Thursday, May 15, 2014: UMaine student, U.S. Senate race, Fannie Mae sales

Posted May 14, 2014, at 1:33 p.m.

Blistering outrage

The BDN story of the young biologist who slept in his car, so he could graduate college without debt, is a story of Mainers’ resilience.

It’s also a story that should provoke blistering outrage at the condition to which we are reducing our young people.

A modest proposal: Our very well-paid University of Maine administrators could put some skin in the game by tithing to a fund for student living expenses. Why, Rebecca Wykes’ $40,000 raise alone would have enabled this young man to sleep in a bed for his entire college career!

And who does more for the state? Biologists or administrators?

Sam Hunting

Orono

Senate leadership

I am sure that Democrat Shenna Bellows is a nice person. It sounds like she may have the “can do” attitude that is advertised. But seriously, we need more than “can do.” We need someone who knows “how to.”

While I appreciate a “can do” attitude, I’d prefer a United States senator who actually has experience to do the job.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was just recognized by a national magazine as one of the most powerful women in Washington. She is known around the country as someone who is willing to work with people on both sides of the aisle. She led the successful repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy; she’s the leader of the “Common Sense Coalition” that is, right now, trying to work out a compromise to raise the minimum wage without causing job losses.

It’s estimated that the plan Bellows supports would force at least a half million people to be fired. I wonder if she suspects that if you have a “can do” attitude, you’ll be able to easily find a new job?

We have seen Collins setting the standards that voters have come to expect from elected officials because she lives them.

Kelly Cotiaux

Brewer

Thanking the community

On May 7, Penobscot/Piscataquis/Hancock Area Special Olympics held its largest track and field meet to date at a new venue with a new meet manager, many new volunteers and just under 500 athletes competing in up to three events each. Approximately 1,300 ribbons were awarded throughout the day by law enforcement personnel who generously gave their time.

We want to thank everyone who made this event possible. The weather could not have been better, and Cameron Field in Bangor was a great venue. It would be impossible to list all the many volunteers who contributed their time, energy and enthusiasm. All are greatly appreciated.

We do want to give special thanks to Bangor Parks and Rec for its warm welcome and support, to Bangor schools, whose students ran field events and helped in other areas, and to Shannan Fotter, who coordinated all these students, was our liaison with Bangor schools and who did an outstanding job working with meet manager Karen Berry. They both deserve a standing ovation for a job well done.

We could not be more appreciative of the community support and the positive interactions of community members with Special Olympics athletes. We are proud to be a part of this community.

Bernie Oster

Co-Area Manager, Special Olympics

Stetson

 

Maine black eye

Great news. Uncle Sam ran a $114 billion surplus in April. Some of the drop in spending is because of bigger payments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the Treasury — because Fannie Mae is fire-selling many properties. But the bottom line will reveal itself later on when the public realizes that maybe less than half of debts acquired by this agency of the government will be recovered in the long run. The problem is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have allowed properties to deteriorate into deplorable conditions. In Maine, many of their properties froze up, causing debt.

Not only this, but Fannie Mae is offering its properties with closing dates in two quick weeks after the signing of contracts if people pay with cash. Sounds like fair game for a government agency. Not so, as Fannie Mae is sometimes attempting to sell its properties without knowing if it has a clear and marketable title in the first place.

This is foul play, especially for Maine, which does not seem to have much of a handle on the real estate commission. Other real estate agencies seem to follow the trend, i.e. attempting to offer real estate for sale without clear and marketable titles. Many brokers are so eager to list properties that they will offer properties being held up in probate court.

Maine legislators must have their heads in the sand regarding this problem. This is a Maine black eye, and business folks who might want to invest in Maine are now making U-turns on I-95 at the New Hampshire border.

Robert Fournier

Bangor

Shame on UM

A young man, Josiah Corbin — who is graduating with a degree in biology and hoping to enter a pre-med program — has slept in his car for the past four years to graduate debt-free, while his mother and sister also completed their degrees. The shame is that the University of Maine forced him to leave its parking lots and sleep at Walmart. I guess it needs its dormitory fees so badly that it needs to make it uncomfortable for students to try to save a few thousand dollars.

Commuter parking lots are not for overnight parking with bodies inside, I guess. He worked as a student employee to defray his costs, and his job ended very late at night. He usually had 8 a.m. classes. Many of us found early morning classes intolerable.

Why could accommodations not be made? A cot in a boiler room, a library couch, a storage room at the field house? The university has rules, I am told. At the expense of risking a student’s life trying to make ends meet by sleeping in his car. Thank goodness he had enough Scouting experience, so he knew how to survive sub-zero temperatures (this year for about six months, it seemed.) Walmart needs the credit here. Thank God for Walmart.

The next time UMaine needs a bond approved, let the residents of Maine hold this young man’s story high in Augusta.

Lou Harper

Sangerville

 

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