January 22, 2018
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Letters to the editor, Feb. 28

Drug court works

How nice to get some much-needed positive news about the Drug Court programs.

Over the years many have graduated from the Adult Treatment Drug Court in Bangor and moved on successful in their recovery. Family drug court was sorely needed in our area.

Most people deserve a second chance to turn their lives around and become a productive part of our communities. Most need education, alcohol and drug counseling, jobs, parenting skills and more, all of which these two programs offer.

A lot of local people are dedicated to making these programs work. Some volunteer their valuable time.

It’s time to offer a little more care and concern for our families, friends and neighbors in need of our help. Incarceration isn’t always the answer.

Jody Veillette

• • •

Stop deifying athletes

It’s puzzling and discouraging that Bangor High School has found it necessary to create a program recognizing athletes for good grades and great attendance in the Bangor All-Americans program. Athletes who achieve this level of excellence should be lauded for their commitment to high goals and achievement. They have the same goals and dreams as a great many of their peers. The issue is that a great many of their peers receive no recognition, no assembly celebrating their excellence.

The 300-400 student-athletes at Bangor High school are roughly a quarter of the student body. Many students in the remaining three-quarters make the honor roll and have great attendance. Celebrate the achievement and the excellence of all, not just the ones who do it and play a revenue-generating sport.

We need to create a school community where the football team is “strongly encouraged” to attend the band concert, as the band is “strongly encouraged” to attend the football game. It’s time to stop deifying kids because they’re athletes, time to stop setting them apart from the rest of the student  body. The small girl in the play is just as important as the tall boy who hits the three.

Drama, chorus, band and the arts are not big money makers. The kids involved with them don’t care. They share the same level of commitment to their studies, attendance and extracurricular activities as athletes do. High school kids drive enough wedges between themselves, they don’t need the school’s administration encouraging it.

Andrew H. White

• • •

Rural knowledge needed

In response to the story, “Presque Isle taps Florida man for police chief” (BDN Feb. 23), Jim Bennett, the city manager, has missed the boat totally . He nominated a lieutenant from the 1,400-officer force from Orlando, Fla., for the position. The city manager is quick to point out that the lieutenant has extensive experience in high-profile homicide cases and “several of those have included high-profile cases with national and worldwide interest.” So, when was the last time Presque Isle needed expertise in homicides?

What the city needs and did not get was a police chief with law enforcement expertise in smaller rural city living and down-to-earth law enforcement issues that county residents experience. Drugs, burglary, domestic violence, substance abuse and juvenile crimes are the real needs, not homicides.

The lieutenant has 25 years of law enforcement experience, including 16 years of investigative experience. Well, so do the two local finalists from the local department. The difference is that the local candidates know the landscape, the 20-person department and the citizenry. Bennett missed a golden opportunity at the expense of the more qualified local department candidates and residents of Presque Isle.

Victor Brown
Presque Isle

• • •

State’s breach of faith

As a retired teacher in Woodland I am very disturbed by the governor’s proposed cuts in retiree benefits. I spent 37 years teaching and was promised a retirement benefit that the state of Maine is reneging on wrongfully .

I have been retired for three years now and have yet to receive a cost of living increase. My insurance and everything else I have to purchase is going up, and yet the state feels comfortable in not allowing a cost of living increase for five years.

The state pays only 45 percent of my medical insurance now (if I had driven a truck for the DOT they would be paying 100 percent) and yet the state can feel comfortable not paying what I was guaranteed when I was hired in 1971. They didn’t tell me they might not pay 45 percent if rates went up, which the governor is saying now.

It is not my fault the Legislature chose not to fund its liabilities. Why must I be the one to pay for the state’s mistake? It is bad enough that I can’t collect even half the Social Security I contributed for years of working summer jobs and now the state is going to penalize me for being in a retirement system I had no choice but to join.

There is something morally wrong with a government that seems to think willfully breaking a contract with employees is OK.

Donald C. Roffey

• • •

Alienating teachers

As a parent of young children just beginning their years in Maine’s public schools, I’d like to ask our new governor how he plans to attract and retain the best teachers to our state. In his recent budget proposals, Mr. LePage has decided to turn his back on educators by substantially raising teachers’ required contributions to an already paltry retirement benefit. At the same time he would cut the tax rates of the richest Mainers.

Requiring teachers to tithe a growing percentage of their modest annual earnings to a system that has frozen benefits to retirees and adds no benefits to future retirees not only negates promises made to those who taught our generation, but alienates anyone considering a teaching career in Maine. How many of us credit individual teachers with the inspiration that gave direction to our lives? I clearly remember the teachers who made an impact on me, who along with my parents gave me the confidence and the skills necessary to one day enter the teaching profession myself.

As a public high school teacher in Maine, I daily see the difference that dedicated teachers make in the lives of young people.  We educate; we mentor; we coach today’s youth. Mr. LePage, do not turn your back on the next generation by driving young teachers away. Do not turn your back on Maine’s teachers.

Sam Manhart

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