So Augusta is debating to allow folk from The County to drive 75 mph to Old Town instead of 65. Some are complaining that we will be eating up more gas and crippling the world economy. So I thought I would take my lunch break to look at those numbers.

I used the two most common cars from Edmunds.com — the Ford Explorer (25 mpg on the highway) and the Hyundai Sonata (35 highway mpg).

I assumed that people currently drive 70 and would drive 80 instead.

The site mpgforspeed.com states that 55 is optimum for mileage and 70 is 17 percent less efficient, while 80 is 28 percent less efficient.

Finally, it is 119 miles from Houlton to Old Town, and I assumed the price of gas to be $4 per gallon.

Therefore, we would get to our destination in 89 minutes instead of 102, saving 13 minutes of our life.

The Ford Explorer would use $22.94 going 70 and $26.44 going 80, or $3.50 more.

The Hyundai Sonata would use $16.39 going 70 and $18.88 going 80, or $2.49 more.

Thus, I conclude that if a Ford Explorer owner feels his free time is worth $3.50 for 13 minutes or $16.17 per hour, then it’s worth it. Or for the Hyundai, if $2.49 per 13 minutes or $11.49 per hour is good, then go for it!

For me, my time, as you can see, is priceless. I say go for Germany’s Autobahn policy: No limit whatsoever.

Brad Wolverton

Presque Isle

Abolishing LURC would do North Woods no good at all

The North Woods are currently under fire by Gov. LePage’s administration, and few people know about it. As a Mainer, a hiker and a resident, I am disappointed at the little coverage this issue has received.

If it passed, LD 1534, “An Act to Reform the Land Use and Planning Authority in the Unorganized Territories,” could abolish the Land Use Regulation Commission, currently protecting the North Woods from rampant and reckless development.

LURC preserves Maine’s North Woods, and although critics are quick to point out its flaws, it has long served and proven itself time and again.

Southern Maine families do have a stake in this: hiking, canoeing, fishing, camping and our general tourism industry could all be threatened in the name of big business. The more public support we can build, the better our chances of stopping the abolition of LURC, and therefore the destruction of the North Woods.

This can only come if people learn about these issues. Groups like Environment Maine have been working to educate Mainers, but more efforts need to come, especially from the media. Maine is and always will be Vacationland. Destroying the North Woods will take that away from us.

Laura Suarez

Scarborough

Public radio classical show plays favorites — literally 

Suzanne Nance’s Maine Public Radio morning classical show may have much to recommend it (May 8), but contrary to your story’s suggestion, Ms. Nance has declared almost all modern classical music verboten on her program. This is an unfortunate loss to Maine’s radio listeners.

You may hear occasional tidbits from Rachmaninoff, Copland, or “cross-over”‘ artists such as Mark O’Connor, but Shostakovich, Bartok, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Hindemith, Prokofiev, Ravel, Bloch, Ives, and dozens of others — the major part of the vital, vibrant classical music of our time — are absent.

This is backward-looking, timid and small-minded programming.

It is poignant and ironic that an accessible, expressive composer such as Shostakovich — who struggled his entire professional life under the thumb of Soviet cultural commissars, and who has so much to say about the 20th century and our society — is still “banned” today by our public radio equivalents.

The contrast with “From The Top,” on MPR Monday evenings, is striking: young musicians from around the country (including Maine) play lively classical music each week with verve and enthusiasm, always including a healthy dose of interesting and exciting modern pieces.

You will not hear these newer works on Ms. Nance’s program, and by making classical music unnecessarily bland, safe and predictable — and old — she is doing it, and us, no favors.

Jon Luoma

Alna

Keeping marijuana illegal offers boost to crime cartels 

This isn’t a comparison on the effects of alcohol versus weed and whether pot being illegal is constitutional.

This isn’t about the numerous financial benefits to the state, the entrepreneur and the employee through weed’s taxation, tourism, regulation and indirect business associations.

Nor is this on marijuana’s arguable health benefits and the hypocrisy of pharmaceutical companies making billions with prescription drugs to which the true long-term effects aren’t known.

This is about putting aside personal feelings on a plant in order to stymie human trafficking, child pornography, child prostitution and murder.

Legal marijuana is a cash crop for the state and the entrepreneur, while illegal it’s a cash crop for the “bad guys,” most notably the fluid and dangerous drug cartels.

Like the mob during prohibition, cartels reap benefits on a substance being illegal while they deal in more heinous and egregious activities than drug distribution.

Child pornography, murder and child prostitution are also calling cards of the cartels. Legalizing pot takes money from the cartels, creates money for the state and reallocates police to more serious problems.

This isn’t drama, theatrics or a convolution of the facts. The very real truth is, evil is in this world and idle hands are part of the problem.

Please, ponder the pot question and weigh its morality. It is wrong to buck our responsibility on the excuse of it being illegal. Properly regulated legal marijuana makes the world a better place, plain and simple.

Brendan Dagan

Bangor

Highland Wind a challege to ‘environmental’ groups

I suspect that in the future some ambitious person will write a history of industrial wind power in Maine and in that book will be a chapter on the Highland Wind project in Highland Plantation.

The cast of characters, the plot and the long winding road to resolution will make for an interesting read.

Angus King, past Maine governor, and Robert Gardiner, former director of the state’s Bureau of Public Lands — now turned wind developers — versus the critters on the mountaintops that block their access to tens of millions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury for their project.

Then there is the owner of the land for the proposed project — Yale University — that works in the background behind a front organization known as Bayroot, LLC. Until recently Yale was only known as the “Client” and was represented by their land manager. Its School of Forestry and Environmental Studies offers such courses as Environmental Ethics and Wildlife Ecology.

Although not in the thick of battle, but still having influence on wind development, are the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the same conservation organization that is against sprawl in the valleys but for it on mountaintops, and Maine Audubon, whose best defense of mountaintop wind is that house cats kill more birds than wind turbines.

The final outcome of the project could be written today if Mr. King would admit that based upon science the Highland Mountains are not appropriate for wind development.

Will NRCM and Audubon take a stand against this project and perhaps nudge Mr. King to call it a day or will NRCM continue their “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” wind development philosophy and say the demise of wildlife habitat, migratory birds and raptors is the price that must be paid for saving the Earth from climate change?

Likewise, will Yale University stand up for its professed concern for the environment and pull the plug?

Norman Kalloch

Carrying Place Town Twp.