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December 2, 2013: Medicaid expansion, University of Maine, welfare

Priority care

As a physician practicing medicine in Bangor, I am writing to urge Mainers to contact their legislators and our governor to urge them to accept the federal funds already set aside to provide health care in Maine. This funding will result in health insurance coverage through the MaineCare program for nearly 70,000 of our fellow citizens. Over the next three years, this would bring $1 billion of federal money into Maine, acting as a significant economic boost.

In 2014, 2015 and 2016, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of this health care. Mainers have already paid for this program through our hard-earned tax dollars and we risk losing that money to other states if Maine does not accept the funding.

This issue should have nothing to do with political position or ideology. Accepting this federal money simply makes sense. This program will directly help in providing health care to Maine citizens while stimulating our economy by returning tax dollars to our state.

Starting Jan. 1, 2014, Maine will essentially be losing thousands of dollars daily by not accepting this program. This needs to be a priority item when our Legislature resumes business this January.

I urge you to join me in contacting your legislators and our governor today regarding this important issue. Accept federal funding for health care in Maine.

James K. VanKirk

Maine chapter, American College of Physicians


Tractor non-sale

What ever happened to old-fashioned honesty, integrity and ethical behavior? Or your word or handshake being as good as a contract? Or your word being as good as gold? We found that not to be the case at a Kubota dealership on outer Hammond Street in Bangor.

We had a mechanic help us locate a used Kubota L3710 tractor at this dealership. Our mechanic found a problem that needed repair after the salesman had already told us it had been taken through the shop and was checked out and in good working order.

We told him we would buy it after it was repaired, and the salesman said he’d call us upon completion. We called twice to see when it would be ready. On the third call by our mechanic he was told it was sold!

The salesman never had the decency to call us. Later he left a message stating, “Someone wrote me a check while it was in the shop for repair.” (These were repairs our mechanic found for them.) The salesman didn’t realize we had planned on buying a few attachments for this used tractor, and he would have had a sale amounting to closer to $40,000 rather than the $17,900 he wanted for the tractor.

Perhaps the world would be a much better place if we went back to the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Linda Nichols


Adult university

The Nov. 24 editorial “A more online, adult university system for Maine will have to come down to size” highlights the shift in the demand for higher education and the need for public institutions to react appropriately to that shift.

What once were commonplace in universities — live lectures, administration of exams, libraries, dormitories — are being supplemented, and in some situations replaced, by interactive online spaces, tablets, streaming videos, etc. The technology driving this change is on one hand making higher education more accessible, but on the other hand it is fundamentally changing the traditional model of higher education institutions.

We appreciate the efforts of the Bangor Daily News to shine light on this issue. It is one that we highlighted in our Sept. 30 report to the Maine Legislature. In it we stated, “The landscape of higher education is being altered by new technologies that allow for a greater variety of educational techniques and demographics that produce declining enrollments for some institutions and growing demand for others. These trends reflect a need to reimagine the needs of public institutions for traditional brick and mortar facilities.”

We recommended that Maine’s public higher education institutions collaborate to identify and dispose of unneeded properties and create policies for improved property management.

As the editorial notes, the University of Maine System is undergoing a strategic facilities review. We look forward to seeing the results of that review and urge the Legislature to follow this issue as it progresses.

Richard Rosen, director,

Governor’s Office of Policy & Management


Welfare economy

Welfare isn’t about shaming those who are in actual need. There will always be an instance where someone is in a tough spot and needs our help; that’s not the issue here. Welfare dependency in Maine is becoming a catastrophe; we are condoning able-bodied residents to go from working to welfare, when it should be the complete opposite.

Regarding the bill that proposes welfare recipients would have to prove that they applied for at least three jobs before being able to collect welfare: excellent. Why is this a far-fetched idea for people? This is literally just common sense. I don’t know how people can disagree with this policy. Welfare is becoming too easy to rely on and use as a crutch when people are lazy, and this policy is going to turn the tables a little bit. If you’re able bodied, you should be working. There is no way around it. Everyone has to contribute to society; not everyone can be a leech.

Riddle me this: If we spend more on economic development such as small businesses and the like, would this not create more jobs? When there are more jobs created, they need workers. Able-bodied residents who are dependent on welfare could work these jobs — tipping the scale back in favor of Maine’s economy. The people of Maine need to wake up and realize what is happening to this once-great state.

Daniel Mallory


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