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Tuesday, July 31, 2012: Health care, ‘The Phantom’ and environmental protection


Last week you had several articles about GoMaine, and how it was being closed because it did not have enough funds to replace older vehicles.

The same articles stated that there was $233,000 profit from rider fees, and the DOT had budgeted $240,000 for vehicle replacement. Those who say they can’t cover the cost of replacing the vehicles need to be sent to remedial math classes because they definitely flunked grade school math — $233,000 plus $240,000 equals $473,000. Divide that by $43,000 per vehicle and the result is 11.

They don’t need 11 new vehicles right now, but they have exactly enough to buy them. The DOT should be looking for ways to make it easier for people to get to work, not harder. There is a major shortage of public transportation here in Maine. Most of those who have been riding with

GoMaine cannot afford to relocate closer to their jobs. Their jobs pay enough for them to get by but paying more for private transportation will leave many of them in dire straights. If any of them lose their jobs due to lack of transport, our Republican-run state will blame it on the Democratic administration.

Cara Doucette

Van Buren

We won’t play

It’s been decided. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and we can either have it imposed on us by the federal government or Maine can have a strong say in the creation of health insurance exchanges and the implementation of the law.

The governor and the GOP Legislature have stamped their feet and said, “No, we won’t play.” Well, it’s time that Mainers get the common-sense solutions that they need and deserve.

We need to elect Democratic leaders that will help develop the right plans for Maine with input from our business leaders and our communities

John Forsyth


Our auditorium

I hesitate to write this but many, if not most of us, are disappointed and even angry that the word “insurance” will be on our Bangor auditorium with Cross Insurance’s purchase of its naming rights. Mr. Cross’s full name is fine, but not insurance. I realize the tremendous amount of money he is giving to the project is difficult to ignore, but we hope something will be considered by those involved.

Lowell Kjenstad


Phantom blues

Let’s get down to some serious stuff. After almost 40 years of reading “The Phantom,” it is time for it to go. I thought when you did the “Great Comics Survey” several years ago this strip had a short life, with several comments from the BDN saying “gone” at the end of this episode.

Please now make that happen now.

Sticking with the comics, one more thing for the page layout people: “Shoe” and “Baby Blues” simply have to line up without chopping the feet off Garfield, Jon and the dog. You can’t fold the paper and eat breakfast and read without refolding the paper. Not good; I mean, these are basics.

Tom Flacke


Funding study

Regarding the current debate about Medicaid funding, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine is pertinent. The study revealed that the three states (including Maine) that expanded Medicaid coverage showed a 6.1 percent reduction in mortality among low-income adults compared with states that failed to do so.

The obvious conclusion is that decreasing Medicaid coverage in Maine will result in an increase in the mortality rate, primarily in the poor.

Arthur J. Weiss M.D.

Little Deer Isle

Protection Act attacks rights

Recent legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would unnecessarily sweep away 16 major environmental laws that protect the people, wildlife and natural resources of Maine.

Controversial H.R. 1505, The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, authored by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, passed the House earlier this month. The bill grants Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security unwarranted powers to ignore major environmental legislation, including the National Historic Preservation Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, within 100 miles of United States land borders and along the coast.

In Maine this means that nearly our entire state could be subject to unregulated environmental impacts.

Bishop’s bill would make vulnerable thousands of protected acres in the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, The White Mountains National Forest, Acadia National Park and many other fragile areas that the people of Maine have fought long and hard to protect for future generations.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has issued an official statement opposing H.R. 1505, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has said, “It is unnecessary, and a bad policy.” Bishop and his followers are strategically playing upon people’s emotions and fears by using homeland security and immigration as a ruse to secure unnecessary and unchecked powers for the Department of Homeland Security and to put a huge crack in the armor of our environmental protections.

Sarah Loftus

Bar Harbor

Looked down upon

I was prompted to write this letter to the editor after, once again, seeing Maine education being blasted by Gov. LePage. As a retired educator, I agree that there is improvement needed in our system.

What upsets me is how LePage never touts any of the successes or good points in our education system. Saying that “Maine students are looked down upon when they go to other states for school or work” and “I don’t care where you go in this country, if you come from Maine you’re looked down upon” is absolutely not true and a despicable thing for our governor to say.

I am sure that U.S. Sen. Susan Collins does not feel looked down upon when she visits other states. Nor do three young men that I can cite who were students in my class. One has become an accomplished artist, selling paintings in N.Y. city and abroad. Another has recently bought and renovated two local grocery stores that are doing extremely well. The last is a learned chef who studied and taught in Florence, Italy, wrote a fast selling cookbook and has a weekly food spot on a local TV show. Looked down upon, I think not.

There is an old saying: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Perhaps if Gov. LePage would serve up some of his ideas with a side of honey, he might get better cooperation and results.

Jackie Pribble


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