Second chances

Portland Adult Education serves a vital need in our community because it is a place of second chances. Consider the range of students that it serves: A high school dropout who didn’t find a teacher to make math comprehensible until her classes at the program; a Somali immigrant who never went to school as a child and is now learning to write in English; a biology teacher from Burundi who must become more fluent in English to reenter her profession; a Portland native who loses his job and comes to PAE to develop workplace skills in order to regain employment.

Portland must support a unified home for PAE because it is a place where people who have experienced setbacks can work on skills they need to succeed. In an ever-changing economic climate, PAE offers job skill training and employment counseling.

In addition, PAE possesses a unique cultural atmosphere. As a volunteer, classroom teacher and volunteer coordinator at PAE for 20 years, I have also seen what wonderful relationships have been forged as a result of this environment.

Students from more than 70 countries take classes together where they learn that a place of cultural diversity is also dynamic, educational and compassionate. Volunteers from all over the greater Portland area work with students to improve literacy and math skills, to gain citizenship or to achieve a high school diploma or GED.

Technology may make the world seem smaller, but the personal relationships formed at PAE create understanding and confidence to face this global economy. Portland needs to find a new facility to house this wonderful community for second chances.

Martha Burchenal

Cape Elizabeth

Sandler for governor

Well, it’s that time of year again, and everyone has started thinking about the upcoming gubernatorial election. I was considering voting for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, as he seems to be a strong Democratic candidate, but then I came upon a startling discovery. The qualifications for governor are not leadership skills or political prowess but simply a crude sense of humor.

All I’m looking for in a candidate is the ability to make vulgar remarks about senators. Or maybe tell respectable organizations such as the NAACP to kiss his butt. Here is a man who’s not afraid to let loose and speak his mind. Not every governor has the audacity to make shocking remarks that’ll appear in national news.

Sure, Stephen Colbert and Rachel Maddow might not have displayed him in a positive light, but any publicity is good publicity, right? Notoriety is a form of fame. This is the kind of attention that Maine needs. And I think we could even up the ante.

Gov. Paul LePage was good for a few laughs, but his sense of humor was a little too tasteful. Not favorable with the younger crowds. We want the commentary to be more lewd, more callous.

LePage has done a respectable job. I think someone else could do it better. I propose to nominate Adam Sandler. He has everything that it takes to be governor of Maine. I’m anticipating a sweeping victory, but if anyone would like to offer support, financial or otherwise, contributions can be made at

Emma Howard


Got milk?

With reference to Nathaniel Bond’s June 22 letter about his grandfather dying from tuberculosis because of his drinking raw milk, I grew up on a dairy farm along with five siblings, and not one of us has contracted tuberculosis from drinking raw milk.

The farm was inspected regularly by the state, and the milk was sold to Sealtest. After it was processed, the flavor was not the same. Store-bought milk was not even thought of in our home.

Roy Marshall


Helmet head

I’d like to comment on the BDN June 21 article, “Getting high on rock climbing at Clifton Crags.” I saw this article and was appalled to see that the person being held up as an example in this sport was engaging in one of the most idiotically dangerous activities a climber can engage in: climbing without a helmet.

There is absolutely no excuse to rock climb without a helmet, no matter how “cool” someone may look in a trucker hat. And the fact that this person is being held up as an example in this sport, and that the newspaper is running a picture of him engaging in such a senselessly dangerous activity, is troubling in the extreme.

I would hope that the BDN would not run pictures of someone doing something so dangerous knowingly and that this was simply a case of the reporter and editor being unaware of how foolishly dangerous this is.

I would hope that people who want to get involved in this sport would not follow this example and that the subject of the photo will make adjustments and not set himself out as an example for this sport while doing something so dangerous in front of the cameras. Bottom line: Never climb without a helmet.

Troy Haines


Top liars

If we are to believe U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that the National Security Agency’s snooping has foiled multiple terror plots, then tell me how come the Boston Marathon was attacked, especially after Russia warned us about the attackers.

Isn’t it remarkable how the talking heads can lie with a straight face?

Jesse W. Baker


Dictating rules

For more than 20 years, I have subscribed to the BDN, and I believe the paper has never been better. From the wonderfully balanced opinions in the OpEd pages, to the reliance on Maine pundits who offer a Maine perspective on both local and international news, it is world class and local.

From this perspective, I wish to suggest an investigative piece on Gov. Paul LePage’s connection to the American Legislative Exchange Council, the lobbying organization affiliated with the Koch brothers. ALEC masquerades as a nonprofit organization, though in reality it is a lobbying machine for the wealthiest corporations in the country and promotes corporate interests for many things such as private-for-profit prisons and schools and ending oversight of corporate actions, which sometimes have put profit over general welfare.

LePage’s agenda is straight from the ALEC playbook, as is Winterport Republican Sen. Michael Thibodeau’s knee-jerk support of all of it.

I think we Maine people are accustomed to thinking for ourselves and would appreciate knowing about ALEC and how its corporate agenda is dictating the rules that govern us.

Karen Saum