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Saturday, July 12, 2014: Charlie Howard, climate change, soccer goalies


Festival changes

I would like to see Eastport’s July 4 committee try and make a change. What it needs to do is make special parking for those who are disabled and the disabled veterans, so they can be near the annual festivals and vendors. It is way too hard for us to walk halfway across town to go to these events.

Rick Green II


Veteran action

I congratulate Rep. Stanley Short Jr., D-Pittsfield, and other legislators on actions taken in the 126th session of the Maine Legislature on behalf of veterans. His recent OpEd piece reminded me of the important role states have in funding and implementing veterans’ programs and services in their home states.

Short highlighted some of the proactive, bipartisan legislation on veteran’s education, housing, treatment and other benefits. However, larger ideological fights overshadowed their good work and shortchanged veterans and their families.

Gov. Paul LePage, with Republican backing, did not show support to veterans when their cuts to education and the veto of Medicaid expansion curtailed veterans’ educational opportunities and health coverage. Access to affordable health care and education are fundamental to help veterans resume life back at home. Maine best serves veterans when it funds these services and partners with the federal government and nonprofits to extend benefits to Mainers who have served in the armed services.

I am supporting Jonathan Fulford, D-Monroe, for state Senate in District 11, in Waldo County. He represents the kind of change veterans need in Augusta. He will adequately fund Maine’s community colleges and vocational schools, so veterans who use their GI bill can count on getting the skills they need to succeed at work here. And Fulford will work to gain health care coverage for the 3,000 veterans and their families who were denied coverage by the LePage veto of Medicaid expansion last year.

Betsy Reid


Soccer is boring

There’s been a lot of talk about soccer recently, due in great part to the World Cup. One thing that isn’t mentioned often is that soccer, like hockey, is boring. Both are boring because there’s little scoring. I call them “nothing sports” because a frequent score after regulation is 0-0, and two zeroes equal nothing.

There is a solution that could improve both sports: abolish the goalies. Based on common numbers of saves by goalies, scores without goalies would usually be in the teens or 20s. Who wouldn’t find a final score of 20-19 more exciting than 1-0 after tiebreakers?

Imagine what basketball would be like if it had goalies who were allowed to knock away every shot. With the height and athleticism of today’s players, there would rarely be a field goal, and almost all scoring would come from the foul line. It would be horrible. And soccer and hockey are equally horrible compared with what they could be if goalies were abolished.


Lawrence E. Merrill


Carbon action

The June “ Risky Business” report found that, by mid-century, up to $23 billion in property will likely be underwater in Florida alone. Crop yields in the Midwest could be down 50 to 70 percent, and Americans will likely experience two to three times as many days with temperatures above 95 degrees as they currently do.

The case for action has already been made clear, but those who oppose it for their own
political or financial gain continue to put our health and safety at risk. We are already staring down catastrophic consequences of inaction, and the longer we wait, the worse it will become.

My wife Cheryl and I run a small family farm offering naturally raised Boer goats, chevron, goat milk soap, quail, eggs, and we are beekeepers. The effects of climate change are real, and they are happening now.

It’s time for meaningful action and common-sense limits on the dangerous carbon pollution
from power plants, for the health and safety of our children.

Bill Rudy


BDN kudos

Thank you to the BDN for the excellent series on Charlie Howard, his terrible death and the slow but significant progress made by Bangor and Maine in the 30 years since then. The writers — Judy Harrison, Nick McCrea and Mario Moretto — are to be commended for such a thoroughly researched, thoughtful and readable piece, which skillfully put events and personalities into historical context. The editorial and graphics teams also deserve kudos.

Christina Diebold


Phthalates testing

I recently learned something shocking. When 25 Maine volunteers were tested for detectable levels of phthalates in their bodies, all 25 tested positive. Phthalates are chemicals that are used in everyday plastic products and are linked to serious human health effects like asthma, birth defects and learning disabilities. However, we don’t know which specific products are the sources of exposure.

Right now, as an individual consumer, I can’t completely protect myself from phthalates because manufacturers aren’t required to disclose which products contain these chemicals. I know phthalates are often used in soft plastics or vinyl, like raincoats, shower curtains and even electronic devices. It’s likely that I have been unwittingly exposing myself to phthalates with these everyday products, which both scares and angers me.

The good news is that Maine residents have brought a new proposal to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, backed by more than 2,000 petition signatures, asking it to adopt a rule that would gather information about phthalates in consumer products.

The European Union is planning to phase out the use of three phthalates in the next 10 months. After a great July 4 holiday, I want to know that I can be proud of my country for protecting its citizens against the dangers these chemicals pose. So I’m asking Maine DEP: Require manufacturers to disclose what specific products contain phthalates as a first step to protecting Mainers from unnecessary harm.

Ben McCormack



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