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August 11 Letters to the Editor

Boost Folklife Center

Thank you BDN for recognizing the value of running a front-page story about high school students recording and sharing stories of people in Bangor whose voices are seldom heard. Thank you, again for your state section front-page story about the passing of Edward D. “Sandy” Ives.

Sandy recorded and collected the stories of hundreds of Maine people, capturing the history, music and culture of Maine and its neighboring Maritime communities. Sandy’s work established the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine that contains recordings collected, archived and preserved of our neighbors, families and friends telling our community stories and history. Its mission is community engagement, public service, its value of preserving our stories and heritage.

By running two front-page stories, BDN, Bangor High School students and many of us recognize the value of listening, recording and archiving the stories of people in our community. Hopefully, UMaine will value what BDN has valued on two front pages and restore funding to its Folklife Center that promotes and preserves Maine’s stories, music and heritage.

Kerry Sack

Old Town


A better union bill

I’d like to thank the Bangor Daily News for supporting the Employee Free Choice Act in the editorial titled “A Better Union Bill” (BDN, July 23). Unfortunately there was some misinformation in the editorial that I’d like to take this opportunity to correct.

For instance, it was argued that the bill would prevent “employers from holding mandatory meetings to talk to workers about whether a union is needed” and “the bill allows union organizers additional access to workers.” Both of these statements are simply not true, and they distract from the central issues in the debate for the Employee Free Choice Act. The bill functions to increase the penalties for violating existing law.

Moreover the Bangor Daily News claims that the bill would “require an employer and union to submit to binding arbitration.” However, the bill actually allows both management and labor to request binding arbitration after four months of failed negotiation. Neither party necessarily has to seek arbitration. The object of this clause is to provide an incentive. Nobody wants arbitration but the ability of both parties to invoke it creates an incentive for good faith bargaining.

Again, as a supporter of worker’s rights and the Employee Free choice Act I appreciate the Bangor Daily News’ positive opinion.

Still, I think next time some more attention to detail would be appropriate.

Samuel Rioux



End-of-life planning

I want to “piggyback” on the poignant and realistic column by Dr. Martin Welsh in the July 31 BDN. The last 10 years of my very checkered social work career were in geriatrics. One of my responsibilities was to assist patients, if they so wished, with end-of-life plans even if they were not nearing their end. For all of us, young and elderly, there lurks the possibility of catastrophic illness, serious accident or life altering injury.

In order to die on our own terms, as much as possible, I cannot overstate the importance of preparing and properly executing an Advance Health Care Directive. The document allows the person to state his or her end-of-life health care instructions to include whether or not he or she wishes everything possible be done to sustain life or whether only palliative care should be given or something in between. It is important to discuss your wishes with your family although some of them may not agree with you. Do not let them sway you. You have the right to make your own decisions.

Of utmost importance is to appoint an “agent”: one family member or another trusted person to act on your behalf should you become unable to state your medical wishes. That person is responsible for ensuring your written directive is carried out. You can even state when that person shall begin acting as your agent. Please do not assign that responsibility to two or more persons. I can assure you that when the time comes there will be great dissention. One person will want to alter the directive, another will believe he or she knows the person who wrote it did not intend it as it presents and so forth. Have your family or other close and significant people in your life on the same page with you. Remember, you can change this document when and if you change your mind even if you are midtreatment. Be sure your doctors, hospital and agent all have copies of your directive. I encourage everyone age 18 and older to execute an Advance Health Care Directive. It can save much confusion and emotional stress. It can give peace of mind knowing you have taken control as much as possible over your end of life.

Penny Lehman



Leave dogs home

I stopped at Jordan’s in Ellsworth for a lunch at a picnic table. A black dog was tied to a tree barking all the time my husband and I were eating. The owner was at a nearby picnic table and let him bark continually. It was very annoying. Two dogs jumped out of cars nearby and came to play with him until the owners came and dragged them away. A dog was in distress in a car in which the windows were not down enough. They had to be notified on a loud speaker to get to their dog before it died of heat.

Please leave your dogs home.

Doris Ellis



National debt growing

I’ll probably be dead (or maybe not) when the real crunch comes, but this country is rapidly spending itself into oblivion. A billion is the new million. A trillion is the new billion. Just think; a trillion is a thousand billion. A trillion is a million million.

Our national debt is now about $11 trillion. Our normal budget is running over a trillion dollars a year. We will be borrowing $795 billion to finance the “stimulus” package (and there is credible talk of another “stimulus”). “Cap-and-trade” will add additional billions or trillions. Health insurance “reform” will add trillions. We will NEVER pay this back.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that in the foreseeable future, just the interest on this debt will run to $800 billion per year, making it the largest line item in our national budget. The only way out of this is either default or crushing inflation that makes our debt worthless; and one or the other will surely happen if we continue on our spending path. The consequences of either would be too terrible to contemplate.

Yet our elected officials in Washington seem oblivious to this. They just keep spending and spending. They remind me of petulant teenagers with Mommy and Daddy’s credit card. They just keep buying expensive presents for their friends using the credit card, and have no thought of how to pay for all of it.

I think Mommy and Daddy (us taxpayers) should figure out a way to take this credit card away from our petulant teenagers in Washington.

Douglas M. Flagg


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