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Friday Aug. 29, 2014: Winnie the Pooh, LIHEAP and Mo’ne Davis


National Hero

I suppose that in our desperate search for heroes who are unstained by scandals, moral lapses and monstrous egos, it’s natural that the nation would turn to a 13-year-old girl with a great talent for pitching a baseball 70 miles per hour.

In her innocence she just may represent the purity that has been lost in all of our professional games. She reminds us that sports play vital role in our national life, but that because of all too human weaknesses and failings, many of our heroes have feet of clay. We know just too much about them to give them our unconditional love. When I was 13, Duke Snider could never fail my trust. Joe Louis would always be my champion. My team would always win.

We loved to imitate our heroes in the game, and it’s the same with today’s kids. Never mind that youth sports have become so organized and so controlled by adults that the pressure to win has taken on an undeserved importance. Kids still love to play.

But at what price has all the “progress” come? Mo’ne Davis has been put in the national spotlight in such a way as to add a heavier burden of performance than any kid should have to bear. That she has handled all the media attention with outward calm and confidence is to her credit, but that kind of pressure exacts a toll on her whether she realizes it or not. And who’s at fault? Not Davis. She didn’t ask to become a national hero. The fault is with the adult world that feasts on the fame of others as if it were our own. Even the fleeting fame of our children.

Hal Wheeler



Name game

I see where the selectmen of Wiscasset has allowed a road to be named “Redskin’s Drive,” which is fine with me. If people get upset with the term “redskin,” and people are not allowed to use it without controversy, does that mean I can no longer make “redskin” potato salad?

John McCrady




Oh, Pooh

If Danby is going to place Winnie the Pooh in the cross hairs of a rifle eating donuts then will Sebastian from “Little Mermaid” be next in a lobster trap? Maybe Bambi under a tree stand? Or is this representing the comical side of the bear referendum? Don’t look now but Mary Tyler Moore is on her way to Maine to ban lobsters from being trapped! Will the The Road Runner be next — to ban hunting coyotes over bait?

Ray Bryant




Coach kudos

I was pleased to see the induction of Bill Hanscom in the first Maine Basketball Hall of Fame. He was my basketball and baseball coach in the 1940s at Presque Isle and a second father to me. We had to get A’s and B’s and no smoking or drinking.

When I got out of the service (during the Korean conflict), I bowled with him in 1954, and he was an excellent candlepin bowler, representing the Mooseluk Club of Presque Isle, who won the Eastern Maine Candlepin tournaments in the 1940s.

Burtt F. Brown



Vote YES

Opponents of Maine’s bear referendum equate support of state wildlife biologists with voting No on Question 1. This tactic could not be more misleading because it implies that the biologists set department policy. Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists study bears, but they do not make department policy regarding whether or not bear baiting is appropriate “management.” Politicians in the governor’s office and in the Legislature do. State wildlife biologists do and say as they’re told if they want to keep their jobs, especially in the current administration.

Feeding bears produces more bears. With bear baiting, IFW estimates that Maine’s bear population has grown by 30 percent in less than 10 years. The fact that politicians continue to support feeding bears shows just how broken our system of fish and wildlife management really is. Stop feeding the bears by voting Yes on Question 1.

John Glowa

South China


Match box

Imagine finishing grocery shopping to discover your total bill is three times the amount you are normally charged. This depressing scenario is about to become reality for many of Maine’s low-income residents.

With less than two weeks’ notice, the Food Supplement Program will face a drastic cut beginning Sept. 1.

This will particularly affect recipients who pay rent with heat included.

As an example, my monthly Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income total $751. My heat is included in my rent which is subsidized by the housing authority. My August food stamps were $179 but will be cut by 76 percent percent to $47. Now saving 76 percent off a purchase is delightful but attempting to suddenly squeeze $132 for food from an income of $751 is more than challenging.

The new law assumes that those who pay rent with heat included are financially benefitting. However, they are not considering that the landlord always charges higher rent to cover the heating cost. He’s in the business to make money, not give away free heat.

I moved here from a state with 13 times the population of Maine. There, with the same circumstances, I received $300 annually from LIHEAP.

Food Stamps and LIHEAP are both federal programs. How can a law that will devastate so many low-income Mainers be enacted with such short notice? How much heating assistance can a Mainer expect with their $5 check? A box of matches.

Doreen Barrows-Perry



Anything but hunting

In November, voting Mainers will have an opportunity to right a terrible wrong that has been permitted in the state for too long. Bear “hunting” has become anything but. With our baiting, trapping and hounding, we have allowed the sport to become a lazy pastime. Not only is this not hunting in the truest, most literal sense of the word, it is grossly unfair and disrespectful to another living creature.

Other states, such as Washington and Oregon, have outlawed baiting and have seen improvements in their management of bears. Maine may be the first to see the sunrise, but we are not leading the way in rightful hunting of our bears.

Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Can the same be said of a state? Is Maine’s greatness somehow blunted by the way we treat our bears?

Bear baiting, hounding and trapping are not necessary to control bear populations, despite what known poacher Ted Nugent tells you. They will be controlled by skilled hunters who are willing to take the time to track the bears in the respectful way hunters have done for centuries before.

Jim Mentink


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