October 17, 2018
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Tuesday, May 1, 2018: Wind turbine fires, a path to recovery, a generational misunderstanding

Support ranked-choice voting

As a lifelong Republican voter, I have chosen to support ranked-choice voting. The recent Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruling favoring ranked-choice voting for the June primaries gives Maine voters an opportunity to use the system that they have clearly favored. Until the court ruled, the process had become so convoluted that it looked like the voters would not be allowed to use the system.

The people of Maine approved ranked-choice voting in 2016, but legislators tried to kill the proposal. The people fought back, collecting more than 80,000 signatures for the people’s veto. We now have the opportunity to pass it again in June and to use ranked-choice voting in the primaries.

Maine voters will have the opportunity to rank their choices in situations where there are more than two candidates, and that means that the winners will have majority support from the Maine voters. Ballots are counted in rounds where last place finishers lose until one candidate receives a majority and is declared the winner.

This June primary is an opportunity for all voters to express their true preference. I hope others will join me in voting yes on ranked-choice voting — Question 1 — and helping prove that the system will be best for Maine in all future elections.

Nelson Durgin

Bangor

Wind turbine fire danger

Google Caithness Windfarm Information Forum’s “windfarm accident reports” and “wind turbine fires” for data on turbine fires. The forum’s entries are derived from world media accounts because no government records turbine fires. Lack of official data enables wind power advocates to claim fires are rare. The forum reports 312 turbine fires since 2000, some involving oil spills or creating fires in fields and forests.

Maine is especially vulnerable. Its turbines are placed high up on forested mountain sides. Leading causes of turbine fires are overheated gearboxes and lightning strikes. Science knows higher elevations are more susceptible to lightning. Maine is fortunate its two turbine fires occurred in snowy winters, not during droughts.

Denmark recently led a second European effort to curb fires by creating a joint investigatory commission. In 2010, a similar European commission recommended hiring state inspectors who would test lubricants in independent laboratories every two to five years in efforts to reduce friction in gearboxes.

Maine has no independent inspectors or state laboratories that make such tests despite the fact lubricants do break down. Maine also has no operating regulations or limits on numbers, and no plan. Laissez-faire rules.

Maine people should realize that turbines involve placing 350- to 450-foot poles containing 250 to 250 gallons of flammable liquid hundreds of feet in the air (football fields are only 300 feet, goal to goal).

Where are our environmentalists, foresters and responsible legislators? Nowhere.

Clyde MacDonald

Hampden

A path to recovery

Lauren Abbate’s recent article on community resources for alcoholism and addiction did a good job pointing out the lack of public paid resources. For someone who really wants to stop, however, resources are there, such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, which the article glibly glossed over.

They are right there in every community across the state, and they are free. For the person who truly really seeks recovery, AA is an effective program. Meetings are governed by alcoholics and drug addicts, and for them. Part of the recovery is hearing your own story in others and identifying with it. Another part of recovery is learning to help others, and not focusing on yourself. It may start as simply as making the coffee or telling your story to someone who needs to hear it, the focus is on doing something positive.

Unfortunately, for AA to remain fully anonymous for the protection of its members, it uses the attraction, not promotion, theme as its mantra. An addict needs to hear the stories of recovery from another recovering addict to be convinced it will work. If the addict really needs help, he only needs to go to his first AA meeting to hear about recovery. It is there and functioning well, and it is fully self-supporting through its own contributions.

Susan Aygarn

Orrington

A generational misunderstanding

Barbara Bush had a great response, as highlighted in a recent column in the BDN, to the 1990 Wellesley College petition objecting to her invitation to speak at graduation on the grounds that women should be “rewarded on the basis of our own merit, not on that of a spouse.” We have a generational misunderstanding.

My mother, of the Barbara Bush generation, proudly described herself as a “homemaker.” She wasn’t ambitious for personal achievement, but she had a strong sense of purpose. She ran a serene, well-ordered home for four children: home-cooked meals every night, growing and canning healthy food, sewing clothes, selecting books and newspapers, encouraging us to be well-read citizens, and organizing our neighbors to force a local industry to clean up polluting smokestacks. She had a high-school diploma; she wasn’t “privileged.”

In her childhood, most girls were raised to be wives, mothers, homemakers, involved in their church and community. At that time, our nation believed that our collective well-being lay in stable homes and families, and girls were raised to be the stewards of this responsibility. We didn’t idealize so much the amazing individual.

Now we teach our daughters that their grandmothers were “oppressed” and bored with their lot. And some probably were. But as time passes, my respect grows for what that generation of unpaid and unsung homemakers did for this country, their communities and the children they raised. It was a nice time to grow up.

Jonette Christian

Holden

On whose side is Poliquin?

The talk about the huge amounts of money raised by Rep. Bruce Poliquin is not such a surprise when one realizes how much money he has received from the NRA. We can only wonder to whom he owes his allegiance, the NRA or the children of America, who with good reason fear for their safety?

As a concerned mom and grandmom, all I ask is for reasonable gun laws: background checks, a ban on assault weapons and a waiting period for gun purchases. The momentum is now on our side. We need someone in Congress who represents our interests, not that of the NRA.

Beth Brand

Orono

 


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