Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011: Question 1, flu shots and Frankfort wind ordinance

Posted Oct. 24, 2011, at 3:56 p.m.

No on 1

Wall Street hedge fund manager, S. Donald Sussman, husband of Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, has donated $100,000 to the Yes on 1 campaign. He obviously doesn’t like the new law, so he did what he always does, he wrote out a check.

This money, combined with other large out-of-state donations is being used to repeal the much needed election reform that was passed by our Legislature last spring.

I will be voting no on Question 1 because I feel the benefit of being able to register and vote on Election Day does not protect the integrity of the election process. Town clerks and volunteers have their hands full on Election Day checking people in to vote, counting absentee ballots, assisting voters and answering questions.

I would also encourage the Legislature to pass voter ID in their next session.

Deb Kent

Waldoboro

Get your flu shot

Between 66,418 and 265,672 Maine residents will suffer from influenza in an average year. Alarmingly, influenza immunization rates fall far short every year.

We all are “faces” of influenza and are at risk of contracting the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months of age and older receive an influenza vaccination. The recommendation reinforces annual influenza vaccination as a public health priority and highlights the need for people to talk to their health care provider about getting immunized this season.

Influenza is a serious respiratory illness that is easily spread and can lead to severe complications, even death, for you or someone with whom you come in contact. Each year in the U.S., on average, influenza and its related complications results in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations. Depending on virus severity during the influenza season, deaths can range from 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.

We at the American Lung Association urge you to make sure you and your loved ones are vaccinated against influenza this and every year. Additional information about influenza, vaccination and the Faces of Influenza initiative can be found at www.facesofinfluenza.org.

Jeffrey Seyler

President & CEO

American Lung Association

St. Croix Chamber endorsement

The St. Croix Valley Chamber of Commerce board of directors voted to support Question 2 on the Nov. 8 ballot. A yes vote on Question 2 would permit racinos to be constructed in Biddeford and by the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Washington County.

Members of the Chamber board frequently cited the creation of jobs as the primary reason for their support. According to the Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information, the statewide unemployment rate during August, the most recent available statistics, was 7.6 percent.

The Calais labor market area, however, experienced an unemployment rate even higher, 10.5 percent. These alarming statistics do not measure the number of under-employed people, folks working at low-paying, often part-time jobs that keep their families on the brink of financial disaster.

A racino is seen as a potentially important adjunct to this area’s agriculture and tourism sectors. While the racino itself would become a major employer creating new jobs, the economic spin-offs can be expected to benefit farms, restaurants, lodging, automotive service centers and many other family enterprises, providing new revenue, which also means new jobs for Washington County people.

The three best reasons to vote yes on Question 2 are jobs, jobs and jobs.

Jim Thompson

Interim Executive Director

St. Croix Valley Chamber of Commerce

Calais

It’s a sucker’s bet

If people vote yes on Questions 2 and 3, we are told, expanding gambling in Maine will create hundreds of jobs in construction and casino operations, causing a ripple effect surge throughout the economy. And millions of dollars will be raised every year in tax revenues to benefit state and local programs well worthy of support. What’s not to like?

Here’s what: To raise millions in revenue and support hundreds of new jobs, we (our state, our society) must entice people to gamble hundreds of millions of dollars every year — and lose. Normally, we Mainers encourage each other to work hard for our money, spend some wisely, and save the rest. Now we have to promote the message that it’s wonderful to put your hard-earned money on the casino table in the hope of winning a windfall against astronomical odds, so that we can tempt our friends and neighbors into losing lots of money. Dream a little, dream a lot. Dream on.

It won’t be enough to victimize ourselves. We will have to attract suckers from beyond our borders: Massachusetts, Canada, New York. The ideal Maine tourist will be a Saudi prince with a gambling addiction.

Enticing people to become suckers for our economic benefit is both irresponsible and immoral. Let’s not go any farther down this road. Vote no on Questions 2 and 3. Let’s find honorable ways to grow the economy, create good jobs and fund the programs and services we need.

David Paul Henry

Lamoine

Good neighbor in Frankfort

As a landowner and taxpayer for 40 years in Frankfort, we feel the wind ordinance being pushed on the town is unjust to us and to the town as well. If this project were to be built, it would be the largest taxpayer in town and would not require town services. New tax revenue of at least $100,000 every year would be a benefit to all residents and provide needed revenue in these financially hard times.

We have always been a good neighbor, allowing the public on our land to hunt and hike without interference, yet when we have a chance to earn revenue from our private property we have a small vocal group using questionable tactics to try to stop us. This ordinance was created to attack our rights and stop local wind power with unreasonable regulations. It would adversely affect our livelihood and take away our right to use our land in a safe and reasonable way.

It is wise to be skeptical of any regulation written in response to a proposed project and based on fear and misinformation. The reality is that this project can be designed and built to be a good neighbor, and be an example of what appropriate local renewable energy should be.

We would never tell any landowner in Frankfort what they should or should not do with their private property, and we would hope the same would apply for us.

Kermit Allen, Wayne Allen

Sedgwick

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