Credit: George Danby / BDN

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Impressive vaccine effort but some room for improvement

After one hour on a failed (on step 2) computer try and a total of four hours on the phone, over a period of two weeks, my wife and I finally got scheduled for our first COVID-19 vaccine shot for Feb. 11 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The Northern Light Health personnel that we talked to on the phone were very friendly and helpful, but even our last successful call took two hours (including wait time) to finally get us both scheduled. Frustrating! If others have had similar problems, the scheduling system could stand to be improved.

The actual processing and vaccination at the Cross Center on Feb. 11 was efficient and impressive. From the time we left our parked car to the time we returned to the car took less than an hour. Everyone involved was friendly, efficient, and professional. Thank you to Northern Light Health.

Gordon and Mary Canning


Power for the people

For generations, we’ve been told that money is power. It’s an axiom that continues to drive our politics. Despite being able to vote for our elected officials, once they reach public office, they’re all too often swayed by lobbyists and big money interests. Instead of representing the people, lawmakers spend much of their time fundraising, relying on large donors and holding court with corporations.

That can change, but only if Congress passes the For the People Act.

The For the People Act is a bold anti-corruption and democracy reform bill that would strengthen our democracy by reducing the influence of big money in our politics. It would enact limits on donations from lobbyists and increase the power of campaign contributions from everyday Americans by creating a small-dollar donor matching program.

These changes would open up new opportunities for different kinds of candidates to run for office — candidates that come directly from our communities and understand the problems we face. Instead of being beholden to the donors and lobbyists with the fattest wallets, our elected officials will be working for the people.

Without this type of bold democracy reform, our political system will never be truly democratic or fully representative and our government will continue to work only for the privileged few. It’s past time to build a better system for all Americans — which is why I’m urging Congress to pass the For the People Act.

Genevieve Lemire


Protect Maine from aerial herbicides

Mainers believe citizens should be secure in their homes and safe from unwanted property trespass. The familiar phrase, “A man’s home is his castle,” is rooted in English Common Law and encapsulates that preeminent legal right.

Sen. Troy Jackson’s LD 125, scheduled for its legislative hearing on March 2, would ban the aerial spraying of Glyphosate and other herbicides in Maine’s industrial forest. This ban will safeguard Maine’s environment and protect residents and visitors to the North Maine Woods.

In 2015, Monsanto’s Glyphosate was designated a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization. I believe that were the Environmental Protection Agency free from political interference, America would have already banned Glyphosate, just as 17 countries have. However, powerful corporations like Monsanto and Canada’s J.D. Irving, Limited are experienced at stacking the deck. J.D. Irving is a major player in the spraying of Glyphosate in Maine forests. Herbicides enable clearcuts; sound forestry doesn’t need Glyphosate.

We have been organic farmers for 45 years in Aroostook County’s Unorganized Territory and grow Maine certified seed potatoes. We know firsthand the catastrophic risks from aerial spraying. As a result of being accidentally sprayed with “Sevin” in the 1979 Spruce Budworm Project, we were disqualified from MOFGA organic certification for three years.

Recently, industrial forest landowners clearcut adjacent land. Should they decide to aerially spray herbicides, there is little doubt toxins would drift off-target, contaminate our crops, trigger loss of organic certification, annihilate our markets and force us out of business.

Passing LD 125 will strengthen justice in Maine.

Jim Gerritsen

Wood Prairie Family Farm