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Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012: Trains, pains and ‘Miles of Hope’


Risky business

I thought the BDN’s recent poll question, “Should Maine farmers be allowed to sell directly to consumers?” was poorly worded considering farmer Dan Brown’s dispute with the state isn’t about whether he can sell raw milk directly to consumers, but whether he can sell raw milk that hasn’t been certified “safe” to consumers.

There are a dozen or so illnesses that can be attributed to the consumption of raw or unpasteurized milk. Among these illnesses are E. coli, Salmonellosis and C. enteritis. Any farmer who sells raw or unpasteurized milk to the public should be required to have the Maine Department of Agriculture’s approval.

Earle M. Rafuse


Railroad thoughts

We hear a lot about economic development and job creation as one of the most important goals for Maine. Infrastructure development and transportation improvements certainly are an inherent element in job creation and economic revival.

It is unfortunate that the rail system in Maine has not been able to maintain its physical assets and continue with a regular level of service. Several years ago the train service to Eastport and its new and thriving cargo port was discontinued. The rail line going Down East is now a scenic trail. This is laudable as a recreational asset but does little for transportation to the region. More and more tractor-trailers are using our roads with loads that could have been sent by rail.

In Penobscot County and particularly in Bangor, the maintenance of the rail system seems to be lacking. We experienced several derailments in 2011 and some were near a major hospital and adjacent to the Penobscot River.

It is unfortunate when state government and the people of Maine have to purchase and upgrade the rail lines to our north just to keep the service going.

E. Jeff Barnes


Chiropractic and MaineCare

Regarding the BDN’s Dec. 29 “The Pall of Pain,” I commend you on your comments regarding alternatives to addictive pain medications. Conventional medicine’s monopoly on management of chronic pain has proven costly, largely ineffective and filled with unintended side effects which further elevates the expense.

Bringing the alternatives you mention — chiropractic, massage and acupuncture — into the mainstream would be far more effective and less costly with higher patient satisfaction than prescription meds.

As a doctor of chiropractic, I receive referrals from physicians, family nurse practitioners and physician assistants on a daily basis. These practitioners care greatly about their patients and are motivated to provide the best solution to pain. They have confidence in what I do for their patients and know it’s not expensive.

Yet MaineCare reimburses chiropractors only $19.40 for a complete treatment. Physicians also determine and regulate the number of treatments which helps control the cost. MaineCare patients do not have direct access to chiropractors and need a referral.

Unfortunately, the governor is eliminating one of the solutions to the MaineCare problem with the elimination of chiropractic. This handcuffs the physician’s ability to treat effectively and once again has the unintended side effect of raising the cost.

Dr. Carl Chasse

Fort Kent

Story balances the scales

The day is not yet old and already I’m an emotional wreck. My early morning Facebook review brought me a video of animal abuse at a Butterball turkey facility in North Carolina on Huffington Post, and as the tears ran down my cheeks, I despaired of this example of the utter depravity of our society that allows such actions to exist.

As I look out my window to try to regain some semblance of equilibrium, I watch as a solitary person digs in what little rockweed is left on the shore after the rockweed harvesters were finished with the area, filling his bucket with periwinkles to earn a few dollars. It’s currently 15 degrees and I’m astonished at the resiliency and tenaciousness of mankind.

Then I read BDN’s story “Miles of Hope” by Heather Steeves (Dec 30) and was blown away by the generosity and kindness shown by Jim Gamage, his mom and Liz Twitchell. Faith in the innate goodness of people began to glow again. Thank you for this story — it doesn’t cancel out the horrors that occur on a daily basis, but it does help to lend some balance to the scales of good and evil.

Deborah Aldridge


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