Calais hospital cutbacks troubling
When I heard that Calais Regional Hospital’s obstetrics unit was closing, I felt sick. Just two months before, I had an amazing delivery experience there. Before that received great care during my prenatal visits. Greater Calais needs to keep this excellent OB care available and accessible.
When I heard the news, I immediately thought of expectant mothers, present and future, and their newborn babies and young families. I felt incredibly concerned for their safety, especially thinking about them being forced to drive hours to either Machias or Bangor for prenatal appointments and delivery. These drives would take place on bad roads, with spotty cellphone service, in all of the extreme driving conditions we experience Down East.
Lack of accessible health care for such a large area creates dangerous conditions for innocent people. Pregnancy can be a vulnerable time, even a risky and scary time for some women. Further complications should not be forced upon them. Someone in labor or seeking prenatal care should not have the added stress of those long drives, especially during nighttime and our long winter months. Rural areas with poor infrastructure make local women’s health care even more crucial. This decision is not responsible or sustainable. It creates hardship and danger.
It was shocking to our community to learn this news, and many people feel deeply troubled by this decision. Finances were cited as a reason. Our community and the area’s women and newborn babies deserve the excellent care they get right here at Calais Regional Hospital.
Cosmano for select board
As a state representative, I’ve made hundreds of new friends across the seven towns in my district — including fellow public servants. On June 13, voters in one of my towns, Stockton Springs, will vote for town selectmen. On that ballot will be one of the hardest working town officials I know, Lesley Cosmano.
Here’s what I’ve seen from Cosmano: a constant concern for her residents, unending effort to always help, recognizing needs and fighting for them from providing food for the local food pantry, to notebooks and crayons for our school children. She’s helped to raise a steeple and flagpole, and provide a meal and conversation to the elderly.
She’s spoken twice before the Legislature addressing ways to lower taxes in coastal towns, and she voiced her concerns personally to myself and Waldo County Sen. Mike Thibodeau. Not a month goes by when I haven’t heard from Cosmano on a potential project, an ongoing town issue, budget concern or legislative issue that affects Stockton Springs, focusing on lowering the town tax burden by finding efficiencies and bringing in new businesses and development.
Like myself, she turns over all of her public servant pay to help individuals, town committees and various local organizations.
She is dedicated and cares about her town and its people and is a good example of what an elected official should be. I hope the good folks in Stockton Springs keep her on as selectman so she can continue her work for her town.
Rep. Karl Ward
Maine needs universal family care
I am writing in support of LD 1612, which would create universal family care in Maine. Simple math shows that a single income cannot support a family of four for very long. Opportunities for second jobs that accommodate day-job hours are few. When our youngest turned 3-months-old, we placed her in a child care center and tried to get back to work. Not to take anything away from the dedicated staff at the center, but it wasn’t long before my little girl’s developing immune system couldn’t take any more of the daily exposure to germs that are everywhere.
My wife and I missed about a week of work every month staying home with our daughter when she would get sick. We aren’t talking simple sniffles. High fevers would reduce her normal, energetic self to a rag doll for days at a time. We would fight to keep any fluids in her. I will always remember the joy I felt when she would finally sit up and eat a Popsicle. Over a six-month period, we went to the doctor about 12 times.
It is long past time to end the myth that hard work alone can “save” the middle class. Support for working families has short-term benefits for employers by reducing absenteeism. It has long-term benefits for families trying to build for the future. And it benefits the community as a whole to raise a generation of young people who will one day care for and provide essential services to us all.
Universal family care good for Maine
I have many perspectives to offer on universal family care. I am a mother who quit her job to raise a child. I’m someone who also had to quit her job again to be a family caregiver for my late husband. I am a retired home care worker, as well.
When my daughter was born, I cared for her at home. Those years being unable to contribute to Social Security, save for retirement and contribute to a mortgage put me behind financially.
Later in life, I started working as a home care worker. I loved working with the elderly, but because of budget cuts to vital care programs, I was forced to quit a job that I loved and needed.
When my late husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I once again quit my job to care for him. I was already going through the hardest period of my life, and the additional concern about how I was going to pay the bills made everything much more difficult. The option of additional financial support or a home care worker would have made a world of difference to me.
As my health deteriorates, as it will for all of us someday, I also will need more help. Home care is a demand that is growing rapidly, so as we continue living longer, we need to support this industry. Home care is the most efficient way to care for people. This is why I urge legislators to support LD 1612, universal family care.