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Monday, Nov. 5, 2012: Taxes, BIA flights and UMaine hockey

Maintain the American bargain

After working hard for more than 40 years, I’m now collecting Social Security and depending on Medicare for my health insurance, two systems I paid into all my working life. I’m in good health now, but if I ever need nursing home care I would rely on Medicaid, or MaineCare, to provide it. And this is how it should be; this is the American bargain: If we work hard, do our part, we’ll look after one another when we need help.

Unfortunately, one segment of society has not been upholding its part of the bargain: The nation’s wealthiest households are paying the smallest percentage of their income in federal taxes in 60 years. It’s true that the wealthy pay the bulk of income taxes, but that’s for the simple reason that they have the bulk of the nation’s income. And yet their taxes are kept artificially low through such loopholes as taxing passive income like dividends and capital gains at less than half the top rate for salary and wage income.

We can’t reduce our national debt or maintain the American bargain unless we collect sufficient revenue. One way we can start to do that again is by allowing tax cuts to expire on the two percent of households that make more than $250,000 a year. I sincerely hope Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe will support such a plan during the year-end Congressional budget debate.

Wanda Willey Halpin


Counting our blessings

Bangor Land Trust and its supporters were blessed during our 6th annual Pedal the Penobscot Road Ride in September. We sent off 164 riders who pedaled their choice of routes following the Penobscot upstream and then downstream. They had it all: crisp fall weather, bikeable roads following our scenic river bordered by trees, biking companions who embraced the effort and challenge of a good ride and a grand welcome at the finish line.

We were happy to follow their safe progress as reported to us by the Pine State Amateur Radio Club. We loved welcoming them back to the Sea Dog restaurant, where Larry Killam presided over the grill and personally made sure that every returning rider was well nourished. He throws a great party and is a real blessing to Bangor.

We are all the richer for living in a wonderful city and having our community’s vitality enhanced by a place to gather, mingle and share the glow of accomplishment.

Lucy Quimby

President, Bangor Land Trust


A closer look

I read the opinion of Lawrence Piazza and pinched myself. Is he right or is it my lying eye deceiving me? Opinions like his disturb me, more so as I am a patient for the first laser surgeries here, and now my lying eye sees quite well. Subsequently, on WABI-TV, Channel 5, and the BDN, I explained, sight exceeded 20/200 in my right eye before surgery.

In minutes, my eye transformed quickly, painlessly to 20/20, like a miracle. Surgery is an unimaginable horror to me, so it was one tough decision. I see Piazza does not grasp the procedure himself nor has met outcomes like my own, as I am of the first cohort.

I walked out of surgery smiling and keep that smile today. Full vision and focus of youth came immediately with the precise cut, with not the slightest problem since that happy day. No dry eyes have I, no soreness, no infections, just normal eye, nothing more to heal.

Can Piazza say with a straight face or evidence it could be better, safer or faster with manual surgery? I am but a patient, yet attest to reality, and that eye sees more envy, jealousy and sour grapes than science in this Op-Ed.

Vision Care of Maine is the finest such clinic I have seen in 72 years and would return without a blink. I credit their laser, which tipped the scales for me.

James Tyvoll


Flights from BIA might not cost more

In reference to Kathleen Huff’s letter entitled “Pocketbook Landing,” I totally agree that airline loyalty would be appreciated, regarding higher fares from Bangor versus Portland. I used to consider a Portland departure a much better deal as well. However, there is usually the need to spend at least one night in Portland either departing or returning, which adds a hotel charge. Parking your vehicle while on your trip incurs a fee, plus an additional cost of gas to and from Portland. If you add up those expenses you might find that you’re not saving a substantial amount.

The author also doesn’t mention Allegiant Airlines. Allegiant has several nonstop flights to Florida from Bangor every week. When flying to Florida, the convenience of nonstop flying is worth a great deal to me. The luxury of not having to make a connection in a major hub is also a great plus.

Rodney A. Duplisea


Maine Hockey fans suffering

Yes it’s true, the University of Maine hockey team is off to a horrible start. Although the team has some promising young players to go with skilled veterans, it has been really tough to watch so far.

This has many of us questioning why the people in power have decided that this is the year to start charging $10 to park in the lots up on the hill that have always been free. This is compounded further by all of the parking between the baseball field and field house no longer available.

When a business is struggling, it is imperative that it does anything possible to increase customers, and let’s face it, Maine hockey is a business. Yet, only about half as many free parking spots are now available on the hill compared to last year.

So as the weather gets frigid and the choice between a long walk or paying another $10 to watch a struggling team is what fans are faced with, don’t be surprised to watch the attendance continue to dive. Season ticket holders may be next. Boston College (defending national champs) offers lower-priced tickets and free parking for men’s ice hockey. It seems as though the university is trying to bleed the fans that are left for every buck it can instead of creating new ways to increase the fan base. It is a mistake to take us for granted.

Jody Theberge


Sears Island

The industrialization of Searsport and the upper Penobscot Bay seems to be solidly in the works. In addition to the proposed propane tank, there is a bond issue for dredging between Mack Point and Sears Island.

The corporations will do anything to win. One has to wonder how they have approached our local politicians and the five members of the Searsport planning board who will make a decision affecting thousands of people who live here, plus all the summer people and yachtsmen who love to visit our shores and would have to deal with the enormous tankers.

Jane Sanford


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