We read with great interest the article quoting our fellow retired admirals and generals who are raising a red flag about the fact that more than 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24 are too overweight to join the military.

We, too, are concerned about the amount of junk food served in schools and the fact that school nutrition standards have not been overhauled since 1994. Today, the number of 18- to 24-year-old Mainers who are overweight or obese has climbed to over 40 percent.

We are pleased to join our Mission: Readiness colleagues in this appeal to Congress: We support improving nutritional standards in all federally funded school food programs.

This isn’t the first time the military has raised concerns about the fitness of our young people. In 1946, our population was so undernourished that many youth were unable to meet the requirements to serve our country following World War II.

Military leaders at that time knew that the country’s defense required action, and pushed for a new school lunch program. While this step did not end child hunger, it did help improve child nutrition substantially.

Today, we are battling against just the opposite. We are now fighting to ensure that the foods served in schools are healthier so that today’s schoolchildren have nutritious meal choices.

We also encourage active physical fitness and sports programs for our youth. A proper diet and physical activity are essential to raising healthy children.

This is not just a matter of ensuring the physical health of our nation. We also see this as a matter of national security.

Walter Cantrell

Rear Adm., U.S. Navy, ret.

Bath

Francis Dillon

Brig. Gen., U.S. Air Force, ret.

Bath

Richard Tuttle

Brig. Gen., U.S. Air Force, ret.

West Bath

Don’t let financial reform be blocked by Republicans

 

Yes, Wall Street and the large financial institutions need to be reformed and better regulated. My husband and I had very small IRAs, our total personal savings for our retirement, and we are 66 and 65 years old. We realize perhaps even that amount was exaggerated because of the manipulations of the market during the housing bubble and the investment bubbles.

But now our savings are much diminished. I plan to work for as long as I can, but that is not a good plan. All we ask for is assurance from government regulators that financial corporations and other institutions will not defraud us or take away what we have managed to put aside.

I don’t count on government to provide for us — except for Social Security, and that is very important to us, but I fear government in the ’90s worked against us when it seems to give unfair advantage to large corporations and institutions that are not honorable about their practices. We need our senators to stand up for Mainers and vote for reform and not weaken the bill. Consumers need someone on their side.

One last word about the small business that I have run for the last 30 years. Child care is one of the first bellwethers of worry, since a parent who loses a job usually has to remove a child from child care.

Children reflect an anxious home situation through their daily behaviors, and so on. I have personally experienced these situations over the past year, as have many colleagues. The recession hurt many families; it’s time to protect hard-working people like us.

Kay Mishkin

South Portland

It’s interesting to hear Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe regularly call for tougher regulation of Wall Street. They both continue to vote with Senate Republicans to water down the current bill after supporting the party’s filibuster attempt.

While they may call for tougher regulation, Senate Republicans, who have recently had a massive infusion of campaign donations from Wall Street firms, are seeking terms more beneficial to Wall Street.

While Republicans rail against the $50 billion fund to deal with bankrupt firms, they aren’t saying that fund will come entirely from fees paid by those firms. If that fund is eliminated, the entire cost of the bankruptcy of these firms will fall on the taxpayers.

Our senators have a choice. They can either act to create effective regulation, or they can continue to support obstructive tactics with the goal of looser regulation on Wall Street and greater financial burdens and consequences for taxpayers.

Reid Scher

Windham

Mainers should pay attention to the behavior of our two U.S. senators. We thought we had elected moderates who would look out for the interests of Maine citizens, but once again Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins follow the extreme agenda of the Republican leadership who have vowed to “break” the president.

Just as they sided with the big insurance companies in the health care reform debate, they now are acting in the interests of Wall Street and against the Maine consumers.

By their actions they prove that “Republican moderate” is an oxymoron.

David Vickrey

Cape Elizabeth

With their recent Senate votes against even debating a financial reform bill, I guess that our Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have established that they truly are representatives of the Republican Party with nominal voting addresses in Maine, rather than representatives of the Maine citizens who have lost their savings, their retirements, their jobs or their homes.

How shameful of them. Remember this next time they plead their moderate Maine “roots.” They have no sense of what goes on in Maine or with their constituents.

Dorothy Chaisson

Brunswick

If DiMillo’s is ‘touristy,’ so is every other restaurant

 

I am just wondering why in the dining guide on April 21, DiMillo’s Restaurant is described as “touristy.”

It has been a mainstay in the Portland area for over 50 years and has outlived many long, established restaurants, including the Village Cafe, Vallee’s and the Sportsman’s Grill, to name a few. I can’t help but think that the way you describe it, it is like every customer who goes to the Lobster Shack at Two Lights is a local.

Why is it that DiMillo’s is touristy and nobody else is? The fact that they have been in business all these years cannot depend on tourism alone.

Let’s give credit where credit is due and give them a better description than “touristy”!

Fern Cyr

Portland