Saturday-Sunday, August 15-16, Letters to the Editor

Posted Aug. 14, 2009, at 6:05 p.m.

Master plan needed

The sure losers in the “Battle for Bar Harbor,” a rivalry between developers Walsh and Witham to expand their hotel empires described in the BDN of July 8-9, are the residents of Bar Harbor and those visitors who over the years have cherished its low-key, scenic charm.

Walsh’s latest salvo in the battle is his proposal to build a five-story, block-long architecturally sterile waterfront behemoth on West Street. Such excessive development can only increase traffic congestion, limit the number of small businesses along the waterfront, and destroy the small-town atmosphere for which Bar Harbor is renowned.

Walsh’s recently built Grand Hotel on Main Street is another example of this depressing trend towards ugly development over preserving the attributes that made Bar Harbor stand out from other resort destinations such as traffic-choked Camden or the dense high-rise clutter of Ocean City, Md.

The town of Bar Harbor might do well to adopt a master plan that would provide severe restrictions on the size and appearance of future development while preserving existing view-sheds and open space. Anything less will see the death of Bar Harbor’s charm by a thousand cuts.

Gene Clifford

Southwest Harbor

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Profit, not well-being

Do not be misled. Your medical care is not now between you and your doctor if you are insured with a for-profit insurance company.

The first thing your doctor does when she thinks you should have a medical test or procedure is check to see what kind of health insurance you have. The for-profit insurer decides what care you are entitled to and that decision is dictated by the insurer’s bottom line, not your well-being.

Once you become a subscriber of any for-profit medical insurance company, whether you get it from your employer or pay for the monthly premiums out of pocket, you receive a thick packet of material that lists which doctors you can go to and details what you are covered for. Almost always included in your instructions is the detail that you must call your insurance provider before you are admitted for overnight hospitalization. If you become incapacitated and are taken to the hospital, your next of kin must notify your insurance provider within three days.

Does that sound like your current medical care is between you and your doctor?

Study your current medical insurance packet. You’ll soon discover who really is dictating your health care. I’m glad I’m finally old enough for Medicare.

Judith M. Williams

Bangor

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A-bombs saved lives

Once again, the BDN commemorated the wrong side of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic blasts with the picture of the Peace and Justice Center people.

Those blasts saved at least 1 million of our young men from being sent to Japan to lose their lives to end World War II.

My husband expected to be one of them after serving two years fighting the Germans. He said that he saw nothing holding him back from being sent to Japan and would I wait for him. Imagine!

I’ll never forget Pearl Harbor or the 1,200 men still entombed on the Arizona.

Dorothy Herklotz

Franklin

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Things don’t change

Back in the 1940s, I recall letters to the BDN and stories about Canadians working in the Maine woods. Fast forward 60 or more years to present day — same stories, same problem.

Politicians will not stop this practice as they are the ones who got it started in the first place. Lumber mills in Masardis, Ashland, Portage, and Fort Kent are closed with hundreds of workers out of jobs. Mills across the border in Quebec continue to saw Maine logs and then send them back to the U.S. in lumber form and make money.

Sometime, when the politicians want to determine equality and fairness, I suggest they find how many Mainers are allowed to work in Canada.

Oh well, another 60 years and things will change. Sure!

Edward Blanchard

Presque Isle

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Fair’s other fares

Like many families, we were ecstatic about the new $10 price for admission plus unlimited rides at the Bangor State Fair. Unfortunately, other happenings at the fair significantly limited both the savings and the fun to be had.

The biggest was the cost of games ($5 minimum on many) and the cost of food and drinks, which admittedly have never been cheap at a fair. But $5 for a plain doughboy, $4 for the smallest fries available, and $4 for a bag of cotton candy?

Ride attendants who (presumably at the behest of higher-ups) did not fill the rides. The Ferris wheel has 20 gondolas, each seating up to six people. Attendants put as few as two people in one gondola, filled four gondolas, then skipped six empty ones, filled four more, and left the final six empty. This is 40 percent capacity.

I asked the attendant, “Why don’t you fill ’em up?” He shrugged and said it wasn’t busy enough. Granted, this was a Tuesday, but every ride had at least 100 people in line all day and night. This led to parents wondering if all the refreshments they kept buying from standing in line somehow made the $10 deal a bit less economical than it originally seemed.

I’d recommend bringing refreshments in a cooler to keep in your vehicle. It’s but a short walk to avoid dropping another $30 on drinks, and you can re-enter the midway as you please.

While my son and I had a blast at the fair, I wonder if an even more satisfying time might have been had by all.

Dusty Lavoie

Milford

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Beer talks, sings

I was puzzled about the letter from the reader in Saturday’s BDN who was frustrated over President Obama chit-chatting over one beer in the White House. I wish I could find out if they have a bar room in the Capitol building where more chit-chat is carried on longer. I admit I am not too sure.

It is very odd that this letter came from a resident of Orono and just a few blocks away from where Rudy Vallee’s “Maine Stein Song” was heard all over the world.

Jim Koritzky

Bangor

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No COLA for ‘clunkers’

I’m a retired teacher. Today I received my update from the Maine Association of Retirees which gave me this news: The Department of Labor has determined that the consumer price index ending June 30 is negative 1.4 percent. Therefore, there will be no cost of living increase for retirees this year.

We will not see a reduction in benefits, thanks to the Maine Legislature. It’s not bad enough that we have to worry about our health care benefits. We now have to accept the fact that their is “no COLA for clunkers” this year.

Betty Beal

Machias

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