Snowe and the electric car

I only had one occasion to speak to Olympia Snowe, almost 40 years ago. I was the new owner of Dover-Foxcroft’s Brown’s Mill and Ms. Snowe was a first-time candidate for the House of Representatives. Before her appearance at a local school, she scheduled time to visit our mill, its hydroelectric plant where the town got its base load of zero-carbon energy, and to consider my experimental vehicle display of alternative energy.

She was a good listener and a good questioner.

When it was time for her to leave for her rally, I asked her if she had any interest in driving there in a Sebring Vanguard Electric Citicar. That raised her eyebrows. The car looked more like a slab of cheese on wheels than an automobile. It was already dark, she had never driven an electric car and, not surprising, this was only the tenth Citicar sold.

She cautiously agreed. It was not as fast and would go not as far, but it was not as greedy as a gas vehicle, getting its energy at the mill from our generators — 10 cents purchased enough “juice” a day could to fill a Citicar tank back then.

At the school, I watched her walk to the lighted doorway, the last time I ever saw her in person.

I followed her political career with interest, and even though I later felt forced to change parties, she always got my vote. She is still a courageous lady who puts her country first and speaks with honesty not often heard in Washington.

Charles E. Mac Arthur


Thinking about the future

On the political scene today, most people who have formed an opinion will tell you that they “think” they know what is wrong with our country and what needs fixing. They may also tell you they “think” they know who will make our best next president, and why.

The so-called far-right “feel” they know what is wrong. They will go on to tell you, “anybody but Obama.”

I have a real problem with this. Do they ever listen to themselves saying this? Who is “anybody?” Can this “anybody” do the job better? Resolve the concerns and fears we all share? Put the country in better shape than it is now? What if this “anybody” turns out to be a real “nobody”? What do we “feel” then?

As for me, I haven’t made my decisions yet. I’m still thinking of the options and won’t stop thinking until I can give commonsense reasons for the decision I end up making, should anyone care to ask me. I recommend that everyone take this approach.

Bill Shook


Constitutional conflict?

Isn’t tax exempt status for religious institutions anywhere in the U.S. a violation of the First Amendment’s mandate that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”? Surely it helps a religious institution to establish itself at the citizenry-in-general’s expense. No?

John Lyman


Cheer up, Mary

I read a letter to the editor recently on people leaving up their Christmas wreaths too long.

Christians put up wreaths at Christmastime and they are usually beautiful. It is one nice reminder of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I realize some people leave them up too long and then they turn brown, lose their needles and so forth. But I would say to the writer, Mary, there are so many other things of real importance to worry about in this world: the economy, housing, world hunger, gas prices and the list goes on, that a brown wreath is insignificant.

Cheer up, Mary, eventually the needles will all fall off and your problem will be solved.

Michael J. Clukey


Chicken pox side effects

In response to the recent BDN story “Mom favoring chickenpox infection over vaccination,” chickenpox is not simply an itchy childhood illness but a virus that will be in your body for life. It can cause shingles and may cause trigenminal neuralgia.

In our family, parents and five children had chickenpox as children. As adults, three of the children had shingles. My husband recently had severe facial shingles causing worry for his eyesight. I’ve had shingles, later neuralgia which was alleviated by my doctor prescribing a Zoster vaccine. Often neuralgia arises at ages 50-70, hence the suggested Zoster vaccine shot at age 60.

Shingles pain can be an ice-pick stabbing pain and a red burning rash that sometimes cannot bear the brush of clothing.

Neuralgia caused by the nerve that sends messages from brain to face is excruciating. It’s an unpredictable pain which can be caused by chewing, tooth brushing, washing your face or a passing breeze. It also involves ice-pick like pain, terrible burning of face without a rash which lasts seconds, sometimes 30 minutes.

I understand the fear of children’s reaction to shots but isn’t it wonderful that ours now have the chance to not have childhood illnesses that in some cases can cause deafness, impaired eyesight, crippled limbs, and weak hearts? Thank God for our medical advancements and the medical field that cares for us and those that find these preventions!

Beverly Roberts


More reason, less dogma

In response to the recent OpEd by Carroll Conley of the Christian Civic League opposing same-sex marriage, I wish to take issue with his fear that gay marriage will adversely affect society by forcing people and businesses to accept homosexuals.

“What about a florist that objects on religious grounds?” he asks.

Well, what about that florist? I’m sure at this very moment even the most Christian florists are currently serving women who use contraception, as well as divorced people, girls who have had abortions, atheists, members of different religions, people who take the Lord’s name in vain and adulterers.

And would it be OK to stone to death that same florist if he chose to be open on Sunday? The Bible clearly says I should.

My point is, the road forward should consist of reasonable conversation, not unbending dogma.

Mark McCall


Why does Rush survive?

If memory serves, radio talk show host Don Imus was drummed right out of broadcasting for his remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

Now comes Rush Limbaugh, the unofficial voice of the Republican Party, calling a Georgetown coed a slut and a prostitute and wanting to see videos, and he continues merrily along.

Where is the outrage? Who makes the decisions to allow people of Limbaugh’s ilk to continue blathering away? Who hires them to begin with? They are the ones we should be boycotting.

Russ Irwin