Friday, June 7, 2013: Support the senior center, disappointed in school

Posted June 06, 2013, at 5:53 p.m.

Governor one-term

It’s time for corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. Close the tax loopholes that favor the wealthy, and let’s have a tax code that is fair for all Maine people.

The days of trying to imply the Democrats are taxers and spenders are over. The majority of Maine people and Americans know this is a fallacy that does not stand up to the facts.

Gov. Paul LePage’s budget may result in much higher property taxes while giving more tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, who already, with tax loopholes, pay a much lower percentage of income than middle-class Maine people pay.

Democrats, independents and even a lot of Republicans understand that many believe the Republican Party caters to corporate greed. House members and state senators who tie themselves to “governor one-term” LePage’s tax policies will, no doubt, find themselves defeated at the polls in the next election cycle.

Dan Brown

Hudson

School neglect

I am writing a letter to the public about a recent experience we encountered at the Downeast School in Bangor. My child is a 6-year-old in first grade.

On the day of the incident, I received a phone call from my child’s principal explaining that my child had been hit in the face with a stick under his eye. He assured me my child was all right and that they would put an ice pack on the red spot.

An hour later I received another call from a woman who said that our child needed to be picked up and taken to see a physician immediately. When we went to the school, I discovered my son was actually hit directly in the eye with a stick on the playground.

I asked who was on duty at recess watching the children, and I was told that they didn’t know, there were three people on duty. After taking my child to the emergency room, we finally made it home for him to rest and recuperate.

Not one person from that school called to check on him. I am angered and saddened that my children attend a school where the adults are so inconsiderate.

Courtney Lamontagne

Bangor

A carrot a day

Dr. Michael Noonan’s May 31 BDN Health page article, “For stronger bones put down the milk and grab a carrot,” gave some sound advice for promotion of wellness. Grabbing a carrot along with more fruits and vegetables plus choosing fewer processed foods could make all of us healthier.

But it was disturbing to read “put down the milk.” One eight-ounce cup of milk contains about 300 milligrams of calcium and 100 international units of vitamin D. The recommended dietary intake of calcium for teenagers is 1,300 milligrams daily and for adults the recommendation is 1,000 milligrams daily, according to nutrition textbooks by National Academies Press that are put together by the National Academy of Sciences.

One cup of cooked carrots contains 46-75 milligrams of calcium, according to the academy of sciences. Noonan’s advice to eat more vegetables echoes the advice of leading nutritionists. Kale is the winner in that food group since it does not contain oxalic acid that prevents absorption of the calcium as is the case in other leafy greens as spinach, chard and beets.

Leaves of kale may be chopped; added to a pan in which ½ cup minced onion has been lightly sauteed in olive oil. Cover and steam for two minutes; add 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar. Another two to three minutes of steaming makes kale a great addition to a meal, yielding 172 milligrams of calcium, according to the academy of sciences.

I am concerned about vitamin D if one does not drink milk. Since vegetables do not contain vitamin D, what foods other than milk, cheese and sardines can one eat to get the recommended amount of vitamin D per day?

Dr. Katherine O. Musgrave

Orono

Resolve GMO confusion

Recently, there has been quite a stir over the issue of labeling genetically modified foods. A survey conducted by the Maine Organic Gardeners and Farmers Association found that 91 percent of Maine’s citizens want genetically modified foods to be labeled. This staggering consensus made me curious about the justifications that opponents might offer to support their minority perspective.

I followed up on my curiosity by attending the public hearing at the State House on April 23 and found the agriculture committee room completely full and teeming with energy. Among the testimonies delivered by the few opponents of the bill, I was struck by the constitutional issue of compelled speech.

The Supreme Court has a long history of ruling that individuals ought to be free from being compelled to speak in a manner inimical to their personal beliefs as a corollary of their First Amendment rights. It seems self-evident that requiring genetically modified food producers to disclose the content of their products is not a matter of belief — it is a matter of fact and commercial speech and ought to be treated as such.

Compelled speech is a tractable barrier to labeling, and the consensus among Maine’s citizens is clear. Food labeling policy should promote transparency and reflect the desires of the public rather than permitting modified food producers to shroud the contents of their products.

Concerned citizens and legislators alike must continue to push forward diligently on this issue to resolve consumer confusion.

Tyler Cota

Farmington

Senior budget

The Hammond Street Senior Center is not composed of nursing home residents. They are taxpaying members of the cities and towns that make up HSSC’s membership. The center gives nearly 2,000 area seniors a reason to get out of bed in the morning and lead a productive and fulfilling aging experience. HSSC depends on donations, corporate sponsorship, grants and municipal support to keep its doors open. So why would the city of Bangor drastically deny funds to the center?

In the May 29 BDN article, “Bangor likely to hike taxes, trim budgets,” the Bangor City Council states that they made 12 percent funding cuts across the board for “outside agencies.” What they did not say in the article is that it would be a 12 percent cut in what the council decided to be a fair amount to sponsor the senior center.

The total proposed cut was actually 26 percent of what HSSC was asking for. The center was asking for roughly $31,000, not millions. And, considering that the “under 18” and “senior” populations in Bangor are nearly equal, this is a hard hit to take. The city of Bangor spends more than $8,000 per student each fiscal year but can only afford $9.03 per Bangor member? Could the city afford to offer programming equal to that of the senior center for $9.03 per Bangor HSSC member each year? I think not.

Virginia Greene,

Hammond Street Senior Center member

Old Town

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