Solar energy benefits

The BDN’s recent two-day series on solar power apparently misunderstood a basic concept behind net-metering. Excess energy is not “sold” onto the grid. People with solar panels receive a credit, not money, when the excess energy is exported onto the grid when they produce more electricity than they use.

Having the original generator export that excess energy to the grid provides larger benefits. Electric loads are typically higher in the middle of the day when solar generation is highest. Having localized generating units (solar panels) reduces the need to install centralized generation units and other distribution infrastructure. There is a strong argument to be made that capital investment in solar infrastructure is more efficient than investing in centralized facilities.

Punishing those who invest in solar energy to offset their personal consumption of nonrenewable energy sources is not only wrong, it is bad for everyone and will ultimately lead to higher-than-necessary costs, a weakening of a strong growth industry in Maine and higher consumption of fossil fuels.

Frank John


Strict recycling laws

Call your senator with your opinion on recycling laws. Metal and everything else that comes from mining is a finite resource. This means that someday the world will run out of metal to mine and all the metal in the world will come from recycling.

Recycling laws are needed to make sure that future generations do not run out of metal. The recycling laws would make it illegal to put tin cans, aluminum foil, insulated copper and other metal items in the trash. It still could be legal to throw out potato chip bags and to landfill metal with asbestos on it. But there should be a ban on aluminum in potato chip bags and other similar items, such as candy wrappers.

The law also should apply to e-waste. We also need a nationwide bottle bill.

Samuel Kurtis Foster


Clinton worse than Trump

Sen. Susan Collins’ repudiation of Donald Trump may be the spike through the heart of Trump’s electability. This terrifies me, although many see it differently. As questionable as Trump is, I see Hillary Clinton as unquestionably worse and a serious danger to the future of our country.

She has a time-proven record of dishonesty augmented by, at best, poor, poor judgement or, at worst, ineptitude in dealing with factors under her control while in government positions of responsibility.

Trump has a tongue that needs tethering. Even given that and whatever other risks come with him, he has no governmental baggage of ineptness. Yes, it is taking a chance with him. With Clinton it is not a chance, it is certainty of poor leadership based on her known performance.

Collins could have kept her thoughts, feelings and convictions internal to herself and just not voted for Trump. It is almost certain she will drag an unknown number of voters against Trump with her by her public statement.

She obviously believes Clinton will be the better president by her actions. I find that sad and a monstrous mistake.

David Anderson


Trump right about Somali refugees

The BDN should be mindful or should have known there is a Somali terrorist threat from some members of this immigrant group in this country. In April 2015, five Minnesota teenagers and one 20-year-old of Somali descent in Minneapolis were accused of “conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.”

They planned to reach Syria, and they were charged with conspiring to support Islamic State. So Donald Trump, as wrongheaded as he is most of the time, is correct when he says radical Islamic terrorists wishing to do harm to the U.S. can be recruited from this group. Whitewashing an entire group to bash Trump is wrongheaded, too.

It is one thing to daily bash Trump as not fit for president, but another matter to ignore known threats to all Americans in an editorial.

Bob Roxbrough


Helstrom a great barber

When I got my first haircut, Vincent Barresi put a cushioned board across the arms of one of those green chairs that Dwight Helstrom now has, and sat me up there for his tonsorial attention. That must have been shortly after Barresi opened his shop next to the Northeastland Hotel in Presque Isle in 1932 — when I was about 3 years old — and I never forgot it.

As the years went by, I left Maine to trace long routes around the country, overseas, and then back to eventually settle in Caribou. It was after the last licensed barber in Caribou died that I went looking for alternatives and found Helstrom’s present shop in Presque Isle. The friendly greeting received on my first visit was accompanied by the instant impression that those green chairs looked very familiar. Helstrom’s tale of their origin proved that they were indeed.

It was a delight to see the Aug. 7 BDN article about Helstrom and his half-century-long career as a licensed barber. I’m sure that all his customers will agree that he is indeed a “people person” with an incomparably bright outlook on life, and that his recognition and publicity are well deserved.

Carroll B. Knox


Maine can again stand against hate

Donald Trump proved once again in his recent remarks in Portland that he will say anything to stir up a crowd and play on our fears and darkest impulses. He went so far as to single out Maine’s Somali community for special attention in his standard characterization of immigrants “from the most dangerous places in the world” as a dark, ominous threat to our safety. I heard clips from his speech on my car radio the other day and felt sickened.

He did get one thing right. “This has nothing to do with politics,” he said. “This is a whole different level. This has to do with pure, raw stupidity.”

Some may remember how, in 2003, a West Virginia-based white supremacist group tried to play on the same fears by advertising an anti-immigrant rally in Lewiston. I remember how more than 4,000 people from all over the state came to Bates College on the appointed day to hold a counter-rally in support of the Somali community.

I was never prouder of my fellow Mainers than I was on that day. I hope that on Nov. 8 we come together again to demonstrate our respect for our fellow citizens, and our contempt for those who would trade on fear and hatred.

Jim Bishop