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Wednesday, July 6, 2011: Family’s best friend, lawmaker compensation and fireworks

Devastating loss

On June 27, the Fall family of Palmyra suffered a great loss. A so-called neighbor and someone they must have known at least by name took the life of their beloved family pet. Hank was their one-year-old chocolate Labrador Retriever, a companion, friend and a cherished member of the family.

The pain and sorrow in the BDN’s photos of Jennifer Fall and her son Bryce will be forever burned into my mind. Having spoken to Jennifer on the phone, it was plain to hear that her world has been shattered. Not being able to eat, sleep or make any sense of this event has left her a wreck. Anyone who has ever lost a pet knows this feeling.

I hope the person who did this to Hank and the Fall family is brought to justice. This was not a random act.

Craig A. Williams


Fiscal irresponsibility

Nothing arouses righteous indignation more than to see Congress vote $6.1 million in bonuses, some as high as $13,000, when this country is saddled with a horrendous debt. This clearly shows fiscal irresponsibility.

Dee C. Brown Jr.


Psychiatric care, not prison

I would like to thank Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross for putting the recent Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center incident in which a prisoner escaped in perspective.

We, the direct care staff at DDPC, have to rely primarily on our communication skills to handle even the most difficult of situations when caring for our patients. Hands-on skills are strongly discouraged. We are not maximum security. That is not our mission. We are trained to care for the psychologically challenged in a humane and compassionate way.

It truly was a big mistake to return this individual to DDPC when he should have been taken to Riverview, which has what DDPC does not have: a forensics facility.

Glenn Ross was correct to criticize the entire system. It’s a real mess. It would be wrong to fire the two female staff members who accompanied Hall that evening. All things considered, what could they have done to prevent this 29-year-old physically fit man from jumping the fence without getting seriously injured?

DDPC was a smoke-free campus a few years ago. But smoking privileges were reinstated when there were so many incidences of smoking in bedrooms, shower rooms and other out-of-the-way places. Some small fires also occurred from time to time. Preventing these things from happening was nearly impossible.

Greg Umel


New Jersey bound

Glad to know that fireworks have been made legal in Maine. The person who has been setting them off for the past 15 minutes will be glad when next year rolls around and he or she won’t have to worry about doing something illegal, just like last year and the year before.

What a joke. As long as I have lived on lakes — 25 years — I have had to listen to the noise every Fourth of July. It would not be very hard to have enforced a law that has been on the books, but I guess some laws are selectively enforced.

The blatant firing of fireworks is heard every year on hundreds of lakes in Maine and gets worse with each passing year. The terrified dogs and wildlife and the pollution and unnatural noise will now be legal thanks to our fearless leader, Gov. LePage and his cohorts.

I can’t wait for the extended celebrations and further disregard for others that will come as a result of his “business plan” for Maine. It’s feeling more New Jerseyish every day.

Tanya Troiani


Congress must sacrifice

When members of Congress call for “shared sacrifice” to solve our massive debt crisis, the Republicans (and a few Democrats) mean that everyone else — excepting large corporations, the extremely wealthy, the Pentagon and, of course, they themselves — must sacrifice.

Let us remind our representatives they work for us. In the private sector, employers set salary and benefits, but our senators and representatives determine their own compensation and benefits, paid for by us. Their remuneration bears no relation to the health of the economy or the size of the national debt, unlike the private sector where millions of jobs have disappeared, along with employer provided pensions and health care for those remaining who are still employed.

Here’s a modest proposal: If Congress is seriously considering something like the Ryan plan to privatize Social Security and to issue Medicare vouchers, then they must replace their own taxpayer-provided health insurance with a voucher system, and tie their taxpayer-provided pension plan to the performance of the stock market —- exactly what they are demanding from their constituents.

It is time we had a comprehensive report on what our elected representatives are paying themselves: salaries, benefits, pensions and automatic pay raises. Should Congress cause a government shutdown by continuing to engage in brinksmanship with the debt ceiling, I will bet that despite the resulting chaos, they will still manage to cut their own checks. No wonder the approval rating for Congress hovers around 17 percent.

Pamela Storm


Jobs explosion

I was surprised to read that the recent legislation allowing the sale of fireworks is being described as a “jobs bill.” Which jobs are we talking about? The folks who work for a few weeks in road side stands selling these fireworks? The doctors and nurses who work in hospital emergency rooms trying to save the lives and limbs of the folks who misuse them? Or maybe the physical and occupational therapists who work with the maimed to teach them how to function without their missing eyes, hands and fingers?

We will all pay more for medical insurance and our taxes will cover more MaineCare expenses as a result of this poorly thought out legislation.

Constance Poulin


Selective ceiling memory

During the current debt-ceiling negotiations with a Democratic president, hypocritical Republicans walking the halls of our nation’s capital are rediscovering their party’s core “values” of conservatism, fiscal responsibility and limited government. Yet, they previously supported their own party’s president by raising the debt ceiling seven times, which doubled the national debt and “funded” two wars — one by hubristic choice — with unfunded supplemental budgets.

While it is in our best interest and that of our country’s vitality to reduce our national debt, it is also necessary to condemn those who seek to weaken our nation’s financial resolve during an economic crisis, especially one to which they contributed to so readily and generously.

Mike Turcotte


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