Restore Onward Program

In a Dec. 27 letter to the editor, Peg Cruikshank advocates that the University of Maine restore the Onward Program, which was cut several years ago. The program provided many nontraditional students who might otherwise have been unable to attend college a support system of dedicated tutors and advisors to assist them as they took on the daunting transition to an unfamiliar and impersonal academic environment.

As a former instructor of English at UMaine, I can attest to the value of the Onward Program for many highly engaged students I encountered in my classes over the years. I was stunned when I learned the program had been terminated. I want to join Cruikshank in strongly advocating for the restoration of that valuable program.

Jim Bishop


Clean water in peril

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency released the Clean Water Rule clarification under the Clean Water Act after years of compiling scientific data showing that headwaters, even intermittent streams, are connected to larger rivers downstream.

It was no surprise that one of the first things President Donald Trump did was to order the EPA to ditch that rule. Nor was it a surprise when the EPA, taking direction from an administration that ignores science and the environment, released a new proposal that significantly diminishes protections for our headwaters.

As a Maine angler, I value these headwaters that provide clean cold water for trout spawning. But clean water isn’t only good for trout. Headwaters streams account for 60 percent of U.S. stream miles and provide water to one-third of all Americans.

It is obvious that big industry that prioritizes profits over the health Americans and our environment is influencing rules changes. This is not a political issue. All Americans deserve clean water.

There will be a short public comment period before this polluter-friendly rule is finalized. I urge anyone who cares about clean water to please take time to tell the EPA that clean water matters.

Claude McGinley


Fishermen becoming sharecroppers

Regarding the Dec. 4 BDN article, “Fleet of 5 Maine fishing trawlers sold to New York-based equity firm”: In the wake of catastrophic outcomes from consolidation and concentration of power in our banking, agriculture and media sectors, the news of Wall Street’s takeover of a Maine fishing business is cause for major alarm.

For years, New England fishermen warned fisheries managers that Catch Share policies would strip access from independent fishermen and hand it over to outside investors, bringing great social, economic and environmental consequences.

Unfortunately, the warnings that consolidation would undermine rural working waterfronts, future access for independent fishermen and conservation efforts were unheeded and even silenced by policymakers.

We are all for investments in our local fisheries that support independent fishermen, but not ones that force fishermen to be sharecroppers and sacrifice our ocean for Wall Street’s economic benefit. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration must implement safeguards to protect against this kind of corporate takeover now.

We can start by ensuring Carlos Rafael’s — “ The Codfather” — fishing rights are made available to independent fishermen who suffered the brunt of fisheries’ consolidation. As NOAA Fisheries nears a decision on his empire, without intervention, another hedge fund will win while our ocean and fishing communities suffer yet another loss.

Shannon Eldredge


Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance

Chatham, Massachusetts

Tim Rider

Commercial fisherman