LETTERS: Juneteenth does not take away from July 4

To the editor:

The recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday does not take away any of the significance of the 4th of July. What Juneteenth celebrates is the final end of slavery and the promise that all people are created equal, regardless of skin color.

When the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, and had officially outlawed slavery in the Confederacy, including Texas, enforcement of the Proclamation generally relied upon the advancement of Union troops. At the time, Texas was the most remote state of the former Confederacy and had a low presence of Union troops as the Civil War came to an end. It is not unimaginable that it took two years between the Emancipation Proclamation and General Gordon Granger’s Union Army regiment arrival in Galveston, Texas. He announced the General Order No. 3, which states: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” Information and news took time to reach remote areas, and there was a low literacy rate among the general population of the United States.

The 4th of July celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the American Colonies formally breaking away from Great Britain. Juneteenth acknowledges the end of slavery and freedom for the enslaved. These are two different commemorations of independence in American history.

Jeanne Hanson
South China

LETTERS: Thanks for the parade

To the editor:

The Sylvester family, on behalf of Jack and Ann Sylvester, extend their appreciation and unending thanks to the town of China, China Village Fire Department and the surrounding municipalities for the parade on May 30. In his own words Jack would like to say, “Thank you all so much for the reception. I’m so happy I could help you folks all these years and it’s awful good to be seen.”

The Sylvester family
China

Video of Sylvester parade from Facebook.

LETTERS: In-person learning still the best way

To the editor:

In response to a recent comment in The Town Line regarding the need for “educational renovation,” I’ll submit the following comments: While there is no question that remote, on line learning has been vital during the COVID pandemic, it is not the perfect or ideal form of teaching or gaining knowledge. As a retired teacher whose classroom presence extended from 1974-2012 – 38 years – my experience covered a lot of changes.

I agree that technology continues to affect our lives and society and that change is inevitable. But, having worked with thousands of students during my career, I saw and dealt with a multitude of learning styles, skills and desires. Young people in our present world face multiple issues. These can include a lack of parental presence, support or compassion, bullying, uncertainty about the future in terms of finances or career goals, or simply frustration with that world they will be entering and spending their life in.

Many kids also question their own abilities and whether or not they have the skills or abilities they’ll need to succeed in life. While remote learning may be suitable for and benefit some students, just as many others still need the in-person interaction and support that the traditional classroom provides. A passionate, committed teacher whose focus is helping all students to learn, regardless of the positives and negatives in their lives, in a way that promotes direct, face-to-face communication and interaction, is the key to a beneficial and useful education experience.

Bob Bennett
South China

LETTERS: Urges support of affordable drugs

To the editor:

Right now, the legislature is considering a package of vital and common sense bills that will work to reign in rising drug prices and assure that all Mainers have access to affordable prescription drugs. Now is the right time to help Maine families afford their necessary prescription drugs.

Being able to afford one’s prescription drugs is particularly crucial for older Maine residents, and our state has the highest percentage of residents 65+ in the nation. Rising drug costs force Mainers to make impossible choices. People shouldn’t have to choose between buying medicine and paying for food or rent.

The impact of these bills will empower Maine to determine when price gouging occurs, require pharmaceutical companies to provide information so that the true cost of a drug is transparent, further strengthen the program capping out-of-pocket cost of insulin for patients in state-regulated plans, and include appropriate enforcement provisions.

Americans shouldn’t have to pay the highest prices in the world for the medicines they need. You can help advocate for lowering drug prices by calling your local legislators and getting their support on these drug prescription bills today. You can learn more at aarp.org/me on how you can help support this legislative package.

Bridget Quinn
AARP Maine Advocacy and Outreach Director

LETTERS: Not the right time to abandon the China police department

by Robert MacFarland
former chairman China board of selectmen

To the editor:

To the citizens and taxpayers of China, My concerns about the town’s decision to dispose of the town’s police department for a lesser service with the county sheriff’s office.

I have served the town on two full terms as a selectboard member and the chairman for the same boards. I was part of the appointed commission to start the police department structuring over seven years ago if my memory serves me correct. The taxpayers have voted to establish and fund our department so we had local control over the security of the community for its people. We have spent years and a ton of tax dollars on this department, and now we are just going to throw it all away.

The selectboard and town manager are unwilling to put the time and effort into continuing the building and supporting of our local law enforcement personnel and department. We, as a community, have decided to fund and build this safety and security for our town and now we do not even get the opportunity to say if we want to continue the service. They have, along with the budget committee, written it out of the next fiscal budget without asking the taxpayers. I for one has seen the department take steps forward and some back due to the staffing issues. This is a nationwide issue, not just one here in China, Maine.

We have up to this point only budgeted for part time officers and prayed that the full time ones had some extra time to cover our community to keep us safe. We need a full time officer and not just 10 hours a week from a part time sheriff’s deputy. I believe Chief Johnson would make a wonderful full time police officer for our town with his vast time in the law enforcement community and respect from his fellow constituents. Now is not the time to defund the police department.

I urge you to contact the town manager, selectboard and budget committee members to support Chief Johnson as a full time officer before it’s too late. Do not support the county sheriff’s position in the budget.

Let me make this perfectly clear for those who don’t know me. I have no ax to grind with the sheriff’s department. I sat on the budget committee for that board and support their cause 100 percent as with any other law enforcement agency in this state.

LETTERS: Easy way to save for retirement

To the editor:

It is a distressing fact that on average, working households in Maine have just $2,500 in retirement savings. This is due in part because many Maine workers have no way to save for retirement through their employer. This legislative session, a simple solution is being proposed and AARP Maine strongly supports it. LD 1622, sponsored by Senator Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic), would offer thousands of Maine workers an easy way to save for retirement through their workplace.

