Lockman’s flawed logic

Rep. Larry Lockman, R-Amherst, tried to illuminate the extremism of the Maine Democratic Party in his May 3 OpEd. He failed, and in doing so revealed the true extremist to be no one but himself. Amid his hyperbolic language to describe Democrats’ tactics — job-killing agenda, waterboarding of the private-sector, assault on business — the two policies he used for the basis of his argument are LD 1101, a bill proposing a retail workers’ bill of rights, and LD 1217, a bill regarding worker scheduling. True, the bills were sponsored and co-sponsored by a handful of Democrats. However, they were struck down in the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee in 13-0 votes by the committee’s Republicans and Democrats and one independent.

Lockman used the sponsorship of two bills that had no chance of making it out of committee to brand the entire Democratic Party as extreme and anti-business. If Lockman wants to talk of extremes, one needn’t look too far into his past to find the utterly hateful and vehement anti-gay and anti-labor sentiments he spewed on a regular basis.

As a young professional living and working in Maine, it is a disappointment and embarrassment to see an elected official acting and advocating so idiotically with only his party, not constituents, in mind. The future of our state is not better off in such hands.

Matthew McLaughlin


Keep Indian mascot

It’s unfortunate the Maine tribes find the “Skowhegan Indians” offensive. The definition of a mascot is a person, animal or object adopted by a group as a symbolic figure.

When sports teams select a name for themselves, they usually look to someone or something they can identify with, an image that will inspire them. Take as an example the Saco Trojans — of course, being called a Trojan while in high school doesn’t make you Greek, either.

Skowhegan is the name given to that area by the Norridgewock tribe of Abenaki Indians, who fished there until driven out in 1724 during the Dummer’s War.

Skowhegan High School meant no offense when it chose the name “Skowhegan Indians.” It obviously was out of respect and honor for the first people who lived there, people they believe were brave and strong. That is the image they wanted to convey to their team.

If the high school changes the name of their sports team, it will just be another step toward wiping our Native American heritage from Maine’s cultural landscape.

David Smith


Vietnam veterans slighted

In March, I saw a flyer about a Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home to be held in Bangor. As a Vietnam veteran, I thought it was a nice gesture but 50 years too late.

A week ago, I was presented with nearly the same flyer except the wording had changed. It is now a Vietnam “Era” Veteran Welcome Home. My first thought was this: How does one welcome home someone who didn’t go?

I made several phone calls and sent emails to various sponsors of the event asking a basic question. Do you know the difference between a Vietnam veteran and an era veteran? Evidently not.

Many of us who served in Vietnam, the boots-on-the-ground veterans, feel slighted by the organizers. If I have to explain the difference between in-country and era veteran, then you probably wouldn’t understand the answer.

Jay Mason


Harness racing memories

I just finished reading the May 23 front-page story about harness racing at Bass Park. I grew up in Bangor, and the article filled me with nostalgia.

When I was a young girl, Bass Park was the greatest place in the world. My friends and I hung around the stables because it gave us a chance to be around horses. Eventually we came to know the trainers, groomers and drivers. Best of all, we were allowed to interact with the horses. We got to pet them, groom them and even cool them out. No one ever felt more important or privileged than I, age 10, 11, 12, leading a blanketed horse slowly around the stable area. No one was ever happier than that same little girl brushing a horse’s mane or simply petting its face and kissing its nose.

In the 1950s, the stable owners were the nicest people in the world. They treated us kindly and indulged us. We were made to feel welcome and useful. Sometimes they gave us money for snacks or shared their lunch with us. We felt accepted, trusted and capable.

Later, as a young adult, I went to the races. I hung on the chain link fence as close to the finish line as I could get. I thrilled to the sound of the trumpet announcing the parade of the horses in the first race. I can still hear the voice of the announcer — I believe it was George Hale — and the roar of the spectators in the grandstand and on the ground.

I know that kind of childhood experience is, for the most part, unavailable now.

Cheri Walton


Garbage solutions

Municipal solid waste is a fundamental part of our lives in the 21st century. Unless we want to make drastic changes in our levels of consumption, it is imperative we find a means to deal with our waste safely and responsibly. Fiberight’s proposed processing facility is the best solution to a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon.

Each of us in Maine generates just shy of a ton of solid waste per year. That’s a lot of waste that has to be dealt with. In my opinion, our methods in the past have been simplistic, if not downright childish. Landfills and incineration are far more inefficient and taxing on our environment than modern waste processing.

The waste processing facility proposed by Fiberight by far is the most thought out solution to our solid waste dilemma. This facility will allow us to intelligently convert our waste into things we actually can use. Raw materials and natural gas will be extracted from what once was undesirable refuse.

The solution is not perfect, but it is one of the most advanced methods for dealing with solid waste in the world today. We are subject to the consequences of massive consumption, one of which is massive waste. This is no time for cynicism. To all those opposed to the Fiberight facility I ask this: Do you have a better solution?

Dustin Ramsay