Stand up against Islamophobia

Each day in the news I hear of another incident of hate toward Muslims. School children around the U.S. are frightened and their parents are in despair about how to protect them without scaring them more. Hateful language from politicians fans the flames while boosting their own notoriety.

Islamophobia is another face of racism and religious discrimination, both of which have been all too common in Maine’s history. Education is the best antidote to hate. Tiny groups of religious extremists from all religions are a threat to our safety, but lumping all Muslims together as a group and claiming they are violent is a dangerous lie.

Please stand up to prejudice when you encounter it. Meet it with love and truth.

Don’t be afraid to speak up for our Muslim neighbors. Be more afraid of what happens to a society that allows itself to be ruled by racism, intolerance and hatred.

Lisa Savage


Shipyard wages

Regarding the Dec. 8 BDN article, “Bath Iron Works, union reach tentative contract agreement,” when writing about issues between labor and management, BDN readers would be better informed if the paper listed some of the present wage rates the workers think are inadequate. We all then can discover that the average wage at BIW is about 20 percent above the state average.

So why do the workers complain?

Years ago, a U.S. president stood in the cab of the huge crane shown in the photo with the article, overlooking the yard. He asked the BIW president, “How many men work here?” The reply: “About half.”

Dave Allen


Habitat for Humanity success story

On Nov. 24, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor celebrated the completion of its 16th newly constructed home. A deserving family has moved from a cramped apartment into a four-bedroom home of their own for $300 less per month than they were paying in rent. This was made possible thanks to an impressive commitment from the community:

The city of Bangor voted to sell the lot to us for $1. Locals donated $75,000 in cash, which was spent on building materials and professional services purchased from local vendors. Businesses and individuals donated in-kind gifts of building materials and professional services worth an additional $60,000. Two hundred twenty community members volunteered more than 3,200 hours to build the house, including more than 400 hours by the Umble family. Donations to our ReStore were used during the build or sold at 50 percent of retail to cover overhead costs and to help purchase building materials.

The Umble family purchased their Habitat home with a minimal down payment, taking on a 30-year, zero-percent mortgage. They will save more than $80,000 compared to a traditional mortgage at 3.75 percent interest. They will not pay mortgage insurance, saving them an additional $6,000.

A lot in the West Side Village has been transformed from an eyesore into a family’s home. What used to be a drain on city resources will now produce tax revenue. We are immensely grateful for the widespread support from a community that recognizes when a Habitat home is built, everyone wins.

Lynn Hempen

Executive director

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor


Katahdin region can’t wait for national park

I am dedicated to the future of my home town of Millinocket and the Katahdin region. That is why I support the proposal for a national park and recreation area. As a small-business owner, I am not immune to the changes in our community. As more and more people have left Millinocket, I have had to lower my fees in order to attract customers. I need more customers. This practice is barely sustainable. A national park and recreation area will bring more people to Millinocket.

Millinocket and its neighboring towns have changed a lot recently. But one thing has remained the same: The natural resources that surround our communities. We need to capitalize on tourism and outdoor recreation. A national park and recreation area will help us do that. It will undoubtedly attract more people to this beautiful part of the state, which is good for me and my neighbors.

We need Sen. Angus King to be a leader and help us to bring a national park and recreation area to the Katahdin region. I can’t wait any longer.

Robin A. Burgess