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Monday, April 16, 2012: Railroads, same-sex marriage and Angus King

Rails option is right

This letter is written in support of the views expressed in the April 9 Op-Ed by Veronica Garvey Magnan about the “Rail beds alternative to east-west highway,” and an April 10 Letter to the Editor from Greg Rossel (“…boondoggle”). We agree with both points concerning the efficiency and efficacy of reinstating the railroads as the best way to move goods and encourage tourism, including the “Rails with Trails” which our research shows was the original intent of that effort.

Living in Washington County, where the rails have been removed and replaced by recreational trails, we continue to see the deterioration of our roads from the heavy trucking required to move what goods come to and through our region. The recent improvements and continuing development of Eastport and its unique deep water capabilities is only hampered by limited rail connections.

In addition to the increased potential for commerce and tourism, returning the rails will also provide “shovel ready” projects for much needed employment and economic development. Once established, the railroad would likely rejuvenate communities along the route, helping small businesses grow as well as begin new ones.

Research shows real economic benefits of moving freight by rail versus truck. The environment would benefit from reduction in particulate and gaseous polluting emissions. The east-west highway options might remove trucking from sight, but the pollution would be on-going. That would be a “cost” that would likely not be calculated into the expense of such a highway, but one that Mainers would have to live with.

William Richardson

East Machias

Bonnie Fortini

Roque Bluffs

Gay, period

Same-sex marriage opponents Mike Heath and Paul Madore protested in Orono to stop people from accepting what they called “sodomy-based marriage.” So they are not against lesbians?

Do you know that the word sodomy was actually used as a term for any type of sex that was not “missionary”? It was used for oral sex, sex outside of marriage, other positions, etc.

I do not in any way think gay marriage as a civic institution will make a straight person be gay. I do think that some people experiment and some people use drugs and alcohol and do all kinds of things they would not normally do. But I know there are people who are gay, period, and were born that way. They live in monogamous, loving family-based relationships.

This has been proven several times over, especially when Hitler tried to make them straight or die. Thousands died. If you are questioning the Bible’s interpretation please read Peter Gomes’ writings on the subject. The word homosexual was not coined until 1947. How was it in a 2,000-year-old book?

Don’t preach Jesus, preach what Jesus preached, compassion and love for all. Oh, and divorce, he really didn’t like divorce. But I don’t hear Mike and Paul talking about that.

Vote for same-gender marriage in November. Thousands of Maine families are counting on you.

Nancy Rotkowitz


Angus as Jimmy Stewart

Wednesday, we had the honor of attending the opening of Angus King’s campaign headquarters in Brunswick. It was a joyous, positive gathering of about 250-plus people who were there to celebrate the kickoff of King’s bid for the U.S. Senate.

We saw people there of both parties as well as independents. King spoke eloquently about his decision to run for the Senate seat left by Sen. Snowe and of the great need for cooperation and compromise in these toxic times. His belief that just maybe one voice by example may inspire another and perhaps another, just might make a difference, compelled him to enter the ring.

We know him to be a man who can reach across party lines to get the people’s work done. Many of us have of late yearned for a remake of the film “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” Maine has such a man in Angus King and we, as Mainers, should all be proud of his independent approach to important issues rather than towing party lines.

“As Maine goes, so goes the nation” need not be an old quote from the history books.

Ken and Ellen Barnes


Dental pain care

I was completely shocked to learn that dental pain is the leading cause of uninsured or under-insured young people visiting an emergency room. Being fortunate enough to have good dental coverage, I never knew that people went to the emergency room for dental care. What is even more disturbing is that the emergency room treats these people by providing pain meds and telling them to see a dentist.

These people can’t afford to go to the dentist — that’s why they were forced into the emergency room in the first place. Finding a dentist who will even accept them on MaineCare is like finding a needle in a haystack. With no dentist to go to and no treatment in the emergency room, these people’s toothaches and gum problems turn into serious health problems.

What is most alarming to me is that the Maine Dental Association doesn’t want to admit that there is a problem with dental care in Maine. If there was not a dental access problem, then why are there so many emergency room visits for dental care?

Michelle Scammon


Pingree takes credit

Chellie Pingree should know better.

In a recent column in the BDN celebrating ObamaCare, she tries to give the massive new law — and thus herself as a big supporter — credit for a number of laws that already existed in Maine. I checked with the Bureau of Insurance.

She takes credit for mandating mammography, which has been mandated in Maine since 1990 and also for Pap smear tests, the law since 1996.

She says, “Mainers no longer have to worry that their insurance coverage may run out if they face a long-term illness such as cancer.” In 2009, Maine prohibited annual and lifetime aggregate benefit limits.

She says, “No longer will insurance companies be able to cancel our policies when we get sick.” And she adds, “It’s sad that it took a new law to end this ruthless practice, but it did.” Sorry Rep. Pingree, Maine has disallowed that practice since the early 1990s when guaranteed issue and guaranteed renewal were enacted.

And she takes credit for allowing dependent children up to age 26 to stay on their parents policies. Since 2007, Maine has had a mandated offer requirement for dependent coverage until a dependent child is 25. OK, ObamaCare and Pingree can get credit for allowing these “children” to stay on their parent’s policy one more year.

Whether you agree with these mandates or not, Rep. Pingree should not be taking credit for laws that were already in force. She is wrong and she should know better.

Dana Dyer


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