March 19 Letters to the Editor

Posted March 18, 2010, at 6:47 p.m.

Lake, pond solution

Lake or pond (BDN, March 12)? All natural bodies of water larger than 10 acres in Maine are legally “great ponds.” Moosehead Pond? Obviously unacceptable.

I have been working on the problem for many years and offer my solution: A lake is the source of a river. A river flows to the ocean.

A pond is the source of a stream. A stream flows to a river. (Piscataquis Stream!) A brook flows to a stream. Very clear and very simple.

My count leaves us with seven lakes: Sebago, Moosehead, Damariscotta, Medomak, Chesuncook, Matagamon, Graham and Machias.

With mud season coming, I assume folks will have time to challenge my list and I welcome it. I realize this change will take getting used to and put DeLorme in a tizzy, but it will make life much easier in the end.

I’m still working on Grand Lake Stream.

Bob Zimmerman

Guilford

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Loyal Toyota owner

It’s Toyota-bashing time, but not for this Camry owner. In 1996 when I was living in San Francisco, I bought one right off the floor. It was love at first sight, confirmed by a test ride around the neighborhood. I was trading in a Corolla and was about to buy another when a neighbor urged me to move up a notch.

A dozen years later I decided to join my daughter in Old Town, so I sold my home and furniture and all my belongings, save one — my faithful Camry.

So, 14 years after we first met, my Camry and I are celebrating a centennial, of sorts — 100,000 trouble-free miles through every challenge that nature could devise, including Sierra snowstorms, California rains and fog, desert sand and now Maine winters, spring thaw and the ubiquitous potholes.

I am tempted to turn the old girl in for one of those glitzy new models I see around town. But I desist. We have a 14-year-old black Lab, and like the Camry, I’m not about to turn her in on a new model.

I doubt we’ll be hearing many Camry owners joining in the Toyota-bashing. Rather, they may be like me, sitting on my recliner in the living room, thankful for the 100,000 miles of reliable service from my venerable road warrior.

Paul Lucey

Old Town

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More effort required

It is with interest that I read the BDN’s March 12 editorial, “The Maine Focus,” and agree that we in Maine have to get our act together. Yes, in some areas things are getting better. At the same time those of us who love our state must insist that the business climate be “adjusted” in order to stem the migration away of what business we have left and make Maine an inviting place for businesses of all sizes and shapes.

The figures in the editorial regarding academic achievement raise questions. As is not uncommon, degrees are not defined nor are the sources of the numbers cited.

Reviewing U.S. Census data for 2000, a few observations should be cited. The absolute basic number for educational achievement is the high school diploma. Maine, with 85.4 earning diplomas, is ahead of New England, the Northeast United States and the country.

As we have been reading in the press, getting our young people to successfully complete secondary school is critical — maybe more critical in the near term than postsecondary schooling. First thing first.

Although here in South Bristol we are well ahead of Lincoln County, all of Maine, and the nation in educational achievements, we have to wonder just what sort of effort might be appropriate in order to improve things overall.

Ken Maguire

South Bristol

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Paging Gov. Solomon

I recently heard about the plan to divide Maine into two separate states. Because there are laws banning this from actually happening, I can imagine that it would be great if it were to happen.

The reason is that Gov. Baldacci wants to ban logging, the lifeblood of northern Maine. The other reason why I think it would be a good idea is that the economy is bad in northern Maine because of high taxes, pushed mainly by those from the southern part of the state.

The jobs in Maine are deteriorating, and we should not be forced to kill yet another part of the economy, just so the state can say it is environmentally friendly.

Patrick Pelletier

Bangor

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What Dickens said

Charles Dickens would urge Maine legislators to pass LD 1611 limiting solitary confinement in Maine prisons. He visited Eastern Penitentiary in Philadelphia, the world’s first solitary confinement prison and said: “In intention, I am well convinced that it is kind, humane, and meant for reformation; but I am persuaded that those who devised this system of prison discipline, and those benevolent gentlemen who carry it into execution, do not know what it is that they are doing.

“I believe few men are capable of estimating the immense amount of torture and agony which this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, inflicts upon the sufferers; and in guessing at it myself, and in reasoning from what I have seen written upon their faces, and what to my certain knowledge they feel within, I am more convinced that there is a depth of terrible endurance in it which none but the sufferers themselves can fathom, and which no man has a right to inflict upon his fellow-creature.

“I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body: and because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh; because its wounds are not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punishment which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay.”

George Swanson

Manset

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War dollars

As the 7th anniversary of the war in Iraq draws near, the words of Pope John Paul II keep coming to mind, “War is a defeat for humanity.” There are no winners in war. We don’t have to go far to see the human and financial cost of war, paid so dearly by so many.

Among returning veterans, the incidence of severe medical and psychological conditions is enormous. Veterans and their families struggle every day with reintegration issues and the impact of [post- traumatic stress disorder]. Our VA Hospital at Togus has long lines with limited services.

The cost of war in dollars is staggering. Nationalpriorities.org sets it at $1.05 trillion thus far, a number so large, it is inconceivable and yet we continue. The dollars we spend on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are dollars not spent at home on education, health care and human services.

Someone once asked, “Do we hate our enemies more than we love our children?” I would add, or our poor, disabled, unemployed, elders and yes, even our veterans? Did you know that veteran services continue to be a target of cutbacks, too? How can we continue to support endless wars to the detriment of our own families, friends and neighbors here at home?

It’s clearly a matter of dollars and cents, or should I say, dollars and sense. Bring our war dollars home!

Mary Ellen Quinn

Winterport

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