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Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012: MDOT wasting money, rights of couples and the church

MDOT keeps wasting time, money on South Bristol bridge

Livermore Falls townspeople no doubt are thrilled to receive a $400,000 state cash infusion; state Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, is disappointed he can’t get similar treatment for his townspeople. Yet quietly in South Bristol, a multi-million-dollar bridge and right-of-way improvement project moves forward.

When Maine Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt was appointed, he promised improved efficiencies within the department.

The bridge design for Maine Department of Transportation Project No. 016750 has been in progress since 2000 (12 years), with multiple meetings, changes of designers from HNTB Corp. to CHA Inc., different recommendations, multiple changes of project management — an incredible waste of time and taxpayer money.

Adding insult to mismanagement, the design will destroy the character of an incredibly beautiful New England town: South Bristol. It is overdesigned and overkill. This design will devastate South Bristol’s tourist industry, impacting fishermen, handymen, restaurant owners, boatyards and B&Bs.

Please take a look at southbristolbridge.org — a picture is worth a thousand words.

Thomas Czyz


Elect Troy Haines in House District 7

I write today to endorse Troy Haines to be the State Representative for District 7. Although I am not Democrat, I have worked with Haines in the past and can assure Republicans and independents that he will fight just as hard for your interests as he would for a Democrat.

As a former policy staffer for Sen. Olympia Snowe for 5½ years and an intern for Sen. Susan Collins, I learned from two of the most efficient, hard-working legislators in the United States. Time after time, they put the interests of their constituents and their state above their political party.

Haines would do the same. He’s a person who can work across party aisles to find commonsense solutions. He’s advocated for a number of critical issues facing Maine: health care reform, a jobs agenda, workers’ rights. Most importantly, he’s a small business owner, so he understands the struggles facing small businesses. My only regret is that I don’t live in District 7, so I ask Republicans and independents who live in that district to please cast a ballot on my behalf and elect Haines.

Gregory White


Rights of couples

With reference to the ongoing controversy over same sex marriage, the rights of couples need not be a problem. Just maintain the separation of church and state.

A civil union is a contract among two persons and their civil government that establishes their legal relationships, rights and obligations. A marriage establishes and recognizes a relationship specified by the couple’s faith or religion.

A marriage and a civil union should be separate and independent agreements.

Roger Hewett


Improving veterans’ health and well-being

Thank you for your coverage of the lack of a permanent physician in the Calais VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic. We are committed to hiring a suitable full-time provider for the Calais clinic. Finding a highly qualified physician to permanently staff the clinic in Calais has always been our goal. Recruitment for the position has been ongoing since it became vacant over a year ago.

Our lack of success in finding a replacement is an indication of the challenges in recruiting medical professionals in rural parts of our state.

VA Maine Healthcare System is committed to providing high-quality care to our nation’s veterans, and care will continue to be provided in Calais by interim providers until a permanent replacement is hired.

Although this solution is not our preference and is understandably frustrating for patients, we feel that veterans will continue to receive the outstanding health care that they have become accustomed to during this transition period.

VA Maine Healthcare System provides healthcare to roughly 40,000 veterans in the state of Maine through a main hospital campus in Augusta, eight full-time community based outpatient clinics and three part-time access points that are geographically scattered around the state.

We appreciate the interest and support of Maine’s congressional delegation in seeing this issue through to resolution. All stakeholders, from members of the delegation, to veterans service groups and, most importantly, to the veterans themselves, have the same goal — improving veterans’ health and well-being. We continue to use everything within our disposal to bring this issue to closure and bring provider stability to this important clinic.

Ryan Lilly

Director of VA Maine Healthcare System


Support Dan Levesque

Having been in business for the past 30 years, I remember business friends that have helped me along the way. When I first met Dan Levesque, he was in charge of the J.P. Levesque sawmill operations in Ashland and Masardis. The facility was organized, efficient, clean and well-orchestrated.

I was involved with moving all the chips that the mill produced, so being involved on a daily basis with the mill and Levesque, we developed a good business relationship.

He is someone who effectively owned and operated a successful business and managed approximately 285 employees. I am more than confident he will have the stamina and determination to do what is right for the working families and businesses in District 34.

Steve Theriault

Fort Kent

Literacy success

When the Maine Department of Education unveiled its new literacy plan, Literacy for ME, recently at the Lewiston Public Library, we had two goals in mind: Share the details of this plan and prepare all Maine residents to help implement it.

We are dedicated to getting the entire state involved in building local plans for literacy that will promote the success of both children and adults.

Under Literacy for ME, local Maine communities will take charge in developing their own comprehensive literacy plans, with support from the department. The Maine DOE will explain the process of comprehensive literacy planning at six regional meetings held between Sept. 19 and 28 in Presque Isle, Machias, Bangor, Augusta, Lewiston and Portland.

We encourage Maine schools to take the lead in forming literacy planning teams, and we request that each team be comprised of members that represent the birth-to-adult continuum within your community.

K-12 educators, early childhood educators and providers, adult and family literacy educators, literacy specialists, parents, school and community librarians, health care providers and community and business partners are all invited to the meetings. Teams of four to eight members should register online by Sept. 17. Details about the meetings can be found at www.maine.gov/doe/literacy-for-me.

Join us as we promote this important investment in Maine’s future.

Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Literacy

University of Maine

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