LETTERS: Never give up

To the editor:

With my wife stuck in a lockdown Alzheimer’s facility, and all the negative news on TV and radio, with the editor’s permission, I would like, as I write this on Father’s Day, about a story my father told us young kids that we have always remembered.

Shortly after World War II, my father started a flying school which in those days was regulated by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). He started alone but later hired two other Certified Flight Instructors (CFI).

This new young man showed up to take flying instructions, and my father gave him to one of his new CFIs. Bear in mind many of these new CFIs were trained by the military, but regulated by the CAA. My dad mentioned this as some times a military-trained pilot goes by the book and needs to be reminded there is no rank involved here, and each student is treated with respect and understanding.

Well, it seems this new student was having a very difficult time learning how to fly and his ex-military instructor wasn’t very patient with him. Of course, yelling at the poor kid didn’t help during instructions. The instructor told my father, “This kid will never learn how to fly and I am through trying to teach him.”

So, being the gentleman my dad was, he decided to take the student on and see if he could teach him how to fly. Well, according to Dad, this kid’s skills for flying were nil. His eye, hand and feet coordination were very bad. In fact, after many hours of almost being killed teaching this young man, my dad told him he was sorry but, “you are just not equipped and skilled to be a pilot.”

My dad told the other instructor and others the sad news, but was surprised when the young man came into the pilot’s lounge and stated, “So, I gave it a try but now I’m off to Hollywood to become a movie star.”

Well, of course, everybody wished him well, but later laughed at his statement, saying he will probably be as good at acting as he was flying, and all had a good laugh.

Fast forward 20 years, and lo and behold, that young man that tried to learn how to fly did indeed make his mark in Hollywood. After a few small bit parts, he made his fame starring as Col. Hogan in the TV comedy series, Hogan’s Heroes. That young man was Bob Crane.

Happy belated Father’s Day to all out there.

Frank Slason

LETTERS: It shouldn’t take a pandemic to underscore need for high speed internet

by Pat Pinto
AARP Maine, Volunteer State President

It shouldn’t take a pandemic to underscore the importance of high-speed internet in our state. Rural Maine’s struggle with connectivity has been going on for years, but with COVID-19, the true consequences of slow or no internet can no longer be ignored.

During the last few months, residents throughout Maine have voiced their frustration. Paul Armstrong’s small business in Palermo is floundering because the internet service in his area is practically non-existent. Ray Smith of Windham, an occupational therapist for children with developmental and physical challenges, now counsels his young clients by video chat due to COVID-19. He describes many of the sessions as “disastrous” because some of his clients have such poor internet service. A retired teacher from Lewiston, Joyce Bucciantini, laments the learning divide between those students who have high speed internet and those who do not.
No matter where we live in Maine, and no matter our age, every Maine household should have access to high-speed internet.

The Maine Broadband Coalition, of which AARP Maine is a member, estimates that 85,000 households in our state have no access to high-speed internet. For many, this means they have little or no connection to family, friends, and critical services such as tele-medicine and counseling. For some, lack of high-speed internet creates barriers to doing business and creating jobs. Still others, particularly older Mainers, miss out on opportunities to offset loneliness, depression and isolation.

This is the time to take action, and I urge all Mainers to vote in the Maine State Primary and Special Referendum Election on July 14th, and to vote YES on Question 1. Question 1 is a ballot referendum providing $15,000,000 in funding for high-speed internet expansion to underserved and unserved areas. This will particularly impact rural areas of Maine that currently lack the infrastructure for high-speed internet. Of great significance is the fact that the $15M bond will be matched by $30 million in federal and other funds to triple the impact.

This is an opportunity not to be missed. Maine is a rural state with a far-flung population. If Maine invests now, we can help Mainers, particularly in rural areas, who don’t have access to reliable, high-speed internet service. It is essential for Mainers of all ages to be able to stay connected to friends and family, but it is equally important for them to be able to access their caregivers, doctors, and other health professionals. High-speed internet is a smart investment that will help businesses grow and help students gain access to education even when they are at home.

Access to high-speed internet is extremely important to daily life in Maine, and not just during the coronavirus pandemic. Support of this referendum will put Maine on the right track. I urge you to vote Yes on 1 on July 14.

LETTERS: Thanks from historical society

To the editor:

On behalf of myself and other members of the Palermo Historical Society I want to express our thanks to Mary Grow for her article on the history of Palermo in the June 18, 2020 issue (of The Town Line). The old mill and the library are favorites for those of us who grew up in the village.

