Plastic bag use

I appreciated the BDN’ s July 17 editorial, “Bottle Bill Update,” lauding the success of Maine’ s 30-year-old bottle bill and suggesting that it bodes well for a user fee on plastic grocery bags. However, it seems to me the BDN might try practicing what it preaches by reducing the use of plastic bags for delivering newspapers. I have called the circulation department repeatedly over the years to discourage the use of plastic bags in delivering our paper, with limited success— even though I was told the bags represent a huge expense for the paper (which I assume we subscribers pay for).

There is simply no need for a paper to be bagged and placed between doors, as is the case with our delivery. Perhaps the BDN could alert its customers to the high cost of plastic bags and make their use optional.

Better yet, how about a surcharge for those who insist on their papers being bagged?

Plastic bags are made from petroleum. Reducing their use will decrease our demand for oil. While some may claim that we should simply recycle them, less than 1 percent of plastic bags are actually recycled. Besides, it costs more to recycle a bag than to make a new one— not much of an incentive.

Leslie Hudson

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No flag waver

At a time when our country is $10 trillion in debt, we’ re borrowing money from China to spend $12 billion a month on war and occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ re doing this at a time we’ re importing more and more oil, thus&nbspenriching OPEC, which invests its profits in Asia, our growing economic rival, to whom Congress has allowed corporations to ship our jobs.

For this you ask me to wave our nation’ s flag? What are you, nuts? Too comfortably ignorant? Or traitorously misinformed?

Ron Warner

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ID repeal

I’ m not surprised that the petition drive to overturn Maine’ s new law requiring more secure driver’ s licenses garnered a resounding yawn. Contrary to the expectations of the Maine Civil Liberties Union and its allies, Mainers aren’ t naive. They didn’ t buy the bogus claim that a state repeal petition could somehow miraculously repeal a federal law. And they didn’ t buy the argument that Gov. Baldacci and the Maine Legislature were so stupid that they would write a law violating the existing statute prohibiting state compliance with Real ID.

If the MCLU thought the new secure driver’ s license statute was against the law, why didn’ t they just go to court to have the law overturned? Why did they resort to the slower and less predictable path of referendum? Might it be that, despite their dark assertions, they knew that the new license law was indeed legal and that they would lose in court?

Gov. Baldacci and the Legislature gave us a secure license reserved for legal Maine residents. I applaud Maine’ s voters in rejecting the MCLU’ s attempt to undermine this accomplishment.

Julie Tosswill

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Bear preparation

It is always unfortunate when a bear is killed for wandering through a human-inhabited area, but there are usually things we can do to avoid attracting bears in the first place.

Bears are shy animals who enter urban and suburban areas for one reason: to obtain food. If we remove attractions by using bear-proof trashcans, putting garbage out the morning of pickup, bringing birdfeeders in during peak bear season, cleaning outdoor grills after use, and picking fruit as soon as it ripens, bears usually stay away.

Bears who become accustomed to the plentiful calories found in human food sources can be negatively and humanely conditioned to avoid humans through systematic use of rubber bullets, pyrotechnics and trained bear dogs used to frighten them.

These methods have been implemented in national parks across the country where bears are plentiful and in close contact with humans, and have proven highly successful.

Katie D. Lisnik
Maine Director
The Humane Society of the United States

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News service omitted

The BDN columnist Renee Ordway needs a primer on fact checking. Her column (BDN July 26-27) on the “State House press corps” stated that there are only four reporters and subsequently three news bureaus in the dwindling State House Newspersons Association.

I don’ t know where she got her information, but it is incorrect. A brief call to David Boulter, executive director of the Legislative Council, would have provided her with the facts about the current occupancy of the news office in the Cross Office Building. My media company, Hometown News Service, was omitted in her column. I have been a Maine journalist — report, editor, columnist — since 1961. Hometown News Service is an affiliate of Cove Writers Inc. and has had a press office in the State House and Cross Office Building continually and to the present since 1990 — 18 years.

Indeed, the number of State House newspersons is decreasing as are staffed bureaus such as the BDN. The consequences are less accountability on governance and lawmakers. I find it deplorable that large newspapers like Bangor and Portland have withdrawn presence coverage of State House affairs because they “couldn’ t afford it.”

Hometown News Service will continue to report the news and opinion on the Legislature, state government and its entities that consume $6 billion a session of the taxpayers’ money.

Mike Brown

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Greenville abandoned

We write to express our objection to Gov. Baldacci’ s comments regarding the proposed development in Lily Bay as a small portion of the proposed Moosehead Lake Resource Plan under consideration by the Land Use Regulation Commission.

The selectmen of Greenville feel the governor’ s comments will inevitably have an influence on the members of LURC, who are appointed by the governor. If the selectmen publicly commented against a land development proposal in Greenville, would the planning board remain objective in its review of the proposal? Hopefully they would, but if they did decline a project that the selectmen opposed, would it not appear that political bias weighed in their decision? Certainly the governor has, through his chosen comments, created a similar situation.

Our greatest objection is that our governor, who has previously touted the need for more tourism and development of resort capacity within interior Maine, has now spoken against such development. Our question to the governor is, if not this planned development, then what? Greenville’ s schools and hospital already are at risk from changes in our economy and demographics. We need economic development in this region. The governor’ s objection to this development appears to be another example of this administration’ s abandonment of the people of rural Maine.

Board of Selectmen