I want to express my deep gratitude to Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion for letting the community hold a vigil for Selvin Arevalo on May 26 outside the Cumberland County Jail.

Dion and his staff provided a safe space for the vigil, which was an important step in advocating for Arevalo’s release from detention and an end to deportation proceedings.

Currently detained at the jail and facing deportation, Arevalo, 24, is a model community member and student who entered the U.S. as a child. Maine is his home.

Friends, family, teachers, neighbors, religious groups, local businesses and community members came together to ask the departments of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop deportation proceedings and release Arevalo to his community in Portland.

Additionally, the community asked the Maine congressional delegation to advocate on behalf of Arevalo and to fix our broken immigration system by passing the Dream Act and Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

The passage of these bills will allow for a clear pathway to citizenship for people like Arevalo, who entered the U.S. as a child without documentation and has suffered many barriers and burdens as an adult without papers in the only place that has been home.

Sheriff Dion easily could have refused the request to hold the vigil, yet he recognized the importance of this event, not only to Arevalo but also to our community and our country.

It is not always the case that people in leadership roles are true leaders, but Sheriff Dion has shown consistent leadership with dedication to Maine people, and the vigil for Selvin is a clear example.

Sheriff Dion and his staff were incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, organized, welcoming and kind. Cumberland County is fortunate to have a sheriff who displays true leadership with a social conscience, strong moral character and above all, a kind heart.

Lauren Como

Portland

New Gloucester holds up no option to cutting staff

Here in New Gloucester, the Board of Selectmen is suggesting that the only option is to cut the hours of town staff to avoid what the selectmen call “excessive tax hikes” or “raiding” the town’s undesignated fund.

These options are being considered after the citizens of our town overwhelmingly rejected the idea of cutting the position of assessor and replacing a full-time staff person with a one-day-a-week contractor.

Despite Chairman Steve Libby’s protestations at a May 17 selectmen’s meeting that all options were still on the table, he also repeatedly told us that none of the selectmen were willing to raise taxes or consider using the undesignated fund.

Vice Chair Nat Berry has commented that he heard nothing from people in town on this issue following the meeting. I would suggest that no one spoke to him because he did not speak at the meeting.

Indeed, in a session that ran for five hours, the only member of the board who spoke was Libby. The other four members did not speak a word for the entire meeting, except for Linda Chase, who briefly addressed a parks and recreation question.

My friends and neighbors in town, like me, would be willing to pay a little bit more to ensure that the staff at the town office are being treated fairly and paid properly and to ensure that our town functions properly.

Those “excessive” tax hikes the board is so afraid of? An additional 8 cents per $1,000 on property taxes. That’s right, you could rummage in your couch for change and make up the difference.

Instead, Mr. Libby and his board will not present us with a clear plan to fully fund the town staff, nor will they allow the townspeople the option of deciding ourselves if we want to pay for what we consider important.

Christopher Rheault

New Gloucester

Pro-extraction voice part of ‘green-washing’ drive

It was disappointing to see the latest chapter in Nestle’s green-washing campaign in The Portland Press Herald (“Poland Spring geologist measures up when he measures down,” June 7).

Just a few months ago, Mark Dubois (featured in the Maine at Work article mentioned above) was the Nestle resource director and a major part of Nestle’s presence in Wells in the run-up to our vote on the large-scale water extraction ordinance last November.

Mark Dubois and Nestle’s attorney infuriated residents when they were allowed to help write that ordinance. (Remember — Poland Spring is a brand name for Nestle, a Swiss multinational corporation.)

Dubois was a frequent speaker at town events, trying to persuade citizens that Nestle had a right to our water, that extraction would not hurt our water supply and that we wouldn’t mind tanker trucks on rural roads.

In the run-up to the November 2009 vote, Nestle spent tens of thousands on ads and created a fake grass-roots group that tried to affect the vote. Wells anti-extraction activists had to dig deep to fund signs and ads to try to compete with corporate money.

It strains credibility that now Mark Dubois is in the field monitoring wells and measuring stream flow. He’s more likely to be out supervising the drilling of test wells in other unsuspecting towns located on the aquifer!

If Dubois actually does spend any time in the field, the citizens of Wells and other Maine towns that have experience with Nestle and Dubois are rooting for the ticks and deer flies!

Linda Dumey

Wells

In wake of Gulf oil spill, nuclear power looks better

As a pro-nuclear energy person, I wonder whether the recent oil spill in the Gulf will wake up America to just how much we are dependent on oil for our daily activities.

If we don’t go to nuclear energy soon, we’ll be doomed to fighting other countries for their abundance of oil.

Solar and wind are helpful but won’t satisfy our thirst for oil. As an example, start with our vehicles. Smaller and battery-powered vehicles run, but they’re not very good for long hauls or extra power. We will always need gas cars and trucks.

Now for the punch line. As a retired electrical engineer, my home is all-electric — not solar or off the grid. I like electric heat, and with nuclear power, everyone could convert to electric heat, and for less than oil.

France is more than 70 percent nuclear, and we should be, too.

Frank Slason

Somerville