Hey friend, mind if I scare your dog?

Common scenario in Belfast: An unleashed dog at Steamboat Landing, the Common, the Rail Trail, etc., comes bounding toward our leashed dog, while the owner, unaccountably believing that the dog is under voice command, repeatedly yells, “Daisy! Daisy! Daisy! Daisy . . . ”, or yells, “Oh, he’s friendly!”

But my dog is frightened by and reactive to the unleashed, bounding dog. And so am I. My turnabout-is-fair-play fantasy? To ask the owner of the unleashed dog, “Mind if I scare your dog?”  Or, fairer (since it’s the owner who’s at fault), “Mind if I scare you?”

I understand why people want to have their dogs off leash. That’s why we have a dog park.

Sara Shute


Survival of democracy

The entire Koch/ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) "network" deserves to be taxed out of existence. No democracy can survive in the growing shadow of a dark oligarchy, bent on turning it into a totalitarian society owned and run by hereditary plutocrats.

Many congressmen and even state-level politicians today are making more money under the table from their shadow owners than they make in their salaries. Democracy can survive only if every elected official is the employee of all the people whose taxes pay the salary.

Bill Leavenworth


Heartless caps on outpatient therapy

We are happy to see that Maine’s federal delegation unanimously supports bipartisan legislation to end an arbitrary cap on the annual amount Medicare will cover for those who need outpatient therapy services. These arbitrary spending limits are preventing older Mainers from receiving the rehabilitation care they need from their therapists.

Strokes, surgeries and trauma from falls or other injuries sometimes result in patients’ needing extensive care by physical, occupational or speech therapists. Unfortunately, due to the existing therapy caps, many seniors on Medicare are facing expensive out-of-pocket costs for treatments they need.

A failure by Congress to repeal a harsh limit on therapy treatments poses very real financial and medical threats to seniors already struggling from strokes or debilitating conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Some could be forced to ration care. Others may simply not be able to afford as many therapy sessions as they need, putting them in danger of new injuries.

Rehabilitation services are critical for seniors to maintain their independence so they can remain in their homes. Therapy also helps to avoid costly nursing home care or hospitalizations that can bankrupt those who are already struggling with high health care costs.

Seniors have worked hard and paid into Medicare their whole lives. Congress needs to immediately fix this harmful policy so seniors can get the rehabilitation services they need.

We look forward to hearing more from our federal delegation on their work to repeal these heartless caps which will only hasten the ill-health of our most vulnerable neighbors.

John and Vilene Farina

AARP Maine Outreach Volunteers