Monday, November 25, 2013: Elliotsville Plantation, Medicaid expansion, partisan Augusta

Posted Nov. 24, 2013, at 12:52 p.m.

Build it, they will come

Out-of-staters and Mainers alike are already in awe of the lands Elliotsville Plantation Inc. wants to donate to become a national park and recreation area.

Mark and I know this firsthand because we own a gallery in downtown Millinocket and offer photography workshops in the Katahdin region. Now in their 10th year, the photo workshops attract participants who are interested in photographing the region’s amazing wildlife and spectacular landscapes.

As luck would have it, this year’s fall workshops coincided with the announcement of the opening of the new “Loop Road” on Elliotsville Plantation lands. Without exception, this year’s workshop participants from Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont were truly amazed with the experience.

We heard nothing but excitement about the possibility that a new national park might be created in this part of Maine, and that has been music to the ears of the business community in our area that look forward to providing food, lodging, merchandise, workshops, guiding services and more to visitors. Participants applauded EPI for its efforts to preserve an important historical, cultural and environmental asset.

The concept that people are talking about, with one area for a national park and another area designated as a national recreation area that would allow snowmobiling and hunting, strikes a good balance, one that will elevate our region’s assets while respecting the region’s history and traditions. The conversation and incoming visitors all seem to be moving in the right direction.

Anita Mueller

Mark Picard

Millinocket

Without coverage

I am writing to encourage my neighbors across the river in Brewer to contact their state representatives to urge them to support the MaineCare expansion legislation. This is mostly a federal program, so we have all already paid for this with our taxes. Voting against this expansion in coverage will not leave Maine with money to spend elsewhere. Instead the money will go back in the federal pool, and we will essentially be paying for people in other states to expand their state health coverage. Without this expansion there will be thousands of Mainers without any health coverage.

I am not someone who will benefit from this legislation as my income is deemed too high. But even with my full-time job at the Bangor Public Library, with health benefits, I still have to make the decision every winter: Do I buy heating oil or my medications? This is not an easy choice to make but one I face every year. I can only imagine the terrible decisions facing Mainers with lower paying jobs, or no jobs at all. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I know my Bangor representative, Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, will be voting in favor of MaineCare expansion as it is one of the reasons he was elected. Contact your representatives and tell them Maine needs MaineCare expansion. Let’s help our friends and neighbors here in Maine.

Kelly Connell

Bangor

Leadership change

Who is suing who? Is there an end to the bickering between the legislative and executive branches? Or is the bickering due to the obvious frustration displayed by both branches because they do not have a solution to the economic plague that grips Dirigo?

There is no easy answer to our economic woes. Maine’s choices for governor do not inspire a lot of hope a solution is forthcoming.

What needs to be solved for this voter is the contempt held by both branches for each other. Bipartisan differences are part of the game, but consensus is required when the stakes are this high. If they continue to not get along, maybe it is time for wholesale changes in leadership.

Dale Fegel Jr.

China

Cold dilemma

I am a 48-year-old disabled woman who lives in Sterns apartment building and have been trying to get a window fixed since last spring. I have just about talked to everyone I can think of, and all I get is: “Write a letter.” As winter approaches, cold air is coming through the window. And The Housing Authority has funding for this problem. There anyone out there who cares?

Diane Sargent

Millinocket

Incinerator emissions

In your opinion, does the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. flue stack emit cancer-causing particulates into the atmosphere on a regular basis?

Earlier this fall, this is the question I posed to Ryan Morrison of the Bangor office of the Department of Environmental Protection on up through to Patricia Aho, DEP commissioner, and the governor. I never got a yes-or-no answer. Aho and the governor never responded to my email.

The words “cancer-causing” can be very emotional and do not by themselves mean that there is a health threat — from Louis Fontaine at the Division of Air Quality. Should the DEP be concerned with residents’ emotions or protecting the environment and its breathing inhabitants? I think the latter.

We have a Dumpster near my living quarters. Everything from paint cans, bicycles, vacuum cleaners and styrofoam are thrown in, likely ending up in the PERC-Orrington waste-to-energy incinerator. None of these was meant to be fuel for energy production.

The word “Dumpster” shouldn’t be used in the 21st century. Dump is a 1950s word. And it’s no longer called waste in professional circles. It’s now recognized as “post-consumer materials” that have market value.

If you are interested in seeing incineration phased out and more recycling contact me at Jdresser1@aol.com or call 990-1753.

Jay Dresser

Former member, Bangor Recycling Committee

Bangor

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/11/24/opinion/letters/monday-november-25-2013-elliotsville-plantation-medicaid-expansion-partisan-augusta/ printed on September 19, 2014