Under this proposal, employees could save for retirement through a payroll deduction in the amount they choose. Employees would be automatically enrolled in the program but could choose to opt out if they wanted to. The money they save would be theirs to take with them from job to job, to rely on in later years for a more secure retirement. All the employer would have to do is set up the deduction.

This program could be a game changer for many Maine workers. An AARP Maine survey that was just released found that when it comes to planning and saving for retirement, 40 percent of Mainers 45 and older say they are behind schedule. Further studies show that Mainers are 15 times more likely to save when they can do so through their job. Over time, even a small contribution can make a big difference.

If you are one of the thousands of Mainers concerned about saving for retirement, please urge your legislators to support LD 1622. Maine lawmakers have the opportunity to give Maine workers an easy way to increase their savings and take control of their own future.

Pat Pinto
AARP Maine Volunteer State President

LETTERS: Puzzled over nursing home rules

To the editor:

I must preface this letter by stating that I realize nursing homes have one of the toughest jobs there is, and they must adhere to the CDC recommendations. But to us loved ones on the outside these rules are becoming much harder for us laymen to understand. An example: the latest ruling is that if both patient and their loved ones have had both their Covid shots, then according to the latest rules, we should be able to visit the homes and not have to wear a mask, and actually hug our loved ones. Not so, according to the nursing homes. They say they are still in lockdown, which is becoming too much to bear as these patients have been held as prisoners for a year, and counting, and the tole on loved ones is mounting with anxiety, depression, and patience.

If anyone reading this knows why this is still happening, please let me know as all I get for answers is, “we’re still in lockdown.”

Frank Slason
Somerville

LETTERS: Sports group seeks volunteers

To the editor:

Good day China residents. This has been a very challenging year for youth sports in our surrounding area. That being said, it is that time of year when China Rec Sports usually holds board elections. I have been to a couple of meetings already for baseball, softball and T-ball, however, my time has come to let someone else take over as the program’s president. My children have aged out of our organization and after almost 17 years of being a board member or coach, my time has come. Others on our board are also ready to move on, so it is vital for new blood to be infused in our group to ensure our youth always have the opportunity to participate in sporting outlets.

With Covid limiting meeting locations, I am scheduling our elections to take place on Sunday, February 28, at Jorgensen’s Cafe. 103 Main Street, in Waterville, at 5:30 p.m. There is plenty of room there and everyone can remain distanced and safe. Please, please consider coming and volunteering for the children of China.

Thank you.

Todd Dunn,
President, China Rec Youth Sports

LETTERS: Like rats jumping from a sinking ship

To the editor:

I must preface this letter by stating that I was never a Trump fan, although some of his ideas I bought: supporting the NRA, especially straightening out China and the way they had been destroying America’s economy.

Now, the reason for this letter. I never thought I would live to see the day that big tech could censor the president of these United States. There goes another of our liberties down the drain. But, more so, I am writing to show my disgust for all those – must use the analogy of rats jumping off a sinking ship. Let me start with saying and naming them as my stomach turns. Mitch loyal to Trump? Not lately, eh? And Trump’s loyal friend and golfing buddy Lindsey Graham, another rat. And worse of all, Vice President [Mike] Pence who never even went to see the president off on his last flight on Air Force One.

And to all Trump loyalists who tried to insurrect the Capitol I ask, were you en mass at Andrews AFB and give your president a wonderful send off? No, you were all cowards. Remember, the National Guard wasn’t at the airport so what’s your excuse? So, all poor Trump got was two Republican politicians of no significance. Thank goodness Trump’s family was there, and now it looks like that’s all he can rely on. Didn’t see his personal lawyer [Rudy Giuliani] at the airport, either.

As I stated, I’m not a Trump fan, but as you read this letter I am so disgusted, and would leave you all with this question: Why are politicians like porn stars? They both change their positions when the cameras start rolling.

Frank Slason
Somerville

LETTERS: High or low?

To the editor:

Complex or simple, Mother Nature has purpose for all her creatures. Viruses are not new. In the 18th century Louis Pasteur announced to his colleagues “There is something submicroscopic that is causing diseases.” Pasteurization (boiling) eliminates germs but not viruses. With electron microscopes, researchers can now see them. What is new is a concentration of population in megacities. Add to this an overstaffed workforce and commercialized child care. (Every child has a natural right to good health.)

Consider: There are more women holding jobs than men. However, labor saving equipment, automation and robots have made an overstaffed workforce obsolete. Nature favors diversity. We men differ from women physically, our interests, and by tradition. When a species fails to progress, nature resorts to disease. Hunger and conflict. Darwin called it “Natural selection.” Our blended house of cards was swept away in a storm of viruses. In Pasteur’s time, women had a profound influence on their husbands. In their homes they also nurtured and shaped the lives of their children. Perhaps as mothers theirs was the greater influence on the course of events. Lincoln was born into poverty. He learned to read and write from a Bible with help and encouragement from his stepmother. He studied from borrowed law books to become a circuit lawyer in Illinois. He served in the legislature there, and also was elected president. A reporter quoted him as having said, “No one is poor who had a godly mother.”

I voted Republican in the previous election. Their platform approximated the need of economic recovery / social reform. Men need to return to their jobs to open up the nation. Work restores the dignity of self support. Work is a therapy in itself. Work demands skills, not least of which is dependability. Work can support a growing family. “Work to save your life, you have to give.” That was taken from the New Testament.

Maria Slodovska left her native Poland to study physics and chemistry at the Sorbonne, in Paris. She married one of her professors there and became Madam Currie. For isolating two new elements she won two Nobel prizes, 1903 and 1911. She was successful in her family life and with her profession. Women have proved their capability.

Russell Vesecky
Waterville