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March 20, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Free to be helmet-free

It’s hard to believe that the state is trying to take another freedom away from us. I have been riding my own motorcycle for more than seven years now and choose not to wear a helmet. I do not argue that they may save someone from head injury, but I would disagree that they always save lives or protect spinal injury which can put you in the same nursing facility that head injury can.

I was lucky enough to be born in a country where you do have the freedom to make your own life choices and speak your mind, but in the last few years I have seen several choices taken away from us, from seat belts to where you can smoke and now helmets. Every time I read the paper, the state is trying to take more.

I know a lot of people have a low opinion of motorcycle riders because we wear leather and our bikes are loud and we ride in groups. Those people need to know that the motorcycle riders I know do charity rides for kids, raise money for sick people and help our neighbors. We volunteer our time, raise our kids and pay our taxes like everyone else and all we ask in return is to share the road and have the option to be helmet-free.

Let those who ride decide.

Dawn Drew


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In defense of Rush e

If you’re going to criticize someone, criticize them honestly.

The BDN’s March 11 editorial “Apples and Bananas” mentions Rush Limbaugh’s statement that he hopes Obama will fail, and that he is saying “the struggle between conservative and liberal values is more important than the fate of the economy and the country.”

The editorial distorts what he said. In the interview with Sean Hannity on Jan. 19, Rush said, “So I shamelessly say, ‘No! I want him to fail.’ If his agenda is a far-left collectivism — some people say socialism — as a conservative heartfelt, deeply, why would I want socialism to succeed?”

In his speech at CPAC on Feb. 28, Rush stated: “So what is so strange about being honest to say that I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed?”

The struggle is not between “conservative” and “liberal,” it is between capitalism and liberty, and socialism and collectivism. It is between each of us having the opportunity to do our best and work hard for the benefit of our families and ourselves, and the government’s providing what it thinks best for each one of us.

As Rush also said, “I want the country to survive. I want the country to succeed.”

Sue Berryhill


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Waldo-Hancock marker

I find John Melrose’s views on the condition of our roads and bridges interesting, given that much of their deterioration occurred on his eight-year watch as DOT commissioner.

Much of our transportation problem is the result of state government being a poor steward of our resources. Roads and bridges are not expense items like copy paper and fuel. They are capital investments and require maintenance. It is on this latter point that the state has failed utterly.

I’ve had occasion to drive over the George Washington Bridge across the Hudson a couple of times in the last two months. It’s sad to compare its condition with the Waldo-Hancock, especially considering that both were opened within a month of each other in 1931.

The state hopes to use federal economic stimulus funds and others to dismantle the Waldo-Hancock by casting it as a project to remove a hazard to navigation of the narrows. Rot, I say! That bridge is no more a hazard now than it ever was.

DOT should admit its misguided polices that allowed the bridge to deteriorate and devote the $10 million it will cost to take it down to other, more urgent and productive road and bridge projects. Only when these other projects are done and they have made progress on fixing the myriad other problems should they begin planning to dismantle the Waldo-Hancock Bridge. Until then, it should stand as a monument to the short-sighted incompetence and poor stewardship of our DOT and the government that funds it.

Scott Taylor


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Deer herd explanation

This is in response to John Holyoke’s recent deer population article. In the article, biologist Lee Kantar talks about the diminished deer population in northern Maine and possibly shortening or closing the deer hunting season in these districts. I have been hunting for 37 years and truly enjoy being in the woods and the challenge that white-tails provide.

But I think closing the season for a few years, as well as keeping logging operations away from deer yards, is the best way to help increase deer populations. It worked in Canada, particularly in the Glazier Lake area.

As for a shortened season, this will do nothing because most hunters will just hunt more often on days that they normally would have stayed home.

If the shortened season is implemented, I would assume the state would lower the license fees and send a prorated refund to the hunters that already applied for their licenses. If not, then it would seem the state is more concerned about money than the deer population.

Steve Pelletier

St. John

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BDN brings joy

Heartiest congratulations to the Bangor Daily News staff on your recent award: “Best Daily Newspaper in New England” in your category. The New England selection group could not have made a better choice.

The Bangor Daily News editors, reporters and photographers are to be commended for their outstanding work.

Maine is fortunate indeed to have a newspaper of your quality.

The BDN brings joy to my table every morning.

Emery “Legs” Labbe

Fort Kent

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Keep wind power local

This letter is to express my strong disapproval of LD199, “An Act to Facilitate Wind Power Siting.” This bill would take the authority to regulate wind turbines away from individual towns and give the state exclusive regulatory authority. Passage of this legislation would be to the detriment of democratic self-rule. Government is most effective when decisions are made by those who are closest to the issues. Indeed, the circumstances outlined below serve to illustrate this fact.

On March 4, LURC gave final approval to the Stetson II wind farm in Washington County. The Bangor Daily News reported that during this meeting LURC Commissioner Stephen Wight stated, “I am fascinated that only in the last two weeks have we heard about dBCs.” Mr. Wight trained and worked as an engineer; surely he can easily understand what it means to measure noise levels using C-weighted decibels. Why, then, wasn’t Mr. Wight aware of this very fundamental issue? Mr. Wight’s lack of knowledge of “dBCs” indicates that not even the most minimal amount of research was made available to him.

Randall Fairman


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