Schneck gets it

It makes perfect and poetic sense that voters of Maine House District 126 would cast their ballots to send John Schneck back to Augusta to represent their interests. John Schneck, after all, has been a tireless advocate for voter access in his time as a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Veteran and Legal Affairs, the committee that oversees elections and voting.

Schneck has already been exploring ways to assist those in his district of very limited means to afford the postage required for an absentee ballot — and not because anyone has asked him to. He just believes that participating in our elections is so important that everyone should have that critical opportunity to have their voices heard.

I agree. As secretary of state, I’ve admired his commitment to not only this issue, but to so many others that are critical to the future of Bangor and the entire state. Schneck is a thoughtful legislator who will continue to fight hard for a better Maine.

Matt Dunlap

Old Town

I trust Ben Sprague

I am writing to express my support for the re-election of Ben Sprague for the Bangor City Council. Normally, I avoid politics: I don’t trust politicians, I don’t trust others’ opinions of politicians, and I don’t trust myself to thoroughly tease out the hidden agendas of politicians.

The exception is Ben Sprague. I trust Ben Sprague.

Ben expresses his opinion but doesn’t tell us what to think. Ben explains, when he has to choose between two bad choices, why he thinks one choice is “less bad” than the other. Ben offers weekly facts and data about Bangor that are inspirational, tragic, historic or just plain interesting.

He does it all through clear and succinct communication, whether it’s face-to-face, in the news, in his email newsletter, or through his Facebook posts and Twitter feed. He makes it easy for me to feel informed about, and connected to, the city that I love. He demonstrates a passion for connecting city employees to residents and building camaraderie among them. He inspires me to be a good citizen.

In essence, Ben is the one politician I trust because he performs his work as “mayor” (city council chair) not because of a hidden agenda, but because he cares about Bangor. I find this refreshing.

For these reasons, I fully endorse and support Ben Sprague’s re-election efforts. He has earned my vote already.

Jennifer Hooper

Bangor

Support Fulford

I have known Maine Senate candidate Jonathan Fulford for nearly 30 years. I know Fulford through a lens that few others do. On several occasions we have paddled wilderness rivers in Quebec with a small group of friends. You learn a lot about a person during a week or more in a remote area with no help nearby. There are difficult challenges that require skillful decisions and actions to keep everyone safe and healthy.

What I know about Fulford is that he is smart and resourceful, and knows how to work well with others. He thinks and responds well under pressure, he keeps a sense of humor even when everyone is dog-tired, and he is a tireless worker. I would go anywhere with Jonathan, and I can’t think of a better person to represent Waldo County in the state Legislature. I encourage you to support him as well.

Buck O’Herin

Montville

Sentimentality vs. science

It has been with great pleasure that I have learned of the outdoor traditions and opportunities of the Maine woods and streams, as I have driven around the state and canoed the Allagash Waterway. It is discouraging to see Maine infested with the hubris of those who intend to impose their values on those who do not share their opinions and beliefs.

Those who would force the bear hunters to live according to the values that they cannot agree with are not so much different than the Islamic fundamentalists who push their dogma onto those who think otherwise. If this seems an extreme example, recall that it was Thomas Jefferson who wrote that the majority must not be allowed to tyrannize the minority with which it disagrees. The animal rights sentimentalists who feel that their opinions are “just” because they are “deeply held beliefs” cannot convince, so they will constrain. Sentimentality is a poor substitute for science.

Mike Messick

Kansas City, Missouri

Ward cares

I grew up in Prospect and attended Bucksport schools and was lucky enough to play softball there. During my junior year, our Bucksport High School team won the 2006 Class B Maine state championship. I then went on to play four successful years at the University of Maine.

In each program I was fortunate to be surrounded by great leaders and mentors. After college, I landed my dream job when Karl Ward hired me as general manager of Sluggers Baseball & Softball Training Facility in Brewer.

I met Ward while construction was still happening and his vision and enthusiasm were immediately apparent. He wanted Sluggers to be a place where kids in our area could learn the game. (The next closest facility is in Portland.)

But most importantly, like my coaches, he also believes strongly in challenging and teaching young people to become something more. He challenged me, a young general manager, to go outside my comfort zone. Even the walls at Sluggers are covered in motivating and mentoring phrases for all of us to learn from.

Ward cares about our region. He cares about young people. And he backs his words up with action. For these reasons I know that he will do a great job in the Maine Legislature. I urge folks in Orland, Verona Island and Prospect to vote to send him there.

Terren Hall

Charleston

Bears and bait

Numerous studies clearly demonstrate that bears’ biology is regulated by food availability. With plenty of food comes early maturation of females, more cubs per litter, and higher cub survival rates. Hence baiting, which the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife touts as a means to limit the bear population, has the exact opposite effect.

Bait piles grow Maine’s bear population past what would occur in nature and far beyond IF&W’s management goal. Last year alone, 7 million pounds of greasy, sugary baits were dumped into Maine’s woods to lure bears to certain sites in Maine’s woods. With access to easy and smelly calories, Maine’s bear population has jumped by 30 percent in the last decade.

While IF&W propounds the practices of bear baiting, hounding and trapping, the agency concedes these methods aren’t successfully managing bears. It’s really simple biology. If Maine’s bears lived on natural foods alone, there would be far fewer of them.

Ann Eagan

Portland