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Tuesday, March 26, 2013: Jokes, trains and speed limits

National joke

The March 21 article “Why has Maine become a national punchline?” is simple to answer. Two words have brought this fine state into the limelight of national attention –– Gov. Paul LePage.

The jokes and ribs handed down before this foolish man became governor — with less than 40 percent of the vote — were less frequent and better distributed among other states. LePage is a joke, albeit not a funny one.

Les Simon



Rail service explanations

The sooner trains become a household word like planes and buses, the better it will be for a stronger economy and healthier children. Not only individuals, but downtowns thrive when a train stops and visitors step off.

In regards to Amtrak service: The Downeaster is not an excursion train. Excursion describes a brief tourist experience rather than year-round transit.

The Downeaster can, however, be called a commuter train in that one-third of the passengers travel on 10-day or monthly passes. Other people head to Old Orchard Beach in the summer with picnics and sand pails.

Some go to museums and sports events in Boston. Do readers know that if a game runs overtime at the Boston Garden, the last train to leave for Maine is held until the game is over?

As a member of TrainRiders/Northeast, I worked with other members of the organization, and Mainers who are not members, to bring Amtrak to Portland in 2001 and to Freeport and Brunswick last November.

We are now working to extend service to Augusta, Waterville and Bangor. As a former resident, I like Bangor, and I particularly like the walkability of its downtown.

I hope in 10 years I will be able to walk on board in Brunswick and walk off in Bangor — along with up to 50,000 other monthly passengers who, if the Downeaster’s 12-year history of operation continues, will also be getting off in Bangor.

Paula Boyer Rougny




After years of hearing the arguments of the concerned people against using wind-generated power, I feel that these people should have been around when the government and electric companies started putting up poles for the wires all over the country, or dams built to generate.

These are such eyesores. The Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, skyscrapers, pyramids — all eyesores because they take away from the views. Progress must have a price.

Gordon Michaud

Presque Isle


Speed limits

Seems I remember that one reason they said that raising the speed limit on I-95 above Old Town would be safe was because the traffic wasn’t as heavy above Old Town.

I don’t think they can use that as a reason to raise the speed limit on I-295 from Scarborough to West Gardiner. At times I would call that heavy traffic, especially during rush hours.

Just one opinion that thinks 75 is too fast on that road.

Arden Carlisle



Naked justice

Twenty days in jail for Mark Strong? I thought this was a headline in The Onion. If this man were poor, if he lived in a trailer, he would have been sent away for years instead of days.

Peg Cruikshank



Dangerous slush

In reference to the lady hurt in a car accident in Benton on March 19, it was reported that slush was the reason for the accident.

Putting salt on a snowy road is what causes this condition, making the roads much more dangerous than the snow itself. The way a road is plowed can sometimes leave too much snow. Mix this with salt, and you cause a very dangerous road.

I feel the way to avoid a dangerous road is to make sure the roads are plowed just before applying salt.

I’ve encountered slush and have almost lost control of my vehicle several times. I believe this condition could be minimized with proper plowing and salting procedures. Even the best snow tires are no match for slushy roads.

Mike Scott



Iraq Invasion

Gwynne Dyer’s column in the BDN on March 19 on the start-up and consequences of George W. Bush’s war left out a significant factor: revenge.

Following the legal and successful repulse of Iraq from its invasion of Kuwait, which was led by the U.S. under Bush’s father, it was found out that Saddam Hussein was behind an assassination attempt on George H.W. Bush. The assassination was foiled, thankfully.

Revenge for a father’s murder is not good policy — as Prince Hamlet discovered as the stage lay covered with corpses of both innocents and culpables in Denmark.

John Lyman



My way or highway

I have lived in Maine for more than 40 years, have enjoyed the quality of life and have been generally pleased with our political leaders at both the state and federal level.

However, our current governor has disappointed again. Initially refusing to take advantage of the provision in the Affordable Care Act, providing for expansion of Medicaid at no cost to the state for the first three years and 10 percent thereafter, the governor has followed the lead of other Republican governors who have signed on after rejecting the offer earlier.

However, our governor wants it his way. He has petitioned Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, requesting the federal government fund the Medicaid expansion in Maine at the 100 percent level for 10 years. It is unlikely that the secretary will honor the request because the legislation doesn’t allow it. Will Maine people suffer because our governor wants his own way?

The governor has also proposed a $100 million transportation bond issue. The last I knew, the people of Maine approved such a bond and others in 2010 and 2012, but the governor has not allowed the bonds to be sold until his plan for repaying hospitals is approved, holding the Legislature hostage until he gets his way.

Moderate Republicans need to stand up and repudiate their governor and, in a truly bipartisan manner, honor their commitment to serve the people of Maine. We may not be able to survive another two years unless they do.

Mark Roth


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