Letters, Camden Herald
A great issue
I look forward to reading the Camden Herald each week, and this last one had some excellent content.
Charlie Packard's opinions are always interesting and humorous. This past issue "What's In A Vowel?' was great. I guess I am tired of trying to pay my taxes for the large school budgets, when they do not set an goals for the students. It is as if, "If you kids can find time to do the work, that is fine, but don't make an effort."
I enjoyed Gene Graves' column "God is the Foundation of Good Government." You only have to read any bit of history of the early explorers to know this country was founded on those principles. It seems today that we are loosing anything that is good.
I love reading David Grima's humor and hope he enjoys living in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street. David was one of the best editors of Camden Herald, back when.
Jethro Pease really pointed out each part of the welfare program " thing." What is the matter with the Liberal politicians, that they think people should get everything free, at the expense of those who work hard for a living?
I, too, am for those needing help because they ran up against hard times, due to sickness, etc., but too many think it is the way of life.
Reade Brower writes another one of my favorite columns.
That was a great issue of the Camden Herald and I really enjoyed reading it.
Barbara F. Dyer
Thanks public employees
Public Service Recognition Week is May 4 through 10, and thanks are due to all government employees and retirees, federal, state and local, for essential services. They work side by side with our military to defend our country and care for our veterans; conduct cutting-edge research to improve public health and regulate the safety of food and medicines; and air traffic controllers ensure the safety of thousands of passengers daily. They also provide storm weather warnings, snow removal, fire and police protection, mail delivery, processing Social Security checks, and many other services.
As you encounter these public servants in our community, I encourage you to let them know you appreciate the work they do on your behalf.
Maine Federation of Chapters National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association
Thanks for the memories
My last column as the Lincolnville town correspondent was printed last week; it was a run that started in 1979. I was a busy mother with three little boys tumbling around the house, a cow in the barn, pigs in their pen, and a husband right in the middle of his career. I was hired by Nancy Griffin, editor of the Camden Herald at the time; we'd met when she'd interviewed me a couple of years earlier about the then non-existent Lincolnville kindergarten, and our plans to start one.
I took on many assignments with the paper -- reporting, feature writing, opinion columns -- with no prior experience in journalism, or for that matter, other than in school, writing. I've often thought that I learned to write on the job, trying to figure out how to explain things to you, the reader. And I've loved every minute of it.
Well, almost every minute. More than once I sat down in a passion to type out a heart-felt opinion on some local, usually very local Lincolnville issue, sent it in, then agonized over what I'd written for days. When it finally appeared in print, I waited for your reactions. While there were sometimes a few negative responses, most of the time you either called to say "right on!" or politely held your tongue. Thank you for that!
I'll miss hearing your bird reports, family events, keeping up on every Lincolnville organization. But what I look forward to is running into you at Hannaford's, on the street, or at some Lincolnville gathering. Be sure to say hi...
Recent guest columnist Gene Graves told us America is a Christian nation because the original colonists came to America for "Religious Freedom...the Christian Religion!" Not so. None of the colonies established religious freedom. Only one of the colonies, Rhode Island, allowed different Christian denominations to practice as they wished. Virigina and Massachusetts established Anglican churches, levied taxes to support the clergy, banned competing Christian religious services, had religious tests for public office and whipped, branded, hung, burned at the stake and banished members for infractions of Anglican religious laws. Maryland, founded in 1634, was the only colony that allowed Catholics to worship, but only until the mid-1640s when Protestant colonists seized Catholic leaders and sent them back to England in chains. Quakers were forbidden from coming to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. If banished Quakers returned, they were hanged.
Mr. Graves asks, "What religion did they want freedom to worship?" and answers, "Christian Religion!" Not so. In 1654, Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Catholic Brazil arrived in New Amsterdam. There were also Jewish communities in Savannah, Charleston, Philadelphia and Newport.
