Woodcock a good pick
Chandler Woodcock when running for governor shot a 12-point buck that year. He probably is one of few in state government who knows which end of the gun the bullet comes out. He is a good choice for commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
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State pension clarity
Many people do not seem to realize that state employees and educators have paid into the state retirement program instead of Social Security and will not receive Social Security in old age. As an employer, the state of Maine’s pension fund costs less than paying into federal Social Security, a reason for having the existing state pension plan in the first place. The state contribution is even lower, since the state has failed to pay in what is due and has in fact borrowed from this fund.
Recent proposals by the LePage administration to freeze the COLA (cost of living adjustment) is a take-back from state employees and educators and differs from Social Security, which provides a COLA. State employees already have had their COLAs frozen for the past two years.
So what is the effect of a frozen COLA? For a retiree with a $20,000 annual pension, at an average 4 percent inflation rate for 25 years, a retiree would need $53,316 to have the equivalent buying power. Looked at another way: After 25 years, this 4 percent inflation rate would erode the value of $20,000 to $7,502. That income would have fallen in real terms by 62 percent.
I hope that state employees and the general public will keep these numbers in mind as we address the state’s failure to honor its responsibility to support the fund the state developed for state employee “social security.”
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Please tell Mr. Danby that the first two dominos to fall in the Muslim world were Afghanistan and Iraq (BDN editorial cartoon, Feb. 14). Someone had to push the first domino to get things started, and it was the United States.
Now, we must wait and watch. Hopefully, the lives of our fallen will bring democracy to a region that desperately needs it.
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Memories of George
The recent article in the BDN about George Shearing’s life brought back warm memories of the evening he spent in Presque Isle in 1978. He was touring with Columbia Artists Management, and as president of the local Community Concert Association, it was my happy duty to bring him from the hotel to the concert hall.
I had contacted Mr. Shearing’s agent earlier about the possibility of his visiting a friend of mine, Mary Jo Andrews, a pianist, who was in the hospital and unable to attend his concert. He enthusiastically agreed.
When I met him at the hotel, he gently instructed me to let him take my arm. We drove to the hospital and when entering Mary Jo’s room, he opened his tuxedo jacket and flashed a beautiful orange, red and white floral lining and said to Mary Jo, “This is what you would see tonight if you were able to attend my concert.” He visited for a while, then we drove to Wieden Hall, University of Maine at Presque Isle.
He started telling my husband a story, and I realized that we were past concert time. I remarked hesitantly that we should go in since we were late, and Mr. Shearing replied good-naturedly, “They are just going to have to wait, because I want to finish my story.”
Mr. Shearing played to a packed house, with people standing three deep in the back. Following the concert, we returned to our house where a reception was held for him. As people greeted him, he laughingly told them that he may be blind, but he certainly wasn’t deaf!
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I support Beth Turner
I support of Beth Turner, Republican candidate for the House of Representatives, District 11 (encompassing towns, townships and unorganized territories in northern Penobscot and Washington counties), in a special election on Tuesday, March 1.
I first met Beth while she was a member of the SAD 31 board and I was serving as superintendent of schools. She immediately impressed me as a person who was committed to the people she represented and as a direct, astute, talented board member who never missed a meeting.
I was born, brought up, and live in Washington County; but I regard northern Penobscot County as my second home because I taught at Medway Elementary School and Lee Academy and served as superintendent in the Howland, Lincoln, East Millinocket and Princeton areas, which included students from a majority of the communities in District 11.
I believe Beth Turner is the ideal candidate to represent the interests of the people who reside in the district, especially with her service in education and her vigorous support of hunting, fishing and other recreational activities important to the area.
Most importantly, the real litmus test for any representative is to be one to whom citizens may ask a question or appeal for help and know that this elected official will respond. I know Beth will do that!
Omar P. Norton
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