Help addicts recover

After six years of struggling with addiction and attempts at recovery, I’m very proud to say that I’ve been clean for six years. Addiction is a trap that grabs hold of people every day and holds them down. Overcoming addiction is a tremendous struggle, and contributing to that struggle is the way that addicts are treated after recovery.

After doing my time for drug-related offenses, finding honest work that pays the bills has been incredibly difficult. I have worked for many fast-food restaurants that pay poverty wages, with no benefits, even as the owners of those corporations made record-breaking profits and used it to pad their pockets.

When people are recovering from addiction, we need to treat it as what the medical community says it is: a disease. When addicts complete recovery, we need to give them the ability to live free of the crimes that sent them to jail in the first place. This means ending policies that discriminate against the formerly incarcerated and addicts. It also means a minimum wage that pays the bills, and it means broader access to health care that allows people to continue treatment.

Jordan Castonguay


Obama should create national monument

I want President Barack Obama to consider declaring the area east of Baxter State Park, a huge, beautiful wooded area with lakes and many opportunities for recreation, a national monument. Many people here have worked hard and spent money to help create the area that would be the start of a new park, adjacent to the magnificent wilderness of Baxter State Park that was given to Maine as a permanent wild area for people to enjoy.

One route to a national park and national recreation area would be to first establish a national monument, which the president can do through an executive order. Many of our most beloved national parks, including Acadia and the Grand Canyon, began as national monuments. This year also is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the national monument that later became Acadia National Park. That would be a very suitable time to establish a national monument in northern Maine.

Alan Pooley


FairPoint should keep its landline promise

Our parents taught us that when you make a commitment you have an obligation to honor it. Has that gone out of style?

When FairPoint Communications purchased Verizon’s landline operation in 2008, it made a promise to be the provider of last resort for Maine, which means it would provide and maintain affordable and reliable landlines.

Now FairPoint has gone to our legislators and said, “Sorry, we’d rather not do this anymore.”

In our town, we still have too many areas where there is either no cellphone service or very poor and inconsistent service. When we have a power failure, it is our landline we use to call our electric company. In Maine, ambulance response is often tied to our landline address and is unreliable with cellphones. And in rural Maine, there are wide pockets with no cellphone service at all. Many elderly and disabled Mainers rely on landlines for their pacemakers and defibrillators.

We are working with our local AARP to “preserve affordable, reliable, accessible basic telephone service” and we hope our legislators will see to it that FairPoint keeps its word and continues to provide and maintain landlines at reasonable prices.

Sandra and Ole Jaeger


Fiberight a solid waste solution

As the town of Freedom’s solid waste representative and board representative to the Unity Area Regional Recycling Center, I know how important local control is to our residents. We are proud of the recycling center, owned by eight towns, and are looking forward to it playing an important role in 2018. The Municipal Review Committee and Fiberight have visited our center and are supportive of what we are doing.

Freedom and other municipalities need to choose where they will send their solid waste come 2018. To me, the choice is clear. The MRC has advocated for responsible and affordable solid waste disposal on behalf of its members for nearly 30 years. In the last 10 years, I have found the committee easy to reach, responsive and very helpful in my efforts to save my town money. I always felt listened to and respected. I feel the committee knows how to do this.

The MRC is about local control and will continue to serve us, the towns, well. Fiberight is exciting, attracting big investors so that we, the towns, do not pay for the factory’s construction. It is exciting using the forward-thinking, cutting-edge technology of biofuels, which are more friendly to the environment and will generate less residuals. It is exciting that they will blend technologies, each of which have already been proven independently.

I hope Freedom chooses to join Brewer and other forward-thinking communities in this next generation of recycling and waste processing.

Meredith Coffin


Trans-Pacific Partnership a bad deal for US

Our elected representatives should heed Mainers’ opposition to the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. The trade pact represents a power grab by large multinational corporations and a disaster for almost everyone else.

Under the provisions of the trade pact, corporations would have the opportunity to override U.S. laws through the investor-state dispute settlement system, which could erode the sovereignty of federal and state governments. As a result, this trade pact could lead to a reduction in state and federal food safety and health regulations, such as environmental standards for clean air and water, if they affect a corporation’s expected future profits.

This trade pact will likely do little to open up markets to American goods or to strengthen small businesses, which account for 80 percent of the economy. A recent report from Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute estimates that this trade pact could cost 448,000 American jobs.

I want to thank Rep. Chellie Pingree for making her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership clear to the public. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin should let the electorate know their positions. In my view, a vote in favor of passage of this trade pact is an assault on our Constitution and our democracy. I urge them to vote no on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Carole Boothroyd