May 21, 2018
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May 5 Letters to the Editor

Dispatch options

On Tuesday, May 4, voters in Southwest Harbor will be asked to eliminate the town’s emergency and general dispatch services, contracting instead with Hancock County for emergency dispatching services only. While the projected cost savings may seem attractive, it is critical that we consider what we will be losing.

We have been provided reports and studies to help in making this decision. These reports describe the services we now have available to us.

Unfortunately, few solutions have been proposed for continuing the nonemergency services we have come to rely on that will be eliminated by outsourcing our dispatch service such as information regarding town services; burning permits; fire danger monitoring; tracking local weather conditions and calling out crews to sand-salt roads; direct walk-in emergencies; safe haven for persons and pets; ambulance service security; Lifeline medical alert and alarm system monitoring; accepting, returning and safeguarding lost property and an answering point for public safety and town inquiries during nonbusiness hours. Our dispatchers directly serve more than 3,000 walk-in visitors each year.

How these and other services will be supplied to the public has not been addressed. Please weigh this choice carefully and make an informed decision.

What you have come to rely on today might not be missed until it is gone.

Sam Chisholm

Southwest Harbor


Senators stood firm

Has anybody else noticed that folks that spent eight years wildly berating and excoriating George W. Bush and Dick Cheney now have turned their ire on Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe?

On April 30, two letters from BDN readers take these two senators to task not just for their voting decisions, but for some sort of presumed moral failings which, apparently, one has to be a hyper-partisan Democrat to fully understand.

I’d like to congratulate Sens. Collins and Snowe for standing on principle in the face of aggressive and notably ill-informed criticism by people who seem to believe their failure to understand the policy positions of these two senators can be explained only by some sort of nefarious and malevolently conspiratorial behavior by Collins and Snowe.

For example, Collins and Snowe have been mercilessly hammered for their recent votes against the president’s health care bill, and have been absurdly mischaracterized as being opposed to the idea of good health care for as many Americans as possible. If you know anything at all about these two senators, you know they have been strong advocates for good health care for a long time.

Has it ever dawned on these critics that maybe Collins and Snowe believed, along with a substantial number of congressional Democrats, that the president’s bill was exactly the wrong kind of health care reform, will actually cost far more, will result in rationing and will not improve health care in America one bit?

David D. Wilson



Too fat to fight

Recently, Mission: Readiness, a national group of retired military leaders, released an alarming report on youth obesity. The report shows that 27 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are too fat to fight if serving in the armed services is their career choice.

Recruiters across the country are turning away otherwise excellent recruits every day because they are overweight.

In addition to threatening our military, obesity presents serious medical concerns. Americans spend upward of $75 billion per year on obesity-related medical expenditures, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Every year the military discharges more than 1,200 first-term enlistees before their contracts are up because of weight problems. Recruiting and training their replacements costs $50,000 per person, or $60 million per year.

Mission: Readiness is supporting the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which calls for the Secretary of Agriculture to update school breakfast and lunch nutrition standards. These standards are to be based upon recommendations by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences.

Furthermore, this act gives the secretary authority to establish similar science-based nutrition standards for food sold a la carte and in vending machines. In addition, the act established Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Grant programs to states to help children and parents adopt more healthful lifelong eating and exercise habits.

It has been 16 years since these standards were updated. For the future of all American kids, it is my sincere hope that Congress adopts this needed legislation soon.

Nelson Durgin

major general

U.S. Air Force, retired



No cover-ups

I believe that Andrea Simoneau, organizer of the shirtless march this past Friday in Farmington, is a brave woman and should be applauded for acting on behalf of equal rights for women. How appropriate that the anti-freedom counter-protester who attempted to cover up Ms. Simoneau did so with a blanket that was blue, the color of an Afghan burkha.

Martin O’Connell



We, the Tea Party

Why does the mainstream media have such an aversion to telling the unvarnished truth about the Tea Party and what our federal government’s goals really are? I believe it’s because there is a biased double standard among most news anchors and journalists.

First, we Tea Partiers have been maligned, falsely accused and completely misunderstood from the word go. We are composed of people from all political parties, all walks of life and income levels. We are ordinary citizens who just happen to love our freedom, our country, our Constitution and our God.

We are nonviolent people who believe in standing up and speaking up for what is right. We have not only been called Nazis for this, but the ridiculous suggestion has also been made by Bill Clinton that our movement could spawn another Timothy McVeigh. The progressive elites think we are stupid and uninformed, but the truth is that we have a better understanding of what our God-given rights are, who our Founding Fathers really were and what they stood for.

I believe, too, that the media are terrified of having us know the truth about what President Obama meant when he stated, “We are just five days away from fundamentally transforming America.” His idea of transformation is not at all what the majority of the American people want. We don’t want a European-style socialist government. We don’t want important bills which many times haven’t even been thoroughly read before being signed into law pushed down our throats.

Rosalie Welch-Johnson



AR-15 clarification

The BDN’s May 1-2 article about the Maine State Police getting new AR-15 rifles was interesting.

The pistol caliber carbines they were using are probably underpowered except for close range situations. It would have been interesting to know which caliber they selected, but I suspect it’s the NATO 5.56 x 45mm (sporting version, .223 Remington).

The article does contain two errors, though. One, the AR-15 is not an assault rifle. Assault rifles are capable of full-automatic fire (machine gun style), and the AR-15 is capable of semi-automatic fire only; one squeeze of the trigger, one shot.

Although they appear similar, the military’s M16 is an assault rifle, the AR-15 is not.

Two, the AR-15 does not use clips. They do use a detachable box magazine. Some will say I’m nit-picking, but just to get the nomenclature straight: clips and magazines are two entirely different pieces of hardware.

Kenneth Durkee



Sandwich, not breasts

If young women wish to walk around topless in the streets of Farmington, may I suggest they be required to hold a “Coffee Pot” sandwich at breast height, and refocus the issue on something important?

Richard Glueck



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