Monday, September 16, 2013: Flag faux pas, flying papers and bear traps

Posted Sept. 15, 2013, at 11:26 a.m.

Third budget vote

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, a referendum will provide another opportunity for citizens to vote on the proposed 2013-14 budget for RSU 20. This is the third round of budget preparation for the current school year. Each successive budget has been lower than the previous one. The Finance Committee, administration and Board of Directors have worked hard on a budget that balances the impact on taxes while providing quality education for our students.

The proposed budget stands at $33,389,902, a 0.07 percent increase over last year’s budget. In response to concerns and suggestions from the public, the Finance Committee has restored several positions while finding other areas to reduce with less impact on students.

Restored are an art teaching position at Troy Howard Middle School, the school resource officer at Belfast Area High School and two library ed techs. In return, we have further reduced allocations to technology and food service and reduced hours for some employees. With the endorsement of the Education Association by the Bay, stipends for all cocurricular activity coaches will stay at current levels.

We recognize that our citizens are experiencing financial pressure due to changes in our economy and changes in economic policy at the state and federal level. In the coming year, we will research and plan ways to make our school system more efficient while still maintaining high-quality programming for our students.

We urge you to show your support for the education of our children by endorsing the RSU 20

budget.

John C. McDonald, assistant superintendent, RSU 20

Belfast

Biological perspective

Bombing Syria makes sense, to some, as a way of protecting us. As “capitalists,” we believe in money as protective, so we “make money.” Biologically, this makes sense because, over centuries, men have been taught that capital protects their families.

Day-to-day proof: In our country, if you find yourself without money, you and your family are  out of luck. Someone is “making money” on Syria; if they weren’t, we wouldn’t be doing it.

That said we are not, simply, capitalists. We are human beings — dependent on raising healthy, happy children.

All species protect the most vulnerable stage of their life cycle. Our children are the most vulnerable stage of our life cycle: Human children have the longest childhood of any species. Raising healthy, happy children capable of raising healthy, happy children defines us as a species.

Biologically, children need three specific conditions to grow up able to raise happy, healthy children themselves. They need to hear a firm “no” when at risk of hurting themselves or someone else; they need to play, essentially, all the time; and they need to be protected from the experience of life-threatening fear (fear that stops breathing).

If not, that fear stays with them for life — creating violent men and emotionally paralyzed women.

Bombs scare people to the point of stopping breathing.

This country can no longer afford to hurt any more children for any reason — including for reasons of capital. Making capital on hurting children is something we can no longer afford to do.

Sara Stalman

Brooklin

Shame on economist

The older citizens of Maine are not a problem. When employed, an older citizen who is on Social Security need not collect welfare. Also, he or she has medical coverage with Medicare. Therefore, seniors don’t cost employers anything for insurance coverage. Older workers are more reliable, less tardy, have less absenteeism and are more interested in doing their job than checking their phone 20 times a day for social media updates. Maine’s older workers are not a problem. They are an asset. Shame on that economist for not getting his figures correct.

William Patterson

Brownville

Flag disrespect

Thursday’s front page featured a patriotic observance of 9/11. However, the flag was disrespected by using it as an article of clothing. While those doing so were patriotic, it is not patriotic to violate the U. S. Flag Code, which states, “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel . . . No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.” Our flag is a sacred symbol of our nation and must be respected. See the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 176.

Albert Myers

Castine

BDN online

I am a baby boomer. When I started reading the BDN, all that was available was the paper edition, which I always enjoyed. The disadvantage was that I had to “share” various sections with the rest of the family, which meant waiting to read the whole thing. Fast forward a dozen years or so, and I am sitting in my backyard trying to read it. The wind picks up, and I’m spending more time holding it down than actually reading it, or the cat jumps up and decides to take a nap on it. Alas, the online digital edition becomes available. You can search, and even download the complete paper. It is available when I get up at 4:00 a.m. I download it and can scroll page after page to my heart’s delight. I can increase the size so it fills my big monitor, which makes it readable without glasses. I don’t have to share it. If I want to sit in my yard with my laptop, it is not affected by the wind. It’s free, and there is no paper to recycle. What more could one ask for?

David Winslow

Brewer

 

News updates

This is close to being my 50th summer in Winter Harbor. I read the BDN every day that I am not in Canada salmon fishing. I always find it excellent reading at breakfast. The articles are well presented. For a state that is as lightly populated as Maine, the amount of crime reported daily is quite fantastic. The prisons must be overflowing.

I like the editorials and Gwynne Dyer’s essays. The sports section is excellent. I must admit the hunting and fishing section could be “improved” with good advice on where to go to fish for a wild brook trout. Further, the idea that shooting a black bear that is caught in a leg trap is a “sport” leaves me, as an ardent bird hunter, frankly aghast. The great Starker Leopold used to point out to me repetitively that sport hunting and harvesting wildlife were two different subjects. I can understand ‘baiting’ bears, but a leg hold trap — come on — it is indefensible.

Thank you all for keeping me up to date, interested and amused by every issue.

Nathaniel Reed

Hobe Sound, Fla.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/09/15/opinion/letters/monday-september-16-2013-flag-faux-pas-flying-papers-and-bear-traps/ printed on August 1, 2014