Bear facts

I believe Katie Hansberry is on a personal crusade that overshadows the good that the Humane Society of the United States is known for and which most of us support. In voicing her own opinion in a June 13 BDN OpEd titled, “Give voters chance to end bear hunting cruelty,” and stating how that applies to the bear population here in Maine, the article reveals much of her own ignorance of her duties and ignorance of “the truth about hounding, baiting and trapping.”

The cruel treatment of animals is cause for concern among any of us who have ever hunted or trapped wildlife in Maine and is the reason some of us have changed our views about methods that are used to end the life of animals — domestic or wild.

As a youth, I worked on a mink farm where the mink were euthanized by carbon dioxide from exhaust. Animals still alive in water sets had to be drowned.

Hunting and trapping are a tradition that can still be used wisely to manage populations of various animals, so they don’t die a cruel death by starvation.

In a debate, I might give ground on hounding and trapping as no longer a humane way to control the bear population. However, to include baiting within the definition of cruel just doesn’t work for me or others, including experienced game wardens who are the true protectors of our natural heritage.

A happy bear shot by a marksman “while feasting on rotting doughnuts and pizza” died a very humane death. Plus, the bear meat is said to be more edible.

Richard N. Bedard

Columbia Falls

Defend clean elections

I am very disappointed in the Legislature’s actions to cut clean election funding in the next budget cycle. Raiding the voter-approved clean election fund to balance the budget at a time when special interest money is at all-time highs hurts the intention of Maine’s clean election law.

Andrew Bossie, executive director for Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, gets it right in the June 10 BDN article, “Budget deal would eliminate clean election funds in gubernatorial race.” This is a far cry from what voters demanded in 1996 when we passed this law.

During the last election cycle, outside groups spent more than candidates themselves. For the past 17 years, the clean elections law has provided some protection from the influence of special interest money. We need to strengthen rather than weaken these laws. The people passed this law, and the people must stand up for and defend it

Trudy Ferland


Cutler for governor

I was happy to see the June 6 article announcing independent Eliot Cutler running for governor. It should have been headline news above the fold, as Cutler proved he could win a three-way race playing fair. If you remember last election, you won’t forget both parties’ last-minute dirty tricks. Former President Richard Nixon would have blushed.

Cutler will merge the liberal and moderate votes, not split them. In the last election, if I had a Moxie for every voter who wished they cast a ballot for Cutler, I’d be a beverage distributor. These people won’t make the same mistake twice.

Potential candidate Mike Michaud can’t fight his way out of a paper mill, and Gov. Paul LePage has rearranged the furniture, dancing “the tax shift shuffle,” proving he can bluster, bully and veto. But Bob Dole has it right: We may be “open for business” when we should be “closed for repairs.”

Next election let’s celebrate the self-reliance and fair play Maine is known for. Lets debate the solid ideas and not fall prey to the cheap propaganda. Get smart, and have the moxie to get on board early!

Jack Burke


Preschool savings

The June 14 BDN letter from Tami Campbell regarding preschool costs was quite enlightening. It would make sense for the town of Hampden and the state of Maine to negotiate with private preschools and pay the student cost direct, with a cost savings of more than $3,000 per student.

This would be a two-fold solution. It would save taxpayers money, and it would encourage private enterprise and avoid putting preschools out of business.

Claire Walker

Deer Isle

Refresher course

The June 13 BDN letter by Paul Sylvain stated that “sexual orientation” was one of the characteristics those who “formed” the United States desired to protect. Sylvain should perhaps consider a refresher U.S. history course.

Rather than perceiving homosexuality and any other form of deviation from heterosexuality something to be protected, I believe the broadly supported belief at the time of this country’s founding was more closely aligned with the other Judeo-Christian teachings basic to this nation’s identity.

Lynn A. Weston


Good business

After reading a recent article by some of Maine’s top retired military leaders, I would like to add that high-quality early learning will not only bolster our nation’s national security, it’s good for Maine’s businesses.

Sure, it seems that investing in high-quality early learning is a long-term investment and far removed from ensuring Maine’s global competitiveness. But research proves otherwise and shows that investing in high-quality early learning has short-term economic benefits.

An America’s Edge report shows that every $1 invested in Maine’s early learning programs generates a total of $1.78 in sales of local goods and services throughout the state. That is a win for Maine’s businesses and economy right now.

This strong economic boost for local businesses is high or higher than investments in other sectors, even including farming, fishing and hunting. The reverse is also true. Every $1 cut from early learning programs could reduce sales from Maine businesses by $1.78.

Early learning programs also impact productivity in our companies. About 70 percent of children under the age of 6 years old in Maine have both or their only parent in the workforce, according to America’s Edge. Having access to early learning programs reduces absenteeism and turnover, while increasing productivity and retention. And that’s good for our bottom lines.

I urge Congress and the administration to work together to commit resources for a voluntary state-federal partnership that will provide every Maine child from low-income working families access to high-quality child care and early learning opportunities. It’s simply good for business.

John Bragg


BDN letter writer

Alberta Gamble, my grandmother, passed away recently. She was a long-time subscriber to the BDN and a devout Republican. She was a frequent letter writer. Her letters always centered around sharing her political beliefs with BDN readers.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the paper for sharing her words of wisdom through the years. I wouldn’t be surprised if her thoughts were printed as often as some of the regular columnists.

Amanda Burke