Pat Clark

LETTERS: Love and compassion

To the editor:

To all the wonderful people who showed up for the parade at Country Manor, in Whitefield. My wife is a patient there so, of course, I agreed to be in it. What surprised me was how many came. I figured maybe a couple dozen or so, but instead almost a hundred showed up when we all lined up in our trucks and cars, led by a fire truck, followed by a farmer’s trailer with people in it, and then a couple dozen motorcyclists and then us.

One kind lady saw I didn’t have a balloon or other decorations so she helped me out. As the parade started, it was all I could do to hold back the tears, seeing such an outpouring of support and love coming from everyone. The parade line stretched over a mile long and many of us were allowed to turn around and get back in line, which many of us did. I even went a third time as I was worried my wife didn’t recognize me the first two times, even though I was only six feet away in my truck. But that is Alzheimer’s for you.

This lockdown is hurting, not only the patients at Country Manor, but all of us loved ones who want so much to visit again, but I commend Country Manor for keeping that awful virus away from there. Thank God.

It sounds vain but I wish we could have gotten a snippit like the home in Augusta got on Saturday’s 6 o’clock news on NBC. To see and watch the love and compassion taking place is almost heartbreaking.

Frank Slason

LETTERS: There are anonymous angels among us

The China Food Pantry at 1320 Lakeview Drive in China. (photo by Eric Austin)

To the editor:

My mother, Ann Austin, runs the China Community Food Pantry. She is an eternal optimist, and lives by the expression, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

During the food pantry this Saturday, which occupies much of the upstairs floor of our home in China, I heard my mother come down the stairs. She strode into the kitchen and waved an envelope at me. “An older gentleman got in line just now,” she said. “He handed me this.”

I squinted at the white envelope in her hand. It looked like a bank envelope. The number “500” was written in one corner.

“He wouldn’t give me his name,” she continued. “He wanted to remain anonymous.”

My eyes widened. It was a sizable donation and would go a long way toward helping those in the community facing difficult times.

“With all the evil in the world,” my mother, the eternal optimist, declared, “there are still plenty of angels around!” Then she marched out of the room and back upstairs to continue handing out food to the hungry.

She’s right. There are plenty of bad people out there, but there are an amazing number of good people, too — and many of them live right here in our community.

It’s important to remind ourselves of that every once in a while. Thanks, Mom.

Eric W. Austin

LETTERS: Hess a breath of fresh air

Kalie Hess

To the editor:

Most if not all of us have had some terrible struggles lately—life has been hard if not downright scary. But we also have reason to hope for better days to come. While the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on so many folks we care about, it has also helped us see that we cannot afford to let serious unresolved issues ride any longer. We certainly cannot just watch as politicians fail to work together to ensure reasonable access to healthcare for all—especially our most vulnerable. We need them to work together to ensure support for our local businesses, to ensure those struggling have a reasonable opportunity for a living pay check, and to ensure strong educational resources are available so our kids will be ready to be productive citizens in the future.

We need our legislators and other leaders to be ones who are going to work together on these issues—not call each other names, close their minds, and point fingers. But to do this we need them to be knowledgeable, engaged, and—most of all—ready to listen and work together.

I only met Kalie Hess this year, but what a breath of fresh air! With a good education and experience in public health, a mind clearly engaged in current issues, and a voice that doesn’t start preaching but starts with asking questions and listening well, I was impressed. And the more I learn about her, the more I have been impressed. A native Mainer living and working in our community, a person willing to take the plunge into the public arena to have hard discussions (not arguments) and work toward solutions, Kalie is worth looking into.

I sincerely hope you will review the information online about her (kaliehess.com), take (if not make) the opportunity to speak with/contact her, and consider her candidacy for the Maine Senate this fall. We need her energy, her constructive focus, and her caring about her fellow and sister Mainers in our legislature. We need her working for us.

Susan Cottle
South China

LETTERS: ARRP responds to election order

AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham (source: AARP)

To the editor:

AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham released the following statement today in response to the Governor’s Executive Order on the July 14, 2020 Primary & Referendum Election.

On behalf of our 230,000 members 50 and older across Maine we want to thank Governor Mills for clarifying the rules and processes for the July 14 election. During these uncertain times, AARP Maine wants to ensure that every Maine voter has a safe, secure, and efficient way to cast their vote in the primary election.

