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Friday, April 20, 2013: Grandparents, East-west highway and Whitehead


Caught in the middle of chaos

The dissolution of a family unit is not as easy as signing the divorce decree. There are little souls with big eyes who stare in wonder as their fate is determined for them. “Who am I supposed to love,” and “Why can’t I talk to gramma and papa?” are questions children ask when faced with adjusting to their new life. I wonder if what a child is really thinking is, “Why can’t I just love everybody and be the kid?”

The current statute requires a grandparent to demonstrate “sufficient existing relationship” when petitioning the court for visitation in a parental right dispute. However, there is no definition for what constitutes this relationship.

LD 209 is a bill that seeks to amend the Grandparent Visitation Act to include a definition for “sufficient existing relationship.”

This bill gives Maine the opportunity make a positive impact on families without creating any fiscal impact. In other words, passing this bill will not cost Maine a dime, and that is good news for everyone.

We as a nation have already decided that grandparent rights are important. Every state in the nation has created and passed legislation to acknowledge the value a grandparent has with their grandchildren.

This bill shows that we not only support the families of Maine but that we are paying attention to the citizen who doesn’t have a vote, get to choose and have a voice.

Natali Plourde


Whitehead family contribution

We are blessed to have the Whiteheads in our community, and it is with great regret and sadness that we see Tim Whitehead’s term as head coach end. We want to thank Tim and his wife Dena for all of their hard work in the community to make it a much better place to live.

Tim Whitehead has often given of his time to the various youth hockey organizations around the area, providing demonstrations for coaching and teaching both to youth players and adult coaches.

We have seen him in the role of dad to his children. He enjoys building snow men, constructing snow forts, playing hockey on the ice at the park or playing soccer with a group of his children’s friends. On a sunny day, he can be seen working in his garden.

Whitehead’s wife has volunteered her spare time with different youth hockey organizations, youth soccer, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and All Souls Church to name only a few.

We want the Whiteheads to know of the support we offer through word and deed. We know that their future is a bright one and can only hope that whatever they decide to do, whether it is to move or stay, the community and the area is a much better place because of their wonderful family.

Heather Brown


Elder financial destitution

There has been much talk of the so-called “chained-CPI,” which stands for consumer price index, and would cut Social Security benefits for all beneficiaries, including those least able to sustain a loss of income.

The chained-CPI would involve a new way of calculating annual cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security. The change would result in a reduced rate of growth in benefits of about 0.3 percent each year. These reductions would be cumulative, so by age 95, benefits would be 9.2 percent lower, equal to one month less of income each year.

Needless to say these cuts would impact the oldest and poorest among us.

The National Elder Economic Security Standard Index has shown that elders who depend on Social Security for income and who live at the poverty level or below already need housing and health care support to cover their expenses. Reducing their benefits further will only exacerbate this situation.

I have conducted several studies on low-income elders in Maine, so I am very aware of what decreased Social Security benefits could mean for some of the most vulnerable in our state.

Reducing their benefits would indeed be a harsh policy change. Any savings from these cuts would be washed out by greater costs elsewhere as affected elders would need increased public assistance.

Rather than cutting Social Security, we should be focusing on creating jobs and raising taxes on those who can afford to pay them. Lets not cause financial destitution among our elder neighbors.

Sandy Butler

Professor, School of Social Work, University of Maine


No choice

Kudos to the Penobscot County commissioners for hosting an informational public forum concerning the proposed east-west corridor. Peter Vigue, CEO of Cianbro Corporation, was yet again evasive about the location of a route. Information regarding investors was not forthcoming.

I am weary of rhetoric about poverty and quality of life. Vigue has us practically dragging our knuckles in the dirt as we eke out a “hand to mouth” existence in the “hollow middle” of our state.

Now, that’s just rude. If “quality of life” is a super corridor defiling the last vestige of pristine wilderness on the east coast, I say “no thanks.” If “poverty” means cleaner air and water, safe communities, loving friends and neighbors, bring it on.

I wonder how the good people of Eastport feel about Vigue’s commitment to relegate their picturesque village to a concrete wasteland of a deep water cargo port. The east-west corridor is promoted as an economic engine, a connection with “global markets.”

Though it may provide some short-term employment, its sole purpose seems to be the extraction and export of Maine resources and a conduit for the export of Canadian energy, leaving Enbridge and the Irving boys breathless with anticipation.

Vigue’s assurances that his first priority is the safety, health and prosperity of our communities lack sincerity. Approaching citizens prior to his proposal would have supported his pledge. Once the land is purchased, the permits granted and politicians placated, there is no choice.

Lisa Laser


No more comments

Why does the Bangor Daily News continue to allow the under-educated, or often times over-educated, couch trolls continue to blast their sometimes offensive and often times misleading opinions in the “comments” section?

What good, if any, comes from this? Well, besides spreading social media drama to a truly public forum. Stay classy Bangor Daily News. For the love of the publication, do away with the comments.

Joe Williams


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