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Friday, Aug. 8, 2014: Gubernatorial debates, balloon litter, veterinary law, elder care


Stay at home

The Aug. 2 BDN editorial, “Pay the Maine nursing homes, but don’t forget the fight to keep seniors independent,” included a reference to an AARP survey in which 80 percent of respondents said it’s extremely or very important that they remain at home as they age. This is exactly what At Home Downeast, whose tagline is “Support For Aging In Place,” is dedicated to for older Mainers living in the nine towns on the Blue Hill peninsula.

Its volunteers provide, among other things, transportation to medical appointments and grocery shopping, an initial home safety assessment and solid referrals to appropriate service providers. Also included are scheduled visits from one of our nurses at least twice a month.

As the editorial points out, a vast majority of those polled said elected officials should make funding for services that help them stay at home a high priority. In the meantime At Home Downeast as well as other member- and volunteer-based organizations are actively out ahead of the politicians.

Membership, volunteer and donor opportunities, as well as other information, can be obtained by calling 374-5852.

Michael Morrison


Gubernatorial merits

So far our gubernatorial race has given Maine residents little opportunity to assess the merits of the candidates and their ideas. The game clock may run out before anyone takes the field.

So what about the merits?

1. Talent. Every Mike Michaud or Paul LePage supporter I have seriously talked to (and there are many) readily concedes that independent Eliot Cutler is the most talented and accomplished of the three candidates. No exceptions.

2. Ideas. Understandably upset with LePage’s embarrassing antics, many Michaud supporters embrace Michaud’s even temperament and kindness and are willing to have Maine residents suffer through a “don’t rock the boat” philosophy simply to turn LePage out of the Blaine House. In effect, LePage has given the call for major change a bad name. Cutler is different; he is offering Maine a bold, fresh start, but unlike LePage, Cutler offers positive ideas that aren’t slaves to dogma or dependent on demonization of opponents and critics.

3. Sacrifice. Sacrifice is a measure of the depth of a candidate’s convictions and courage. Anyone who runs for governor pays a steep personal price, but by comparison, when measured by what else the candidates could do with their gifts, Cutler has made the greatest sacrifices. Cutler and his family have a multi-generational history of creating wealth and opportunity and sharing the fruits of their hard work and talent with their communities. This wealth-creating generosity is exactly what Maine needs.

It’s far too early to make this a one-issue campaign: LePage or not. We need debates and sunshine on the candidates and their ideas. We need a hearing on the merits.

George Burns


Earth daze

Don’t release balloons into the atmosphere when celebrating. They go directly into the ocean and are lethal to ocean dwellers who think they are food (like jellyfish). When I was down on Cape Cod a few weeks ago, I walked the beach and found balloons (if it has a logo or company information on it I send it back to them and ask them to celebrate in safer ways).

I am considering asking my congresspeople to classify balloons as litter; they are litter. These plastic materials are found in most dead beach species, including birds (and cigarette lighters and all other littered human crap).

So please be considerate and celebrate with other non-toxic stuff. The skies are not ours to pollute with balloons; the other living things of Earth will fare much better without our garbage. Please pick up after yourself (including your dogs).

Jackie Freitas


Cutler debate

The state of the debate: Our three gubernatorial candidates have all been asked to attend a debate, to air their plans in front of the voters of Maine. It seems as if only one of the three has agreed to do so. Eliot Cutler has said he’ll debate any time, anywhere. Gov. Paul LePage has said, “Nowhere, no-how.” Mike Michaud has said, “Only if LePage will debate.”

I suspect that Michaud is using LePage as a dodge, following LePage’s (unusually logical) realization that he’s best at putting his foot in his mouth and/or giving comedians fodder for wisecracks and embarrassing his fellow Mainers at a national level. Michaud’s reluctance to debate or, for that matter, willingness to take a stand on anything, is consistent with his usual approach and his hide-and-seek public service record.

Do nothing, say nothing, lay low, sit in the back pew.

I think that a public debate between the candidates would let our citizens see how the three candidates would handle the very real problems our state has. What will they do to help Maine? How will they deal with our problems? What kind of governors will they make? This is profoundly cowardly behavior.

Maybe Cutler should hold the debate alone and see if the other two can find the energy to respond.

Bill Dixon

Boothbay Harbor

Veterinary support

On Aug. 1, President Barack Obama signed into law the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, which allows veterinarians to transport medicines classified as “controlled substances.”

Maine’s veterinarians would like to thank Sen. Angus King for being an original sponsor of this measure, making sure we are not classified as felons when visiting a farm or making a house call. We also thank Sen. Susan Collins for joining as a co-sponsor.

Until now, any veterinarian transporting these “controlled substances” outside of their practice building was technically committing a federal crime.

The absurdity of this interpretation came to light several years ago, at a regional veterinary meeting held every September in Portland. Federal officials at that meeting advised a veterinarian located in Rhode Island that she was violating the law when taking certain medicines from her practice to her many horse farm clients in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The veterinarians present asked their national organization, the American Veterinary Medical Association, to look into this issue. Upon doing so, the AVMA was told by federal authorities that not only was it illegal to transport these medicines across state lines; it was illegal to transport these medicines at all.

King was quick to join with Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas in sponsoring the corrective legislation which has now become law. We value his initiative and Collins’ support.

Brian Graves

President, Maine Veterinary Medical Association



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