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April 7, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Senior insult

I’m sorry to say it, but I have finally reached the status of “senior.” As a Maine senior, I feel that some comment should be made about the $250 stimulus check that I am about to receive as an American citizen.

Wow, $250! President Bush gave us more than $250. And how does that compare with the millions in bonuses received by bank heads in the so-called bailout?

I don’t know yet how we’ll spend our $250. Last summer, the president’s stimulus put motors into our two vehicles to keep us mobile. I think that there is something very wrong with the picture that I’m seeing in comparing $250 to millions.

As my husband, Bob, has always told me, “No one is indispensable,” and that goes to the top.

Isabel Maresh

Belmont

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Olympic moments

Erica Cooper struck a nerve when she criticized the Special Olympics in her letter (“Erase the ‘R’ word,” BDN, March 31). She stated Special Olympics isolates and segregates disabled people from their communities while perpetuating the stereotypes associated with them.

As I write, I see the ribbons and medals that my daughter Jacklyn has received from Special Olympics in many sports. She was recently in the Maine delegation on TEAM USA in the World Winter Games held in Boise in February, a fabulous event and life-changing experience for Jackie. There were more than 3,500 athletes from over 70 different countries. For one week, it was as if the world played by my daughter’s rules instead of the other way around. In Boise, the world accepted all the athletes on their own terms regardless of disability. Everyone becomes a fan and it was a true celebration of life. Sports played as it is meant to be, for fun, fitness and team spirit.

Ms. Cooper makes many good points about the importance of integration and inclusion. One example of inclusion in Jackie’s life is the Bangor Y where she attends youth programs and uses the fitness center. At the Y, everyone knows, accepts and enjoys her. We have learned from our daughter that you need a good balance of worlds, hers and ours. Don’t ask her to choose between “hanging” at the Y and competing at the Special Olympics – clearly both enrich her life.

Jim Contino

Bangor

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Fitting tribute

The Orono community and beyond was saddened by the death last week of Alice Smith. As noted in the BDN, she and her husband, Charles, were most generous philanthropists in our town, the University of Maine, and Maine in general. Alice will be greatly missed, not just for her good works, but also for the pleasure of her company.

The executive committee of the Friends of Dr. Patch thought her friends would like to know that, since one of the many projects she supported was the rehabilitation of Braeside, the historic home of Dr. Edith Marion Patch, Alice and Charles are to be commemorated there. Alice and Charlie were friends of Dr. Patch, the distin-guished entomologist, and they have contributed many articles of memorabilia to the museum that will be housed in Braeside. The building will be home to the Dr. Edith Marion Patch Center for Entomology, the Environment, and Education.

Last year an anonymous donor gave Braeside a naming gift in honor of Alice and Charlie. The Resource Room at the Center will be named the Julia Alice and Charles Smith Room, to celebrate the dedication that Dr. Patch and the Smiths shared for education and particularly that of children.

Nancy MacKnight

secretary

Friends of Dr. Patch

Orono

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Cedar swamps are key

Edgar Parent hit the nail on the head when he wrote that Maine deer thrived, even in harsh winters, when they had cedar swamps to live in (Letters, BDN, April 1). I remember seeing pictures of winter deer yards where a herd made paths in deep snow to feed on cedar. They slept in thick, protective swamps and dined in their yards.

For the last three years, I have been trying to save the cedar hedge and shrubs around my summer home on East Grand Lake in Orient. Last summer I gave them lots of water and Miracle Grow. They survived, but barely. This year the deer had eaten them by mid-December. I looked into plants advertised as deer-resistant, but the growers said under certain conditions, they could not guarantee it. In other words, starving deer will eat anything.

There are no more cedar swamps in southern Aroostook either. But, unlike in Mr. Parent’s case, this was not caused by a Canadian company but by the high market value of cedar.

Elbridge Gagnon

Houlton

• • •

Colson cut shocking

With great shock we read about the layoff of Craig Colson at WABI-TV. Craig is a family member. Every night he gave us the news without bias, adding a sincere note of sadness or a joyful comment when appropriate.

There are three local stations that provide the evening news. Of these WABI was the only one we watched and it was because of Craig. While the other members of the news team do a wonderful job, Craig was the true anchor.

It is truly a shame and disgrace that the station could not afford Craig the time to say goodbye to his family on the set and over the airwaves. Now all three stations are back on the table for our choice of viewing. To WABI we say: money is not always the bottom line, and maybe this time it’s a case of cutting your nose off to spite your face.

Laurie K. Rich

Hampden

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Down East’s loss

Down East’s loss

The April 2 headline ruined my day; WABI-TV has released seven veterans including Down East Maine’s own Susan Farley. As a municipal official, I have counted on Susan to educate the rest of the county and the state about our news, our pending projects and planned activities. Susan has been here in good weather and bad. We’ve battled black flies together, held our hats in gale winds, ridden in bed races and taken pride in celebrating the positive.

Without the support and voice of Susan Farley, Down East Maine has lost an irreplaceable advocate. All of us in the Sunrise County thank Susan for her reporting. Her fairness has been most appreciated, and she will be missed.

Betsy Fitzgerald

Machias town manager

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