My thanks to The Portland Press Herald’s editorial writers who, on Sept. 10, in “Peaks should not get village status,” reminded readers that just some, not all, members of the Peaks Island community are so dissatisfied with being a Portland neighborhood that they want the city to help them form a village.

I would like to point out that some Peaks Islanders are proud to be part of the city of Portland.

We understand the concept of sharing municipal revenues, and accept that we can’t always get everything we want, especially in these difficult economic times.

Some in the Peaks community are disappointed by the recent mass resignations of the members of our Peaks Island Council, and we don’t understand how they could now be asking for even greater governing responsibilities.

In his rationale for resignation, Chairman Mike Richards stated, “I regret only that we could not provide the change we needed to sustain our community.”

Some of us Peaks Islanders, perhaps most, think our island neighborhood is healthy and self-sustaining now. In addition to valued city services, many local non-profit organizations are working hard to raise funds to meet needs such as tax relief, heating assistance, health care, affordable housing, etc.

With or without an Island Council, we will continue to find ways to cooperate with each other and with the city of Portland.

Some Peaks Islanders see no need to form a village.

Kay Taylor
Peaks Island

 

It’s far too early to say if herbal chemo remedy works

 

I am responding to the article in the Aug. 19 Portland Press Herald headlined, “Ancient herbal recipe helps ease chemo effects.”

I believe the title of this article is misleading and may give some patients false hope.

It is not until halfway through the article that it notes that the study was conducted on mice, not humans. Mice are not humans and results in humans may (or may not) be different.

Human trials are necessary to show that the “ancient herbal recipe” does truly ease the chemotherapy side effects. And that is now being done.

Yale University is sponsoring a safety/efficacy study of people with metastatic or unresectable colorectal cancers. This study is to determine the maximum tolerated dose of the herbal recipe and overall survival; it started in December 2008, will enroll 54 patients and will end this December.

If the results are favorable, then probably a larger double-blind study may begin and after that hopefully the headline in your paper noted above may be appropriate.

Lawrence M. Leonard, M.D.
Falmouth

 

Inmates doing outside jobs compete with laid-off workers

 

It was somewhat unsettling to read the article “Serving time, and community,” about prisoners working at the behest of their institutions.

I do not agree that this is a free service, nor do I feel it is a good deal for anyone.

Not only are we paying to train, house, feed, medicate and otherwise provide for the day-to-day needs of the prison population, there is also the impact that the prison industries have on the rest of the state’s economy.

Presently, we are recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. Thousands and thousands of jobs have been lost, especially in the manufacturing sector.

Included in that sector are very talented, experienced and honest law-abiding citizens in the woodworking industries, the very same industries competing for the work being performed by these prisoners.

I wonder how the workers who have lost their jobs feel about having to compete against a work force that is not being paid anywhere near minimum wage, much less a wage that is competitive with what these workers previously received.

And what about the owners of the millwork and similar businesses who have seen their businesses fail or suffer during these hard times?

How does it make sense for someone to work hard, pay their taxes, and obey the laws only to lose their job or their business to someone who chose not to do any of these things?

Yes, educating prisoners is important. Yes, it is important to turn them into productive members of society.

Yes, it is important to make sure they can function in society once they are released from prison.

But is it necessary to punish honest, law-abiding citizens in the meantime?

Bob Burleigh
industrial representative, New England Regional Council of Carpenters
Kennebunk

Criticism of Israel omitted several important facts

 

I noticed in Marjorie Gallace’s most recent anti-Israel diatribe on Aug. 19 that she talks about the unfortunate and violent history between Lebanon and Israel.

What I find amazing is that her letter failed to mention some of the recent history. One item would concern Lt. Col. David Harari of the Israeli Defense Forces.

He was the 45-year-old soldier who was pruning a tree on the Israeli side of the border when he was killed by a sniper from the Lebanese Army.

U.N. forces in the border area confirmed that the Israeli soldiers were on the Israeli side of the Israeli-Lebanese Blue Line border when Lebanese troops opened fire, that Israel had informed Lebanon of the border work beforehand through the U.N. forces, and that the Lebanese Army had no reason to fire on Israeli soldiers.

Second would be U.N. Resolution 1701, the one that was established after the 2006 Israeli/Lebanon conflict. It calls for Hezbollah, the de facto Iranian Army of Lebanon, to pull back north of the Litani River.

Not only has that not happened, but recent reports say Hezbollah has replenished its rocket supply to more than 10,000, a larger arsenal than most countries maintain. They have 10,000 rockets all aimed at the civilian population of northern Israel, but hey, why let facts get in the way?

I trust that Ms. Gallace, who I noticed lives in Camden, reads the Press Herald on a daily basis so that she can be reminded of the most recent history between Israel and Lebanon.

Mickey Haas
Portland