On May 10 at about 5:30 p.m., my family was preparing to enjoy one of the first really warm evenings out on our deck — a simple weekend pleasure we look forward to after a long work week.
At first, we were merely annoyed to hear the distorted sounds of another Waterfront Concert reverberating up the river to our neighborhood. As the evening progressed, however, the heavy percussion of one band after another assaulted our ears, and soon all hopes to enjoy the peace of our backyard dissipated into anger. We tried to adjust to an evening inside but were much distressed to find that even with our windows shut, we were invaded by the screaming amps and explosive pyrotechnics of a concert we had no desire to be the audience for.
Any attempt at reading or conversing was abandoned, and, by 11 p.m., we tried to turn in, only to find that even our rest was robbed by the windows of our house vibrating to the relentless battle of the bands.
Living near Eastern Maine Medical Center, we are accustomed to the occasional ambulance or LifeFlight noise, but this invasion was all night long and had no life-saving merit. The quality of life in Bangor has certainly fallen as our property taxes continue to rise.
The state of Maine desperately needs primary care physicians. About 73,500 residents have no access to a physician, according to a recent U.S Health and Human Services report. According to the same report, Maine needs many physicians in communities identified as Health Professional Shortage Areas, including Ashland, Danforth, Eastport, Fort Kent, Howland, Island Falls, Jonesport, Millinocket, Pen Bay Islands, Parsonsfield, Rangeley, Skowhegan and Vanceboro. This is a severe health care inequity.
Shortages of physicians in shortage areas exist mostly because of a lack of active recruitment of potential candidates by federally qualified health centers.
I am co-founder of citizen-volunteers.org, a 501(c)3 charity formed by physician-recruiting professionals. Our primary purpose is to provide recruiting help to individuals living in shortage areas and lacking access to a physician. We train community volunteers to recruit physicians to come to their area.
Our organization does four things: Helps clients develop a local volunteer team; provides a qualified physician recruiting trainer to train volunteers; provides training materials, a recruiting list, computer, fax machine and cellphones for two years; assigns an experienced recruiter as consultant and mentor to recruiting teams.
As a Maine native, it’s difficult to see many residents deprived of basic health care because they lack nearby physicians. To find and hire physicians requires major recruiting, and that is best financially sustained by volunteers. We stand ready to help.
When voters go to the polls this fall, they will choose between two equally dedicated U.S. senatorial candidates: incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins and her challenger, Democrat Shenna Bellows.
Collins is a formidable negotiator and dealmaker. She doggedly leads the Maine congressional delegation in securing destroyer contracts for Bath Iron Works.
Some of her votes, though, may surprise Mainers. Recently, she voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act and a measure to raise the minimum wage.
Equally skilled, Bellows has the political experience, dynamism and “can-do” attitude necessary to tackle tough issues.
During her initial campaign in 1996, candidate Collins told an audience she would only run for two terms. This is currently her fourth.
Collins has publicly spoken of her concern for the national debt. Yet two of her votes — the Iraq war resolution and the Bush tax cuts — are estimated to account for almost half of the debt by 2019, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
There’s no denying Bellows practices what she preaches. As a leader of Mainers United for Marriage, Bellows put off her nuptials until all gay Mainers could marry. As president of the Maine ACLU, she crafted an agreement between Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature to pass a law requiring warrants for access to private cellphone communications.
If voters expect our elected leaders to hold themselves to higher standards, they should enforce those standards at the ballot box and not give candidates a free pass on political integrity.
Misleading advice to women
Aaron Prill’s recent blog post offers a variety of misleading advice to women experiencing unintended pregnancies. It is vital that we women have accurate information about our reproductive choices and not be deceived by biased sources like Prill. So, to clarify:
He writes repeatedly that we are “never alone.” But some of us really are, and no amount of abstract right-wing love is going to help pay our bills or watch the kids while we work.
He recommends Bangor’s crisis pregnancy center, which he claims will explain “all of the options available” to us. It’s well documented that such centers push an anti-abortion agenda. You can learn more at the Guttmacher Institute’s website. (Their information is research-based.)
He says that adoption is always a solution. While adoption can be a great option for some of us, others don’t want to experience the physical, emotional and mental toil of an unwanted pregnancy for nine long months. Some of us don’t want to be pregnant, period — and it is our absolute right not to be.
He mentions Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center. Having received years of care there, I can attest that they provide their patients with compassionate, non-judgmental care. They, not the crisis pregnancy center up the road, will provide us with all of our options, without agenda, and support us in making the decision that is right for us.
I hope Maine women will see through Prill’s agenda and understand where our real resources lie.