Letters, May 28

May 28, 2020

Grateful for support

New Hope for Women, Midcoast Maine’s only domestic violence resource center since 1981, recently held a Matching Challenge Campaign with a coalition of area banks. Damariscotta Bank & Trust, First National Bank, Midcoast Federal Credit Union and TD Bank stepped forward with a total donation of $2,750 to be matched by community members in support of sheltering victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Funds will also be used to cover increased technology use and personal protective equipment for agency staff. We are thrilled to say that area residents demonstrated a commitment to ensuring the safety of our local communities by exceeding the amount to be matched. New Hope for Women is very grateful.

Throughout the current pandemic, New Hope for Women is responding in a flexible and dynamic manner. We continue to provide a 24/7 helpline and have added a chat service that is available weekdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. We have also partnered with area lodging accommodations to provide longer-term sheltering for those in need, and continue to deliver presentations that provide information regarding the advocacy, prevention and education services we provide.

The staff at New Hope for Women thanks members of the communities in our four-county catchment area, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties, particularly during this unusual time when mandated social distancing can increase isolation and when more stress may add to the frequency and intensity of violent episodes. It takes a community effort to address gender-based violence concerns and we are thankful to everyone for the support!

Rebekah Paredes

Executive Director

New Hope for Women


Call us back, Governor

I have personally written to Gov. Mills twice this month. Both letters asked her to allow the Legislature to reconvene, so that both branches of government can work on safely reopening Maine, rather than allow the current situation to continue. She has not responded to either letter.

The Legislature should reconvene, because better decisions can be made with constituent feedback closer to the decision makers, not an arbitrary think tank of 37 people. The governor’s committee is truly the Maine Legislature with specialty subgroups already arranged and eager to help our people get safely back to work.

For instance, the town clerk in Otis has given thought to the receipt of absentee ballots this coming election season. Most absentee ballots will have time to naturally decontaminate, but one delivered and counted on Election Day will not be considered COVID-free and could be potentially handled by electioneers and clerks unless protocol is changed. This is the perfect example of constituent feedback with a direct line of communication.

Call us back, Gov. Mills.

If you or someone you know is having issues with unemployment insurance, getting your business open, or have an idea on how to open our state safely, I would like to hear from you. My email address is Sherman.Hutchins@Legislature.maine.gov, and my phone is 287-1440.

State Rep. Sherman Hutchins


Can we commit to community well-being?

COVID-19 has brought public health out of the shadows. Many may be shocked to learn that early successes in infectious diseases, food safety, maternal and child health, family planning, workplace safety, vehicle safety, reduction in tobacco use have contributed more to extend life expectancy than modern medicine.

As the name implies, public health deals with health at a community, state or national level and seeks to understand causes, and develop control and prevention strategies. Yet in our quick-fix world, public health faces a tough slog. We prefer pills or operations to healthful eating and regular exercise.

Meanwhile our fragmented U.S. health system underwhelms. U.S. COVID-19 infection and death rates are dismal. We rank 43rd in life expectancy while spending almost twice as much per capita ($10,200 per Kaiser Family Foundation) as the average wealthy country ($5,200).

U.S. health sector laid off 1.4 million workers in April as patients avoided primary health care. Elective procedures were deferred, starving health systems of a prime source of revenue. Thirty-eight-plus million workers filed for unemployment, disrupting employer-based health insurance. Initial testing glitches and unsteady leadership led to critical delays, hampering timely COVID response.

Ronald Reagan demonized government and taxes some 40 years ago, touting competition and markets as the answer, labeling Medicare socialized medicine. Yet, who will invest in prevention when cures are more profitable?

I hope we employ consistent, diligent prevention measures as we wait for a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 (wearing masks; social distancing; strict personal, workplace and public sanitation; fortifying of individual immune systems). Longer term, I hope we commit to enhancing community well-being by: 1) redesigning our health system to emphasize ongoing analysis and planning, prevention and primary care, universal health insurance coverage; and 2) mitigating the gaps left by our profit-oriented health care system, by either radically changing the incentives or providing alternative public solutions.

How we fare with COVID-19 will bode well or ill for our response to the next pandemic, or the elephant in the room, our climate crisis.

Bob Kohl


Silver lining

I have found a silver lining in the coronavirus pandemic. We have our plastic bags back! In addition, we no longer have to separate our recyclables — just throw them in with the trash. (I am still holding out on this.) Now if we can eliminate Indigenous Peoples Day and revert back to Columbus Day, I will be reasonably happy.

Richard F. Dinsmore


In support of TRJ

My mother-in-law gave me, as a gift yearly, a subscription to The Republican Journal many years ago. I have never let it lapse. I have great respect for your publication and look forward to it each week.

I am a retired fifth grade teacher and Searsport’s Local Historian. I have relied many times for research purposes on the Belfast Library’s Republican Journal Archives. I do not want your weekly paper to come to an end. I am sending a small contribution, $30, to help keep your newspaper going strong.

Charlene Knox Farris


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