EBT photos prevent fraud

In a Feb. 11 CBS 13 article, Sandra Ashecroft said in response to letters sent from the Department of Health and Human Services to food stamp recipients that said they have to add their driver’s license photos to their EBT cards, “why should we have to put our picture on the food stamp card if we don’t want to?”

Well, I guess then I don’t want my picture on my driver’s license now. Those pictures are not all that flattering. And then I could let my underage sister borrow my faceless license so she can get into clubs and buy liquor at the store.

Driving is a privilege and who has opposed the practice of a photo on a license? Isn’t collecting food stamps a privilege? Haven’t there been cases of people abusing the food stamp program? Shouldn’t people on the system be compliant with the measures that attempt to alleviate fraud and misuse of my hard-earned tax dollars?

Kate Tuck


Emission limits protect Mainers’ health

As a physician and board member of the American Lung Association in Maine, I was disappointed to hear of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to put the federal Clean Power Plan on hold while myriad legal challenges by polluters are reviewed. This is an unfortunate setback for all of us in Maine because not only do we have one of the highest asthma rates in the nation, but we also are at the end of the nation’s tailpipe, receiving much of our unhealthy air from states to the south and west of us.

The Clean Power Plan puts long-overdue limits on carbon pollution from power plants. It will significantly reduce asthma attacks, lost days of school and work, and even early death. The Clean Power Plan levels the playing field so downwind states, such as Maine, aren’t paying the price (with our health and our economic productivity) for cheap power produced elsewhere.

Maine is already on track to achieve the emission standards set out in the Clean Power Plan simply by being part of the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. It’s critically important that Maine continues its active participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and that we do everything we can to compel other states to move forward in placing common-sense limits on carbon pollution.

The Supreme Court may have been persuaded to delay, but the impacts of carbon pollution and climate change are not going away and neither should our commitment to protecting the health of Maine residents.

Paul Shapero


Republicans gone off the rails

Thanks to Sen. Susan Collins for injecting a note of sanity into the debate about Justice Antonin Scalia‘s replacement. She offered the opinion that the U.S. Senate should consider the president’s nominee.

This opinion would have been unremarkable in the past, but our current Republican Party seems bent on rewriting the U.S. Constitution to suit its ideology. This is only one of the ways the Republicans have gone off the rails.

John Spadola


Grammys snub Natalie Cole

I’m not a celebrity awards show watcher, but what happened Monday evening at the Grammys was inexcusable — not mentioning the contribution Natalie Cole made to the music industry during her lifetime. This was made especially trying given that others who have passed recently got a major contribution. This was truly “ Unforgettable.”

Dan Brooks


Health care workers underpaid

I’ve lived my entire adult life in Penobscot County and I work as a health care worker, primarily with people with intellectual disabilities. It’s a vital industry to Maine, with the highest median age in the U.S. and one that will only continue to grow as more people retire and life expectancies continue to increase.

But the people who work in this critical industry, who ensure our loved ones are taken care of, often find it hard to take care of their own families. Low wages keep many health care workers living in poverty, causing them to struggle to provide and care for their households. In addition, low wages cause high rates of turnover, and contribute significantly to another major economic problem: the number of young people leaving our state for higher paying jobs.

That’s why I support raising the minimum wage and increasing reimbursement rates from MaineCare to increase pay for health care workers. This would make all the difference to families struggling to get by while working in fields that they find rewarding. In this industry, that is desperately in need of more workers, people are being forced out of jobs that they don’t want to leave because it can’t pay the bills.

Sandy Smith


We need relationships with others

The recent revelation that Pope John Paul, now St. John Paul, had a previously unknown “relationship” with a woman for several years is an eye-opening facet of the human condition. While it may arouse whispers of intrigue and infidelity to God among some, I believe it simply demonstrates a basic aspect of our condition in this world.

Each and every one of us needs to communicate, or commune, with other members of our species. A relationship, however, does not automatically imply a sexual liaison; all it demonstrates is the aching need we all have to feel valuable to another individual. Even Henry David Thoreau, in his writings, shows the urge to be meaningful to another person.

Infant or octogenarian, we all long to be cared for, to feel worthwhile on a personal, intimate scale. If each of us does not do all we can to reach out to one another, then we are contributing to the collective misery of humanity. Truth to tell, too often we fail to accept or respect someone else’s yearning for kindness. It may sound pollyannish, but we need to be kind to one another.

Even in the secrets of a pope, for all the good he does for so many, is revealed this essential duality of our nature. Perhaps all he sought was a kind word, a gentle touch, a warm embrace sincerely given so he could pass it on.

Steve Colhoun