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Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Dennis Dechaine, R&D and relocating Paul Bunyan

Summertime blues

This summer I am vacationing in Maine. I am particularly anxious and incensed this time, as Dennis Dechaine gets his hearing to review DNA evidence from Sarah Cherry. Dennis’ integrity is obvious, due to the wide support for and visibility of his case. I want as many people as possible to known him, and believe we all need Dennis on the outside, healing, contributing to our society, and standing as a beacon of hope for innocent convicts.

Dennis and I began our friendship during childhood. We met again in 1979 when we attended Western Washington University together. Dennis was an avid bicyclist, hiker, explorer, forager and gardener. He was also the person I trusted the most when I needed advice or comfort. Dennis is a true gentleman … and was best man at my wedding.

Maine’s pristine beauty is astonishing. Folks are friendly and relaxed. My Acadian and Scotch-Irish roots are there. I always visit Dennis on my way through. He is still the same; a bright and enthusiastic communicator and spiritual soul … but a treasure locked away. Under the current Maine state judicial system, there have been serious mistakes made in the handling of Dennis’ case and blatant disregard of the consequences. Whenever I read the national news, I am reminded of this pervasive approach by those in power to exercise and maintain that power at the expense of the innocent. It is perceivable that this manipulative ploy to save face is as heinous as the crime itself.

Daniel McLaughlin

Soquel, Calif.

Missed opportunity

Maine missed a golden opportunity to develop new high-tech jobs in agriculture, forestry, boat building, fisheries, biomedicine and other industries.

The Legislature first passed the $20 million research and development bond with strong bipartisan and business support. With a proven 10-to-one return on investment, R&D funding creates new technologies and jobs.

It’s easy to blame Gov. LePage, who vetoed the R&D bond based on extreme views and distorted facts ( Amy Fried, Opinion, June 5). But by the same two-thirds vote required to pass it, the Legislature could have overridden the governor’s shortsighted veto.

What we have here is a failure to legislate. Despite overwhelming support in the Senate thanks to Sen. Chris Rector, R-Knox Co., the veto override fell six votes short in the House.

Consider the failed leadership of House Majority Whip Andre Cushing, R-Hampden. He voted twice in favor of the R&D bond before voting no to override the governor’s veto. Rep. Cushing reneged on his agreement with other legislative leaders and failed to rally his own caucus.

As a result, the Bangor region and Down East Maine have lost millions of dollars of investment in the innovation economy. Past R&D funding supported technology development at Ocean Renewable Power Company, the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health in Brewer, and at the University of Maine, which helps industry develop composite materials, bio-based products, wind power and aquaculture.

It’s a sad day when legislators place politics before jobs for Maine people.

Michael Belliveau

Executive Director

Environmental Health Strategy Center

BDN trust

It seems that every time a letter to the editor about the BDN ends up on this page, it is always negative and critical. I feel sorry for those who search through their morning papers for any evidence of “bias” instead of leisurely sipping a cup of coffee and catching up on what’s happening in the world.

I have never found a newspaper that feels more right alongside breakfast than the BDN. The local writers for the paper are as talented as they come, and I think all of us readers appreciate their work. There is a reason so many people read this paper; we trust the BDN.

Ryan Asalone


Relocate Paul

Want to draw a little more attention to the Bangor area? How about moving Paul Bunyan down to the waterfront, where photos could be taken of him with the Penobscot River in the background. People from near and far would share their photos with friends and relatives and he may become as popular a draw as Portland Head Light!

How about some of you general contractors that stand to do very well on your construction contracts to build the new auditorium due to the mild winter step up and contribute the use of the heavy equipment and labor to give Paul a ride to the better location that he deserves?

Bill Rodzen


District 17

How interesting that we, in District 17 in Bangor, only hear from our representative, Sara Stevens, at election time. Thanks to her state-funded franking privileges! Just got her very nice mailing today, four days before the primary. Guess that saves her campaign funds. Her latest mailing is surely a campaign for re-election — thanks to her franking privilege.

I hope the voters in District 17 remember this, come November. You can be assured that we will receive another “newsletter,” at state expense, before the November election.

I would urge all voters in District 17 to take a close look at her opponent, Mary Budd. She is coming to your door between now and November. Listen to her and read her resume — she is a voice of reason, something we need in Augusta. It’s time for a change and I believe Mary Budd will serve us well, not only for District 17, but the state of Maine as well. Please join me in supporting Mary Budd.

Dawn Price


Do the right thing

Climate change is the critical issue of our time. Regardless of how each of us feels about milder Maine winters, heavier rainfall and more severe storms, the indisputable fact is that our planet is in crisis and we need to act.

June 25 is the deadline for the United States Environmental Protection Agency to adopt a carbon pollution standard that would require all new power plants to use technologies that limit their carbon pollution. The EPA’s proposed rule is modest — it only applies to new power plants — but it is a step in the right direction.

Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., emitting more than two billion tons of dangerous carbon pollution yearly, the main cause of global warming. By lowering the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants can emit, EPA’s rule would likely result in the adoption of cleaner technologies that mean less haze, smog, acid rain and climate change impacts in our beautiful state and across the country.

Join me in supporting the EPA in doing the right thing for Maine and our planet.

Robin E. Brooks


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