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Friday, Jan. 3, 2014: Ice storm, arming forest rangers, divesting of fossil fuel stocks


Think and save

This recent ice storm has cost the state of Maine, utility companies and private residents thousands of dollars. More than 100,000 homes were affected. Why is it that private home owners, utility companies and the state of Maine are not being proactive by routinely cutting down branches that cause the lines to break?

Think of the money, heartache and labor it would save.

Pat Martin


Arm forest rangers

I am writing to voice my support for LD 297 to protect Maine’s forest rangers. My father has been a ranger for 40 years, and all I want for Christmas is the ability to feel like he is safe while doing his job. How is it possible that the state of Maine allows the wardens to have a show on Animal Planet that so clearly illustrates the need for carrying weapons for defense, while denying rangers the same right to defend themselves and the public by carrying weapons? They deal with many of the same dangers.

Protect these civil servants and the public. It’s time to put politics aside and make the right decision.

Peter Parsons


Red flag

Why did the editorial staff let Susan Dench claim, in their pages, that President Barack Obama omitted the phrase “under God” from the Gettysburg Address? I worked as a reporter after graduating from college in the 1980s. It’s been years since my last deadline, so one would assume that the BDN is much sharper than I, but it only took me several keystrokes and a click of the mouse to discover that this particular Obama controversy, like so many Obama controversies, was pretty much a right-wing invention, as there are several versions of the Gettysburg Address. Why weren’t these keystrokes and mouse clicks made at the BDN before publishing such junk?

It’s one thing for lies like this one to appear on third-rate website comment boards; it’s quite another for the editorial staff of a decent daily to pass over a red flag like this. It’s fine to dislike a politician. It’s really not OK for reputable news organizations to publish writing that is just one step up from a recycled chain email. The BDN should be embarrassed.

Susan McLaughlin


LD 1461

The American people are demanding action on climate change. Fossil fuel companies and most politicians refuse to take our demands seriously. Our response to their inaction must be to take action ourselves. One action we can take is ending investment of public money in fossil fuel companies. There is a strong moral argument to do this. There is also an increasingly obvious financial reason.

If we are to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, most of the already discovered fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground. Those reserves will become stranded assets — without value. When word of President’s Obama’s intent to expand carbon dioxide emissions restrictions to existing coal plants became public, coal stock values plummeted. Because the Maine Public Employees Retirement System invests in coal, it lost value overnight. Our dedicated public employees need financial security. They won’t have it if their retirement depends on fossil fuel earnings.

Rep. Brian Jones of Freedom has introduced LD 1461, a bill requiring the state to divest itself of fossil fuel stocks. The bill will have a public hearing before the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs at 2 p.m. Jan. 9, in Room 228 of the State House.

Just as divestment became an important tool in ending apartheid in South Africa, it can be a powerful instrument in the dismantling of the fossil fuel economy that is wrecking our planet. Support divestment. Join other Mainers and testify in support of LD 1461 on Jan. 9.

Read Brugger


Random kindness

When leaving the Brewer Hannaford with a cartload of groceries on Monday morning during the freezing rain, I noticed a red cellophane envelope under my windshield wiper. After piling my groceries into the back seat, I removed the envelope, then looked left and right toward other vehicles to see if they had something on their windshields, too. They did not. Curious but cold, I opened the envelope, not having a clue what was inside. A bright green Christmas card with a note, and a gift card was inside. The note was handwritten by a child and said the following:

“My Mom asked me to think of a random act of kindness. I decided to give up a month’s worth of allowance to buy gas cards for strangers. It isn’t much but I hope you pass it on. Merry Christmas! $5.00”

Well, my young friend, you and your mom made my holiday! I appreciate the act that you performed for me and others! I have already told this story to everyone I have encountered over the last few days and have met nothing but praise for you and your parents! Mom, you are teaching your child the selfless act of giving, and with passing on values like that, I am truly appreciative of this holiday season. And yes, my young friend, I will be passing it on.

Joseph Gunn


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