Poor, or poor choices?

Regarding the recent story on life expectancy for Washington County women: Economics may play a role but personal choice plays the top role in health.

I went to a local business and as I drove in four women employees were outside smoking. All were overweight three appeared to be bordering on morbid obesity. All seemed out of shape and obviously not taking care of themselves. Is this because they are poor? Or because of their poor choices?

They obviously have enough money for $5 packs of cigarettes. Their choice. Another choice: A bag of chips for $3 or a bag of organic apples for the same $3? Don’ t blame it on poverty. We need to stop making excuses for our poor choices. And who is paying for their choices? You are!

Matthew Guthrie

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Call animal control

The West Shore Road in Otis is a busy road in the summertime. Surely at least a few people saw the small yellow kitten suffering at the end of the road near the Gary Moore Road. The vet figured the cat’ s jaw had been broken for at least a week when I saw it and took it in.

Every town has an animal control officer. If you can’ t take the time to help an animal, at least notify the ACO about the situation. The telephone number for the town office is in the telephone book, and they can give you the ACO’ s telephone number. Don’ t let animal abuse or neglect be on your conscience when there is help available, even in these tough times.

Teresa Davis

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Cashman right choice

Maine’ s people and businesses are suffering under the crushing weight of energy prices. As a nominee for the Public Utilities Commission, Jack Cashman is our best shot at keeping business running by lowering electricity prices.

Maine’ s manufacturers are being devastated by energy and material costs that are escalating so quickly that profit margins have been destroyed. Our economy teeters in a precarious state even before winter’ s jaws clamp shut for another heating season. We need leaders in state government who understand business and economics from a firsthand perspective, are sensitive to our economy’ s needs, and will allow our businesses to not only survive but grow.

Jack Cashman’ s business and economic credentials are beyond question. For nearly 30 years, he has worked in commercial real estate development and sales, a career that has given him ample opportunity to learn about the needs of Maine’ s businesses, including our industrial manufacturers who are so deeply affected by high energy prices. I had the opportunity to work with him to achieve the purchase and restart of the Lincoln mill. He played a key role in a very difficult process here that has resulted in a Maine success story. He understands the issues facing businesses large and small as well as individuals as we deal with these extraordinarily challenging times.

Jack is an excellent nominee for the Public Utilities Commission. I support Gov. Baldacci’ s selection wholeheartedly.

Keith Van Scotter
President, Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC

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Obama’ s Third World

With Republicans in full retreat and on the verge of surrender, it’ s all but certain Sen. Obama will be president. His party will hold sway in Congress, and like minds will dominate on the Supreme Court.

Partisanship will be vanquished and with continued solid party unity there will be a clear path to implement the changes proposed for our future.

The changes are many and of great magnitude a lot of hard work over a number of years will be needed to put them in place. Once completed, our leaders can rest and rightly bask in our gratitude and admiration.

The newest Third World country will have been born.

Dave Van Nest

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Caring for the bear

Recent articles and letters disputed which was more stupid — the bear that wandered recently around Fairmount Park in Bangor, or the people who crowded around to gawk at it. When Maine Game Warden Jim Fahey shot and killed the bear, the dispute grew.

BDN writer John Holyoke took the side of the warden, saying “Fahey was merely doing his job” and “did what he was supposed to do [and] acted in the public interest.”

But Fahey was a game warden — you know, the guy who checks to be sure you aren’ t fishing without a proper license, aren’ t hunting deer out of season — in other words, taking care of game.

There are other authorities assigned to people. In this instance the game warden’ s charge would seem to have been animals. So the question is, did he do right by the bear?

Bobbie Goodell

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Band-Aids for traffic

I think most of the solutions that Bangor comes up with to control traffic are Band-Aid fixes and don’ t identify the true issue, which is maintaining the smooth flow of traffic. In order to control some traffic on narrow side streets, sacrifices need to be made on the main roads — Broadway, Stillwater Avenue, State Street, Main Street, Union Street and possibly Hammond Street — increasing the speed limits to at least 35 mph. Most vehicles are going that fast anyway.

Next is to synchronize traffic lights on these roads so that if you go the speed limit, you will not hit many red lights. Main Street by the auditorium used to be like this. You were guaranteed to have to stop at only one light of the three there. Now with Hollywood Slots and the new lights, you often have to stop at all three. The traffic lights by Eastern Maine Medical Center and the Bangor Mall are some of the worst, favoring the businesses instead of the public traffic. On Union Street, you can stop just before the bridge at the interstate and then catch the next red light on the bridge.

As long as there are long waits at traffic lights, people will seek out quicker routes through the side streets.

A road connecting Stillwater Avenue to Essex Street and Broadway by the mall would ease a lot of traffic problems, too.

Traffic is here to stay. It needs to be coordinated city-wide and not on a street-by-street basis.

John McGinn

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Take cats to shelter

As an animal lover and the owner of several cats and a dog, I have to respond to the July 17 letter about abandoned cats. If the letter writer were truly concerned about the cats that her neighbors left behind, she would have captured them and taken them to a shelter herself.

There are many people and organizations that have live traps that can catch these cats humanely. Instead, she chose to do nothing for two years while these poor cats struggled for survival. Now she writes about this situation after one of these cats was caught by a man with a noose.

She’ s probably right — this cat’ s life will end tragically. What will become of the other cats? I hope that she or one of her other neighbors will catch these other cats and take them to a shelter.

Patricia Boutilier