On home funerals

The article, “Woodworker Crafts Furniture to Die for,” (BDN, April 13), may mislead people to believe that caring for one’s own family member post-death is an easy task.

We are sure the caskets that are designed and made by Chuck Larkin are lovely, and for many Mainers may be appropriate for a loved one to be buried in; the fact that Larkin’s caskets are multipurpose is an innovative concept.

Should a family desire a home funeral, a licensed funeral director is best equipped to help them comply with state and local laws and regulations. We do not want to discourage people who have an interest in holding home funerals; however, we believe they should have all the facts available to them before making their final decision The Maine Department of Health and Human Services Vital Records Unit has a brochure titled “Authorized Persons In the State of Maine” which details the mandatory procedures and documentation required when a family elects to take care of funeral arrangements without the benefit of a licensed funeral service practitio-ner.

Another issue that could have been explored is whether a family can be emotionally prepared to care for their loved one. While it is admirable to think that everyone can handle post-death issues, not all can.

Although Mr. Larkin made some very good points about the funeral process and the value of home funerals, the article lacked key pieces of information. There is no question that a home funeral or memorial service can be extremely meaningful for a family, but it may not be for everyone.

Timothy R. Dolby


Maine Funeral Directors Association

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Equal Pay Day

According to U.S. Census statistics, on average, full-time working women earned 78 cents to every dollar earned by men. That is right — workingwomen earn 22 percent less than their male counterparts.

Over a lifetime of work this loss adds up. On average, women lose out on $9,575 per year and $334,000 in a lifetime due to the wage gap. As a workingwoman, I am extremely concerned about pay inequity not only for myself, but also for my family.

On Tuesday, April 28, Fort Kent Business and Professional Women will celebrate Equal Pay Day – the point in the year when a woman’s wages catch up to a man’s wages in the previous year.

Legislation is needed to close the persistent gap between men’s and women’s wages. The Paycheck Fairness Act (HR 12-S 182) will strengthen the Equal Pay Act closing loopholes and strengthening penalties to guarantee that women workers are not shortchanged solely because of their gender.

Here in Fort Kent we will join hundreds of workingwomen advocates across the country to educate women and men about pay inequity and demand passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Swamp Buck Restaurant has graciously agreed to provide a selected lunch and dinner menu giving women/girls a 22 percent discount off their meal.

Eliminating the wage gap is good for families and for business.

Geri L. Martin


Business and Professional Women

Fort Kent

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Nursing credentials

Reference to the article in the April 9 BDN, “Snowe hosts forum on health care”: I take exception to Husson University President William Beardsley’s comments about “credentialing creep” adding billions of dollars to health care costs. I believe there are many other factors that contribute more to the high cost of health care. Nurses’ having more education and expertise is cost-effective. It’s been shown that the rate of errors in hospitals is lower when more registered nurses are used in care. It’s ironic that President Beardsley is critical of increased education for nurses when his institution is in the business of providing that education.

As a critical care nurse with a four-year degree, I started work as an RN with a two-year degree then went on to get a four-year nursing degree. I did not receive more salary as a result. Many get additional education as nurses in order to keep up with the many changes in the health care field and to get the skills to help implement these changes in our workplaces. Sometimes the hospital pays for this. I suspect that when Mr. Beardsley is a patient, he does not object to having a provider with additional knowledge and education.

Many nurses with advance degrees in nursing or business or education use them in administrative and teaching positions as is appropriate. Many nurses with master’s degrees are nurse practitioners who work as “physician extenders” in physician practices and other settings. They provide care for more people at a lower cost to the institution where they work.

Carolyn Yoder


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Call for better roads

I agree with the editorial “Priorities and Promises” (BDN, April 21), Aroostook County is not “nowhere.”

I have been in the potato business in The County for more than 30 years and have loaded thousands of truckloads of potatoes, all delivered south. Major concerns expressed over the years have been lack of passing lanes and poor conditions of the existing roads with giant potholes and frost heaves the size of calderas.

Just fix the existing roads with climbing lanes and regular maintenance. The state has to stop cutting the Department of Transportation budget and start funding more road repairs in northern Maine.

We have to live in the real world not in the Land of Oz. We need to build and maintain what we the taxpayers can afford.

Our legislators have to be more business savvy and understand that our tax dollars have to be spent in a more conservative way. Money does not grow on trees. The process of spending has to be done intellectually and with understanding of the realistic needs of all people of this great state. The County does have needs and we are not “nowhere”. In order to go about our activities of daily living and attract tourism, we need better roads, not an extension of I-95 to northern Maine.

Bob Berube

Fort Kent

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