Friday, Feb. 24, 2012: Valentine bandit, Rev. Carlson and school choice

Posted Feb. 23, 2012, at 5:21 p.m.

Been there, cleaned that

A comment on Sarah Smiley’s column of Feb. 20: Housework is a crashing bore and should be done only by those who enjoy doing it, get paid to do it or absolutely have to do it themselves.

Over many years, I have filled each of these categories.

Rita M. Souther

Camden

Paint the town

Feeling a bit melancholy with no sweetheart on St. Valentine’s Day, I was “heartened” to read about Bangor’s mysterious Valentine’s visitor.

I took a walk downtown Tuesday evening to take in the array of hearts firsthand. Every heart had been hand-painted!

A rosy glow settled inside me. Thank you, Bandit. I love Bangor too!

Kate Tuck

Bangor

Steve for Searsport

Steve Tanguay has my vote for Searsport selectman.

For the past 10 years I have had the pleasure of working with Steve on the Searsport Shellfish Management Committee. He has proven to be hard-working and willing to put in long hours to make certain a task is properly completed.

Steve is versatile and creative, bringing fresh insights and energy into all of his endeavors. I am always impressed by Steve’s wide variety of interests and knowledge, and his ability to use what he has learned in one area to the benefit of another. This skill will be valuable as he works to balance small businesses with industry, and both with Searsport’s environment and “sense of place.”

Steve understands and works well with young people, as well as with adults from all walks of life. I believe he is an excellent candidate and would be a true asset to Searsport if elected as a selectman.

Bob Ramsdell

Searsport

Penobscot County query

With some time having passed since the unfortunate demise of Rev. Carlson, inquiring Penobscot County taxpayers are waiting for an explanation of how an apparently unqualified person was employed for 38 years as the county jail chaplain, what services he performed and what he was paid both before and after retirement.

These questions are especially relevant since there are many highly qualified clergy persons in the area, some of whom I am sure would donate their time as part of their calling to serve those associated with the jail.

Penobscot County taxpayers would like to know.

Timothy Haas

Holden

Keep schools public

I am writing to express my opposition to Gov. LePage’s proposed “open enrollment school choice.” Instead of diverting precious public taxpayer dollars away from public schools and into the coffers of private, religious or for-profit schools, those dollars are greatly needed to maintain and strengthen the public schools.

As things stand now, if parents want to send their children to these nonpublic schools, they are completely free to pay the tuition and send the kids.

We must maintain separation of church and state. Under Gov. LePage’s proposal, statutory language that prohibits public money from going to private religious schools is expressly removed.

A New York Times article published on July 15, 2006, cited a large peer-reviewed Education Department study that concluded that children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics as comparable children in private schools. In fact, conservative Christian K-12 schools were found to, on average, produce much more poorly prepared students and graduates than public schools.

Hence, throwing public money at private schools leads to no improvement in student education and simply undermines the great human achievement of decent public schooling available to all children in this country for generations.

Julie Gosse

Orono

Defending Romney

As a student, it’s interesting to hear the children who eagerly voice their parents’ opinions on political happenings. One such subject is Mitt Romney’s recently released taxes, purported to be controversial by some liberal media outlets and Maine citizens of the same political persuasion.

However, here is yet another inconvenient truth for the leftists: Mitt Romney paid 13.9 percent in taxes not because he is a “corporate fat cat” who is “handled with kid gloves” by the “Republican institution,” but because a large portion of his income came from capital gains.

Capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than traditional income as an incentive to invest, and this investment stimulates the economy. Also, he gave 15 percent of his entire income to charity.

The bias and the aspersions cast through utter ignorance by a certain political party in this state as well as this nation is appalling.

Josh McNally

Brewer

Child victims top priority

There is a two-year backlog at the state computer crimes unit and I feel that we need to do anything possible to fix it.

There are so many children in Maine who have been victimized in the worst possible ways. The state is spending money on things that are not important; nothing is more important than protecting young, innocent children.

I feel that penalties for sex offenders should be increased. Most offenders do not learn a lesson and will do it again.

I hope that Gov. LePage will get on board to get a bill passed. The impact on children of child pornography is horrible; it ruins lives and needs to stop.

John Wilson

Greenbush

Let’s get civilized

Recently, my wife and I watched a movie on television called “Mother and Child.” It is a well-acted, well-told story about the affects adoption has on the lives of a variety of people.

Among the characters were a black man and a white woman who have an intimate relationship, another couple composed of a Latino man and a white woman, as well as others of various races and ethnicities.

But here’s the thing — the racial and ethnic issues never arose. Not a single word of dialogue was spoken which referred directly or remotely to race or ethnicity. The characters went about their business, negotiated, made love, argued, cried, laughed, behaved sometimes immaturely and sometimes maturely, just as we all do all the time, but race and ethnicity never entered any of the discussions in any way. I kept waiting for someone to hurl the “n” word or another to utter an ethnic slur. But it never happened. Not once.

So, this is my question: Will the United States ever be a nation where people of different races and ethnicities actually live that way together, ordinary people living ordinary lives, completely oblivious of skin color or national origin, maybe even of sexuality and religion, political persuasion and economic status, a community free of “hate thy neighbor”?

I have read that, when asked what he thought of Western civilization, Mahatma Gandhi replied, “I think it would be a good idea.” He’s right, it would be.

Francis Sinclaire

Bangor

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