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Friday, Sept. 30, 2011: Paul Bunyan, statistical errors and Maine’s forest industry

Move Paul to river

It is now time to move our beloved statue of Paul Bunyan to the Bangor Waterfront. Far too soon, he will be surrounded by the new Bangor arena complex making it difficult for tourists taking family photos and leaving little space for him to swing his ax. Moreover, he needs his own space.

The Waterfront will present a more scenic photo opportunity for tourists, higher visibility for him to those crossing the bridges, riding the river and walking the Waterfront for events throughout the year.

We moved Bangor’s Chamber of Commerce building, now it is time to move our champion, Paul Bunyan, to better exposure, introducing our city to those coming from across the Penobscot River. Perhaps one day he would have room on the Waterfront for a statue of Babe the Blue Ox as his companion, and a river-trail with his name.

Tom Bartlett


Better odds

The poor, terrorized people of Glenburn, Warren, Winterport and Norridgewock were the victims of a common statistical error (“And Another Thing…” BDN Sept. 23 editorial).

I hope they did not spend the day in their basements for fear of satellite parts hitting them. NASA estimated the odds of a part hitting a human at about 1 in 3,200. With about 7 billion people in the world, that makes the odds of me, or you, getting hit about 1 in 22 trillion.

In fact, if Maine’s population is about 1.3 million, then the odds of a Mainer getting hit are still only about 1 in 16 million. That’s quite different than saying one person in these towns can expect to be struck.

Andrew Thomas


Favoritism in politics

I have been watching the struggle to redo the state’s congressional district lines with interest and a certain amount of amusement.

Elections have consequences and one of the consequences of the last election is the Republicans have a majority in both branches of the government plus the governorship. The result is they get to say where the lines are drawn. Period, case closed.

If you look at the proposed maps the Republican suggestion is basically a straight line where as the Democrats’ preference has all kinds of jigs and jogs in it. Why do you suppose those jugs and jogs are there? It is because that favors the Democratic chances in the 2nd District.

Of course the Republican plan favors the Republican cause, just as the plans favored the Democrats’ cause when they had the majority.

The only reason the Democratic whining has any credence at all is because they have a favorable press carrying their water for them.

Bob Mercer


Atrocities of the world

On any given day, we can pick up the newspaper and learn of all the atrocities that are occurring all over the world, or you can see them firsthand on television.

Besides all of the weather-related horrific events, we are inundated with stories about war casualties, unthinkable crimes, pestilences, children being abused, people suffering from AIDS, cancer, bird flu, lyme disease and malnutrition.

Just as the Good Book reminds us (Matthew 24:32) as in the parable of the fig tree (you know that summer is near when the leaves come forth), know, too, that He, (Christ) is near the door, when all of these things are seen.

Whether the Mayan and Hopi prophecies that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, are correct remains to be seen. In any event, I cannot help but think that they are not too far off the mark.

Alberta Farthing-Owens


Hope for forestry

For a great many years the state of Maine has been more or less dependent on the forest industry, and when a paper mill or a sawmill closes it, of course, takes away jobs.

Now that the mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket have been sold yet again, there is at least hope that some, if not all, of these jobs and other related forestry jobs will be reinstated.

Now, if we could just wake up and find that Roxanne Quimby was just a bad dream.

Jack Leeman


Support safe chemical act 2011

As a mother of two, I am sick and tired of unknowingly exposing my children to products that I later discover contain toxic chemicals. I used baby bottles for my son containing bisphenyl A, which is a hormone disrupter, and now 11 years later, my back-to-school shopping effort included buying rainbow-colored dividers for his science binder that contain polyvinyl chloride. PVC contains phthalates, lead and cadmium, all of which can be toxic.

When PVC is manufactured and disposed of by incinerator, hundreds of dioxins are formed and released. Dioxins are a highly toxic group of chemicals that can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems of children.

The Environmental Protection Agency currently has very limited authority to test and regulate chemicals in our products, thus allowing known toxic substances, like PVC, to end up anywhere. Maine is working hard at the state level to protect children with the Kid Safe Products Law. However, we need reform at the federal level because the law that is supposed to test and regulate chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act, is badly broken.

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, would address the core failings of TSCA, require chemical manufacturers to demonstrate the safety of their products and require EPA to evaluate the safety of industrial chemicals based on the best available science. Write or call Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and ask them to co-sponsor and vote in support of the Safe Chemical Act of 2011.

Amy D. Russell


Stop the bullying

With school back in session and bullying being a bigger problem than ever, we as a community need to come up with tangible solutions to combat this problem rather than simply hanging “Do Not Bully” posters in the hallways of schools.

School buses are havens for bullying. Bus drivers need to be able to keep their eyes only on the road. We need bus monitors to watch the children and help create a safe, bully-free ride.

Some areas, Danvers, Mass., for example, have come up with innovative ways to make school buses safer environments for children; for instance, having high school student volunteer monitors ride the bus in bright colored vests, identifying them as a “safe person.”

School officials, bus companies and community leaders need to sit down and discuss what can be done. I’ll even spring for lunch.

Time to make a difference, rather than just talk about the problem of bullying.

Merijane Spinney


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