Letters, June 19

Jun 19, 2014

Collins stick to interests of Maine, not pro-Israeli lobby

Senator Susan Collins’ "Maine" concern is the recently formed Palestinian unity government in the Middle East?

Senator Collins is so alarmed by the recently formed Palestinian unity government that she has been spending our dime crafting and getting colleague support for her opposition letter to President Obama. Her letter is a rehash of old canned allegations principally put forth by pro-Israel lobbyists and designed to keep the $30-billion pipeline of military aid (between 2009 and 2018) flowing into Israeli coffers. $73,700,000 of this military aid is courtesy of Maine tax payers who, arguable would be better served if it was spent on the yearly equivalent of green job training for 1,200 or health care for 59,000 of her Maine constituents.

In words seemingly quoted from the principal Israel lobby AIPAC, Collins writes that "Hamas is no partner for peace." She conveniently ignores facts easily available on Wikipedia that back in 2004 Hamas spokespeople have repeatedly offered an end to armed resistance to the Israeli military occupation in exchange for a Palestinian state composed of the West Bank and Gaza and internationally recognized human rights for refugees. Prospects for peace were not enhanced when Israelis killed these two spokesmen in missile attacks within months of their offer — a soon-to-become pattern of an Israeli response to keep conflict alive and silence voices for peace. Nor would Senator Collins and her lobbyist friends want Americans to know that Hamas, initially broadly supported by Israeli government to counter the secular Palestinian parties, handily won what was universally seen as fair elections in the West Bank in 2006. The last time most Palestinians were allowed to vote.

Why does Senator Collins devote time to this issue? Follow the money. Her current fifth most lucrative campaign donation comes from Norcap a pro-Israeli lobby. In all of the Congress she is the fifth most lavishly gifted Senator by all pro-Israel lobbies. Since it is estimated that Congress people spend between 30 and 70-percent of their time fundraising it is no small wonder that Senator Collins uses time to craft this letter as an opportunity to serve donors.

But Senate Collins, please spend more time sticking to the facts and the interests of Maine, you might discover that Maine could use the money going to Israel to fund green jobs and health care.

Ridgely Fuller

Belfast

Delighted by airport improvements

As a frequent summer visitor to KBST (Belfast Municipal Airport), my wife and I were delighted to hear about the committee that is being formed for "phase II" of the airports development.

My father, who learned to swim at the Battery, flew into Belfast many times and often said it was the "prettiest approach in Maine."

We look forward to reading more about the further improvements to your fine airport.

Tim Williams

Boca Raton, Fla.

Knox County Health Clinic turns 15

Fifteen years ago a doctor and his wife retired to Mid-Coast Maine and asked their friends if there was a local medical clinic where they could volunteer to help the uninsured. When told there wasn’t one, Dr. Paul and Jeannie Klainer promptly set about pulling together friends and colleagues to start one.

On Wednesday June 9, 1999, Dr. Klainer opened the doors for the first time at the Knox County Health Clinic, and provided care to four patients in need. In 1999 he and other volunteers saw 130 patients, enrolled four patients in to a Prescription Assistance Program, and applied for funding to open a dental clinic to the uninsured.

Fast forward 15 years, the Clinic has over 100 volunteers providing integrated medical, dental, mental health and wellness, and prescription assistance services to approximately 2,000 local low income residents without insurance. For many who come to us, it could be the first physical or dental cleaning they’ve had in 20 years.

In the past year the Clinic provided about 700 dental visits, 750 mental health and wellness visits, 800 medical visits, and $1,800,000 dollars worth of free medication to the community. Cumulatively, the prescription assistance program has saved patients over $10 million in medication costs since it started!

Our patients are hard working Mainers that paint houses, bag groceries, stock shelves, take care of others and hold our communities together. They deserve access to quality care. The Clinic is able to exist to provide that care because of the incredible vision and dedication of the Klainers, the ongoing hard work from our many wonderful volunteers, and the tremendous financial support from our local community.

It is with humble gratitude that I write this letter to say thank you to the many touched by our story who have helped us grow along the way. Happy 15th birthday Knox County Health Clinic!

To volunteer, or to request services please call 594-6996, or visit our website at www.knoxclinic.org.

Meredith Batley

Executive Director

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