Friday, Feb. 21, 2014: LePage’s policy, Camden zoning, Orono water quality

Posted Feb. 20, 2014, at 3:09 p.m.

Humane governor

With one insult after another to the character and reputation of Maine, Gov. Paul LePage just rumbles on. Perhaps his most egregious action is refusing to accept federal funds for health care. These funds would help children, the parents of children, as well as older adults.

There is absolutely no reason for such behavior. And it is deeply harmful to thousands of people. Will someone please help the poor governor to be more humane?

Dr. Richard Johnson Sr.

Hampden

Vaccination points

Thank you to Jackie Farwell for her article on Feb. 18 regarding travel abroad for vacationers and the possible need for vaccines. Vaccinations for travel is a subject rarely covered by many publications.

We did want to inform BDN readers that you do not have to travel to Portland to make appointments or to receive vaccines if you are planning a trip and live in the central or northern Maine areas.

The city of Bangor’s Public Health Department has a travel medicine program, which provides personalized education and vaccines for travelers planning trips to other countries. You can look up information about the vaccines, to include availability and cost, at www.bangorimmunization.org.

The program also carries routine childhood vaccines and adult vaccinations for folks needing vaccines to return to school, work, etc.

FYI to readers: There is a shortage in yellow fever vaccine in many parts of Canada and the U.S. If your plans are taking you to a country that requires yellow fever vaccinations, make sure to contact a travel medicine clinic in your area and schedule an appointment as soon as possible for your vaccine(s).

Patricia Hamilton

Bangor Immunization & Infectious Disease Program

Bangor

 

Orono water quality

The talk of the town in Orono seems to be about buying water filters. Residents are concerned about their families’ long-term exposure to trihalomethanes, and though I am equally troubled by this carcinogen, I would love to see our water quality addressed at a public level, so drinking clean water out of the tap doesn’t become a privilege for those who can afford water filters.

The Orono-Veazie Water District refers to its customers as “shareholders,” and as a shareholder and consumer of that water, I would like to make the following suggestions:

I would like to see all test results made available on the water district website. At the moment, the link for the water-quality report leads to a report dated 2011.

Because THM is a concern and because it varies according to water throughput, I would like to see its levels reported for each test site, before and after flushing. I would also like to see more test sites included — in particular in areas where THM levels are predicted to be high — until THM levels have gone down.

I would like to have more information in general through the website. In particular, I would be encouraged to see a timeline related to the plans to drill a new well in Orono.

Our water rates in Orono are low, and I would be happy to see my quarterly payment go up as a contribution toward improving water quality and information about water quality.

Katie Quirk

Orono

Mental health treatment

It was a privilege to attend public hearings via webcast on Feb. 5. The Health and Human Services Committee listened to testimony that will aid in deciding whether the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center should be revitalized into a facility that could provide inpatient services to forensic patients.

It is duly noted that the facility in its present state is not appropriate for this use. All persons providing testimony were informed in their perspectives. Consumers of mental health services in the Bangor area, if they were listening carefully, heard that we are licensed for 100 beds yet utilize less than half due to staff and training restrictions.

If I were a consumer of services, this information would not settle well. They have spent too many nights in the hospital observation rooms being told that there are no beds available in the state. To be fair, I have heard that things are improving in the area of bed security, yet we are not there yet.

The opposition made points with me in reasoning why Dorothea Dix is not suitable for forensic patients at this time. However, the state should use this opposition testimony as a springboard to figure out how to use the facility to its fullest potential. Don’t wait for the next catastrophe. Start the training programs now.

Thank you to Rep. Aaron Frey, D-Bangor, the sponsor of LD 1580 who started this important dialogue. The treatment of Maine’s mental health population is a reflection on Maine residents as a whole.

Bonnie Cole

Dixmont

Political games

Gov. Paul LePage is fond of stating that he doesn’t and won’t play political games. That trait was illustrated quite clearly by his State of the State address.

The governor has been a needed and effective advocate for economic freedom. He has succeeded in cutting taxes, paying the hospital debt and confronting the growth of the welfare state. However, his economic development priority to pursue a big, single company jobs win is more crony capitalism and relies on the flawed notion that the state should be picking winners and losers.

The governor has a mixed record on individual freedom. A strong Second Amendment advocate, he famously posted a selfie with his concealed weapon permit. However, he does not have libertarian positions on gay marriage, immigration or abortion. He is advocating a surge in the “war on drugs,” thus getting a two-for-the-price-of-one violation of both individual and economic freedom.

That record gets him 38 percent of the Maine electorate. A portion, probably about a fifth, of that 38 percent are libertarians of various stripes.

The governor’s re-election strategy appears to be to hold on to every one of the 38 percent and to prevent the 61 percent of statists and “LePageophobes” from coalescing behind either an arrogant crony capitalist or an undistinguished but distinguished-looking back bencher.

It’s hard to see how embracing crony capitalism and Daddy state Republicanism will keep libertarians in the fold or opponents in disunity.

Jon Reisman

Cooper

 

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