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Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012: The east-west highway, candidate endorsements and BPA

Clear answers

Peter Vigue, chairman and CEO of Cianbro Corp. and chief proponent of the east-west highway, has repeatedly stated he has nothing to gain from it. He fails to mention that while Cianbro doesn’t build roads, it does build bridges and overpasses. If the corridor is built, Cianbro will likely be selected as the contractor for these structures.

A 2008 conceptual feasibility study, paid for by Cianbro and accessible on the Web, shows the corridor having four major bridges and 40 underpasses and overpasses, estimated to cost $150 million — $170 million now. That is a lot to call “nothing to gain” for Cianbro.

Questions about net long-term job gains versus losses, route location and many others have so far gone without clear answers.

Bob Lodato


Gratwick for Senate

We urge Bangor and Hermon voters in Maine Senate District 32 to vote in November for Democrat Geoffrey Gratwick to represent us in the Maine Senate.

Gratwick offers exceptional credentials for the position. He brings real-life human insight and business experience from his decades of practice as a Bangor doctor. In his three terms as Bangor city councilor, Gratwick has shown an unusual capacity for getting along with colleagues of all political stripes and for getting things done.

Gratwick represents the very best in public service. He is unfailingly courteous and approachable. At the same time he is principled and effective. He is modest, thoughtful and independent. He listens. He thinks — and acts — on the highest ideals.

The new Maine Legislature will face complex analysis and important decisions in the application of the federal Affordable Care Act. It will help all of us to have a physician and citizen of Gratwick’s caliber in the Maine Senate to study and weigh in on this vital work.

John and Leigh McCarthy


Better served

If there were any real validity to the arguments presented by the proponents for the “highway to prosperity” ( BDN, Aug. 11-12), a rail option would at least be discussed. Of course, for many opponents of this project, such an alternative would be almost as bad — because in helping Canadians ship stuff from one part of Canada to another it also invites the global economy to further a harsh bisection of the state. But this is another argument that can wait.

What must be made clear now is that the last thing the rural areas need now is a monstrous, technologically reactionary, carbon giantprint across our state. The article never mentioned a rail alternative. Nor did it take very seriously the arguments of the organized opposition to this nonsensical project. We need to be better served.

Larry Litchfield


Job creation

A recent news report, “ LePage signs memo committing to issue Skowhegan bond,” which ran on Aug. 10, said the governor has written a memo for the town of Skowhegan promising to release our voter-approved bond funds for job creation in 2015, after his term expires. Gov. Paul LePage’s memo is a promise to cut a check in three years for a bill that is already past due. I hope it won’t be too little too late. When the people of Maine approved the bonds for job creation they said we want jobs now, not three years from now.

For the past two years, we’ve seen Maine’s economy slide backward, while our neighbors are emerging from the recession. We can’t afford to delay job creation. I hope the people of Skowhegan know they can always count on me to stand up for them, especially when jobs are on the line. I’m happy to see my letters to the governor and my efforts to stand up for the businesses and people of Skowhegan put public pressure on the governor to take some action, albeit small.

Rep. Jeff McCabe



As a mother and grandmother, I am concerned about protecting my children from the toxic array of chemicals in our society today. One of the most pervasive chemicals is BPA, a chemical linked to cancer, learning disabilities, obesity and other health problems.

Children are especially sensitive as they are developing. To protect the health of babies and children, we must end their exposure to BPA. Children are still exposed to BPA through the lining of metal cans and glass jars. Eight hundred signatures have been submitted asking the Board of Environmental Protection to ban BPA from baby and toddler foods.

A public hearing is scheduled by the BEP to consider asking the Maine Legislature to ban BPA from children’s food. It is time to stand up for the health of our children.

Mary Phillips


Option 8 testing

The Maine Department of Education posted an article online, “ASVAB career exploration test not just for students interested in military,” forgetting to mention that the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is a major tool for recruiters to get data on potential recruits.

The Education Department further claimed that schools properly decide whether to release contact info and test data to military recruiters. This, despite the robust protections to student privacy under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA.

All the schools in Maine giving the ASVAB appear to be selecting Option 6 on behalf of students, which says after a week all student data is shared. According to the website studentprivacy.org, no schools are selecting Option 8, which would keep student data private.

How many are letting students and their families know that they also have the right to select Option 8 when taking the ASVAB test?

Join me and other members of the Tom Sturtevant Chapter of Veterans for Peace in communicating with Maine’s Commissioner of Education Stephen Bowen. Ask the commissioner to direct superintendents to choose Option 8 in order to protect the privacy of students under FERPA.

Lisa Savage


Maine bidding

I am pleased that the obsolete, unusable old Verona Bridge is about to be removed. I regret that the state did not choose a long-term, local, quality contractor such as Cianbro Corp. to do the work. If the bid was awarded to a local company, local wages, equipment and resources would be used. I feel the slight difference between the lowest and next lowest bid would be equalized.

The cost of doing business in Maine, by itself, should grant a preferential percentage allowance in bidding, when bidding against out-of-state firms.

Michael Allen


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