Thank you for your recent article on Maine’s new Educare center, which should serve as a model for how Maine communities can provide the highest quality early care and education for our children (“New Educare center leads the way,” Sept. 6).

Such high-quality early learning programs are critically important to our future.

Not only do these programs help our children succeed in school and provide a boost for our state economy, but they also can play an important role in reducing future crime.

Two well-known long-term studies show us that at-risk kids who do not receive high-quality early education and care are far more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by the time they reach adulthood.

In addition, studies show that children who do not participate in these programs are less likely to graduate from high school on time and be employed.

The research is clear: Educare is not only a powerful tool for education. It also represents one of the best crime prevention tools we have.

Richard Rizzo
chief of police
Brunswick
 

I was pleased to read the Sept. 6 article about New England’s first Educare center. The Waterville facility sets a gold standard for the highest quality early education for Maine’s youngest citizens.

High quality early education is also good for Maine’s businesses and economy. A report from the national business leader organization, Americas Edge, found these investments provide a strong boost to local businesses — generating as much or more in sales of local goods and services as investments in construction, manufacturing, transportation or utilities.

In fact, almost $2 is generated from every $1 invested in high-quality early learning. These investments would also create new jobs and reduce the significant monetary losses to businesses from absenteeism caused be employees’ childcare problems.

These programs also benefit businesses in the long term. Children who participate in high-quality early learning programs are significantly more likely to enter school with the underlying skills needed to succeed in school and later in the workforce.

These programs have been proven to increase graduation rates and increase rates of employment by as much as 22 percent.

Educare will provide Maine with an amazing learning laboratory. It is my hope that the youngsters there will grow up to become Maine’s future community and business leaders.

I also hope that Maine’s next governor and legislators will pay close attention to the lessons we learn from Educare and work to ensure that such high-quality early education and care is made available to more Maine children all across our state.

Chris Emmons
president and CEO
Gorham Savings Bank
Gorham
 

How much noise do windmills make? That’s a good question 

In a letter dated Sept. 9 and addressed to the Department of Environmental Protection, the state’s consultant on wind turbine noise writes, “ there exists a significant body of consistent meteorological and sound data indicating sound levels greater than applicable limits. Substantial changes are recommended for Fox Island Wind’s nighttime operations, limiting sound levels to 45 (decibels).”

This was posted on FIW’s website in response: “A preliminary report released recently by a sound consultant engaged by MDEP has raised questions about measured nighttime sound levels around the project. An initial review of this report performed by (FIW) has revealed an apparent discrepancy between data analysis methodologies employed by the sound consultants. The discrepancy appears to be in the way that naturally occurring ambient noise around the site has been accounted for.

“(FIW) looks forward to engaging in further discussion with the Maine DEP on the appropriate interpretation of the recent data analysis and the degree to which existing ambient sound levels are taken into consideration.”

FIW has been in non-compliance with state regulations. The inhabitants living in the shadow of these turbines have been complaining about health and “quality of life” issues for months. They’ve been suffering — spending their own money, time and resources to try to find some relief and an advocate to address their concerns. But, vindicated by these findings, what response do they get?

An apologetic “We’re sorry! We’ll correct this immediately”?

Nope. Instead, FIW prevaricates. CEO George Baker even had the nerve to bring neighborhood controversy into play by telling the Bangor Daily News that turning down the turbines at night “might not sit well with some islanders who have benefited from a 15 percent to 20 percent reduction in their electricity costs since the turbines starting moving.”

So, let’s blame the victims. That sounds about right. FIW can be heard “loud and clear,” even over existing ambient sound levels.

Karen Bessey Pease
Lexington Township  

I don’t doubt that the Vinalhaven windmills are noisy, but I’d like to hear why some big turbines are, and some are not, that loud.

In 2003 I stopped about 400 yards from a line of windmills in West Virginia, and could hear them just barely, if I strained. Or maybe not.

Same thing in the mountains of Portugal in 2005. Recently I went to see the big operation north of Stratton and had lunch within 100 feet of one of the machines, right in the middle of a line of them.

You could hear gear noises and a gentle whoosh as the 160-foot blades went by, but it wasn’t nearly as loud as traffic on a moderately busy street. Just a little ways down the road you couldn’t hear them at all.

So what’s the story? It would be really interesting for all the communities debating the windmill question right now.

Mark Baldwin
Surry

Patriotism demands facing major national problems 

The once-great, once-beloved and once-respected United States of America is in deep trouble.

The way out of that trouble lies in patriotism, a state of mind in which intense focus is placed on the needs of the country as a whole. Patriotism requires sacrifice in the form of a reduced priority for our favorite causes, issues or pleasures.

No one doubts that abortion, gay rights, taking care of one’s family and funding our favorite charities are important issues. They are not national issues. Our huge expenditures to support our wars, our need to end dependency on oil, our need for an economy that gives all our people a chance for security and our pollution problems are national issues.

It is patriotic to focus on finding solutions to these problems first. It is patriotic to demand that we and our leaders work on immediate and direct actions to solve these problems.

In recent years, we have heard a call for patriotism and sacrifice only from military personnel and their families.

It is time for all of us to become patriots and sacrifice things that are personally important for us in order to achieve what is vital to our nation.

Hubert Kauffman, Ph.D.
chair, Maine Beyond War
Oxford
 

Kittery’s bridges have been ignored by state for too long 

I was encouraged to see that Maine’s congressional delegation has appealed to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to consider federal grant money to replace the crumbling Memorial and Sarah Mildred Long bridges providing important links between Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H.

Replacing both bridges would have been possible not that many years ago for far less money (most covered by the feds) had Maine not dropped the ball.

Too many of our elected state officials, Gov. Baldacci included, seem to have forgotten that Maine’s southern border extends beyond Kennebunk.

Just because our ZIP codes begin with “03” doesn’t mean our needs are less important!

George Kloda
Eliot