‘Hearts for Haiti’

Thank you so much to everyone who supported our sale, “Hearts for Haiti,” last Saturday. We made note cards as well as lavender sachets for InterVol, a volunteer organization that sends desperately needed medical supplies to those in need around the world. When the devastating earthquake in Haiti occurred, InterVol focused its attention there.

We would like to thank Ken and Laurel Ames of the Bagel Café for providing us once again with a place to hold our sale. Thank you to Dr. Olehnik, Dr. Cole and Dr. Ellison who had gone to Haiti with InterVol and provided us with pictures for our display and informed us about the critical work they did. Thank you again to everyone who supported and made generous donations to our sale. With your help we raised more than $700, all of which will go directly to InterVol.

Thank you!

Friends and Daughters: Caroline Webb, Jaclyn Gilson, Moira Pieri and Fiona Fischer

Vocational education costs

One of the challenges for any school system is to identify the special talents of individual students and provide appropriate opportunities for each. In education, one size does not fit all.

Thus courses such as the gifted and talented program at the Five Town Community School District and the vocational technical program (Career and Technical Education) are very important.

In the case of CTE, however, the funding formula makes this opportunity extraordinarily expensive.

For the 2010 fiscal year that program is budgeted to cost the CSD $894,277 or, using the most favorable basis for calculation, $11,465 per student for each student taking advantage of it. When the balance of the education costs per student is added to that figure, it climbs to $25,678 per CTE student for the year. That is a very heavy burden on the CSD.

Ways need to be found to bring the cost to the CSD of this important program down. Such cost reduction will require a change in the 30-year-old funding formula for CTE. That will not be easy given the involvement of other towns and entities. But this essential program cannot be allowed to continue placing the present cost burden on the CSD.

Note: Those interested in receiving information from Citizens for Value In Education may request to be added to our communication list by sending an e-mail to paulalex@roadrunner.com and including their name, e-mail address and town of residence.

Alexander Armentrout

Citizens for Value In Education


Be proud, Rockland

On Feb. 3, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Rockland, Maine as one of the 12 most distinctive destinations in America. Since 2000, the National Trust’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations Program has recognized cities and towns that offer an authentic visitor experience by combining dynamic downtowns, cultural diversity, attractive architecture, cultural landscapes and a strong commitment to historic preservation, sustainability and revitalization.

In a congratulatory letter to the city of Rockland, Gov. Baldacci said: “The beauty of the coastline and the friendliness of the people of the city of Rockland, blended with the variety of exceptional experiences available, provide a unique and authentic taste of Maine to visitors. Rockland has built on its rich history, geography and culture.”

Rockland has come a long way in uncovering and celebrating who we are and who we’ve always been. Our beautiful coastline, working waterfront, historic neighborhoods and downtown, and even much of our wetlands, meadows, and forested hillsides are largely intact. Because of the strength of our community and our dedicated and hardworking work force, employers continue to move to Rockland, bringing valuable jobs. Private investments in our downtown and neighborhoods add to the growing momentum in our city.

At first glance, this new designation might not be particularly exciting. After all, in 2009, Rockland was noted as one of the coolest small towns in America. In January 2010, the cruise industry listed Rockland as one of the top 10 hottest destinations in the world. Yes, in the world! So, why get excited about this new designation?

What makes this designation particularly impressive is that our city was recognized for its beauty and charm, reverence for our own history, and the strength of our character. We are distinctive not because we are a great place to visit; Rockland is distinctive because it is a great place.

For all of us who love Rockland, whether we admire the city from afar, faithfully visit every year, or live here — for a few years or a few generations — it is time to be proud. When people ask me where I’m from, I stand a little taller, look them straight in the eyes, and proudly share that I live in Rockland.

Be proud, Rockland. Our fair city has come a long way and has a future that is as bright and exciting as its past.

If you’d like to show your pride in our community, log on to rocklandmainstreet.com and follow the links to vote for Rockland as the most distinctive destination in America.

