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Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012:Hospice, bait, equality


Brewer teachers rock!

As the father of a high-achieving daughter who got a world-class education in Brewer public schools, I believe Gov. Paul LePage is “out to lunch.” The dedicated staff in Brewer schools always put their heart and soul into their work despite taxing conditions.

What most people do not get is that former President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act is as an unfunded mandate that costs us millions of dollars in an attempt to improve all students’ scores on culturally biased standardized tests.

The hard right is so pro-deregulation, it seems ironic that they do not see the folly of what I call “Every Child Left Behind.” This is one clear case where less is more. More freedom for high-aiming schools to better serve the needs of all pupils is possible— if and only if we get the monkey off the back of the system.

Attracting the best teachers is not accomplished by bad-mouthing.

LePage is right when he says public schools underperform. He offers the private sector, which is free of “Every Child Left Behind,” as the answer. In such a case, the schools in Maine would likely be run much like the privatized prisons in Pennsylvania.

The Brewer class of 2010 is out there in the postsecondary world kicking butt because they were so well prepared by public schools in spite of some of our government’s worst efforts.

I say, “Brewer teachers rock,” and LePage bit his sock.

David Weigel


Hospice volunteers ‘incredible’

Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County has been named the WLBZ Channel 2 Agency of Distinction for 2012 just in time for National Hospice Awareness Month. We are grateful to receive this award, as it recognizes the commitment of our volunteers and offers an opportunity to highlight the importance of hospice services to those dealing with end-of-life issues.

Hospice volunteers are incredible, devoting themselves to extensive training and to providing compassionate service, to those living at the end of their lives, caregivers and those grieving the loss of a loved one.

Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County is an independent, state-licensed program that does not charge for services nor receive federal or state funding. Our volunteers come from the communities throughout Hancock County to serve their neighbors, and we are supported almost entirely through donations, fundraising events and grants.

It is not unusual for us to hear from the families we serve that our volunteers come at just the right time to help them understand the processes they’re going through, to support them with compassion and to provide respite for the caregivers, so they can keep their loved ones where they feel most comfortable.

November is National Hospice Awareness Month and we’re happy to have this opportunity to report that we intend to continue our mission for at least another 32 years. We appreciate this vote of confidence. Thank you to WLBZ, our volunteers and to all of our community supporters!

Jody Wolford-Tucker, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County

Bait question

I just finished reading Clinton Townsend’s article that favors banning the use of live bait for fishing in some waters. Does this ban include baitfish that are native to some waters? If a body of water has smelts, for example, will we be prohibited from using them as live bait even if they are caught in the body of water being fished?

Robert Beaulieu


Don’t blame RSU 19 ‘no’ voters

The current financial situation facing RSU 19 is having an effect on all residents. After the loan proposal was voted down, many residents met the news with outrage and suggested that the people who voted no on the loan were against the students in the district — because, after all, it was only going to raise people’s taxes by $100 on average.

As a selectman in one of the affected towns, I see the impact our tax base has on its citizens, especially the elderly. The reality is that our neighbors are barely hanging on to what they have now, and any kind of tax increase will put a larger burden on them. The towns are sending out large numbers of tax lien notices each year, and houses are being foreclosed on for nonpayment of taxes. People who voted no on the loan proposal are not bad people who don’t care about the kids in their community. They are people who, in many cases, are just hanging on and can’t afford to give any more.

It is truly unfortunate that a group of adults put our children in this mess, but blaming the people

who voted no is not going to solve the problem. I would urge everyone to rally around these students in their communities so they can keep some of their activities that were taken away because a group of adults at RSU 19 were irresponsible and without accountability.

Jason Gould

Saint Albans

Thank you, Mainers, for equality support

What do you say when 1 million people vote on your marriage? My wife, Kate, and I were married in 1999 in a religious ceremony in front of our family and friends. In 2004, we were legally married in Massachusetts. But until Nov. 6, our commitments added up to nothing in Maine.

Not everyone in Maine voted on our marriage. About 30 percent of eligible voters didn’t bother. Forty-seven percent voted against recognizing our relationship. As the election results rolled in, I

joked with Kate that those who voted no on Question 1 actually cared deeply about the stability of our marriage.

Ironically, since we were married in Massachusetts, but our own state did not recognize that legal union, we were unable to divorce unless one or both of us moved to Massachusetts. Now we can legally divorce anytime we want to! But after 13 years together, I don’t see divorce in the cards.

Like the Velveteen Rabbit, we are not quite real: The federal Defense of Marriage Act still means that we pay more tax on health care and other benefits. We can’t yet count on each other’s Social Security insurance in case of death or disability. We’ll still be filing “single but sort of married” on our taxes. But seeing the support for equality in our state, I’m starting to believe I might see full equality in a time frame that makes a difference in my own life.

Erica Quin-Easter


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