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July 14 Letters to the Editor

Problem solver

Anyone who has not read Renee Ordway’s July 10-11 column (“Welfare loopholes slowly close”) should take the time to do so, as it helps restore faith in a system that is broken.

Mr. Shawn Yardley, boss at Bangor Health and Community Services, and his staff “took the bull by the horns” after a reported abuse in the welfare system.

A woman purchased 120 bottles of water, went outside to empty each bottle and then brought the empty bottles back for the deposit to purchase cigarettes. Mr. Yardley and his staff immediately plugged the hole by mandating that the deposit money will be paid up front in cash. Fantastic.

Great fix!

When Ms. Ordway asked someone about taking action at the federal level like Mr. Yardley took, the response was, “We follow the federal guidelines.” And we wonder why we are in the mess we are in nationally.

If our political system had people like Mr. Yardley, think of the possibilities.

Dave Kennedy



No help for jobless

I heard on the radio yesterday that unemployment benefits paid out were down 20 percent last month. That is not a good thing, because the reduction is because 20 percent or more of people on unemployment ran out of benefits, not because they are back to work.

My husband, like many others, ran out of benefits and Congress went on holiday for the Fourth of July without extending them. Now it is said that they get $170,000 per year plus benefits. So of course it matters not to them if others have nothing to live on.

Debbie CoWallis



Wind not the answer

The propaganda of First Wind (repeated in the BDN’s July 6 editorial) that inland industrial wind complexes in Maine are carbon-neutral is false.

Let’s start with the permanent elimination of many thousands of CO2-absorbing trees to make way for roads, turbine sites and transmission lines.

Add to that the fossil fuel needed to manufacture and transport the blades and turbines from foreign lands plus adding one ton of CO2 to the air while making each ton of concrete of the many thousands poured into huge holes blasted for the turbine foundations.

Natural gas turbines must be kept ready in “spinning” mode and ramped up and down to provide backup power to keep the grid stable as the wind fluctuates or dies. This pumps more CO2 into the atmosphere than natural gas turbines operating in normal mode.

Strong, constant wind is off-shore, not in the poor to moderate wind area of inland, eastern Maine. Because the power output of First Wind’s inland wind farms is secret, we have no idea how much it actually produces. But they certainly do not reduce our carbon footprint.

Since 1992 we have had whole-house electricity, get good mileage, limit travel and heat with dead-diseased wood. There are many ways to conserve energy without jeopardizing the traditional economy of Maine (such as tourists and “sports” at Grand Lake Stream) with visual scars, low frequency bombardments and large power cost increases that discourage businesses.

Harrison and Marilyn Roper



Giving happens

Last week, 386 teens and young adults from around the country came to Belfast to join the Swan Lake Work Camp. Each teen had to raise $400 to be included, and they spent the week repairing, painting and returning to usefulness 59 homes. The project required 10,462 hours of work, mostly in the hot sun.

For the woman with three children living in a trailer whose hot water heater blew up and destroyed the back room in her home, there was only one option — live with it while the floor, walls and ceiling decayed and started to smell. She heard about the program and last week the work campers completed the job at no cost to her and moved on to the next challenge.

The gratitude of those who faced insurmountable problems that suddenly became surmountable, is often mixed with tears.

Christianity, in its fullest, is doing for others what you would do for yourself. In a sense, it is a victory of give over take. The teens, from 13 churches in 10 states, the volunteers in the Belfast area, the organizers and contributors gave.

You don’t believe in that God stuff? OK, but you can’t deny that the God stuff is at least possible, can you? Those teens came here and prayed for you, too. They came, not only to help the old and poor but also to set an example of giving’s success.

David Huck



No history of alewives

I attended a meeting convened by the Natural Resources Council of Maine. NRCM supports allowing alewives free access to the St. Croix watershed. Attendees against this introduction of alewives included Registered Maine Guides, whose livelihoods depend on the existing fisheries.

Alewife opponents pointed out that the decline of the Spednic Lake bass fishery began with allowing alewives access, and the Spednic fishery only began to recover when alewives were prevented from entering. Brownie Carson, NRCM’s Executive Director, proffered NRCM’s well-worn counter argument that the presence of alewives was coincidental, and that water level fluctuations were the real culprit.

Dave Tobey, a Grand Lake Stream Registered Guide, asked Mr. Carson if he knew what smallmouth bass did when a drop in water level threatened spawning beds. Mr. Carson replied that spawning was abandoned. Mr. Tobey informed Mr. Carson that when water levels fluctuated, smallmouth bass relocated, and spawned again.

NRCM’s linchpin argument, he explained, regarding the effect of the alewive’s presence on Spednic gamefish, is flat out wrong. NRCM’s Executive Director had no rebuttal.

NRCM frames its pro-alewife agenda as a “restoration,” but NRCM has no scientific evidence that alewives used to be present throughout the St. Croix watershed. Lance Wheaton, whose family has guided in Washington County for three generations, made a salient point: Introduction of any species to waters where it has never been naturally present is illegal in Maine. As proponents of alewife introduction to the upper St. Croix, NRCM is encouraging the breaking of Maine laws.

Jack Gagnon



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