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Friday, July 25, 2014: Remembering Charlie Howard, responding to sexual assault, Michaud support


Michaud actions

If you’re a senior voter living in Maine, compare and contrast the actions of the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor.

Mike Michaud, Maine’s Democratic candidate for governor, has a long distinguished history of supporting Maine seniors. He has staunchly opposed Republican efforts to privatize Social Security and Medicare. As a U.S. congressman, he introduced legislation that would allow the federal government to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices but was thwarted by Republicans. Day after day, Michaud has introduced or supported a string of votes that protect Maine’s seniors.

Then there is Gov. Paul LePage, who recently lumped Social Security and Medicare in a diatribe of his, calling them “welfare.” (And he is still trying to backtrack on that after the outcry from Mainers.) He attempted to cut Meals on Wheels. He tried to cut funding for the Drugs for the Elderly Program. He vetoed the bill that was meant to increase reimbursement rates to nursing homes. And on and on and on — measures that would harm seniors.

Maine has the oldest population in the nation, and this governor does nothing but veto good bipartisan legislation, then cries that he is “misunderstood.” Soon even his base is bound to catch on.

I’m voting for Michaud, a man who cares not only about seniors but about all Mainers, and who has proven it by his actions.

Polly Shaw


Simple intervention

It takes more than trust to protect children and others from being preyed upon, especially when the predators are teachers, coaches and mentors.

I was in high school when one of my coaches initiated me into the world of adulthood. I regret that I did not have the courage, confidence or mindset to tell anyone.

Thirty years later, his predatory pattern is clear to me, this “trusted man” was not just a teacher, coach and mentor, but an abuser.

Nearly every week there is a story in the news reporting sexual abuse of a minor. It goes on despite the fact that there is heightened social awareness of it and stronger Maine laws, including laws that now support those under 18 years old and the elimination of a statute of limitations.

It is crucial that parents, children, teens and peers talk about ways to handle abusive situations without shame, guilt or fear of punishment. Not all stories of sexual abuse are sensational, yet the power imbalance that can lead to such abuse is in every school, and the effects on victims are lasting. We cannot always trust that an adult will act appropriately, and a young person is not always the best judge of what counts as appropriate. We must be vigilant.

If something makes you uncomfortable or doesn’t seem right, ask a question. Sometimes a simple intervention is all it takes to disrupt a potentially damaging situation and protect the future of a young person, so they may make their own choices and feel safe doing so.

Susan Volmer


Tarnished reputation

I am amazed that a third of Maine’s voters still support Gov. Paul LePage after all he has done to tarnish Maine’s strong reputation for tolerance and civility. We are now known across the country for having elected the nation’s craziest governor, one whose temperamental outbursts and crude insults are legendary fodder for late-night comedians.

The governor seems to forget that tourism is our No. 1 industry and largest employer, and it’s a good bet that tourists are not drawn here to find a better fast food restaurant or big-box store. They come to enjoy our clean lakes and rivers, our vast forests, our bold and dynamic coastline.

Yet this supposedly business-savvy governor doesn’t understand the strong connection between a healthy environment and a vibrant, sustainable economy. From day one, he has been obsessed with weakening the sensible environmental laws that have helped keep Maine unique. His failed policies have guided Maine to dead last in the country for annual gross domestic product and to a dismal 47 out of 50 in job creation.

Some may find his “my way or the highway” style of governing amusing, and perhaps his temper tantrums are somewhat cathartic to an increasingly angry public. But more and more, his adolescent rages and gross lapses in common sense seem to profile a human who is deeply flawed. And sadly, his long-touted personal story of rags to riches just seems to demonstrate a well-known fact: City streets are no place to raise a healthy child.

Chris Kenoyer


Thanking South Portland

As a Canadian, I was pleased to see the July 21 BDN article, “South Portland council casts ‘historic’ vote to block tar sands exports.”

Recent polls in Canada suggest that Canadians are increasingly unhappy with expanded tar sands development because of its environmental degradation and unbalanced effect on our planetary climate. The current Canadian government attempts to suppress these indicators as they champion special interest groups.

There are many Canadians who concur with the position of South Portland, yet our voices are suppressed.

Rex Woollard

Ottawa, Ontario

Thoughts about Howard

I am so sorry about what happened to Charlie Howard 30 years ago. I did not know about it all these years. These things are not supposed to happen. I — we — would’ve tried to help, believe me.

Howard’s death was not in vain; human life is worth so much more than allowing even one person’s life force to be ripped away in an idle drunken moment. How ghastly. His spirit will not be allowed to just flicker out. On the contrary, he’s still newsworthy 30 years later and will be for years to come.

He has made a difference in many people’s lives; he would be amazed at the strides that have been made in human and gay rights in the ensuing years. Even right there in the great state of Maine.

Edward Marsh

Denver, Colo.

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