The Order allows for important adjustments including:

  • Changing the 21-day cutoff for mail and 3rd party registration to a 7-day cutoff,
  • Allowing secure drop boxes for returning ballots, and
  • Changing the deadline for clerks to give notice of early absentee processing from 60 to 21 days.

The Order also allows for the suspension of requirements that Town Clerks facilitate absentee balloting through in-person visits to certain licensed facilities. AARP Maine will be monitoring this change closely to ensure that residents of Maine’s licensed long-term care facilities are given every opportunity to cast their vote in the primary election.

As we look to the General Election in November, we urge the Secretary of State to consider additional procedures that will ensure a strong voter turnout while maintaining the health and safety of Maine residents. These include making online submission of voter registration documents possible, mailing absentee ballots or request forms to all registered Maine voters, with return postage paid, and ensuring that voters are notified if their ballot is rejected because of a technical error so that they can be given the right to cure that error. We look forward to continuing to work with the Secretary and his staff in the months ahead.

AARP Maine continues to urge Maine voters who are able to Vote Safely. Vote from Home. by requesting an absentee ballot from the Secretary of State’s office or their local town clerk.

Lori Parham
AARP Maine State Director

LETTERS: Caregivers need care, too

To the editor:

I must preface this letter with a famous quote: “Caregivers need care, too!” And another quote: “I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the sovereign Lord – I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.” — Ezekiel 34:15-16NIV.

Wish I could take credit for the following but someone much wiser than me and unknown wrote the following after the preface.

“Caregivers don’t often slow down enough to consider their own needs. Even when they are physically or emotionally drained or wounded, they push on because they feel they must. Someone’s life depends on it. Sometimes we capably soldier on through our own pain, stoic and enduring. But what if we took some time in quiet, asking God to bind our injuries and supplement our waning strength? When we ask, he restores and a restored soul cares more joyfully.

“Don’t keep on keeping on. Set aside some quiet time to spend before God so he can tend to your injuries and shore up your weaknesses.

“Maybe God will supernaturally meet your needs. Or maybe he will send some of his children to help you. Accept their help willingly, let others serve you. Their mercy is a gift from God.

“At times, God requires that we step out of our comfort zones and ask others for help. That’s not a weakness! Ask God to show you the people who can and will meet your needs because they love Him.”

I’ll conclude with this statement: “God, I get so focused on meeting the needs of those in my care that I forget about my own. Please give me a heart that seeks and accepts your care and the care of others.”

My own words: God bless everyone fighting to beat this pandemic.

Frank D. Slason

LETTERS: Time to stop bear feeding program

To the editor:

The people of Maine now have an opportunity to try to resolve the bear debate by ending Maine’s bear feeding program. Since 2004, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has falsely claimed that bears must be fed in order to kill them to control their population. Since 2004, Maine’s state endorsed feeding program has exploded the bear population from some 23,000 bears to an estimated 45,000. It continues growing by some two percent [to] four percent annually.

Maine’s bear population exceeds the natural carrying capacity by approximately 10,000 animals. MDIFW’s solution is to grow the bear hunting industry and its own coffers by increasing both the feeding of bears and the “bag” limits for bear hunters.

Feeding bears produces more bears. This is the science. The science-based, responsible solution is to end Maine’s bear feeding program.

I have submitted a petition for a rule change to phase out Maine’s bear feeding program over a ten-year period. This would give bears and the bear hunting industry time to adapt to the “new normal” in which bears would go back to being bears and hunters would go back to being hunters. The proposed rule change would still allow food to be used as a scent bait, but would gradually eliminate the feeding of bears and the negative consequences, including increased cub production and reliance on human foods.

No one wants another expensive bear referendum. Unfortunately MDIFW and the bear hunting industry refuse to even consider any form of compromise. MDIFW’s mismanagement of the public’s bears must be addressed. The public has until June 5, 2020, to send comments to MDIFW in response to the proposed rule change. For more information, to get a copy of the proposed rule, or to submit comments, please email Becky.Orff@maine.gov and refer to Chapter 16.09 Bear Feeding Petition. Thank you.

John M. Glowa, Sr.
South China

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Americans easily laying down to government

To the editor:

Question: Are you willing to surrender individual liberty for a little security?

And those who vote “yes” should maybe lose both. It truly saddens me to see how easily Americans have laid down to their government.

Mr. A. Aurich