Fireworks: They were everywhere recently, but really, they pale in comparison to the stars and what goes on with them.

Fireworks on the Fourth are a thing of beauty and meaning. We do love the United States, and our traditions are important.

But I think fireworks also trigger PTSD reactions in many war veterans and accident victims. Fireworks are, after all, basically gunpowder or other explosives.

Lots of smoke from those materials, in so many towns and cities, drifted away in the dark. Those molecules fell nearby or blew elsewhere to fall.

Birds, babies and almost all other critters are terrified by the explosions. Then there’s the enormous expense to towns, and the potential for fires, burns and loss of hands or lives.

If we love America, I think the time has come to try to evolve beyond fireworks. Let’s continue to gather to be glad our nation was created.

Let’s join together next Fourth and be grateful and neighborly, but not to explode stuff. Watch the fireworks on TV from the celebration in Washington.

The planet is bleeding. This past Fourth, it felt as if the fireworks were a continuing assault.

Sally K. Sulloway


Safe Chemicals Act will make many products safer


I am writing to encourage Sen. Susan Collins to support and strengthen the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2010,” sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. This bill will reform the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA.

TSCA is extremely outdated, having undergone no revisions since its enactment in 1976. In addition, TSCA currently does not require manufacturers or government agencies to prove the safety of new chemicals being introduced onto the market.

These major gaps in regulation mean that many of the personal care products we use every day contain harmful chemicals such as lead, phthalates, toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate, all chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive challenges and birth defects.

Many of these have already been banned in the European Union due to their devastating health effects on young women and children. This year we have an opportunity to change this outdated chemical policy with the Safe Chemicals Act.

As a young woman, I deserve to be assured that the personal care products I use are safe and are not negatively impacting my ability to have children in the future or to live a healthy life. reforming TSCA and holding manufacturers strictly accountable for the products they produce, as well as giving the Environmental Protection Agency the power to regulate these substances, we can make our state and our country a healthier place.

Bess Beller-Levesque


Police shot vet at Togus, a tragic and ironic act


Isn’t this like all the rest of the shootings (“Gunman killed near Togus,” July 9) that have happened in the United States?

Whose side is the attorney general on? I would like to know how many police shootings have taken place in the nation and how many police officers have been convicted of wrongly doing these shootings?

It seems like to me it’s kind of like letting the fox guard the chickens, isn’t it? It’s sad when you bring our heroes home from war to be targets for our “protectors.” What a joke!

Larry Gammon


Wind power destructive, but so is Hydro-Quebec


I want to express my support for Penny Gray of Freeport’s letter in the July 10 Press Herald comparing wind power unfavorably to hydro, with one notable exception.

Hydro-Quebec power is generated by mega-dam projects in the James Bay and Hudson Bay areas of northern Quebec. These huge projects have flooded an area the size of Connecticut, doing immense damage to the hunting and trapping grounds of the Cree, Inuit and Innu native peoples of the area.

Flooding huge areas not only deprives the First Nations’ peoples of their traditional livelihoods, it also contributes to the contamination of the food supply by methyl mercury, thereby further endangering the people through poisoning the fish, which is the staple of their diet.

The people of New York state were originally victimized by huge contracts with Hydro-Quebec until Gov. Mario Cuomo canceled its contracts with Consolidated Edison and Long Island Light & Electric, due to conscientious pressure from some shareholders who were Catholic nuns.

The people of Vermont learned that Hydro-Quebec power is not cheap, because activists in that state were unsuccessful in getting the Hydro-Quebec contracts with Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Power canceled for years and years.

I deplore the threat of mountaintop removal by industrial wind farms, which will destroy the beauty of Maine’s mountains, but I urge that we not look to Hydro-Quebec electricity as an alternative.

Years ago, I saw anti-nuclear power activists also looking to Hydro-Quebec as an alternative. It is not an acceptable alternative. It destroys the environment and violates human rights.

The Cree, Inuit and Innu Indians who have had permanent damage to their central nervous systems from eating mercury-contaminated fish and beaver are living testimony to the destructive consequences of power generated by Hydro-Quebec.

Wells R. Staley-Mays


Mitchell has experience to lead Maine to the future


The election of Libby Mitchell as governor will significantly benefit Maine. In her many years of public service, she has proven to be an effective leader. Her efforts have increased opportunity for Maine people by creating jobs, expanding access to health care, improving the quality of our education system and moving us toward energy sustainability.

Readers should visit her website ( to review her substantial accomplishments, her views on the issues and her plans for the success of Maine.

These are parlous times. It is not helpful, as some recent letter writers have done, to make simplistic assertions, unsupported by facts, as to the role of government and the role of government leaders.

We need to be working to bring our economy and society into harmony and progress. Libby Mitchell has shown that she will lead the way.

Allen Evans