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Friday, November 29, 2013: Men’s health, Bangor museum, age friendly, Suboxone


Window to our past

My wife and I have been volunteers at the Bangor Museum and History Center for the past few years. We worked with the executive director, Jennifer Pictou, and curator, Dana Lippett. These women have done a terrific job with limited resources and a staff of two full-time and three part-time employees.

They have published an award-winning book, established relationships with local high schools and become involved in elementary programs. They put together an ice cream social, Halloween and Christmas program, as fundraisers for the museum. They have developed different tours of Bangor such as the Mount Hope cemetery tour, Devil’s Half Acre and others. A book planned for next year, “Dow Air Force Base,” is sure to be of interest to many.

Lippett has over 15 years with the museum. Pictou has more than two years with the museum. These women have done everything they could to maintain the viability of the museum. I was shocked to read Melissa Gerety, vice president of the board of directors, saying the closing of the museum is a nonstory. It certainly is a story! Why would Lippett and Pictou resign at the same time after all they have done for the museum? I would question if the board has provided the support and leadership the museum has needed.

Perhaps the real goal is to close the museum permanently? That would be terrible loss to our community. The museum has approximately 40,000 items. Each item is a story waiting to be told. They provide a window to our past, a history of our community.

Mahlon MacLaren


Age friendly

I am responding to the Nov. 13 editorial “Growing old at home.” As a representative of Rosscare, an Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems member organization located in Bangor that supports seniors’ ability to age in place, I thank the BDN for providing this important information. For more than three decades, we have dedicated our work every day to helping to make Bangor, and the surrounding area, “age friendly.”

The editorial mentioned local programs where older adults living independently can call the police department each morning to let someone know they’re safe; if they don’t call, and someone can’t reach them, an officer goes out to check on them. We want to make people in the area aware that we offer a free program, which is similar to these other call assurance programs, called Telecare.

Our volunteers provide daily telephone contact for people who live alone in the Greater Bangor calling area. Every Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., volunteers call our participants and chat for a minute or two. Our volunteers follow specific procedures to ensure a participant is safe when they cannot reach him or her at their assigned time. This gives families peace of mind, knowing we are checking on their loved one and contacting them if something is amiss.

Interested community members can contact us at 973-7094 or www.rosscare.org. Our staff and volunteers at Rosscare are doing our part to ensure the Bangor area is “age friendly” now and in the future.

Jennifer Maskala


Men’s health

Last week I went to the funeral of my co-worker and friend Adam. In June of 2013, Adam turned 25 years old. Within a few weeks of that birthday, he witnessed the birth of his second child and was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After a courageous six-month battle, Adam died from complications of the cancer.

Routine testicular self-exams are no longer recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics or the American Academy of Family Physicians. The recommendation is to “be aware of any changes.” How you accomplish that task without routine exam, I’m not sure. While rare and highly treatable, testicular cancer continues to claim the lives of about 800 American men between the ages of 15 and 35 annually.

As a society we have not been good at raising awareness of men’s health issues. This is evidenced by the fact women outlive men, on average, by five years in the United States. While specialties in women’s health have existed for years in both nursing and medicine, the idea of a “men’s health” specialty is just beginning to evolve. It turns out topics like erectile dysfunction and testicular cancer are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to men’s health issues. According to the National Institute of Health, men are more likely to smoke and drink, make unhealthy or risky choices, and put off regular check-ups and medical care.

In memory of Adam, let’s start a serious discussion about men’s health.

Joshua Bridges


Best interest

I was sad to see that the Bangor City Council did not want to allow expanding the Suboxone treatment in Bangor. I really hope councilors have a change of heart. It is not just for kids. Drug addiction does not discriminate. It happens to adults — yes, doctors, lawyers, moms, dads, and, yes, it could be your son or daughter. It could happen to kids experimenting or from being injured and being treated for pain.

Yes, it is one of the worst things that a family will go through, but without proper treatment it is 10 times as bad. You then look at an increase in crime to support the habits. I know the mindset is “not in my backyard,” but addiction is real, and if we don’t have the proper treatment then we better put money aside for more jails and police officers.

Let’s not worry about what other cities have or do not have, but do what is in the best interests for our area citizens.

Mel Coombs


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