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

An exception for the hearing impaired

My name is Brendan, and I’m hard of hearing. I’m writing this letter to educate people on why I believe Gov. Janet Mills needs to put out a mask mandate exception for people communicating with the deaf and hard of hearing. Unlike many other st ates, Mills has chosen not to have an exception to the mask mandate for hearing impaired.

I fully support the mask mandate, and I always wear my mask. What this exception would do would allow employees of various businesses to remove their mask when communicating with someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

I have read through the recent mask mandate put forth by Mills, and it was disheartening to read that even Disability Rights Maine didn’t fully acknowledge that those with hearing loss can have a hard time with masks during the pandemic in the latest mandate. Being from California, I was very happy to see Gov. Gavin Newsom has an exception for Californians speaking to the deaf and the hard of hearing. California even has a much higher population and more COVID-19 cases than Maine.

I hope Mills will listen to the hard of hearing community, because we shouldn’t be left to explain our disability and constant struggle to every person we communicate with on a daily basis when many other states have support from their governor.

Brendan Williams

South Portland

Prescription opioid laws need improvement

If I correctly understood David Marino’s excellent article in the BDN on Feb. 19, the category of the least overdose deaths was pharmaceutical opioids at 14 percent. What more does one need to know before realizing that the Maine Legislature’s statute on this subject is a prime example of overreach, which has denied legitimate use of these drugs to patients who need them and has made physicians fearful of losing their licenses for wanting to do their job by giving appropriate treatment to their patients, or worse has co-opted them into becoming the drug police?

The article further confirmed that the largest number — 67 percent — have involved fentanyl and the next highest at 31 percent have involved meth. Again, what else needs to be said to demonstrate that the Legislature needs to moderate and finely tune its laws on prescription opioids? It is most unfortunate that common sense cannot come to prevail upon our state representatives and senators in place of an overreaching herd mentality.

Brian Striar


Getting vaccinated

During the Feb. 16 winter storm, we received COVID-19 vaccinations at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. It was a good experience. Northern Light computer gurus continue to work their magic to correct early frustrations with scheduling appointments.

At the Cross Center, Northern Light professionals and a small army of good-neighbor volunteers made the process efficient and just plain stylish. The Northern Light Facebook page has a short video orientation to vaccination at the Cross Center that is worth watching before people go.

Parking spaces in the Cross Center lot turned over frequently. For patrons with mobility challenges, near the entrance to the Cross Center are curbside drop-off and pick-up points with cordial volunteers present to offer assistance. For anyone who has or can arrange transportation to the Cross Insurance Center and who can obtain an appointment through Northern Light’s telephone or website access, we encourage people to “just do it”!

Paul and Fredrica Smith