Laughter, stories and tears

Recently I learned that the cancer I had battled three years ago had quietly returned with a vengeance. Like so many before me, it will take my life in a few short months. Upon hearing the diagnosis, I was forced to drop out of my brief campaign race for Penobscot County sheriff.

Immediately my campaign manager, Corenna O’Brien, shifted her energy from the campaign to organizing a benefit dinner. On March 15 at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer, nearly 500 people gathered to celebrate my life. It was an evening filled with laughter, stories and tears. It was a memorable night for all who attended and one that my family and I will never forget.

I would like to publicly thank everyone who contributed to make this event such a success. Once again our family, friends and people we didn’t even know went above and beyond. I would also like to thank everyone who attended and those who wanted to attend but couldn’t because of the sell-out crowd. Thank you for all the cards and prayers I have received. I have been so blessed

Don Winslow

Hermon

Waiting for a fine day

Passamaquoddy people have been residing in the area of Maine for thousands of years, maybe even longer. So it’s no surprise the state continues to force us to live as second-class citizens. We lost relatives in both world wars. Lives were given even though we had no rights to own land and didn’t even have the right to elect the president or state leaders.

Now I read we are denied – again — for a casino. Turn a few pages, and I read the state is legally screwing us of our rights to fish. Yes, I am disappointed. Shocked? Unfortunately, no.

I used to be quite proud of the state of Maine, as it consistently applied new laws for public smoking, enforced laws against drunk drivers and was forward thinking in issues such as same-sex marriage. Yet, 50 years ago I remember walking down the street, holding my grandmother’s hand, and I saw a man watching us walk toward him. He spit on the ground and crossed the road to avoid us. I asked my gram why he did that, and she told me not to worry, everything would work out fine.

I’ve been taught “hope is a good thing.” So I’ll keep hoping that the “fine” day will come and my people will one day be able to live as we wish and be treated with the same respect we give our neighbors. I hope for our elders to have no worries about tomorrow and for our youth to remember the old ways and be proud of who they are.

We may still have those who spit at us or try to hold us back. But I shall hold on to hope.

Debora Newell

Pleasant Point

Free markets

Susan Dench wrote in the March 27 BDN that the solution to the minimum wage problem was “free markets” with no government intervention. Sorry, but Dench doesn’t get it.

People who work for a minimum wage are living in poverty. Poverty is like quicksand: Once you fall in, you are stuck there unless somebody comes along and helps you get out. Is the free market the helping hand, the Good Samaritan? Not likely!

Why? First of all, the free market is self-serving and only serves the poor through the “trickledown effect,” which has never proven to be effective. Yes, we need a free market, so entrepreneurs can get started. But most entrepreneurs need investors and skilled labor, not cheap labor.

Dench’s solution of, “If you don’t like the $7.50/hour job, just go and find a better paying job,” is not even close to reality for those at the bottom of the heap.

Next, what’s this argument that if workers at McDonald’s get paid a fair wage, a Big Mac will cost $40? That’s not how economics work. Look at the history of organized labor in this country and tell me how many corporations went bankrupt because they were forced to pay decent wages and benefits.

Dench claims that raising the minimum wage will “undercut the freedom that makes the American Dream work.” If we really want the American Dream to work for the poor, they need decent wages to help them get out of the swamp of poverty. The concept that free markets should control wages without government intervention is not practical in the real world.

Tom LaCrosse

St. David

Missing labs

I would like to tell people about Lemmy and Satchel, two of friendliest and most beautiful chocolate labs in the world, who went missing from the Indian Trail area of North Main Street in Brewer on March 23. My girlfriend who lives on nearby West Road, which overlooks the trail, lost sight of them for a minute, and it’s as if they have vanished.

Lemmy is 5 and weighs 85 pounds. He is the father of Satchel, who is 2 and weighs 100 pounds. Satchel never leaves Lemmy’ side. They were happy, healthy and had new collars and tags. They haven’t turned up at any shelters, been picked up by animal control officer, and no one has tried reaching us.

As more time goes by, the more apparent it’s becoming that these dogs were stolen from our lives. They didn’t lose their way home, literally hundreds of yards away from the trail, all of a sudden.

I would like to remind people if they come across pets that appear abandoned they should try contacting animal control, the owners if tags are present, or take them to a shelter before they decide to “rescue” and keep them for themselves. Someone could be looking for these animals like lost children, as we are. Pet theft is occurring more often, too, so keep an eye on your loved ones.

We are offering a cash reward for any information that leads us to our beloved pets. Please call 702-7434 or 478-3175 if you see Lemmy or Satchel.

Joel Ellis

Hampden