Rethinking pesticides

Thousands are suing Monsanto alleging that exposure to the weedkiller Roundup caused cancer.

I never thought I would be battling this on my doorstep. The spraying of pesticides is happening in my own neighborhood. The list of pesticides and fungicides used here are daunting and long: Roundup, Roundup-ready seed, Captan, 2-4-D, Pristine and Topsin-M, to name a few.

Many of these chemicals are carcinogens or pose other serious health risks, according to the nonprofit Beyond Pesticides.

As a mother, my growing children are vulnerable to the spraying of these toxins in my neighborhood. Our community’s children work in these toxic agricultural soils. I’m concerned that the sprayed lands runoff into our lake — our town water supply — and that wildlife could be poisoned.

I have contacted the Board of Pesticide Control, as long as these toxic chemicals are lawful, my family and many others are at grave risk. Science shows these pesticides poison not just pests, but us.

I implore my community to buffer our children. I offer to fundraise for organic seed for farmers. I share the myriad scientific benefits of transitioning to organic.

It is time to change our practices to truly care for the land. Let’s hope for my community’s sake this happens sooner than later.

Stacy Leafsong


Veteran clamming licenses

In 1965 I received a letter in the mail that began, “Greetings! Your friends and neighbors have selected you to represent us in the service!” I remember wondering at the time,”Where are those friends and neighbors? I want to talk to them!”

I obeyed the call and spent two years in the Army — one year in Vietnam and one year here in the states. Now it is 2019, and I find myself still wondering where those friends and neighbors are. I grew up in Machiasport and represented that town in the armed services, and now I am calling on that town to honor those who obeyed the call by giving them an honorary clam license — that would allow them to dig a peck of clams whenever they want to.

The last couple of months I have reached out to the selectmen — but so far hardly any response. A Bible verse came to my mind in which Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)

Come on Machiasport — step up and be a leader. Don’t worry about what other towns are doing — just do the right thing! Honor those who gave their all for you! Is it going to bankrupt your town to give them a free, honorary clam license?

Tom Sprague

East Machias

RSU 26 needs facilities investment

Orono residents, it’s time for us to step up and approve the upcoming school bond issue in RSU 26 on June 11. While we are justifiably proud of our school programs, it’s obvious to anyone entering any of the three schools that many improvements need to be made to the facilities.

With this bond issue we have the opportunity to make needed changes to the school buildings that have not been done in the past 40 years.

The school board and the superintendent of schools have made careful choices about which facilities are to be updated and improved.

We also appreciate the time and effort put in by teachers and staff and members of the public who served on committees to put this comprehensive plan together.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the facilities plan, you can do so on the school district website.

It is our responsibility as citizens to provide excellent school programs and facilities to support our children. Please support the RSU 26 school bond on June 11.

Ed Brazee


Questions about Orono school vote

Orono residents need to be sure to vote on June 11, concerning the $16.8 million bond referendum for RSU 26.

An architectural study and public forums, over the past two years yielded this proposed bond plan. While the study recommended $28 million, the school board targeted $14.2 million. Tax increases in the referendum are projected to be $193.22 a year for a property valued at $120,000, $289.83 a year for a $170,000 home and $483.04 per year for valuations of $270,000. So what is the tolerable temperature for taxpayers?

To substantially renovate the three schools would require between $30 million and $50 million. How does the $16.8 million in the proposed bond even address that?

Besides new cafeterias, new entries, improvements to office and support spaces, parking considerations, ADA improvements, and attention to the track and field, the plan seems to include: a) only four new classrooms; b) only “critical” repairs to aging systems across all schools; and c) a brand new “exciting” auditorium, which claims a hefty 25 percent of the bond’s funding.

The plan is to have all the future capital improvements included in our annual budgets. There’s already a $50,000 increase in the school budget for increased utility costs and staffing, alone.

So, are we in Orono prepared to pay the higher levy for this plan, in addition to paying for all the neglected repairs to be addressed in future capital plans?

On June 11, you can have your voice heard by voting on this bond proposal.

Linda Pletka


Accepting an NRA motto

I’ve decided to accept a prominent NRA motto: When guns are outlawed, only criminals will have guns. A cute play on words — but actually true. Career criminals and law enforcement, almost exclusively, will have guns. Bank robbers, hold-up artists, gang members, drug dealers — career criminals.

Who won’t have guns? Angry males. Aggrieved males. Disgruntled males. Embittered males.

Mass shootings don’t seem to be committed by career criminals but by males who in one way or another felt the world had done them wrong and wanted to pay it back. Can we ever prevent that sense of personal grievance? No. But if we establish sensible gun control laws, then only career criminals will have the guns used in crime. Perhaps then no angry male will be shooting up schools, businesses and places of worship.

Clyde Baker