Sumner and SIG

The RSU 24 school board will be doing a grave disservice to the students and taxpayers of former Union 96 if they give consent for the administration to forgo the process to renew Sumner Memorial High School’s accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

This rigorous process, which includes a thorough self-evaluation, should have begun already but was waylaid by the SIG grant. The SIG grant was written hurriedly to grab federal funding. Where are the rapid, dramatic improvements that were supposed to result?

Enough bad leadership is enough. I am asking that those who supported the consolidation and SIG grant step up to the plate and take responsibility for what is happening. How can we hold teachers and students accountable when they have no impact on decision-making?

The buck stops with voters, board members and the Central Office.

Lynne Witham

East Sullivan

Paying for fertility treatment

Infertility affects 7.3 million people in this country, about one in eight couples. My husband and I are one of them. In 1985 I was 29, newly married and wanting to start our family. Over the next decade we sought every possible medical intervention — invasive tests, costly drug therapies, surgeries, IVF and GIFT. Many thousands  of dollars and several years  later we finally had  our son.

At the end of that 10 years, we found the wisdom to gently place away our fertility icons and adopted a baby girl from China. Today, the emotional challenges remain, but the financial

burdens have increased.

As a life coach working with women trying to conceive or adopt, I see tremendous struggles around affording even basic medical tests and interventions.

Next week, Maine residents have an opportunity to change this. Rep. Gary Knight has proposed legislation that could make Maine the 16th state in the nation to mandate that insurance companies cover infertility treatments. A public hearing on LD 720 has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, in Room 220 of the State House.

Maine needs to join the ranks of other mandated New England states such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Couples struggling to conceive need to come out in force, to impact the passing of this bill. If not you, then someone in your life is touched by infertility. You just may not know it. Support them by supporting this essential landmark bill.

Anne Brennan Belden

Cape Elizabeth

Seat belts save

The Maine Legislature is considering LD 64, a bill that would make failure to wear a seat belt a secondary offense rather than a primary one. We know that seat belts save lives — the data is unmistakable.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2008, seat belts saved more than 13,000 lives nationwide. In a four-year period, seat belts saved over 75,000 lives — enough people to fill a large sports arena.

During a crash, being “buckled” maximizes safety and security inside a vehicle. Unbuckled drivers involved in head-on collisions often wind up either seriously brain injured or dead, having been thrown either against or through the windshield. In addition, seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive or distracted drivers.

We also know that not everyone uses seat belts. In a 2008 survey by National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), seat belt use continues to be lower among 16- to 24-year-olds than other age groups.

Rolling back Maine’s seat belt law sends a bad message to Maine youth.

It’s not a right to drive a car — it’s a privilege. And with that privilege comes responsibility for personal and public safety. Not only would this change in Maine law be dangerous — it’s also going to be more costly. Lawmakers estimate that over $1.35 million dollars in revenue from fines would be lost. At a time when the budget gap is all consuming, why would Maine pass bad public policy that would lose revenue for the state?

Jack Forbush, DO


Working class governor?

I first met Paul LePage when he came into my place of employment to introduce himself while running for governer. He seemed like a decent enough guy. He said he came from a middle class family, told us all he knew the challenges we faced as the “working class.”

So why is the governor cutting funding on many agencies that need support? Not only that,  he is taking food and health care away from us “less fortunate” Maine residents. And this is all to help reduce the state deficit, or so he says.

I am a hard worker, making on average $30,000 a year. I’m a single mother of two children. I have struggled to pay my mortgage, heat my home and provide healthy, nutritious food for the past three years to my family. I fell victim to the bad economy, as did many of us. I rely on that extra money from food stamps to help put groceries in my refrigerator.

Most of all, we rely on MaineCare. My son and I have an extreme case of asthma. Without MaineCare, I couldn’t afford to get our much needed inhalers.

I ask the governor to consider the position of Mainers like myself in the working class. He could crumble this state within months if he continues cutting funding. We all — not only people like myself, but the poor, the mentally ill, the ones who seek rehab to better their lives — all depending on you, Governor.

Amanda Hamilton


Voting reflects leadership

A proposal to institute a run-off election in the gubernatorial race if the winner gets less  than a majority of the vote is a good idea, but the voting trend actually may be indicative of a lack of true leadership among the candidates.

Looking at the Angus King election reveals there wasn’t a clear choice for his first term, thus resulting in a victory with 35 percent of the vote. However, after a term as governor, his second term was secured with 59 percent of the popular vote, which is a comment about the leadership that he offered during his first term.

Compare that with John Baldacci’s terms. Both were won without a majority. I believe this tells us more about our leadership than our political process.

What this state needs is leadership with vision, vitality and values. When that candidate is found, regardless of political affiliation, he or she will be elected with a clear majority.

Jeffrey Small