While regulatory hurdles have slowed the opening of Maine’s first medical marijuana dispensaries (“Pot stores slowed by glitches, resistance” Oct. 25), across the state grass-roots networks of caregivers have emerged to provide seriously ill patients with safe and reliable access to high quality medicine for reasonable prices.

Caregiver networks match each patient who comes to them with someone who can consistently supply them with good medicine.
Each individual caregiver provides medicine for between one and five patients, usually growing the marijuana themselves. Patients get to have a personal relationship with the people who grow their medicine, and the lack of administrative overhead means they can get their marijuana at a better price.

Caregivers are able to make a decent living while helping people in need. Since spring, medical marijuana caregiver networks have generated thousands of good jobs throughout Maine.

Recently, several caregiver networks have come together to form Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine (www.mmcmonline.org), a trade association that will advocate for the rights of patients and caregivers, put caregivers in touch with each other to share resources and information, and negotiate group discounts on supplies and equipment.

We look forward to finding more and better ways to help patients in need while continuing to grow this new sector of Maine’s economy.

Jonathan Leavitt

Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative

Sumner

Snow Squall an eatery well worth a visit

Four of us ate at the Snow Squall Restaurant in South Portland recently and had a totally positive dining experience. When the restaurant first opened, the newspaper gave it less than a raving review. Thankfully, we tried it for ourselves and found it to be everything we would want in a night out.

The dining area is tastefully decorated but unpretentious. The service was good, attentive but not hovering. The menu choices covered everything you could hope for, plus some pleasant surprises (shepherd’s pie). The desserts were eye-appealing and a taste bud’s treat.
We will return and hope that others try it for themselves. I can’t imagine anyone finding it less than a pleasant surprise.

Gina Crangle

South Portland

Solar power good deal only due to subsidies

You reported on Oct. 2 about a solar-electric system installed at Damariscotta Hardware. The photovoltaic panels will reportedly provide 70 percent of the store’s electricity.

The store’s annual power costs are $13,000, so the annual savings will be about $9,100. According to the article, the system was installed by a company called Maine Energy Performance Solutions, founded by Rich Simon.

According to Mr. Simon, the cost of the system was $347,300 but with tax credits and rebates, depreciation, and a federal grant, the net cost to Damariscotta Hardware was $77,000.

In other words, taxpayers have contributed $270,300 toward the construction of this system, a whopping 78 percent of the total construction cost. No wonder it was a good deal for Damariscotta Hardware!

Assuming the system has a life span of 30 to 40 years, an investment of $347,300 to realize an annual savings of $9,100 yields a return on investment of less than 1 percent. This does not include the cost of capital or maintenance costs.

This is an example of how massive government subsidies are used to make so-called “green” or “renewable” energy sources such as solar and wind look attractive.

The only people who benefit are the lucky few who are the recipients of these subsidies and the ones who build these systems. The rest of us just pay higher taxes and energy costs.

Wayne W. Duffett, P.E.

Portland

UNE’s efforts to inform and teach worth praising

A year ago, our knowledge of the University of New England was limited to a Dental Hygiene Program located in Portland and a beautiful campus in Biddeford that hosted a rest stop during a bike ride in support of Parkinson’s Disease.
Since that time we have learned that UNE is much more.

President Danielle Ripich defines UNE as a private university with a public mission. This is well exemplified by both the Bush distinguished lecture series and the Center for Global Humanities chaired by Anjour Majid. The Center promotes the study of humanities and its importance to democratic life.

In this endeavor it works closely with the local community to encourage reading, discussion, and debate.

This year’s series began with lectures by historians Gordon Wood and Dana Nelson and environmental historian William Cronan. On Nov. 29 Dr. Robert Allison will present a talk on Boston and New England culture and economy.

The lectures are preceded by a reception in the Art Gallery and followed by questions posed by students, faculty and the general public. Further information may be found at the Center For Global Humanities website UNE.edu/cgh.

During the recent election season, as we were subjected to politicians’ promises of how they are going to make Maine a better place to live, UNE under the direction of President Ripich and Provost Jacque Carter are doing just that.

Combining with the Center for Global Humainties are the schools of medicine, pharmacy and dentistry, and together they are contributing immensely to making living in Maine “the way life should be,” and we thank you for that.

Tom and Mary Patterson

Gorham

Cell phones and driving can yield tragic results

Driving a car is a privilege. Talking on or texting on a cell phone kills.

Deaths from using cell phones while driving leave the people left behind with a hole in their hearts that nothing can fill.

Sharon Bosquette

South Portland