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Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012: Crime, Cancer and Inflation


Neighbors and hoods

Bless you, Renee Ordway and the BDN, for calling attention to an ongoing problem that affects not only our neighborhood but the rest of Bangor as well. I beg the city of Bangor to pass the ordinance requiring fines and inspections. I know of no other way to deal with the problem of absentee landlords allowing their run-down properties to become havens for drug dealers, endangering the families who live in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Diane McNamara


Death Rate

A recent article (BDN, 10/2) noted that the cancer death rate in Maine was higher than any other state.

A recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the expansion of Medicaid coverage in Maine was associated with a significant increase in access to health care and significant decrease in overall mortality in Maine.

As an oncologist, it is obvious that access to adequate health care is associated with an earlier diagnosis of cancer and a substantial increase in the cure rate of this group of diseases. The governor of Maine is trying to significantly reduce the number of individuals in Maine covered by Medicaid. It seems that the governor is willing to trade economic concerns for the lives and well being of a substantial number of Maine residents.

AJ Weiss

Little Deer Isle

Inflationary pressures

It is disconcerting to read about John Stoughton and Misty Meadows Farm in Clinton ( BDN, 9/29). I don’t know of many businesses that can lose $30,000 a month and stay in business long. I’m sure there will be a long line of folks trying to somehow blame this on Gov. Paul LePage.

Unfortunately, inflation is now arriving. It has been long downplayed by the Obama administration, and the reporting of “core inflation” purposely (and deceptively) removes two very big components from the inflation equation — food and energy prices — as if they were simply incidental.

For the last four years our federal government has been doing two things which are now fueling inflationary pressures: printing money like crazy and buying our own debt. This is already boosting the prices of all commodities, including oil and grains. Furthermore, inflation will grow far stronger if and when the economic recovery starts to pick up steam and the velocity of money increases.

While drought is also a factor, the cascading inflationary increases in food and fuel prices, like the kind John Stoughton is experiencing, will likely devastate consumers and many other small and large business enterprises alike. The inflationary elephant in the room can no longer be ignored by our elected officials. It must be dealt with.

David D. Wilson


From prison to street

Returning home after a lengthy incarceration requires meticulous planning at least six months before release. Returning to the community is a life experience like no other challenge. As an inmate advocate, I receive letters from prisoners full of anticipatory anxiety and fear. Housing, food, clothing, medical care and mental health counseling must be accessible to inmates upon release from prison.

Preceptor mentoring provides support in navigating through the maze of community services necessary in beginning life over after prison. Identification records are a priority in guaranteeing a safety net upon release. A birth certificate and social security card must be in hand to facilitate community resources. Emotional support is paramount in mobilizing community stability and minimizing the potential for recidivism. There is hope after prison.

Calvin E. Dube

Community Inmate Advocate


Water Privatization

Over the past 30 years, the U.S has witnessed a 1,500-percent increase in the consumption of bottled water. In Maine, this translates to more companies, like Poland Springs (and its multinational parent company Nestle), going into small towns to acquire land for water extraction either through aquifers or surface features. Bottling public water (often existing tap water) and then selling it at a price higher than petroleum in many instances, these companies reap huge profits but leave the population at risk.

For instance, Poland Springs’ extraction of water in the area of Fryeburg’s Lovewell Pond was shown to reduce fresh-water levels, leading to higher amounts of phosphorous, which promoted greater weed and algae growth. When Fryeburg denied Nestle’s request to pump water into a water-loading station in a residential area, Nestle’s lawyers argued in Maine Supreme Court that their right to grow market share superseded the town’s right of control. Water is a public right, not a commodity to be exploited.

Water companies often make an argument for considerable economic input to the state, but in order to have a healthy economy, Maine needs a healthy population that can rely on quality water for drinking as well as important recreational opportunities. Moreover, when something goes wrong these companies can leave while residents are left to face the consequences and foot the bill. More attention must be paid to the privatization of land for water before it is too late.

Nate Blanks


Public charter schools?

The Nov. 4 OpEd by Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen asserts that the Maine Education Association should know the truth, and we do. His claim about charter schools being public is not entirely true. The public part of the charter school law may end at the Charter School Commission when it authorizes private companies to take money from state and local resources to fund their experiment.

The commissioner asserts the Maine Education Association and Citizens Who Support Maine’s Public Schools should know that no virtual schools were approved. We know. But we also know, as does the commissioner, that the only way a large private virtual school company can gain access to public funds is to become authorized as a charter by the commission.

The proposed Maine Virtual Academy and Maine Connections Academy are private, for-profit companies that applied for authorization in the first round of applications. They were denied, encouraged to re-apply, and have already submitted applications again. The commissioner also failed to cite the part of LD 1553 that carves out an exemption to allow a virtual school to apply and be not just a private entity but a private, for-profit entity.

Rob Walker

Executive director of the Maine Education Association

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