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Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015: National park, clean elections and legal marijuana

Explore park option

I love the fact that Mainers have traditionally allowed people to access their land for recreational purposes. Of course, nothing requires such permission. There are so many gorgeous places in Maine that are off limits to all but the owners.

Access to land for recreational purposes, especially those areas that are along Maine’s beautiful rivers, is worthy of strong support. It is for this reason that I am strongly supportive of the efforts underway that could lead to establishing a national park upon the land along the East Branch of the Penobscot.

The owners of this gorgeous land, 150,000 acres in total, have offered to gift it to us, so we can access it into the future. Not only that, they have also offered $40 million of their hard-earned money to establish an endowment to help maintain the land as a national park. I think that this is incredibly generous of them. I believe that their offer should be embraced.

I was born here and have lived here for most of my life. It has been sad to watch so many jobs lost in this region, particularly in the paper industry. While I do not see a national park as a sure-fire fix to the problems in this economy, I do believe the economic viability of the plan should be explored. If a national park would help draw more visitors to this region of Maine — and not negatively impact the forest products industry — the concept should move forward quickly.

Brad Coffey


Electronic edition rocks

I started subscribing to the electronic edition of the BDN a year ago. I have heard that there really weren’t that many subscribers. I don’t get it. It is available around 3:30 a.m., looks just like the real paper copy, and never gets wet. Yes, I have to have an account and download it but I get it with no problem. None of the printed paper problems happen with the electronic edition.

I made a folder and save back issues on my computer for a few months. No stacks of old papers lying around and I don’t have to get them outside for trash day. The best part is I hooked one of my cheap laptops up via a HDMI cable and can read it in my easy chair on my 55-inch TV sipping a cup of coffee. If my tired eyes can’t quite read something I just enlarge it in the Adobe Reader PDF program. I send it to a few friends in faraway places via email. They think I’m a hero.

I realize it is not for everyone but I would not trade it in for the world. It works for me. There are so many reasons to get it this way and someday I’m betting it will be the only way as it is in bigger cities. It saves paper and ink and trash, and my dog can’t jump up in my lap covering it up so I can’t read it. Need help with it? Call the BDN.

David Winslow



Clean Elections summit

I was heartened and frankly amazed by the intense bipartisan interest in the Clean Elections initiative on Election Day last November. Voters, who ordinarily bypass the petition tables altogether, lined up to sign and express their extreme frustration with what’s happened to our elections here in Maine. They were angered by the cruel, misleading ad campaigns paid for by secret big donors that trample candidates who don’t have the money to compete.

On Feb. 17, the Secretary of State’s office announced that the Clean Elections initiative had officially qualified for the ballot, collecting 79,539 valid signatures, 18,416 more than necessary. Now we have the opportunity to vote on the initiative on Nov. 3 this year.

This act will force more disclosure of Big Money, so we know who’s trying to buy our votes. It will place meaningful penalties on organizations that violate our campaign laws. And, it will strengthen Clean Elections candidates so that they can rise above the vicious, misleading advertisements, and talk directly to us about the issues we care about. I want my representative to be accountable to me, not someone writing big checks for the campaign.

For this initiative to succeed we need to spread the word and it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican or independent. If you want be part of this effort to level the playing field in Maine elections, please join me and other everyday people tired of money in politics on March 7, in Waterville for the Clean Elections Volunteer Summit. To find out more about the initiative and the summit go to mainecleanelections.org.

Suzanne Kelly


Legalize marijuana

On Feb. 20, U.S. Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, and Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, introduced two bills that together would legalize and tax marijuana at the federal level; the “Marijuana Tax Revenue Act” and “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.”

I hope that my fellow Mainers join me in asking that our Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin put their support behind such initiatives to end this prohibition on marijuana once and for all.

If we truly value our liberty here in the state, then we should seek to rid ourselves of this silly idea that our lawmakers can dictate what is acceptable or unacceptable for its citizens do in the privacy of their own homes.

Benjamin Hamilton



BDN home

Thank you John Holyoke for writing a wonderful and poignant article on Feb. 20 called “ Farewell to 491 Main St.” His words brought to mind all of the times I have passed the BDN on my way to work and looking at the lovely landscaping surrounding the building and appreciating what a great newspaper we have here in Bangor. I will miss the BDN being there on Buck and Main.

John also reminded us all of the wonderful articles that are written every day by such talented people and that “home” really is where the heart is.

Pat Martin


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