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Friday, Dec. 23, 2011: Waterfront Concerts, welfare in the Blaine House


Time for cell phone ban

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended a nationwide ban on hand-held electronic communication devices for automobile drivers. It’s about time.

Last year, 32,885 people (roughly the population of Bangor) lost their lives in traffic accidents in America. This number is down dramatically because of stiffer legislation and enforcement in vehicle safety, OUI, seat belt use, etc. as well as a growing public awareness that speed does indeed kill. Now we need to make the strides in the area of driver inattentiveness.

I know, reader; you are a careful, competent driver with the reflexes of a rattlesnake and can multitask with the best of them. Unfortunately, that vehicle approaching from the side is piloted by a teenager texting his girlfriend, tuning his radio and trying desperately not to spill the beer between his legs. And if you get by him, that SUV bearing down from the other side is operated by a legally blind octogenarian trying to remember where he was going.

We are all at the mercy of the other guy on the road, and we need to make him pay attention. We would be horrified if our airline pilot was texting in the cockpit or our surgeon paused in mid-cut to answer his cell phone, yet we willingly subject ourselves to more danger on the highway.

I urge Maine’s lawmakers to consider a drivers’ cell phone ban. It’s the hard choice, but we could, once again, lead the nation in traffic safety and, more importantly, save lives.

Richard Stockford


Blaine House welfare

After reading Gov. LePage’s welfare definitions, it seems to me that he should be included as a welfare recipient. What is free housing, free medical care and free transportation called when it is paid for by Maine taxpayers? Welfare!

William Shorey


Concert fan

It seems like some are all to willing to throw stones at the Bangor City Council as a “second Chamber of Commerce” (recent BDN letter) or otherwise saying they are ignoring the will of the people in approving the Waterfront Concerts series for the 2012 season. Of all these supposed people who were complaining about the noise issues, it appears that only five found it enough of an issue to attend the council meeting where this was the sole topic of discussion.

Also, according to a BDN article on one of the particular shows, the city noise ordinance, at least as it was at that time (I do not know if it has changed since the article was written in May), does not apply to shows such as the WFC series. Whether or not it should is open to debate, but the council is not ignoring the ordinance, as some have suggested.

I, for one, am glad to hear that Waterfront Concerts will be around in 2012. And while they are not “in my backyard,” so the noise, etc. is not an immediate issue for me, but from having lived places in the past where similar events were held, I personally would not mind at all if they were held right across the street from my apartment.

Nate Smith


Corporate cowardice?

The Lowe’s stores have been a positive addition to the Bangor and Brewer community, and their local staff has provided good service.

There has been a recent action by the Lowe’s corporation to pull advertising from a cable television show, “All-American Muslim.” This was done in response to protest from a fringe group which alleges that the “All-American Muslim” show’s description of Muslims as regular Americans is not appropriate. They apparently feel that such a show is not legitimate unless it depicts the essence of this religion as promoting terrorism.

Faced with this allegation, Lowe’s response was to pull its advertising support of the program. Lowe’s action thus indicates its acceptance of the fringe group’s position.

Lowe’s action represents at best corporate cowardice, or at worst corporate bigotry. What I have read of its subsequent corporate statements has further added to my disappointment.

It is of interest that I have encountered Muslim colleagues on several occasions

while shopping at our local Lowe’s stores.

I realize our local Lowe’s staff has not had much to do with these decisions which have certainly been made at corporate headquarters. I would hope they do not share this view. Nonetheless, I cannot see bringing any of my future purchases to this business given the current situation.

I would hope the corporate entity can see the harm it has done not only to our Muslim community, but to our local Lowe’s franchises which have to deal with the reaction to their poor decisions.

Daniel Cassidy


Photo opp only

It is difficult to describe the sinking feeling I had upon seeing Paul LePage and Olympia Snowe on the front page of the BDN on Dec. 12 highlighting the wreath-laying effort at Arlington National Cemetery.

As a Vietnam veteran and brother to five who served in World War II, one of whom died and a second gravely wounded, I am certain these departed souls and the hundreds of thousands of living veterans did not offer their sacrifices for self-serving politicians but for the hardworking, honest men and women of our country and around the world.

Mr. Morrill Worcester should be recognized and thanked for this great tribute to these men and women who truly made the ultimate sacrifice in hopes of leaving a better world behind.

I am certain I am joined by thousands of souls, both departed and living, who would have rather seen one of the “wreath makers” or truck drivers laying down wreaths rather than these two.

Joe Deschaine


Cloning for health

We need to spread the word about therapeutic cloning. This is a medical treatment for heart disease, cancer and other ailments. There are many people that are not aware of the potential health benefits that therapeutic cloning has to offer.

Therapeutic cloning uses stem cells to generate organs. There are many researchers working on ways to use therapeutic cloning to generate organs. When organs are personalized for a patient it lowers the chance of organ rejection.

Dr. Richard Seed, a nuclear physicist, said, “Human cloning technology could be used to reverse heart attacks. Scientists believe that they may be able to treat heart attack victims by cloning their healthy heart cells and injecting them into the areas of the heart that have been damaged. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States.” With this type of research scientists may be able to find treatments for other ailments.

You can help by contacting your congressional representatives and let them know about the potential health benefits that therapeutic cloning has to offer.

Benjamin W. Bucklin


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