Cost of watching an inmate

Penobscot County residents should be concerned after reading the BDN July 31 article about how much per day it’s costing the jail to watch over a suicidal inmate at Eastern Maine Medical Center.

Sheriff Glenn Ross states it costs $1,500 per day for the six correction officers it takes to supervise the inmate over a 24-hour period.

Also, is it necessary to have two officers with the inmate at all times? He must be restrained in some way to a bed. With pepper spray or a Taser, one officer could stop an act of aggression. My understanding is there’s also a Bangor police officer at the hospital at all times. Surely that officer would be available to assist most of the time.

Maybe it would be cost effective to change a holding cell at the jail into a special holding area for such inmates to eliminate the liability issue. That way, corrections officers already on duty can supervise the inmate. I believe more clarification and research should be done on this issue for the benefit of Penobscot County taxpayers.

Leon Nason


Cannot accept DA’s statement

In eighth grade, a classmate told me that she would have been pregnant by her stepfather before kindergarten if it was possible. She said her mother refused to believe her, and the abuse continued until he moved away. I felt horror and discomfort. She said she was getting counseling, but the statute of limitations had expired. In high school, she would start crying randomly.

As a mandatory reporter for most of my adult life, it is very clear to me that mandatory means “must do so,” not “optional.” We cannot accept District Attorney Chris Almy’s reported statement in the BDN, ( C “C harges Unlikely for Not Turning In Carlson,” Aug 4-5) that “the intent of the law was to encourage people to report suspected abuse, not to punish them for not reporting it.” Anyone capable of competently handling the duties of the professions of those who failed to report Bob Carlson inherently had the capacity to figure out how to report what they knew.

If Almy allows them to go untried, a clear message is sent to those who are in positions of power who abuse children: Most people will be so uncomfortable with what you are doing, they will let you get away with it. The statute of limitations already allows men like the one who preyed on my friend to move out of state and strike again with no record of prior offense. It is time for a public outcry to force adults to act correctly in defense of children.

Heather Estey


Bangor’s roaming cats

Several years ago, the Bangor City Council made the wise and safe decision to have an ordinance that prohibited dogs from roaming freely in the city, a safety measure for both residents and the dogs. Reading the article in the BDN about several cats missing, perhaps because coyotes or foxes are eating them, leads me to wonder why the original ordinance did not include free-roaming cats. Not to sound unsympathetic, but there is no one to blame but the owner if a pet goes missing when they are not contained.

Cats can be as serious a health threat as dogs. Last count, there were at least 3,000 feral cats in Bangor alone and hundreds of domestic cats roaming freely as well. Cats easily spread feline leukemia and go poo in our gardens and yards. They have no borders; they have no one following them with a pooper scooper. That very same poo often contains toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that can seriously harm an unborn baby if the mother comes in contact with contaminated soil.

They can also infect humans with cat-scratch fever and salmonella. They needlessly kill millions of songbirds each year. We allow no other domesticated pet to roam freely, no ferrets, no snakes, lizards, rats, gerbils, dogs or other loved pet. So why are we allowing cats to roam our streets? Cats can be restricted and still get fresh air. Contact your vet for advice and contact your city councilors if you feel strongly about this issue.

Pat Martin


Taxing cuts for the rich

My family is one of the lucky few whose taxes will go up slightly if the upper-income Bush-era tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of the year.

I recognize good fortune as well as hard work contributed to our success. As patriotic Americans we recognize that what our country needs now is not to extend tax breaks to folks like us who do not need them but rather to use the increased revenues that would come by returning to Clinton-era rates to help close federal deficits and restore important public services.

By the same token, lower rates should continue for the 98 percent of American households whose income falls below the top tax bracket. The 98 percent are the real “job creators” by starting businesses and families, buying products and services and supporting their communities. The middle class are the true engine of the U.S. economy.

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins will play a crucial role in determining whether we support the middle class by asking families like mine to contribute a little more or continue wasteful giveaways to those of us who already have so much.

In November why would the voters want to elect Republican Mitt Romney, who wants to institutionalize the kind of tax avoidance strategies he and only the very rich can use? Shouldn’t the rich pay their proportionate share?

Bonnie Porta

Cape Elizabeth

Guns make us safer

The question asked in the Aug. 4-5 BDN editorial was, “Do more guns make you safer?” The answer is yes. Trying to place blame on a inanimate object is foolish. Pencils do not make you misspell; forks do not make you overweight.

I have not heard of any gun shops being robbed during business hours, nor has there been a mass shooting at a gun show. Why is that? Every major city with their strict gun laws have murders; take Chicago — 25 over the weekend.

Keith Colby