January 23, 2019
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Friday, Jan. 10, 2019: No pay for Congress and president, we won’t get fooled again, volunteer opportunity

Volunteer opportunity

I’m writing in response to the article on how the spirit of giving and volunteering dies back after the holidays. For people interested in feeling that spirit of caring and giving that they experience during the holidays, might I suggest becoming involved in a program whose need is year-round.

Founded in 2011, Welcome To Housing Home Goods Bank (WTH) helps clients of about 50 agencies and is an all volunteer organization. WTH helps individuals, including veterans, as well as families as they move from shelter programs, are displaced by domestic violence, house fires, or re-enter society from corrections. WTH provides free home goods: furniture, beds, housewares and cookware.

WTH is the fiscal agent of the Feeding Bangor Food Bank and works closely with The Storehouse, which collects and sorts clothing by size and gives it back out free of charge to people in need.

Welcome To Housing relies on volunteers with trucks and vans and trailers to pick up larger donations such as furniture. Finding more volunteers with the vehicles as well as flexible schedules has been a challenge.

You will be amazed at all the good things that happen when you lend a hand, open your heart and mind to help others in need. You will also see people at their very best.

Christopher Olsen

Founder

Welcome to Housing

Bangor

More study needed on plant antibiotics

In a process that did not include full scientific analysis, the Environmental Protection Agency has approved the annual spraying of up to 650,000 pounds of streptomycin and oxytetracycline on nearly half a million acres of Florida citrus groves.

The scientific and medical communities have long known that use of antibiotics in agriculture is contributing to antibiotic-resistant strains of such deadly diseases as tuberculosis. For this reason, both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have warned against antibiotic overuse in agriculture. The European Union has banned the use of streptomycin and oxytetracycline on crops.

Because of inadequate EPA research and analysis, we cannot know for certain how this newly-approved massive volume of antibiotics, sprayed on Florida citrus groves, will affect soil, water, pollinating insects and our health.

As residents of a state whose economy relies in part on agriculture, we can sympathize with Florida growers’ desire to guard their crops from pests and disease. But for the EPA to approve this method of doing so without full consideration of its cost to our land, our waters and our people is shortsighted and dangerous. We must demand better of the agency created to protect us, and of the congressional representatives required by law to oversee it.

Mary Dickinson Bird

Orono

Pointing a finger at both sides of the aisle

The U.S. Border Patrol has long wanted a wall on the southern border, well before it was ever mentioned by Donald Trump. Trump used it in his campaign because it garnered support for him from the southern border states. The purpose of the wall is to slow down those attempting illegal entrance sufficient for triggered sensors to summons border agents to get there and arrest them.

If the U.S. government employees request certain tools that enable them to do their jobs more effectively, then give them the tools. Would you deprive our soldiers on the front line from having guns or bullets for their guns? The Democrats don’t want the wall only because it is requested by the Republican president. This entire disagreement could be about any topic you can think of other than a border wall. The primary issue is preventing the other team from scoring any points.

So while both sides refuse to compromise, thousands of government employees are at risk of losing their homes and cars due to no paycheck. The only people that should go without pay in the event of budget stalemates should be the ones refusing to compromise, namely the president and Congress. Our elected officials share the blame for not refusing to obey their party leaders. Just because their party leadership is engaged in petty politics doesn’t mean they also have to engage in such nonsense. They need to use common sense on behalf of the people that elected them. I’m pointing my finger at both sides of the aisle.

Phil Cyr

Caribou

We won’t get fooled again

Along with the new year, we now have a 53 to 47 Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. Thank God Sen. Susan Collins’ vote is now completely and totally irrelevant. Finally, we can quit pretending that she is going to ride in and save us from the four horsemen of calumny, only to have our thoughts and prayers dashed on the rocks once more. This siren’s song is now lost in the larger tempest.

As George W. Bush so eloquently said, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Ron Hidu

Hampden

Paid sick leave makes business sense for me

I am the owner of Kimball Street Studios, Custom Framing and Gallery in Lewiston. I was surprised by Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Peter Gore’s Dec. 28 OpEd in the BDN. I wonder if before taking a position Gore took the time to poll the small business community for our opinions? I’m sure he receives anecdotal insights from his role with the chamber, and perhaps has other ways of gathering opinion data, but he does not speak for all of us.

Small-business owners like me know first-hand that providing paid sick days is not only the right thing to do, it is a smart business decision. In an economy with low unemployment, employees are much more likely to leave if they don’t feel valued. Turnover is costly, and studies show that offering earned paid sick time can reduce turnover by 50 percent.

At Kimball Street Studios, knowledgeable employees are crucial to the business. It takes time to learn how to handle and frame fine art; having loyal, committed employees expands our customer base by making positive contributions to our standards. Helping our staff stay healthy and content is the wisest of investments. They are not expendable.

Mary Callahan

Lewiston



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