National park will put Maine on the map

Growing up, I didn’t know much about Maine, but I could see dark green lines around Acadia National Park and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and knew that those were places I wanted to visit. But the “national” status literally put Acadia on the map.

As a former chaplain and hotel employee in the national parks, I have seen their spiritual and economic value. National parks are places of beauty, refreshment and renewal, not just for ourselves but for future generations to come. On top of this, a national park in the North Woods will bring much needed economic growth and business to Maine. If you don’t believe me, ask the people of Mount Desert Island how things change when Acadia is closed for a few days.

While a new national park would bring jobs to Maine, national parks aren’t just about those who live nearby. National parks are for all Americans, even those who never get to visit them or who spend a lifetime dreaming about doing so. For many, Acadia is on the same bucket list as Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. The Maine North Woods could be as well.

I urge our leaders to give a gift to the nation and to Mainers that will preserve the magnificence of our state forever. A new national park and national recreation area is good for Maine and Mainers. On this year of the National Park Service’s 100th birthday, it would put Maine on the map.

Benjamin Shambaugh


Bring back John Buell

Thank to the BDN for printing John Buell’s Feb. 21 OpEd, “The Supreme Court’s ultimate coup: It makes the most consequential decisions.” I value the depth of Buell’s analysis and historical perspective, and would like to see the BDN resume publishing his columns on a regular basis.

Jonathan Thomas


No veteran should die alone

I am a veteran and certainly don’t want to die alone. No one should have to die alone. In a Feb. 15 article, the Chicago Tribune reported how the No Veteran Dies Alone program, run by the Veterans Administration, pairs volunteers with veterans in hospice so they do not die alone.

This is a great program and I’d like to see it spread to all veterans homes, but also to nursing homes. My dad was a veteran and spent about a year at the Bangor VA in the Alzheimer’s unit. I was with him when he passed. I knew he was slipping away. I took his hand, told him it was OK to go, said I loved him and forgave him for being a jerk at times and he passed away within minutes.

My mom was not a veteran but was at the VA home in her last months of life. I was with her also. As she lay in a coma, not knowing if she could hear me or not, I whispered to her that it was OK to move on and promised her I’d look after her poodle. Like dad, she quietly slipped away with what seemed to me to be a sigh of relief.

I’ve been close to death. Dying is part of life, and I know that, but I was scared to death to die alone. I was fortunate to have my former wife at my side, holding my hand. While I did not pass away, the total comfort I felt knowing someone was there is indescribable.

David Winslow


Maine should require GMO labeling

I am writing as a concerned mother, daughter, wife, student and friend. There is a bill in the Maine Legislature, LD 1326, that would require all foods with genetically modified ingredients to be clearly labeled for the consumer. We view food as fuel for our bodies and that fuel is what keeps us healthy. By choosing to eat healthy or organic, we assume that harmful ingredients are removed from our diet. Sadly, this is not the case with our current laws.

Labeling GMO foods is not a new concept; there are 64 countries around the world that have GMO labeling laws on the books and it is sad that the United States, the supposed leader of the world, has yet to establish one. It is our right to choose what we put into our bodies and we have the right to know if we are putting our health at risk. We especially have this right for our children, who depend on us to take care of their health and well-being.

I urge Maine residents to reach out to their local representatives before the Feb. 25 work session and ask for their support and to be on the right side of this GMO debate.

Elizabeth Hanz


Saving the environment costly

I’m a 19-year-old Unity College student. Unity College is a unique school, and not many schools are like it. What we really do at this college is save the world. We learn how we can help the environment, animals and other humans. I have learned many things on how to help the environment, such as switching from gas to electricity or setting up wind turbines to harvest energy from thin air.

But my biggest concern isn’t the environment, because I know that if people work really hard we can protect the environment. My biggest concern is that my little town of Terryville, Connecticut, can’t afford to adopt environmentally friendly policies.

Terryville consists of three schools, a few franchises — McDonalds, Subway, Dunkin Donuts — a supermarket, a pharmacy, three parks and several other small shops and restaurants. There is not a lot of money floating around the town. But I like it because it’s simple, small and a lot of great people live there.

I’m concerned because if the world decides to change to be environmental friendly, then everyone is going to be spending a lot of money to be switching over from what we have today. My town doesn’t have money, so we can’t afford to do this. When these changes start to happen, I hope that someone can help give my town a hand in the process so we aren’t left in the dust.

Travis Marshall

Terryville, Connecticut