Jan. 30-31 Letters to the Editor

Posted Jan. 29, 2010, at 7:58 p.m.

A native voice

It’s amusing how difficult it can be for native Mainers to get letters published in the Bangor Daily News, yet Ellie Light, if she even exists and who is not from Bangor — not even from Maine — gets a letter in castigating those who oppose “Obamacare,” (BDN Letters, “Happy talk vs. truth,” Jan. 21.)

According to national news sources, Ellie Light has had letters published in countless newspapers from coast to coast, in each claiming to be a resident of the area in which each newspaper is printed. That’s a big job. One that only a public relations office would undertake. Could it be that she is a paid Obama staffer?

John Hubbard

Bangor

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Wind cries ‘pride’

We want to correct the impression left by the article on the Fox Islands Wind Project (“Turbines turn to headache for Vinalhaven,” BDN, Jan. 25) about the extent of the sound concerns in our community. It is important to understand that about 25 people live within a half mile of the turbines, most of them closer than the five people interviewed for the story. The reactions of these 25 neighbors range from not bothered at all by the sound from the turbines and very happy with the project, to the reactions expressed by those interviewed by Mr. Terkel.

There are 1,800 year-round residents of the Fox Islands. We are faced with electricity prices that are three times the national average; high energy prices threaten the very existence of these two fishing communities.

As a result of the wind project, electricity prices have dropped significantly for all 1,800 residents. Far, far fewer than one person in 10 is bothered by the sound from the project. Indeed, less than 2 percent of the residents could possibly hear the turbines, and many of these people are not bothered at all by the sound.

The Electric Coop board is concerned that some of our neighbors are bothered, and we are actively working to address this issue. But the general feeling of the community, contrary to the impression left by this story, has been one of pride.

Board of directors

Fox Islands Electric Cooperative

Vinalhaven

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Get to work, Congress

In my opinion, the Democrats and the Republicans should stop fighting each other and join forces for the good of the people of this country.

Here in Maine, it isn’t only Mike Michaud who should come home, it’s all of them – Snowe, Collins and Pingree too.

In the last decade, I can’t see that any of them has done much for the people. When they take office, they swear to abide by the Constitution of the United State and the Pledge of Allegiance: With liberty and justice for all.

And don’t forget, “it’s not what your country can do for you, it’s what you can do for your country!”

We are tired of backroom deals, special groups, lobbyists, etc., which seem to be doing nothing but tearing the country apart.

John and Barbara DiCentes

Millinocket

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Way forward is messy

A recent column featured comments by disgruntled voters, most of whom voted for President Obama, who feel that their president is failing them, failing to live up to the lofty standards they expect of him. After all, we voted for change, so where is it? I hear smirking and “I told you so” from the right and self-righteous grumbling from the left. How about we grow up!

We elected this man for many reasons, among them because he is smart, thoughtful and articulate. He is a reflection of the best in us. But we have a political system that is set up for failure, with very few statesmen who will put the country ahead of their own narrow partisan interests. We have a polarized electorate that is all too easily manipulated by demagogues, bullies and fake news.

Any achievement is going to be messy because there’s a lot of muck to wade through. We all had a hand in the problems we face and we all have a responsibility to help fix them. Sure, I want our president to show us the way forward and I readily admit he has to do a better job of that, to be more of a president and less of a professor. However, our responsibility didn’t end at the voting booth. We may have elected someone who reflects the best in us, but the times demand the best from us.

Peter d’Entremont

Blue Hill

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Graduation, crime

As a law enforcement leader, I would like to endorse the recommendations of Sen. Justin Alfond, Chief Justice Leigh Saufley and the Juvenile Justice Task Force that Maine policy makers work to increase high school graduation rates.

The cold hard truth is that high school dropouts are more likely to turn to crime. An August 2008 report by Fight Crime: Invest In Kids shows that high school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested, and more than eight times more likely to be incarcerated.

Nationwide, 68 percent of state prison inmates have not received a high school diploma.

Statewide, about two out of 10 high school students fail to graduate from high school on time. While staying in school even one year longer reduces the likelihood that a youngster will turn to crime, graduating from high school has an even greater impact. As graduation rates go up, violent crimes decrease. A study by two prominent economists found that a 10 percentage point increase in graduation rates would reduce murder and assault rates by about 20 percent, preventing more than 20 murders and over 900 aggravated assaults in Maine every five years.

Reducing dropouts will not only save lives, it will also save money. If Maine could raise male graduation rates by 10 percent, the state would save approximately $29 million every year, including almost $6 million in reduced crime costs alone.

Maine needs to take steps to increase graduation rates, which will reduce crime and save taxpayer dollars.

Mark Leonard

Veazie chief of police

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Consult tribes

It seems only reasonable that state agencies adopt a policy of consulting the Wabanaki tribes in Maine before initiating any legislation, rules or polices that would substantially affect them. Passage of LD 1625 would do just that (see the Jan. 27 BDN).

The mutual respect which this would signify would be a foundation for better government-to-government relations in the future.

It is imperative that the Tribal-State Work Group’s recommendations to amend the Maine Implementing Act of 1980 be looked upon more favorably by those in the Legislature.

It is long past time for the state to honor the sovereignty of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Micmac federally recognized tribal governments in Maine and act accordingly.

Harrison and Marilyn Roper

Houlton

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