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Letters to the Editor for Feb. 1, 2011


Small, healthy steps
It is impossible to turn on TV or open a magazine without seeing an article on the rise of diabetes and pre-diabetes. But it’s not all bad news. A diagnosis of pre-diabetes can be a gift in a funny package, because this is when the smallest of changes can make a big difference.
Numerous studies show by increasing exercise and making even modest decreases in weight, a person often can reverse this diagnosis and delay the onset of full-blown diabetes. I think the reason more people aren’t making these lifestyle choices is because there is information overload on how to do it. Should we run, bike or take a dance class? Low impact, no impact, three times a week or every day?
We always are being told how best to get fit. Articles about what to eat are everywhere. Should we choose no carbohydrate or the more reasonable low carbohydrate? Just make sure those carbohydrates are complex.
It’s impossible not to get overwhelmed and stuck in the details of how to do it “right” and fast. In reality, just moving your body more and sitting less, combined with changing one food habit to a more healthful one, such as substituting a baked potato for fries or kicking a soda habit, is enough to start the journey. When one of these substitutions becomes second nature, make another and then another. Slowly stacking up small successes really can make a difference.
Marianne Montemurro

More critical thinking
If we want our children to make good judgments and rational decisions based on valid reasoning, the teaching of these critical thinking skills should begin in the elementary schools rather than in college (“Study finds colleges not challenging students,” BDN, Jan. 19).
Studies have shown that [Swiss developmental psychologist] Jean Piaget was wrong; children can develop reasoning skills and critical thinking skills at a very young age.
Meaningful discussions with the family around the dinner and with the TV turned off promote the development of these skills. Additionally, in the elementary classroom programs such as Philosophy for Children and The Great Books Program develop these skills in a logical and systematic way.
The judgments and decisions that college students make have far-reaching consequences; their critical thinking skills should need only a fine honing by the time they enter the college classroom. But what public school system today has the time or the money to devote to these programs?
Therein lies the tragedy.
Walter N. Plaut Jr.

Save the environment
I urge everyone to stand up for Maine’s environment, one of the best in the U.S., and tell Gov. LePage’s office by telephone, e-mail and letters that no one in Maine wants to sacrifice one of the most beautiful states, on which the tourist industry is based and on which our own health depends a great deal, for the short-sighted view that regulations of any kind are somehow bad for business.
I grew up in Maine when you couldn’t fish, boat, swim or drink many of the rivers, lakes and streams due to industrial, agricultural, municipal and other non-point sources of chemical pollution. Our great Gov. Muskie, and many other Maine statesmen and women, worked long and hard to pass state environmental laws.
As Maine’s motto and state seal Dirigo says, “I Lead.” Maine’s laws influenced and were copied in many other states. Government is not a business, as the late Gov. Longley’s lessons taught us, and the current mantra of “competition, investment, and infrastructure” is one result of strong and effective environmental laws, not the means to destroy such laws.
Destroy such sane law and you destroy one of Maine’s best attributes and the reason we all call it “Vacationland.”
Jeff Smith

FairPoint’s failings
I am sick to death of FairPoint patting itself on the back, saying it has provided broadband service to 83.4 percent of customers. FairPoint’s Michael Reed said it continues “with fewer and fewer customers per mile.” I live in Carmel and can not get high speed service, although I was told in August 2008 to expect it by February 2009.
The company needs to stop asking for handouts and just do its job.
More and more businesses rely solely on the Internet, and individuals are asked more and more to access their account via the Internet. It’s very hard to keep a connection at only 24,000 kbps, and forget about downloading photos or videos!
Since I am only about 10 miles from Bangor, I am not in an overly rural area and should be able to get high speed Internet.
Judy Arbia-Colgan

Pro-life ignored
I was discouraged to see the BDN’s pitifully scant coverage of the recent March For Life in our nation’s capital. Ink was wasted on a year-old poll, while actual information about the present-day rally and march was omitted. The Jan. 25 article portrayed an inconsequential gathering of a handful of lawmakers who spoke to an unimpressive crowd.
I was further dismayed by your editorial, “Abortion Rights at Risk” (Jan. 26) which dwarfed the previous day’s article in length. It is clear the BDN understood the enormity and impact of the Pro-Life March, and that the tide is turning on this issue. Yet the paper allowed it to go unreported that 400,000 people participated in the march, the majority of whom were young high school and college students — present and future voters.
A contingent from Maine was in attendance, many of whom boarded the bus in Bangor. However, that received no local coverage. As this was perhaps the largest national march of the decade, it deserved better coverage and more prominent placement in your paper.
Domenic P. Cuccinello, Jr.
South Thomaston

Pro-life tidal wave
The 38th Annual March For Life in Washington D.C. took place on Monday, Jan. 24. A conservative estimate of 200,000 people (National Catholic Register) converged on our nation’s capitol to demonstrate their commitment to life and to the reversal of Roe vs. Wade passed in 1973 which established the right to abortion to any pregnant woman for virtually any reason for the full nine months.
A bus load of 53 dedicated pro-lifers from Maine took the trip. Yet people outside the realm of the pro-life community did not seem to know what went on in Washington on Jan. 24. No wonder. You will not read about it in the mainstream media save for the spot news.
Yet, this is a tidal wave sweeping the country that will not go away. It is being infused with youth from around the country dedicated to showing their support for whole life from conception to a natural death.
Jean Barry

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