The July 21 BDN article about the proposed east-west corridor is only partially accurate with respect to the efforts made by Charleston residents in our resistance to the project. At our town meeting in March, a resolution opposing the corridor passed by a margin of about three to one. We have twice renewed a moratorium against the highway, and it is still in effect.
Moreover, a group of grandmothers from our town in April initiated a monthly silent one-hour vigil at the Cianbro Headquarters in Pittsfield. Since that time, we have added to our numbers. At our most recent vigil in June, grandmothers from five communities attended. Many more plan to come to our next planned event on Friday, July 25.
As grandmothers, we women raise concerns about the quality of life awaiting youngsters in our small rural towns. We are unapologetic about our affection for the beauty of our woods and fields, the legacy of our family farms and small businesses, the health of our wildlife and the quality of our water, all of which would be jeopardized by a corridor splitting our town down the middle.
It is so easy, when we are half a world away, to look at current international tragedies and criticize or offer solutions. Yet if we do not at least examine the existing differences of opinion, we deny the opportunity to understand and avoid conflicts in our own country as they inevitably arise.
The situations in Ukraine and in Israel, of course, are rooted in intense feelings of us versus them. In such a fight, there is little thought for justice or the sanctity of human life. It is all about ideology, with no regard at all for the fact that most people just want to live their lives in peace — above all, they want to live.
There is no rational deliberation in these wars, no effort at cooperation. My God, the insurgents in the Ukraine shot down an airliner, killed nearly 300 innocents without a thought. And in Israel, a “military action” was precipitated by the murder of three Jewish youths without any attempt to find out who did the deed or any attempt to follow a legitimate solution. So hundreds more are dying — individuals who might have done great things for the world, who only wanted a chance.
There can be no question that differences of opinion will exist between and among people. Yet if all we are ever going to do is react to how wrong the others are, with no effort at reason or cooperation, then we as a human race are destined to put roadblocks in the way of progress.
Those wars that are raging so far away may have little effect on our daily lives in Maine. There may be little we can do about them in any event. However, if we do not think about the irrationality of conflict, we may not learn much. At the very least, it just might help bridge the gap between the muck-raking political factions in America today, so that we can have a brighter future.
The Obama administration finally started to act on climate change by making plans to improve the cleaning up of our electric supply and improving planning against sea level rises and its flooding and eroding effects.
However, there is another effort to avert climate change that is still being overlooked: addressing the energy efficiency of our new and existing housing. Houses and commercial buildings consume 40 percent of total U.S. energy used, while proven building technologies can cut that by 50 percent. Total U.S. energy use can be reduced by at least 20 percent.
The cost of building new or retrofitting our existing homes generally results in financing costs being covered by energy dollar savings. Home and building owners can save money while creating millions of jobs and helping to mitigate climate change — all with one simple activity. What politician wouldn’t support such a solution?
I have combined 36 years of experience building energy efficient housing in southern Maine with the Vihara Foundation and Tenure and Ecology of New York City. We formed Super Energy Efficient Building Initiative for Climate Action to promote energy efficient housing. The plan is to train builders how to do retrofits and educate home and building owners as to their benefits.
SEEBICA welcomes environmental group support. It is now time for action. Government and political support is also welcome. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pinegree and Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins should also support the clean power program and learn about SEEBICA’s efforts.
Gov. Paul LePage apparently thinks he can fool seniors to vote for him in November by finally releasing federal and state funding for nursing homes. But seniors have long memories.
In 2011, LePage tried to eliminate $60 million in funding to assisted living facilities. His cuts would have displaced 4,000 elderly Maine residents from their homes.
LePage vetoed the bipartisan state budget that would have increased funds for nursing homes by $26 million. He also refused to sign a bill to raise reimbursement rates for nursing homes on a regular basis, including an additional $12 million starting this July.
In contrast, Democrat Mike Michaud consistently has supported nursing homes and measures to help care for seniors, including the Drugs for the Elderly Program and Meals on Wheels. Michaud also supports the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act which bans unfair rate increases and also abusive fees and penalties on seniors; the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which would help protect consumers from predatory lending and their retirement savings from unnecessary risks; and the Recovery Act, which provided funds to lower the cost of food, energy and housing for America’s seniors.
LePage is abruptly changing course to sail with the political winds. Michaud is on a steady, quiet voyage, demonstrating patience and persistence to solve problems for seniors. This is the kind of leadership we need in Augusta, and it’s why Michaud has earned my vote.