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Saturday, June 23, 2012: Roger Reed, gay marriage and the east-west highway

War, poverty, kids

The OpEd by Katrina Bisheimer on June 6 titled “A war on poverty, not a war on the poor” outlines the impact that DHHS supplemental budget cuts have on poverty in our State. Most disturbing to us, pediatricians are reductions that target effective services for children. Ms. Bisheimer eloquently outlines how these Draconian cuts are irresponsible and unfair.

Because one child out of every five in America now live in poverty, these small children represent the largest segment of our destitute population. Reducing programs that help economically disadvantaged children is shortsighted.

Eliminating funding for Head Start, the Child Care Subsidy, MaineCare health coverage for working families, health services for adolescents and young adults, and public health and preventive services is also counterproductive. Such eliminations negatively affect nutrition, health, development and education of kids. This further disadvantages children by extending hardship to families and communities, affecting our work forces and limiting our innovative spirit.

Investing in children has a profound payoff in their expected 80 years of life. This sound strategy is especially important during times of national economic challenge. These DHHS cuts do not help children survive and thrive. Programs that lift kids and families out of poverty are important to keep. Programs designed to support and elevate kids in poverty are rich investments.

Janice Pelletier, MD


Coach kudos

I have known Roger Reed since the late 1950s, when Newport High School and Carmel High School competed regularly in basketball and baseball, and I have known Sawin Millett since 1975, when we worked together in the early days of the Longley Administration.

In my opinion, if Roger Reed and his close friend and longtime Augusta figure, and former legislator, Sawin Millett, both felt he could handle legislative duties and Bangor High School coaching duties simultaneously, I would easily accept that view. Bangor High School is losing the greatest basketball coach it has ever had in its long and storied history, and that statement includes the legendary Coach Red Barry of the 1950s and 1960s.

Charles G. Roundy


Anti-Christian sentiment

David Del Camp’s June 15 letter in which he decries what he labels as “anti-Christian sentiment being propagated by the gay community in Maine” itself reveals the very narrow-mindedness and ignorance which thoughtful Christians, gay and straight, deplore and which rightly needs to be challenged by thoughtful Christians, gay and straight.

Del Camp’s assertion that “Christians believe that God meant what he said … that a marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman” assumes that the Christian community is of one mind in this matter.

Nothing is further from the truth. I, for one, who served as minister of American Baptist and United Church of Christ churches in Maine over a span of 39 years, and millions of other Christians, long have supported same-sex marriage precisely because it is the right and loving Christian position.

Lifting a few Bible phrases out of context and asserting therein is found God’s truth, is the classic Christian fundamentalist tactic, and has been used to justify slavery, oppression of women and several other scourges in the history of civilization.

Del Camp asserts that the gay community is characterized by “childlike whining about being ‘victimized.’” How ironic. Seems to me that Del Camp is doing the childlike whining in this case.

Rev. John Holt



So many opinions have been published about Cianbro chairman and CEO Peter Vigue’s proposal for this highway, both pro and con, that we have gotten away from the core things that should be mentioned. This proposal is huge.

We have spent mega-bucks on rural routes 9 and 6 from the border to Interstate 95 in recent years, and we have a pretty good safe highway there. There also are plans underway to extend I-395 to Route 9.

Build a similar highway west from I-95, easily accessible from routes 9 and 6 for example, continue on Route 6 and continue on existing roads to the Quebec border, with interchanges-intersections with Maine areas along that route, to help those communities.

I have not followed this proposal closely, but all I am hearing is there will only be one intersection with Maine roads: Interstate 95. How does that help Maine? I have not seen it mentioned that Irving was awarded a $24 billion dollar contract to build Canadian ships. That is awesome news for the maritimes, and I am glad for them, but this looks like a “win-win” for Irving.

Use existing rail lines and improve the existing highways. Help Maine a lot, and Irving a little at the same time. Make it a toll road if needed for funding with interchanges along the way.

Jack Gray


Helping families

It’s a very good thing that elder abuse is being recognized as such. Fragile senior citizens deserve protection. However, an approach that focuses on righteous indignation and punitive action is, in my mind, short sighted.

This is the road our society took when child abuse was first recognized as a problem. Gradually awareness grew that many abusive parents were overwhelmed, not evil. Isolation, poverty, postpartum depression, unexpected needs of a baby with disabilities and even lack of knowledge of normal child development proved to be factors that could be dealt with proactively with solutions such as visiting home nurses. Many families can be held together, not torn apart.

In a similar vein, I believe many elder abusers are overwhelmed, exhausted and isolated folks confronted with unpredictable behavior on the part of mobile people close to their size and-or medical fragility requiring constant attention. When she cared for her aunt toward the end, my mother’s need to be always vigilant kept her from going as far as the corner store.

I believe that any realistic and compassionate solution to the problem of elder abuse must be proactive, recognizing the needs of the caretaker as well as the cared for. Measures such as respite care could go far toward relieving the pressure on the former and helping assure better care for the latter, again helping families, rather than tearing them apart.

Julia Emily Hathaway


Questions about coaching

In regard to the Bangor school system’s asking Roger Reed to choose between coaching the Bangor High School boys basketball team and being, possibly, a part-time Maine legislator, I am wondering how it is that full-time teachers are able to coach sports teams.

For that matter, if Roger Reed’s coaching position has been this demanding, was he ever asked over the years to choose between coaching and devoting his full time to his teaching? I am just trying to understand the logic of the educational leadership in Bangor.

Jan Rideout


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