Future gift

I attended an informational meeting in Hampden on June 25 on the North Woods national park and national recreation area proposal. It was a considerate and thoughtful presentation of the process to date as well as the plan going forward. Cathy Johnson of the Natural Resources Council of Maine was outstanding in her approach and positive representation of what is possible for all of us in Maine if we accept this gift of land through Elliotsville Plantation Inc.

What an opportunity we have before us, a chance to showcase to the nation or beyond our beautiful state of Maine. The establishment of a national park and a national recreation area in the Katahdin region would be a gift to generations in the future. We should take advantage of this unique opportunity we have before us and in a bipartisan thoughtful approach make it happen.

Marilyn Temple Tardy


Chemical reaction

I’m concerned. I’ve been kept in the dark. There are toxic chemicals in our everyday products that could have serious health effects on my family, my friends and everyone else around me. Recently, I have heard a lot about phthalates — chemicals that can cause serious reproductive health disorders, early puberty in girls and asthma. What’s worse is that these chemicals seem to be in all kinds of products that I own, but it is so difficult to tell whether my products contain phthalates. Why? Corporations are not required to disclose whether or not their products have phthalates.

I know phthalates are in many lotions, shampoos, and other personal care products — especially ones that use some type of fragrance. Looking in my bathroom, I see “apricot-scented” face-wash, “arctic-charged” deodorant, “ocean-hinted” shampoo. Have I have been exposing myself to phthalates?

Even though I am a careful consumer, I need more information to keep myself safe. I can only imagine how the fear I feel must be compounded in mothers, responsible for keeping young children safe. Right now, our state has the power to do something about this. Maine residents have successfully brought a proposal to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, backed by more than 2,000 signatures, calling on them to gather information on which products contain phthalates.

I’m calling on Maine DEP to listen to these thousands of petitioners and to help fill this information gap. We have a right to know whether toxic chemicals are in our products.

Kenny Shapiro


Clean power

Kudos to Emily Figdor for her uplifting and optimistic outlook of what the Environmental Protection Agency’s “clean power plan” can do to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fight climate change.

But double and triple kudos to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for recently introducing bipartisan legislation to reduce those super-pollutants (hydrofluorocarbons, black carbon and methane) that are particularly powerful and harmful to the climate in the short term. This legislation will dovetail well with the EPA regulations.

Collins and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut truly give us all hope.

Judy Weiss

Volunteer member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Brookline, Mass.

Leadership matters

There’s a reason there’s no equals sign bumper sticker on my car. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for equality. I am just leery of a gay rights organization that has too often been on the wrong side of issues.

In my home state of New York, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Republican Alfonse D’Amato in his 1998 campaign for U.S. Senate because he was the most pro-gay Republican in the Senate at the time, despite the fact that his record on women’s rights and other issues was poor to abysmal. New Yorkers ignored the endorsement, thankfully. HRC has also come under attack from transgender and racial minority communities for its focus on marriage while ignoring other issues.

And now it’s done it again. It has endorsed Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, over Democrat Shenna Bellows in my new home state of Maine. Bellows, with the Maine ACLU, helped lead the charge for marriage equality in Maine and for non-discrimination legislation that includes the transgender community.

Collins waited until she got HRC’s endorsement to finally articulate her position on marriage equality. She waited until after Maine’s first referendum on marriage equality, after Maine’s second referendum, after the Supreme Court dismantled the Defense of Marriage Act, after the GOP made opposition to marriage equality part of its 2014 platform, and after that HRC endorsement. That’s Collins, leading from behind.

Truly I’m glad that my senator “approves” of my marriage, but I’d really prefer a senator who has shown actual leadership on issues that matter. If leadership matters to you, vote for Bellows.

Jackie McNeil

South Portland

Senseless baiting

In an article describing the plight of a starving eaglet, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has — sadly and ironically — said that intervention is only appropriate when there is “a human cause of [the] situation.” IF&W would take action to protect eagles from the indolence of man, such as lead contamination, but it will not protect bears from the willful, slothful repugnance of man that is bear baiting.

Every single year, bear baiters dump millions of pounds of fetid food waste into our woods — jelly donuts, fryolator grease, and rotting meat — to bring bears within yards of lazy trophy hunters, so they can take potshots and bring home a bear skin rug.

I wish the IF&W would hold our iconic black bears in higher regard and intervene for the sake of all our bears to prohibit this unsportsmanlike practice. Humans are the cause of this cruelty and its unintended consequences, such as creating food-habituated nuisance bears.

Mainers are a people who don’t listen unquestioningly to the words of Augusta insiders. Mainers think for themselves. That’s why I expect they will turn out at the polls in droves this November to vote yes to prohibit senseless bear baiting.

Christina Heldenbrand