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Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011: Polio, wind power and potatoes

Keeping polio at bay

I was very interested in the BDN’s Oct. 1 article about Dennis Stubbs’ courageous, lifetime battle with polio. Oct. 24 is World Polio Day. Many people are unaware that polio still exists because it was eliminated in the Western World decades ago.

In the mid-1980s, Rotary International undertook the project of eliminating polio around the world. At that time there were over 350,000 new cases every year. Rotary persuaded the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to be its partners in the cause.

In the past 25 or so years, Rotarians have donated over $1 billion and provided countless thousands of volunteers who, with the help of our partners, have reduced the incidence of polio by 99 percent. The Gates Foundation donated $355 million to Rotary to complete the job, with a challenge match for Rotarians to raise $200 million by June 2012.

To that end, Rotarians in the U.S. and Canada will be working together to create awareness and to raise funds to finish the task.

Five Rotary Clubs of the Midcoast Maine area — Belfast, Camden, Rockland, West Bay (Camden’s breakfast club) and the Midcoast Interact (high school students) — will be collaborating on Oct. 22 to complete a 26-mile marathon from Rockland to Belfast. A vaccine for one child costs about 60 cents. Tax-exempt donations can be made at or by mailing a check to The Rotary Foundation earmarked “Polio,” 14280 Collections Center Drive, Chicago, IL 60693.

Roberta Walker

Midcoast Rotary Clubs


Evidence against First Wind

Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission will debate the Bowers Mountain wind turbine project this week. Citizens spoke out against the project by 2 to 1 at public hearings, according to the BDN. And 90.1 percent of all written comments oppose the project indicating a public groundswell against the permit.

A precedent is already in place to preserve these lakes from destruction of their scenic character. The 1987 Maine Wildlands Lake Assessment published by the Department of Conservation established that several lakes within the viewshed of the project were worthy of “policy” consideration to maintain their natural character.

Pleasant Lake received the highest designation as an “especially high value lake meriting policy consideration to maintain their existing values.” Junior Lake was designated as “meriting policy consideration to maintain their existing values.” Scraggly is one of only five Maine lakes designated as an “especially high value accessible undeveloped lake.”

These rare waters account for only 5 percent of all lake area in Maine yet First Wind contends these lakes are “not unique or distinct, there are no special or defining features.” Nonsense. The public disagrees and so does the opinion of Department of Conservation’s report.

This project will compromise existing views and cause unreasonable damage to the scenic amenity value of this chain of lakes. LURC should heed its charge to “protect natural and ecological values” in Maine and deny First Wind’s permit application. The public has vocally urged it to do so and existing evidence overwhelmingly supports the public’s cry.

Timothy Dalton


Potato preparation

The proposed new guidelines for school meals are needed to ensure our children are provided healthy meals at school. Those meals can and should include potatoes.

Preparation is key to ensuring any food offered to our children is nutritious and kid-friendly. We agree that children eat too many processed foods such as french fries, but it doesn’t make sense to rigidly restrict the number of servings of particular vegetables in order to reduce some forms of food. As Sen. Collins noted in her Sept. 30 Op-Ed, potatoes can be prepared in many healthful ways that students enjoy.

The proposed limit on starchy vegetables is well-intended, but this overly simplified approach will cause unnecessary problems for schools. Schools and communities benefit when locally grown produce is served. In Maine, potatoes are a readily available part of a healthy diet, as well as an important part of the rural economy.

We hope this proposed restriction is eliminated and the new guidelines are put in motion soon, because children need improved standards for meals served at school — meals that include potatoes along with a wide variety of other healthy foods.

Lori Witherow

Secretary, Maine PTA

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