverage area transmitters also an abdication of this self-proclaimed responsibility?

The picture painted in this article by Mr. Morse gives the impression that MPBN is slowly on its way out of existence. Years of cutbacks and other reductions and continued loss of fundraising revenues brings into question MPBN’s relevance in the current day broadcast world. Maybe its time has passed.

The airwaves are full of alternatives. Surely there must be other options for delivering the Emergency Alert System messages.

It looks like the people of Maine and their government have spoken. MPBN is not worth paying for any longer.

Bill Moores

Old Town

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Maine, end of the line

Regarding the BDN’s Dec. 27-28 story, “States streamline tasks the Japanese way”: Interesting to read of an out-of-stater praising the efficiency of our state’s bureaucracy in issuing death certificates and expressing a desire to die here. Perhaps we should consider changing our motto to: “Maine. The way death should be.”

Bill Moore

Searsmont

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Uncontrolled pesticides

A California jury awarded $1 million to an organic farmer whose culinary herb crops were contaminated by organophosphate pesticides drifting from a nearby farm growing Brussels sprouts.

In “Bee Culture” magazine (July 2008), a new type of pesticide is blamed for the massive honeybee losses and many see pesticides as a major if not main cause of colony collapse disorder.

In Maine, the Dec. 19 Board of Pesticides Control ruling on aerial spraying of pesticides threatens our safety. I raise organically grown produce for market and keep bees on our 20 acres. Certain operators do not want us to know what they are spraying or when. They whined and the BPC favored them on Dec. 19, saying it would be “unreasonably burdensome, especially for larger agricultural operations” to annually contact nearby landowners of their intention to do aerial spraying.

A proposed registry of people who want to be notified by the farmers when they will spray won’t work. Who will enforce it? The registry will not prevent exposure to toxic drift, residues or destruction of life.

What unsuspecting victim is going to get a lethal dose of toxic spray before the BPC will stand up to the special interests of larger agricultural operations? The BPC is supposed to control pesticides, not give the perpetrators a free pass.

The next BPC hearing is in Waterville, Hampton Inn, on Jan. 23. Will the BPC cave in to special interests again?

Karen Baldauski

Lubec

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Inefficient postal process

I am writing regarding the full-page ad in the Dec. 27-28 BDN concerning the change by the U.S. Postal Service regarding mail sent and received by those of us in the northeastern part of the state. This change would mean that mail sent in this part of the state would then be sent by truck to Scarborough to be processed and then for local mail to be sent back by truck to the USPS Hampden facility and then sent to the appropriate post office here in eastern and northern Maine. This process is already in place for mail posted on Saturdays.

I will relate two personal experiences with this so-called improved service. The first was a priority delivery confirmation package mailed to Oregon, which was mailed on a Saturday here in Franklin (then sent to Scarborough by truck). It finally arrived in Oregon 12 days later. The second was a priority delivery confirmation package mailed in Franklin (then sent to Scarborough by truck) where it was “missent” (USPS wording) to somewhere unknown and then took a week to be delivered in Iowa.

This change is proposed to cut costs. In January, mailing prices for package and services other than first class mail are being increased once again. I had not seen any mention of this and perhaps overlooked it but if the cost of mailing these items is going up once more should we not expect efficiency in these mailings?

Any others interested in these changes should contact the governor and our representatives in Congress and as well as the USPS.

Darrold Dorr

Franklin

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