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Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013: Rising insurance rates, remembering the Maine

Restore dignity

I want to respond to the wonderful Feb. 6 OpEd “ Restore dignity to Maine’s elderly by properly funding nursing homes.” Thank you for speaking out about the need for quality care, not only for the elderly but for all who are in a nursing home.

Our family had numerous nursing home experiences, including a grandmother, father and a brother who was a paraplegic at 36 years old. I was also a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home and know firsthand the time constraints placed on the staff to do a quality job — not an easy task to accomplish.

So, thank you for a truly inspiring piece about health care services or “the lack of the comprehensive plan to deal with this crisis.”

Pamela Mugnai


Over the line opinions

The two OpEd pieces in the BDN on Feb. 18 — one that opposed the east-west highway and another condemning the U.S. Department of Agriculture census — were troubling.

Both were well-written, articulate to a point and heartfelt. Both, however, took reasonable concerns and exploded them with exaggerated statements, opinions presented as facts

and fear mongering.

Does one writer really think SWAT teams are about to invade Maine farms? Does the other really think all trucks on a new road will be bringing foreign goods to big-box stores and cause the end of small-town shops as we know them?

Opinion pieces are entertaining and sometimes informative. Not so much when they go over the line into paranoia.

Michael Sirota


Never say never

The BDN may yet regret its recent statement it “never would have published personally identifying information of any permit holder in Maine,” as a newspaper in New York had done. It went on to say that “to have done so would have been irresponsible to our readers and our communities.”

I can easily foresee a manhunt for a very dangerous criminal, causing havoc and fear across the state, who is using a legal concealed weapon, and the BDN needs to identify this person by name and town. Will the BDN not reveal her or his name at that point?

Never say never. As an important part of the fourth estate in Maine, the BDN must reserve its right to publish any legal public information that serves the public good, when necessary.

The folks at the paper are backpedaling much too furiously. Tell us the paper will not publish a list of all concealed-carry permit holders. OK, we got that. But there may come a time when it must publish the names of one or more.

Reserve that right, in the name of public service. Otherwise, stop calling the BDN a newspaper.

Paul Sheridan


Insurance rates

If the BDN wants to do a bit of journalism research, it might look into the recent increases in health insurance rates in this state.

My wife, who is younger than 65 years old, is insured with The Mega Life and Health Insurance Co. It is one of only two companies doing business in Maine selling health insurance.

We just received a letter from them stating that in March, premiums will be increasing by 39 percent from $323 to $450 per month.

We now have a decision to make: no health insurance for her until she reaches 65, or pay this “highway robbery” rate increase.

Richard Barclay


Remembering Maine

The picture of the “Remember the Maine” ceremony in the BDN on Feb. 16 brought back a memory.

I was sightseeing in Butte, Mont., two years ago and made a stop at the Butte-Silver Bow County Courthouse.

To my amazement, displayed in the lobby was the 1,000-pound bronze capstan from the USS Maine.

It is the largest remnant of the ship and was presented as a gift of the federal government to the Henry W. Lawton Camp No. 1 troop of Spanish American War veterans. It was donated to the courthouse and the people of Butte on June 14, 1914.

Susan White


BDN decision

When I read of the BDN decision to file a request for concealed weapons permit data, and its accompanying rationale and intent, I stood in defense of its decision.

Believing that the NEWS acted within its rights, I thought it behooved its readers to trust the BDN statement of intent and hold it to it. Had the paper gone against its word and published identifying information of permit holders, I would have immediately ended my subscription.

Today, I end my subscription because of the decision made, whether by ownership, editors or both, to cave to public pressure in what can simply be called an act of cowardice.

Had the BDN present ownership and editorial staff been at the helm of The Washington Post in 1972, a “third-rate burglary” would be long forgotten.

The decision to cave calls the paper’s integrity and its initial intentions in requesting the permit information into question.

Good newspapers take risks and hold firm under pressure when confident in their ability to report and publish the facts.

Paul Bissonnette


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