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Tuesday, June 11, 2013: Graduation, school lunch and Eliot Cutler

BHS graduation thanks

Bangor High School is very appreciative of the opportunity to hold the graduation ceremony for the class of 2013 at the newly minted Cross Insurance Center. The center management and staff contributed significantly to making the graduation a great success, and we look forward to holding future events in this terrific venue.

I was also appreciative of the BDN’s press coverage of the event, and it was nice talking with the reporter about the students’ perspective of their unique graduation experience.

I do wish to clarify that the June 10 story’s characterization of my comments about the BHS class of 2013 did not accurately capture my feelings about this wonderful and accomplished group of students. Anything but “blase,” the group’s spirit, enthusiasm, class and pride were on full display throughout the year and were true highlights of the graduation ceremony.

Paul Butler, Bangor High School principal


Budget vote

As proposed, the RSU 20 school budget will cause an approximate 13 percent increase in local property tax assessments for schools.

This is the result of the state of Maine cutting income taxes and lowering even more the state’s dismal support for education. Shame on all of the “public servants” in Augusta.

The increases are also due to the well-intentioned but failed consolidation of RSU 20. On Tuesday, June 11, there will be a vote on the budget and whether Belfast, Belmont, Waldo, Northport, Swanville and Searsmont should withdraw from RSU 20 and return to the SAD 34 model.

There is no question that the consolidation has failed, and the proof is in the continuing rancor and skyrocketing costs. In my opinion, RSU 20 has turned out to be bad for every town in the district, and it will be better for all the towns when we move forward by going back to what worked.

I think everyone was better off before RSU 20. Special elections are notoriously hard to get people out to vote. If we do not get a good enough turnout and the RSU withdrawal fails, we will be faced with years of tax increases, damaged programs, decreased school safety, inevitable school closings and long-distance busing.

I urge residents to get out and vote. Get neighbors to vote. Vote early at the town or city office. Let’s get this done.

Mike Hurley, Belfast city councilor


Lunch blame

Don’t blame the J.A. Leonard Middle School for not giving the child lunch because his mother owed $53. The blame falls on the mother for not sending her child to school with a sandwich.

What does this woman do, send her child to bed at night with no supper? This woman needs to get her act together.

Kevin Skehan


Bottom line

The June 6 BDN article, “Old Town middle school student denied lunch because parent owed bill,” was just wrong on many levels.

First of all, how can we as good citizens of this world deny food to any child? What happened to decency, compassion and empathy? I believe this superintendent’s conflict was with the child’s mother, not the child.

By putting him in the middle, one of the tenants of appropriate child psychology was breached — to never use a child as a pawn in debates between authority figures in his or her life. It might have been acceptable if the child had been warned and even been able to bring lunch from home on that day.

There are many children who never pay for their lunch. I’m sure there is money from that fund for one more. If school lunch programs are run as businesses, they should bear in mind who their clients are and be more concerned about them than the “bottom line”— especially if those clients are our children.

What has this country come to when administrators can play with authority in this manner? Shame on all of us for allowing such a thing in the civilized world.

Delia Kenny


Our fair city

I am writing in response to Virginia Greene’s June 7 letter to the editor. She should know the reason most of Bangor’s residents get out of bed in the morning is to go to work.

We need the money to pay our taxes to the city. We would like it spent wisely. It is always amazing to me how residents from other communities think they know how Bangor or others should spend their tax money better than we do. Our city council spends countless hours doing their work to have it criticized by someone who does not live or pay taxes here.

If Greene thinks the Hammond Street Senior Center needs $31,000 more to operate, please have her community of Old Town pony up the extra money along with any other surrounding communities that take advantage of the Bangor Senior Center.

Do you think this is fair? I think so.

Brian Gallant


Governor 38 percent

If Eliot Cutler really wanted to be of service to the people of Maine, he’d either run as a party candidate or stay out of the race altogether. His run as an independent candidate in the last gubernatorial election is what caused a governor to be elected with only 37.6 percent of the vote.

Michael P. Gleason


Get a job

The BDN June 6 OpEd column by Heather Denkmire was not the first I’ve read from her. She’s usually complaining about problems with her various forms of public assistance. This time it was food stamps. I don’t know why I keep reading her stuff, except that I tend to read everything on the editorial pages of the BDN, but this time I’ve lost patience with her and her problems with being poor.

The simple solution to being poor is to get a job, work for a living like most of the rest of us in Maine, pay into the system and eventually retire on Social Security and, hopefully, retirement savings.

Why should people feel sorry for her when she isn’t treated with the politeness she feels she deserves or when she talks about fixing dinner for her kids and doing the dishes? My simple question to her is: Don’t we all fix dinner for our kids and clean up afterwards?

What makes her exempt from earning a living and supporting her family?

She should earn a living, maybe even at a job she doesn’t especially like. Then she can complain.

Katharine Evans


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