The show must go on

Bravo to David Whitehill for his impassioned and accurate portrayal of UMaine selling our students and our state short (BDN OpEd, April 1).

Keeping the theater major at UMaine is essential to training and development in the human experience for each and every UMaine student.

The Maine Masque Theatre is 105 years old. Without a theater major there can be no Maine Masque. Without the upper-level courses required by a major, students will not have the fluency in the practice of their craft to sustain a performance program such as the one we have today, one that holds the space for our connection to our own humanity: a vital connective tissue, indeed.

In 1995 the University put up a $6 million building and created the School of Performing Arts. Is it now walking away from that commitment?

According to Department Chairman Tom Mikotowitcz, last year the Theater Department enrolled 65 theater majors and graduated 13. These graduates go on to professions in all walks of life; I know from the personal stories of countless graduates over 30 years that their college theater experience uniquely enriches their lives in ways that get passed on and on.

Sandra Cyrus

artistic director

Orono Community



Belfast not an island

I live on a 2-mile-long road in the city of Belfast and can’t get DSL from FairPoint or cable Internet from Time Warner. Now Time Warner is expanding high-speed Internet to islands.

I have been trying for more than a year now to get high-speed Internet and am getting nowhere. Our governor and Sen. Olympia Snowe applaud Time Warner for expanding into remote areas. The people in these remote areas choose to live there. Now they have high-speed Internet on the way while I, who decided to live in a city, am still dealing with dial-up.

I feel it is a good thing to help the people in remote areas, but is it right for a person in Belfast to be denied this high-speed Internet service so the providers can be applauded?

Wayne Elkins



Health care details

If you want an example of who really is really running our America, I suggest you take a look at the current campaign attacking a provision in the health care reform bill removing a corporate tax break in 2013.

Major corporations now are subsidized by the government to provide prescription drug coverage to their retired employees. At the same time, corporations can claim on their tax returns that it was they — not the taxpayers — who paid for the drug coverage, and can write the expense off as a tax deduction.

A number of very large corporations have been in the news stating they were going to take huge write-offs because of this change and that the health care reform bill is a “job killer.” What either doesn’t get said and gets lost in the fine print is that the write-offs are based on a 30-year total of government subsidies.

What doesn’t get discussed is why we taxpayers should subsidize prescription benefit payments made by our largest and most successful companies and why a taxpayer subsidy should be counted as a tax-deductible business expense.

On issues such as this we get lots of noise, lots of smoke and little insight.

George Burgoyne



Keep music playing

I am a sophomore at Foxcroft Academy. I am beginning my search for the college I would like to go to. Lately, talk of cutting the music program at the University of Maine has had me worried.

I started playing trumpet in fifth grade. I have been playing ever since. I am not much of a sports person. Music is my thing. There are a lot of kids just like me, some of whom would be in a lot of trouble all the time if not for music. Music keeps kids busy, which keeps them from getting into trouble.

Music helps people express themselves. Music has an effect on everyone; just look at how may people listen to the radio or iPods. If the music program is cut, it will leave a lot of kids hanging. It also takes a program away that is a big deciding factor for students trying to pick a college.

Music is another language, just like any other foreign language. I am in three bands — concert band, jazz band and pit band. I am a busy person, but I love every minute of it.

I plan on going into the field of fisheries biology, and I am trying to pick the college that is right for me. If UMaine cuts its music program, it just makes my college choice a whole lot easier.

Save the music program for future generations.

Corey Thompson



Burning conviction

I noticed that the photographs accompanying your reports of Tea Party events protesting government involvement in health care management often include many of my aging, graying peers. I admire their energy.

They remind me of similar protests in the 1960s against government policy, in that case against the war in Vietnam. Then, I recall, the youthful protesters demonstrated the courage of their convictions by publicly burning their draft cards.

I wonder when we will see photographs of Tea Party events where these aging patriots show the same courage as their predecessors and burn their Medicare cards.

Francis Sinclaire



Abbott misses point

Steve Abbot’s April 1 OpEd “In Maine, tell Obama to listen” is full of smoke and fearmongering.

He says, “Never before have Americans been mandated, by law, to buy something.” Not so: Maine, as do most states, requires motor vehicle operators to be insured. No insurance, no license.

It sounds as if he opposes mandatory insurance, but later in his article he opposes his own point of view, saying, “Shared risk would cost less …” and of course that’s the whole point: If only sick people buy insurance it’s got to be expensive, but if everybody chips in, insurance becomes affordable.

Many healthy young people assume their luck will last, so they avoid health insurance but the unlucky few who are hit with injury or serious disease risk financial wipeout: Almost half of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are related to illness or accident.

Medicare is not going to be cut: the cuts are aimed at Medicare Advantage, supplied through private insurers and costing the government 14 percent more than traditional Medicare (see, and for this reason Congress enacted the cuts as a way of reducing waste. We need to reduce waste, don’t we?

As a retired medical doctor, I know we also need to reduce the likelihood that Steve Abbot’s brand of bogus baloney gets swallowed.

Gerald A. Metz