Who is ‘special interest’?

Our “esteemed” new governor of just a few days is making national news.

Seems Mr. LePage has said he will not meet with the NAACP, because he “represents” all of Maine and not just a “special interest group.” And then, on TV, he said, “They [the NAACP] can kiss my butt.”

Isn’t this is the same guy that said Pres. Obama could “go to hell”?

Such statesmanlike talk — a virtual Abe Lincoln!

In that Mr. LePage has said he will not meet with “special Interest groups,” it seems to me that means he will not meet with:

Catholics, Christians, teachers, Jews, Native Americans, Franco-Americans, other religious groups, nurses, doctors, hospital administrators, real estate agents, innkeepers, restaurateurs, tourist groups (i.e., campground owners, ski and winter sports owners, etc.), chambers of commerce, media groups, advertising groups, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, Independents, MOFGA, the paper industry, the transportation Industry — and so forth.

As a fact, I think it would also mean he can’t meet with — oh my — his own family.

But aren’t they all special interest groups made up of Mainers?

So who does that leave, that Mr. LePage will meet with and hear their concerns?

Guess Mr. LePage will end up only meeting with himself — and that is a true blue special interest group of one.

No wonder more than 60 percent of Mainers, including me, did not vote for him.

Nancy-Linn Nellis

Stockton Springs

**************

Governor ‘crude and insulting’

Paul LePage’s crude and insulting rebuff of the NAACP is shameful. If Gov. LePage is unavailable to make an appearance, so be it: He need only politely decline. And, if Gov. LePage has a black son, that’s fine: What’s not fine is referencing his child to excuse his own atrocious behavior.

Our new governor paid little more than lip-service to the importance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, something I would have hoped he’d have encouraged all Maine citizens to thoughtfully consider and commemorate. Sadly, this most recent example of Gov. LePage’s character reinforces the grave disappointment and fear I felt upon his being elected. I was worried that we would be pulled not just backwards, but downwards. And, indeed this seems to be the case.

Gov. LePage began his term by sending the message that the written and spoken word are worth very little — a pity in a state that struggles with illiteracy — by jettisoning the traditional inclusion of poetry at his inauguration. Now, he’s sent the message that the NAACP and the struggle for racial equality merit neither respect nor support. What a message to send to his son — and to all our sons and daughters of Maine.

Leslie Umans

Belfast

**************

Praise for Parker

It isn’t often that a young, high school student with a class assignment can bring the attention of the nation to a small town in coastal Maine. When Zach Parker selected a topic of his personal interest, the actions of the members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, he began a journey that few college students would have persisted with over time.

A large part of the assignment was to raise an issue and then deal with it in some manner. The amazing part of the story, which culminated with an assembly at Searsport High School, was that Zach managed to identify and use sophisticated techniques that would make his project outstanding by any standards. And part of reason that his project was so much more than a term paper was Searsport District High School’s adoption of a standards-based assessment system several years ago.

Standards-based education challenges students not only to read, study and take a test, but to demonstrate the process and decision making that goes into a problem and then a solution. Everyone in the school is now seeing what can be done by a student with a mission and the drive to bring it to a successful conclusion. He has created a very high bar, a genuine standard, for Searsport District High School and other schools in Maine.

I know Zach personally from my time as a legislator and a candidate. He has an interest in politics that will, in time, provide him with a number of career opportunities that young people from rural communities in rural states seldom get. I would hope that he will use his college undergraduate time to make some connections and serve some internships so that he might have a selection of careers in politics that would make use of his super organizational, writing and problem solving skills.

He is still young, but time and study will give him the knowledge and polish to serve as a local political figure or perhaps, like Sen. [Kevin] Raye, he might want to serve in Washington initially as a staff member for our Congressional delegation and then return to Maine and run for a series of political positions.

I could not attend the assembly to discuss and prepare the document for presentation to our Congressional delegation due to a bout of the flu. But I knew that Zach would get the support he was seeking in a public forum, and he did. We should all extend a round of applause to Zach for his initiative, energy, hard work and the success of his project.

