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Feb. 18 Letters to the Editor


Editor’s note: Through editing errors, the meaning of the following letter was misconstrued when it was published Feb. 11. This is the corrected version.

Animal trespass

This past year, my elderly neighbor and I were the victims of repeated animal trespass by an extremely aggressive dog. Each time this dog crossed onto our property, there were few consequences that could be imposed upon its owners by our local animal control officer.

I also frequently visit a camp where a neighboring farm raises Russian boars (think big, angry pigs with tusks.) Over the years, these boars repeatedly have gotten loose and have caused extensive property damage in the neighborhood.

These boars are wild, aggressive animals. Their species is not native to Maine. They often have been known to charge humans.

With small children living in the neighborhood, their escapes are especially frightening.

The animal control officer in that area repeatedly has been contacted about these trespasses. Civil action against the owner for the repeated trespass of his animals, as well as any attempt to recoup financially for the destruction the boars inflict on private property, inevitably falls to individual property owners.

LD 89 is a bill regarding repeated animal trespass that currently is in committee. I encourage anyone with concerns or experience with this subject to research this bill and to share their concerns and opinions with their representatives. It is hoped that with the help of our Legislature, future acts of repeated animal trespass could be dealt with more severely.

Laine N. Parsons


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Nuclear mugging

I was amused to see the Feb. 15 OpEd piece by Kevin Knobloch of the Union of Concerned Scientists (“GOP blind to climate science”). All politics may be local, but all environmental groups are constituency-driven. The people who support the Union of Concerned Scientists hate carbon in the atmosphere and the implied global warming.

This same constituency cheered the closure of Maine Yankee in the 1990s and therewith eliminated 6 billion kilowatt-hours per year of carbon-free electricity.

Evidently, the Union of Concerned Scientists would prefer that their electricity be generated by some kind of magic. It is becoming increasingly clear that noncarbon, non-nuclear forms of electric power are being mugged by the laws of thermodynamics.

Richard C. Hill

Old Town

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Classics process

It’s no surprise that some have criticized UMaine’s plan to suspend its Latin major. It was a difficult decision forced by serious budget challenges. But I cannot let public misrepresentations go unchallenged.

Under our plan, Latin instruction will continue, but we will suspend the major. While courses have reasonable enrollment and we recognize the discipline’s value, only a small number of students have selected the Latin major in recent years. This change will allow us to offer more classics courses to students from all disciplines, because we won’t need upper-level courses required for the major. We will realize relatively minor short-term savings, but those savings become significant as part of a long-term plan to restructure the university’s overall academic program.

The change initially was recommended by a group of faculty and administrators that spent eight months developing ways to create a more financially sustainable curriculum. Opportunities for public comment followed, leading to significant changes in the recommendations. Contrary to some assertions, the process has been inclusive and transparent, involving all stakeholder groups. Finally, the contention that UMaine will become the nation’s only flagship university without a Latin major is simply untrue.

As the dean of Maine’s largest liberal arts college, I’m proud of our commitment — in the face of significant budget challenges — to providing students with the educational foundation they will need to succeed in life.

These changes are difficult but necessary for UMaine to continue its 146-year tradition as Maine’s leading institution of public higher education.

Jeffrey Heckerdean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

University of Maine

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Run-off election needed

Do you feel that we have a representative government when a governor is elected with less than 50 percent of the votes cast? We do not have a governor elected by the majority of the people!

I have written to my representative and suggest that everyone who shares my sentiment do the same. I call for a people’s referendum that would require any candidate for governor to have more than 50 percent of the votes cast. It seems that Maine has opted to save a few dollars by not having run-off elections when a candidate for governor does not receive a majority vote.

The current election system will cost us more, both financially and in terms of quality of life. If not a run-off election, the ballot could prioritize first, second and third choices on the ballot to determine a majority winner.

Every day, I read in the BDN something our governor wants to change or introduce that makes me sick. Either I quit reading the newspaper or Medicare will have to pick up an additional bill, yet another cost to government, because of our failed governor electoral system!

Donald Moore


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Orwellian logic

The BDN recently ran a Washington Post article that was written to clear up “a number of popular myths that persist and are worth revisiting.” I believe that the movement to repeal the health care reform bill is fueled by articles such as this. That is, George Orwell and Ayn Rand would be proud to know that they were so prophetic, but it’s hard to believe in a plan that has to be supported by wily double talk.

One “myth” it proposed to expose regarding the health care legislation is that “Medicare benefits will be cut and payments will be cut to Medicare doctors.” It explains, “The politically radioactive word ‘cut’ is a misnomer. Under the law, Medicare spending will continue to increase year after year … Both parties, in theory, agree that this is a good thing.”

The next paragraph gives specifics of the legislation: “The health care bill will cut projected Medicare spending by $575 billion over 10 years … by lowering projected fees paid to hospitals and other providers and by reducing payments to private Medicare Advantage insurance plans.”

Say what? So Medicare spending will continue to increase while Medicare spending is decreased by $57.5 billion per year? Got it? If not, Google “George Orwell 1984” for an interpretive lesson.

Dale Sprinkle


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