Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor, Aug. 29

Aug 29, 2019

Pen Bay staff 'knowledgeable, genuinely caring'

What a shock! I went from feeling perfectly healthy -- hiking, swimming and kayaking -- to being on an IV at Pen Bay Medical Center. My husband and I had spent three of our planned seven-day vacation when sudden severe abdominal pain sent me to the emergency room.

But what we want people in the Rockland/Rockport area to know is how much we appreciate the hospital you support. From the emergency room to the operating room to the recovery room, the entire staff at Pen Bay were efficient, knowledgeable and genuinely caring.

All my questions were answered, and no matter when I called for assistance, someone cheerfully responded. A cot was added to the room so that my husband could stay with me. We made use of the airy sitting room at the end of the wing with a view of the wildflowers and forest beyond. Anyone aware of the studies that show exposure to nature improves human health would be pleased to see the grounds at Pen Bay. My husband walked the Wellness Trail every day.

There is a form available to allow patients to thank a staff member for offering extraordinary assistance. I would have had to complete a form for everyone who helped in bringing me back to health. Thus, this letter, which I hope will give them deserved recognition!

Pam Stewart

Jasper, Ark.

Selectmen should consult residents on sidewalks

Unbeknownst to the Union taxpayers and residents, the Board of Selectman and town manager applied to the federal government for a $400,000 sidewalk grant. The grant was subsequently granted and the board set aside an additional $76,000 of taxpayers' money for the proposed project.

The board than brought in MDOT to facilitate the project.

The sidewalk proposal is to run from the Town Common down 235 (Depot Street) to Ayer Park.

The vote by the board was 5-0 in favor and no one on the board sought the opinion of those affected along 235; one board member informed us "it's a done deal." In addition, one board member who lives on 235 should have recused himself from the vote.

Almost 90 percent of those along the proposed walkway are opposed to the project, as there is very little, if any, foot traffic and the homes dating to the 1800s are much too close to the road, but the board is determined to shove the project through.

We have been informed the town is obligated to maintain the new walkway for 20 years --- look at how it currently maintains the walkways on Common Road -- still covered in winter sand, weed overgrowth and never cleared in the winter months.

In addition, the town will have to obtain expensive snow removal equipment, and where is the snow going to be dispensed -- up against the homes?

This is a shortsighted, foolish burden on the residents, especially along 235, and who is going to walk from The Common to Ayer Park carrying a picnic basket or a kayak?

The town manager and the board need to heed the voices that elected them, as this is supposed to be a democracy, setting aside selfish interests.

They must also remember a grant is not free money.

Pritchard and Catherine Meyer

Union

Interpreting the 2nd Amerndment

I am appalled every time I hear a candidate for any election speaking on the gun control emergency, say he or she wants to abide by “Second Amendment rights.” This is wrong, wrong, wrong. Students of the Constitution should know that James Madison and all his colleagues were not concerned with individual rights. They were concerned about a standing army and, in the 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights, left law-and-order responsibilities to the state militias.

We must know that the ideological interpretation of a personal right to own guns dates only to June 6, 2008, in the brilliant, grammatically creative and false Heller decision, composed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a creationist ideologue.

The dissenters to the creationist interpretation of the Founders (“Framers,” in jurisprudence vocabulary), in the Heller majority opinion were Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer — regarded as interpreters of a “living constitution” — who wrote significant dissent statements. And, to bring this up to date, Stevens, since retired, who died a few months ago, expressed an opinion that the 2nd Amendment should be abolished altogether. Yes, it has been so abused by, not only Republican ideologues and the NRA, but also by candidates seeking elected power and many misled citizens.

I will cite only two major historical and analytical book sources for interested readers:

The Second Amendment — a biography (2014)m by Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

American Dialogue—The Founders and Us (2018) by eminent historian Joseph J. Ellis.

Readers who are interested in this major historical issue will want to do their own research and give attention to the “history” of the National Rifle Association, with regard to the Second Amendment. The NRA leadership is now immersed in decadence and corruption. Attention must be paid.

This is important for going forward to the difficult 2020 presidential election.

Carmen Lavertu

Thomaston

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