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Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012: Paul Bunyan, population growth and bullying

House that Paul built

Ardeana Hamlin’s Jan. 24 BDN column on the new Bangor arena provides interesting insight on the project, but I believe the accompanying picture by John Clarke Russ also provides insight on a new name for the arena.

Can we really expect Paul Bunyan to stand smiling in front of the arena and not have it named for him? When Bangor residents, other Mainers and visitors from away pass by, they will see Paul Bunyan standing in front of — what else? — The Paul Bunyan Arena!

Charles Horne


More to population story

I’m more than a little mystified by Ron Stauble’s contention in his recent letter to the editor that world population growth is a myth, while at the same time he cites UN sources for population growth.

We reached seven billion people on the planet just recently, and predictions are that we will reach nine billion by 2050. It was less than three billion in 1950. That isn’t growth?

His projections for population loss are all from developed countries, where population growth has been relatively flat since 1995. However, he completely disregards the rest of the world, where populations are growing very rapidly and will account for that next increase of two billion people. In addition, those countries are developing, creating more and more demand on the finite resources of our earth.

His concern seems to be that there won’t be enough working people in developed countries to keep all us old fogies in the life to which we’ve become accustomed. Quite frankly, all of us — not just the old folks — are going to have to reassess that living standard (which takes an inordinate amount of the world’s resources while creating grave threats to the world’s environment) and figure out a new course.

Marty Weaver


Searsport tank concerns

David Cole’s OpEd, arguing that a liquid petroleum tank in Searsport would provide energy security, never mentions the loss of jobs or the decrease to property values with increased industrialization of Searsport.

Industrialization blights neighborhoods. Mr. Cole doesn’t mention New Jersey. Companies which employ hundreds of people, such as Athena Health and Bank of America in Belfast, move to Maine because of the quality of life and do not locate to industrialized areas. Tourists do not go to industrialized areas, and tourism jobs in the Searsport area employ several hundred people. This is why many local business and homeowners are extremely opposed to the project.

Mr. Cole states that propane is an “important component” of Maine’s energy mix. The 26,000 Maine households he says use propane are 4.7 percent of Maine’s 551,125 households. Obviously, DCP Midstream has a much bigger market in mind, accessible by highway and rail to Montreal.

Mr. Cole mentions the 12-15 permanent jobs created, which require a high school diploma and pay $70,000. But according to Mr. Waldheim, president of DCP Natural Gas, DCP has only one other tank this large (he could name only three other tanks this large in the country). Does this sound odd?

And our safety? These tanks usually have a mile radius buffer zone. Many Searsport and Stockton Springs residents live and work within a mile of the proposed tank. Are we disposable?

Kathy Goldner

Stockton Springs

Bullying bill survives

I read the BDN’s article by Eric Russell on the work of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee on anti-bullying legislation which was passed in committee Jan. 24. The legislation entailed most of a year’s work but passed unanimously in committee. It still needs to go through the full Legislature.

LD 1237 was held over for the second session not because advocacy groups were against it. It was held over by supporters at the last minute because it was not written well, could have infringed on First Amendment rights and was destined to lose if voted on.

I had no issue with any underlying agenda the reporter suggests was there. My concerns were with the First Amendment issues and the tone the sponsor set in interacting with people who questioned the bill.

I did not envision supporting this particular bill due to the sponsor’s lack of a collaborative tone, which was frustrating given the importance of the issue. However, I was pleased to see calmer heads jump in from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, the Maine Principals Association and Maine School Management. They did not give up, they listened to all concerns and they were collaborative and inviting.

The end result is a bill that will go forward with unanimous support of the committee. Gov. LePage and Education Commissioner Bowen have each stated that we are to begin all work with putting children first. At the end of the day, I believe we did that.

Rep. Mike McClellan

Education and Cultural Affairs Committee member

Breaking stereotypes

With Maine’s ninth annual Non-Profit Day set for Feb. 2, we should all take a moment to be thankful for the selfless and important work that is done by these organizations serving everyone from students to seniors.

One nonprofit I’ve had contact with — and one of 12 that have been asked to put up exhibits on Feb. 2 in the Hall of Flags in Augusta — is Operation Breaking Stereotypes. Orono-based OBS is run by 2011 Maryann Hartman Award winner Connie Carter. Carter matches Maine high schools with schools in major urban areas such as New York and Boston for multicultural exchanges.

As a teacher at Searsport District High School, I’ve seen students from our isolated niche on the Maine coast benefit tremendously by hosting and then visiting counterparts in the big city. For six years now, OBS has organized exchanges which have plunged our kids into a multicultural immersion experience.

Dozens of Searsport students have had their eyes opened to the realities — and possibilities — of life outside our area. They have overcome their fear of people who are different from them — by finding out that they aren’t so different after all. And they have learned about the global nature of our world by meeting the families and going to classes with their “partners” in Brooklyn and Boston.

OBS and Connie Carter have done all this work for payment that barely covers bus fare. Without them, our Sister School Program would not exist.

Jeff Shula


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