LETTERS: Politics before science?

To the editor:

As a former certified teacher, I never thought I would live to see the day that politics could be allowed to overrule science as it is being done with such abandonment now.

Why not extend the school summer vacation for another three months? [I] know it creates extra problems for parents, but in the interest of safety this would give those working on how to control this virus much needed extra time to hopefully get a handle on this pandemic. Go back to school too early and, God forbid, everyone associated with the system risks the possibility of, not only coming down with this virus, but even die [from it]. Something to think about. Yes, this is a double-edged sword but, again, what is the alternative?

The National Teachers Union and its affiliates have told their members if you don’t feet it is safe to go back to school, then do not. Very sad.

Those of us in Maine appear to be under the illusion that this virus is only happening south of us. In central and northern Maine, and from my perception based on what I am seeing, many are not paying attention to what is being said on TV, newspapers, and internet regarding masks, social distancing, small crowds, etc.

Let’s all hope and pray, what we all should, that Dr. Fauci never has to say, “I told you so.”

Frank Slason
Somerville

LETTERS: Maine roots run deep

To the editor:

I have watched hundreds of thousand of political ads, which must have cost millions and millions of dollars, to get me to vote for the best U.S. Senate candidate. They all tell you why to vote for them or why not to vote for their opponent. I cannot understand or really know the truth because I can only take their word for it. The one way I can understand is by knowing where they both grew up. So, I Googled both Susan and Sara on the internet to find out.

Susan grew up in Caribou, Maine, with deep Maine roots. Sara grew up in East Greenwich, which is the wealthiest municipality within the state of Rhode Island, and she has no Maine roots.

Unfortunately, like Hillary Clinton did in New York, you can move to a state with enough campaign financing and win an election. I am also a Mainer with deep roots, and I will be voting for a Mainer, Senator Susan Collins this November.

Neil Farrington
South China

LETTERS: Thanks to The Town Line

To the editor:

I will be spending my 51st summer on China Lake in a few weeks. It will be a different time (my husband passed away in April). The pandemic will limit access to many familiar areas, no Common Ground Fair, but my family’s memories will await at the cottage.

After years of anxiously looking forward to the first Thursday of our annual stay to catch up with local news in The Town Line, the nice lady in the office advised that I could have it mailed to Texas.

Now four copies of the previous month arrive without fail even during these times when we are unsure if our daily newspapers will be delivered. I am so grateful for the opportunity to stay connected to China Lake throughout the year and have already collected a stack of articles about places to visit.

I was especially intrigued by the story about the “dump queen“. The little room has been a welcome resource to replace items lost to the little winter residents every year and an outlet for things useful to someone else.

Thank you to the entire staff at The Town Line, hope to see you in late August, in time for cool weather and beautiful leaves.

Susan Thiem,
Corpus Christ, Texas

LETTERS: Living in peace, happiness

To the editor:

Because of the lock down, I have been watching an old late night show with a guy by the name of Dick Cabot. It’s on at 9 p.m. on the Decades channel, 5.3 Portland.

I am writing this as so much has been written and said about all the injustice that has been done to so many people of different colors. With that in mind, one show highlighted the actor Anthony Quinn. As they conversed about all kinds of theatrical stuff, Quinn was asked what was his favorite role.

He told Cabot that it was his portrayal of an Indian chief by the name of Red Coat. It seems Chief Red Coat was allowed to address Congress circa 1840. Quinn was given a dias to speak from to say what Chief Red Coat said, and it was tearful to see Quinn, without a script, orate what the chief said to Congress. It began like this: “Members of Congress. You invaded our shores over two centuries ago and my people welcomed you with open arms. Since that time, you have taken over our nation. Ours, not yours. And now you imprison my people on reservations located in a country we once owned.”

That is just a short clip but we all know what the fate of the Native Americans is.

It is my hope and prayer that as America’s conscience opens up to help others, please consider the real Native American, without whose help the original colonies would have never survived. Just think back of clean skies, clean water, unpolluted lands and people living in peace and happiness.

Frank Slason
Somerville

LETTERS: A tradition ends

To the editor:

For the last 40 years on the third Saturday in July, the South China Volunteer Fire Department has held a fundraising auction. Over the years it has become our major fundraiser, and has been eagerly awaited by folks from China, and surrounding towns. It has been going on so long that we have firefighters who were not yet born when the tradition of the “Fireman’s Auction” began. Over the years we have used the funds raised along with lots of volunteer labor to build our station, purchase our fire trucks and fill many other needs.

Unfortunately, the tradition is over. I have the sad duty to advise you that due to the restrictions promulgated by the governor in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be holding an auction in 2020. It is our sincere hope that we will be able to pick up where we left off when things return to normal.

In spite of this situation, we still have a need for funding beyond that which the taxpayers provide, so this year, if you would like to make donations of cash instead of items to sell at auction, we would be pleased to accept them. Please make checks payable to the South China Volunteer Fire Department and mail them to PO Box 325, South China, Maine 04358.

We thank you for all the support you have provided over the years and for that which you may be able to provide in the future. Rest assured that despite the pandemic, the members of the South China Volunteer Fire Department will be there for you when you need us whatever your emergency may be.

Dick Morse, Fire Chief
South China Volunteer Fire Department

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
Somerville

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
Palermo

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
Somerville

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
China