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Dec. 29 Letters to the Editor

Relevance questioned

I am disappointed with the article “Brother, adopted sister sentenced in health care fraud case” by Mark LaFlamme from the Dec. 24 edition. I read the piece several times trying to figure out how the fact that the brother and sister had become family through adoption was relevant to the fraud they committed.

There is already enough stigma about people who have been adopted not being “real” family members; the BDN doesn’t need to perpetuate it by allowing this unrelated detail to be included. If the details of how Osman and Guled became family are, in fact, key to the fraud case, then it’s simply poor journalism that the reason was not reported.

Claire McClain



Gift job

Ho, ho, ho, and Happy Christmas. Who knew that under the tree would be a job from Daddy? Who knew that when the unemployed busily submitted their resumes in the heady post-election days that the governor-elect’s daughter would benefit? I am sure all those job seekers, qualified and unqualified alike, had no idea that getting a job might require being related to the governor-elect.

I had mused during the election how Mr. LePage’s previous employment working for Marden’s would assist him in approaching the question of unemployment. I hadn’t thought of the time-honored tradition of hiring family first. That may work at Marden’s, but in Augusta, it always comes at a cost, no discount.

Also, I recall Mr. LePage’s concerns about anyone discussing the Florida residency or the Florida in-state tuition of his family as off-limits. In hiring Miss LePage, I believe he has opened a door that he had firmly planted himself in front of, hands pressed against it, protecting his family like a bulldog.

It matters not if Miss LePage is qualified; it will be about the appearance of favoritism.

Will Miss LePage be able to perform her job under this cloud of nepotism that will follow her in Augusta?

Aimee Smith



Waldo County budget

The reporter who wrote the BDN’s Dec. 23 story, “Waldo County’s budget to stay idle,” should have contacted some member of the budget committee for, perhaps, a slightly different view.

In spite of her predictions of fiscal doom, this did not stop County Treasurer David Parkman from arguing forcefully for a 3.99 percent and a 7.3 percent pay increase for himself and his deputy, respectively. In the Office of the Commissioners, salaries increased by 2.9 percent to 7.8 percent for various staff members. Not very gloomy there, either.

At the Dec. 17 final budget meeting, the budget committee was informed that the county currently has more than $1.2 million as an unappropriated fund balance. There is an additional $1.1 million in dedicated capital reserve accounts. Of $500,000 from reserve accounts needed for the new sheriff’s office, $403,000 has been set aside for years just for such a project. Once built, there will be no need to refund these reserves.

Not that unmerry a Christmas for Waldo County government, and hopefully a merry one for Waldo County taxpayers.

Bill Sneed


Waldo County Budget Committee



Homegrown electricity

News of the impending removal of hydro-electric dams in Maine is not good. One of Maine’s biggest obstacles to economic development and a bit easier life for our population is our very high electricity rates.

Years ago, we were taught that New England was a place with abundant water power. Admittedly, some of that hydro power did harm fish migration.

Now, we work hard and spend lots of money to develop wind power and other alternatives. The wind power fits well into Maine’s current problem; it is the most expensive on a per kilowatt basis of all the power we have, while hydro is the lowest cost.

The dams could still be operated while maintaining our native fish for a much lower total cost than removing the dams. They could be altered with better fishways, breach gates or the use of wing dams to continue to generate power while letting fish pass.

I suggest that electricity, not unlike oil, will cost more when we must import it. Once we are using imported electricity, we can be held hostage for yet higher prices, sort of like today with oil. Maine would be distinctly better off if we employed people here to generate power for us and maybe some to sell.

This may be difficult to understand. We in Maine have been saying we need economic development for decades. Part of the problem is that many people don’t know what really constitutes economic development, nor do they understand what impedes development.

Rick Bronson



Plea to Bangor citizens

Citizens of Bangor, please go to City Hall and the City Clerk and sign those papers to have a civic center and arena brought to a citywide vote.

Also, get rid of these city councilors who just don’t care if we pay a lot more taxes.

Dennis Robertson



Mascot hypocrisy

I am writing regarding Ernie Clark’s Dec. 17 column, “Lessons can be learned in mascot issue,” which highlights one of the most ludicrous of social issues.

I lived in Pittsburgh for many years and became a Steelers fan. The team name pays tribute to the area’s heritage and reflects pride in the men who worked in the steel industry. It evokes a connection to the work ethic of those who built this great country.

Other teams have mascots with similar roots. New England honors the Patriots, who established this country. The University of North Carolina honors the Tar Heels, who were so steadfast in holding their posts that they were said to have tar on their heels. San Francisco connects to its heritage by honoring the miners drawn there by the discovery of gold in 1849. The common theme is honor and heritage.

Yet when a team chooses an Indian theme, some people see a belittling, derogatory symbolism. I would be happy for my son or daughter to be a Warrior, Redskin or Blackhawk. These are true American icons, people who were intimately in touch with their surroundings, who had to work hard to survive, who fought bravely to preserve their native heritage and then as integral members of our common society. They have flourished, struggled, suffered, lost, survived and persevered.

I would be happy to honor that heritage and happy if my children reflected the character of those native peoples — strong, brave, humble, spiritual, honorable. Those who suggest otherwise shine a light of racial hypocrisy on themselves.

Owen Nelson



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