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Jan. 3, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Free prisoners, cut costs

If Gov. Baldacci and the Legislature were serious about cutting costs, they would start kicking people out of the jail and prison system. I have been told that the average cost of keeping a person in jail is $55,000 a year, more if the person is old, disabled or terminally sick.

So, if the governor and the Democratic Legislature were serious about cutting costs, why not take every prisoner who is no longer a threat, meaning those that are old, disabled, terminal, etc. and send them home?

The Rev. Robert M. Celeste


The Rev. Robert M. Celeste


• • •

Go veggies

This has not been a good year for the meat, dairy and egg industries.

It began in February, with USDA’s largest ever recall of ground beef produced by California’s Westland-Hallmark Meat Packing Company.

In April, Archives of Internal Medicine published a 25-year study of 88,000 women finding that those who ate lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains were 24 percent and 18 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack and stroke, respectively, than women addicted to more typical American diets. A review of dietary habits in 52 countries in the October issue of Circulation reached similar conclusions.

In May, the American Institute for Cancer Research warned consumers that grilling of meat or fish raises the risk of colon cancer. A National Cancer Institute study in the November Proceedings of the National Academy of Science confirmed that consumption of meat and dairy products elevates the risk of cancer.

Last spring, the prestigious Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins University called for a phase-out of factory farming. In November, 63 percent of California voters agreed by requiring that animals raised for food have space to turn around and spread their wings, possibly wiping out the state’s egg industry.

Let’s make 2009 a really good year for ourselves by exploring the rich variety of veggie burgers, dogs, deli slices, heat-and-eat dinners, and soy-based milks, cheeses and ice creams in our local supermarket. This is one New Year’s resolution that’s easy and fun to keep.

Barry Jace


• • •

Do the right thing

It was the day after Christmas, the temperature was about 6 degrees. I hadn’t even poured my first cup of coffee when my phone rang and I got the call I knew I would get, the call I was told about in training. It’s the kind of call that tests my emotions and challenges my faith in humanity.

By the time I was ready to walk out the door, the temperature had risen to a bone chilling 7 degrees; thank God I had a warm coat and a car with a heater. As I drove down the road all I could think about was, who could do such a thing and why? Then I realized I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do, because somebody decided to dump three small kittens in the middle of the road and left them there to die.

There were many angels this morning looking out for these kittens, from the man who found them and scooped them up, to his friend who took over their care, and I can’t forget the clerk who kept them safe until I arrived.

The cruel and ignorant person who left these tiny kittens out in the cold to be hit by a car or to freeze to death doesn’t deserve to have animals.

If you or someone you know cannot care for an animal you have helped bring into this world by neglecting to spay or neuter your pet, please take them to the shelter. Don’t just dump them.

Vivian Axmacher

Carmel-Etna Animal Control Officer


• • •

How many more?

So another person has been killed by a truck that shouldn’t have been where it was, on Route 2 in Lincoln. How many more will die before the state and federal bureaucrats allow these trucks to travel where common sense says they should be, on Interstate 95?

Steve Crouse


• • •

Truth about Reagan

I have to respond to a recent letter concerning union busting and the inaccurate references to Ronald Reagan’s “firing” of air traffic controllers.

I was an employee of the Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration technical branch during the time in question and retired from the FAA in ’92; therefore, I feel qualified to comment on the strike situation referred to. Having also been employed by the Department of Defense, I can tell you that when you become an employee you are bound by federal law and sign a statement that you will not strike or participate in any form of work stoppage against the U.S. government while employed.

The controllers were led by a flamboyant union president who thought he had FAA and the president in a corner they could not get out of, and therefore issued the strike order. Reagan gave the controllers a 72-hour “come back, all is forgiven” offer that was beyond the extent of the law. They chose not to come back, therefore, they quit, they were not fired.

They read and signed the same statement that I did when I became employed so let us once and for all destroy the myth that Reagan fired the controllers and broke the union.

Merland Clark


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