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May 4, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Paper, not plastic

We have noticed, with great appreciation, the volunteers out cleaning the parks and roadsides. All of those involved are to be congratulated; it is a worthwhile and laudable effort. We are wondering why, when a great move is on to reduce plastic in landfills, why they are not using large paper bags. Perhaps there are several rea-sons such as cost or they are not large enough.

Lawrence and Linda Grant


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Honor social contract

I am concerned about the assisted living funding crisis. The “special” MaineCare program will no longer fund essential services such as meals and medication administration for the residents of seven assisted living facilities in Maine. The Department of Health and Human Services’ fix is to assess these residents for services they can have instead. For instance, some will qualify for traditional MaineCare. However, it does not cover meals or medication assistance. A proposed state solution is home-based care, which is an average of two or three hours a week, if the person qualifies.

One of the moral and social underpinnings of our American society is protection under the law for those who are vulnerable. Maine has broken its social contract by failing to create a stable funding stream that will keep services for our most vulnerable, the elderly and disabled. Why have our state lawmakers waited until now to address this most crucial issue. Why are our elderly and disabled chosen to bear the brunt of this problem?

I urge lawmakers to create a stable and current funding stream to keep services that are far less expensive than nursing-home level of care, residents of Maine to advocate on behalf of those in assisted living — our friends, neighbors and relatives I urge Maine DHHS to negotiate with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to approve stable funding for our vulnerable seniors. I urge Maine to honor its social contract.

William Lagerstrom


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We have winners

There are two obvious choices for the pair of open seats on the Mount Desert School Board — Gail Marshall and Laura Hendricks. Gail has served us well for the past six years, most recently by wresting (along with cohorts Paul Murphy and Brian Hubbell) an acceptable alternative solution to the state’s school consolidation efforts. Laura has the advantage of both historical and present-day perspective. What is the product of these two women and their current associates? Oversight of a very good school system.

How good? Mr. Sumner Rulon-Miller, the third candidate, speaking in a local paper last week of his grandchildren Madeline and Carlo Keep, who are students at “Mt. Desert Elementary School and have flourished there … I’ve seen an extraordinary improvement in confidence they’ve gained through the culture of the school.” I appreciate his reflection on the product of the labor of the current board. Now that the diversion of the state’s mandate is behind them, let the present board return to the work they have done with such skill.

I value Rulon-Miller’s willingness to get involved in our town’s public affairs, but this year on Monday, May 4, or sooner if you vote via absentee ballot, I hope you will join me in keeping our “winners” by voting for Gail Marshall and Laura Hendricks.

Ted Bromage

Mount Desert

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LNG on energy needs

A recent letter writer, commenting on Sen. Kevin Raye’s stance on the LNG situation, is obviously ignorant of what a “energy corridor” is. The energy corridor being discussed is a high volume voltage transmission line that would run from Canada through Maine to the southern New England power grid.

The notion that it would create thousands of jobs is absurd. The net sum of jobs created in Maine for the construction of said power line would be next to nothing, since most high-line construction is done by out-of-state contractors.

Second, contrary to popular belief, Maine doesn’t have an energy problem. One would need to have heavy industry in order to have a demand for energy. Maine is bleeding industry. So once the transmission line was completed, the out-of-state contractors would leave, and Canada would reap the rewards since they would be selling the power. Maine would get a pittance for leasing the lines to Canada.

If Down East Maine wants permanent jobs, we should build the LNG terminal and the generation station here in Maine.

Jack Long


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‘Render unto Caesar’

“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” These words, spoken by Jesus, give me clear direction as to what religious influence I should consider when debating legalizing gay marriage.

Religious beliefs and thoughts are both sacred and legally sacred; no law could ever be an argument as to the validity of one’s held creed. And while ancestral code may inspire laws, the laws we follow are strictly the sphere of influence of the state. As such, and with the traditional precedent of the “wall of separation” between church and state, religion should not and shall not be the law.

Thus same-sex marriage is a strictly legal, secular debate. And there is no rational defense for the prohibition of same-sex marriage; all heretofore arguments have been based on religion and tradition. It is a civil right; no one contends the authority of a religion or organization to decide whether it is a religious right to recognize, acknowledge, or accept gay-marriage.

So render unto God that which you believe is God’s, but allow unto Caesar that which is his: strictly defined legal, civil, and human rights.

James Bailey


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For your own good

Southern plantation owners said they opposed emancipation out of concern for the welfare of their slaves. Colonialists always professed that undeveloped countries were taken over for their own good. Men who opposed voting rights for women claimed they were doing it to protect womanhood.

Corporate interest groups such as the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace say they are protecting workers rights by opposing the Employee Free Choice Act. Do they really care about democracy for workers, or are they trying to make sure that workers never get a chance to vote on wages, working conditions, or anything else?

Let history be your guide when you consider this question. When you arrive at an answer, call your U.S. senator and pass it on.

John H. Curtis


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