Kenduskeag race coverage

I enjoyed the Bangor Daily News’ article on the 50th Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race and the winner, Trevor MacLean. The only problem is this article was the same as the last few years. I thought it being the 50th running of this race the BDN would have stepped out of the box and not just done a cookie cutter report.

It is the biggest sporting event in the Bangor area, with 921 participants and 493 boats. I think it’s worth more than just seven paragraphs about one kayaker. Why not talk with one of the four kids under 14 years old that placed in the top 25 boats overall? Interview Irving Gilbert who has run the race 40 times and won his class this year or Shelley Koenig and Lani Love, the only tandem women’s team to finish the race in under three hours.

There are so many more stories that could have been told. This could have been a much better article.

Joseph Burke


Override solar veto

LD 1649, the solar energy bill designed to power more Maine homes and businesses with 100 percent made-in-Maine energy, is the result of many weeks of analysis, argument and compromise. Here are five reasons why lawmakers should vote to override a Gov. Paul LePage veto of LD 1649:

First, contract rate control safeguards guarantee that solar capacity is built for the lowest possible cost and never imposes additional costs on ratepayers.

Second, 20-year contracts undervalue solar installations, as independent studies show it can produce 80 percent of initial power even after 40 years.

Third, solar energy is fully funded by individual and business investment. No state tax credit or other subsidies for solar exist and LD 1649 does not create any. You don’t have to choose solar for yourself, and you don’t pay if your neighbor does.

Fourth, solar energy producers must pay for distributing all energy they generate.

Fifth, the Office of the Public Advocate says LD 1649 will save ratepayers more than $100 million over the life of the program.

I thank Waldo County Reps. Christine Burstein, James Gillway, Erin Herbig, MaryAnne Kinney and Joan Welsh for supporting LD 1649. And I urge their Waldo County colleague, Rep. Karleton Ward, to join them and support an override of a veto. Senate President Mike Thibodeau, we’re watching to see if you will lead on this issue or support a LePage veto.

Come on, Maine; let’s put our sunshine to work.

Andrew Stevenson


Scrap I-395 connector

As a former Brewer city councilor and a representative to the I-395/Route 9 Connector committee, I cannot believe that this project is going forward. Maine Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Jon Nass thinks that 16-year-old data still is good data to use.

Having spent eight years in connector meetings, I know that most routes were dismissed as not viable. Finally, a solution came in the form of the “ Ring route,” which was initially approved by both the committee and the Department of Transportation. It was shelved because of the lack of funds, and the project went underground. Then an unknown person not only got the preferred route tossed out but got one of the worst routes certified as preferred.

Officials from the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration not answering simple questions is unacceptable. It’s their way and the highway. I now feel the only route to stop this boondoggle is to call our two senators and representatives and insist our highway funds be better spent on fixing up existing, crumbling roads and bridges.

Manley DeBack Jr.


Drawn to Maine

I have never been to Maine but the BDN and the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race have drawn me toward Maine next April. I found out about the Kenduskeag race by seeing online a photo of a golden retriever swimming with a paddle. That photo and reading the BDN online every day has me hooked on the great state of Maine.

I couldn’t make it this year because of work, but I watched live coverage of the race from my hotel room on the banks of the Mississippi River (the Kenduskeag’s big brother) in Savanna, Illinois. Maine has a unique event there, and I can’t wait to come and try it.

Gary Fruland

Newark, Illinois