Congratulations to the Downeast Lakes Land Trust. This group is starting a new project in our area. According to its newsletter, this group will seek donations and grants to purchase 21,200 acres of forest land on the east shore of West Grand Lake from Lyme Timber. Good luck with that dream!
However, as one dream begins, another ends. The leases on this land must be cleared before a purchase can be made by Downeast Lakes Land Trust. As usual, extremely high prices have been placed on the shore leases by Lyme Timber. Lyme Timber does not want to deal with extension of leases until we can afford to purchase the lease.
Our lease has been in the family since the early 1970s. DLLT does not work with leases either. Therefore, we have two choices. We can try to sell our camp or remove it. It is five miles up the lake with no road access, according to Lyme Timber.
So one dream begins and another ends. Congratulations, Downeast Lakes Land Trust, as you proceed with your dream. Our donation will be in the mail.
James and Sue Holmes
West Grand Lake
Compassion is care
Mainers are resourceful and compassionate people. We need not look any further than the countless benefit suppers and pledge drives for evidence of that. Not one of us asks for handouts, yet at every turn, there is a neighbor willing to lend a hand in times of need without any expectation of reward. Our government could learn much from our example.
As the health care reform debate moves to the Senate floor, Sens. Snowe and Collins are uniquely positioned to affect the most important legislation since the civil rights era. We cannot afford to let this moment slip by.
Thirty-one million uninsured Americans will be the most immediate beneficiaries of this reform. But the vast majority of Maine’s small businesses will also greatly profit from this; money formerly spent on employee health care can be turned back into the business to expand efficiency and add to the workforce. Maine businesses are healthier and more profitable when their workers are healthy.
Mainers don’t need any lessons in compassion: We already know that we must care for our own. But perhaps Congress could use some instruction. And we can teach them a thing or two if we’re courageous enough to do so. I urge you to call and write our good senators; tell them the compassion is already here, alive and well. They need only enact that compassion into law in the form of health care for all.
Michaud and the facts
Rep. Mike Michaud did well by us by voting for the Affordable Health Care for America Act. This bill will extend medical insurance coverage to 96 percent of Americans, increase choice by having a public option everywhere, end discrimination for pre-existing conditions, and reduce the deficit.
Television ads attacking Michaud, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are filled with lies and distorted facts. The Chamber represents large companies, including the pharmaceutical and insurance giants having the most to lose by this bill. By counting tax cuts and fines paid by companies that refuse to obey the law, the ads claim the bill will create “over $572 billion in new taxes.”
One ad claims wrongly that the bill includes a new mandate on businesses that will wipe out jobs. It cites the Washington Post as the source of this lie. Actually, it comes from the mouth of Republican leader John Boehner, who was quoted in the Post.
On the side of the truth, The Associated Press says middle-class families and small businesses would pay no new taxes; only people earning over $500,000 annually would. The Congressional Budget Office concluded this bill would reduce the federal deficit by $10 billion per year for the next 10 years, more after that, and that family premiums would be $9,000 a year lower by 2016 than what we’d see otherwise.
Insurance and drug companies say this bill will hurt you. Don’t believe them. Tell Rep. Michaud that you support him.
Still flying at 88
Recently the Bangor Daily News featured an article about the Brunswick Naval Air Station stating that the first time in recorded history a civilian airplane had landed there.
Being 88 years old and with a fairly good memory, I recall in the summer of 1954 or 1955 two civilian airplanes landed at Brunswick Naval Air Station on the same day, within three hours of each other. I was the pilot of one of them. At that time I was flying out of Doanes Airport in South Brewer.
I was instructing part time and a friend of mine, Norman Houle, was instructing full time. He had sent one of his student pilots to southern Maine on a cross country flight, which was a qualifier for his private license. He had run short of gas and saw this very large airport and without a radio decided he should land the plane before he ran out.
He called Norman at the Brewer airport stating that they would not let him fly out of the Brunswick airport because he was only a student. Norman requested that I fly him to Brunswick Airport in my personal airplane. We gassed up and put an extra five gallons of gas in the luggage compartment. At this time gas was 40 cents a gallon for airplanes compared to $4 today. Norm and I flew to Brunswick and I dropped Norm off. After gassing up his students’ airplane, we flew back to Brewer.
Just a bit of history for the record – 88 years old and still flying!
All together now
According to Fox, CBS and Gallup polls taken this month, only 26 percent of those polled approve of the job our U.S. Congress is doing. Even though there are fine, conscientious members of Congress working very hard to “do the right thing,” today’s Congress seems to consist of 535 members or several different voting blocs all individually striving to get what they want without vigorously working together to achieve the very best bill possible for the American people.
My wife and I enjoy music of different kinds, and lately we have attended concerts in which there were stages of musicians all playing the same tune to the best of their ability at roughly the same time. Although the music was all right, somehow it did not seem that the combined sound was as good as it should be.
And then, yesterday afternoon we attended the concert of the Black Bear Men’s Chorus at the University of Maine. Instead of hearing 60 individual voices, we heard one chorus of 60 singers all blended magnificently into one series of beautiful chords. These members were of all ages, vocations and interests singing songs from a variety of cultures, but they not only sang their best individually, they obviously did their very best to insure that the sound of the group was a perfect, harmonious blend that was pleasing and exciting to the audience.
Wouldn’t it be great if our Congress could work together in that manner?