My experience as a business owner

One could say that nothing is more important to an individual than their desire to succeed. This compels many to take on the gargantuan task of starting a business. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has thrown an awful wrench into the machinery of Maine’s economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 99 percent of Maine companies are small businesses, and they employ over half of all Maine workers.

Facing the insurmountable challenges of COVID-19, our federal government rallied to support our economy. The needle redlined before we acted, but we acted. It has been a spectacular embarrassment.

The Paycheck Protection Program has been hailed as a success by Sen. Susan Collins, and I feel it has been crammed down our throats by some as the only apparent solution to this economic disaster. This slapped-together measure is like putting a bandaid on a missing limb.

Financing for filmmaking evaporated in an hour-long blink, forcing me to contact the SBA to see how the CARES Act could help my company remain viable.

I refused to apply due to two factors: they initially ran out of cash, and they handed money away to corporations who did not need it.

In the middle of this crisis, I see a common thread: government is separating the business from the person. The person deserves security and the business pays. But what if the person is the business, as is the case for most businesses in Maine? How could Collins spend time on a measure that could have helped Mainers only to produce this malformed nonsense? How can we trust that she will not do it again?

Nathan Oliver



South Portland

Praise for Danby

George Danby’s super good art has me clipping them in the last week and saving them in a kitchen cupboard. Ready, set, go! Keep them coming.

Wallace G. Sinclair


Where is my stimulus check?

Is the U.S. government ignoring people who owe money every year in taxes so they don’t have to send them the stimulus check? Originally I got messages on the website saying they couldn’t determine whether or not I qualified, and they sent me to their Frequently Asked Questions, which indicated I did.

In the last week, if I try to find out where my check is, I get an error message saying my Social Security number, birth date, and address do not match their information, so I can’t find out if I will get the check.

I work part-time jobs since I am old and no one seems to hire old people (yes, in my experience, age discrimination is rampant in Maine). So I have to pay the federal government, since they don’t take out enough taxes from each job since individually they pay so little.

The government has my banking information on the check I send every year, so I don’t see why they have a problem with direct depositing my stimulus check. Does the government think I am independently wealthy since I am old? If that were the case, I wouldn’t still be working!

Is anyone else encountering this error when they try to find out where their check is?

Charlene Kozerow


Time for a reopening task force

Due to the multivariate aspects of the COVID-19 situation — it impacts public health (on many levels beyond the virus itself) and public welfare (economic, democratic and social) — addressing it in an effective, “do the least harm” manner should reflect multiple perspectives, approaches and areas of expertise.

Let’s create a task force with representation from small and large businesses from multiple industries, nonprofit organizations, education and government entities, legislators and the medical community. This ad hoc group would be charged with evaluating the components of the reopening plan and advising shifts and redirection as events and actions unfold.

This approach facilitates transparency, empowers Maine citizens to feel part of a solution, sows understanding if a particular group’s immediate goals are not met and allows for the flexibility required when the path forward is unmarked.

As the now cliche ads attempting to cheer us in our home isolation say, “We are in this together.” The corollary should be “together we will solve this and move on.” To do that, we need a chorus of voices at the podium.

Patricia Brigham


I don’t need the government to protect me

I am a 74-year-old adult who will not stay at home. I am perfectly capable of determining what 6 feet looks like. When I visit the limited number of businesses that are open, I wear a face mask. I limit but will not restrict my contact with people — even with friends that I know are practicing social distancing. They and I know that although we may be acting responsibly, others may not be.

The governor has said that hiking and biking are OK, however the best places to hike and or bike are closed to us. It makes no sense to me to close the beaches and the parks, but let people hike along highways and byways where they are exposed to just as many people as they might find on the beach or park — as well as the hazards associated with automobiles.

Speaking for myself, I am well aware of the possibility of picking up an infection from either COVID-19 or the seasonal flu or the common cold. If I had symptoms, I would not be out hiking and or biking, nor would any other responsible adult.

When I turned 18 I became an adult. I raced motorcycles and scuba dived, flew and crashed private aircraft, and continue to do whatever the heck I want to do. I do not need the government protecting me.

Sweden is handling this so-called crisis in a much more intelligent way than we are. The mortality and infection there is not that different from that of New York, per capita without destroying the economy of the country and causing hard-working motivated small business owners to become dependent on the state. It appears to me that those people who choose to shut down everything could be motivated by other than humanitarian concerns. I choose with common sense to ignore.

Leo Mazerall

Stockton Springs