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March 26 Letters to the Editor

Maine’s natural beauty

The Grand Lake Stream Guides Association represents the greatest concentration of working registered Maine guides in the state. Our community has a century-old heritage as a destination for outdoor recreation.

Our landlocked salmon. smallmouth bass fisheries and our hunting opportunities attract customers year after year from all over the country. They come for the great recreation, and because they fall in love with the village, the spectacular lakes and the forests. The friendships they make here last a lifetime. These visitors drive our economy by hiring guides and staying at lodges and sporting camps.

In a Bangor Daily News op-ed on March 19, Randy Spencer suggests that 33 private camps on leased lots represent the linchpin of our economy. Randy’s and other private camps are part of the traditions of the community. However, the Guides Association wishes to make clear that it is our natural resources that attract our clients and enable us to succeed in our businesses.

Protecting undeveloped lakeshores, wildlife habitats, and public recreational access are essential.

Downeast Lakes Land Trust has been a good partner to the guides, and has guaranteed our continued access to 350,000 acres. Our association is proud to support Downeast Lakes Land Trust in its current effort to acquire 21,700 acres in and near Grand Lake Stream for the benefit of our economy and environment. We voted unanimously to contribute $5,000 to the project because it is essential to our future.

J. R. Mabee

president, Grand Lake Stream Guides Association

Grand Lake Stream


Baldacci’s legacy

I, for one, am counting the days until the Baldacci era comes to an end. Just as the Blair House legacy of Angus King was dismantling the state’s electrical utility industry and thereby doubling residential electricity rates since he left office, Baldacci will be remembered for dismembering the state’s public school system at the expense of rural elementary schools.

This is a governor who should be prosecuted for impersonating a Democrat, for his efforts to balance his half-baked state budgets on the backs of children, the disabled, the elderly and others who can’t fight back. And, on his way out the door, one can only hope that Maine’s myopic Education Czar, Susan Gendron, hits the road as well. Her reign has been nothing short of disastrous.

As they say, Gov., don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

Tom Walsh



Fear, hate, colors

Our health care system is in a state of crisis, and I am wondering why some people don’t want to fix what is broken.

In my opinion Fox News has become the Republican Party. The old Republican Party is gone. Using fear, hate and pretty colors, Fox News has brainwashed a lot of people with its absurd and wrong statements. It was wrong about weapons of mass destruction, trickle-down theory and deregulation, all of which seriously damaged our country.

Fox is out of touch with reality and appears to be motivated by a fear that a government controlled by Democrats will resolve our economic and health care crisis.

The current health care bill has gone through due process and been shaped over a year with input from every kind of expert. It needs our support. It’s time we stop listening to people who are consistently wrong.

David Labrecque



Fast-food hospitals

The message that our hospitals send when melding with mainstream America’s food culture in offering supersized portions, hot dogs, ice cream in the cafeteria and candy bars in the lobby is that they don’t make the connection with nutritional wellness and health. Come in for cardiac rehab, diabetes counseling or perhaps have those stents put in to open up your arteries — we are here for you. Your family may want to grab a Danish, doughnut or one of our extra large cookies as they wait in the hospital cafeteria or a candy bar and soda from the vending machines in the lobby.

The message our hospitals are delivering daily is that nutrition is not a connection we make with health.

Yes, we are adults and personal responsibility and choice are paramount in maintaining a healthful lifestyle. But is it the hospitals’ role to mimic convenient stores and fast-food chains in what they offer us as adults? Or can our hospitals be the first to take the lead on creating a different model for the food environment?

The burden of disease related to lifestyle is financially and emotionally staggering to Americans. My angst is with the lack of accountability our hospitals have in the message of health promotion within their environments. Aren’t there enough federal dollars coming into our hospitals to warrant that accountability? It’s going to happen and whatever the push-back that follows, the message will be clear — our hospitals are in the business of health.

Marybeth Judy



A dangerous game

This is in response to the letter criticizing Sean Murphy, who was quoted in the BDN’s story about the dangers of the “choking game.” I teach at Eastern Maine Community College, and Sean was one of my students. When I read the difficult article about Alex Quimby’s death and his parents’ and Sean’s brave decision to discuss this topic publicly, I was proud to know Sean.

He is compassionate, thoughtful, and has the soul of a poet. Despite his grief and possible embarrassment, Sean chose to speak out about the dangers of this “game.” Having the courage to speak out against it is laudable.

As the accompanying story pointed out, this activity is “much more common than most people realize.” Perhaps it’s not as common as skinny-dipping, but, then again, maybe it is.

When I was in college in the early 1980s, my friend Paul told us about this neat “party trick” his neighbor, a doctor, had taught him. I now know it as the “choking game,” although then had never heard of it. So, what the heck? Paul pressed two points on my neck, and I passed out.

When I came to seconds later, the frightened looks on my friends’ faces canceled any “rush” I felt. They said my eyes rolled back in my head, that I could have died. Had I heard the warnings of Alex’s parents and Sean, I wouldn’t have been so stupid. Please, support these brave, grieving people who are speaking out in hopes of saving lives.

Annie Kuhn



Race to mediocrity

I don’t want this country to become the United States of Canada or the United States of Europe.

The exceptionalism of the United States of America, which rewards and celebrates excellence, innovation, risk taking, hard work and individualism, has made us the most free, most powerful, richest and most generous nation in the history of the world.

We don’t need fundamental change, which is just a race toward mediocrity. No thanks.

Dan Richardson


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