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Monday, Oct. 21, 2013: Class rings, natural gas and affordable health care

Neighborhood advantage

Maine ranked No. 5 in terms of problems caused by the shutdown. The loss of government jobs, contracts and government sponsored construction hurt badly. That is, hurt down south in Portland, Augusta and Bangor. Up here in Washington County, we have always only gotten the leftover dregs. The good stuff, they were always too greedy to share (e.g. Indian casino, east-west highway, etc.).

As a consequence of years of neglect and avoidance, there is nothing of any consequence to lose up here. Here, the shutdown is no big deal. Sometimes it is true that what comes around goes around.

Harold Goodman



Ads ring true

I am a sophomore at Bangor High School. On Friday, all the sophomores, including myself, were removed from class for a mandatory assembly. The occasion? A presentation, accompanied by several video advertisements, urging us to purchase a class ring.

That’s right: They pulled the entire sophomore class out of learning to show us some ads. I just thought that Bangor’s taxpayers should know where their tax dollars are going.

Conor Thompson


Gas profits

Hats off to the BDN and Gov. Paul Lepage for supporting and promoting the use of natural gas, which is, as they say, cleaner burning fuel, efficient and cheaper than other products such as propane and oil. It will help us become energy independent, which is what we are striving for. I live one block from the source where natural gas is available. I have called Bangor Gas for three years to request service. They say that they only want to go where they can make a profit. I wish the governor would put his money where his mouth is and help.

Thomas Collins



Removing display

Shame on Bar Harbor for removal of the display honoring the brave service men and women’s sacrifice during the holiday season. It’s a disgrace. It is a slap in the face to each one of us that served. Now I see the misguided actions have placed Bar Harbor and Maine in the national spotlight. Perhaps the town could adopt a new slogan, “Bar Harbor, the way life shouldn’t be.”

Bill Marciniak


Zone rules

Regarding the proposal to change Camden’s zoning ordinance to accommodate a group of investors who now own Fox Hill, an important point seems to be missing from the discussion and is our primary concern: If the residential zoning becomes commercial zoning for the proposed Fox Hill Rehab Center or any other use, it is unlikely to ever return to residential zoning, forever changing the nature of the property. This action would set a precedent for properties anywhere and everywhere within Camden.

We understand that the potential rehab center would be a tenant of the current group who owns the property. Who is to say if, when and how often that property’s tenants could change hands?

The “goodness” of the proposed rehab facility is totally irrelevant to the discussion.

If/when the potential developers of the rehab facility sell/close/rent/sublet/default or abandon the property, Camden will have no control over what happens to this property next, except to insure that another commercial development of unknown consequences may move in and further weaken the residential character of Camden.

We stand opposed to changing Camden’s zoning to accommodate the current request by the Fox Hill property owners for commercial development of any kind.

Dorie Klein


There is hope

On Monday, I watched Sarah Palin and Sen. Ted Cruz spew vitriol and hate, while offering no solutions to the shutdown. They did manage to exploit the veterans at the war memorial for their own political purposes. I realized these two epitomize everything that is wrong with politics in our country.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I watched Sen. Susan Collins offer possible solutions to the shutdown, debt crisis, and Sen. John McCain apologize for the shameful behavior of Congress; and I thought, there is hope after all.

John N. Kelly


Expand coverage

As most Mainers know, this year Maine missed the critical opportunity to accept millions of dollars in federal funds to expand affordable health care in our state. Because Maine declined these federal funds during the last legislative session, tens of thousands of vulnerable, lower income Mainers, many of whom are 50-64, will not have access to subsidized coverage through the health exchanges.

These are hard-working Mainers. Some have lost their jobs. Others are in low-paying jobs that do not provide health insurance coverage. Leaving people uninsured without access to primary and preventive care can jeopardize even the most careful preparation for health and financial security in later life.

We know of too many people in our state whose nest eggs have eroded because of their health care costs. Accepting these federal dollars in 2014 will help put an end to this for so many of our friends and family who are grappling with their living expenses and putting their own health care needs on hold.

On behalf of our 230,000 AARP members and their families, we urge our elected leaders to do the right thing in 2014 and expand health care coverage for all hard-working Mainers.

Rich Livingston

AARP Maine Volunteer State President


Restore sanity

The tea party virus has infected the Republican Party and spread to threaten the health of our nation. If unchecked it could impact other nations. What is it that the small minority of the GOP sees as a threat to our nation? The Affordable Care Act is an effort to provide health insurance to all Americans. The law will enable all to benefit from annual physical exams and thus provide early diagnosis of potential life-threatening illness. Having insurance will prevent bankruptcy due to high medical costs.

There are additional advantages that help working class people. It is difficult to see how anyone with an ounce of common sense can see these benefits as a threat. Moderate Republicans have allowed a radical fringe group to become policy makers. We can only hope that rational members of the Grand Old Party can restore sanity to Congress.

Ron Jarvella


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