National park history lesson

Anyone who has read the history of Acadia National Park knows how fiercely the local residents opposed the idea right from the beginning. It took George Dorr’s courage and cool-headed strategy and, ultimately, the power of the federal government to see it through.

If the residents of Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island had had their way, there would have been no Acadia then or now. That took place 100 years ago, but the lessons for the present day are clear.

Bill Carpenter

Stockton Springs

Maine representatives’ wages

I wrote to all three of my representatives in Washington as a concerned Social Security recipient. I got a letter from the Social Security Administration telling me I would not get a Social Security cost-of-living increase this year because the cost of living had not gone up.

I asked Rep. Chellie Pingree, and Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins if they had given themselves a cost-of-living increase this year. I received no answer from anyone, not even an acknowledgment that I had written.

I want to know the answer to my question. Did my representatives in Washington get a cost-of-living raise? If not, OK, that is fair. If yes, I call that unfair. This has to come out in the open. What is the answer?

Belinda Frank

North Haven

Meil will work for Maine

Primary elections are fast approaching and the people of Camden, Rockport and Islesboro will be voting to replace Rep. Joan Welsh. We confront many issues in Maine and in our communities. Despite what many think, who we send to Augusta and the votes they make will affect all of us.

For almost 20 years, I’ve worked with elected leaders throughout the U.S. and around the world. Elected leadership is hard and often thankless work. It requires a careful balance of consideration of others’ ideas, fortitude to get into the details and the data, and when data doesn’t or can’t clearly point a way forward, the courage to stand for your values.

With that in mind, I’d like to encourage voters to join me in voting for Democrat Kathleen Meil in the June 14 primary election.

Meil is committed to working hard to improve our communities. From volunteering at school, to chairing Rockport’s Library Committee, she considers others, dives into the details and stands by her values. She does the work. And I know she’ll keep working for us in Augusta.

Heather Kashner


Gun control OpEd misleading

I feel that I must reply to Robert Schwartz’s May 16 BDN OpEd about a “dangerous loophole” that allows dangerous people to purchase a gun without a background check. He could have been a bit more truthful in some of his comments in the OpEd. I am a lifelong resident of Maine, a gun shooter and gun owner, and a federally licensed firearm dealer, so I feel qualified to rebut some of the misleading statements that were made.

This initiative that will be on the November ballot isn’t about closing loopholes but all about gun control here in Maine. It is almost all financed by out-of-state gun control groups using Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership as their mouthpiece. Universal background checks will not stop criminals from obtaining guns because they don’t go the legal route to obtain guns.

He also says that these checks would be fast and convenient. As somebody who does these, I know that this isn’t always the case. With government bureaucracy, it can sometimes take up to eight days on a legal transfer. Maine has used the present system of gun transfers since we became a state, so why let out-of-state money and influence change it now?

Vote no on gun control in November.

Merle Cousins

Southwest Harbor

North Woods already a monument

The adage, “None are so blind as those who refuse to see,” applies directly to the proponents of the North Woods national monument proposal. Though they are entitled to their views and opinions on the controversial plan, it appears that they are blind to the fact that, as it is, northern Maine can be described as a magnificent natural national monument — a national park, actually — that attracts tourists from across this country and beyond. So what’s wrong with leaving it as it is? Why turn it into another federally controlled farce?

Tom Hennessey


Take the country back

Donald Trump says we must make America great again. There is no question that our country has gone backwards, especially after nearly eight years under President Barack Obama. The Democratic Party platform supports abortion and same-sex marriage. Now Obama wants to allow transgender men and women to use the same bathrooms.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would carry on the same policies. The liberal courts have been forcing or trying to force states, companies and Christians to comply with these immoral laws. We have a chance to bring our country back. Please pray and vote.

Thomas Coleman Sr.


Sheltered workshops good for disabled

As the mother and sister of an adult with Down syndrome, and as political progressives, we read with great interest the May 18 BDN article, “Debate flares over call to raise wages for disabled in US.” Our son and brother, Jon, has benefited greatly from the social, educational and service opportunities that he gained from sheltered workshop employment. Although a number of companies have been willing to try him as a “regular” employee, he has not succeeded in keeping any position permanently. Simply put, he cannot contribute in the way regular workplaces need their employees to contribute.

Of course, there are many different types of disability and employment law should reflect appropriate wages for those disabled people who are able to compete in the regular work environment. But for people with a profound disability, a sheltered workplace and a lower minimum wage is most likely to be the only way to provide the services they need. More important for these individuals, who will never be able to support themselves, is the feeling of purpose that sheltered employment can offer.

Anne Hayes


Lois Hayes