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Monday, Jan. 14, 2019: Refreshing acts of kindness, farm bill focus, scientist needed at DEP

Refreshing acts of kindness

As we’ve now concluded the holiday season and moved into a brand new year, I write today to say “thank you.” For the second year in a row, the Holden Police Department conducted its annual 25 Days of Kindness this past December. This endeavor combined the self-generated good deeds of officers from our police department with the generosity of area residents and businesses.

As a result, 74 acts of kindness were conducted last month by Holden police officers, and countless organizations and families benefited from the generosity of so many. The space here will not allow me to thank each person who donated food, toys, clothing, gift cards or money, individually. However, I’m hoping at least some of the wonderful who took part will read this.

Thank you to the 14-year-old girl who bought toys with her own money for us to re-gift. Thank you to the businesses who sought us out to ask how they might help. And thank you to the people who knitted items, donated turkeys or donated money. Police work, even in a small town like Holden, has the potential to question a person’s faith in human nature. But this past December, like the December before it, helped to renew mine.

Chris Greeley

Chief of Police

Holden

Shipping trash

A follow-up to John Mayhew’s .COMments in the Jan. 8 edition of the BDN: Cargo containers have to be shipped back to China anyway to pick up the next load, so it “pays” to ship trash back rather than pay to ship empty containers. Some countries require dunnage to be shipped back to the country of origin of goods shipped by containers. Ask the people at Old Town Canoe.

John Battick

Dover-Foxcroft

Farm bill should not be vehicle for unrelated policy

On Dec. 12, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Farm Bill in a 206-203 vote. The Farm Bill contains many benefits to farms, forests and food that make it one of the few pieces of legislation today with bipartisan support. But because of the bill’s momentum, some legislators see it as the perfect vessel for adding unpopular or controversial riders.

This year, last-minute language was added to squash discussion on the U.S. involvement in the brutal Yemen war (and the resulting mass starvation) under the provisions of the the War Powers Act of 1973. The WPA was designed to keep presidential power in check when there is no congressional consent for warmaking. It’s bad enough that the Farm Bill was used to undermine constitutional checks and balances, but the irony of adding language that prolongs famine to a bill about food is unbearable.

I encourage the Maine farmers and forest owners who benefit from the Farm Bill to stand up, in whatever way they feel appropriate, and make it known that we do not want our professions and our land to be used as a shield for inhumane policy that has nothing to do food or natural resources. The bill helps many Americans, but our representatives in Washington won’t know we are displeased by their tactics if they hear nothing but cheers from us.

Kyle Burdick

Pembroke

Scientist, not lawyer, needed at DEP

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection needs to be run by a scientist with environmental science expertise. Effective environmental protection is essential to Maine’s largest industry, tourism, as well as its natural resource-based industries of fishing, forestry and agriculture.

Maine’s Attorney General’s office has statutory authority to represent all governmental entities, including agencies, in legal matters, whether as plaintiffs or defendants. Duplication of the AG’s legal expertise is unnecessary within the DEP.

Importantly, we need to begin to restore citizens’ trust in government by data-driven decisions that honor the best nonpolitical, nonpartisan knowledge available. Also, repair of the diminished morale of the department’s able staff can be led by science-based, rather than the previous political-ideology-based, management.

Recent experience within the DEP’s rulemaking on metal mining issues shows major rule changes made without scientific justification and an embarrassing lack of understanding of the technical complexities of the issues. The legislative policy committee demonstrated its inability to access scientific expertise in its rush to enact current law that violates the laws of physics with regard to groundwater contamination. Having scientific expertise at the head of the DEP does not guarantee good policy, but continuing in the mode of scientific ignorance cannot be helpful.

Legislators on the policy committee that makes recommendations on confirmation, and state senators who will vote on such confirmation, should quickly encourage our new governor to withdraw Jerry Reid’s nomination as DEP Commissioner (without prejudice) and replace it with an expert scientist.

Ralph Chapman

Brooksville

Thoughts on liberty

It is the traverse in the woods of ideology. The divergence in paths once aligned. It is here where the “one nation” meets its impassable chasm, a void too deep and too far to bridge.

The onslaught of anti-gun legislation, appointments and rhetoric highlights the stark contrast in ideals, our paths. On the one hand, is the knowledge that the Constitution does not grant any of the rights it delineates, but rather is the protector of said rights. On the other, is the perception that the document grants the citizens their rights and by extension the government it establishes.

A subtle difference and yet not. If a document grants you the rights of liberty, then it can be amended to curtail such liberty, and if its government is the administrator of those liberties granted, then it can be used to police and revoke them. This fuels the rabid and persistent attempts by the left to dismantle the 2nd Amendment.

To the conservative, the document is the bulwark, the protector of the liberties it acknowledges. These liberties are inherent, stamped, wired into our DNA at conception. Whether it be through God, the universe or evolutionary happenstance, natural born rights are instinctive and irrefutable.

This is the chasm between us. One believes utopia attainable through the government of the citizen, the curtailment of rights. The other refuses to surrender its natural born right of self-defense to the greatest mass murderer in world history and government.

Andy Torbett

Atkinson



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