March 22 Letters to the Editor

Posted March 21, 2010, at 6:29 p.m.

The seventh player

We enjoyed Larry Mahoney’s trip down memory lane with a recap of the University of Maine hockey team’s first trip to the Hockey East semifinals in Boston 23 years ago. We were there. The Maine fans easily outnumbered the local Lowell fans.

Mike McHugh scored his goal and the Maine fans became the seventh player on the ice. We give the fans the credit for assists on the next two goals that won the game. We are so happy for the team and coaches to be going to Boston again.

Go Blue!

Jo Ann and

Woody Higgins

Bangor

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Kill the filibuster

This country is in trouble. The first step individually and collectively is to get our thinking straight.

Simplistic slogans such as “government is the problem,” and “good health care should be a right for all citizens” are of little help.

Both parties are correct in thinking that the other party has brought us near disaster.

The president cannot initiate or change our laws. This is the responsibility of Congress. And Congress cannot function well unless the filibuster in the Senate is removed. This is a root cause of our nonfunctioning federal government. It was not included in our founding institutions. No other nation has the filibuster and for good reason.

Sherman Hasbrouck

Orono

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Councilor should quit

When anyone is elected or appointed to a public position they have a certain obligation to the people whom they serve, and that is to hold themselves to a higher standard for which the people and the office demand. In some cases, and this goes for federal, state and our local government, the official must, in my opinion, break no laws, and have a very high standard of morals that reminds them that they serve us the people.

If they cannot live up to those standards, then they should no longer hold public office and should resign. This could and should save a lot of further grief, not only for themselves but also for the people they serve.

In my opinion, it’s time for a Houlton town councilor to step down and be replaced with a more competent person who will uphold the oath and restore the integrity of the office and our town.

It would be unacceptable to expect anything less given the importance of the seat. The people of Houlton deserve better. We can do better.

Carl Lord Jr.

Houlton

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No news not good news

The decision of the Bangor School Department not to participate in the state drug and alcohol abuse survey surprises me. It would seem that the school department would welcome this opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of its prevention program.

To my mind, the value of the survey lies in the ability of an individual community to compare its results with a statewide average. Further, each community can compare its own results year to year, looking for changes in behavior and in students’ attitudes toward drug and alcohol use. With this additional information, the school department would be able to prove the effectiveness of its programs or to implement changes if they are indicated by the results.

Mary H. Montville

Old Town

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Early education vital

I would like to add another perspective to businessman John Bragg’s letter to the editor about why high-quality early education is so important to Maine’s future. He argued that improving graduation rates and building a stronger work force was a key benefit.

As a law enforcement leader, I know that high-quality early education is also one of the best ways to reduce future crime.

We know that young people who drop out of school are much more likely to become criminals. Consider the fact that about 70 percent of state prison inmates lack a high school diploma. High school dropouts are significantly more likely than their high school graduate peers to be arrested and incarcerated. That’s why raising graduation rates is really a matter of public safety.

While staying in school even one year longer reduces the likelihood that a youngster will turn to crime, graduating from high school can make a critical difference. As graduation rates rise, violent crimes decrease. Research from the crime-prevention group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids shows that if Maine could increase graduation rates by 10 percent, we would see a reduction in murder and assault rates by nearly 20 percent. This would prevent more than 20 murders and more than 900 aggravated assaults here in Maine every five years.

High-quality early education is the proven way to improve graduation rates and reduce future crime. I hope that Maine’s elected leaders will consider the long-term impact of investing in early childhood education.

Troy Morton

chief deputy,

Penobscot County

Sheriff’s Office

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UMaine soft landings

As I read Dear Abby recently about an employee who hadn’t received a raise despite an excellent job rating, it felt eerily familiar. The employee complained that the owners of the company were buying expensive cars and going on lavish vacations, while employees were having to cut back.

It sounds a lot like working for the University of Maine. Faculty, professional employees and classified employees all got contracts this year that provide no raises. But we did get a raise in our insurance rates, so we’re actually taking home less money in our paychecks.

And then we read in the BDN that our president is “stepping down.” Only he’s not leaving. The bigwigs at the University of Maine never leave. They just “step down.” Chancellors Terrence MacTaggart and Joseph Westphal are still there. MacTaggart’s annual salary is $200,850 ($281,190 total compensation), Westphal’s is $208,382 ($291,735 total), Robert Kennedy’s is $210,405 ($295,195 total).

If you think Kennedy will be taking a pay cut, talk to me about a bridge I have for sale in New York. These people take jobs that have nebulous job descriptions so that no one really knows what they’re doing, but they get paid in six figures. Ask any classified employee what MacTaggart or Westphal do. You’ll get a shoulder shrug.

And the rest of us — well, we can eat cake. Classified employees are outraged, but we know our outrage will do us no good. It just goes on and on. Things never change at the good old UMaine system.

Cindy Carusi

Orono

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