Bravo for arts
Thank you for the letters to the editor in support of music and the arts in school systems! I am reminded of my own letters to BDN some 24-28 years ago in support of the arts with three sons in a school system that heavily supported athletics, which was OK to support to a degree, but equal support for equal talents would have worked.
I’m impressed to see that, according to the blueprints, the new Brewer Middle School is recognizing all of these talents with performance and competition areas being constructed. Best of luck!
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Acadia in the balance
I’m responding to John Alexander’s March 1 letter to the editor, “Panic mode on debt,” and the continuing federal budget debate.
As the budget fight plays out, our congressional representatives shouldn’t sacrifice the things that make this country great, like Acadia National Park. Maine and America’s most cherished landscapes hang in the balance.
The U.S. House recently passed a budget resolution that slashed funding by over 90 percent for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a major conservation program and source of funding for Acadia. Under the resolution, park officials would be stripped of the resources necessary to pursue 37 acres of private undeveloped land around Lower Hadlock Pond. Reps. Michaud and Pingree deserve kudos for voting against this measure.
The Obama administration spent much of the last year talking to Americans about the great outdoors. The administration’s Great Outdoors Initiative held 50 listening sessions, including one in Bangor, asking citizens how best to protect special places in the country. After an outpouring of public support, the administration has recognized the importance of the LWCF and thrown its support behind full and dedicated funding.
I urge Sens. Snowe and Collins to follow the lead of President Obama and Maine’s U.S. House members by supporting full and dedicated funding for the program. As the Great Outdoors Initiative demonstrates, people across Maine and the country agree that protecting treasured places like Acadia transcends party lines and benefits us all.
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Hampden plan’s benefits
My family has lived in Hampden since 1954. Our land is subject to regulation under Hampden’s shoreland zoning ordinance and ordinances governing the rural district. We harvest firewood every year, and have cut and sold pulpwood. We bowhunt on the property. These are permitted activities under current zoning. I see nothing in the 2010 Comprehensive Plan which would result in ordinances prohibiting them.
Comprehensive plan opponents have made a number of statements in letters to the editor in the BDN and at the March 1 meeting, and those comments do not fit what I read in the plan. For example, the plan’s forestry section includes the general goal of supporting forestry and encouraging economic viability of forest resources. The plan recommends efforts to encourage private landowners to actively manage their forests according to their personal objectives – including timber harvesting. How did these plan provisions result in claims that citizens would be barred from cutting?
The plan urges the town to prohibit such undesirable and unsustainable practices as liquidation harvesting. Promoting good management practices may conflict with some taxpayers’ personal sense of entitlement, but such regulations are appropriate for a community that hopes to preserve its greatest assets and pass them on to their children.
I thank the volunteers and town staff who gave so much of their time to developing the comprehensive plan. It’s a complicated document and may need tweaking. The plan should result in better informed zoning, benefiting the community as a whole.
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Governor’s shotgun blast
I salute the BDN’s recent editorial disgust at our endocrinologically challenged governor’s callous disrespect for all the women of Maine, be they hirsute or alopecic from chemo (“Sideshow Paul,” Feb. 24). His real disrespect is better directed at all the men and boys in Maine, of every political persuasion. BPA mimics estrogen, not testosterone.
So he really means that Maine men should be proud if their little boys develop cute little breasts and testicles in their abdomens at birth. They should both “just deal with” the resulting testicular cancers, called “pre-existing conditions” by the insurance policies they won’t be able to afford, even though they work three part-time jobs. Then walk into the nearest biker bar and tell the boys to enjoy the estrogens they are on to try to fight off their prostate cancers, and the sex they only remember, after the little operation that steers remember so well wasn’t quite curative.
Not many people still find humor in his “gaffetic” approach to his job. If he really thinks we must wait for the feds to ban dangerous chemicals, we should ask him how he feels about an asbestos cocktail toast at his next big-biz fundraiser from away. The overall problem being obscured by all the furor is his shotgun effort to kill all the progress Maine has made, with extraordinary “due diligence,” to protect the environment we still have. It is and will always be our greatest economic resource, source of jobs and our pride.
Paul Averill Liebow, MD
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Require financial literacy
Did you know that on average, college students have four or more credit cards with an average balance of $3,173? A 2009 Sallie Mae study further reported that 84 percent of undergraduates surveyed indicated they needed more education on financial management. Sixty-four percent of the students reported they would have liked to have received personal finance information in high school.
As a parent, concerned citizen and a student pursuing a masters in social work, I value legislative measures that encourage financial independence and fiscal responsibility. I believe that if all high school students, preferably seniors, receive an education on personal finance, it will act as a further support to encourage wise financial choices during young adulthood.
Financial literacy is just as important as teaching our students to read and write. As such, I thank Rep. Benjamin Chipman for sponsoring LD 184.
If passed, LD 184 would require our high school students to receive an education in: using credit, purchasing, budgeting, saving and investing, banking, simple contracts, state and federal income taxes, personal insurance policies and renting or purchasing a home.
Considering how the current economy has negatively impacted Mainers, it’s crucial, now more than ever before, to ensure that financial skills are provided to our young people so they can start out in life on the right financial foot.
Please support LD 184 by contacting your local representatives. In the end, personal finance is an education that improves upon individual well being and society as a whole.