Friday, May 23, 2014: Bear baiting, Medicaid expansion, Head Start cuts

Posted May 22, 2014, at 9:16 a.m.

Bear baiting

In 2004, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife warned the public that Maine’s bear population would drastically increase unless bear baiting continued. Well, bear baiting continued, and, of course, Maine’s bear population drastically increased. It was about 23,000 in 2000 and has increased to about 37,000, according to DIF&W.

Did dumping millions of pounds of food to feed thousands of bears have anything to do with it?

John Glowa

South China

Loss of insurance

I have felt the loss of health insurance, and it is a terrifying feeling. Mainers without health insurance must worry every day if something will happen and whether they will be able to pay for it. As a former youth in foster care, I lost health insurance when I turned 21. I could no longer receive the medical care I needed and deserved. I worked over 40 hours a week while a full-time student, but I could not afford a visit to the doctor’s office.

I know I am not alone. I have witnessed my family members lose their insurance, unable to pay for their medication, which resulted in their health declining. The medication that helped them live a better life is too expensive for them. No one should have to face the decision of whether to buy food or medication. I see their struggle to survive, and it only strengthens my voice.

The governor shared with the people his concerns, stating we shouldn’t take the federal money and expand MaineCare because the federal funding might decrease in the future. But the bill proposed this winter would have allowed the state to opt out if federal funding decreased. It is unfortunate that not all Mainers have health insurance. Isn’t Maine’s slogan, “the way life should be”?

Finally, it is devastating to Mainers throughout the state and in my hometown of Brewer that our Sen. Edward Youngblood, R-Brewer, did not stand with 70,000 Mainers and vote for MaineCare expansion.

Shannon Watts

Brewer

Head Start cuts

Funding for Head Start programs are continually cut in the state. There is a crucial need for early childhood programming in Maine. Cutting these programs is counterproductive to the education and development of young children. These cuts are not productive to teaching children school-readiness skills they so desperately need.

These budget cuts impact every aspect of early childhood programming. Early childhood educators are not receiving necessary training to effectively teach the children. The agencies used as resources for centers are disappearing at an alarming rate, including the Resource Development Centers organized by Maine Roads to Quality. Programs are suffering by not receiving enough funding to provide the everyday essentials of the program, such as art supplies or playdough. Parents are also suffering by this lack of funding because as funding shrinks, so do the opportunities for parents to place their children in programs.

We are doing a great injustice to the future of these children. We want nothing more for them to succeed, but we are taking those opportunities away. It is crucial to understanding the importance of early childhood education and to stop sitting idly by as more and more of these programs are cut. It is time to demand that our government do more for early childhood education.

Kristen Burwood

Newport

 

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