March 31 Letters to the Editor

Posted March 31, 2009, at 10:27 p.m.

Support menu labels

Rep. Hannah Pingree is supporting a bill in favor of mandatory nutrition labeling for chain restaurants in Maine. Many people have expressed their opposition stating that the state should focus attention and resources on issues of higher priority including health care, unemployment and housing.

As master’s candidates in human nutrition at the University of Maine and future registered dietitians, we support the bill. It does relate to health care and cost reduction, and here is how.

Nutrition’s role in preventing and managing obesity and chronic diseases is well-recognized. Excess calorie consumption leads to weight gain and the onset of chronic conditions including heart disease and diabetes. These diseases are becoming increasingly common, accounting for seven out of 10 deaths nationwide.

More than 75 percent of U.S. health care dollars is spent treating chronic disease. Reducing costs requires shifting from a treatment model of health care to a prevention model. In a prevention model, nutrition is key. People have questioned the effectiveness of menu labeling on improving nutrition and reducing calorie consumption. However, researchers have shown that when nutrition data are available at point of purchase, fewer calories are consumed.

Even a small reduction in calorie consumption over time can prevent weight gain and the onset of chronic disease.

This bill will hold restaurant chains accountable for providing nutrition information. In turn, consumers will be able to make informed decisions that promote health and prevent disease.

Sarah Lash

Friendship

Mallory Poole

Old Town

Allan F. Smallwood

Bradley

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Recall Collins, Snowe

I am really getting tired of people singing the praises of Sens. Collins and Snowe. Sen. Collins’ perfect voting record means nothing because it has become apparent as a result of the stimulus bill that neither she nor Sen. Snowe took the time to read the legislation before they voted for it.

We should be introducing a referendum to recall both of them and send someone to Washington who will take the time to read legislation and cast an informed vote on the Senate floor.

Albert Hang

Hudson

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Streets need trees

The streets of the towns of New England have traditionally been lined with shade trees which provided a cooling and cohesive canopy over the homes and travel ways in the hot summers, greening and softening the harder surfaces, and in latter days, absorbing the pollution of the traffic. Since our loss of the American elm trees in the 1970s, the town of Camden and the Camden Garden Club have been helping residents in replanting the street trees that fell to disease and age, and our town street tree order is coming round again, with an April 15 deadline.

We encourage other towns in the region and beyond to have their own tree planting programs, and so to work our way over time, year by year, to the leafy towns of 100 years ago. For information about the program, call 236-8732 or the town of Camden at 236-3353.

Beedy Parker

Camden

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Forestry and deer herd

The problem with the deer herd started in the late 1990s.

The state government allowed a Canadian company to buy state land. It stripped the land of the forest, year after year, including deer yards. Now, they put the blame on the harsh winters.

When I was young we had many harsh winters, and the deer thrived. The reason is they had cedar swamps to live in.

This company got all it wanted and closed the mills in Maine and is now hauling what is left to Canada.

The deer herds now have no food and no shelter. This company plants billions of seedlings, as it claims, but seedlings don’t feed or shelter the deer.

While there is still snow around, take a look at the mountains around you or along Route 11 leading south. You’ll see acres upon acres of white snow but no trees.

And no hunting and no economy for northern Maine.

Edgar Parent

Eagle Lake

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Slippery slope

Legislation is often designed to solve a specific problem and may do so. However, a new law may cause other problems which are worse than the original one. I believe the bill to allow gay marriage would cause more problems than it would solve.

Gay marriage would allow people who love another person to marry, whether or not they are of the same sex. It’s claimed that not allowing people of the same sex to marry discriminates against them; though civil unions give gay couples basically all the benefits of marriage, they aren’t good enough.

If the bill passes, I don’t see how any other type of marriage could be denied. If I love six women and want to marry them all, and I’m not allowed to, I’ll be illegally discriminated against. If I love a 7-year-old girl, or boy, and want to marry them, who could stop me? If I want to marry my dog or my cat or my sheep, how could it be prevented? If people of the same sex can marry, logic requires that anyone or anything can marry.

Do we want to enable polygamy, pedophilia, and bestiality? Those who don’t must oppose gay marriage.

Lawrence E. Merrill

Bangor

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Same-sex facts

After reading Michelle Norsworthy’s letter to the editor (BDN, March 26), I was not at all surprised to find that her slanted version of the facts is laden with half-truths, innuendoes or outright lies.

In the citation about the Massachusetts father, she implies that the school and the teacher were teaching second-graders about homosexuality. In fact, the class was discussing weddings and since gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, same-sex marriages were included in the topic. The class was read the fantasy children’s book “King & King,” a story about two princes getting married. They weren’t discussing sex.

Canadian Criminal Code Section 319(1) basically states that it is unlawful to publicly incite hatred or promote willful hatred “against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.” As far as I am concerned, she can say anything she wants at any time as long as her free speech doesn’t hurt someone physically and emotionally. In fact, I would encourage it; pure hatred of a fellow human being simply because of who they are, as well as bigotry should be exposed for all to see.

Finally, Ms. Norsworthy has failed to make any sort of case on just how the legalization of civil marriages between same-sex couples will take away her parental rights and her freedom of speech. As for teaching sexuality in the public schools, it’s already in the curriculum; take the matter to the school board.

Brian A. MacFarland

Prospect

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