Schools cutting programs

The Madawaska schools are facing a budgeting crisis. There are proposals to cut pay, positions and programs, to name a few. In the eyes of the community, this is not acceptable.

I have had the opportunity to sit on the sidelines during soccer games and overhear a few disgruntled parents criticize the coach. The coach has endured this for quite some time now.

With the threat of losing the program completely, I have to ask, “How does the coach look now, guys?”

Debbie Clayton


Basic level of care

More than 135,000 Mainers are uninsured. More than $48.6 million Americans are uninsured. Although the Affordable Care Act will certainly help to reduce numbers of uninsured and will improve access to preventive services, it is not the cure for our dysfunctional health system.

For that, all parties — including citizens, health care systems, pharmaceutical companies and insurers — must agree that everyone deserves a basic level of health care.

Every day, in my work as a family physician, I meet people who are forgoing necessary testing and services due to cost. In this country we possess the innovation, creativity and intelligence to forge a system that meets the needs of all. A peek into the future reminds us that if we stay the course, far too many vulnerable people will be left without adequate care.

We do not want to be a country noted for vast wealth, yet having many sick and dying on the streets. That is not who we are.

Cynthia Dechenes, MD


Correct uncivil behavior

Socrates told us that the “unexamined life is not worth living.” If he was right, and I believe he was, then we are collectively turning our backs on a window to self-understanding: The way we drive our cars.

Twenty-five years ago, reckless and uncivil driving was a relative rarity in Maine. Now, it has become the norm. What has changed in the past quarter century? The answer sits right in front of us, if we would only look it in the face.

We have lost the ability to care about other people and to respect their boundaries. Worse yet, we seem incapable of seeing, and correcting, our own bad behavior. Driving habits are an indicator of what our values are and how we apply them to life in general.

We would do well to heed Socrates’ warning while we still can. Once this sort of destructive behavior gains sufficient momentum, it becomes unstoppable, and civil society collapses. The song of the canary in the mineshaft is faltering. The question is: Are we listening?

Henry Smith


Will miss Leboutillier

This is a hand raised in protest of the cancellation of the 33-year Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s Friday afternoon program “Down Memory Lane.”

As a 35-year member of MPBN, I have greatly enjoyed the voice of Toby Leboutillier and the golden oldie songs he introduced and also the excerpts from the BDN dating back into the mists of time. The fact that since 2002 Leboutillier did this as a volunteer does not diminish the value of his show to the commuting patients of the Lafayette Cancer Treatment Center and others of the greatest generation and the following not-so-great generations.

His was the Maine expression of wry commentary. This note is not a criticism of the Diane Rehm show, which is also excellent. It’s just to say he will be missed, and, well, thanks for the memories.

Lawrence Mutty, M.D.


BHS goal, continued help

Last January the Bangor Humane Society embarked on the ASPCA Rachel Rae $100K Challenge. Their challenge – adopt an additional 100 animals, in August, September and October. That’s a total of 1,179 adoptions. Thanks to the hard work of the BHS staff, the local

veterinary community which spayed/neutered each adopted pet, local media for promoting the challenge, and the greater Bangor community, BHS surpassed their goal, adopting 1,209 pets during this period – that’s 1,209 lives saved.

The BHS staff is a bit bummed out, because although they surpassed their challenge, BHS did not win a grant from the APSCA. However, the staff recognizes that with the help of the community they have done a wonderful thing. They have saved 330 more lives than they did in the same period last year. November is not quite over and they have already surpassed last year’s adoptions by 25 percent. BHS needs the continued support of the local media and veterinary community, as well as each and every one of us. How can we do that? When looking for a pet, adopt from BHS. Volunteer to help the BHS staff. Send them a donation. No matter how big or how small, all donations help.

Don Hanson