Down East safety issues

As the members of the bargaining yeam for the Maine State Nurses Association, or MSNA, we felt we had to address statements made by the CEO of Down East Community Hospital in local media outlets.

We believe the issue here is absolutely a public health issue. The community relies upon a well staffed hospital; if there is a staffing shortage on any given shift or in any department that becomes a safety problem. At the heart of this dispute are staffing issues.

Management is insisting on an 11 percent pay cut for the night shift to be taken immediately. We have been trying to explain to the hospital that these differentials have been established to fill a need and were actually introduced by the hospital several years ago in order to recruit and retain employees for these areas. Traditionally it has always been more difficult to recruit and retain nurses on the night shift.

We have been through a lot in the last few years as a hospital. This is no time to talk about taking things away from the very employees who have been loyal to this hospital. In addition to the undersigned, this letter is written by the MSNA bargaining team; Karma Alley, LPN; Shirley Brown, RN; Cheryl Christie, MLT; Liz Faraci, RN and Scott Huber, CRT.

Veronica Conley, RN


Keep mercury rule strong

The EPA recently passed new standards that will slash emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from the nation’s dirtiest power plants. This will clean up our air significantly.

In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, which will slash toxic mercury air emissions by 90 percent. As the tailpipe state of the nation, this is great news for Maine. Nationwide, reports say this rule will save as many as 11,000 lives, prevent as many as 130,000 asthma attacks among children and prevent as many as 4,700 heart attacks each year, according to the EPA.

However, there is an attempt to undermine this lifesaving rule. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, is trying to use the obscure Congressional Review Act to kill the new mercury rule. If he succeeds in this cynical procedural ploy, he’ll not only kill EPA clean air standards, he’ll unwittingly be costing thousands of Americans their lives and health, particularly children who would otherwise live and suffer less by the new EPA rule. Doctors, nurses, scientists and public health professionals agree this is a standard to save lives and prevent illnesses.

We need to protect our kids, families and communities from mercury, arsenic, acid gases and other toxics pouring out of dirty power plant smokestacks! Therefore, I urge Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins not to support this Congressional Review Act proposed by Sen. Inhofe.

Gail White


Same-sex marriage, abortion

After reading letters to the editor by Carol P. Gater and Peter Rees in the Feb. 28 BDN, I must respond.

First of all, Mr. Rees is misguided if he really believes marriage is a right. It’s a privilege, just like a drivers license. Gays, lesbians and others sympathetic to their cause are trying to mislead this country and reduce that once sacred privilege to something morally wrong.

Don’t let them mislead or sway you with sad stories of their terrible plight or by their sneaky TV commercials. Vote no on the same-sex referendum.

Although Ms. Gater is correct when she says Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, she is naive if she doesn’t realize abortion is just a glamorized and far less convicting word for the taking of a human life, or murder. Just because it involves an unborn child instead of someone having a physical presence outside the womb and it being not quite as messy, it doesn’t make it any less cruel.

I feel sorry for Ms. Gater and anyone else who condones murder. We need to get our country back in our control and away from the immoral and satanic powers that are slowly, over time, taking it over.

John Henderson


Respect Thoreau, please

Henry David Thoreau has been recognized by leaders of societies as a leader of men. Gandhi and Martin Luther King both cited his philosophy as a cornerstone of the humanitarian movements that they led. These leaders of millions of people credited Thoreau’s writings for leading these humanitarian movements to the changes that Gandhi and King brought to the human race.

David Thoreau has the oldest and largest following of any American writer. There are millions of people in the world who follow these philosophies. Millions of people know and love his writing.

The town manager of a shrinking community in the Katahdin area has the mistaken belief that nobody cares about Henry David Thoreau’s travels through the North Woods. This town manager went to a college podium and said he believes Thoreau was in “a drug-induced coma” when he was traveling through this part of Maine.

This town manager is an embarrassment to the people of Millinocket. His own words prove this to be so. The town council needs to instruct the manager to spend more time restoring the economy of the downtown area and stop traveling the countryside declaring that he represents the population of Millinocket. Many of us would like to see the followers of Henry David Thoreau coming to visit our great community and spending time recognizing the true value of this beautiful area.

Charlie Cirame


Birth control freedom

What a fool I was. I’ve been a conservative all my life. I grew up on a farm and was raised by two generations of farm people that went through the Great Depression. I was taught you had to take care of yourself. You had to be responsible to help get things done.

When my wife and I got married, we took responsibility for our own birth control. We didn’t expect someone else to be responsible for our sex life. Now, after 31 years of marriage, I learn that some of the D.C. bunch want to provide free birth control so people don’t have to take responsibility for their sex life.

Well, Mr. Stephen King, maybe I will join up with your bunch after all. No responsibility? What a “novel” idea.

Ron Cota