In years past, I have received many Mother’s Day gifts. Breakfast in bed, cards made with construction paper and crayons, damp homemade projects and dinners out with my loving husband and beautiful daughters.

Each of these gifts is still precious, not for its material value, but for the loving care it represents.

This year, I want something different, but also an act of deep caring. I hope that the U.S. Senate will give a gift to me and all the mothers of America, by passing comprehensive climate and clean-energy legislation that will reduce pollution, ensure our children’s and grandchildren’s health and create 12,000 jobs here in Maine.

What could a mother want more than a healthy world for her children to grow and live in with clean air to breathe and clean water to drink? Right now in Maine, we sit at the end of the tailpipe of America, breathing in pollution spewed from smokestacks across the nation.

As our children grow into young adults, we want them to find work and be successful. Right now in Maine, far too many of our children must leave the Pine Tree State to find work — leaving far too many mothers (and fathers) wishing their children were closer to home.

This Mother’s Day, I ask Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to give me and all Maine mothers a most precious gift to ensure our children’s health and future by passing comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation this year.

Denise Tepler

Topsham

Let aircraft carrier sail away to Rhode Island

I have been away and just had a chance to go through my older newspapers and came across Edward D. Murphy’s article of March 10 concerning the acquisition of the carrier John F. Kennedy for Portland.

I wonder if those who have done the study are aware of the huge annual expense, not to mention preparing the ship to accept visitors. And it will dominate the waterfront no matter where it is located.

I served aboard the battleship Missouri, BB 63, which is moored in Pearl Harbor. For the past few years, I have been in touch with some of the people who are responsible for running this memorial. I asked for a ballpark cost to operate the Missouri. I was told that between $3 million and $4 million a year is a good ballpark figure. This does not include the capital expenses required to renovate its space for public access.

Even after 10 years, there are many parts of the ship yet to be made available. And much of the work is done by volunteers, of which there is a large number, drawn from the many veterans in that area plus from a nearby naval base. Where would all the funding for the JFK come from, year in and year out? There is none from the federal government or the state of Hawaii for the Missouri.

And of course, the size is a huge question mark. Does Portland need a structure this large that will overwhelm the port? The city cannot support a maritime museum and even lost the little lightship Nantucket due to lack of financial support and, I suspect, public interest.

This needs to be reconsidered.

Amory M. Houghton III

Yarmouth

The last thing I want to see docked on our charming waterfront is a behemoth retired U.S. warship, and I hope Rhode Island wins out on it.

I question whether Portland’s Old Port is the best place for this enormous aged-out aircraft carrier, the crew of which was larger than the population of 83 percent of Maine’s municipalities. It would be a costly venture of extreme proportions to tow this ship from Philadelphia to Portland, properly moor it, refurbish and operate it as a museum.

Before we pour millions into this, let’s check to see if our schools, homeless shelters and local governments have all the money they need.

It has been suggested that this ship should be brought to Portland to promote its history. Yet, the 39-year history of the John F. Kennedy is unremarkable. In the 1970s, there were 15 incidents of arson on the JFK while in port at Norfolk, and it was involved in two collisions with smaller Navy ships, resulting in considerable damage to those ships.

In 2004, the JFK collided with a small sailing boat in the Persian Gulf that resulted in the deaths of all aboard the smaller boat. The JFK’s commanding officer was relieved of his duties. There were also numerous failed takeoffs and landings on the JFK, resulting in several deaths.

Aside from this part of its history, the JFK saw action in 1983 in Beirut, was part of the destruction in Iraq in 1990 and its planes dropped bombs on Afghanistan in 2002. It was mothballed in 2007 because, in part, it was the most costly carrier in the fleet to operate and maintain.

I do not want a towering, three-and-a-half-football-fields-long monument to U.S. militarism looming over Portland’s small inner harbor. I do not want our unique Old Port to permanently house a gigantic aircraft carrier and take on the appearance of a naval base.

I do not believe Portland is the best fit for this from the viewpoint of aesthetics, traffic, parking, the environment, and cost.

Let’s hope the JFK goes to Rhode Island, and then let’s build a monument to peace in Portland.

Roger Vogt

Portland

A proposed new slogan: “Maine, the way a state should be laughed at.”

I do hope that the whole point is to keep ’em laughing because we are working really hard to look as ridiculous as possible.

One very funny offering from “Vacationland” is to let our visitors’ children see half-naked women walk our streets. That’s a good one.

But first, let’s make sure that folks flying into South Portland or driving by on the Interstate admire our artistic taste by viewing the multicolored lines painted on oil storage tanks. That laugh will get even bigger when they all get “beautified.”

The really big belly laugh should come once we get that big aircraft carrier in the middle of Casco Bay. Folks who come here to see the skyline or get the perfect picture of the Maine coast can figure a way to get around the once-in-a-lifetime attraction, chuckling all the time, I’m sure.

The best chance of getting the last laugh may be that we stop “causing pain” to fish by changing all our seafood processing plants to blueberry canneries.

I had to stop giggling, for a moment, when I thought, “Do blueberries feel pain?” Not like people suffering the loss of an income can! But that thought may be a downer. Forget it.

Stop grinning for a minute and think. For the love of Maine, let’s get back to the reasons “Maine, the way life should be” is not at all a joke.

Put shirts on in public, plant pine trees around any eyesores, let Rhode Island have the big boat and give the humans a break (every now and then they have to come first).

Jan Blanchard

Portland