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June 19 Letters to the Editor

Reading fundamental

Oh, brother. I am the working parent of a 5-year-old. That means I wonder if in the time we spend playing and reading stories together — lately “The House at Pooh Corner” by A.A. Milne — I’m giving him what he needs to be ready for school.

Graduation season has gotten my attention since my son starts school this fall. Watching all those families who made it through “big kid” school makes me excited for the possibilities for my son.

But, still I worry. How will he do? How will peers in his class and school fare? Do schools have what they need to prepare all Maine kids? A recent study showed that in most states, children’s fourth-grade reading scores fell below even a “basic” level. Kids in poverty face higher risks of falling behind in reading.

Maine did better than many, but still only 35 percent of fourth-graders scored at or above proficient in reading achievement levels. That is only just over one third! Maine teachers are a dedicated bunch.

Reading well by third grade is an essential skill for the learning done in later grades. All of us working together — parents, superintendents, business leaders and community leaders — need to make sure Maine educators have the tools they need to focus on this issue so that Maine’s residents and economy can have the right tools to be strong.

Kristie Miner



Fragile ecosystem

I thank President Obama for his decision to postpone offshore drilling in America’s Arctic Ocean, when he said: “All drilling must be safe.”

We cannot stop pushing for protection until President Obama shows he understands: Our only Arctic ecosystem, vibrant and fragile, is a national treasure that should never be bargained away for political gain and private profit.

And we, here in Maine, show that we understand how necessary that our Alaskan wilderness is to preserving what we have here. Indeed, if we cannot save Alaska’s great wild heritage, our great North woods can be stripped any time the power brokers decide it will be profitable for them to take it away.

Jim Loomis



Psychology and Israel

As a fellow psychologist, I am surprised that Dr. Maureen Jones-Ryan misses the “systems” context understanding of the Israeli blockade of Gaza; it did not begin out of the same hatred that the Arabs call for the destruction of Israel, but rather in defense of suicide bombers, et. al. existing for the purpose of wiping out the one true and yes, very imperfect democracy in the Middle East.

Let’s not switch the victim psychology from one side to the other, but rather I would hope she would entreat the Arab world to take responsibility for insisting that Hamas, etc. truly negotiate for peace and their own prosperity rather than focusing on the destruction of Israel.

Dr. Wendy Satin Rapaport



Unsettling odds

Richard Hill thinks that Obama’s moratorium on deep oil drilling is wrong (BDN, June 11). He says, “Out of 50,000 gulf wells, only one has had a bad spill.”

Engineering professor Steve Wereley, at Purdue University, says that the daily flow rate from this spill is somewhere between 798,000 gallons and 1.8 million gallons (BDN, June 9).

Richard, there are already 50,000 gulf wells, 50,000 potentials for disaster. You want us to drill for more?

John Langerak



Post-wind picture

Noise may be the least problem the people of Clifton should be worried about. Noise changes around windmills depending on wind direction. It’s good to visit areas such as Prince Edward Island to get a sense of the size and visual impact as well as noise.

However, there is a larger future issue that no town or the state seems to be thinking about as they look forward to no longer using fossil fuels: What happens when the contractor moves to Ohio or Canada? Who is going to maintain these turbines? And later, what happens when a blade falls off, then the sides of the pole begin to rust and rot, and 20 years later some other form of nonfossil fuel that is more efficient is being invented and built and these wind turbines are left unused and unremoved from your landscape or the ocean?

Take a look at the old Penobscot Bridge in Prospect, or all the dams that have never been removed, or out West where old refineries are just left behind and new ones are built, as well as oil rigs just left on people’s lawns, no longer in use.

Where are the rules, the escrow or bond necessary for 50 years of maintenance and-or cost of removal? These also are issues that towns and the state need to be thinking about whether the windmills go on your hill or offshore.

Marianne Sacknoff

Stockton Springs


Wrongly aimed blame

Scott Hamann should not receive any sympathy from Mainers due to his brief incarceration in Israel and the Associated Press should be ashamed of its one-sided coverage of the recent provocation by pro-Palestinian sympathizers (published in the BDN).

Apparently, Israel takes protecting its citizens seriously. By setting up its naval blockade of Gaza, both Israel and Egypt have taken tangible steps to stop the flow of weapons into the hands of Hamas terrorists.

Before the Israel Defense Forces took measures to enforce the blockade, the primary goal of the pro-Palestinian activists was not to deliver supplies, but to provoke a reaction. A spokesperson for the flotilla — whose organizers just so happen to belong to a nonprofit group that has ties to terrorism finance — was quoted saying, “We fully intend to go to Gaza regardless of any intimidation or threats of violence against us. They are going to have to forcefully stop us.” Additionally, according to the Al-Jazeera satellite channel, the ships changed course to try to avoid a nighttime confrontation, preferring a daylight showdown for better publicity.

They and Mr. Hamann, who ostensibly sailed in the name of “peace,” fully knew the consequences of their actions, yet proceeded in their provocation anyway. In doing so, they alone are responsible for their comrades’ deaths. It is they who deserve worldwide condemnation, not Israel, whose soldiers acted courageously in defense of their countrymen and in self-defense when attacked by the mob on board the Mavi Marmara.

Doug Merrill

Verona Island

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