April 20, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Posted April 19, 2009, at 5:22 p.m.

Food, not fines

On the front page of the April 11-12 BDN I read with interest the story of the Milo Elementary staff filling backpacks with food for hungry children on weekends and vacations. The story stated that because poverty is high in Milo, 90 percent of the families qualify for free or reduced breakfasts and lunches.

Could Commissioner Susan Gendron or Gov. John Baldacci please explain to the residents of Milo and SAD 41 how a possible penalty in excess of $100,000 for voting “No” on school consolidation will be of any benefit to these children? That money could go a long way to help educate them and break the cycle of poverty. Instead, the state of Maine takes from the poor.

Lynn Weston

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Brownville

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Leave it alone

What journalistic purpose does the BDN fulfill by running a story like “Woman’s death reminder of toll from poisonings” (April 11-12)? Does the BDN think this extremely unfortunate happening of six years ago needs to be revisited again and again, as though any who were involved in it need to be reminded of it?

An article like this only serves to reopen old wounds. Our sister congregation here in New Sweden is moving on in a courageous fashion, seeking to be a lighthouse for the Christian gospel, and being of service to humankind.

I ask the BDN, in the name of respect and dignity, to leave that story alone.

Rev. Arnold R. Bolin

interim pastor

Evangelical Covenant Church

New Sweden

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Bright line distinction

I was disappointed by the BDN’s April 11 editorial “Budget Timeline.” It mistakenly assumes that legislative Republicans will oppose passage of a state budget because we support such things as lower health insurance costs and commonsense reform of Maine’s welfare system. These are completely unrelated issues and seem deliberately juxtaposed to cast Republicans in a bad light. Let me try to set the record straight.

At a press conference on April 9, I outlined a handful of bills that differentiate Republicans from Democrats. They include a bill to allow Maine residents to purchase health insurance from companies operating in other states, where rates are much more affordable. Another bill would require state employees, including legislators, to pay 15 percent of their health insurance costs. A third bill would overhaul the state welfare system to ease the transition from welfare to work.

I said, “If we were in the majority in the Legislature, these things would be happening. But for now, all we can do is draw a bright line between us and the other party and hope that the people of our state understand that there is a difference.” The editorial misconstrued those comments: “Drawing ‘bright lines,’ as Rep. Tardy said, between Republicans and Democrats isn’t entirely helpful when lawmakers, no matter their party affiliation, must work together to complete a budget.”

We will work with Democrats to make sure the state has a responsible budget. But we reserve the right to draw a line between the two parties on issues where we disagree.

Rep. Josh Tardy

Newport

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God’s foreign policy

Robert McLaughlin’s April 10 letter suggests that Israel has no right to defend itself and its suffering is phony. After the Jews went through the Holocaust, what does he expect them to do? The Israelis live in fear of being blown up at any time.

The Jews warned British and U.N. officials three times to get out of the King David Hotel before they blew it up. They chose not to leave. The Palestinian suicide bombers, Hezbollah, and Hamas don’t give the Israelis the same warnings. In some cases, the Israelis don’t strike back because these groups hide in the midst of women and children and know Israel will try to avoid civilian casualties. These groups couldn’t care less if Arab women and children die as long as Israelis die.

The Jews never stole land from anyone. God gave the land in Israel to the Jews in a covenant between him and Abraham. A promise by God is forever. This is all in Genesis 12:1, 2, 7. The Jews have owned the land in Israel since then according to God. The Palestinian suicide bombers, Hezbollah, and Hamas should argue with God about this and leave the Jews alone.

God’s foreign policy is short and to the point in Genesis 12:3. God will bless anyone who blesses Israel and he will curse anyone who curses Israel. God has blessed this country. The U.S. is the richest, freest, most powerful country that has ever existed. Could it be because we have always supported Israel?

Janice Bodwell

Kenduskeag

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A fish tale

I have heard of many ways to waste federal tax dollars, but the idea of funding ghost gear retrieval takes the cake. It not only wastes money, but once again portrays lobstermen as villains with no regard for the resource. A trap being fished legally has a biodegradable vent system, which these supposed hundreds of thousands of lobsters can crawl out of. Furthermore, the system to keep track of the number of traps in the water is as upside down as the idea that you can possibly determine the number “wasting away” on bottom. Many people buy the maximum allotted tags and never use them.

A known fact in the fishing industry, not the expert end in Augusta, is that many fisherman lie. Many of the trap replacement tags that are sold are so that people can fish over the state allotted 800. Of course, the 10 percent “Easy Street” allotment has been discontinued, but this practice still happens.

If the government is hellbent on wasting this money in the lobster industry, it might want to keep it in a rainy day fund.

Eventually, the doom and gloom being brewed by our industry’s expert will lead to our extinction, and they may find it hard to hire new assistants and gather headlines with groundbreaking ideas funded by tax dollars.

Joe McDonald

Jonesport

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Headline here

Leave funerals to pros

I read the article in the April 13 edition, about the Waterville man’s ideas on home funerals, with mixed emotions.

My father died in 1942, I was eight years old, and his funeral was conducted at home, in our living room where my mother’s piano always stood. To this day, I don’t remember what was done with that piano while his casket was there.

My grandmother took me by the hand into the living room and tried to have me touch his face. I was very frightened; I had never seen a dead body before. I just couldn’t touch him, although I had loved him with all of my eight-year-old heart. That is how (after 68 years) I remember my father.

Perhaps home funerals would work for some people, but I say leave the funeral to the professionals.

Lois M. Farr

Dover-Foxcroft

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