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Saturday, March 28, 2015: Becoming Dunceland, rural Internet, LePage’s tax shift

Land for Maine

Since 2009, the people of Maine have approved bonds totaling roughly $11.5 million for the purpose of acquiring public lands. The Land for Maine’s Future program is tasked with using this money to secure land for public use, land that would often otherwise be privatized, thereby restricting or prohibiting public access. By approving these bonds, Maine residents have made clear their desire to protect the right of public access, preserve working farms and waterfront and their willingness to earmark public funding to that end.

The funds, however, remain unavailable. Gov. Paul LePage refuses to issue the monies until the Legislature approves a plan that enables more timber harvesting on state-owned land. If the Land for Maine’s Future funds are not allocated by the end of this year, $6.5 million approved for use by Land for Maine’s Future in 2009 will expire and be unavailable for future use.

While timber harvesting on public lands has increased significantly under the LePage administration, the governor asserts that more is needed and that he intends to hold voter-approved money hostage until he gets his way. This pitting of one project against another is infuriating to Maine voters who have been clear in their intent when approving these bonds.

In the end, the governor makes it clear that he is not interested in the voice of voters but rather in using Maine’s resources as he alone sees fit. It’s time for the governor to stop being petty and do what the voters have mandated be done.

Nancie Bogart



Rural Internetification

I am going toward age 95, but I do remember rural electrification. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: “Rural electrification is the process of bringing electrical power to rural and remote areas. Electricity is used not only for lighting and household purposes, but it also allows for mechanization of many farming operations, such as threshing, milking and hoisting grain for storage. In areas facing labor shortages, this allows for greater productivity at reduced cost.”

It seems that there is some sort of correlation to sending high-speed Internet to remote rural areas. There was an office of the Rural Electrification Administration in Aurora that brought electric power to Maine local farming areas.

M J Sirabella



Dunceland uber alles

Regarding Lois Kilby-Chesley’s March 24 BDN OpEd, “Big Money Fuels Maine’s Complicated Education Reforms”: As morally and fiscally bankrupt state and federal governments withdraw from the adequate funding of public education, the financial slack is picked up by the Gateses, Zuckerbergs and Murdocks of the world. It is now crystal-clear that the educational end product they prefer, except for the children of wealthy elites, is a virtually unlimited supply of informationally bereft, ethically challenged, techno-drones.

In Maine, retired educators seeking part-time employment in public education must pay for a teaching practicum and coursework, but a parent without a high school diploma may homeschool his or her own child. Dunceland uber alles.

Richard Lamasney, Ph.D.



LePage’s introspection

It is refreshing to see that our governor is becoming more introspective in his second term, exemplified by his response to Stephen King’s affirmation that he has not moved to Florida and that “LePage is made of the stuff that makes the grass grow greener.”

It is encouraging to see that the governor is taking “King at his word.” Wasn’t it Socrates who said “know thyself”? Hats off to the governor.

John Getchell



Hypocritical governor

As I recall, our great governor and his lovely wife applied for homestead exemptions in both Florida and Maine. And now has the unmitigated gall to accuse Stephen King of not paying his fair share of taxes.

Ronald D. Raymond

Liberty and Zephyrhills, Florida


Tax shift is raw deal

The March 25 BDN article on Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed tax shift only considered half the equation. Yes, he proposes massive tax breaks for wealthy people and large corporations, and very small cuts for the middle class and working poor, but where will the money come from? His plan will pay for these tax cuts by cutting funds for education, prescription drugs for the elderly, services for autistic children, etc. It will also pay for it with cuts to (and eventual elimination of) revenue sharing. The only way towns can raise that lost revenue is by raising property taxes.

If you work for a living and you get a break of $150 on your income tax, but your property tax goes up $300 (plus you pay a higher sales tax on everything you have to buy) the governor’s tax shift is a raw deal. If you are rich, it’s a good deal. And the richer you are, the better it gets.

Meredith Ares



Caregivers recognition

There is a group of people in Maine who frequently go unnoticed and underappreciated. They are the nearly 200,000 unpaid caregivers who provide assistance to family members or friends who can no longer take care of themselves.

Family caregivers play a critical role in care transitions, especially as their loved ones move from hospitals to rehabilitation centers and back home. Today, nearly 50 percent of family caregivers perform medical and nursing tasks, often with little or no explanation or guidance. Simple, yet profound changes can be made to support family caregivers so they can safely care for their loved ones at home and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations or rehospitalizations following surgery or treatment. Presently, statistics show that one of every eight Medicare beneficiaries is readmitted within 30 days due to the lack of proper transitional care.

AARP Maine is working with Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, and a bipartisan group of co-sponsors on LD 666, the Caregiver Advise, Record, and Enable (CARE) Act. This act is designed to directly support caregivers who help loved ones remain in their own homes and we are urging all legislators to support it. Under the CARE Act, the hospital would record the name of the patient’s caregiver, the caregiver would be informed when the patient is being discharged from the hospital, and the caregiver would be given detailed instructions on how to best care for their loved one before discharge.

This is an important step in our efforts to give family caregivers the recognition they deserve and I urge you to contact your legislators and ask them to support this bill.

Dr. Erica Magnus

AARP Maine Volunteer



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