There are several scenarios that can be played out on the best, or should we say most profitable, use of the North Woods and Moosehead Lake region of Maine:

1. The proposed development of the southern portion of Moosehead Lake into a mix of condominiums and resort units by Plum Creek Timber Corp. is a plan now that, despite the challenges under way in Superior Court, could happen in the immediate future. This economic gain would be a short-term advantage to the local communities there. The sustainable economic advantage for most of Maine would be minimal.

The privatizing of the Moosehead Lake southern shoreline would curtail outside visitorship to the area. The obvious tourist question is, “Why come to this area?”

2. The proposed “Great Maine Forest Initiative” came out of a collaboration group of timber landowners, paper mills, some environmentalists and state agencies, along with the encouragement of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

This plan is based on the inclusive needs of the landowners and timber industry. This would be a plan that is beneficial to these interests only. Again the tourist question is, “Why come to this area?”

3. A North Woods and Moosehead Lake National Park would provide sustained economic advantages to the local communities and to the general population of Maine. An annual visitor count similar to Acadia National Park of more than 2 million people could be reasonably expected.

These tourist dollars would stay in Maine and provide sustainable annual incomes for many living on the boundaries of this new national park. The service and management job needs of the park would be major.

This economic engine is waiting to happen and is a true extension of the recreational values that mark Maine as a special place in our nation.

John Oser

First lady deceptively said, ‘Do as I say, not as I did’ 

Michelle Obama went to the Gulf states and made a plea for all the tourists to come back and vacation in the region.

She and her husband, the president, then came to Acadia National Park for their vacation. Did they come here to avoid the anticipated hordes of vacationers returning to the Gulf area — or do I detect a note of hypocrisy?

Robert Turcotte

Firearms rights belong to people, not ‘militias’ 

I am compelled to respond to the letter from Phyllis Kamin in the Telegram July 11 entitled “Absurd Supreme Court ruling should go to extreme.” Distortions of the facts such as she employed do a disservice to any argument,

She states that the Second Amendment “clearly and narrowly defined the ‘right to bear arms by a well-regulated militia.’ ” Not so. Not even close.

A “well-regulated militia” may have been the reason behind the Second Amendment. But the right conferred by it was given directly to the people: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The absurdity here is not the latest interpretation of the Second Amendment by the current Supreme Court. It is that it has taken nearly 250 years for the Supreme Court to state the obvious truth.

I am not a member of the NRA. I neither keep nor bear arms. And I would gladly support the argument that the term “people” should not include everyone with a pulse.

However, that is a different argument altogether. The proffered argument is just wrong.

John Geary

Vote against tax law was rational choice 

Oh, Mr. Lawton. Such an unabashedly elitist position you take in your Business section column, to claim that the Maine electorate acted illogically by voting against the proposed new tax system (“Help Maine economy — invite guests,” July 4).

Maine voters are not all fools who voted against it because of a “no new taxes” slogan. You can cut the macro numbers any way you want to try to make the case that, as a group, we would all pay less under that proposed new tax law.

I suspect, however, that many voters, like myself, took a look at the proposed new law and concluded that individually we would wind up paying less under the existing system.

Maine voters soundly rejected the idea of trying to balance the state budget by increasing and expanding highly regressive sales taxes, while at the same time reducing the income tax rate for our highest income (i.e. most affluent) earners.

I, for one, am appalled that this proposal was the best that our legislators could come up with, but that’s beside the point. This is a dead issue. Move along. As my father would say, “Stop flogging a dead horse.”

I look forward to reading hopefully more pertinent columns in the future.

John Bell

Need hands to fix roads? Look inside our prisons 

We all agree that Maine’s roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair. But the question has always been, where does the money come from? Do we really have to continue bleeding Maine’s limited budget in order to get our transportation infrastructure back to pristine condition?

The answer is, no, we don’t.

There is a way to have a motivated, capable and free labor force of young men and women who can accomplish enough road and bridge repair work in any given season that it would reduce costs by several millions.

I’m talking about Maine’s inmates.

This is not a new idea; prisoners have done road and bridge work for decades in this country, so why not here in Maine? We already give the option to OUI offenders. We say, “either serve your time in a jail cell or go paint a lighthouse” or some other task that would cost tax dollars.

I say, offer all Maine inmates the option of a slightly lighter sentence (or other options) if they agree to be trained and work on our road and bridge projects — under professional supervision, of course.

This is a win/win situation for everyone. Maine people would enjoy lots of smooth, pothole-free roads and rust-free bridges without busting the budget. The inmates who choose to be part of this plan would also benefit in ways desirable to them.

Kevin Kimball

Officials need training on disabled people’s rights 

What does it mean to be an American? We enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, civil liberties and constitutional rights, and other rights. To “be human” is important for all of us.

That necessarily includes the millions of Americans with disabilities and handicaps, including those who have challenges with speaking and writing, with language disabilities like dyslexia, or those who have survived a stroke, multiple sclerosis or other debilitating diseases. We Americans with disabilities are people, too!

There is a growing need for increased training for workers, officials, agencies and others about challenges affecting speech and communication.

I hope that the Congress and the president and others will consider looking into ways to improve training for all their workers, including those in courthouses as well as judges, lawyers, clerks, etc., governors’ workers and others from the U.S. Supreme Court to the lower courts.

That training is needed so that all of us Americans can receive our full rights as recognized in the U.S. Constitution. They come from what it is to be human. Please consider taking a lot of time to deal with people with disabilities because it is the law and a kind, caring thing to do.

This letter is not intended to hurt anybody’s feelings. Please help improve the world for people with disabilities, handicaps and health problems.

Elizabeth Smith