Babe the Blue Ox

Yes, Virginia, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are part of the history of Bangor and our great state of Maine. I know you may hear from folks who do not believe. Unfortunately, too many of us do not realize the power that comes from those who work their magic. Just as Walt Disney and all of his great works are real and continue to inspire generations, Paul Bunyan and Babe will do the same.

The Paul Bunyan statue reminds us of the significance of the lumbermen and their role in the forest products industry, which has been, and still is, an important part of Bangor and this part of Maine.

This statue did not and has not cost the city of Bangor any money. The Paul Bunyan statue was made and has been maintained by the private sector. The same plan is being worked on for Babe the Blue Ox.

Whether it has been the creation of one of the first symphonies in the country, the home of the American Folk Festival, Mansfield Park, Sawyer Arena, Pancoe Pool, the Cole Land Transportation Museum, the Maine Discovery Museum, the Challenger Center, the Bangor Waterfront, the new arena and civic center, or the many other great amenities in Bangor, we are fortunate to have citizens who “create the magic.”

Normand Martin, his family, friends and many other civic-minded people, have come together to hit the refresh button to the legend of Paul Bunyan with the Babe the Blue Ox project.

David Nealley


Castine Capers

Kudos to reporter Meg Haskell for her Sept. 8 article about Ted Rodgers’ role in the development of the Skyhook. Ted was a Naval Academy classmate of my late father, Leigh “Early” C. Winters, and for several years has been the president of the Class of 1940. As of last Monday, there are eight known surviving members of the class.

Ted did not mention his generosity as the summertime host of the Castine Capers, which ran for nearly three decades. His classmates and their families would travel to Castine — some from California — to spend two weeks in July enjoying his hospitality and exploring the Penobscot region. At its peak, there were over 250 classmates, wives, widows, kids and grandkids bunking in the dorms on the Maine Maritime Academy campus. We enjoyed each other’s company, tugboat tours, sailboat contests, eating mussels right out of the bay, antiquing, sightseeing, climbing Cadillac Mountain, participating in the annual July 4th parade and watching the fireworks. Good memories, all initiated by Ted.

The last official Caper was in 2004. I miss it. I look forward to seeing him at the reunion in October.

Wendi Winters

Honorable vice president and treasurer

USNA Class of 1940

Annapolis, Maryland

395 connector not needed

The Maine Department of Transportation decided we need a connector from I-395 in Brewer to Route 9 in Eddington to ease the traffic on Route 1A and Route 46, which goes to the Bucksport mill. Now that the mill is closed, the DOT’s concern has shifted to Canadian truck traffic. Is subsidizing Canadian trucking really the best use of our scarce transportation dollars?

The University of Maine System is scrambling for money; the Department of Health and Human Services is being cut, along with forestry and law enforcement. The list goes on and on.

Our roads and bridges are in disrepair. Should we spend another $61 million on 6.1 miles of new pavement when the DOT’s current work plan includes an annual shortfall of $119 million?

Nothing local residents do seems to have any effect. Personal agendas and politics have trumped any support from our legislators. They simply will not act on our concerns.

Maine is borrowing $1 billion over a decade to maintain the current roads and bridges. For the past 15 years, residents and towns have asked DOT not to build this connector. I suppose the DOT knows what it’s doing. Or does it?

Vinal S. Smith


MDI traffic follies

Regarding Beth Kidder’s Sept. 16 letter about overcrowding on MDI, there is a huge new facility on Route 3 in Trenton, which has expansive parking, restrooms and space for tourist information. Yet, a welcome center set for the property has yet to be built. Why isn’t anyone using this space to park their vehicle in Trenton and take the Island Explorer onto Mount Desert Island? There are special designated turn lanes for it, but there are no signs to alert drivers of its existence while we await an official welcome center.

Another thing that might reduce traffic congestion: The Island Explorer takes residents and tourists alike to just about any destination on the island except the summit of Cadillac Mountain, perhaps MDI’s “premiere destination.” One busload of passengers could replace 20 to 30 private vehicles driving to the summit and trying to park. If one must use their private vehicle to climb Cadillac, they might as well continue to use that vehicle to get to Sand Beach or Thunder Hole, drive Ocean Drive, or get to any other destination on the island.

I was told several years ago by someone at the Island Explorer information booth in Bar Harbor that the Island Explorer doesn’t go up the mountain because the propane-powered buses can’t make the climb. If that’s the case, two diesel-powered school-bus-sized buses dedicated to Cadillac Mountain and connecting with the regular Island Explorer route would still drastically reduce the air pollution and parking problems at the summit that are caused by hundreds of private vehicles.

Michael P. Gleason


Oval office respect

It seems that those vying for the office of the presidency think the office is one of power or even a joke, to say the least. On the contrary, the office of commander in chief is one of leadership of and service to everyone in our great nation, not to a chosen few — the rich, to the exclusion of the poor and the middle class. The president serves everyone regardless of nationality, color, religion, country of origin, and gender.

This office is not a business nor should it be treated as one. We are not employees but citizens of our great secular nation.

Anne Borreggine