Standing up for common sense

Forty cents of every U.S. tax dollar goes to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One year’s war expenditure could replace the urgently crumbling bridges in the United States with money left over to put computers in classrooms and provide job training for returning veterans. Bringing the war dollars home could cut the deficit without touching Medicare or Social Security.

It is unproductive to cast blame at those who got us into the wars in the first place or to question their judgment and motives. Instead, we should devote our energy to making things right. If we end these costly wars we could use our tax dollars to provide the security and services needed by those who actually pay the taxes!

On Sunday, Sept. 25 the Bring Our War $$$ Home Care-a-Van will drive from the Common Ground Fairgrounds to Belfast. At 4 p.m. Common Ground Restore Democracy will hold a street rally in front of the Belfast post office to welcome them.

Speakers will include Erin Herbig of the Maine Legislature, John Piotti of the Maine Farmland Trust, Ellie Goldberg and Sister Lucy Poulin who have dedicated their lives to Maine’s children, Dud Hendrick of Maine Veterans for Peace, Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Nuclear Weapons in Space and Activist, and poet Meredith Bruskin.

The minority of extremists who have taken the Republican Party hostage, and who recently held our entire economy hostage, are living proof that when a few people get together and show that they are serious, politicians pay attention. Those who come to Belfast on Sunday will show that Mainers are serious about restoring common sense to our national priorities and common decency to our national discourse.

Meredith Ares

Searsport

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Opportunities for discussion in Morrill

On Thursday, Sept. 29, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Morrill Community Center, at the request of the Morrill Selectmen, our school board representative, Jean Dube, will be discussing and answering questions regarding the upcoming RSU 20 school consolidation vote, scheduled for Nov. 8.

During this meeting, you will be able to ask questions and voice your opinions. Mrs. Dube can hear what your concerns are so she can better represent the town of Morrill when she meets with her fellow school board members. The following are some basic discussion points Mrs. Dube will be addressing during this meeting. There will also be open discussion at the end.

Discussion points:

• The projected cost savings if schools are consolidated. Our town is currently approaching $50,000 per month in school costs.

• The projected upfront cost of preparing the schools for consolidation.

• The projected increase in bus run times to Searsport and back. Are extra runs being discussed to shorten the bus rides?

• What consolidation means for sports regarding being a Class A school system.

• Are there plans by RSU 20 to use the Weymouth School for some other purpose, or will the town be taking it over?

• The pros and cons of keeping the schools separate as they are now.

• What will happen if this consolidation plan is voted down by the towns?

• Open discussion.

On Wednesday, Oct. 5, at a location yet to be determined, Bruce Mailloux, RSU 20 superintendent, will also be meeting with Morrill citizens, discussing in detail the consolidation of schools in RSU 20.

Mrs. Dube’s meeting on Sept. 29 is meant as an update for us so we will all be better prepared for the superintendent’s presentation.

If you have any questions please contact Randy Place, Morrill’s second selectman, at 460-6851.

Morrill Selectmen

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Food for thought

As Governor LePage has declared September “Hunger Action” month, this seems a good time for all Mainers to consider the challenges that lie ahead for many of our older friends and neighbors as we head toward winter.

In a recently published report, AARP Foundation reveals that hunger among older Americans has jumped nearly 80 percent in just 10 years. It’s a shocking fact that of the 50 million Americans presently at risk of hunger across the country, 9 million are age 50 and older.

Unfortunately, the statistics for Maine are also shocking. In each of the categories measured in the report, Maine fared very poorly when compared to other New England states. In some cases, Maine had the worst statistics for the entire Northeast region.

The study also reveals that individuals between the ages of 50 and 60 who go hungry are almost twice as likely to be diabetic. They are also five times more likely to suffer from depression, and are more likely to be in only poor to fair health. Clearly, what is known as “food insecurity” can lead to serious health consequences for older adults.

I sincerely hope that our state representatives will work closely together in the spirit of bipartisanship to bring common sense solutions to this alarming problem.

Dr. Erica Magnus

AARP outreach volunteer

Windham

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America can’t win without wireless

Throughout America, people depend on their mobile devices more than ever before. From day-to-day business, to keeping in touch with family and friends, to public safety, reliable wireless service is a necessity everywhere Americans live, work and travel — in both urban and rural communities.

In fact, by 2018, only eight percent of households will have landline telephone service, according to the Federal Communication Commission’s Technology Advisory Council.

Soon, on your mobile device you’ll be capable of making high-quality video calls, making payments, sending real-time data to your doctor or lifesaving pictures to a 911 operator. People living in urban areas will soon experience these exciting new applications, but our rural communities are in danger of being left behind.

That’s because a proposal — sponsored by providers of landline telephone service and currently under consideration by the FCC — if adopted, would dramatically cut funding for rural mobile wireless networks.

Over the next decade, the proposal would lead to investing $42 billion of the Universal Service Fund — established by Congress to help bring telecommunications services to rural areas — in outdated landline service, leaving just $3 billion to invest in mobile wireless broadband infrastructure.

That’s right — this proposal would invest $14 in landline networks for every dollar invested in mobile broadband networks. Does this imbalance make sense to anyone other than to the landline companies proposing it?

Maine could potentially lose up to $96 million that could have been used for new mobile wireless broadband sites and infrastructure over the next 10 years.

In this day and age, Americans can’t be tethered to a phone on the wall, or a desktop computer. Everyone needs mobile wireless Internet access to compete in the global economy.

Wireless broadband investment would accelerate our economic recovery. A recent report by Deloitte projects the creation of 15,000 jobs for every $1 billion invested in mobile wireless broadband. This means if we invested the same $42 billion into new wireless broadband networks, 630,000 new American jobs would be created.

The FCC is making a decision soon, so make your voice heard at wirelessbroadbandforall.com. Urge the FCC and Congress to prioritize high-speed wireless broadband over yesterday’s landline technology.

Every investment decision we make must look to the future and make all our communities more competitive. America can’t win without wireless.

Mary N. Dillon

President and CEO, U.S. Cellular Corporation

Chicago, Ill.

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Thanks for the support

On behalf of the Belfast Lions Club, I would like to thank all the citizens who came out on Sunday, Sept. 11 to support the Club’s eighth annual 9/11 Walk on the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Belfast. There were about 100 walkers taking part, and we really appreciate the community’s support.

Ray Hall,

Chairman of 9/11 Walk

Belfast Lions Club

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Businesses thanked for support

Harbor Hill would like to thank the businesses that made donations to our fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. Weathervane donated a lobster dinner for two, Lisa Nichols donated hair care products and Angler’s donated a gift certificate for food. With our baked goods and the raffle for the gifts, we raised $300. Thank you all so much for contributing!

Staff and residents of Harbor Hill

Belfast