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Feb. 12 Letters to the Editor

Bang in Bangor is real

I am disturbed by the tone of articles covering the Surles shooting. I recognize the attempt to tap into Edna Buchanan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, now dated and done-to-death, “Gary-Robinson-died-hungry” style and I have to wonder what the Bangor Daily News editorial staff is thinking.

Bangor is possessed of a group of angry, undisciplined, immature youth aimlessly couch-surfing with a mindset that romanticizes homelessness, violence and criminal activity and the BDN is right there to reinforce the fantasy. By likening the killing to “Romeo and Juliet” and “West Side Story,” the BDN is covering a horrific killing like the review of a Broadway play.

These kids aren’t heroes; they’re adolescents — children — making life-altering decisions rooted in the fantasy world of movies and video games. This isn’t cops and robbers or the Jets and Sharks. When the gun goes “bang,” odds are the results will be permanent and deadly.

As Police Chief Ron Gastia was quoted saying in the weekend BDN, “perception is reality for a lot of people.” That being said, the BDN’s reporters need to cover this story like hard news, based in reality.

Kimberly Sawtelle



A nickel would do it

Would someone please tell me how a nickel tax on a beer or a soft drink would diminish anyone in the state? How many people purchase 20-ounce bottles of soda for more than the price they pay for a 2-liter bottle of the same brand at the grocery store? This isn’t just about convenience. This small gesture indicates that although there may be many people struggling, American citizens cannot even begin to grasp life in countries such as Haiti.

What I can only assume we consider “disposable income” is disgraceful. The idea of a tax on these unnecessary items seems just to me. After all, if we’re willing to pay more than we have to, then who is going to complain about a nickel?

Gregory Bouchard



Family values

Having been employed in retail when the “blue laws” were struck down a decade or two ago, I could only laugh at the car dealers’ remarks that legislation allowing sales on Sunday would ruin the “family day” for their employees.

I bet it doesn’t bother them to go to the mall, movie theatre or supermarket on Sunday with their family — where other people are working.

There is no rule that any entity has to be open on Sunday — but the fear of being “one-upped” by one’s competition seems to overcome their “family values.”

Kim McGowan

Old Town


It’s now or never

A new federal study shows that health care spending rose to an estimated $2.5 trillion in 2009, or $8,047 per person, and is now projected to nearly double by 2019.

Too many in Washington are now saying that we should delay or give up reform entirely, because the economy is the first priority. But Americans understand the stakes for our economy and our lives include health care. We want action, now. This isn’t a problem we can kick down the road for another decade, or even another year. It’s now or never.

If we don’t act now, this growing burden will mean more lost jobs, more families pushed into bankruptcy, and more crushing debt for our nation — now that’s what I call the “economy.” It’s now or never.

Jeff Smith



Paid sick days pay

I am the co-owner of Woodman’s Bar and Grill in Orono, and I am writing in support of LD 1665, the paid sick days bill. I have run a successful business in the heart of central Maine for four-and-a-half-years now.

While this success can be attributed to our quality food and the work of myself and my business partner, I realize that we are only one part of this equation and that we have a lot riding on the work of our employees. They work hard for this business and go above and beyond expectations. They do right by me and it is my obligation to do right by them. That’s why I proudly offer paid sick days to my 20 employees, and feel that it is fair and reasonable to expect all Maine employers to do the same.

Providing paid sick days is simply not as expensive as folks make it out to be. I rarely have to pay a day, and when I do I am happy to — it makes good business sense to have sick workers stay home rather than bringing contagion into my restaurant, potentially infecting their co-workers and my customers. I am confident that when all is said and done paid sick days only help my bottom line with decreased turnover and increased productivity.

And more importantly, it is the right thing to do for the people who make my success possible.

Mark Horton



Budget costs jobs

Between 5,000-7,000 nonprofit jobs will be lost if Baldacci’s budget goes through as written. Even though paper companies, shipyards, ski resorts and numerous other industries in Maine get either tax dollars or subsidies, politicians feel nonprofit companies are a burden on society.

If nonprofits are able to keep people out of jail, out of nursing homes and out of psychiatric hospitals, the state will save money.

Maine can’t afford to lose 5,000-7,000 jobs. The nonprofit sector provides as many valued services as the for profit sector. It’s time for the government to realize this.

Jim Alciere

East Machias


Dump career politicians

President Obama must think that we all are fools. He states that he wants to work with the Republicans in Congress to pass legislation; at this moment it is a jobs bill and before it was health care, “cap and trade” and so on. What he does not state is that he has a majority in Congress in his own Democratic Party. The Democratic Party could pass any of his agenda at any time.

What is clear is that the Democrats in Congress are afraid of losing their jobs because the American people do not want these bills passed.

It’s clear in the polls and probably in mail and phone calls to these same representatives and senators. They see it and know the magnitude and are afraid of what might be the outcome.

I hope that outcome occurs as I would like to see most of these career politicians replaced with plain citizens that understand what it is like to work and be part of a community rather than an entitled class that thinks they know more than we do.

Albert Dow



Light, not heat

Kudos to Tom Gocze (“The Home Front,” Jan. 30-31) for his “expose” of the magical specially-treated-copper infrared-light-source space heater.

Yes, that’s the one, that sells for about $400 and works about as well as a $40 space heater.

The ads for the former style have been driving me up the wall for a long time now. I continually wonder how folks can be so gullible as to keep that company in business. Thanks, Tom. Someone had to do it.

Robert White


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