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Thursday, July 3, 2014: Suffering eaglet, general assistance, bear baiting


Slippery slope

Gov. Paul LePage’s mandate to towns to deny general assistance to undocumented immigrants undeniably wastes the time and money of the state and the towns, as the BDN’s editorial points out. But the editorial neglects an even more important point: This mandate creates a climate of fear among immigrant communities.

Immigrants, legal and otherwise, perceive in this mandate an attack on them as human beings. LePage’s spokesperson attempts to present Mainers with a choice between helping illegal immigrants and helping Maine citizens. This kind of reasoning is the first step on the slippery slope to persecution. Mandates such as this are cynical attempts to gain political power by encouraging Mainers to fear and hate people they perceive as being unlike themselves.

Immigrants in Maine increasingly feel hunted and threatened, and Maine residents must oppose this climate of fear and hatred and assure people of all colors and nationalities that they will be treated fairly here in the state of Maine.

Scott Howell

Blue Hill

Science, not emotion

A recent writer, referring to the upcoming bear referendum, stated that the bear population is mostly influenced by alternating mast crop seasons. This means that bear populations and weights are directly tied to biannual beechnut crops. This is true because natural foods dictate bear reproduction. What the writer neglected to address is the annual “crop” season of bait that is injected into this scenario.

Just one outfitter near Fifth St. John Pond puts out more than 100 tons of bait dispersed over 150 bait sites. That’s approximately 1,300 pounds per site. Some outfitters will use more, some less. What we have is thousands of bait sites over the northern half of our state and a wildlife agency that has no long-term data whatsoever on what this feeding program does to bear populations.

Other agencies and scientists have done it, and they have found that the female bears in baited areas have young at much younger ages than those in non-baited areas. Our state is in this for the money, not the science, and before this scam ever began, bear hunting and wild food availability “controlled” bears just fine. Support bear hunting by ending bear baiting. Don’t buy the emotional fear of too many bears; buy the real science.

Cecil Gray


Animal rescue

I read the front page article about the eaglet that officials refused to rescue. They claim that “letting nature take its course” is the point of observing wildlife. Are humans exempt from that philosophy? Homo sapiens are as much a part of nature as that eaglet. We have developed tools like any species. Our tools are more complicated, but they are nevertheless tools, just as a bird uses a stick to get insects out of a tree. Every species has its specialty, and ours is our brain.

When an animal saves the life of a human, we praise it to the skies and give it medals. It has teeth and jaws and strength that we don’t have. It has an impulse to intervene. We, as human beings, have the skills to interact with other species in a positive way. To stand by and watch that eaglet suffer and die is unnatural. We have the tools to realize it is dying. We have the means to help it. It is cruel and reprehensible to ignore the suffering of other species.

Cheri Walton


Trash business

This is in response to the July 2 BDN article, “With new uses for garbage in sight, Maine group representing towns wants to get into the trash business.” George Aronson, technical advisor to the Municipal Review Committee, said, “If everything went through a processing line everything would be recycled.”

Sorry, but zero-sort is the problem. “Throw it all in a bin, we’ll take care of it later” is a recipe for failure. You are selling Mainers very short.

We know how great our environment here is — we have visited New Jersey — and we know what we do not want. And how valuable that environment is to our economy, especially this time of year.

We can and many of us do source separately, if asked. It is not rocket science and not difficult to throw your glass in a glass bin, your paper in paper bins, your metal in a metal bin.

Zero-sort contaminates each resource stream with material from the other streams (think: broken glass mixed with paper), and can send trailer loads of materials out of state to sort, along with the jobs.

Towns and small cities can make money from the well-sorted recyclables. Zero-sort is a delusion, sold to the towns by companies as a way of getting rid of some their garbage “cheap and quick.” We know how that works out: cheap maybe, quick sure, but done right?

Give us some credit, educate us as to the importance of good recycling, and we will step up. Keep the trash vampires out of our communities.

Paul Sheridan


Taxing situation

According to a June 23 BDN article, Robert Berg has agreed not to appeal his guilty plea to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as long as the fine doesn’t exceed $20,000. For those who missed the story, Berg pleaded guilty to tax evasion and copyright infringement, on behalf of his corporation, now transferred to his wife. I can’t tell you how pleased I am.

As did the patriots of yore, when Berg encountered a law he found distasteful, he just ignored it. Fool I am, I’ve always considered paying taxes the price of civilization. Good thing, because I got to pay my taxes and Berg’s, too.

The proposed $20,000 fine covers violations from 2006 through 2011. That’s $3,333 per year, a reasonable cost of doing business, as long as you don’t think of it as a tax, and Berg derives the added benefit of learning what he did wrong, so he won’t repeat those mistakes.

Berg apparently believes that you don’t need to be a GM or BP to ignore the law. Who really benefits from copyright laws, anyway?

The BDN article noted that Berg pleaded guilty to knowledge of a massive dope growing operation in Township 37. Were it not for him and the employment opportunities he and his partners provided, some people would’ve had to remain south of the border.

Please, judge, don’t send this patriot to jail. Don’t assess him an appropriate fine. Law-abiding Mainers are happy to carry his load. Aren’t we?

Thomas Varney

Argyle Township


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