Jan. 9 Letters to the Editor

Posted Jan. 08, 2010, at 6:20 p.m.

Safer roads intended

Sen. Susan Collins recently added an amendment to a bill in Congress that allows trucks carrying up to 100,000 pounds to travel on federal interstate highways in Maine, including I-95 and I-395 in the Bangor area, for one year. During this time, studies of the impact on safety, commerce and energy use will be conducted.

A Dec. 30 BDN news story reporting that Collins spoke about this issue to Bangor Rotary may have given the impression that her bill would make our roads less safe. Just the opposite is the senator’s goal. These heavy trucks were forced off the highways best suited to them and onto Maine’s secondary roads that pass through downtowns like Bangor’s, small towns, and villages — past schools and homes.

Collins did have to work very hard to counter attempts by some national highway safety groups that want to keep these trucks on secondary roads instead of federal highways. While she respects their point of view, she believes, and studies show, that it is safer for these heavy trucks to remain on the interstate highways. Her view is confirmed by the strong support of her initiative from many public safety groups including the Maine State Police, the Maine Department of Public Safety and the Maine Troopers Association.

Kevin Kelley

communications

director

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins

Washington, D.C.

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Snowe’s role

Sen. Snowe’s failure to support the Senate health care bill may not be the disappointment it seems. Though she has made clear her issues with this less than perfect piece of legislation, it is important to remember that she is the only Republican to have shown any willingness to participate constructively in the process.

Alone among her peers, while acknowledging the system is broken and in need of fundamental changes, she has sponsored amendments that both further the process and would result in genuine reform. When her vote was not necessary, she voted to release the bill from the Senate Finance Committee, so that the process might be furthered.

House and Senate reconciliation mark a new and critical phase for the bill. The subsequent vote will very likely be the last opportunity for substantial reform for the next generation. I think we must acknowledge the bipartisan effort she has made and encourage her continued participation to ensure the successful completion of this effort.

Sen. Snowe needs to hear from us, both our thanks for the courage shown to date and encouragement to see the process to a successful conclusion.

John O’Brien

Bar Harbor

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Coughing attendant

In early December, I had the misfortune of traveling on a U.S. Airways flight out of Bangor to Philadelphia. The flight attendant was loaded with the flu or a very nasty cold. She coughed and blew her nose the entire flight. She couldn’t give the pre-flight safety talk without coughing after every sentence. Some of the other passengers sat with their sweaters covering their noses.

I wrote to customer relations for U.S. Airways wondering why someone so ill was working in such a capacity and received a letter from a representative stating that flight crews are subject to standard protocol related to health and he was confident that the attendant followed this protocol. I wonder what this protocol is? Hand sanitizer before serving the refreshments? What good is hand sanitizer when she continued to cough into her hand, not her arm, as she made her way down the aisle? What good is hand sanitizer when she is spreading airborne germs with every exhalation and when she talks?

The representative suggested I could have asked for a mask if I felt my health was compromised during this flight. If a waitress is sick, should everyone in the restaurant wear a mask? If a teacher is sick, should all of the students wear a mask? The correct response should be that if they are ill, they should be responsible enough to stay home. If they have to work, then they should wear masks.

Peggy Rudolf White

Ellsworth

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Coyote value

Thank you for the editorial encouraging a more balanced view of coyotes in light of the distasteful coyote killing contest sponsored by the Jackman-Moose River Region Chamber of Commerce (“Coyote Logic,” Jan. 6).

During contest kills like this one, participants compete for prizes to see who can kill the most animals. Contest kills send the wrong-headed message that entire species of animals are disposable. The fact is, the value of animals is not their dead weight.

The desire of participants to kill as many coyotes as they can is an affront to nature and to the vast majority of people who cherish wildlife. A group, by the way, that includes most hunters, too.

Katie Lisnik

Maine state director

The Humane Society of the United States

Portland

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Canada’s got it right

As someone who looks out on Canada each day across a short stretch of water and frequently meets and discusses with Canadians their experiences with health care, I can tell you that claims as to the deficiencies of the Canadian health care system are mere demagoguery.

Far from limiting their freedom as individuals, Canada’s single-payer system actually increases the freedom of that nation’s citizens. They enjoy increased freedom to start a business and not worry about how to afford coverage for themselves and their employees; freedom to change jobs without risking the loss of coverage; and most importantly, freedom from fear: fear of losing their good health, their homes, their lives, all for lack of health insurance.

These are freedoms we Americans currently don’t enjoy and fears we all face. While the health care reform legislation now being worked out in Congress does not establish as comprehensive a system as Canada’s, it is a first important step towards expanding those freedoms and reducing that fear.

That’s why I urge our two practical, non-ideological senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, to support the final version of health care reform when it comes before them this month.

Richard B. Klyver

Eastport

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