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Thursday, May 18, 2017: It’s time to repair our infrastructure, health care system inadequate, roadside litter

Support Camden-Rockport school bond

As an alum of the Camden-Rockport schools, a business owner and a parent, I support the new middle school bond issue. I hope voters will seriously consider the difference between the two options: It isn’t zero dollars versus $26 million. It’s projected to cost $16 million to maintain the failing building — $16 million on patchwork.

I entered middle school in 1990, when the building was the middle and the high school. There were three major additions before I entered the schools and one since I’ve left. Patchwork — never a complete, efficient design.

We are fortunate that the elementary and high schools are newer buildings. I felt something akin to envy when I first saw these buildings in comparison to the schools through which I matriculated.

The staff do their best to provide a welcoming place for students. At a certain point, though, you stop throwing money into a sinking ship. I used that analogy a few months ago; little did I know that one of the back wings built on top of old wood shavings from the wood shop is literally sinking.

An investment in our schools is an investment in our community. I feel pride in our great school system. I don’t want to see the school system slip — or sink — even a little, and I also do not want to spend $16 million on more patching. That’s too much money. It’s time.

Elizabeth Valente Senders

Camden

It takes a village to stop littering

Two weeks ago, I cleaned a roadside ditch on Outer High Street in Belfast just past the Upper Bridge parking lot. On about 300 feet of one side of the road, I picked up enough trash to fill two overstuffed garbage bags.

Ninety percent of it comes from our fast food and convenience stores: bags, wrappers, cups, hundreds of nips, straws, cans, cigarette packs, bottles, pizza boxes, cup lids and fish bait. I did not bother with the butts, lottery tickets, booze bottles and assorted other stuff. The trash is all local. Every brand is well represented. This is being thrown out of cars by our neighbors and families.

There isn’t one solution; I wish there were. The litterers should just stop, but they won’t do it easily. For some reason, they don’t want the stuff in the car. But we can call them on it if we see them do it. We can teach kids not to litter. We can enforce littering laws, but it isn’t easy.

We can encourage community clean ups and even organize them. The stores, the community, individuals, law enforcement, friends and family all have a share of the responsibility. Obviously, the people littering are 100 percent responsible, but that still leaves us with a road full of garbage to pick up. We should all be able to agree there’s too much garbage on the roads, and we should all do something to clean it up and help put a stop to it.

Mike Hurley

Belfast

U.S. health system inadequate

A recent article from the Annals of Internal Medicine found that over a 10-year period Canadian patients with cystic fibrosis lived longer than those who live in the United States. The Canadian system has the ability to focus on a complex medical conditions and provide even high cost care, such as a lung transplant, that exceeds what we in the U.S. can provide.

Here is the difference. Canadian patients with cystic fibrosis lived 10 years longer (50.9 years versus 40.6 years). A greater proportion of Canadian patients underwent transplant (10.3 percent versus 6.3 percent). More U.S. patients died without transplants. Transplants were performed earlier in Canada.

Patients with private insurance in the U.S. had comparable outcomes. Patients with unknown or no insurance had a 77 percent greater risk of dying during the 10-year study period.

The fragmentation of care and access in the U.S. health care system, as well as lack of resources to afford insurance are a travesty. We ration care daily based on lack of access to care. Medical expenses are the biggest cause of personal bankruptcy.

Rep. Bruce Poliquin has access to great insurance. This is not true for many in the 2nd Congressional District. His vote to support the American Health Care Act will deprive many of access to needed health care if it passes in the Senate. It will consign some to premature death. It is irresponsible. There is an election in 2018.

Roger Renfrew

Skowhegan

How to avoid a lifetime of student debt

To prevent a lifetime of student loan debt, join the military for the GI Bill or join ROTC in college. Do your first two years at a community college at a fraction of the cost. Work part time, live at home and go to school in your home state. Never borrow more than you need. Seek an education in something that results in a paying job. None of those buried in a lifetime of student loans did any of the above.

Arthur Bailey

South Portland

Time to fix our infrastructure

As the owner of a trucking company, I hear repeatedly from my peers and my employees that there is a desperate need for better roads in our state. Our truck drivers drive these roads for a living, and we see proper upkeep and maintenance of our infrastructure as a matter of safety.

That is why I support organizations such as the Maine Motor Transport Association, the Maine Better Transportation Association and FixItNowMaine.org, campaign who are all working with the Legislature to find reasonable ways to increase funding for infrastructure.

Nobody likes increases to their expenses; however, we must find a reasonable solution.

Infrastructure safety should be of paramount concern for everyone, whether you are a Democrat, Republican or independent, a truck driver or a parent who needs to get to work and get home safely to your family.

We all have a stake in safe roads. It’s time to put politics aside and fix the problem.

Brian Bouchard

Hampden

 


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