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

Making college more affordable

This year, the Worthington Scholarship Foundation, based in Rockland, plans to award $3 million worth of scholarships to Maine students staying in-state for college. This is thanks to the generosity of our founders, David and Beverly Worthington, summer residents of Spruce Head, who are tackling the issue of college affordability.

So far, we have selected about half of our available scholars for this year’s class of high school graduates. These students will be notified at their graduation or scholarship award nights. This leaves half of our scholarships available to award. We have worked with our participating four-year college and community college partners to extend our deadline. Meaning, there is still time to apply. Graduating seniors at any of our 23 high schools across Know, Waldo, Lincoln, Hancock or Washington counties, are encouraged to apply.

Links to online applications are available on our website: worthingtonscholars.org. All applications go through the colleges themselves. The requirements are a cumulative GPA of 2.2 or higher for students accepted to community college and 3.0 or higher for students accepted to a bachelor’s program. The applicant’s expected family contribution from their Student Aid Report should reflect $15,000 or lower. We award scholarships up to $16,500 and up to $6,000 depending on what path you select for college.

Students should take advantage of this opportunity to help fund their education. Our hope is this Worthington Scholarship will enable them to reach their educational goals and put them on the road to success.

Justin Chenette

Program director

Worthington Scholarship Foundation

Saco

Confronting difficult truths

Telling the story of our Black, Brown and Native neighbors does not undermine America. Wanting to mend the wound that we all carry is not conspiracy; it’s caring. But many Americans refuse to carry even a small portion of our problematic history.

We tend to off-load both the blame and grief onto the very ones who were (and still are) maligned. Their stories deserve to be told in our schools. Why would we allow racial conditioning to pass unopposed to the next generation by sidestepping our duty to name the elephant in the room? Turning away, which is a privilege, allows that seed to germinate once again.

Pridefulness would have us only remember America’s affirming legends. A thoughtful reappraisal that includes the darker history of legislative discrimination supported by terror and violence is dismissed as a self-hating exercise sure to undermine American self-regard.

This very same pattern of willfully not wanting to know is on full view in Washington. Most Republicans are now opposing the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate what happened leading up to and during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. After months of negotiations and delay, a bill emerged and the Republican leadership promptly disavowed it as unnecessary.

We are no longer surprised that people entertain the “Big Lie” in spite of people knowing that it is a lie. The fiction has come to serve another purpose; it is a badge of allegiance to a vengeful ex-president.

George Mason

Nobleboro

Pine Tree Amendment clarifications

In response to the recent column by Peter Triandafillou in the BDN), I want to clarify the purpose, intent and application of the Pine Tree Amendment. The constitutional amendment would give Mainers the legal right to clean air, clean water and a healthy environment.

This would protect our quality of place — the natural assets — on which Maine’s economy depends. It does this by guiding state and local governments in policy making and permitting. It assures that our environmental regulations and rules are applied. It also means that Mainers have a way to challenge government policies and rules when they have not been followed. It does not allow unfettered opposition to projects, permits or laws that Mainers or businesses object to, as Triandafillou implies. It only allows a challenge to a law, rule or permit where serious environmental harm can be proven.

In Pennsylvania where its residents have environmental rights, citizen groups challenged a fracking law that would have allowed fracking wells to be located anywhere, overriding local zoning. They won and local zoning was restored. In Montana, residents used their constitutional right to a healthy environment to stop a permit for a gold mine which would have resulted in millions of gallons of toxic effluent to be released into the pristine Blackfoot River. The permit was denied.

No lawyer is going to pursue a constitutional case that is frivolous or where serious environmental harm cannot be proven. The Pine Tree Amendment would strengthen, not weaken Maine’s environmental laws. Readers are urged to contact their representatives in support of the LD 489, Pine Tree Amendment.

Sue Inches

Member

Pine Tree Amendment Steering Committee

North Yarmouth