Top notch care

On July 27, I slipped on a trail in Baxter State Park, dislocating and fracturing my elbow. After walking almost five miles with a 35-pound pack and a painful limb, I arrived by car at the Millinocket Regional Hospital in extreme pain.

The entire emergency room staff from the intake receptionist, x-ray technician, several nurses and two doctors treated me with total sensitivity, kindness and focused immediate medical care.

Their kind, coordinated team approach, which centered on me the patient, is something I haven’t always experienced at other hospitals. Quality medical care is not determined by the size of a hospital but by the quality of the administrative and medical staff who work at the hospital. The Millinocket emergency room staff is top notch.

Diane Friese


Clean distortions

Matthew Gagnon’s Aug. 1 BDN column “Not so clean elections” seriously distorts the intent of the ballot initiative recently submitted by Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. The initiative’s purpose is to repair the damage inflicted on the original Clean Elections law since its passage in 1996, including a Supreme Court ruling nullifying its matching funds provision and numerous politically motivated budget cuts.

Among the initiative’s proposals are a higher funding ceiling for legislative and gubernatorial candidates if they can collect additional qualifying contributions from constituents; harsher penalties for campaign finance violations; a prohibition on legislators participating in political action committees; and a change in the program’s funding source from tax revenue to a 15 percent surcharge on fines levied by state courts.

The proposal for higher funding limits attempts to counteract the Supreme Court decision by giving candidates with fewer financial resources a better chance of competing against well-funded opponents. The campaign finance and political action committee provisions are designed to ensure that Maine elections remain “clean” in a period of unprecedented campaign spending by undisclosed individuals and entities.

The new funding proposal is calculated to protect the program from budget shortfalls, improve its long-term financial viability and remove the burden on taxpayers.

The Clean Elections system has significantly improved opportunities for ordinary Maine citizens to run for public office. Since its inception, the number of uncontested legislative seats has declined dramatically, and the number of women legislators has increased by 150 percent. The new initiative seeks to ensure that these opportunities are available for future candidates.

Sam Jenkins


Without criticism and scrutiny

I’d like to respond to Fritz Spencer’s Aug. 6 BDN OpEd, Pleasure through harm: Why prize fighting has no place in Maine.

“Prize fighting,” or in other words known as Mixed Martial Arts, is just like any competitive sport. To compare it to Roman Gladiators is an inaccurate statement. The sport of MMA is undoubtedly brutal and not for everyone to watch. However, the picture that’s painted isn’t as graphic as one would assume.

MMA fighters are some of the most athletically gifted people in the world. They have to be good in a variety of martial arts, including wrestling, jiu jitsu and boxing.

Once a fight is chosen, a contract is signed. Unlike Spencer’s comparison to bull, dog and bird fighting, fighters actually have a choice to compete or not. A fighter’s goal isn’t to kill. It’s about winning, whether it’s by knockout, referee stoppage, tapout or decision. Professional fighters go for three, five minute rounds, and at most for five, five minute rounds for title fights. That’s short compared to a football game that lasts 36 minutes per quarter, or boxing which can go for up to 15 three-minute rounds.

After a fight is over, spectators typically see the two fighters hug and congratulate each other. Fighters exhibit a great deal of sportsmanship; it’s not about the violence, it’s about respect.

Fighting isn’t for everyone, but it is for some. It’s obvious Spencer doesn’t understand it. The ones who are against it have never experienced it, yet they continue to voice their opinions on how terrible it is. Let these athletes enjoy their sport without criticism and scrutiny.

Catie Denning