Part of the solution

You are part of the solution by displaying the window installation that highlights DV here in Waldo County — thank you.

Meredith Bruskin

Swanville

Public power good for ratepayers

As Maine considers public ownership of our electric utilities, here are some things to consider. About one in seven electric customers in the U.S. get their power from publicly owned entities. Ten percent of electric power produced in our country comes from publicly owned plants. Those served by public power lose service less than half the time of for-profit producers.

Nebraska relies 100% on publicly produced electric power, with 120 companies owned by municipalities, 11 co-ops and 30 public power districts. Five of these producers generate power and sell it to all the others. Nebraska enjoys cheap, reliable electric service, which is attractive to industries thinking of moving to the state.

In Maine the average homeowner pays 16.79 cents per kilowatt hour; in Nebraska they pay less than 10 cents. The United States Energy Information Association has data showing municipal power in our country is cheaper, more reliable and reacts more rapidly to public needs. Removing profit from billing allows that money to go into providing better and cheaper service.

The city of Winter Park, Florida, approved a public takeover of electric service with 69% voter approval. Within four years of public takeover using what had been paid to Duke Electric in profits allowed Winter Park to place half of its electric lines underground, immune from hurricanes and other natural calamities. Rates are 5% to 10% lower than in neighboring communities served by Duke.

In Winter Park residents saw power outages drop by two thirds. Once all lines are underground, profits will result in even lower rates. Winter Park is not alone; the Energy Information Association says that public power has lowered outages on average by 13% nationally. Currently Maine has four communities relying on public power, Kennebunk, Madison, Houlton and Calais. Several Maine islands also use public power. Are you ready to stop paying foreign nations profits that could go to lowering rates and improving service?

Ron Jarvella

Belfast

Bill would have been 'act of kindness'

We can all agree that the elderly population suffered the most during the last year of the pandemic. This suffering came not only in the number of deaths (largely at nursing homes), but also in the area of mental health because of the isolation and fear that this last year brought to our treasured parents and grandparents.

It is this isolation and fear that brought Rep. Laurel Libby, R-Auburn, to introduce LD 1139, "An Act To Authorize and Regulate Visitation of Essential Caregivers at Long-term Care Facilities," which would have allowed “an essential caregiver for a resident of a long-term care facility to enter a long-term care facility to provide services to the resident or visit the resident at any time the resident requests during a state of Emergency.” This bill would have allowed one person to visit consistently.

This bill to allow one person the ability to visit, care for and love a patient in a nursing home failed to pass because every single Democrat who voted that day voted against it. Two of our Waldo County representatives, Rep. Janice Dodge, D-Belfast, and Rep. Paige Zeigler, D-Montville, voted against this act of humanity (Rep. Cuddy, D-Winterport, was absent).

What is the difference between a nurse or a janitor coming every day to work and a son or daughter coming to visit every day? How many of our elderly gave up hope without this visit? Why would anyone with a heart vote against this simple act of kindness? Our representatives must do better.

Katrina Smith

Chair, Waldo County Republicans

Thanks for sharing the roads

Thank you to the many courteous drivers who safely went around me as I rode in the Bicycle Coalition of Maine Women’s Ride in Belfast on Saturday!

You probably saw 23 riders in brightly colored jerseys pedaling along the road in a 30-mile loop from Belfast to Swanville and back around. Women of different ages and different professions came together to bicycle together through the warm sunshine of late spring.

We enjoyed riding beside the farms and forests, lupines and daisies, and even up the hills. You helped make it safe by sharing the roads in Waldo County.

Mary Beth DiMarco

Houlton