Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

Politics before prisoners’ needs

Journalist Bill Trotter’s research and writing show that investigative reporting is alive and well in Down East Maine. His work provides much needed details regarding the actions of a sheriff, and the county commissioners who enabled him, who seem to have put adherence to their personal political preferences ahead of the needs of their prisoners.

It’s a well-documented fact that addiction and substance abuse are roads that can lead to incarceration. But the sheriff apparently decided last June that his disapproval of efforts to pursue racial justice and hold law enforcement accountable was more important than providing recovery assistance to those under his control. Perhaps the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office needs and deserves better leadership.

Diane Smith


Remove my ancestor’s statue

As a Fuller descendant of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Melville Fuller, I add my name to the long list of those agreeing with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justices’ call to consider the removal of his statue from outside the Kennebec County Courthouse and Capital Judicial Center in Augusta. I have long known that there was a chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in our family, but I only recently learned of his presiding (and joining) role in the notorious Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which upheld the constitutionality of segregation and so institutionalized systemic racism in our country.

By giving constitutional sanction to segregation, this decision helped ensure the failure of post-Civil War reconstruction, paved the road to the horrific violence of the Jim Crow era, and the present day gross inequality in housing, health care, income, education, justice and voting rights. I firmly believe that a statue commemorating such a man has no place in a society espousing equality, and certainly not on the grounds of our state’s Judicial Center, which ought to represent the highest judicial and moral values of Maine.

Removing the Melville Fuller statue from its place outside the Capital Judicial Center is more than a Kennebec County issue. It is an important opportunity for all of Maine with its own checkered history to begin to acknowledge and repair the painful but true history of white supremacy on which the United States was founded and has since prospered.

Ridgely Fuller


Our vaccinations went smoothly

Vaccination kudos! I know there is a lot of frustration out there concerning the ability to sign up for and receive COVID vaccinations, some of which has been directed at Northern Light Health.

My own experience was very positive. My wife and I received emails from Northern Light Health indicating we could go online and register for vaccinations. In less than a half-hour from receiving the notification, I had made appointments for both of us at the nearest location, Blue Hill Hospital. Between the time I submitted my wife’s and my own registration forms, 923 additional registrations had been accepted, so there were many people active on the site. On arrival at Blue Hill Hospital, no additional paperwork was required. Our information was already on file and we waited less than 5 minutes before receiving a totally painless shot, and then standing by for the 15 minutes post-vaccination observation.

From my perspective, it could not have been handled any better, so kudos and many thanks to the Northern Light Health system for establishing an efficient process, and to the friendly staff at Blue Hill Hospital who made it work so well.

Donald Holmes