Right to know

For just a moment, let’s suppose that near where I live, several of my neighbors fail to maintain “a record of good moral character.” Let us further suppose that the majority of them also hold concealed weapon permits.

Now, the Republican minority in the Maine Legislature wants to take away my right to discover this information and make informed decisions about my safety and the safety of my family and pets.

I assure you that my first decision will be to never vote for one of those 60 Republican sponsors.

If my neighbors have a right to own and carry a concealed gun, shouldn’t I have the right to know about it?

Frankly, I have a lot more to be afraid of than they do.

Michael Grunko

Chebeague Island

Despite snow, ice

We were amazed to find our newspaper was delivered during the height of the blizzard. We certainly didn’t expect a delivery and were pleasantly surprised to find it when we got up. Many thanks to the dedicated BDN delivery people.

Lois Weeks


Crime reduction, education

I was pleased to read a recent article quoting prominent business leaders on how important high-quality early-education programs are for Maine’s economy and future workforce.

As a police chief, I would like to also state a fact that I know from my line of work — high-quality early education also helps reduce future crime.

There are two well-known studies on this topic.

One study, from the Perry Preschool in Michigan, compared the outcomes of young children who attended this high-quality preschool with their peers who did not attend. The study found that children left out of the program were five times more likely to be chronic lawbreakers as adults.

Another study of high-quality early learning, in Chicago’s Child-Parent Centers, found that at-risk children from the same neighborhoods who did not participate in the program were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by the time they reached age 18 than children who did participate.

Clearly, from a cost-benefit analysis, the cost of high-quality early education is minimal when compared to later public safety and correctional costs. That’s why I am pleased to learn that Gov. Paul LePage’s current budget avoids further cuts in early learning programs.

It is also my hope that the Legislature will agree with the governor on the value of these important programs and, in the near future, find the funding to increase access for more of Maine’s children.

As the business leaders noted, high-quality early education makes smart business sense. It also reduces crime.

Mark Leonard

Chief of Police


Children are the future

The author of a Feb. 6 BDN letter wanted those employers who are exempt from insuring birth control to support the children who are born.

To really help the government to save money, the author should want the birth control manufacturers to pay for all the women contracting breast, cervical and liver cancers.

The World Health Organization identified combined oral contraceptives and combined hormone replacement therapy as “Group 1 carcinogens” in a report published in September 2005 and concluded that these drugs could cause breast, cervical and liver cancers. Asbestos is also a Group 1 carcinogen.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the lifetime risk of breast cancer for the average U.S. woman has climbed from one in 10 in 1970 to one in eight in recent years. It is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 20-59, according to the World Health Organization.

With the changing demographics, more caskets than cradles and only three workers for each retiree, the letter writer better pray for more children to be born if he will be depending on a social security check. Children are not a disease, they are the future.

Ron Stauble


Wrestling fakes

As a young child, I loved professional wrestling. The colorful, athletic characters in the ring seemed so real, I couldn’t get enough.

As I got older, I came to realize what I was seeing on TV, and occasionally at the Bangor Auditorium, was all for show — it was fake and for entertainment purposes.

Newspaper reports and the posts I read on social media sites make it evident, like my childhood wrestling fascination, that it’s time for a reality check.

Regurgitation of cable news shows and talk radio is clearly evident in much of what people write, and for the most part it’s mindless, devoid of facts and mostly out of context.

As with professional wrestling, cable news and talk radio are entertainment entities and operate with little regard for educating the American public.

In addition research shows Americans who get their information from these so-called news outlets are actually poorly informed.

The big three cable news networks and radio, with its talking heads, do not present what news gathering and dissemination looks like. It’s clear that none of these organizations take part in investigative journalism.

What we see and hear instead are entertainers who pretend to practice journalism. If people get the majority of their information from one of these so-called news networks, they know little of the world around them.

What they’re listening to, like professional wrestling, is fake.

Phil Hendricks


Governor and pain meds

I have been writing to the governor frequently, and I can tell from the responses I get that I am just not being heard. I am hoping to find greater support here.

I have fibromyalgia and a few other chronic conditions that are simply out of control. The governor has decided that I can only receive 15 vicodin, three times a year. I was told to

seek alternative therapy.

I went to physical therapy and was only allowed two visits, including the initial evaluation. I then turned to water therapy, and again I was only allotted two visits, including the evaluation.

Then I read that I can only have two name-brand medications on Medicaid. Almost all my core medications are brand names, as I have tried others, and they failed.

So I started to get steroid injections to help chronic back and hip issues. Now the governor says Medicaid will not pay for any ambulatory services.

Just when I thought I was out of options, I found out that liquor prices might be lowered to make alcohol more affordable and help the Maine economy. So I asked the governor: Am I to become an alcoholic to be able to handle the pain so that I may function as a single mom?

Jeanette Smith

Old Town