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Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014: Hunger, health care, bears, domestic violence


Hunger in Maine

September is Hunger Action Month. The fall season is beginning and holidays are coming upon us faster than we may be prepared for. For many Mainers, this is a difficult time of year, particularly where food is concerned. Regrettably, too many households have to skip meals, or take other steps to eat less because they don’t have enough money for food. Unfortunately, Maine has the fourth highest rate of hunger in the nation with over 200,000 individuals experiencing food insecurity.

As an AmeriCorps VISTA member in partnership with AARP Foundation and AARP Maine, I have seen first- hand the impact hunger has on the people in this state. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps, is one of the country’s most effective tools to address hunger and poverty. In 2011, SNAP kept 4.7 million people out of poverty, including 2.1 million children. In Maine, every SNAP dollar that is spent brings $1.79 into the local community, which helps support local farmers and grocers. In 2013, over $376 million came in to our state as a result of this critical nutrition assistance.

SNAP is an excellent resource for low- income families who struggle to put food on the table. If you think you know someone who might be eligible, go to or call 1-800-442-6003 to connect to your local DHHS office. Together, we can make a difference in Maine and help leave hunger in the dust.

Brooke Libby

SNAP Outreach Coordinator


Bear deception

Using referendums and deceptive ads, The Humane Society of the United States

is a big business. They prey on the heartstring and emotions of the people to get their votes and donations. Millions go for wages and pension plans while spending only 0.5 percent on animal shelters. They use the words like “cruel,” “unsportsmanlike,” and “inhumane” to get your vote.

But the truth is, If the bear referendum passes, it will be very cruel and inhumane to other animals. Our state biologists know how much pain and suffering bear inflict on other animals. Maine’s forest are very dense and biologists came up with the only methods of controlling the huge bear population that work.

The HSUS calls those methods cruel and unsportsmanlike, but when they are confronted with the facts of how cruel bears are to other animals, they say it is nature. It is time to protect other animals, jobs and public safety and vote No on the bear referendum.

Gene A. Trisch


Health dollars wasted

A recent study of the hospital costs in eight different nations published in the September issue of Health Affairs has determined that hospital costs in the U.S. in 2011 were much greater than those in all of the nations studied. Lead author Dr. David Himmelstein, a professor at the CUNY/Hunter College School of Public Health and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, stated, “We are squandering $150 billion each year on hospital bureaucracy and $300 billion is wasted every year on insurance companies’ overhead and the paperwork they inflict on doctors.” And our length of life and other parameters of the U.S. health care system are not as good as the seven other countries and many millions of Americans still have no or very limited insurance.

The evidence for a single payer health care system is getting stronger every day. We Americans simply have to become educated about why and how a single payer system works. Imagine that 450 billion of our “health care” dollars are spent needlessly and not on health care.

William Babson Jr. MD


Chemical dangers

Regulations in place to limit workplace exposure to formaldehyde vapor in the workplace are clearly warranted but are already in place. The small amounts of formaldehyde present in solution in consumer products is probably not dangerous. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is right in waiting until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finishes its study to decide whether warning regulations are required.

Bruce Bennett

South Thomaston

Bear hunting needed

I’m writing about the bear referendum. It doesn’t make sense to not hunt bears because the population would go up. I know the referendum is not to ban hunting but it really is. We need snares, baiting, and hounds to get a bear.

This year I’m trying to hunt a bear. Bear hunting helps our family. We need the food and it also helps our taxidermy business, Alaska to Maine Taxidermy. I’m 11 years old and this is my first time bear hunting and this may be my last time bear hunting and I may not even get one. I’m angry because I want to hunt and I’m worried there will be future referendums. I wish I could vote No on 1.

Micah Shamlian


Disturbing pattern

Having noticed the preponderance of editorial columns and letters regarding domestic violence, one can’t help but be amazed at the irony before us. The domestic assault of a pregnant woman is appropriately decried for its particularly heinous nature. Yet, at the same time, many in our culture support the killing of the unborn child that qualifies the unique vulnerability and sacredness of the mother and the innocent unborn life being nurtured.

Chastising the NFL and other business entities is easy and justified. However, let’s focus on the bigger picture of protecting the most vulnerable and innocent, and perhaps a real culture change can provide a solid basis for changing the disturbing pattern of domestic abuse.

Donald Mendell


Vote for Roger Reed

Rep. Roger Reed has been a pillar of the greater Bangor community for decades, and for good reason. As a coach and active community member he has touched the lives of countless families. The folks of his district are fortunate to have him serving them on a larger scale at the State House. Roger is a humble, effective leader. He is a true public servant who is in office to make a difference for his friends and neighbors.

Roger has a talent for bringing people together, and he is highly respected on both sides of the aisle. His work ethic is truly impressive, and he is dedicated to learning about the issues that are brought in front of lawmakers so that he can make the best decisions for his constituents.

The folks of Carmel, Hermon, and Etna will be well-served to have Roger Reed as their state representative for the next two years. I encourage you to get out and vote for Roger this November.

Ken Fredette

House Republican Leader


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