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Dec 4, Letters to the Editor

Odoriferous distinction

Tom Gocze’s Nov. 26-27 column, “Artificial smells in home should be limited practice,” made many excellent points about the hazards of indoor air pollution. True aromatherapy, however, continues to be misunderstood as highlighted by this sentence: “I am extremely skeptical of aromatherapy and potpourri, and also am suspicious of cologne and perfumes of any sort.”

I am an aromatherapy practitioner precisely because of what he is saying, except he fails to make the distinction between the use of essential oils as opposed to fragrance oils. True aromatherapy involves the use of 100 percent pure essential oils.

Unfortunately, the term “aromatherapy” has become a buzzword for anything with smell added, such as lemon scented dish detergent, plug-in air fresheners, etc. I agree these are toxic to our health and our environment. These fragrances are synthetic chemicals.

Essential oils are derived from plants, usually through a steam distillation process, and because of their organic chemical makeup, they provide benefits to our physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and environmental well-being. Eucalyptus globulus kills 95 percent of dust mites when used in the laundry. Lavendula angustifolia helps to heal burns, cuts and scrapes and many are familiar with its calming effect on the mind and emotions. Many essential oils have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties and have a place in preventing and managing colds and flu.

Spraying essential oils into the air actually improves and cleanses the environment.

Diane Braybrook



Give Barrett a send-off

Now that we know Ed Barrett will be moving to Lewiston, I wonder if those causative of this news who are ostensibly preoccupied with the vision thing will have the time and grace to organize a community reception for our departing manager. Many of us would and should express our thanks and appreciation to him not just for all he has done for Bangor, but also for his grace, his diplomacy and his sincerity.

I have been free with advice about signs, sidewalks, the assignment of personnel in City Hall and probably some issues I’ve forgotten. Ed always listened politely, occasionally agreed and, in those instances, acted.

He has been a remarkable steward of our city. We deserve an opportunity to thank him — I hope it will not require a petition.

Oh, Ed, when you come back to visit, I predict the burning issues will be the airport, the civic center and parking.

Richard Warren



AIG bailout wrong

It’s really a sad state of affairs when the federal government can give out $182 billion to one company (AIG) which in turn will issue $165 million in bonuses to employees when disabled veterans and Social Security recipients can’t even get a meager cost-of-living increase for the next three years.

Disabled and regular veterans and Social Security recipients have been asking for fair treatment for years, yet big businesses only have to ask once and get everything they want. If it weren’t for the veterans putting their all on the line for this country and others, big businesses wouldn’t have the opportunity to have their business. Give us some of that bonus money. I know we’d probably appreciate it more than they could ever dream of!

Ellen Dayton



Ghost traps don’t haunt

As a father of commercial fishermen and as a former state legislator who served on the Department of Marine Resources Committee, I feel somewhat qualified and definitely compelled to respond to the recent BDN article on “ghost traps.”

The idea that lost lobsters traps are a menace to lobsters is exaggerated and, for the most part, erroneous. First, my sons lose only 10-15 traps on a regular season — representing a little more than 1 percent of their traps in the water. Most fisherman use GPS devices to mark traps; if one is cut or breaks away from its buoy, the trap is retrieved with a grapple. Second, should a trap not be recovered, the vents degrade and leave escape openings. Third, evidence has shown that a large pile of metal traps in the water near Swans Island completely deteriorated in 25 years.

Last, there is evidence that submerged ships or other structures provide safe havens for fish. It is ludicrous to excite the public on a study of these ghost traps. The report will be exaggerated to justify the study — and the next — and the next. Growth in government employment is directly related to these groups who have learned to “game” the system to gain employment.

Sherman Hutchins



It’s Obama’s war now

Isn’t it time to peel off your Obama bumper sticker? If the torture that continues; the socialism for corporations; the war deficits that can never be repaid; the retention and expansion of our surveillance state to spy on Americans; the forcing us to buy into a health care system that will enrich insurance companies and expand the abuse of our for-profit medical care; if none of that convinces you to peel it off, what will?

Forget that the Bushies started these wars. Republicans would probably be worse, but now we see, not much is different. When will we have more than single-party rule?

On Tuesday night, we expanded the war in Afghanistan by 30,000 more soldiers. Can you say “Vietnam”?

Truly, it is Obama’s war now.

Paul Sheridan



Reform small business

There is a great deal of discussion around the topic of health care and health care reform. As a part of that discussion, there has been a focus on small business and the various barriers which exist for small businesses to obtain health coverage for employees. Maine is a state that relies heavily upon these very businesses. Be it fishing, farming, wreath-making, carpentry or, as in my case, freelance writing, we are a state of people cobbling together livelihoods.

For myself, health care through my business would be impossible. I am extremely fortunate to have a spouse who brings with him a great job with a great coverage plan. I do not ever take it for granted and without this, I am fully aware I would not be freelancing, or a part of the “creative economy”.

I sincerely hope our two senators will realize the necessity of providing affordable and comprehensive health care to all and get behind progressive legislation.

Heather Martin-Zboray



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