It is a sad day indeed when a veteran and mother of a soldier cannot fly the American flag on her residence (Renee Ordway column, Dec. 11-12).
We feel sorry for the future of this country. We have been bullied by a few to stop saying prayers in school and saluting the flag. We tiptoe around saying Merry Christmas and other politically “incorrect” phrases, and now this. Where does it all end, and when do the rest of us stand up and say enough already?
Wanda and Pat Passero
On Juniper Ridge
The Juniper Ridge Landfill Advisory Committee met Dec. 1 in Old Town. The agenda included Casella’s proposed landfill gas pipeline from JRL to the University of Maine steam plant. Since UMaine sent no representative, and Casella had no new information, many questions went unasked:
When will the state hold a public hearing on the route of the proposed pipeline? Who will ensure the pipeline against explosion, fire, and leakage? Will state money be used?
Will Casella optimize the composition or volume of waste brought into JRL for gas production? How much more waste will be trucked in from out of state? Who will monitor for increased odor and truck traffic?
How will gas produced for the steam plant outside the heating season be disposed of?
Landfill gas must be filtered for toxic contaminants before combustion. Who will dispose of the filtered residues? Who will test for complete combustion?
In a press release, UMaine claims that landfill gas for the steam plant will decrease the campus carbon footprint. Who will release the study that backs up this claim? What is the net carbon footprint, compared to flaring? Including more trucking?
Will Casella, the city of Old Town or UMaine use the pipeline to support a determination of public benefit to expand JRL?
Who will release the minutes from all meetings on the pipeline between Old Town and UMaine, including those held outside Old Town? When?
I was disturbed to hear from my mother, a local social worker, that another student at Belfast Area High School has attempted suicide due to anti-gay harassment.
During my time at BAHS, students and some faculty repeatedly harassed me, because I am gay. School administration suspended me for a week for wearing a T-shirt that said, “It’s OK to be Gay.” It became necessary for the Maine Civil Liberties Union to become involved, and on a regular basis a civil rights attorney visited the school.
In 2008, during a small claims proceeding, I recounted all the abuses against me in front of school administration and their attorney.
Schools nationwide are on high alert to prevent bullying, especially anti-gay bullying. I am incredibly disappointed by the BAHS administration’s total failure to protect its gay and lesbian students, now five years later. When a school turns a blind eye to bullying or even advocates for discrimination, victims and their parents should contact the Maine Civil Liberties Union and follow up with litigation.
There are many resources available to help victims of bullying and even more for parents and teachers to help prevent bullying.
I know from my experiences that it does get better, but for a kid who is having to deal with being called a “fag” or “dyke” every day, the day things get better may come too late. Victims of bullying, parents, and educators — – don’t wait for it to get better. Take action now.
Things are wrong
When I was a kid, TV shows had bad guys wearing black hats doing bad things but always, before the end of the show, a guy in a white hat came riding in to right the wrong. Now when bad things are being done, our society rewards it. Someone, please, tell me how that happened.
Robert Nutting has been rewarded for defrauding the state of Maine by being elected as speaker of the House. His peers knew of his pocketing large profits and ignoring his obligations to the state but rewarded him anyway. Having been out of power for 40 years, this is the best the Republicans can show?
David Vitter, a married U.S. senator from Louisiana, pays for prostitutes and admits it, but the people of Louisiana vote him back in office. This is the best Louisiana has to offer? There is no one else who has morals and principles?
Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol gets pregnant by her boyfriend as a teen but now is paid up to $30,000 an engagement to speak about abstinence. Would someone like to pay my daughter to speak about abstinence? Probably not, because she actually is abstinent.
I don’t know about you, but I think it is high time we get a lot of people in white hats riding in saying, “Hold on, partner; these things are wrong!”
Beauty in the Wind
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
As I read the letters to the editor of the Bangor Daily News about destroying the beauty of our hilltops, I am reminded that there is another viewpoint.
These beautifully designed, productive towers with their rotating wings are the sentinels of our hilltops whispering a soft message to the trees below.
A positive-thinking person can see these skillfully designed towers as a product of an industrial art. If standing in a park alongside other treasured statues, they would be favorably appraised.
A positive look could see the beauty and the benefits of these practical towers, as they send their energy to the population below.
Befuddling tax policy
Tax legislation is very interesting. I note that the FICA or Social Security (withholding) tax on individuals has been reduced by 2 percent from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent to give employees more take-home pay to spend to induce economic recovery. However, note the potential-future-deficit condition of the Social Security Trust Fund. I’m not sure if I agree with the proposal.
With the logic being used, it seems as if employers also need a partial payroll (equal to 2 percent on employer matching FICA contribution) tax break to employ more individuals to speed up economic recovery.
When will the federal deficit ever be addressed? Both the Democrats and Republicans are at fault by extending tax cuts for the wealthy and not providing tax revenue or cutting expenditures to pay for the extension of the unemployment benefits.