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Friday, March 18, 2016: GMO wheat myths, Maine will benefit from solar energy

Embrace progressive movement

I was a little nervous when I participated in my town’s caucus this month but very excited to be a part of democracy at the grassroots level. Many neighbors, colleagues and members of my community were present to show their support for both candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

It was obvious from the very beginning that the majority supported Sanders. The crowd was enthusiastic and energized. I had the feeling that I experienced when then-Sen. Barack Obama was about to win the presidency for the first time.

It is time for us as a nation to continue that progressive move forward toward positive change for our children and our world. There is no room in this world for bigotry, racism, hate or intolerance.

Pam Tremblay


Expand Medicaid to treat addiction

I have been in recovery from heroin addiction for 10 years. My sobriety was contingent on the support of my family, friends and community. Their help was freely given and readily received. MaineCare covered the cost of my treatment and therapy, services that were just as crucial to my path out of addiction.

For me, health care has been a stepping stone rather than a crutch. With health insurance, I was able to attend outpatient programs and addiction counseling that gave me the support and structure I needed to framework my recovery. MaineCare was my doorway to these services.

Today, the stones are further away and harder to reach. As a full-time student and part-time worker, I now fall below the poverty line. Because Gov. Paul LePage is not accepting federal funds for Medicaid expansion, I am stuck in the coverage gap that has grown wider over the past five years. I have so much empathy for my fellow addicts who are ready to take that next step but are blocked by a lack of health care access.

I work with women in early recovery. Healing is painful and frightening and so immensely rewarding. They give me hope, and yet I see the barriers they face. I want to help lower these barriers. A lack of health care coverage is part of the problem. We can be part of the solution.

Cara Oleksyk


Obama must act on North Korea

I am a strong supporter of President Barack Obama, and I believe he has done a great job pulling America together after former President George W. Bush put America in a deep hole with huge debts incurred from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which led to the death and suffering of our young men and women in the armed services.

But now comes another serious problem with North Korea, where there is a unbalanced leader determined to cause great harm and destruction to the world, including America.

Now is the time for our president to take action. Now is the time to tell the leader of North Korea to stop all nuclear tests and give up efforts to develop nuclear weapons and rockets. Or the United States will take them out. No more talking and no more waiting for other countries to join us. We will do it alone. The job should have been done years ago.

Now is the time for Obama to act.

Eugene Bowden


Maine will benefit from solar energy

After following the solar power issue for many years, we’re now convinced that Maine cannot afford to pass up the opportunities offered by LD 1649. There are just too many positive benefits, both in the long and short term, and Maine must act responsibly to capture them.

The cost of solar energy will continue to improve with advances in solar technology and with increased competition. Further growth in this industry will provide Mainers trapped in dangerous, unhealthy and destructive legacy industries with new job opportunities that will equip them to compete for 21st-century jobs.

Not only that, growth in solar energy will avoid further degradation of our environment and human health from fossil fuel production.

We’re telling our elected representatives that the time is now, and we’re asking them to do the right thing for Maine by energetically supporting LD 1649.

Seabury and Sharon Lyon


Truth about GMO wheat

While I am sympathetic to allergen sufferers, Linda Butler, who claimed in a March 15 BDN letter to the editor to suffer adverse reactions to the proteins in GMO wheat, should keep searching for a cause.

No federal agency has approved genetically modified wheat. While there were some field trials conducted years ago, GMO wheat has not gone commercial.

Truth in labeling is an important topic. Just as important is an educated population if the correct decisions are to be made in the future on this issue.

Brian Steinwand

St. Albans

Retired teachers need help

Years ago, the retired teachers of this state were asked to take a hit on the single coverage health plan to balance a budget at a time of supposed need. We were promised then that the benefit would return to full single coverage in a reasonable time yet it remains at 45 percent, while state workers continue to receive 100 percent coverage while drawing from the same system.

While the majority of school districts cover at least 80 percent of health care for their employees, the retired teacher gets no help to cover his or her spouse. Teachers proportionately contribute much more than the state worker to the Maine State Retirement System. This is our retirement, our hard earned money agreed to under contracts, and we loaned it to Maine when it was in need. Now we are in need.

Why are retired teachers continually being asked to sacrifice so much when we have already through our service? I worked as a teacher for 37 years and I, as with all teachers, cannot collect Social Security or Medicare. Even if my spouse passes away, I get no death benefit through Social Security.

When we retirees began teaching, the pay was low, but the one thing we could rely on was our health care coverage. No other state in New England treats its retired educators in this way. If the state wants to attract good teachers, it should raise the health benefit back to what is fair and what was promised.

Richard Paine



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