DEA director up to task
It was disheartening to see Sheriff Donnie Smith calling for the resignation of the MDEA Director Roy McKinney. I have had the privilege of working with Roy for not only his years in at the agency, but also while head of the criminal division at Bangor Police Department.
I have always found McKinney to be a consummate professional who has demonstrated a high level of administrative ability. As a sheriff for 30 years, I find that personnel issues can be the most difficult to resolve, but McKinney seems well qualified to manage his staff well, even in times when employees act out and misbehave.
I truly hope that cooler heads in Augusta take the time necessary to do a full and comprehensive evaluation of McKinney’s capabilities. Once done adequately, I’m convince they will find he is fully and justifiably able to continue to command our statewide drug investigative service.
Sheriff William Clark
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If someone accused you of having “all the judgment of a college student,” it would not be a compliment. It’s part of growing up. The BDN often reports on instances of poor judgment by area college students: a freshman lost in an initiation prank along the Stillwater in April or an English major trying to kill and skin a rabbit in a film class as a kind of shock-performance piece.
These stories are newsworthy and important topics.
But there’s no excuse for the large photo in Tuesday’s paper showing giddy Husson students riding down Essex Street Hill on an inflatable mattress. Essex Street hill is fast and steep and lined with trees. It is dangerous enough under controlled situations with proper headgear and steering capabilities.
The photo fairly goads the students on and challenges their peers to “go out and do something crazy.” Our society already rewards dangerous situations and glorifies stunts in the media — the Jackass franchise, America’s Funniest Home Videos, the National Football League. There are few things people won’t do if you point a camera at them. How long till the next college kid tries this out and is not so lucky? How long until a young child gets a copy-cat idea without a parent around?
Our kids depend on us to help them through these confusing, sometimes scary and dangerous years. I hope we can all show better judgment: Sometimes someone has to say “arrow roulette may not be a good idea.”
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Social Security slander
As I’ve followed news coverage of Washington’s Fiscal Reform Commission, it has become clear to me that many members of this committee are gunning for Social Security cuts even though the program hasn’t added a dime to our deficit.
I paid for these benefits and refuse to let these so-called “fiscal hawks” use Social Security as a piggybank to pay for a fiscal fiasco caused by astronomical health care costs, the excesses of Wall Street and the recession. Social Security cuts will not fix our deficit problem, yet this seems to be the main objective of this commission.
Social Security’s modest benefit pays an average of just $13,800 each year. With the stock market meltdown, housing market crash and high level of unemployment, people need Social Security more than ever. We don’t need billionaires like Peter G. Peterson telling us to make tough sacrifices while they reap the benefits of fiscal policies that have made them rich.
It would be a great disservice to our grandchildren if we sat back quietly while these fiscal hawks spread lies about Social Security to sway public opinion against it. We can’t let that happen.
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New trial for Dechaine
It is encouraging to read Dennis Curley’s Dec. 8 letter about Dennis Dechaine. Not a day passes that I do not think about Dechaine and the suffering and humiliation he underwent and must still undergo.
Some time ago, I watched a one-hour program about the Dennis Dechaine case. The program was broadcast in the middle of the night. The investigation was thorough and complete. In this program, two investigators followed the Dechaine case, speaking with him and others until they arrived in Florida to the home of the person they believed killed Sarah Cherry. He did not come out when they called to him. In this program, the investigators proved Dechaine is innocent. Check out this website: www.trialanderrordennis.org for more information and updates.
I, too, cannot understand why Dechaine does not get a new trial. It was found that the DNA at the scene did not match his DNA. Yet, he is not given another trial. I wonder if the trial is about winning instead of justice.
This reminds me of a television movie I saw quite a few years ago and will never forget. At the end of the trial, the judge reprimands both lawyers, telling them that their interest must be focused on justice and not on winning. Let’s keep this case at the forefront until Dechaine gets a new and fair trial and is finally set free. The real murderer may finally be caught, brought to trial and convicted of the murder of Sarah Cherry.
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Teaching left behind
Even “after a decade of intensive efforts to improve its schools” the United States still slips further behind its competitors “despite years spent seeking to raise performance in reading and math through the 2002 No Child Left Behind law.”
There’s your problem, right there. NCLB has implemented too much testing — and subsequently teaching to the test — which leaves little time to focus on meaningful learning. In addition, NCLB ignores an important group of students: the gifted and talented. This nation’s brightest minds are, in fact, being left behind.
Instead of being challenged and engaged, these students are left to fend for themselves. They are discouraged and lose interest in learning and school. The gifted population is sorely underserved, and as a result, our nation is falling behind.
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Saints among us
From time to time, the Pope will canonize someone who has led an outstanding life of godliness and self-sacrifice. When I hear about people like Brittany Crush, a nurse who is dedicating herself to the poorest of the poor in Haiti, I think, what’s the difference? There are saints among us.