Jeffrey Charland

President, Rockland Main Street


Public option

The public option is a scam; sadly, the Democrats know it. What a grand illusion it has become. The public demanded a solution to the health care crisis. The Democrats said they would come to the rescue — then promptly sat down with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to come up with a solution that benefited them the most.
The Democrats had originally come up with a public option that was designed to provide people with the alternative to buy a low cost insurance plan run by the government. However, with the insurance industry’s “buying power” in Washington, they successfully crafted a new and stripped down public option that the Congressional Budget Office forecast would now “cost more than a comparable private plan, and would [optimistically] attract merely 0 to 6 million customers” (assuming it could even get off the ground since no insurance company has managed to start up from scratch in decades). The result of the current congressional bills is that Americans will be required to purchase health insurance from private insurance companies without any realistic alternative.

Now comes the really sad part. The corporate Democrats are now pushing the public option as their big concession to progressives to gain their endorsement of the 2,000-page insurance reform bill. They are doing this even though they all know it is a scam; they know the public option is not viable. They have compromised their integrity to provide Americans with something they know full well ahead of time is not worth the paper it is printed on in order to score political points.

It is unfortunate that the Democrats in Washington have not heeded the message they got from their own Democratic voters who, in protest, voted for Scott Brown, a Republican in Massachusetts. The people are tired of corporate handouts/bailouts and the Democratic Party will pay dearly in November and 2010 if they persist in ignoring the needs of the people over the demands of the lobbyists.

In these hard economic times it makes more sense than ever for Washington to provide all Americans with a system to maximize their health care dollar. They can do that by setting up a program for all Americans to put their money into one insurance pool that distributes the risk as wide as possible, and thereby provide health care at the lowest cost while providing complete coverage without co-pays, deductibles or lifetime maximum coverage. The financing of health care is beyond the capability of the private sector. The government must provide the solution like it provides other infrastructure: roads, education, fire and police. The government must step forward and own up to its obligation to promote the general welfare of the country.

Jerry Call
South Thomaston


Remember when

Let’s stop thinking about the war and the bad condition around the world today. Let’s go back to the year 1926, when Calvin Coolidge was president of the United States, and the vice president was Charles Dawes. How many of you remember that? Here are some prices of everyday living in the year 1926: new house $7,748, average income $2,310 per year, new car $360, average rent $20, tuition to Harvard University $300 a year, movie ticket 20 cents, gasoline 12 cents a gallon, U.S. postage stamp 2 cents, eggs 14 cents a dozen. Read it and weep, folks.

Gordon Wotton


Excellent medical team

There has been much in your paper recently about the woes and the outlook for Penobscot Bay Medical Center. The hospital has been faced with the reduction of staff and some doctors are at least considering limiting the number of Medicare, Medicaid, Maine Care and other government funded patients they can afford to treat.

What a time to be a hospital administrator faced with these fiscal facts of life as well as the necessity to satisfy the desire of the public. I believe that few members of the public are aware of the necessary expenses of providing medical care such as wages, taxes on wages, liability insurance, necessary equipment and training. Despite these problems I believe Roy Hitchings, the administrator, has put together and maintained an excellent and dedicated medical team while at the same time keeping the hospital abreast with technical developments such as the “medical emergency” room that enables staff at our emergency room to electronically submit X-rays and other information to Maine Medical Center to be read or interpreted by specialists at times when the appropriate person may not be available on site here.

My own wife is the beneficiary of having been diagnosed in the middle of the night and subsequently treated for a life threatening condition as a result of that capability.

As a former physician I have been privileged to go behind the scenes of the ER from time to time and I can assure you that during those long waits in the lobby, things are actually taking place for the care of the patient albeit sometimes it is a period of detailed critical observation.

But the real effectiveness of PBMC is the personal quality of those working there in a time when the public is by and large critical of the medical profession. That includes all specialties from nurses to technicians to phlebotomists who despite that needle in your arm actually care about what they are doing to you, the patient. Roy Hitchings has put together and maintained an excellent caring staff in all departments from admission through discharge planning.

Recently I observed the care given to a 91-year-old Navy friend who had fought all of World War II in submarines. Now living alone without family he broke his arm in two places. After being treated at PBMC and due for release, it was apparent that he needed some additional care at home. In this day and age when the government has said it would take over many of the functions that were formerly provided by churches and other charitable groups, the actual availability of personnel to provide such services is limited and often hard to find. I saw the strenuous and frustrating efforts of nurse Anne as she struggled to find adequate after care for my friend. Through persistence and actually caring she was finally successful.

I salute all of those at PBMC who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk every day.

Curly Olds