Credit: George Danby / BDN

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

Black Friday and COVID-19

Black Friday shopping is a dying tradition and the COVID-19 pandemic may be the final blow. Many people after Thanksgiving look forward to staying up until midnight to go Black Friday shopping. Unfortunately, due to the rise of the retail superpower of Amazon, the options in Bangor are becoming limited. Many stores have gone out of business and can’t keep up with the low prices that Amazon can offer.

Large businesses like Walmart could take such a blow, but smaller businesses like those within the mall need Black Friday shopping to boost their sales. And this year, it might not come. Now that the world is hung in the middle of a pandemic, this long-lasting tradition may take a turn for the worst.

From my own personal experience and from talking to my peers, Black Friday shopping has always been a busy, fun and exciting time to hang out with friends and try to get some bargains. This year however many of my friends and colleagues that I have talked to have said that they will not be observing the tradition this year due to few store options and the burden of the pandemic. For a lot of people, the rise of COVID-19 and the ease of online shopping may convince many to just stay home this year.

Haven Jones

Orrington

A voice for former NAMI employees

I applaud the BDN and reporter Callie Ferguson for her article about NAMI Maine’s apparently toxic work environment and questionable “leadership” under Jenna Mehnert. A supervisor should always be sensitive to their staff, make sure lines of communication are always open and functioning in a healthy way, and supportive rather than punitive to staff especially if in a random fashion, which is sure to create a stressful and “toxic” work environment.

This is particularly true of a mental health advocacy organization with people on staff who themselves have suffered from mental health issues, making them a good fit for the work NAMI does. Mehnert’s dismissive attitude towards the BDN’s reporter appears to mimic her behavior at NAMI. It is sad to hear of staff suffering and leaving under, no matter what “the board” says, is poor leadership.

Too often, people in positions of power are only judged by the bottom line, by how well an organization is doing on paper, versus the human relationships that make an organization able to do the real work. The BDN and Ferguson gave these former NAMI employees a voice and hopefully this will lead to new leadership and positive change.

Jennifer Hodsdon

Brunswick

The surge is here

Aug. 7: Millinocket-area wedding. Oct. 2: Citizens are exposed at a church in Brooks. Oct. 19: The Pence rally at Dysart’s. Oct. 25: The Trump event at Treworgy orchards. These large events are superspreaders of the coronavirus. Hundreds of Maine citizens rallied and went to gatherings neither masked nor socially distanced. The negligence of communities and politicians who participated in these large events is inexcusable and begs the question, when will Americans comprehend the severity of COVID-19 and take precautions to prevent it?

Maine has been ranked one of the safest states in America. According to the Maine CDC, this week, the coronavirus cases are in the triple digits, which is a record-breaking number for Maine.

Dr. Nirav Shah, head of the Maine CDC, declared, “The surge is here. Take action now… this is serious.” Thousands of Americans have died; we must take action to prevent more deaths.

Was it worth it for politicians to hold rallies and put one of the safest states at risk? Was it worth it for communities and families to attempt bringing back a sense of normality even though it cost people their lives?

The surge is here and could take everything away: school, jobs, friends, family, and-so-on. With patience, mask wearing, and the elimination of large gatherings, we can stop the surge and its effects on Maine’s economy and health.

Olivia Mamula

Carmel