Saturday/Sunday Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2011: Road maintenance, death penalty coverage and potatoes

Posted Sept. 30, 2011, at 4:59 p.m.

Stop dishonest practice

In Ed Mazurek’s Op-Ed piece on Friday, September 23, titled, “Maine’s rough roads hurt our economy,” he omitted some very important information.

For his first three terms in the Legislature, he was among the Democratic party majority and served all those years on the transportation committee. While he now tries to blame the Republicans for failing to provide adequate funds for road maintenance, it was during his previous terms (and during the 38 years when the Democrats held total sway in Augusta) that our roads and bridges fell into the dismal condition.

Road maintenance is an ongoing effort. To claim we need to pass bonds for everyday maintenance is like saying you, as a homeowner, should take out a bond to pay for your telephone or electric bill. Doing so is only passing the problem down the road.

Instead of paying attention to our everyday needs in the area of road and bridge maintenance, Ed Mazurek and his fellow Democrats choose to buy votes by making everything else a priority and then, as an afterthought, telling us the only way to maintain our roads was to pass a bond. This is the same as taking out a bank loan to pay your monthly bills. It is irresponsible.

And, to now claim the Republicans are being irresponsible by not taking out loans for ongoing maintenance is disingenuous. It was wrong when the Democrats were doing it and the Republicans are right to stop the dishonest practice.

William Chapman

Rockport

Equal billing, please

After reading in the Sept. 22 BDN about two executions that took place, I was a little upset that one made the front page while the other was stuck in the C section behind the sports.

How come this happens? In my humble opinion it’s because the front page execution involved a cop.

This isn’t right. Although I’m against the death penalty, if this is going to be published, at least give this stuff equal billing and put them on the same page.

John D. Ellison

Etna

Quimby’s heavy hand

For over 50 years landowners large and small have willingly allowed access to old trails and roads for a few weeks in the winter for use by snowmobilers. Exceptions were areas with active logging operations and these moved about every winter creating no hardship to anyone and were easily detoured around.

Now along comes the heavy hand of Roxanne Quimby and her “my way or the highway” attitude against snowmobile clubs and the millions of dollars pumped into the Maine economy by snowmobilers.

I believe it is shameful for a large landowner to resort to blackmail, intimidation and coercion against volunteer snowmobile clubs that ask for so little and provide so much for the economy of Maine. Quimby is just trying to advance her own wishes for a legacy at the expense of many good Maine people.

Maine has a splendid state park system with reasonable rates and millions of acres of private land free to use with discretion, plus hundreds of private campgrounds. My experience in land utilization suggests that Quimby’s 70,000 acres, whose major asset is a view of Baxter State Park, is simply not national park worthy.

Jim Fitz-Patrick

Whitefield

Memories of a County girl

Being a County girl born and bred, I often try to explain to my central Maine friends what it was like to leave school for several weeks in the fall to help in the potato harvest. The article by Renee Chalou-Ennis in Wednesday’s edition of the BDN says it all and much better than I ever could.

It brought back great memories of those early mornings waiting for the pick-up to collect me for the day’s work, the chilly ride in the back of the truck (now illegal) to the field, which might be too frozen to dig and piling up broken barrels to start a fire to keep warm while we waited for the sun to come up and thaw the ground. What a wonderful time it was.

I loved every minute of it and if my 60-year-old plus aching back were not an issue and if most of the farmers had not switched to mechanical harvesters, I would be there again to help out. Picking potatoes was a way to learn about responsibility and to instill a work ethic that remains with many of us into adulthood and beyond. Thanks for the memories Renee.

Frances Field

Dexter

Global warming

I wrote a Letter to the Editor last May about people ridiculing former Vice President Al Gore’s statement about global warming by asking why was it snowing so much if it was getting warmer. I explained that the melting of our glaciers was caused by global warming and the humidity came down as snow or rain.

Surely, this summer, with its constant rain, in addition to the last week of September with temperatures in the high 70s, will convince people that global warming is a fact of life and we must reduce our air pollution.

Elbridge Gagnon

Houlton

Potatoes and school lunches

Regarding Sen. Susan Collins’ fight for the potato: First, a disclaimer — I spent 20 years as a school nurse in Kentucky (a state that is one of the national leaders in childhood obesity). I love potatoes as does Sen. Collins and I agree with her that baked potatoes are great. Unfortunately, much of the nutrition in a potato is in the skin, which rarely makes it onto the school lunch tray (those mashed potatoes served at school start their day as dehydrated flakes).

Also, does Sen. Collins ever eat a baked potato with one pat of butter and no salt and pepper (kudos if she does). I can’t. Bring on the sour cream, maybe some shredded cheddar, and a few bacon bits — oops, not too healthy.

A final point to ponder on the lovely potato: How many 6-year-olds are able to cut open and consume a baked potato without assistance? This is not a food conducive for many young children in a 25-minute lunch period.

Potatoes are great, just not fried and maybe not baked and plopped on an elementary school lunch tray. If we need to incorporate more potatoes into the school lunch menu, somebody please suggest some truly healthy, practical ways of doing so.

Leslie Lavender

Stockton Springs

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