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Monday, Dec. 15, 2014: Concrete mixer truck, CIA torture, energy solutions

It’s concrete, not cement

I cringe when one of those do-it-yourself shows use the wrong terminology, but I expect more from a respected newspaper. On the front page of the Dec. 12 Bangor Daily News was a picture of a ferry with an overturned vehicle on it. The caption under the photo, along with the article on page 4, referred to the vehicle as a “cement truck.”

Although there was cement in the mix, that truck contained concrete. Once you mix cement (a bonding agent) with water and sand and stone, it becomes concrete. Calling it cement is like calling a cookie flour. The terms cement and concrete are not the same and are not interchangeable.

So, the vehicle on that ferry was a concrete mixer truck, not a cement truck. If you would like to get a picture of a cement truck, just take a ride to Thomaston, where you can see several cement trucks coming and going from Dragon Products.

Thomas Slattery



Chemical restraint wrong

The Dec. 9 article on stopping antipsychotic medication use in nursing homes reminded me of my mother’s sad experience with this medication while she was a hospice patient in Lewiston in 2002. While my mother was dying of cancer, the hospice chemically restrained my mother with an antipsychotic. The side effects left her frozen. She was unable to communicate, walk or eat. When I spoke with the hospice, I was told that they would abandon my family if I persisted in questioning them.

Families, please educate yourselves and don’t allow this medication to be used. The loved one is not given a choice. They need you to say no to antipsychotic use as a chemical restraint.

Nancy Larson



Torture accountability

Regarding the report on CIA torture, as an American, I am deeply saddened by the actions of those who have brought this deep dishonor to our country. Our war dead are turning in their graves as the dirtiest of muck is smeared upon the flag they died defending, the flag thought to have represented the highest of moral ideals.

Seeing those responsible smirking and loudly proclaiming, as former Vice President Dick Cheney is, that such behavior was warranted to protect our nation, a hot anger is kindling in the very fabric of American society. Those responsible, one and all, for breaking faith with their country, for committing high crimes against all we stand for and against humanity must answer. Those with the authority must see that they do. To do nothing but wait for the stink to blow away is as bad, or worse, than what caused this foul odor, for it offers legitimacy to criminals as well as the crime.

The president must do the right thing: Restore and preserve what is left of America’s integrity and honor. We are a nation of laws. Conduct a full investigation and prosecute those responsible.

Guy Bourrie



Bears for killing

The three private interest group members who wrote the Dec. 5 OpEd, “Maine wants biologists to manage bears,” urge us to trust their wildlife experts. They must be kidding.

Like the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, their organizations are in existence to ensure their members a healthy bear population to kill. Don’t for a minute think they are doing it because they care about the wildlife.

Animals were not put on this planet for our benefit. It’s time we stopped treating them as if they were.

Susan Wiedman



Energy solutions

We commend the BDN for its thoughtful Dec. 6 editorial, “Using less is Maine’s only option to dull winter electricity price spike.” Energy efficiency is the best near-term solution to our energy challenges. Efficiency lowers customer electric bills, increases economic activity from spending less on energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and can be deployed quickly. Investing in low-cost energy efficiency reduces the cost of doing business in Maine and leaves customers with more money in their pockets. Every $1 invested in cost-effective energy efficiency boosts the Maine gross state product well over $3.

Increasing reliance on natural gas grows problematic as competition for limited supplies on cold days causes energy prices to spike and consumers are at the mercy of volatile fuel markets. Burning and processing natural gas releases powerful greenhouse gas emissions. But there is good news. Electric and gas efficiency investments can help because each reduces demand for natural gas used in power plants. Rooftop solar, electric heat pumps and advanced technologies that store electricity or use waste heat from electric generation are all increasingly affordable energy options that reduce demand for natural gas-fired electricity and alleviate strain on the energy system.

Asked to pay for energy infrastructure, Maine consumers deserve to know that the full array of viable, likely lower cost energy options has been evaluated. If we assume that traditional choices such as expensive natural gas pipelines are the only solution, we will miss a chance to choose better options to benefit Maine’s economy, consumers and environment.

Daniel Sosland


Acadia Center



Senior transportation

I was pleased to see Len Kaye’s Dec. 9 BDN OpEd on senior transportation policy. Victor Hugo said, “Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come.” Perhaps it is finally the time for sustainable senior transportation in Maine.

Twenty years ago, with help from the Southern Maine Agency on Aging and the Federal Transit Administration, we launched in greater Portland the Independent Transportation Network, a public private effort that created senior transportation sustained by reasonable fares from riders and diversified, voluntary local community support.

The network uses automobiles to provide service 24/7, for any purpose, without relying on taxpayer dollars. It is possible through the volunteer effort of the local community. ITNPortland has driven more than 1.2 million miles and delivered 285,771 rides to 2,263 members.

Public/private partnership means more than asking the government for money. Policy can remove barriers and provide incentives, and policy makers can lead.

I recently met with Lori Parham of AARP, Rep. Erik Jorgensen and Speaker Mark Eves to discuss the network’s research and development for ITNEverywhere. Its mission is to build upon the ITN foundation to meet the mobility needs of rural and small communities in a technology-driven sharing economy. Think nonprofit hybrid between Craig’s List and Uber: a virtual marketplace for shared private transportation.

I propose community forums with legislators and venture philanthropists to discuss ITNEverywhere with the people of Maine. I look forward to these conversations. I believe the time has come for this idea.

Katherine Freund


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