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Friday, Jan. 4, 2013: School safety, Medicare fraud, and CNN


Safety protocol debate

As our nation still mourns the loss of so many young lives in Connecticut, it is time to turn our attention to preventative measures here at home. The gun control debate will rage on, but what we all can agree on is the safety protocol developed by the Maine Department of Education and some basic safety steps like door buzzers.

Many schools have stepped up, engaged in open communication with parents and made immediate changes.

For example, RSU 20 has been responsive and appropriate in addressing concerns and making changes.

The very simple question is why, when the teachers are so outstanding, has the leadership of RSU 26 in Orono failed to lead?

They canceled the December school board meeting and have failed to respond to letters requesting copies of safety protocols or inquiries about possible safety enhancements.

Leaders are responsible to the people they are paid to serve, and I would hope that the school district I trust with my children would treat me like a partner.

Jenna Mehnert


DaVita Medicare fraud

In late November, CNN news reporter Wolf Blitzer did an expose on a whistleblower lawsuit and investigation of DaVita. A doctor and a nurse, both former DaVita employees, allege that vast amounts of an intravenous iron drug have been wasted, and DaVita was billing Medicare for all of it.

They say a dose of the medicine that could be given in one dose was being divided into three or four doses just to inflate the amount that could be charged. Video of this expose is available online. The whistleblowers say that around $800 million was overcharged to Medicare.

If the allegations are true, DaVita will be guilty of the biggest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history.

When profit is the priority of a “caregiving” corporation, there is risk for this type of corruption. Ways to cheapen care or to charge too much for care or supplies may become the norm, and patients become the stepping stones toward profit goals.

I warned my neighbors and state officials about DaVita. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services was aware of this whistleblower lawsuit when they decided to grant a certificate for DaVita to operate in our state.

Now Mainers wait and see if our new dialysis clinic managers will run a safe, caring, accessible, affordable and honest clinic for the benefit of our local dialysis patients. Governance of our local dialysis clinics now originates in the DaVita corporate office in Denver, Colo.

Kathy Day


Totally classless CNN

For all you liberals out there who insist CNN is the truth in media, I hope you caught your “darling” Anderson Cooper and his co-host Kathy Griffin on New Years Eve. I won’t even describe in print what went on during that broadcast; I’m sure you can find it on the Internet. I know Dick Clark rolled over in his grave.

This media outlet has fallen to the depths of depravity, and it can be blamed on the degradation of our society.

Kids today are not taught respect either at home, in school or in the media. In fact, they are asked simple questions like who the vice president is or what the branches of government are, and they can’t answer.

It is obvious they are not being taught anything important in school. They don’t understand economics and balancing a budget. They think there is a never-ending stream of cash that is owed to them that they don’t have to work for.

That is what they are being taught. That is what they are laughing at on places like CNN. Unfortunately, those kids are now moms and dads and are going to be our leaders in the near future. Sometime soon reality is going to set in. Sad, really sad.

Jim Lutz


Responsibly secure weapons

Weapons belonging to military units and law enforcement agencies seldom fall into the hands of civilians wishing to harm the general public. Such weapons are well secured, maintained and accounted for.

Today there are many weapons, particularly guns, loose in our midst. It is folly to hope to document the vast majority of them now.

However, Vice President Joe Biden’s study committee might well suggest a means to encourage all owners of guns and other dangerous weapons to secure them properly via federal and state tax incentives, giving credit for the purchases of secure safes.

Mainers pride themselves on loving outdoor sports. We are avid fishermen, hikers, hunters, photographers, skiers and snowmobilers.

Let us each reflect back over the years on how often we have become aware of poorly secured ammunition, guns, keys and knives in homes, vehicles and businesses.

We may never be able to identify all disturbed folks who become bent on doing harm, but we should be able to deter the ease of access to weapons by the misguided.

Increasing the availability of strong boxes and safes would boost a segment of our economy and might even become a fundraising source for sporting clubs and service organizations.

Schools are not the only vulnerable targets. Let’s stop attempting to “harden” targets which present challenges for some. Instead, let’s assist and encourage all to become more responsible in regard to securing dangerous equipment in our households, vehicles and places of business.

Christopher J. White


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