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Tuesday, July 15, 2014: Bear baiting, Cuckolds light station, Hobby Lobby, lobster treatment

Bears deserve better

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife falsely characterizes the consequences of prohibiting the grotesque practices of bear baiting, trapping and hounding. The experience of other states that have prohibited baiting and hounding suggests a far different outcome.

States such as Oregon, Washington and Colorado — where baiting and hounding were banned decades ago — have seen higher bear harvests and more bear hunters. In Oregon alone, since the baiting and hounding ban, bear tag sales have tripled, revenue from the sales has grown by 214 percent, and revenue from nonresident bear tag sales has doubled. Washington and Colorado have seen very similar results with the number of bear hunters doubling or tripling. Conflicts with bears, which are encouraged by baiting, which causes bears to seek out human food, have remained stable in these states despite human population growth.

These are facts, and they demonstrate that Maine could attract more bear hunters, sell significantly more bear hunting licenses, raise more revenue from bear hunting and keep our bear population stable without current practices.

However, unwittingly, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has created a bear hunting culture that is dependent upon outdated, inhumane and, sad to say, lazy hunting methods. Maine, and its bears, deserve better.

Gary Aldridge


Lighthouse B&B

I am one of the cranks who raised questions about the restoration of the Cuckolds keepers house off Southport Island. We were always in favor of rescuing the lighthouse, but many of us questioned the viability and sustainability of the council’s ambitious proposal.

It has morphed into a handsome, luxurious bed-and-breakfast, which is not historically fitting, does not offer a valid lighthouse keeper’s experience, and only the deep pocketed can afford.

We wish them well and hope that the facility becomes a good neighbor to the Cape Newagen community and that its guests have a safe and comfortable visit.

Mark Knowlton


Our senator

As we all head to our camps or trips for summer vacation and some much needed rest, I want to recognize the hard work — all year long — of the senior senator from Maine: Susan Collins.

Amazingly, Collins has never missed a vote in her time in the U.S. Senate. Not one. Ever.

I cannot imagine the amount of work that goes into keeping such a streak alive over an 18-year time period, and I’m so grateful that she’s willing to serve us in the most valuable way possible: through taking Maine values of hard work and dedication to Washington. I hope the readers of this paper consider themselves as lucky as I do to have Collins as our senator.

Kathy Hicks



Religious distinction

A Hobby Lobby’s advertisement quoting U.S. presidents is unbalanced.

A treaty written during Washington’s presidency and signed during John Adams’ presidency, proclaimed, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

President James Madison wrote, “It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will best be guarded against by an entire abstinence of the government from interference in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect against trespasses on its legal rights by others.”

Jefferson wrote to a nephew: “[S]hake off all the fears and servile prejudices, under which weak minds are crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

Rev. Charles J. Stephens

Castine Unitarian Universalist Congregation


Stop the carnage

“Radicalized.” “Attack.” “Maraud.”

Those are pretty strong terms to use for people who have simply used words to express their disagreement with you. But those are the terms used by lobster profiteer Linda Bean to describe animal advocates, who she portrays as trying to destroy the Maine way of life.

In recent years, I have noticed a trend here in New England and across the USA: Whenever someone who makes their money by exploiting animals is in any way critiqued, he or she tries to turn the tables by likening animal advocates to terrorists.

I find it strange that those who kill for a living feel so free to describe those who are trying to stop the carnage as the violent ones.

Pattrice Jones

Springfield, VT


Independent minded

Another “balanced” column in which “he” (Republican Michael Cianchette) and “she” (Democrat Cynthia Dill) will debate the state politics of the day. The 37 percent of Maine voters who do not desire party affiliation were quickly dismissed in their first effort. It’s being a party member that “means you actually have to do something,” says Dill. “It’s so much easier to say, ‘I’m an independent,’ and pour yourself another drink.” Seriously?

I am sure there were days when Angus King, Eliot Cutler, Dick Woodbury, and yeah, me, would have sooner poured ourselves a lethal dose of arsenic than drag ourselves out onto the uneven playing field to compete with the political parties who control the rules for elections. Instead, we decided to “do something.”

Co-opiner Cianchette ponders the “takeaway,” and he said, “Independents should re-engage with the party system? Or should they just vote for a guy with a mustache like King?”

You mean that “guy with a mustache” who is our U.S. senator and former governor? Yep, he’s just another uninvolved independent.

Top it off with Dill’s comment about how “people are very busy. Men are golfing, and women are taking care of everyone.” Humor? Unless the level of dialogue between these two improves, it is hardly likely to cause independent readers to “re-engage with the party system.”

But we just might pour ourselves another drink.

Jill Goldthwait

Bar Harbor


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