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Thursday, June 18, 2015: Vietnam veterans, Bangor panhandlers, carbon tax

Rescue at sea

Since our winter home is in Charleston, South Carolina, my husband and I took extra interest in the BDN’s fine June 11 article about the Maine Maritime Academy students who rescued a lone Charleston sailor at sea last week. How good to learn that more than 300 such rescues have taken place so far in 2015 with the Coast Guard notifying all vessels in areas where there are cries for help.

We had a friend who was enrolled as a first-year student on board the Castine vessel years ago. When Hurricane Katrina happened, the female dorm on board quickly was emptied, and the State of Maine was one of the first ships to arrive in New Orleans.

Maine to the rescue, then and now. Thanks for some good news for a change.

Martha and Frank Barkley

Belgrade Lakes

Welcome home, Vietnam vets

On June 14, a salute was given to returned Vietnam vets at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor by the Troop Greeters Association of Bangor. It was sponsored by many local and state companies and was much appreciated by all of us returned vets of the 1960s and 1970s.

Many thanks go to the Troop Greeters for their thought and effort in honoring us.

Why did the BDN not have one mention of the 3,000 to 5,000 veterans assembling at the Cross Insurance Center? The lead stories of the day were a shipwreck in Penobscot Bay 80 years ago and autistic child and his parents leaving Maine because their son no longer qualified for state benefits, which is why they had moved here 17 years ago, and the “ cultural genocide” Maine tribes faced in the state child welfare system.

Channels 2, 5 and 7 were no better. Not a single word about it Sunday night or Monday morning. Gov. Paul LePage’s cover letter included in the packet presented to us included all the relevant points of the “welcome home message.” But he couldn’t attend because he had a “prior commitment” to a Flag Day ceremony in Auburn, which was attended by about 30 people. That made Channel 2 News on Sunday night.

I want to thank Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Sen. Angus King and Brig. Gen. Gerald Bolduc for their words of thanks and wisdom. And a special thanks to retired Maj. John W. Libby. Welcome home, Vietnam vets.

CM1 Frederick A. Ashmore Sr.

U.S. Navy CB Retired


Bangor panhandlers

“Bangor Police Department shouldn’t pass judgments on panhandlers” is the headline for a June 13 BDN editorial critical of the Bangor Police Department’s Facebook post about panhandling. Why pick on the Bangor Police Department, which made it clear not all panhandlers lie? They were merely warning that some panhandlers are less than truthful and that we should encourage them to seek support from agencies designed to help them. Meanwhile, we would be wise to support those agencies financially instead of the individual panhandler.

The BDN suggests the Bangor Police Department should have listed agencies and organizations to which people ought to financially contribute. Instead of using the incident to offer petty criticism of the Bangor Police Department, I would suggest it would have been more appropriate for the BDN either to offer a single handout listing agencies or a series of articles in which a more in-depth description of the area agencies would have been provided.

The Bangor Police Department only described the reality there are some panhandlers who are lying to gain public sympathy. This editorial wasn’t helpful.

Perham L. Amsden


Support a carbon tax

Mainers should be concerned about climate destabilization, including prolonged droughts, increasingly violent storms, major floods, rising sea level and ocean acidification. Right now, 97 percent of climate scientists are convinced that evidence supports the theory that human-caused climate change is happening. There is something Mainers can do that may make a difference and help leave a livable planet to the next generations.

I urge Mainers to call Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins and Rep. Bruce Poliquin to ask them to support revenue-neutral carbon pricing. Putting an honest price on carbon is a vital step in combating climate destabilization. Calls from their constituents could make a huge difference.

Libby Norton


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