Bear OpArt misleading

On June 12, the BDN published an OpEd, “Give voters chance to end bear hunting cruelty,” written by Katie Hansberry, a lobbyist with the Humane Society of the United States. Above the OpEd was a BDN staff artist’s depiction of a scary looking trap called the Newhouse. I believe the intention of running the drawing was to sensationalize the trapping of bear. In 2007, rules promulgated by Inland Fisheries and Wildlife made this trap illegal.

The only bear traps allowed in Maine are foothold snare and live cage traps, the same used by animal control agents across the country. In Maine these traps must be tended within every 24-hour period and have restrictions on their ability to close so bear trappers can release small, female or cub bears unharmed. Live traps also have ventilation and sharp edge protections.

In addition to this unfair and misleading drawing, Hansberry claimed her organization tried to compromise with the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine on legislation it introduced. More like they tried to extort us into supporting it with threats.

The Humane Society of the United States bill, LD 1474, had five provisions, of which two were designed to strengthen penalties for poaching bears and toughening regulations associated with the illegal trafficking of bear gall bladders. Although the IF&W Committee did not support the HSUS bill, they did support LD 1016 and 1225, which increased the penalty for trafficking in gallbladders and bear paws from a $50 fine to $1,000 and tightened laws associated with baiting and hounding bears.

David Trahan, executive director, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine


Support virtual therapy

I enjoyed the BDN June 6 Health page article “UMaine Students help rural clients to overcome speech challenges virtually.” The UMaine Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is definitely a pioneer of virtual speech therapy sessions, a method that could easily become an international trend.

I just want to mention that, in terms of children, every child in the U.S. has the right to free speech therapy, which was enacted as part of federal legislation more than 40 years ago. A brochure titled “Special Education Law and Children Who Stutter,” available on the website of The Stuttering Foundation, explains this great benefit of free speech therapy and how to get it for a child.

The brochure makes it clear that this right to free speech therapy encompasses all speech problems and not just stuttering. The website of this nonprofit organization also provides many free resources for people who stutter.

I hope that the BDN runs future articles on this innovative practice of virtual speech therapy sessions at UMaine. I just wanted to mention that every child in this country with any type of speech problem has the right to free face-to-face speech therapy from preschool through high school.

Rejean Mondou

New Limerick

No cure

I am virtually deaf but have a “CaptionCall” phone that keeps me in touch with those who are aware of that medium and recognize there will be a small delay in the replies I make to what I see on the captioning screen. I depend on captions also when watching TV. Hence, I am, perhaps, a more observant viewer than those who need no special assist.

The point to this is to comment about a recent “ad” that appears briefly onscreen and identifies the advertiser as the “Alzheimer’s Association.” The presentation states verbatim, “We cure Alzheimer’s.”

I was concerned for a number of years about the tentative diagnosis of a friend of mine who ultimately died and whose brain was determined to be virtually destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease. The disease was diagnosed as the proximate cause of her death.

Without further explanation of this definitive case, I have had an avid and continuing interest in the many articles and reports that appear in the press and periodicals and, as of the present date, I have seen no claim by any institution to support an outright statement that “We cure Alzheimer’s.”

Robert C. Dick


Wrong place, wrong time

As I write this letter, the clock keeps ticking against Dennis Dechaine – 9,104 days or 24-plus years – for a crime that DNA taken from the victim’s thumbnail and other data, including time-of-death evidence, show he did not commit.

The list of organizations and individuals advocating a new trial for the Madawaska native and former Bowdoinham businessman is impressive: the Innocence Project; Court TV; famed lawyer F. Lee Bailey; former Maine Attorney General Jon Lund; former Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent and author James Moore; a great number of present and past legislators; an increasing plurality of polled Maine residents and even some prison guards and other Department of Corrections personnel.

Conspicuously absent from the list is the Maine attorney general’s office. In fact, our own top law enforcement agency has opposed most of the legislation that might help bring justice to the Dechaine case. Representatives testified against my post conviction DNA bill, which makes a new trial possible for any inmate who can provide new DNA evidence that could have led the jury to reach a different verdict. Fortunately, the Legislature passed the bill, and the governor signed it into law.

Not only was Dechaine in the wrong place at the wrong time, he has been in the wrong state for more than 24 years. In many states, including Texas, where enlightened, justice-oriented attorneys general serve, he would be a free man by outright release led by the attorney general.

Ross Paradis, former state representative


Turtle time

Turtles are crossing roads all over New England. I carry a shovel in the trunk of the car and assist the turtles across the street in the direction he or she is moving. Please do not turn turtles into “road kill.” Drivers who run over turtles and other living things on purpose are sadistic humans.

Jackie Freitas