December 11, 2018
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Thursday, April 6, 2017: Connect Bangor with passenger rail, Sen. Collins available to constituents, support Maine’s public health nurses

Bring passenger rail to Bangor

Looking at a roadmap of Maine, Interstate 95 heads northeast until Newport, takes a sharp veer to the east to go straight to Bangor before continuing on its original direction.

Clearly the plan was to connect Bangor to the interstate system. Where would Bangor be without it?

Concerning passenger rail system, the first mistake was demolishing what was already in place. The second mistake is not rectifying the first mistake.

Look at Europe and how connected it is by rail systems. There is less congestion on roads, fewer automobile crashes, and it is a much more efficient way of travel. We Americans are so backward thinking.

It was important to connect Bangor with I-95, and it’s just as important to connect Bangor with passenger rail, not only to Portland and Boston, but to Montreal, Quebec City, St John, and so on.

Kate Tuck


Sen. Collins available to constituents

Amy Incorvaia’s March 29 BDN letter to the editor attacking Sen. Susan Collins for being “inaccessible” is out of touch with reality.

Collins, the U.S. Senate’s most bipartisan member, is well known for the enormous number of constituents with whom she meets personally, both in Maine and Washington.

Within the past six months, Collins headlined open forums at Bowdoin, Bates and the Lewiston-Auburn Chamber of Commerce. She was the first member of the delegation to participate in an open forum sponsored by AARP and the BDN and moderated by a BDN reporter. During each of these public events, Collins took questions from an audience of hundreds on a wide range of topics. She also participated in Maine Public Radio’s call-in show, answering questions from many listeners.

Even with a broken ankle, Collins has met with hundreds of Mainers and Maine groups already this year, including: Mainers for Accountable Leadership ( broadcast on Facebook Live), Resist Central Maine, the Sierra Club, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Maine Association of Public Housing Directors and dozens of others. Collins also hosts regular coffee meetings in Washington that are open to Mainers. Last week, one group remarked that she was the only member of the delegation to meet with them personally.

We welcome opportunities to discuss Collins’ positions on issues and on her more than 6,300 consecutive votes. In fact, Incorvaia has received three letters from Collins in the past two months. Calling Collins inaccessible, however, when she meets with literally thousands of Mainers every year, is spreading misinformation.

Annie Clark

Communications director

Office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins

Washington, D.C.

Support our public health nurses

April is National Public Health Awareness Month. It is timely to call upon legislators to support a bill LD 1108 — that aims to restore funding for our public health nurses. Public health nurses provide critical and economical community services, including:

— Immunization programs. Public health nurses stand on guard to act, should we have a disaster, such as the impeccably organized public health H1N1 immunization effort in 2009. Vaccination programs demonstrate a 10-1 benefit to cost ratio in direct and societal benefits.

— Maternal and child health. Public health nurses assist with in-home services. Maine is the nation’s only state whose infant mortality rate has risen in the last decade. This correlates with the decrease in public health nurses and other prevention activities. In-home public health nurses service for mothers and children provides returns on investment ranging from $1.80 to $5.70 per dollar spent.

— Domestic violence intervention and prevention. Maine ranks i n the top 10 nationally in intimate partner violence. With identification and early intervention, improved health and safety is seen in communities. Intimate partner violence cost an estimated $5.8 billion nationally in 2003, which is nearly $7.7 billion in 2017 dollars, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

— Infectious disease intervention. Primary care providers rely on public health nurses to help control various infectious diseases. We live in safe communities when we can prevent and contain infection.

Please call or email your legislator to support LD 1108. Please tell legislators to be careful what they cut.

Janice L. Pelletier, M.D.


Can Sen. Collins stand up to GOP?

Sen. Susan Collins finds herself in the middle of a Republican-controlled Congress that loves the word “dismantle.” During the Obama years, she was often part of the Republicans satisfied to just say no, rather than govern.

Now, many Mainers are very nervous because of the Republicans’ threats and jovial willingness to cut money for human needs — education, health, scientific research and public television and radio.

President Donald Trump is promising this state better roads and bridges, better military defense and jobs. Surely, Congress will do its best to fund these. But what many Mainers need to survive, and what they value, should not be sacrificed for expansive Republican promises.

Collins does her usual balancing act very well. She’s not about to speak strongly in Washington about the folk in Maine who want a government that works.

Of course, all Mainers are hopeful about their representatives in Washington, including her.

Instead of disrupting, can she speak with authority about the needs of all Mainers, even all Americans?

Robb Cook


Let towns decide foraging rules

A bill — LD 128 — before the Legislature would outlaw the gathering of wild plant life on private property without the permission of the landowner. At issue are fiddlehead ferns, wild berries and other such edible forage.

To people in urban and suburban communities, this looks like a no-brainer. Of course, somebody shouldn’t come into your backyard and take berries off the wild plants at the back of your property. But to those of us in rural areas, this is obvious overreach.

Some paper company owns hundreds of thousands of acres, and I’m to be forbidden to gather dandelion leaves there in the early spring? Really? Do legislators think that CEOs ought to take the time to give each individual Mainer, who wants to, permission to harvest a few fiddleheads?

What ought to gall Mainers most is that the bill was proposed by a Republican, the party that always claims to be in favor of keeping decisions local. Why not this decision? If current regulations don’t allow towns discretion on foraging, the Legislature should pass a law that permits local decisions and stay out of our Down East woods.

Donald Ashmall



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