When I read a couple of weeks ago that Maine is the most oil-dependent state in the nation when it comes to heating, I was saddened, but not surprised.

Heating a house in any manner is expensive and, unfortunately, the only way that people will move to other energy sources is if it makes economic sense.

Legislators need to make alternative energy more cost-effective. Until they do that, nothing substantive will change. I care about the environment, I want to have children that are able to grow up in a world that is not completely destroyed by my generation and the ones that have come before me.

On the other side of that coin, I am a broke 23-year-old, renting a house on an island for the winter.

My heating options are limited, it is cold outside and as much as I care about making a change, the truth is that change won’t happen until it is one I can afford to make.

Eliza Lockhart-Jenks

Peaks Island

How will not filling state’s long-empty jobs hurt others?

I read with interest the recent article by State House correspondent Susan Cover detailing the administration’s proposal to eliminate 250 vacant state positions.

In that article, Maine State Employees Association spokesman Tom Farkas expressed concern that such action would result in an increased workload for existing state employees.

I find it difficult to understand how the elimination of positions that have been vacant for one or two years can possibly create an increased workload for current employees.

If there has been no one in these positions and, therefore, no one performing any tasks that would have to be assumed by a current employee, I find it disingenuous at best to imply that eliminating a nonexistent employee will have any impact on current employees.

Gary Reed

Falmouth

Why did Sen. Collins switch on act to aid immigrants?

On a recent opinion page, Sen. Susan Collins’ aide, Kevin Kelley, suggested there was not enough time to debate the DREAM Act providing a path to college and citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants in the lame-duck session.

He alleged that there were “many controversial aspects” to the bill, citing “the cut-off age for its application and the fact that an individual could be convicted of three misdemeanors and still qualify.”

I would like to set the record straight. The DREAM Act was originally introduced in August 2001. Sen. Collins was one of its sponsors. The Senate has had nine years to mull over its provisions.

The reason the reintroduced bill under consideration this fall allowed a cut-off age of 30 for its applicants is because the Senate failed to pass the measure for almost a decade.

Obviously those in real need of the DREAM Act have aged in the meantime. What is “controversial” about aging? Should we exclude the very people whom the law was designed to assist?

We are talking here about highly motivated, fully assimilated young people with tremendous potential and a desire to get a solid education or serve the only country most have really known in its military.

Regarding the “three misdemeanors” charge, in actuality the bill states that a person with three misdemeanors is ineligible under DREAM.

That provision is more stringent than already existing rules under The Immigration and Nationality Act, which also would apply, and effectively sets a higher bar for DREAM Act applicants than for all other immigrants.

I am left confused as to why Sen. Collins did not support the DREAM Act. I hope that soon this reasonable attempt to repair a small portion of our broken immigration system gets a full hearing and a favorable vote from our Maine senators.

Sam Saltonstall

Board member

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project

Peaks Island

Cold, wet weather means pets need extra care outside

Here we are in the dead of winter, and we at Maine Friends of Animals want to make sure that people take the proper precautions to ensure their dogs are safe and warm.

Dogs should be kept indoors during cold and wet weather whenever possible. If your pooch needs a potty break while you’re at work, see if a friend or neighbor can come by, or consider installing a dog door. Provide extra food as dogs burn more calories in the cold. Clean off their paws when they come in.

If you must keep your dog outdoors for an extended period of time, provide a sturdy doghouse. Use straw bedding, as anything else will get wet and freeze. Have an off-center door with a flap to keep the wind out. Face the doghouse to the south and elevate it off the ground. Make sure food and water are available at all times and ensure the water is not frozen.

Let’s do all we can to ensure our four-legged friends are comfortable this winter! Thanks.

Don Kimball

Coordinator, Maine Friends of Animals

South Portland

Storms and floods result of polar ice caps melting

Global warming isn’t a theory, it’s here.

Question: Why are there such devastating storms and floods recently?

Answer: The north and south polar ice caps are diminishing as the ice melts. Thousands of square miles of ocean surface are newly open water. The new surface water evaporates.

That means the atmosphere has a much higher water content. When there is precipitation a lot more water is available to come as snow or rain. It does come. We have worse storms and bigger floods. They are facts!

If the ice caps continue to diminish, we can only expect more storms and more flooding.

Charles Brown

Bath