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Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014: Poverty, pitbulls, Bangor airline flights


Pitbull compassion

My husband Mason and I purchased a dog eight years ago: a beautiful blue-nose pitbull we named Bruschi. Some were leery of the fact that we had a pitbull, but they started to come around after they met him. I am now especially glad we decided to get him around the holidays.

While letting my dog out for a walk one morning, my husband’s cellphone rang, and I could see his expression became concerned as he grabbed his jacket and started out the door. The dog skidded around Mason, who was at the end of our driveway, and went to our missing neighbors’ side and started barking, something he seldom did.

Mason sprang into action, taking his jacket off and wrapping it around our neighbor to try and keep our neighbor warm. Bruschi paced anxiously around our neighbor, whimpering and whining the whole time. I ran into the house and grabbed the blanket I had just been snuggled in and brought it out and put it on our neighbor. I then ran back to get a larger blanket.

When help arrived, I realized quickly that Bruschi had gone into full-blown protection mode and didn’t want our other neighbors to help, so I brought him inside. He whined by the door the entire time our neighbor was taken to safety. It is my utmost pleasure to say that our neighbor is doing well and is on the way to recovery.

I wanted to tell this story because I am proud of my husband and dog. I call my “boys” heros.

Jessica Merchant


War on poverty continues

With Jan. 8 marking 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared the “war on poverty,” we must recognize that we may have won battles, but the war continues and will likely never end. There will always be richer and poorer. So we should ask ourselves, as we do in any conflict, what our aim is and how will we achieve it.

Whether it is caused in an individual’s life by an accident or catastrophe, whether it is the result in a community or subculture of generations of poor education and being undervalued, the depths of poverty are without question debilitating and can so easily lead to despair.

There can be no question, therefore, that, to cite our Constitution, if we want to “promote the general welfare,” we must guarantee to every individual the essentials of life — food, housing, some form of health care — which will give hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Some today assert government should do as little as possible to help people. Pointing to occasional welfare fraud, they seek to reduce aid to the poor. More than being an immoral, greedy tactic, that is a path that will only lead to insecurity and disintegration of the whole structure of our society, for discontent is the basis of revolution.

Yes, the war on poverty demands that the wealthy pay more than what may be their fair share to “establish justice” and “insure domestic tranquility.” Our forefathers recognized that our nation must have a firm foundation in the pursuit of happiness for every person, and half a century ago, Johnson reiterated that principle. When our politicians today talk about reforming welfare, they ought to remember his words.


Steve Colhoun


Where are the flights?

Waiting for a flight at Bangor International Airport this past December, which was cancelled for mechanical problems, made me start to question, where are the flights?

I believe we have more car rental companies than commercial airlines that fly into Bangor. Why?

How does BIA get the money awarded for upgrades to the terminal and runway, etc., when there are hardly any planes coming in or people to use these upgrades?

With two major airports in Maine, you cannot get a direct flight to Boston any more; travelers still need to get to Boston right?

The major bus carrier in Bangor saw a need and has increased trips to Boston. With not many flights out of Bangor, travelers are taking the bus or driving themselves to Portland, Manchester or Boston.

How much revenue is BIA losing per day per flight, never mind the inconvenience to some to have to travel farther than Bangor for a flight?

How is it that just two hours south of Portland you can go just about anywhere with better flights?

The time has arrived to be proactive toward other airlines, and meet with the airlines both old and new. They are obviously not coming to Bangor for a reason.

If more airlines were flying to BIA, all companies associated with BIA would be making money with no layoffs.

I still travel to Boston for all my flights; the total price of traveling to Boston and flying out is cheaper, along with greater flight availability.

Jeff Figgins


End up like Europe

New York Republican Rep. Peter King is quoted in the Jan. 7 BDN as being worried that an extension of federal unemployment insurance might get the nation into financial difficulties, and that we would “end up like Europe.”

That, indeed, should give us the opportunity to pause and reflect. Consider what might happen if we did in fact “end up like Europe.”

1. Most of us would live longer. Life expectancy in Western Europe exceeds that of the United States.

2. Infant mortality would drop. According to the CIA, the U.S. lags behind all of Western Europe, as well as the European Union.

3. Violent crime would diminish (and with it, the need for more taxes to pay for more prisons to house more criminals).

4. Unstable folks with mental problems would be prevented from buying firearms.

5. Young people would be able get a university education without incurring oppressive debt.

Centuries ago, the ancestors of millions of present-day Americans fled Europe, seeking greater economic, political and religious freedom. Many still do. But they arrive to find a nation much more like the Europe of yesteryear: an economy controlled by an aristocracy, a society dominated by a political elite and a culture infected by religious extremism.

Today’s Europe is not without its problems. But hostility or indifference to social justice, fairness and equality of educational opportunity are not among them.

Lynn Parsons


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