For a student so young to succeed in such a big project we should also recognize Mrs. Gail Anthonis, Zach’s social studies teacher; as well as his mom and all of his family for being so supportive of his efforts. Student success is so often tied to support of family and faculty and we can see that Zach has been blessed with all that he needed. I know that I’ll be watching for Zach’s name on the college dean’s list and for other achievements as an undergraduate and beyond. You made us proud, Zach — keep up the good work.

Dr. Veronica Magnan, Ed.D

Stockton Springs

**************

Another view of the future

This letter is in regards to the Belfast Area Transition Initiative supplement that appeared in the Jan. 5 Republican Journal. Here is yet another future we may face in Waldo County by the year 2020:

Transitioning from a petroleum economy had a very big effect on food production, transportation and storage. As humans we had developed from being foragers, to hunter-gathers, to agriculturists, and each change had costs in terms of energy input, and yes, in our culture. But the series of initial disruptions in the “20-teens” created fertile ground for a new way, one that was safer, ethical, efficient, sensible and healthy.

The first on the Midcoast to feel the effects were those who fished. Scarce and expensive oil meant going out into the ocean for food from animals simply stopped being feasible, even for the most expensive species, like lobster. No fuel meant no days at sea. But that was only the immediate event. Ironically, it was the link between land agriculture’s pesticide use and groundfish die-off. Farmed fish were even more susceptible. Rachel Carson foretold this… unsustainable ecosystems lead to fisheries collapse.

Things sped up a bit once the group Physicians 
Committee for Responsible Medicine won its lawsuit against the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over ignoring an alternative whole, plant-based diet to the traditional food pyramid — 
despite skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates. That lead to a Supreme Court decision (possible only because a number of the corporatist Justices had died), whereby the whole system of unrealistic subsides for the meat and dairy industries collapsed.

A defining point was the continuing outbreaks of ever more virulent E. coli bacteria infections, which shook any remaining confidence the population had about the food safety system. It was clear that a more secure source for proteins were needed.

Next week part 2, with some solutions!

Paul Sheridan

Northport

**************

Thanks to John Wentworth

I want the whole community to know what John Wentworth of Northport’s Wentworth Family Grocery did for me and my family recently.

The blizzard Wednesday [Jan. 12] left me and my little white Chevy in the ditch. After my husband towed me out (thanks, Earl!) he asked John if we could possibly leave my car in his store parking lot. John was very kind and showed us where to park. The next day I went to retrieve the car, thinking I’d need to clean it all off and shovel my way out.

I was so happy, relieved and blessed to see that the car had been removed of its snow, and I was able to get out of the parking spot with only a little effort! This one act of kindness meant so much to me. I had woken up with a severe migraine at 4 o’clock that morning, and the idea of having to do all of that myself was a bit overwhelming.

We should all be so kind to each other. “Loving your neighbor” is something we all should be putting into practice more often. Thank you so much, John, for being a wonderful example to my teen boys who keep hearing this story over and over. Be certain that we will continue to be faithful patrons of your grocery store. Not only are you conveniently located near the end of our road, but your pricing is fantastic and the products are great — however, knowing we are supporting a good neighbor is reason enough to give you our business!

Thanks also to Jen T. for letting me use your phone to call my husband, and Lester G. for giving me a place to stay for a few hours. God has surely blessed me and my family with such a great community to be a part of!

Becky Cushman

Northport

**************

‘Speak up for the voiceless’

Thank you for your timely editorial on the inhumane conditions of chained up dogs [“Break the chain,” Jan. 12 edition]. Freezing in the winter, sweltering in summer, often without food or water, they endure lives of hopeless desperation. Many have never heard a kind word. We do have laws to protect them and organizations to enforce them. Speak up for the voiceless — end this cycle of abuse.

Jane Phillips

Northport

**************

A poem on priorities

Eat from the farm, not from the factory.

Eat from the farmacie, not from the pharmacy.

Food is medicine, we are what we eat.

The seeds of life.

Health care, not warfare.

Cure the land, free the farmer.

The truth will set you free.

Patrick Quinn

Winterport