Do the right thing
I have to admit that, although a registered Democrat, I had been planning on taking the pragmatic way out by voting for Angus King in November (while holding my nose, to be sure). This was because I was afraid of a repeat of the events that made Paul LePage governor — how could we afford to do that again in the senate race?
Things are so bleak right now, and the idea of sending someone like Charlie Summers to Washington was the most horrible thing I could imagine.
But this morning I watched Matthew Dunlap’s speech from the Democratic convention last weekend and he changed my mind. In it he said, “meeting the Tea Party halfway will still take us back half a century.” Truer words were never spoken, and now that is the most horrible thing I can imagine. I’m actually embarrassed to think that I was going to give in instead of gearing up for the fight. Now, though, instead of holding my nose in November, I’ll work until then to convince my Democrat friends to do the right thing along with me.
Daryl DeJoy’s statements about compensatory coyote reproduction and the futility of killing coyotes in order to kill more deer are truths that should be reinforced in the public mind ( June 1 BDN OpEd).
The so-called “blood sports,” of long tradition in Maine, are here to stay for many more years. Nonetheless, the killing of wild animals for pleasure no longer passes everyone’s sportsmanship test.
Hunting seems headed, way down the road, the way of bear baiting, dog fighting and more. Hunters of good conscience will admit in private that what they do is a throwback to a primitive age, that their “sport” must eventually give way to the sanctions of modern culture.
Would you consider trading your rifle for a camera, old sport?
Gov. LePage is right in questioning the government subsidies and viability of industrial wind power projects on Maine mountains. But he fails to take into account that other energy sources, including fossil fuels and nuclear, also rely on government subsidies and other kinds of preferential treatment. Furthermore, large-scale, industrial energy production, whatever the resource, requires large-scale energy investments and destroys our environment.
What is lost in the exchange between industrial wind advocates and the fossil fuel interests favored by the governor is that we do have less destructive alternatives.
Energy conservation through building weatherization, more energy-efficient modes of transportation and more clustered community designs can reduce the total amount of energy that we consume. We need to insulate our homes, use more hybrid vehicles, use railroads and mass transportation whenever possible and reduce suburban sprawl.
Small-scale, localized energy production methods, such as solar panels and small windmills on homes and other buildings, would produce at least some of the energy we need at the place where it is being used, cutting down on the need for expensive investments for electric transmission facilities, while feeding any excess into the electric grid.
Large-scale industrial energy projects mainly benefit the large corporations that promote them as our only energy alternatives. They are not our only alternatives. If we pursue smaller-scale, less-destructive alternatives, we will do more to combat global warming while having fewer other negative effects on the earth on which we depend for our very existence.
Wind power, no free lunch
Free power from wind sounds almost too good to be true. Unfortunately, it is — there’s no free lunch.
Consider the wind project at Passadumkeag Mountain. Within an eight-mile range of the mountain, there are at least eight beautiful lakes affected, lakes classed as significant or outstanding by the 1987 Maine Wildlands Lake Assessment. Scenic views will be affected, sound and light pollution introduced and wildlife habitat, including those of bald eagles, degraded and fragmented.
If landowners like me want to sell, property values may decrease, perhaps by as much as 15-40 percent, as has happened in other states. Furthermore, tourists avoid wind tower areas.
Who benefits from the Passadumkeag Mountain project? None of the electricity will be used in Maine. It’s contracted to an out-of-state company and will be sent to a Massachusetts electric company to boost their green quotient. Profits go to a private equity company in Texas, which invests in oil and natural gas as well as wind. As for job creation, short-term construction jobs exist, but long term, very few Mainers will find technical jobs with wind companies.
When I travel, people I speak to universally love Maine. However, soon I may hear, “Oh yes, I used to vacation in Maine, but now there are so many wind towers that it’s not pleasant and pristine like it used to be.” Maine’s primary industry is tourism. I resent out of state companies stomping all over us, damaging our economy, our land and our wildlife to generate profits.
Transit of Venus
I brought out my Jason 454 Discover telescope — that I bought at Value House in 1977 — around 5 p.m. June 5. I had no idea when the transit of Venus was going to take place. At latitude 44.830N and longitude -68.940W, the coordinates of my house in Hermon, I saw the transit of the planet Venus across the sun.
Around 6:10 p.m. I viewed contact, in which the outer edge of Venus hit the outer edge of the sun, and at 6:27 p.m. Venus was totally surrounded by the sun. I kept on viewing to around 6:50 p.m., when the clouds came rolling in. What an awesome event to witness live; I even made my wife come outside to view it. I wonder how many people in Maine actually viewed it.
This event will not happen for another 105.5 years, on December 11, 2117, but will not be able to be viewed in Maine until December 8, 2125. I will remember this event, along with the time I saw Haley’s Comet in 86, the rest of my life. How cool is that?
My husband and I drove on Route 1A from Bangor to Ellsworth June 3 in pouring rain. We noticed cars coming in the opposite direction without any lights on and started counting them. Expecting a dozen or so, we were shocked to count 47. That meant they had no taillights on for the cars behind them. Many other cars just had their automatic running lights on, also, with no taillights.
This is a real safety issue. Drivers being aware of lights will reduce accidents.