Sept. 25-26 Letters to the Editor

Posted Sept. 24, 2010, at 7:35 p.m.

Attack not unpredictable

In the “Mainer survives bear attack” story on Sept. 14, Game Warden Kevin Pelkey states that “wild animals are always unpredictable.” When an animal is surrounded by a group of snarling, barking, biting dogs and a man is firing a gun at it, what on earth is “unpredictable” about an attack?

Had the bear had a white flag, I’m quite sure he would have raised it up and waved it instead of attacking. Was it really unpredictable? I think the bear’s response was unsurprisingly probable.

Diane Herring

Hermon

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Libby is status quo

Wouldn’t it be nice if Libby Mitchell could promote her own accomplishments in her television advertisements?

I expect Ms. Mitchell has a windmill in her backyard, since she proudly displays them in her television advertisements. If her future advertisements show Paul LePage strip mining for coal on Mount Katahdin, please know that Paul is more pro-job growth than anti-environment.

Ms. Mitchell does mention the word jobs in her advertisements, but has she ever created one? Ms. Mitchell has a record that is anti-business, and she supported LD 1495, which would have increased the sales tax on 102 more items. However, this tax shell game was turned down by the voters in the June primary.

This past session, Ms. Mitchell introduced legislation that would have required small businesses to provide mandatory paid sick days, adding more regulations.

Please say no to the status quo on Nov. 2 with a vote for Paul Le-Page.

Gail Lynch

Sebec

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A student’s view

The writer of “No harm in creationism” (Sept. 6) assumes that high school students haven’t been following the heavily debated argument in recent weeks. But I have.

I am a junior in a school in Washington County. I do not think creationism should be taught in schools because evolution is a widely accepted theory in the U.S. and around the world.

Teaching creationism would be a giant setback for the public school system, and since there is a lot of pressure for our schools to rise in rankings in the world, this would hurt current efforts to do so profoundly. Let students themselves have a say.

Emily Jones

Trescott Township

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Poverty and crime

The new statistics about Maine children in poverty are truly shocking. According to the recent Census Bureau report, 46,000 Mainers live in poverty. That’s 17 percent. This should serve as a wake-up call to public policy makers at all levels about harsh realities many Maine families are currently facing.

As someone who has served in the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department for 33 years, the last eight as sheriff, I can tell you that the majority of the inmates we see in our jail are people who either live in poverty currently or who grew up in poverty. The sad fact is children who grow up in poverty, especially sustained poverty, are two and a half times more likely to be involved in crime later in their lives.

Even before the new poverty statistics were released, the anti-crime organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a report “Cutting Crime by Cutting Child Poverty in Maine,” citing studies presenting the facts about poverty’s link to crime and showing that reducing child poverty can significantly lower future crime.

These reports shed new light on the need for Congress to extend the current Child Tax Credit, which helps low-income working families keep more of their paychecks. The current child tax credit provides help to 60,000 Maine children who could either lose benefits entirely or see their benefits reduced if Congress allows this tax credit to expire. We should not let that happen.

Glenn Ross

Penobscot County Sheriff

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A dog’s newspaper

Reeser Manley writes some of the best essays I’ve ever read on gardening topics. The latest example of his ability to create a stylish phrase was in last weekend’s column: “On slow morning walks with Reilly and Dixie, as they run back and forth, noses to the ground, reading their morning paper…”

Lovely image, apt metaphor.

Gail Menzel

Pembroke

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Saving community

We need to think about what makes midcoast Maine such a wonderful place to live and work: the beauty of the natural environment, the warmth and character of the people who live here, and a sense of community, a sense of being in a real place. We need to ask ourselves if building big-box stores and malls is the way we want to go.

The strip between the real village of Thomaston and the real city of Rockland is already a wasteland. Let’s not make it worse by adding a “super” Wal-Mart as a so-called anchor store for more generic, chain-owned businesses.

When I drive by the Applebee’s and see “neighborhood bar and grill” on its sign, I think, “no, this is fake.” A real neighborhood is part of a community, with people, houses, shops, public spaces, places of worship, parks and other areas free and open to all. The Black Bull is a neighborhood bar and grill; Billy’s Tavern is a local pub. You can buy your clothes at Reny’s at good prices; you can buy your hardware from Spear’s or Rankin’s. These are family-owned businesses where your hard-earned dollars stay in town.

But it isn’t just about keeping money around. It’s about community, real neighbors, quality merchandise and service. It’s also about health: You can visit a farm-stand for local produce and sign up for produce from local farms. Or you can shop at a big-box store and buy genetically altered, prepackaged foods with additives you can’t pronounce. We are what we eat, and we are where we shop. We need to think carefully about our choices.

Steve Cartwright

Waldoboro

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Collins helped

The BDN’s editorial of Sept. 17 correctly praises a successful campaign to make permanent the end of restrictions against 50-ton trucks on I-95. Lifting those restrictions permanently eliminates the possibility that we would once again see large heavy trucks trying to safely negotiate the secondary roads in our communities. Everyone living in a community along the secondary road corridors will benefit.

Maine’s delegation to Washington has worked long and hard to make that outcome a reality. We owe them a great deal of gratitude, but one individual stands out in that effort. Sen. Susan Collins finds herself in a position to exert considerable influence on behalf of all Maine residents. Her willingness to work across the aisle and use that influence in ways that benefit us all should be a model for getting things done as we try to get beyond a divisive political climate in Washington.

Geoffrey A. Gordon, Chairman

Orono Town Council

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