Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012: Wind power, health care cuts and Sheriff Glenn Ross

Posted Jan. 24, 2012, at 12:52 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 24, 2012, at 2:39 p.m.

More wind in Oakfield

I’m surprised the Oakfield wind development project has not been in the news very much. First Wind has asked for (and been granted) an increase in the scope of their project. Now the hills around Oakfield and Island Falls will have 50 turbines that are 450 feet tall instead of 34.

Wouldn’t this be visible from the summit of Mount Katahdin? Is wind power really enough of a game-changer to offset the loss of these towns’ bucolic nature? What else do they have left?

Dan Williams

Sidney

Shortsighted cuts

The Bangor Region Public Health Advisory Board, whose members include Shannon Bonsey, Penquis; Dale Hamilton, Community Health and Counseling Services; Bruce Campbell, Wellspring; Linda Abernethy, Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center; Dyan Walsh, Eastern Area Agency on Aging; Dr. Robert Allen, Penobscot Community Health Care; Martha Eastman, Pro-Elder Consulting; Nelson Durgin, Bangor City Council; Dr. Robert Dana, University of Maine; C. Shawn Yardley, Bangor Health and Community Services; and Dennis Marble, Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, have great concerns about the cuts to the Fund For a Healthy Maine in the governor’s supplemental budget.

These shortsighted cuts will result in the elimination of essential prevention efforts in Maine, which have proven to return $7.50 in future health care costs for every dollar spent — a return on investment rarely found in today’s economy.

Since 1999, Maine has proudly utilized the fund as it was initially intended, targeting tobacco and preventable chronic conditions. Much of this work is done through the local Healthy Maine Partnerships, the foundation of Maine’s public health system. HMPs are currently proposed for elimination, which will eliminate Maine’s prevention system and our ability to respond to emerging public health issues such as H1N1 and bath salts.

A bipartisan legislative committee commissioned to study the Fund For a Healthy Maine voted unanimously in December 2011 to protect the fund for the purpose it was intended and the Bangor Region Public Health Advisory Board strongly supports its findings.

Maine’s current economic state requires difficult decisions, but prevention and its long-term paybacks should not be sacrificed.

Shannon Bonsey

Chairwoman, PHAB

Nice while it lasted

While watching a recent group discussion among Maine governors of the past three decades, I was struck with a sense of pride. We have had a remarkable run of distinguished gentlemen in the Blaine House who have served with intelligence, class and an honest concern for the people.

Oh, well. I guess it’s really true that all good things must come to an end.

Richard Simpson

Orrington

For the good of all

Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Just because our elected officials are Christian and choose to express their faith does not somehow diminish anyone else’s faith or lack thereof.

Considering the real-world tragedy of a little Maine child missing, our state bankrupt or nearly so, two unresolved wars with our kids coming home to no jobs and many Mainers trying to figure out how to heat their homes, it’s a good thing our elected officials are praying for guidance and help.

Maybe some humility from our elected officials will help give them the strength of character to make the right decisions for our state and the people of Maine. So maybe we shouldn’t get so caught up in our own beliefs to prevent us from considering the good of all.

Kimberly Mitchell

Greenbush

Open for all business

I was disappointed the staff of the Public Utilities Commission recommended not approving the joint venture between First Wind and Emera.

It is hard to believe during these difficult economic times that the PUC is considering rejecting a deal that could bring billions in private investment and over 1,000 new jobs to Maine. However, that’s the case.

In the coming days, the PUC will deliberate over the recommendations of an examiner’s report that would slow to a crawl major investment into several Maine wind projects.

As a Washington County commissioner, I have seen firsthand the many benefits that well-planned wind projects can bring to a local economy. The two Stetson Wind projects near Danforth not only created hundreds of construction jobs and are delivering clean energy, but they’re helping fund important county priorities.

I’ll agree that wind is not “the” answer but it certainly can be a part of the answer. Regardless, a $3 billion investment in Maine is not something to take lightly. I like construction projects in my county because they mean employment and economic activity. If Maine’s open for business, then let it be open for all business.

I urge the PUC to find a way balance the interests of ratepayers with the need to bring real economic development to Northern Maine. There must be a middle ground that can be reached that allows for this joint venture and the economic development it will bring.

Chris Gardner

Chairman, Board of Commissioners

Washington County

Supports Sheriff Ross

Suggestions that Sheriff Glenn Ross did not act with integrity regarding the investigation of Rev. Bob Carlson is adding salt to a community wound that has barely stopped bleeding. I have known Sheriff Ross for several years through our mutual work with the Penobscot County Triad. Triad is an organization made up of law enforcement, agencies serving seniors and senior citizens working together to protect our seniors.

The sheriff has effectively moved the mission of Triad forward by offering his time and resources while collaborating with a wide range of people and organizations. Thanks to his support, Penobscot County Triad has offered such successful programs as the 911 house numbering project, prescription drug take-back and educational events for seniors and professionals working with seniors.

I am proud to have made Bangor my home. I rest easier raising my family here knowing we are well served by such upstanding leaders as Sheriff Glenn Ross.

Kristie Miner

Bangor

Searsport tank questions

The enormous propane tank that Conoco Phillips wants to build in Searsport will be discussed by the developers beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at Searsport Town Hall. Since this project will affect our region most significantly, it is important this meeting be well attended, especially by the leaders in neighboring towns along Route 1.

What will be the effect on traffic? What will be the effect on neighbors? Why are we importing from foreign countries when we already have enough? What will be the effect on tourism? What are the safety concerns? How many real permanent jobs will there be? What about the pipelines for gas we keep hearing about?

I am sure there are a hundred more questions that need answers. Let’s get them.

Jane Sanford

Belfast

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