Wednesday, May 16, 2012: University of Maine gets an F, paying for health care

Posted May 15, 2012, at 5:23 p.m.

Youth at Maine GOP convention

I am a senior in high school and was honored to be a delegate for Ron Paul to the Maine State Republican Convention recently. I was so excited when I arrived at the Convention Center Saturday morning to see so many Ron Paul supporters in line. In the past, many of the Republican meetings I have been to have very few, if any, young people involved.There were a lot more exciting things that young people could have been doing this past weekend and yet they chose to go there.

I think Ron Paul has helped to energize the youth in a way the other candidates have not been able to do. Obama has always had a good youth support but the Republicans have not seemed to have caught on to that trend. I hope things will change for the better for the party with the youth involvement.

I was surprised at how many Ron Paul delegates won, and felt it was a reflection of how people in Maine feel. I have talked to many people since then who feel the same. I know how important our Constitution is and how we should elect people who think the same. Ron Paul is a champion for liberty and I hope one day to meet him! I hope all the youth of Maine see how blessed we are to live in a country with so many freedoms and the need we have to protect them!

Meryem Mertoglu

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Houlton

Budget decisions

The teachers union for Skowhegan-based School Administrative District 54 urges voters to support the school budget proposed by the board of directors.

Having attended the majority of school board and committee meetings during the past three budget cycles, I know board members have worked diligently and made gut-wrenching decisions, most notably deciding to close Cornville Elementary School.

The board took advantage of retirements and resignations to reduce staff. At the middle school, foreign language and industrial arts programs were eliminated, and grades seven and eight now share the technology teacher with the elementary schools.

The high school has faced similar reductions: two English teachers, two science teachers, one math teacher and one foreign language teacher have been eliminated in recent years.

At the elementary grades, positions were cut as a result of the Cornville closure, and this year the board eliminated a music teacher position and reduced the work time of an art teacher. North Elementary will no longer have a full-time principal, just administrative support as needed.

The board made these changes to ease the tax burden, but cutting more would compromise children’s education.

The board is asking for a tax increase of 3.55 percent. That means owners of a $100,000 home in Cornville would see a $63 yearly increase in their property tax bill. Similar homeowners in Skowhegan would see a $23 increase.

Can the taxpayers afford an extra $2 to $5 a month to maintain quality schools? Please join us and support this sensible budget.

Jeremy Lehan

President, MSAD 54 Education Association

Skowhegan

Health care financing

An Associated Press story appearing in the Thursday, May 3, BDN shows how eager they are to defend the president’s health care plan financing. Written by Kelli Kennedy, the article told of the largest ever Medicare fraud bust, which alleges that over 107 individuals bilked $452 million from Medicare. The author goes on to point out that stopping such fraudulent activities, believed to be “between $60 billion and $90 billion each year,” “will be key to paying for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.”

Of course, the president has repeatedly stated that there will be a $50 billion annual “savings” realized from Medicare to help pay for the total package. So here we have it. That “savings” will come from stopping fraud. Well, let’s see.

According to an FBI report, that $452 million fraud case was perpetrated over a period of several years. That being the largest fraud case so far, it’s a real stretch to get to $50 billion per year. And what does the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services have to say (the CMS, among other duties, makes rules and coordinates efforts to combat Medicare fraud)? It was recently reported, “CMS said it will save taxpayers nearly $1.6 billion over 10 years through anti-Medicare fraud efforts.” That’s probably more realistic.

So where did the AP come up with $60 billion to $90 billion per year? No doubt the numbers grew to fit their agenda and to support the president’s assurances that Obamacare won’t break the bank.

Dale Sprinkle

Surry

GOP disarray

The Republicans have been so busy infighting that they’ve forgotten that their main objective is to get a Republican president elected. If they don’t get their act together, we will have another four years of the present administration.

Rita M. Souther

Camden

UMaine final grade

We arrived at the University of Maine one hour prior to our sons’ graduation ceremony to be greeted at the door by the campus police refusing us entrance due to the facility already at capacity. We were directed to another building to watch the ceremony on a large screen television that was set up for the overflow.

We were disappointed but the alternative was to not see our son receive his diploma.

As his section was announced and the graduates proceeded across the stage as their names were called, the screen flashed to notice that the program was timing out and then went blank. To our dismay we never got to see our son receive his diploma. After many years of financial and emotional support, we missed the moment that meant so much to us.

I’d like to thank the UMaine staff for their outstanding performance covering the broadcast for the families that were denied access to the event. Perhaps they could use some further instruction by the school to improve their skills so other parents do not experience the tears of disappointment after years of striving for that one glorious moment lost.

I suggest that the university provide six tickets to each graduating student for attendance to enable every student the opportunity to have loved ones attend in one of their most memorable moments in life.

Please tell me that the university can improve and learn from their mistakes, because I gave them an F on that final!

Janet and David Russell

Bangor

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