I have some questions for cell phone providers, the first one of which is, where did I go wrong?

Did I miss the on-ramp to the technology superhighway? Once upon a time, I could get a simple cell phone in order to stay in contact with folks when away from my home or office.

At a recent visit to my cell phone carrier, I observed a wall full of high-end devices called data phones, smart phones, PDAs and multimedia phones that did everything but cook breakfast. When I sheepishly asked about plain cell phones, I was directed to a small display in the corner with two lonely samples.

I have a computer at home and one on my desk at work; I don’t need another attached to my hip, nor am I so important that I need to check e-mails or have access to the Internet every waking moment.

I was not against owning a fancy phone with additional features, until I recently learned these phones require a data package that costs above and beyond your monthly contract.

Is it wrong to want a cell phone that simply makes and takes calls with an occasional text message thrown in? Am I too stingy or too old-fashioned?

Probably a little of both, I suspect, but I don’t believe I am alone. If this is the technological superhighway, direct me to the slow lane.

Can you hear me now?

Steven Edmondson

Topsham

Jolly John was an original and will be greatly missed

It was with nostalgia and mixed emotions that I heard of Jolly John Pulsifer’s retirement and the sale of his dealership on Saco’s Auto Mile.

Growing up on Route 1, I remember life before and after Jolly John. He entered the scene during the formation of the “Auto Mile.” Galos, Brown, Bedell and Atlantic were the players then. Motels, retail shops and vacant land gave way to more and more satellite dealership sites.

Before his tough years, it was Jolly John expanding along Route 1 in Saco, setting the course for its success today.

I feel I would be remiss if I failed to point this out to those who have forgotten or who were not in Maine during that time. His slogan is as much a part of my memory as the Oscar Meyer bologna song. We all know that “He’s not jolly unless you’re happy.”

All the best, Mr. Pulsifer!

Maria LaVopa DiMillo

Falmouth

Jolly John will surely be missed. I will always remember when the Ford Escort first came out, Jolly made it possible for anyone to own a brand new car with no money down and an affordable payment.

I believe he was a trend-setter, no matter how wacky his commercials were. Thanks, Jolly.

Jim Goff

Old Orchard Beach

Drug take-back programs increase public’s safety

The Drug Enforcement Administration is to be congratulated for organizing the national pharmaceutical “Take-Back” initiative scheduled for Sept. 25. Until now, a nationwide, coordinated effort to combat drug diversion and inappropriate disposal has been lacking.

This program brings attention to the prescription drug abuse epidemic, which often goes unnoticed. In addition, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and the 63 participating law enforcement agencies across the state should be commended for participating in the national program.

Across the nation, efforts have grown to address both diversion and the environmental impact of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical disposals.

Maine has several such initiatives, including a first-of-its-kind statewide mail-back program. Others include community “take-back” programs. There are at least three take-back efforts in Cumberland County, one of which is led by the Cumberland District Public Health Council.

The council has sponsored two household medication take-back events, most recently in June. Nearly 20,000 controlled prescription pills and more than four quarts of narcotic liquids were collected. The street value of these drugs was more than $300,000.

The impact prescription pharmaceuticals have on society is staggering. According to the Maine Attorney General’s Office, diversion of prescription drugs is the No. 1 cause of crime in the state, including at least six homicides in the past two years, and prescription drug overdose is a leading cause of death in Maine.

In addition, pharmaceutical waste is ending up in the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency has found pharmaceuticals in drinking water throughout the country. While the effects on human health remain unknown, research has shown possible negative effects on wildlife, such as disruption of reproductive cycles in fish.

Disposal programs reduce harm to society by promoting good public health, improving public safety, and ensuring environmental stewardship through coordination of services and leveraging of resources.

Julie Sullivan, MPH, MBA

City Public Health Director

Portland

Ogunquit recycles half its waste, not measly 11 percent 

According to the Maine State Planning Office, the town of Ogunquit recycled 59.5 percent of the material brought to the transfer station in 2009. In reference to the Aug. 30 story, “Sanford on top of recycling,” staff writer Beth Quimby and EcoMaine reference Ogunquit at a measly 10.9 percent. How can these numbers be so far apart?

In 2007, Ogunquit built a state-of-the-art transfer station that is the envy of many communities. The facility is set up specifically for recycling and reuse, and managing and reducing what enters the waste stream.

It is discouraging to read that all the efforts on behalf of our residents and businesses are met with a 10.9 percent recycling rate as determined by EcoMaine for their self-interest. It is unfair to all those who are trying to make a difference in our community.

John Fusco

Ogunquit

Compared to D-Day, court battle’s not much

In a column Aug. 6, M.D. Harmon claims that when certain justices leave the Supreme Court, “there will be a battle that will make the D-Day invasion look like a hard-fought game of Scrabble.”

That blew my mind. I guess he wasn’t there.

Walt Stephenson

Falmouth