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April 18, 2011: Teaching talent, mural, childish remarks


Losing teachers

I believe talented people making career choices will have a very guarded attitude toward considering the teaching profession in Maine and also in considering other career options that might involve working for the state. I fear they will believe the governor considers the salary and benefits of teachers and state employees as akin to welfare and therefore they will look to other options that are more constructive to one’s esteem as seen in the eyes of their employers. They will avoid any situation wherein they will not  be treated with respect.

If this is true, then we all will suffer because driving away talent cannot help but result in long-term harm. Education requires the guidance of skilled and talented teachers in the schools and in the workplace.

William J. Deering


Tainted editorial

The BDN’s April 13 editorial regarding the comparison of Maine to New Hampshire on economy and tax policy issues is reasonable and informative (“Maine’s Successful Neighbor”). In the last paragraph, however, it resorts to a simplistic and childish simile using Donald Trump’s hair, putting a taint on the entire editorial.

Tom Hedstrom


Going backward

When I looked at the headline in a recent edition of the BDN, I was flabbergasted: “AG supports mural move as free speech.” Where did he learn his law? This is a suppression of free speech! The governor is support to support our free speech. He does not have control over or direct our free speech.

This mural displays the development of free speech in our history. Are we going backward as other countries are fighting to go forward?

Rev. Shirley Mattson

Verona Island

DDT is ‘OK’?

For many, it has been an upsetting several months of watching environmental rollbacks being supported by large corporations and our elected leaders, often with great disrespect to those that seek a healthy environment.

I wonder how many are now aware that the current administration is seeking, through its agricultural legislative committees, to roll back regulations on pesticide notifications and to restrict new efforts to prevent cosmetic use of pesticide applications on children’s school grounds.

Last week, during public testimonies, we heard the chairman of our Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee take time to say he believes the concern about pesticides harming human health is “blown out of context.” He reminisced about using DDT, “spraying with bare hands, wind blowing at me. So far it’s worked out OK for me.”

It is called ecological fallacy to presume that because no effects are seen in one small group that there are no effects to others. In the case of DDT, many other animal species are still recovering from its use.

Next year will be the 50-year anniversary of Rachel Carson’s 1962 “Silent Spring” which also met with fierce denial from both chemical companies and large users of pesticides (including DDT). Is our current administration seeking a rollback of 50 years, eliminating a neighbor’s right to know what is being applied by agribusinesses and allowing application of expensive cosmetic pesticides at our school grounds?

John Krueger


Landowner rights

I am a hunter, landowner and taxpayer. I do believe as a tree farm owner I should have the right to hunt on Sundays on my own land even if it’s small game and coyotes. I respect people wanting to walk in the woods and fields and not having to be afraid of being shot at, but how many times has a person been shot walking in the woods in Maine? People who walk on my land do so with my permission so I know they are there.

Roy Doucette


Caring for kids

I own a store called the Briar Patch in downtown Bangor that offers a wide range of children’s books and creative toys. I’ve been in this business for over 20 years. And because I’m in the business of selling quality kids’ products, I happen to care a lot about kids!

A couple of weeks ago, Rep. Jim Parker did something that will benefit both children’s health and children-oriented businesses like mine; he voted to approve the ban of bisphenol-A, or BPA, in children’s products. On Tuesday, Sen. Nichi Farnham also voted to approve the ban.

Small-business owners don’t have the time or resources to know all of the potentially risky chemicals contained in the products we sell. Most consumers don’t have that kind of time either. That’s why we’re thanking Rep. Jim Parker, Sen. Nichi Farnham and all the other Maine legislators who voted to ban BPA.

And we’re asking Rep. Parker to continue helping out other retailers of children’s products like The Briar Patch by rejecting any attempts in the Legislature to weaken the Kids Safe Products Act. Right now LD 1129 seeks to all but repeal this important law.

The Kid Safe Products Act is common sense, science-based policy to protect children’s health from exposure to unnecessary dangerous chemicals in everyday products. The passage of the BPA rule is a great example of how this law can work effectively.

I hope that Rep. Parker and our other legislators vote against any attempts to weaken the Kid Safe Products Act by opposing LD 1129.

Cathy Anderson


Obama first female president

As Bill Clinton was characterized as the first “black” president, I think historically Obama will be seen as the first “female” president.

All men have female characteristics within them but with most the overwhelming male need for dominance, power and control dominate their behavior and the world has paid a high price for this. We seem to be entering an “Age of Consequence” wherein we are paying the piper for all the damage the flaunting of the male ego has done.

The drive for the competitive edge, the need for self aggrandizement, the choice of violence over compromise and the desire for immediate satisfaction over sustainability has crippled the earth and threatened the very survival of the human race. I believe the Age of Consequence will slowly yield to the Age of Nurturing, led by the leadership of women in touch with their female power.

I think Obama is in touch with his female energy. His ability to compromise, to make decisions through consensus, to support the “we” not the “I,” to choose sustainability over profit, and to use violence when it is the only choice to protect others are all ways in which he has broken from the male model of leadership.

I think Obama’s presidency is the first phase of the  Age of Nurturing and just as Clinton’s presidency may have helped the first black president get elected, so will Obama’s set the stage for the first women president.

Gary Wheeler


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