Smart, but unsafe
Central Maine Power is in the process of installing “smart” meters on every household in Maine, which may not be a smart thing to do. The smart meters give out non-ionizing radiation, which CMP says is safe, but is under investigation as a possible carcinogen. Last year, the President’s Cancer Panel called this type of radiation a possible cause of cancer, urged more research and advised people to limit their wireless exposure.
Not only do these meters pose possible security and privacy problems (hackers) and expose us to nonionizing radiation, they have caused health concerns for sensitive individuals upon installation such as headaches, muscle spasms, heart palpitations, insomnia, dizziness, etc. Others have had problems upon installation with the functioning of medical equipment such as insulin and pain pumps.
Does it make you uneasy to be forced to have one of these new devices attached to your home? It should. Not only will you be exposed to the radiation from your own home and the neighborhood, but also from the network of these devices on every building as well as from new antennas needed to support the network. This isn’t “the way life should be.”
For more information, visit cmfsafetynetwork.org and smartmetersafety.com. You can take action to protect your health and privacy by contacting CMP to get on an opt-out list and by expressing your concern to the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
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The Orono Bog Boardwalk closed at the end of November after another successful — and challenging — season. Some 30,000 visitors enjoyed the walk during the 2010 season. In addition, boardwalk guides led more than 1,000 students and others on educational journeys along the mile-long walk.
Visitors come for a variety of reasons; for many it is a refuge of peace and quiet away from their everyday lives. For others, it is a rare exposure to nature. Some come specifically to study the animals and plants found in this unusual environment. Many come for their daily exercise.
People with disabilities also come, many in wheelchairs, to use the handicap accessible, even and smooth surface of the boardwalk.
Sadly, this past year was marred by an event over Labor Day weekend.
Vandals forced the closure of the boardwalk for two days. On a positive note, the support from the community in terms of monetary donations and volunteering to help fix the boardwalk was very gratifying. The 140 volunteer hours it took to repair and ready the facility for reopening showed the boardwalk enjoys a very high level of community support.
As we look forward to the ninth season, starting May 1, we thank our many visitors and supporters. Thank you to our dedicated volunteers who help maintain the boardwalk and use their expertise to educate visitors on bog ecology. Maintaining the Orono Bog Boardwalk continues to be a challenge, and we truly appreciate the support of the community, volunteers and visitors.
Visit oronobogwalk.org to stay in touch.
Ronald B. Davis
boardwalk founder and first director
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Hampden plan wrong
There is something very wrong in Hampden. Admittedly, like hundreds of others, I neglected notices of public hearings to discuss the town council’s “vision” for Hampden. I trusted elected officials to act in our best interest. Only after the comprehensive plan passed and the first stages implemented (with input of only 29 residents, 13 of whom work for the town) did I realize something is not as it should be.
It is unconscionable that the council should proceed with such a far-reaching and invasive plan with the input of less than 1 percent of a population of more than 6,800. There is something wrong when:
A landowner applies for his annual permit to cut wood from his own 40 acres and is told he will not be granted the permit because those lands are now “protected.”
Someone applies for a permit to replace an existing deck on her water view property and is denied because her home is now designated “non-compliant property” outside approved residential areas.
Longtime residents gift a 2-acre parcel of their 50 acres to their son, and the town calls them “developers” — now forced to donate a percentage of that acreage as “conservation lands.”
Can you afford to let others decide the fate of land that you own? Compare the current proposed land use maps at www.hampdenmaine.gov.
It is imperative that landowners become informed.
I urge residents to attend the 6 p.m. March 1 public hearing at the town office.
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Unions help business
In a Feb. 17 Bangor Daily News editorial (“Right to Work”), Rep. Tom Winsor is paraphrased as saying “that unions have lost their way, failing to understand that their members are in partnership with their employers — to turn a profit in the private sector, and to provide quality services efficiently in the public sector.”
I can tell Rep. Winsor that in my world as a member of a union and a millworker, nothing is farther from the truth. Unions in every paper mill in this state and beyond have been working with companies since the 1990s to make them profitable. We have accepted wage cuts, more cost-sharing of our benefits and less restrictive work rules to help our companies to keep running.
In my world, union leaders go to the membership and explain why we must take concessions. These meeting are not comfortable, and leaders take a lot of heat. In the end, membership usually makes the right choice, because they know that a union is no good without a place to work.
I am proud of what we have accomplished by working together; some places have closed but by a cooperative effort we have been able to keep others running.
Right-to-work legislation will not be the difference of whether a company comes to Maine or not. Unless RTW can lower energy or transportation costs in Maine, it will do nothing to help the state’s economy. We need to keep the jobs we have and create new ones, and right-to-work legislation will do neither.