LETTERS

Wednesday, May 8, 2013: Swamp, grades and computers

Posted May 07, 2013, at 10:52 a.m.

Support LD 1286

I am glad to be a supporter of Maine Friends of Animals and was delighted to see the OpEd article in the May 3 BDN, from the president and director of this organization, asking for support for LD 1286: “An act to protect Maine communities from environmental hazards by prohibiting horse slaughter in Maine for human consumption and the transport of horses for slaughter.”

It is bad for the environment, human health, Maine’s economy, the health of the horses in Maine and definitely bad for horses in question.

Besides safety issues, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has defined horses as companion and non-food animals. If you think of these animals as pets and livelihood and appreciate that they make the landscape more beautiful, please help with this issue.

Barbara Stone

Gouldsboro

Swamp things

I’ve lived in Caribou 32 years and appreciate the generosity of my community. They leave things in my swamp. Usually furniture, electronics, fast food, soda and lots of beer. Unfortunately, most of the latter has been consumed before they leave it for me.

Once someone left me a porcelain toilet in good condition. So good that someone else retrieved it from the swamp two days later. I guess they were renovating.

Last spring, I discovered a Brinks home safe, still locked. That got delivered to the police department. A baggie nearby contained a pipe, seeds and dried stuff that didn’t smell like tobacco. I threw it out, but my friends said I should have kept it.

I also give back to the community. Once my trash was such a hot commodity that someone emptied my garbage cans before my sanitation service arrived.

Another time, I needed to dispose of my old love seat. It was frayed and faded and wouldn’t fit in my car. I dragged it down the driveway with a sign that said, “free.” It was there 30 minutes when a small compact car appeared, and a young man hopped out and took pictures of the sofa with his cellphone. Then, minutes later, a white pickup backed into the driveway, loaded the love seat onto the bed of the truck and left the “free” sign propped up against the garage.

Life is good. I am looking forward to another spring-swamp sell.

Dale J. Gordon

Caribou

Keep advice to yourself

I would like to add my voice to a letter published in the BDN on May 4, written by Charles Roundy of Palmyra. When Roundy becomes a tax-paying resident of Bangor, then he can give us his good advice on what we do with the Bangor Civic Center.

There are many reasons the structure is being disassembled. Any possible errors that Bangor taxpayers may be making are ours to bear. I am sure the vote to build a new civic center and tear down the old one was a well-thought-out vote for all the taxpayers of Bangor.

When Palmyra decides to build its own civic center, I am sure Roundy has the vast experience to advise the town in all aspects of its construction and function. I am sure the good people of Palmyra will not be asking the taxpayers of Bangor on how to spend their town’s money.

Brian Gallant

Bangor

Educational editorial

Last week, I worked on a detailed protest of Gov. Paul LePage and Commissioner Stephen Bowen’s misguided and methodologically discredited A-F bell curve school grading fiasco. Saturday afternoon, looking for the proper email address to send it off, I happened on a detailed and comprehensive editorial that ran in the BDN on May 4.

I completely scrapped my intended text. It had included criticism of the media for focusing on the sensationalized results rather than the crippling methodological shortcomings. Writing as an education and evaluation professional, I am happy to attest the editorial was right on the money. The BDN has redeemed the press.

The only thing that remains to be asked is how and why Bowen, the anointed leader of Maine’s educational system, could have so dramatically departed from accepted evaluative methodology and standards. This was done by allowing and joining the governor in such an intellectually and professionally irresponsible, politically manipulative and demeaning action.

A bell curve evaluation model is so far off the mark it would be laughable — except that the stakes are so high. While any conversations generated locally from this debacle may be valuable, any policy conclusions drawn centrally will be totally without merit.

Hendrik Gideonse

Brooklin

RIP PCs

I read with interest the decision by Gov. Paul LePage to replace Apple computers with Hewlett Packard laptop computers in Maine public schools, ostensibly because businesses in Maine use PCs.

People in business use PCs because that’s what they were taught back when they were in school some 20 years ago.

Innovation is coming not to PCs and Windows but to tablets, cell phones and “the cloud.” The creativity and economic value of the million or more “apps” developed for iPhones and iPads and Android devices is the new wave — not more spreadsheets and accounting software for PCs.

Apple and Google have led the way to facilitate sharing images, messages and business data among mobile devices and the desktop.

People have no doubt noticed that PC companies like Dell, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft have fallen on difficult times. Apple and Google are growing through innovation.

We should teach our kids how to innovate and create their future, not how to return to a dead end. PCs are not the future.

Douglas Posson

Rockport

Buy a senator

Our country began as a republic, which is defined in my ancient dictionary as “A state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.”

If this were still true, background checks legislation would have passed in the Senate. Unfortunately, senators sell for big bucks. The large percentage of us who want increased background checks of gun buyers just can’t afford to buy a senator or two — or however many it would have taken to pass the bill.

Charlie Cameron

Addison

Demeaning grade

As a retired teacher, I am appalled by everything Gov. Paul LePage says about education. His lack of understanding is profound. He would not presume to dictate to architects, engineers, doctors or other professionals, yet he treats teachers and schools like punching bags.

Giving Maine schools letter grades was a stunt. It was oppressive and insulting. It sprang from extraordinary arrogance.

Teaching is a tough, demanding job. Governors should respect and support teachers and schools, not demean them.

Peg Cruikshank

Corea

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