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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014: LePage support, Amy Faircloth for probate judge, Sarah Smiley column

Lip service

Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud has given a lot of lip-service to us veterans over the years, but even though he sits on the very committee that is supposed to oversee the Veterans Administration, he did nothing to solve the VA-hospital problems until a whistle-blower spoke out, even though the problem has been common knowledge for years.

It seems to me that he has done little except to vote a straight Democratic Party line vote, and in my view, a congressman who has spent nearly 12 years sitting on his butt in Congress would not be a good choice for governor of Maine, which has a lot of problems to be solved.

At least Republican Gov. Paul LePage isn’t afraid to rock the boat and solve problems regardless of party affiliation, even though the liberal media beats on him pretty hard, and I suspect that the other candidate for governor, independent Eliot Cutler, being a liberal and moderate, would compromise on almost anything to get elected or re-elected rather than back what is best for our state.

John McCormick Jr.


Legend lives on

Coach John Winkin touched a lot of people in Maine and around the country. I was able to attend his camps back in my Little League years (early 1990s) where I learned techniques that he promoted, and they stuck with me. I was bound and determined to go play for him at UMaine in college, yet he was not there in my time, and nobody could compete with his virtues — except of course coach Ed Flaherty (one of his prodigies) at the University of Southern Maine, which is where I ended up going to for college ball.

I am teary-eyed writing this because I vividly recall a variety of drills learned at his camp, which I used in the on-deck circle into college at USM; Flaherty never questioned Winkin. Then, my USM team did have the opportunity to play his Husson team at the Division III level back in 2003-04, and he was still a young-looking/acting baseball genius. And, for the record, when he wasn’t coaching, you could always see him running, and doing, yes, anything “baseball oriented.”

I remember at his camps, back in the day, seeing him running at sun up on days I happened to be up (adolescent years, it happened). He will be missed, but his legend lives on in so many.

Greg Stacy


Smiley kudos

Thank you to Sarah Smiley for her sensitive commentary about depression. It was courageous to come out with it.

My late wife and I both suffered with depression, so we knew how debilitating it could be. I appreciated her mentioning that her depression could be treated with medication. It hasn’t been that long since we emerged as a society and acknowledged the need for medication. Much better therapy than shock treatments or a brisk walk.

George Chappell


Bear traps

As someone who cherishes the Maine woods and its wildlife, it saddens me that our state has become the last bastion of trapping, hounding and baiting of bears. Maine already forbids trapping, hounding and baiting deer and moose. But we allow people to trap bears in cruel traps and kill them at point-blank range, while their heads are stuffed in a barrel of doughnuts, and to chase them with packs of frenzied hounds.

Government employees — the very individuals who devised this unfair and inhumane hunting program for bears — defend it and have become leading representatives for the campaign to promote baiting and trapping. In hindsight, they couldn’t have been more wrong: A decade after voters narrowly rejected an initiative to clean up the sport, allowing baiting and other unfair methods to continue, we have 30 percent more bears — perhaps because of the 7 million pounds of food that bear baiters drop in the woods every year.

It’s time for us to reject the government’s attempt to tell us how to vote. After voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington banned these three cruel practices, and defied the wishes of the experts in their states, their bear populations remained stable, and human-bear conflicts did not increase. Their experience confirms what common sense already tells us: Responsible wildlife management does not rely on setting out traps and mounds of jelly doughnuts as a way to kill bears.

Caitlin Hills


Elect Faircloth

While not usually the most high-profile cases, the cases heard in probate court are truly those closest to the hearts of most Mainers. Most of us will never, hopefully, find ourselves in a courtroom facing criminal charges. However, many of us will, at some point, find ourselves dealing with probate court issues, such as wills, estates, name changes, adoptions, guardianship or other family matters.

The choice this year is very clear. We can chose M. Ray Bradford Jr., appointed by Gov. Paul LePage when Judge Allan Woodcock was unable to finish his term after 50 years of honorable service, or we can choose longtime Penobscot County resident and activist Amy Faircloth.

Faircloth has practiced law in Bangor since 1987. Her practice focuses on family law, including adoptions and guardianships, clearly making her an ideal candidate for the position. In addition to her law practice, Faircloth is a member of her local school board and is on the board of the Bangor Humane Society. She also is a member of the Maine Citizen Review Panel, which promotes greater citizen involvement in the child protection agency.

As a longtime member of this community, Faircloth is someone who has not only raised her own children here but truly found time to give back in countless ways. I trust Faircloth to handle the issues facing Maine families with dignity and respect.

Please join me in electing Penobscot County’s first female probate court judge, Amy Faircloth.

Karen Foley



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