Restore our Earth

Walking and driving around Bangor of late, I have become increasingly bothered by the amount of litter lining our roads and sidewalks. Whether it’s due to the gusty windstorms we experienced over winter, an increase in housing instability, improper disposal of pandemic-related single-use items, or some other cause, it is clear that Bangor has a trash problem.

Thursday, April 22 is Earth Day. Fittingly, the theme for Earth Day 2021 is “Restore Our Earth” and in that same vein, together, we can clean up our beautiful city.

I invite people to join me this week in becoming part of the solution. Taking a walk after dinner? Grab a plastic grocery sack or two and pick up litter along the way. Looking for an activity for the kids to do over April break? Form a mini Litter Patrol, grab a trash bag and some neighbors and clean up the neighborhood. Feeling more ambitious? Join the Friends of the Lower Kenduskeag Stream (FOLKS) for its spring cleanup next Saturday, April 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. or find a group of friends and tackle another park or trail system in town.

Together, we can get this trash off the streets. Together, we can keep trash out of our waterways. Together, we can beautify Bangor. Together, we can restore our earth.

Aubrae Filipiak


Police aren’t perfect

The tragic death of Daunte Wright by a Minnesota police officer is an inexcusable mistake that never should have happened. However, I believe the narrative that the shooting is racially motivated is false. One look at the body cam video of the event will dispel that theory.

Nevertheless, Gov. Tim Walz and many in the media continue to promote the racial factor in the shooting. There’s a growing belief that police shootings of Black males are a big problem in America.

The truth is more white people are killed by cops than Black people. Linguist John McWhorter, who is Black, questions the disproportionate media coverage: “Every time the media broadcasts the murder by cop of a Black person, ask yourself if it’s really true that a cop wouldn’t have done it to a white person — and then go to, for example, the Washington Post database and see cops doing just that.”

Officer Kimberly Potter will face the consequences of her crime; and she should, even though she apparently was intending to tase him. What shouldn’t happen is the needless destruction of property from continuous rioting. Minorities live and do business in these areas, so they are most affected by the damage. According to Gallup, they also want continued police presence in their neighborhoods, not less. Black people, like everyone else, understand that police help to maintain order and they establish bonds within the community. Without them, society crumbles into lawlessness, which invites more criminality and violence.

Police aren’t perfect, but they need our support more than ever.

Kevin Landry


Help students focus on studies

As a high school teacher, I encourage my elected officials to pass LD 452, which would require certain schools in Maine to provide menstrual products to students. Studies, along with common sense, continue to demonstrate that students cannot learn when they do not have their basic needs met.

We often think of basic needs as food and shelter but for people who menstruate, access to products is also a basic need. Beyond the potential physical discomfort that can distract students, the emotional toll of not knowing if they will be able to keep blood from staining their clothes and furniture is more than distracting, as I’m sure people can imagine. This can be debilitating.

In a world where we give all too many subtle, and not-so-subtle, messages to people who menstruate that they should be embarrassed about their period, providing free access to menstrual products shows young people that it is normal, and hopefully allows the younger generation to not feel the taboo in such a harmful manner.

Providing free menstrual products is a step towards equity, and bodily autonomy, in how society and we ourselves view our bodies, beyond the concrete necessity for students to be able to focus on their studies and to develop into the people they want to be.

Katie O’Neil