Tuesday, June 7, 2011: Wind clarification, Fort Kent school fight

Posted June 06, 2011, at 8:19 p.m.

Wind clarification

A June 1 BDN story implied that University of Maine College of Engineering faculty are uniformly opposed to offshore wind power. This is not true.

Offshore wind represents one of several alternative energy technologies our faculty members are working to develop, also including electricity generated by tidal currents; smart grid technology that can integrate new energy sources into our existing electric system; biofuels from wood and algae; and fuel cells that use a range of fuels.

Moreover, we put significant teaching and research emphasis on energy efficiency. With all new technologies, there are many questions that need to be answered.

UMaine engineers, in partnership with faculty from across the campus and beyond, are working to assess many important engineering, economic, environmental and social issues related to renewable energy technology. This is what engineers and scientists do — solve today’s problems to create a better tomorrow.

Dana Humphrey, dean of engineering

Eric Landis, chairman, civil and environmental engineering

Hemant Pendse, chairman, chemical and biological engineering

Mohamad Musavi, chairman, electrical and computer engineering

Mohsen Shahinpoor, chairman, mechanical engineering

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Travel north

The BDN’s “50 things to do in Maine this summer” could only find two things to do in the northern half of the state? Your staff needs to travel more!

Kevin McCartney

Caribou

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Fort Kent school fight

I attended a meeting on Thursday, May 26, of the Fort Kent School Board, which is supposed to include AOS 95 and SAD 27. Many parents voiced their concerns to no avail.

With secret board retreats, a strategic plan and the advice of the Fort Kent Town Council, the outlying towns were targeted again, especially Wallagrass Elementary — the only school that has consistently exceeded the Adequate Yearly Progress year after year.

The Fort Kent council has threatened the board it will vote down the budget if it does not get what it wants. Boo-hoo! I thought bullying was not tolerated in school systems. They have even scared off the politicians!

With their new restructuring plan, the average taxpayer will save anywhere from $2 to $50 a year. Wow! That’s from less than a cent to $.14 a day. Sleep well.

Elaine Pelletier Desjardins

Soldier Pond

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Aube’s omission

Kudos to Mr. Aube for his June 3 BDN OpEd, “Higher-ed role key in economic growth.” I was disappointed, however, that when Mr. Aube listed all the educational institutions in the Bangor area, he made no mention of UMA Bangor, a campus of 1,000 students located in the heart of the city.

We offer baccalaureate and select associate degrees in liberal studies and professional programs, including dental hygiene, veterinary technology, computer information services, business management, criminal justice and mental health and human services. The average age of a UMA student is 31, and more than 70 percent are adults who, upon degree completion, stay and work in Maine.

UMA Bangor has a long history of collaboration with area organizations and businesses. Hundreds of our students are placed in internships each year, which often lead to employment. UMA Bangor is affordable and accessible, and we work with adult education, career centers and EMCC to provide retraining and degree completion opportunities for adult students either on our campuses, at University College centers, or by distance education.

We work closely with the Veterans’ Administration, and GI Jobs Magazine named UMA as a “military friendly school,” a designation that places UMA in the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students.

UMA Bangor has a lot of which to be proud, particularly our graduates. Please do not overlook a valuable educational resource right in the middle of Bangor.

Gillian Jordan, dean, UMA Bangor

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Maine needs Medicaid

At a time when we are facing budget challenges at both the national and state level, it is critically important to make certain those most vulnerable among us are not asked to bear too heavy a burden. Sens. Snowe and Collins held fast to this key principle in voting against recent federal budget proposals that included provisions to drastically cut Medicaid funding and covert the program into a block grant.

Maine has one of the oldest populations in the country and it’s getting older. Maine citizens ages 65-74 are the fastest growing segment of the population in the state and, by the year 2020, Maine is expected to be second only to Florida as the state with the highest percentage of the population over age 65.

The Medicaid program is an important part of how we are able to ensure our elderly and disabled residents get the long-term care they need and deserve as they get older. Today, Medicaid covers 70 percent of Mainers in nursing homes. In fact, Medicaid provides 93 percent of the funding across the spectrum of long-term care services that are so critical to our state’s elderly and disabled citizens.

Drastic cuts or changes in the Medicaid program would have a huge impact on our ability to effectively take care of the health and well-being of our senior citizens.

Sens. Snowe and Collins did not take these proposals lightly and did what they always do: put Maine people first. And for that, we should all be grateful.

Brenda Gallant, executive director, Maine Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

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Fourth help needed

Every year for the last several years the area Kiwanis clubs have presented the giant parade and fireworks in Bangor to celebrate the Fourth of July in style. This event is enjoyed by some 30,000 or more people.

This is a very expensive event and we have always, through efforts led by Kiwanians’ Tony Bernatche and Doug Damon, been able to raise the necessary funds. This year, in view of the tight business budgets, the funds needed are not forthcoming.

Please, businesses and individuals, help us present this loved event! I cannot begin to express how much effort has been put in this year and in past years. In spite of all the efforts, the fund is woefully short this year. If you enjoy this event and want it to continue, please consider helping us out by sending your contributions to the Fourth of July Corporation care of Bernataci Auto Body at 1576 Hammond St., Bangor. Remember, no contribution is too large or too small to help as all are welcomed.

Frank L. Carr, Bangor Breakfast Kiwanis

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/06/06/opinion/tuesday-june-7-2011-wind-clarification-fort-kent-school-fight/ printed on July 22, 2014