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Saturday, April 12, 2014: Cold case squad, sexual assault, preK, Maine economy

Pass LD 1734

LD 1734, which would create a cold case squad, is a very important issue in Maine, not only for the victims but their survivors. And beyond them, it is about justice. The fact that there may be some in our state who have killed and have not been brought to justice is not only a travesty of justice but unacceptable for all of us as a society.

We ask the Legislature to do everything possible to explore ways — and if needed, reallocate funds already allocated for other positions, projects or other funds — to support LD 1734. Sometimes it’s not a dollars and cents thing but just the right thing to do. We believe that this is one of those times. This is the right time to fund this bill.

This is the second time this legislation has been passed by the Maine Legislature — 13 years since it was last passed. We believe that it is the time to bring it to fruition, and give Maine justice.

We cannot turn away from the fact that lives have been taken, families torn apart, the guilty remain free and justice has not been accomplished for all — including the communities and the state.

We ask our state representatives to do all that they can to find the needed funds to pass LD 1734. We would also request that our governor, the Honorable Paul LePage, direct his office to do the same reallocation of funds if possible. Do the right thing.

Patrick Day



Assault awareness

One of the most underreported public health problems facing millions of people in the United States is sexual assault and nonconsensual sexual contact. Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men report experiencing rape at some time in their lives, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sexual assault can take place anywhere, at any time. It can include unwanted sexual contact and advances. Victims can experience lifelong negative health effects of sexual assault — both physically and psychologically.

April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Public knowledge and education can reduce the overall incidents of sexual violence and help foster healthy relationships. It is important to know appropriate boundaries and adopt practices and behaviors that reduce risk factors that can lead to sexual assault.

There are many resources in the community that can help if you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault. Rape Response Services in Bangor is one such resource. Its helpline is available at 800-310-0000. The Spruce Run/Womancare Alliance, serving Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, focuses on preventing domestic violence and can help if people need assistance with safety planning, support or problem solving. Its helpline is 800-863-9909.

Aaron Bennett


Economic climate

I saw Gov. Paul LePage on the national news this morning. It was the clip of him stating his opinion on naloxone (Narcan) where he says it gives permission for drug-addicts to do heroin knowing that they will be saved from death by someone administering this life-saving drug at the last minute.

His attitude on this is pretty much the same “tough-love” message that he has on expansion of Medicaid and on welfare. That message is that if you can’t save yourself, you are not worthy of being saved by fellow Mainers.

There are not enough decent jobs in Maine, especially in rural Maine, for everyone to get out of poverty. There certainly is not enough wealth for Mainers in poverty to purchase health insurance to get the health care they need. If they cannot stay healthy, they cannot go to work and be productive members of society.

In spite of the lack of jobs and lack of health care, the governor still wants to tighten Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, etc., to try to force recipients to “get off the couch, get healthy and go get a good job.”

The solution to these problems is not to attack those who need help but to provide support for the needy and, at the same time, focus on education and the economy to improve the economic climate in Maine for all Mainers.

Larry Finnegan


PreK support

LD 1530, An Act to Establish a Process for the Implementation of Universal Voluntary Prekindergarten Education, will provide 4-year-olds across Maine with the opportunity to attend public prekindergarten programs. Forty percent of school districts in our state do not offer prekindergarten.

The direct benefits for children who participate in high quality early education programs are clear. What may be less clear are the benefits to the state of Maine as a whole. Some people who question whether or not to support this bill may be concerned about the costs associated with developing a statewide prekindergarten program; however, investing will save the state money in the future.

Studies of high quality childhood education programs show that the economic return rate for these programs averages around 16 percent per year — a return rate ranging from $3 to $9 per dollar invested.

A cost-benefit analysis of an early childhood education system that would serve children from infancy to 4 years old shows that the government could save over $125,400 per person in a lifetime.

Public spending on MaineCare, Supplemental Security Income and other public assistance programs would drop by $23,860 per person. Because participants will perform better in school, and be more likely to obtain higher paying jobs, each person will pay approximately $71,300 more in taxes to the local, state and federal government.

LD 1530 will help the state of Maine succeed financially and economically. I urge readers to contact their representatives and ask them to support this bill.

Kasey Belcher



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