July 23, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Posted July 22, 2009, at 5:53 p.m.

Rocks are nature’s gift

Is the beautiful, rocky coast of Maine so bereft of rocks that tourists, rockhounds and souvenir hunters can’t have a few (“Rangers at Acadia National Park fight removal of souvenir stones,” BDN, July 11-2)? I could see concern and a problem if they were taking them off in truckloads or even bucketloads.

I’m no geologist or expert in math, but I’ve spent more than one great Navy Reserve weekend on Schoodic Point and know that the surf carves out more rocks every hour than can be carted off in said hour.

What’s next? Fine Mother Nature for what she does, erode and change? When a trail erodes due to rain or surf, the park system rebuilds it. Correct? Is that so different from a visitor creating a cairn of rocks or a tourist carting off a rock that will just be taken down or replaced the next high tide or good storm? It’s just rocks in a pile. Are the rocks going to be numbered now to assure they are returned to the spot that they were taken from?

The July 14 editorial cartoon seems to agree.

I am all for saving this beautiful coast I call home. However, I think this is just a little bit much. I’ll probably get fined the next time I walk the beach picking up other people’s trash, as I usually do when I get the chance to get there.

Angella Moser

Jonesboro

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Misplaced anger

Yesterday, FairPoint Communications finally got our DSL Internet service working. As this momentous event followed five full weeks of daily phone calls, numerous visits from technicians, and several occasions of narrowly avoiding the spectacle of a grown man (me) bursting into tears, all of the assembled company applauded and cheered when Scott, our dedicated FairPoint technician, finally got the green Internet light to appear on the modem. I said I assumed he didn’t get that treatment often, to which he replied that he was “more used to getting swore at!” Apparently irate customers often direct their anger at whoever shows up wearing a FairPoint uniform, even when it’s the guy who has come to fix their problem.

This is a terrible injustice. The company’s troubles have been well-documented, and I won’t reiterate them. I do want to defend the efforts of the workers. Over the past month we’ve had dozens of visits from technicians, and but for their efforts, we may never have gotten our service. They were concerned with customer needs and, although one could tell they were outraged at the troubles they inherited from the home offices, they maintained a professional attitude.

Every customer who has a bad experience with FairPoint should keep in mind that the responsibility lies with the executives and management, not with the hardworking stiffs who show up to do the physical work. Save your ire for those who deserve it.

Andrew Mayer

Somesville

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Runners needed

Things are far from perfect when it comes to health care in the U.S. — in fact, it’s tough to imagine things getting any worse, especially for our seniors.

However, I believe that we may have seen a glimmer of hope last month when leaders in Washington worked with AARP and the nation’s pharmaceutical industry to broker a deal to help bring down costs of prescription drugs for American seniors. The deal will help close the notorious and burdensome “doughnut hole” or the gap in prescription drug coverage that makes it harder for millions of Medicare beneficiaries to pay for the medication they need.

Now, Medicare beneficiaries whose costs fall within the “doughnut hole” will receive a discount on prescription drugs of at least 50 percent from the negotiated price their plan now pays.

We have a long way to go, but, as the state with the “oldest” population in the U.S. and an in-migration that continues to bolster that figure, we owe it to our seniors to continue to push for a more level playing field when it comes to prescription drugs, and to educate seniors about other low-cost drug programs, such as the Prescription Assistance Program, that provides low- or no-cost prescription drugs to seniors with limited income.

I encourage all Mainers to look into such programs (www.pparx.org) while continuing to let your elected officials know that we appreciate this baby step forward, but at this late date we need marathon runners to get the job done.

John E. Nale

president

Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging

Sensible Snowe

• • •

Sensible Snowe

A very important but under-reported event at the big health care rally in Portland last Saturday was Sen. Olympia Snowe’s coming out in favor of including a public option “from Day 1” in any new national health insurance system. Previously, she had supported such an option only if private insurers proved themselves (over an unspecified length of time) unable or unwilling to improve service to policyholders.

Sen. Snowe is once again displaying the sensible, bipartisan spirit that makes her so popular in Maine. She knows, like the rest of us, that private health insurers have had decades to reform themselves, and instead have only increased premiums, copays and deductibles, while rejecting more and more applicants and claims.

Sen. Snowe understands, along with the rest of us, that only if forced to compete with a robust public option will private insurers begin to give policyholders the kind of care, service and respect they deserve.

I called the senator on the bus coming back from Portland to congratulate and thank her for taking this wise and courageous stand, and I hope all other Mainers who care about high-quality, affordable, accessible health care will do the same. (Her number is 1-866-288-1495.) Then call all your friends and relatives to tell them that Sen. Snowe has come down on the people’s side in the health-care debate by coming out in favor of a public option “from Day 1.”

William Rice

Trenton

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Why not the best?

In a recent online interview (crooksandliars.com), House Speaker Pelosi said that the “public option” in the health care reform bill now before the House (HR 3200) is the “next best” solution to the health care crisis after single-payer (the so-called Medicare for all).

I would like to know why Speaker Pelosi believes that Americans deserve second-best. Why not the best?

Single-payer has saved both lives and money in other countries; we know it works. That’s why single payer is the science-based solution. Why have the Democrats taken single payer off the table, in favor of the complex, experimental, and Rube Goldberg-esque legislation they are advocating instead?

Sam Hunting

Orono

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