Just the beginning for Lincoln

Congratulations, Lincoln! Ours is an amazing community. One with vision, courage and commitment to our future. The announcement that LignaTerra plans to invest $31 million to build a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) plant, which is expected to create 100 new jobs, is just the beginning.

As vice chair of the Lincoln Lakes Innovation Corporation, I believe that credit goes to the great leadership at the town level, particularly expert guidance from Town Manager, Rick Bronson, and Economic Development Director, Jay Hardy, along with strong support from Lincoln’s Town Council. Brien Walton of Acadia Capital Management was instrumental in creating the financing package to make this possible.

Credit also goes to many people at the state level who have helped to create the proper environment for investment. At the federal level, Sen. Susan Collins’ vote for the tax relief bill in 2017 that created Opportunity Zones was instrumental to Lincoln’s ability to be in this strong position. Thank you to Sen. Collins for her commitment and dedication to Maine’s hard working rural communities such as Lincoln. Working together, we can build a future here for our children and grandchildren so that they can enjoy life the way it should be — right here in Lincoln, Maine.

Brian Souers

State authority to protect the internet

There is no question that the internet is critical in today’s world. It connects students to new ideas, allows Maine entrepreneurs to market their work and helps people access high-quality health care through telemedicine. Protecting and expanding access to the internet today is as important as it was for electricity last century.

Today, the internet is under pressure to become a system that favors certain consumers and content. In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, enacted net neutrality rules requiring all internet traffic be considered equal. Two years later, these regulations were undone, giving corporations the ability to price and prioritize your online activities differently.

As a State Representative, I sponsored a bill this spring, signed by Gov. Janet Mills, to reinstate net neutrality in Maine to the extent permitted under FCC rules. Any internet service sold to a state entity or across state-funded infrastructure must now adhere to net neutrality rules.

While opponents argued that our actions were preempted by the FCC, an October federal appeals court ruling made it clear: the FCC does not have the authority to preempt any and all state action on net neutrality; it will now need to make the case that a particular state law conflicts with its rules. I am confident that our law is well within our authority. The courts will tell us if we can go further to protect internet access for all Mainers, as other states have attempted to do. And if we can, we will.

Rep. Nicole Grohoski

Bearing arms and paying medical bills

Sunday, in the parking lot of a Bangor Mall Boulevard restaurant, a man was accidentally shot when a loaded handgun fell from his vehicle hitting the pavement and discharging. The man was hospitalized, and no charges filed for the accidental discharge.

This news was not printed in the BDN, but it’s information we all need when we consider our relationship with the Second Amendment. This man, or someone else, did not secure this weapon. That should exclude the owner from future legal possession of firearms. I grew up with firearms and I’ve never seen such casual and cavalier management of them as we observe in American society today. Someone who carries a loaded handgun in their vehicle and has not provided for the safety is a danger to them and others.

If his medical insurer will not cover the medical fees for his injury, guess who will. The results of a study released in 2017 by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine concluded that the yearly charges associated with treating gunshot patients in American hospitals is nearly $3 billion.

Nearly half of gunshot patients were treated in the emergency department and sent home. The average charge for each of these patients was $5,254. More than a third of patients — 37 percent — were admitted to the hospital. Those admitted for inpatient care incurred charges 18 times higher than those who were treated in the emergency room and released: $95,887 per patient, on average.

The right to bear arms does not exclude us from the responsibility of paying the bills.

William Skinner