I was glad to see a recent letter to the editor mention the lack of personal flotation devices worn by the paddlers on the pond in a recent BDN photo. Part of promoting a sport also is promoting safety, which is why I was sad to see the April 30 front page photo with a motorcyclist without a helmet.
At more than one time in the story there was mention of driving schools, but no mention of helmets. Part of the newspaper’s job is to promote safety, especially when an article is essentially promoting the sport itself. If this had been an article about a motorcycle accident whose driver did not wear a helmet, statistics and graphs of how few helmets are worn by motorcyclists and a website that promotes helmet safety would have been included.
I have dedicated most of my life to helping people enjoy the outdoors safely. A major part of that responsibility is both teaching and promoting safety in all aspects of outdoor venues. Too many people are killed each year because they did not take the extra minute to put on a simple piece of safety equipment, be it a helmet or a personal flotation device.
Let’s all smarten up and wear the appropriate safety equipment.
Native wisdom spoken
In her April 30 letter (“Seattle’s wisdom”) about an earlier BDN article on an interfaith service, Margie Gilbert regrets that Native American spirituality was not included, and offers a beautiful quotation by Chief Seattle. She might feel better to know that a Native American viewpoint was part of the service held April 25 at the Unitarian Universalist church, thanks to Gkisedtanamoogk, a Wampanoag, whose soft-spoken but powerful address held everyone’s attention.
Help seniors pay taxes
The Legislature recently passed and the governor signed into law LD 1121, “An Act to Protect Elderly Residents from Losing Their Homes Due to Taxes or Foreclosure.”
The new law allows elderly residents who qualify to defer property taxes in times of financial difficulty, thus eliminating the cruel choice that often must be made between paying property taxes or affording other vital necessities.
Some qualifying terms include being 65 years or older, making $30,000 or less for a single, $42,000 or less for a couple and residence in the homestead for at least 10 years.
This law is a success for Maine’s elderly population which struggles to make ends meet. As many of our seniors live on a fixed income they sometimes have to choose between paying medical bills or paying property taxes. In addition, since property taxes are assessed based on fair market value, many find their property taxes rising as their homes have accrued worth over a long period of time.
LD 1121 provides that a half-percent of the state real estate transfer tax goes into a deferral fund, which will allow payments to be made directly to the towns that have seniors deferring taxes. As deferred taxes, which will have accrued interest, are repaid, the money will go back into the deferral fund for future payments.
It is important that Maine residents are aware of this new program which allows Maine’s elderly to stay in the homes many have lived in their whole lives.
Tea Party wake-up call
The current spate of unproved anti-Tea Party rumor and propaganda is evidence that it truly has struck a nerve with the left.
Since when are responsible Americans peacefully protesting their government automatically labeled seditious? Were the civil rights marchers seditious? Were the women’s suffrage marchers seditious? Were a youthful Bill and Hillary Clinton seditious when they also protested?
The Tea Party is a spontaneous grass-roots reaction to a disconnected government hopelessly enmeshed in uncontrolled spending. The Tea Party doesn’t want health care “reform” or carbon emissions “reform” or nuke “reform”; they want government reform.
They are pushing back against power-hungry politicians who rule as though they were elected to run our lives, not merely our government.
We now are living with the disastrous results of an electorate whose main source of political information comes from “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show” with the result being a Democratic Congress and White House. Smug in their ignorance, the left now consider it “old hat” to obey the Constitution and the rule of law. Even some congressional Democrats now brag that they make it up as they go along.
But Americans love freedom; it’s in their DNA. The Tea Party movement is only the first of many wake-up calls to a corrupt polity; and those who ignore it do so at their own peril.
Jeffrey K. Jacob
Drill, baby, drill
Where are the Republicans when we need their wisdom on how to handle the present problem in the Gulf of Mexico? We were told by the self-proclaimed energy expert, former half-governor of Alaska, that due to our modern technology offshore drilling for oil was perfectly safe.
Yet here were are, 11 deaths, a cost of hundreds of millions — billions if we include the cost of the drill platform — and the largest environmental disaster since the Exxon Valdez.
Republicans, through their spokesmen Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the fair and balanced people at Fox News would have us believe that it’s only the “environmentalists” that oppose the offshore drilling for oil.
Actually the biggest opposition is from the commerce departments, tourism industry and fishing industry of the coastal states. They have the most to lose from a disaster such as the one we are experiencing today.
However, do not fear; the Republican think tank is hard at work and soon will issue their talking points to blame President Obama for the problem. Any day now sister Sarah will enlighten us with her pearls of wisdom.
President Obama did make a serious mistake lately in opening more areas for offshore drilling. He thought it might get bipartisan support for his energy bill. We all know that’s not going to happen.