A true Maine water monster

I read with fascination Aislinn Sarnacki article about the 10 monsters in Maine waterways. One monster that was not included was the giant water bug. This creature certainly deserves to be on the list.

Back in the late 1980s when I was teaching fifth grade at the Searsmont School (now Ames Elementary), one of my students brought a giant water bug to school. We had a large fish tank in the classroom. We were adding creatures from nearby ponds to the tank. There were various small fish, a baby turtle and other freshwater creatures that I don’t recall.

When we added the giant water bug to the tank, we created a disaster. This monster, a little bigger than a silver dollar with a lethal barb at one end, proceeded to kill the fish and it even killed the baby turtle. This happened overnight before we could extract the creature from the tank. Imagine the horror.

David Smith


Appaling Russia visit

To have eight Republican senators spend July 4 — a day that we celebrate the formation of our country, the ideals on which it was founded and the servicemen who have defended these ideals over the course of our history — in Russia is appalling to me. Surely another date for this meeting could have been arranged after July 4.

Former President Ronald Reagan, who referred to the Soviet Union as the “evil empire,” must be turning over in his grave at the antics of members of his Republican Party.

David Basley


Preserve SNAP

As anybody in the Maine labor force can tell you, you can’t walk more than a few feet without seeing a “help wanted” sign in the summer, but finding a steady paycheck in the winter is discouraging at best. In Portland, where I live, statistics from the Maine Department of Labor from 2012-2016 show an average of almost 15,000 more jobs in the month of July than in the month of January. The workers who keep our economy running in the summer shouldn’t have to worry about buying groceries in the winter.

Our economic reality means that putting a work requirement on SNAP benefits would have a negative impact on Maine residents during the winter months, when there would not always be enough work to maintain the minimum number of hours required to receive SNAP. Maine’s congressional delegation — Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin and Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King — should support a final farm bill without these work requirements.

Increasing work requirements for SNAP would also incur unnecessary oversight costs. Eighty percent of SNAP recipients who can work do so within one year of receiving benefits. Every tax dollar spent to enforce a work requirement for people who are already working is a dollar that will not help hungry families.

If our leaders in Washington want to serve the people of Maine, they must pass a farm bill that maintains food assistance for people who need it.

Morgana Warner-Evans


Roe v. Wade opinions

It is interesting that most people who write with a negative opinion about Roe v. Wade are men. Those in favor seem to be prominently women. I guess women like to have control of their own bodies.

Mary Kunstman


Salmon farm not MBNA

Regarding the Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed salmon farm in Belfast, what are the potential benefits? What are the risks? How do I decide?

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner in economic sciences, discriminates between System 1 and System 2 thinking. System 1 thinking is fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, unconscious: e.g. solve the problem 2+2=, or complete the phrase “war and ___.” System 2 thinking is slow, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious: solve 17 x 24, or determine the price/quality ratio of two washing machines.

Kahneman asserts that System 1 thinking involves associating new information with existing patterns. When faced with a difficult decision, we have the tendency to substitute a simple question for the one we find difficult.

Kahneman writes of a “pervasive optimistic bias,” which “may well be the most significant of the cognitive biases.” When the mind makes decisions, it deals primarily with known knowns, phenomena it has already observed. It rarely considers known unknowns, phenomena that it knows to be relevant but about which it has no information. The mind appears oblivious to the possibility of unknown unknowns, unknown phenomena of unknown relevance.

The Nordic Aquafarm proposal includes many unknowns, both known and unknown. It is a project at a scale that has yet to be demonstrated anywhere in the world. There is reason to believe the likelihood of failure is high. Should the project fail, we will be left with a large infrastructure development unlikely to be useful for any succeeding business. The salmon farm is not like the MBNA development.

Eric Anderson


Putnam for House District 87

Have you heard about Jason Putnam, the Democratic candidate to represent House District 87, which includes Wiscasset, Alna, Pittston and Randolph, in the Maine House of Representatives? If not, let me tell you about him and why I support his candidacy.

He’s an honest, trustworthy, down-to-earth individual who knows the value of hard work. He’s a self-employed carpenter, and knows the importance of policies that enable local businesses to grow and create jobs. He’s a married father of three sons, a passionate advocate for Maine’s public schools and is active on the Wiscasset School Committee. He wants everyone, regardless of their financial background, to be able to get a good, high-quality education, whether it be on the college track or vocational training.

Putnam will fight for access to affordable medical care for everyone. His wife, a Wiscasset native, is employed as a nurse at Miles Memorial Hospital and from her he learns the needs of the medical community, including the need to fight the opioid epidemic gripping our state.

We need Putnam in the Legislature to fight for core Democratic values. So why not send a carpenter to fix the House.

Wendy Ross