In support of his opinion that America is a Christian nation Mr. Graves quotes from Alexis de Tocqueville's book "Democracy in America," but cuts the author off mid-paragraph. De Tocqueville is amazed that the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom were not opposed to each other in America as they were in France. " My desire to discover the causes of this phenomenon increased from day to day. In order to satisfy it I questioned members of the different sects; I sought especially the society of the clergy, who are the depositaries of the different creeds and are especially interested in their duration. As a member of the Roman Catholic Church, I was more particularly brought into contact with several of its priests, with whom I became intimately acquainted. To each of these men I expressed my astonishment and explained my doubts. I found that they differed upon details alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point."
I found it interesting that Mr. Graves did not advice us to read the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. If we wished to know if America is a Christian nation. Here is what they say about religion: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof." There it is, in one sentence, our legal separation of church and state. We are not a theocracy. We do not have a state religion. Our laws are not written in British colonial charters or in chapters of Deuteronomy. We do not hang dissenters, stone our children to death (Deut 21:21) or force our virgin daughters to marry their rapists (Deut 22:29). We write our laws. We worship in our temples, synagogues, mosques, churches and meeting houses. We are many. We are one. We are a Democratic nation.
Fails to mention
Daniel Dunkle's summary of the latest report released by the NTSB on the accident in Owl's Head, Nov. 16, 2012, fails to recognize that there were four victims that night.
The driver of the ground vehicle struck by the plane would also have been a fatality had the impact occurred moments later.The fact that he survived makes him no less of a victim, yet Mr. Dunkle's reporting insinuates otherwise.
The NTSB report includes detailed information about the plane, weather conditions, pilot's experience, the airport and the extent of the wreckage. It is a factual account indicating that the sequence of events unfolded that night as a result of several important factors not the least of which involved the choices made by the pilot. His failure to follow protocol before takeoff and his actions after impacting the ground vehicle raise serious questions. Why didn't he just stop the plane?
Mr. Dunkle's version of the NTSB report makes only passing reference to facts that put the pilot's actions into question. Instead, he chooses to focus the attention of his readers on the ground vehicle, the driver's account of events as he recalled them and the absence of a rotating yellow light on the vehicle.
The facts referring to the inexperience of the pilot (48.5 total flight hours, of which 17.4 hours were solo, and 0.2 hours of night flight as pilot in command) are on page 1 of the NTSB Report. But Mr. Dunkle mentions them only towards the end of his article, noting that it was the Knox County Airport Manager's conclusion that since there was no flight plan filed for the return to Bangor, he probably was not intending to fly at night.
But in fact, the plane took off without notice at 4:45 p.m. in the dark without lights, without having filed a flight plan or having made radio contact. The pilot was not instrument rated and had 15 minutes of experience flying at night.
Mr. Dunkle also fails to mention there was a restriction on the pilot's medical certificate stating he must "wear corrective lenses" raising the question of whether or not he was wearing them.
Mr. Dunkle ends his article with quotes from the Knox county Airport's Driving Manual's instructions for driving on movement areas. He omits, however, the NTSB report's two chapters from the FAA Handbook's instructions for pilots that are specifically relevant to the accident.
"According to chapter 5, Takeoffs and Departure Climbs" Prior to take off, the pilot should have in mind a point along the runway at which the airplane should be airborne. If that point is reached and the airplane is not airborne, immediate action should be taken to discontinue the takeoff. Properly planned and executed, chances are excellent the airplane can be stopped on the remaining runway without using extraordinary measures..."
"According to Chapter 10 "Night Operation" states in part "Takeoff and Climb. Night flying is very different from day flying and demands more attention of the pilot." With the limited availability of outside visual references," flight instruments should be used to a greater degree in controlling the airplane."
A number of factors conspired to cause the Cessna 172 to impact the truck and subsequently accelerate, take off and spin out of control. Mr. Dunkle has a responsibility to his readers to present all the facts in a responsible and objective manner. He should leave his judgements for the newspaper's opinion pages.