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Friday, July 13, 2012: Cassius Clay, Howie Carr and Charlie Summers

Kudos to local hospitals

I am writing to express my admiration of two area hospitals: Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln and Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

On June 29, 2011, I brought my 8-year-old daughter, Gigi, to PVH. A few days into our summer vacation at Cold Stream Pond, Gigi became ill and was showing signs of dehydration.

Gigi appeared to be suffering from a burst appendix. However, I believe our doctor was guided by his intuition. Given that PVH does not have a pediatric surgeon, he sent us by ambulance to EMMC.

At EMMC, Dr. Josh Caresky, the only pediatric surgeon north of Portland, was set to begin his vacation when we showed up. Assuming she was a routine appendectomy, he was ready to pass her off to the emergency department surgeon. I’m still amazed at his last-minute decision to do the surgery himself.

When the operation finished, we heard the news that changed our lives. Gigi’s small intestines had somehow twisted around themselves and died. Dr. Caresky removed half of them. We were shocked.

The surgeons saved Gigi. The nurses and pediatric support team saved me and my husband.

They presented us with enough information to make informed decisions. They encouraged us to reach out to our doctors at home in Massachusetts. They provided shoulders to cry on. They made arrangements so we could take our daughter back to Cold Stream, her favorite place in the world, and receive home health care there.

Words cannot express the gratitude our family feels for these two hospitals.

Julie Cyr Gibowicz


Average American

After years of trying to keep up my belief that I am a mainstream, patriotic and dare I say average American, I give up! Thanks to the Associated Press article printed in the BDN, announcing that the former Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) was being awarded the Liberty Medal, I finally realize that I am just too outdated, out-voted and traditional to be a good American. I can’t remember who he was fighting when he announced “every time I hit [?] in the face, I am punching the American Flag,” but that was said in face-to-face interviews before and after the bout.

I remember as he was due to be drafted, it was announced that Clay was converting to Islam. Right around that same time my husband decided to re-up, because America had an “obligation to fulfill.”

As the succeeding governments continued to honor Clay, I watched my husband, both my sons, two of my granddaughters, three in-laws and two cousins do their American duty without changing their names or religions.

As old and passe as I am and in the reverse sentiment of the current first lady, this is not the first time I am ashamed of my country, it is the latest time, for honoring a person who changed his name and beliefs to gain a reprieve, title or award and apparently being revered for that duplicity. I give up. The former Cassius Clay is a wonderful example of a mainstream, patriotic, average American — more so everyday.

Jan. I. Blanchard


Article buried

I found it interesting that a recent article on governors, legislators and other politicians using crude language was buried on page three. If it had been our own governor you would have blasted it to the front page in large print. Your dislike for the governor we elected has never been hidden.

Sandi Brennan


Laden misfits

Your front page of uly 9 was a gratifyingly prominent depiction of those intrepid freedom fighters, Gov. LePage and Howie Carr. Most photos of freedom fighters are of scruffy, bandoleer-laden misfits.

So reassuring to see the aforementioned laden with shapely bellies and adorned with polo shirts.

David Calder


Fairness dialogue

I read with interest Chris Busby’s OpEd about Charlie Summers’ opposition to Maine law banning discrimination against people on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation. According to Busby, Summers believes that homosexuality is a choice, so legislation to protect the rights of homosexuals is unnecessary. Perhaps that is why Summers seems reluctant to offer Maine voters wording for the same-sex marriage initiative that includes mention of the fact that religious liberties will be protected should same-sex marriage become law.

The petition that more than 100,000 Maine residents signed in order to bring this question to referendum was very clear about the protection of the freedom of Maine clergy in regards to performing gay marriages.

I asked Summers at the Bangor 4th of July parade about the process for receiving comments about the proposed wording for this referendum and how he would be using these comments to finalize the wording. His reply: “If comments seemed ‘canned,’ they would not make a difference, but if they were personalized, [he’d] pay attention to them.”

While I find it hard to understand why Summers, as our secretary of state, would not pay attention to every comment from Maine voters on this important issue, I hope he holds true to his word that anyone who sends “personalized” comments will be heard and their comments will direct his thinking as he determines whether there is fairness in this dialogue or whether it is driven by what appears to be his own agenda concerning homosexuality.

Judy Williams


Gunther praise

The Hon. Jessie Briggs Gunther has a long and accurate memory ( BDN, July 2). Indeed, The Piscataquis Observer did testify in opposition to her nomination before the Executive Council, which approved gubernatorial appointments 36 years ago. Rural Mainers, the newspaper also argued editorially, deserved exactly the same quality of justice enjoyed by folks in Portland and the appointment of a very young lawyer to the District Court 13 bench did not augur well for the quality of justice available to Piscataquis County people.

As it turned out, Judge Briggs provided very high-quality judicial services to all who appeared before her court in Dover-Foxcroft, Milo and Lincoln. A year or so after her appointment, the newspaper published an editorial titled “Eating Judicial Crow.” The newspaper restated its concerns and demonstrated that Judge Briggs more than satisfied any early doubters, including me, of her judicial capabilities. Today, Maine is a better place for her long service. We both were young.

Jim Thompson

Former editor and publisher, The Piscataquis Observer


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