Saturday/Sunday, May 12-13, 2012: College costs, wind power and the east-west highway

Posted May 11, 2012, at 11:50 a.m.

UMaine costs

In his OpEd piece in the BDN on Wednesday, May 2, Sam Adolphsen of the Maine Heritage Policy Center criticized the University of Maine for jacking up tuition costs by 30 percent while “university salaries were up 29 percent.” I can’t speak for other parts of the University of Maine, but I can assert that the faculty of some departments in my former college, Arts and Sciences, has been shrinking for the past dozen years or so.

I find it hard to believe that a shrinking faculty has been “piling on raises” to the extent Adolphsen contends. I suspect that the increases in the salaries category have been going to the nonacademic parts of the campus, to wit, administration and student services, rather than to the instructional and research sector. Perhaps Adolphsen should check his facts more thoroughly and not cherry-pick them.

John F. Battick, Ph.D.

University of Maine

Dover-Foxcroft

‘The way life should be’?

I am a transient, soon to be permanent, Mainer. I have grown up in Chicago. It is becoming a concern to me to read about the more frequent and growing level of crime in Maine.

There appears to be a radical change in social behavior that is in direct rebuttal of Maine’s state slogan.

Why is this dangerous transition taking place? I am truly sensitive to these issues, being raised in the inner city of Chicago. I know I am not alone. Is the influx of “flatlanders” like myself tainting the traditional character and environment of this beautiful state? Is it an indication of an overall apathy of moral character and personal responsibility, which has disintegrated the core values of states as in Illinois?

Whatever the reason or cause, I fear for Mainers and I pray that Maine’s leaders recognize this moral malaise and exercise leadership in reversing its trend.

David Felten

Northport

Highland wind

In May 2011, a press conference was held to announce that a majority of Highland Plantation’s residents signed petitions opposing the grid-scale wind energy facility proposed by Independence Wind, owned by Rob Gardiner and, until March 18, 2012, U.S. Senate candidate and former Maine Gov. Angus King.

Gardiner and King had just withdrawn their second application for the project after the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife submitted a review stating that the project in Highland was “not an appropriate site for this development and consequently poses a significant adverse impact for wildlife resources.” Residents requested that the developers abandon their plans to build an industrial wind complex in Highland.

Gardiner and King never granted Highland residents the courtesy of a response.

In February 2012, Highland representatives sent letters to the developer. Again, we cited our majority vote, stating our resolve that Gardiner and King respect the will of the people and abandon their project.

Again, the developers showed their contempt for Maine people by not responding. When speaking of the Highland project in an April 2012 interview in Mainebiz, Gardiner said, “We decided it was time to give it a rest.”

We’d like to know whether the developer intends to discard plans to build the Highland wind project or his words are a red herring. We granted Gardiner and King an audience every time they wanted one. We deserve the same respect. We’d like the developer to assure us that all plans to construct a wind energy facility in Highland have been permanently abandoned.

Rose Staton

Highland

Volunteer guidance

In response to the article on a disagreement with the warden service and volunteers, I understand no one is putting blame on people but the process. I think we can all agree that the Maine Warden Service does an exceptional job of managing these situations.

That being said, there is a reason for protocols. Being a 16-year veteran of the fire service, I do understand some of the initial concerns and things that have to be addressed appropriately in the early moments of such an emergency.

One of the first things that needs to be done is a search of the area for clues as to why the individual is missing. These are details that an untrained eye may miss and can quickly get lost if you have untrained volunteers coming onto the scene too soon. Finding the individual is of utmost priority but finding clues are important and can lead to resolution as well. The location where an individual disappears from has to be considered too. Whether it be a party atmosphere, where potential illegal activity may have been occurring or a residence, it has to be determined if a crime occurred.

If untrained individuals are allowed to come into the area first, any details that could have been uncovered will be lost forever. Volunteers are great and necessary, but if they come in at the wrong time, without guidance and instruction, they can actually add to the problem.

Troy D. Heald

Fire chief, Washburn Fire & Rescue

Washburn

East-west highway

If you think the proposed east-west highway will create economic growth in northern Maine, you are sadly mistaken. The developers view Maine simply as an obstacle between established fracking zones in New Brunswick and Quebec.

To the residents of the area affected by this highway: If you are a proponent for development and commerce, why not move someplace where these infrastructures are already in place? You are the stewards of the land. You are our first line of defense against the corporations aiming to profit from your property.

A West Virginia native, I witnessed the devastation caused by fracking and similar endeavors. Generations of coal mining, drilling and mountaintop removal have destroyed vast areas. Stream beds dry up, groundwater and rivers are poisoned and mountain ranges are laid to waste. Still, West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country. Profits leave the state without local benefit. When I moved here six years ago, I met people who understood the importance of land protection. The highway will open the door for more development, more displaced families and less and less wilderness.

Like in Maine, developers promised jobs in West Virginia. The jobs the industry created were filled by out-of-state workers who lacked respect for local communities. In fact, counties in Ohio and West Virginia have reported a drastic rise in prostitution as a result of these temporary workers.

Take the time to learn the truth about the proposed highway. The developers don’t care about you or Maine.

Corey Pickett

Fairfield

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/11/opinion/saturdaysunday-may-12-13-2012-college-costs-wind-power-and-the-east-west-highway/ printed on December 24, 2014