Keep tipped wage

On a recent morning, I spent some time writing emails to our representatives, urging them to not eliminate the tip credit. When the minimum wage referendum went to the ballot, I had no idea or understanding what tip credit was or how the absence of it would impact a major employer in our state — restaurants — and the people who depend on them for their livelihood.

Maine’s economy affords few opportunities for working high school and college students, single parents, and those without a professional degree or certificate to make more than the minimum wage. The tip credit affords this opportunity to restaurant workers. It affects women and children greatly.

Anyone in Bangor knows what a huge economic advantage restaurants bring to our community. I hope others will join me in supporting restaurants and tip earners and ask our representatives to do what is in their power to defend the tip credit within the minimum wage legislation.

Sheri Thompson

Bangor

Climate change is real

The question of whether global climate warming is real or is a hoax can be examined along two principal avenues of thinking. These avenues are belief and fact. Beliefs are not measurable. The following are facts, which are measurable and can be evaluated.

The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide causes atmospheric warming. By all means of measuring, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been rising at an especially rapid rate since the late 1800s and early 1900s, and now are at the highest levels at any time in at least the past 800,000 years.

The atmospheric temperature rises and falls in synchrony with CO2 rise and fall. The global sea levels are rising due to expansion of the warming oceans and to influx of meltwater from receding glaciers. Arctic sea ice is rapidly disappearing, and it is nearly gone. With few unusual exceptions, the glaciers of the world are receding at rates higher than at any time in recorded history.

The scientific world points out that global climate warming is the most serious problem that the planet faces.

Harold W. Borns Jr.

Orono

Patriots invitation

Gov. Paul LePage’s comments Thursday on Portland radio station WGAN that the New England Patriots are “bad business” and “lacking character and integrity” and he would not invite them to Maine only serves to further hurt the people of Maine who are only looking to celebrate a victory for fans in New England. LePage has missed another opportunity to do something good for the state of Maine instead of furthering his own personal grudges.

There are hundreds of thousands of loyal hard-working Mainers who are Patriots’ fans, as am I.

Super Bowl LI was an incredible comeback that will be remembered for a very long time. There is no question that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time; but, equally if not more so, it is the entire team that puts it together and makes them victorious. There are tens of thousands of school children in Maine who were inspired despite all the negativity surrounding the NFL.

In cooperation with our sister cities of Brewer and Portland, I have extended an invitation to Robert Kraft and the Patriots to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Maine and hopefully some members of the team will join it.

This should have been a very easy thing, something all of us could have worked toward. I would prefer our governor reconsider his comments and choose to not sit on the sidelines. If he doesn’t, his actions hurt the state and he will portray himself as a heckler in the stands. We should all expect better.

Joseph M. Baldacci

Mayor

Bangor

Make national parks a priority

Maine is extremely lucky to have Acadia National Park. Besides its incredible beauty, it is a major economic asset for the state. Last year, 2.8 million visitors came to the park from all over the world.

But our parks are in trouble. They have more than $12 billion in deferred maintenance, including crumbling roads, unmaintained trails, and visitor centers and maintenance buildings in dire need of repair. Acadia alone needs $68 million in maintenance, including $40 million for repairing the roads used by park visitors. Anyone who owns a home or a car knows it is folly to ignore a small needed repair.

It is also fiscally irresponsible to ignore needed repairs in our national parks. Rangers and park staff do the best they can to address these challenges, but they are hamstrung because Congress has not made funding our parks a priority. The National Park Service currently gets less than 60 cents of every dollar needed just to keep the backlog from growing.

Our Congress needs to work together to make funding our parks a priority again. Please write and call Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree and Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and ask them to commit to making sure that Acadia and all our national parks have the resources and support they need to continue being America’s favorite places and America’s best ideas.

James Buttitta

Hermon

Bridging the partisan divide

Calls for bridging the partisan divide don’t really address the true cause of the current unsettled mood of the country, which I believe has less to do with the partisan political views of our new president and more to do with his intellect, character and competence, or lack thereof.

I doubt that if a cat had been elected to the highest office in the land you would hear anyone begin a sentence with: “While I don’t agree with the ideological views of President Whiskers…” More likely, every sentence would begin: “My God, we elected a cat…”

On one side of the partisan divide, liberal Michael Moore has called the president a “ malignant narcissist,” and on the other side, conservative George Will has called the president a “ bloviating ignoramus.” This is a divide that can be easily bridged by our shared disdain for the braggart, the fool and the con man. I feel certain that the eventual rejection of this man will be viewed the world over as a great victory, not for any one political party but for the American people.

Douglas McCall

Bangor