Public radio in jeopardy

Our new administration has community and public radio in its sights, with a drive to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio. This has been in the works for a long time, the far right chipping away at funding for non-commercial media. Now Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado, who said “this money could be put to better use rebuilding our military and enhancing our national security,” has introduced two bills to finish it off. And the votes are probably there.

We need more support, not less, for our small local community radio stations across the country, and for public radio, to bring us the local and state coverage we need to conduct a living democracy. Radio coverage is relatively cheap and fast (can be done with phone connections and simple recording devices) and publicly supported stations are less vulnerable to big money influence.

Please contact Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin, and ask them to defend community and public radio against this attack.

Beedy Parker


Oppose Puzder for labor secretary

Betsy DeVos is now secretary of education because Sen. Susan Collins cast the deciding vote for DeVos in committee, allowing DeVos’ nomination to go to the full Senate. Collins tried to have it both ways by voting against DeVos on the Senate floor.

Let’s not let her pull the same political trick again. Soon the same committee will be voting on the nomination of Andrew Puzder for secretary of labor. Again, Collins will have the opportunity to cast a vote to stop a nominee that would be devastating for the people of Maine.

Puzder is CEO of a fast food company that is a persistent violator of the very labor laws he will be tasked with enforcing, has stated that he believes workers should be replaced by machines, and opposes minimum wage and overtime protections that benefit thousands of Maine workers.

Collins should act in the best interests of her constituents, not her party, and vote against Puzder the first time, rather than finding a conscience only once his nomination is assured.

Shelby Leighton


Phase out styrofoam containers

There are two bills that legislators will consider this session concerning single-use plastics. LD 57, An Act To Phase Out the Use of Single-use Plastic Shopping Bags, and LD 103, An Act To Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers.

LD 103 concerns prohibiting the sale or distribution of disposable polystyrene food service containers, known to many of us as styrofoam containers. Polystyrene does not decompose. It fragments into smaller and smaller nondegradable pieces that are eaten by marine and other wildlife. It is made from benzene and styrene, known or suspected as carcinogens. Polystyrene is believed to cause increased risk of certain cancers. Opponents counter that the risk has not been proved, and that the risk is less for consumers than for those who manufacture items using the chemicals.

The bill contains this loophole: “It is prohibited, unless there is no recyclable or compostable product available at a comparable cost.” There are many alternative recyclable and compostable products. We know that the reason polystyrene has become ubiquitous is that it is less expensive and weighs less to ship than comparable products. To my mind, the cost of resultant health care because we are exposed to polystyrene greatly outweighs any cost differences between polystyrene and other products.

Please let your legislators know that you prefer to reduce the risk to yourself and your children. Ask them to remove the loophole and pass the bill.

Ruta Jordans


Reject Pruitt nomination

Among senators, Susan Collins has a unique responsibility to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency does not fall under the supervision of Scott Pruitt whose major interaction with the agency has been a methodical assault on its protections and provisions.

The Clean Water and Clean Air acts along with the EPA are the direct results of the vision and statesmanship of two of Maine’s and the nation’s finest senators, Ed Muskie and George Mitchell. With its reliance on robust tourism alongside the forest products industry and the sporting and commercial fisheries, Maine depends upon a clean, healthy environment with protection for its sustainability that only the EPA can provide.

The nomination of Pruitt for the head of this critical agency is a travesty and must be stopped. His history of attacking the EPA and its work make him the worst possible candidate.

Collins will need to follow the lead of yet another remarkable and courageous Maine senator — Margaret Chase Smith, who during the McCarthy era for a time stood alone against the fear and hate sown by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his supporters. Collins must work to make sure Pruitt is not confirmed despite the support of her colleagues who would peel back protection of the nation’s waters, air and resources. The health and welfare of the people of Maine and the entire nation could depend upon it.

Jerry Stelmok


Adopt an animal friend

I have a friend who breeds and sells dogs. It upsets me to my core because I know that every new puppy she produces means one less home for a pup waiting in a shelter.

Shelters are crowded with dogs, cats and other animals, including many purebreds. If people would adopt their animal companions from shelters instead of buying them from pet shops or breeders, countless lives could be saved.

Many people buy animals on impulse because they like the look or mannerisms of a certain breed, but when they get bored with the animal or when the animal doesn’t act exactly as they expected, many people abandon their companions without a second thought. If only people would adopt animals in order to love and care for them, rather than for how they look.

There are countless ways to earn money without worsening the companion animal overpopulation crisis. There is no excuse for breeding more animals when so many are already in desperate need of homes.

Please, adopt — don’t shop.

Bianca Giron