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

LETTERS: To prevent false rumors

Dr. David Austin

To the editor:

I want to thank all my patients at Lovejoy Health Center who made my return to work there so rewarding. I worked at Lovejoy from 1993 to 2010, and returned last July, happy to reconnect with many of you. As some of you probably know, I am no longer working at the health center. The reasons are not for discussion here, but I do want to mention something which is not a reason, to prevent any false rumors. As many of you know, and as I am happy to share with anyone, I am a recovering alcoholic, a problem that blossomed in my life after my first tenure at Lovejoy. My recovery continues one sweet day at a time without interruption.

I have deeply enjoyed sharing my life and medical skills with you, my patients. You are the reason I followed this calling in the first place. Be well, prosper, and may God bless.

Dr. David Austin

LETTERS: How to control municipal spending

To the editor:

We have entered the 20th year of the 21st century with a flood of information at our fingertips. We can now watch local government at work with video streaming, pay our taxes online and ask questions with email.

The current open meeting limits voter participation to 3 – 4 hours on a Saturday. A secret ballot would allow town registered voters the ability to vote absentee 30 days prior. The elderly and disabled would find it easier to vote. People could vote early due to a conflicting obligation or if they’re on vacation on that Saturday.

In the past, the normal attendance at our town meeting has been between 120 – 150 registered voters. This is usually after calling neighbors to meet the required quorum of 4 percent. The recent secret ballot governor’s race in China had 2,065 at voters. The petition I’m circulating requires at least 10 percent of that number or 207 registered voters turned in by March 10 when the town office would verify the names. Finally, at the March 16 selectboard meeting, it will be submitted for placement on the June 9 primary ballot.

How do we control municipal spending? Individually…… in the voting booth.

Neil Farrington
South China

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: LD594 easy pathway for retirement savings

To the editor:

Saving for retirement is one of the most important things you can do for your future.

As a college student about to enter the workforce, it is hard for me to even think of what all retirement involves. There is one thing I know for certain, retirement is expensive. More expensive than one can imagine. I’ve always been told by my grandparents, “Start saving for retirement early, you’ll be happy you did.” When talking with my grandparents about retirement, they said the easiest way to save is by having a plan. It becomes second nature you don’t even think about as time goes on.

When researching different plan options, I found proposed legislation LD594, A Retirement Savings Program for Maine. LD594 provides an easy pathway to start saving for retirement out of my regular paycheck, regardless if my employer offers a program or not. This program would give employees the option to put a percentage of their paycheck into a retirement savings account. This program would be portable, meaning I can take it from job to job with me.

It makes sense that people are more likely to save when they can do so through their employer. Imagine what putting away just $20 a paycheck will amount to in 10 years, let alone 40+ years.

I’m hoping Maine will pass LD 594. I don’t think a lot of people my age realize how expensive retirement is. This bill will help Mainers of all ages get on the right track.

Harrison Quidort

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Humidity linked to spreading of flu

To the editor:

Cases of the flu are at an all-time high, and two schools in Maine have closed for cleaning and disinfecting. Is this all that needs to be done so that the children can go back to a “healthy” school? While it is good practice to teach children proper handwashing, to use sanitizer, and cough into your sleeve, there is one crucial health piece that schools should be doing to help protect students and their teachers.

Did you know that if a room is at the right humidity, which is 30 to 60 percent, that respiratory viruses and others aren’t easily spread? It’s true. However, if the humidity level of the school is too low, then the virus can run rampant. A Minnesota company, DriSteem, has been helping schools and other buildings across America stop this at its core and has even conducted a study with the Mayo Clinic, which showed with proper moisture in the air, viruses do not spread as easily.

Michelle Thompson
VEW Media