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Saturday/Sunday, July 2-3, 2011: Teachers and ‘busloads’ of voters

‘Vote Van’ was nonpartisan

I was president of the college Democrats at the University of Maine at Farmington during the 2008 election. I helped run the UMF van in 2004, and I drove it multiple times in 2008.

Mr. Charlie Webster is basing his accusations of taking “busloads” of voters to the polls on UMF. I was at Farmington five years; he must not have been there the last two presidential elections.

I rocked that van with streamers and a sign that said “Vote Van.” Nothing even remotely partisan — no signs, no stickers, nothing. It was for helping folks know they could get to the polls. I didn’t wear partisan gear in the van — just blue nail polish.

We drove folks in crutches and with canes both election years, who otherwise would not have had a comfortable trek to the polls. I didn’t care who you were voting for, I just cared that you were voting. If you wanted bipartisan information on how to register, or on the issues and candidates, it was there.

I am truly flattered that Mr. Webster believes I drove “busloads” of people to the polls.

In 2008, the weather and morale were so great that the vote van had more coffee in it than people. We never had more than four or five people in the van, at any given time.

“Busloads”? I regret to inform you, Mr. Webster, that it was closer to 25 people at most over the course of the entire campaign season.

Kelly J. Basley

No gratitude

I wonder if Gov. LePage or any member of our Legislature would be in Augusta without being educated by teachers.

I am a retired teacher and my retirement check was frozen again for another year without a cost of living increase. Also, all the teachers who are now teaching will be penalized in insurance benefits, paying more of their check into the retirement system and will have to teach longer before they can retire.

Gov. LePage and the members of our Legislature, both Republican and Democrat, should be thanking a teacher that they can read, write, speak and have the intelligence to be elected, instead of doing a disservice to the all the teachers in Maine with the passing of this budget.

Susan Lougee
Presque Isle

Millinocket’s opportunity

A visitor’s center similar to the ones at Acadia National Park or along the national shoreline at Cape Cod could start to open the Millinocket area to tourism.

Tourists could be bused to destinations that allow backpacking adventures that would make the Yellow Brick Road seem like a walk in the park. A kayak could bring some eco-tourists past sites that made Thoreau notice flattened places in the grass along the streams. These jaunts could bring a weekend visitor back around to spend time around these visitor centers.

While mingling with the locals, these advocates of green ecology would be spreading a goodly amount of greenbacks that could allow a diversified economy. Musicians could find an audience, while an artist and artisans could sell their works. The bartender could again fill his liberal cup while the cooks could feed dining rooms full of guests. The hostels would fill their rooms while the guides shuttled groups to and fro.

The bicycle would become an important means of travel. The lakes and streams would again be the highways traveled to and fro. This, instead of the destinations blocked from view by gatekeepers bent on blocking you.

Shangri-la would be the stories brought back from the adventures in the great white north. Ice palaces and crystal mystical sites found among the trees. Get on the bus, there is plenty of room for us and many more. Enjoy the magical mystery rides in and the hike, ski, sled, canoe or kayak, bicycle, trek back or ride the bus back to the parking lot at the edge of town, where more food and fun can be enjoyed and more sons and daughters of locals can be employed. Or Not.

Charlie Cirame

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