No downside to national park
Recently, several friends and I had the opportunity to travel into the woods of northern Maine. We left cellphones and possessions behind and skied to a cabin beside a roaring brook in the heart of the property proposed for a national park. The beauty and vastness filled my soul. There was no traffic noise or ringing phones. The experience soothed my heart, and I started a new week feeling refreshed, grounded and connected to nature.
Before the trip I didn’t know about the proposal to create a national park and recreation area. After experiencing the place, speaking with supportive locals and doing a bit of research, I wonder why this effort has stalled.
My friends and I talked about the proposal on our ride back to civilization. We were unable to see any downside. If designated as a national park, the land would remain for our enjoyment, and prosperity could return to an area that desperately needs it.
National parks need congressional action, and I have made appeals to Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins. My hope is that our senators will work with the president to ensure my great-great-grandchildren can share this place.
Expand public transportation options
I live in Corinth and don’t have a car, so I rely mostly on public transportation to get to and from Bangor.
No bus system runs out where I live, so I rely on Lynx Mobility Services, operated by Penquis, if I need to get to medical appointments. Otherwise, I rely on other people to get around. But people have their own schedules and I don’t want to be a burden, so I am often stranded in town or I have to take a cab to get around. If I’m going to Bangor, it’s $70 round trip. This is a daily struggle for someone who lives in a rural community without a vehicle or who has a disability.
What we need is public transportation that can service areas outside Bangor. It would be great if the Community Connector could extend even limited service to towns such as Hermon, Glenburn, Corinth and Levant.
Addiction a medical problem
In a March 9 BDN letter to the editor, Mary Offutt attempted to distinguish between addiction, which she identifies with cravings, and physical dependence, which she thinks is medical. She has it exactly wrong. Addiction is physical dependence. Addiction is the physiological process that occurs whenever we take a psychoactive substance, such as opioids, in high enough doses for long enough.
Drug dependence is — or should be — a psychological process, in which drugs come to rule a person’s life. Drug dependence often is associated with the use of short-acting narcotics that create rapid cycles of intoxication and withdrawal. Craving is often the result of that process. Long-acting opioids, such as methadone, are addictive but do not necessarily lead to dependence. People who are only addicted can lead healthy and productive lives. People who are dependent cannot.
Likewise, substance abuse should be used to describe criminal and other antisocial behavior associated with taking drugs, not dependence. If we are to solve our drug problems, we should begin by defining them in a way that leads to real solutions. Addiction is a biological and medical problem, dependence a psychosocial problem and abuse a social and criminal problem.
Trump, LePage bad role models
Donald Trump and Paul LePage make terrible role models for our children. Teachers and parents spend each day trying to teach children about the importance of respect, empathy, kindness, love, honesty and patience. We show them the importance of thinking before speaking or acting and why it is not OK to bully or use violence as a solution.
Yet, these two engage in such behavior on a daily basis. We have a presidential candidate who incites violence and spreads hatred and racism. We have a governor who lies, bullies and uses threats to those who have a different point of view.
Where is the love, kindness and tolerance? Both men are the worst role models in recent political history. The GOP should be ashamed and distance themselves from these two monsters before it’s too late. Do we really want our children and grandchildren to emulate such pathetic figures?