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Saturday, March 8, 2014: Health care, tar sands, mining, wrestling

An act of treachery

The people of Maine need to strongly oppose efforts to create a new national park in Maine. Lucas St. Clair should know full well that all the water, fish, fur, fowl and game in Maine belong to the people.

We also own all the water under the great ponds. In the area where he and his mother Roxanne Quimby want to create a national park, this would be given to the federal government without compensation to the people of Maine. The most troubling part is that our heritage of guaranteed access to ponds, under Maine law, would be gone forever. A national park would erect gates, charge fees, destroy roads, limit access, stop hunting and trapping, and limit snowmobiling and float plane use. Our children and grandchildren would have the same limited rights as non-residents, making them aliens in our own state.

Quimby cannot understand why local people don’t embrace the idea of a national park. Fact is, were we to commit such an act of treachery against our children, we would have to rename ourselves the Benedict Arnold Club.

Jimmy Busque

Officer, Fin & Feather Club Of Maine


Support LD 1578

As a pediatrician, I would like to address the concerns of an often voiceless population: Children.

Where do young people fit into the fiscal and political debate about whether Maine should accept federal dollars to expand our public insurance program (MaineCare)? Currently, the Legislature is debating LD 1578, a bill that would cover more families in Maine. I believe supporting the bill is the right thing.

One in four children in Maine under age 5 lives in poverty. Expanding MaineCare supports children as well as their parents and caregivers. Financial burden and stress in families is absorbed by children. Let’s relieve some stress by ensuring they receive appropriate and affordable health care.

The non-partisan, authoritative voice for children’s health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, with a mission to advocate for the “health of all children and adolescents,” has taken a firm stance on this issue. The AAP researches and publicizes what is best for young people solely based on merit and supports all states expanding state Medicaid programs.

The Maine Chapter of the AAP also strongly endorses expanding MaineCare. We recognize the importance of covering additional Mainers, including many adolescents and young adults. We know that children in families with health insurance are far more likely to receive preventive care.

LD 1578 would allow 40 percent uninsured veterans and 25 percent of their spouses, often military moms, to gain insurance.

Politics aside, with no better plan in place, it is simply cruel to Maine’s children, our most vulnerable population, not to expand health insurance.

Steve Feder

President, Maine Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics


Pipeline vision

In May 2011, the world’s preeminent climate scientist Dr. James Hansen released a paper calling development of the tar sands “essentially game over” for the climate. He later identified the Keystone XL pipeline as the crucial fuse to the tar sands carbon bomb.

I believe the question is not what is the safest way to transport oil sands. The tar sands should not be mined, and I think the government of Canada is waging war on its people and the planet by encouraging and supporting its extraction. Based on the warnings expressed by Hansen and the majority of the world’s climate scientists and the risk of polluting our own land and water from the inevitable spills from the Keystone XL pipeline, it seems obvious to me that building this pipeline would not be in our national interest.

I am 69 years old, and have never considered being part of civil disobedience, but extreme danger calls for extreme action, and I am now prepared to do my part in possible actions if the State Department recommends approval of this pipeline.

I have a vision of a 21st century economic boom through jobs created by developing and manufacturing alternatives to fossil fuels, insulating our homes and improving our infrastructure. We are in a crisis, and we need to do things differently. I believe the rest of the world would thank us and respect us for caring enough and being creative enough to lead in that direction.

Libby Norton


Mining conclusion

Like most Mainers, I think that the risks of mining contamination far outweigh the relatively few benefits for ordinary people, as opposed to the corporate profits anticipated.

Promoters of open-pit mining will suggest that allowing it will increase job opportunities, but this is short-sighted. Our valuable visitor economy — from hotels and motels to restaurants and water sports — all depend on a relatively pristine environment. We need clean air and water, nonobstructed views, and valid perceptions of unspoiled natural beauty. This has worked well for Maine for many decades and is likely to continue to do so.

Open-pit mining is incompatible with such a set of values and will benefit mainly large corporate interests. Yes, there may be a few short-term jobs, but these pale in comparison to what we have now and could lose by default. I am reminded of the fable of the dog with the juicy bone that sees his reflection in the nearby stream showing a dog with a bone. He wants that one, too. He opens his mouth to grab it, only to lose the one he has in the stream.

There may be a way to safely conduct some small scale shaft mining. However, those who promote open-pit mining who would have Maine’s scenic mountains end up like those of West Virginia and Kentucky seem to be competing with pickerel for brain size — or else may have sold themselves for campaign donations. This is a conclusion with which most reasonable people would concur.

Jon Olsen


Deupree coverage?

This is a question about what is important for us. When a team or individual wins a regional New England or national event, the press usually covers the story, gives some acknowledgement of the accomplishment being a good thing, that overcoming challenges speaks to the human condition and makes us for the most part grateful in a tiny way that we have these folks sewn into the daily fabric of our great state of Maine.

My question is why have we not seen more coverage of Jon Deupree, the young University of Southern Maine student athlete who won the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship for wrestling in the 184 weight class held this past weekend and is headed to the national championships?

There must be some good reason to ignore such an accomplishment. There has to be some good reason to keep those who enjoy reading of such milestone in the dark. Please enlighten me.

John Cole


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