Me being Manny

Let’ s say that in my lifetime I earned $1 million. That’ s $50,000 a year for 20 years. Wow, a lucky guy, I would say. Now let’ s take the Boston Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez. He has a $20 million-a-year contract and is in his last year of an eight-year contract. That’ s $160 million.

So Manny earns 20 times as much money in a year than I earned in a lifetime. Tough living on those kind of wages for playing a child’ s game.

And he has the unmitigated gall to complain about it. Give me a break. I am worried about how I can pay for fuel oil this winter, and he’ s complaining?

John Owens
Brownville Junction

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Beware ‘ pellet police’

Soon the “pellet police” will be at your front door wondering whether you’ re in compliance with all the new rules regarding wood-pellet stoves which are likely to be written in the near future. You see, the Maine Oil Dealers Association conducted a self-serving study which showed that “pellet stoves generate more particle pollution and air toxins than oil stoves.” Imagine that!

The oil dealers are running scared. The availability of grain-burning stoves and furnaces and locally grown fuel in the form of barley, corn, oats, wheat and so forth is right in front of you and guaranteed to siphon millions from the rich oil dealers. Lots of dollars can be saved with a small upfront investment and a quick payback.

Rather than the huge profits of oil going to the Saudis, OPEC and Hugo Chavez, install a grain-burning stove or furnace, purchase your fuel from local farmers and save those bucks for your retirement. Better get going and get grandfathered before your Maine politicians and the Maine Oil Dealers Association make a few new laws behind closed doors. Get it done before a new arm of the law (pellet police) organizes.

Dick Graves
Presque Isle

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Gullible and GOP

Sen. John McCain and the GOP say that if we open up offshore drilling, gas prices will come down. In about 10 years. Maybe. But wait, why aren’ t the oil companies drilling on the millions of acres that are already open to them?

Why did the GOP earlier this month block Congress from passing laws that would force oil companies to drill where they already can? And for that matter, why would oil companies spend millions of dollars to pump more oil so that the gas prices would come down? Does anyone really believe Big Oil wants gas prices to come down?

The oil companies want to control offshore oil leases so they can drill when they want to. So whose side is the GOP on?

So why are we so gullible? On “This Week” Sunday, McCain again insisted that a gas tax holiday would save Americans money at the pump. When asked how he would stop the oil companies from just raising prices to wipe out the savings, after some stumbling he actually said, “We would shame them” into not doing it. Imagine that, McCain says Big Oil has a conscience! We’ re not that gullible, are we?

Dan Wojehowski

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Unfriendly highway

I read the article concerning drivers who speed through neighborhoods with no regard for children, pets or elderly. Occasionally, some of us from The County have to travel to Bangor, which is usually an all-day trip. We shop, grab lunch, shop more, maybe have supper, then travel an hour and a half to return to The County.

For me, it seems the most unfriendly stretch of highway is Interstate 95 southbound from Hogan Road to the I395 bypass. When you approach Hogan Road in the southbound I-95 lane, there is a sign that directs through traffic to keep left, and the speed limit is set at 55. Those who heed the traffic signs understand this action allows other motorists to merge onto the interstate. This in itself is quite an event to witness as some motorists feel the yield sign on the entrance ramp is a suggestion.

Some will pass you on the right as they give you the one-fingered salute. Apparently this greeting is reserved for travelers who have the audacity to actually travel in the designated lane, at the designated speed.

The second most unfriendly stretch of I-95 is northbound from Hogan Road to Stillwater Avenue in Orono. They’ re all going to pass you, and they all get off at Stillwater, even if they have to cut you off to make the exit.

Fred Anderson
Island Falls

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Grilled TV signal

Regarding the July 23 letter to the editor, “The truth about converters,” I, too, discovered the hard way, by buying one, that a strictly VHF antenna is inadequate for a UHF digital signal. It took much Internet research just to find out that digital is UHF. None of my local experts knew.

On a whim, I mounted a 20-year-old 7-inch diameter indoor UHF wire loop antenna on my deck railing and aimed it north across the lake at the MPBN and WAGM digital signals broadcast from about 30 miles away. I connected it to a 20-year-old Radio Shack signal booster. After some more experimenting, I hung a couple of steel hamburger grills behind the “official” antenna (creating signal reflectors, I think), and the thing works.

We get digital and high definition signals for free 90 percent of the time, except when a hard rain or lightning interrupts the signal.

Michael A. Fasulo

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Proud of Prospect fort

While I appreciate Emily Burnham’ s article (BDN, July 26-27) about vacationing near home this summer, I must point out that neither Fort Knox nor the Penobscot Narrows Bridge is in Bucksport. Fort Knox is still in Prospect and the bridge spans water between Prospect and Verona Island.

Otherwise, she had great ideas for us natives to take advantage of what is in our own backyards.


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Old timber not unique

I have read numerous articles in the BDN about the 220-acre area of old timber near Big Wilson Stream in Elliotsville Township that is owned by Plum Creek Timber Co. In the July 25 BDN, Kevin Miller writes about the issue of protecting versus harvesting this area and notes that the Appalachian Mountain Club and Roxanne Quimby own large tracts of land in the vicinity.

What I have found very curious in these accounts is not even the slightest mention of the fact that, next to the Plum Creek parcel, more than 100 acres of this same forest area, with the same kind of stocking of huge old trees, has been preserved for all time in the Appalachian National Scenic Trail corridor, owned by the U.S. National Park Service and managed by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. I have no quarrel with those who wish to add the 220 acres to a preserved area, but it is misleading to suggest that the 220 acres is “unique” and that none of this forest has been protected.

David B. Field