If a little girl was tortured and murdered in Maine today, would the state’s response be very different from that which followed the 1988 murder of Sarah Cherry?

Would an incomplete autopsy be performed and time-of-death evidence ignored? Would fingerprints and a blood sample be lost? Would the state block DNA testing?

Would untested biological evidence be incinerated without the court or the defense being notified? Would exculpatory evidence regarding a targeted suspect be ignored, while other suspects were given a pass?

Would the state block the findings of its own psychologist from being heard by the jury? Would police give testimony which contradicted their notes, and would those notes then be withheld?

Would the state’s case rest on circumstantial evidence and false testimony? Would the case files be sealed? And would the defendant be convicted by irresponsible media reporting even before the jury did?

Were such a case to be handled so outrageously today, would influential Mainers of good conscience loudly protest? Or would they remain as silent as they are now as the state once again opposes a retrial for Dennis Dechaine, the victim of the procedural abuses listed above — and more?

William Bunting


How to get Spruance out? BIW might try ‘camel’ ride 

Your article from May 22 by Beth Quimby about concern raised over dredging the Kennebec River this summer to release the Spruance from the Bath Iron Works suggests a practice from past centuries common to many harbors.

When a ship drew too much water to pass over the bar in front of many estuaries, she would be floated across with the assistance of a “camel” used to raise the hull of a vessel temporarily to allow it to pass into deeper water.

Such a camel consisted of two flotation chambers of shallow draft — think of them as very big barrels — one on each side of a ship, usually with cables passed under the vessel, like a sling. Such a camel, partially flooded in each chamber, would first be positioned and lashed alongside, with the ship slung between the two chambers.

The chambers of the camel would then be pumped out, raising all three hulls enough to float the seagoing ship over shoal water, even when fully laden, all three vessels temporarily connected as one.

In ports with shoal entrances, these camels were as common as tugboats are today, being quite sophisticated vessels equipped with lifting gear, their single purpose being to convey maritime trade over the terminal sections of its voyage.

For the Spruance, perhaps an ordinary barge, one made fast to each side, properly rigged with fenders and straps passing between them and under the Spruance, would provide enough flotation. This flotilla would be maneuvered by tug boats to the ocean.

I do not know if the channel in the Kennebec is consistently wide enough to accommodate such a rig, but if proved feasible, it might solve the problem, even just temporarily, with acceptable cost.

George B. Terrien



Eastern Trail will be great, except for lack of parking 

I am really looking forward to the completion of the new Eastern Trail from just off Route 111 in Biddeford to Alewife Road in West Kennebunk — all that’s left is the bridge over the turnpike.

I do run the completed section often, but was dismayed to find that new signs at the Mountain Road and Limerick Road intersections are closed to auto parking, raising the question, where do people who are either walking, running, on horseback, biking, etc., access the trail other than the two ends?

This parking ban is a real inconvenience and an unnecessary limit to good trail usage.

There is room to park — there always has been — and I do not feel it would inconvenience the homes nearby.

Capt. John “Rusty” Lamade, USN, Ret.


What would Obama do if he really wanted to help? 

“President to boost U.S. oil production,” was the headline, but it is as false as they come. If President Obama really wanted to help the United States overcome the woes of the economy, he would have:

1) Told the Federal Reserve to stop printing money for all the false help by the way of bailouts that he himself and Bush wanted.

2) Never stopped drilling in the Gulf area.

3) Told the EPA to hold all new rules and roll back a few to get new modern oil refineries on line as quickly as possible. The ones we have are now operating at 95 percent capacity. If anything happens, the price will triple.

4) Put a hold on the health care law that actually drove up prices for the American people.

5) Hired experienced people with a record of success for his Cabinet, instead of free-thinkers with no real experience (yes there are a few like Hillary Clinton who has experience — but no success)

6) Disbanded Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for causing this mess and come out against former Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank for their failure in oversight.

7) Most importantly, he would have told the American people that he would have the banks go back to the 10 percent to 30 percent standard for downpayment and old standards of showing income. Owning a house is not a right but a dream to strive for. A person making $42,000 a year cannot afford a house worth $300,000, but maybe a $150,000 house.

But instead he goes with laws and standards that are destroying America’s future faster than before.

Leroy Little


There are many ways to help single parents 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey’s May 19 article states: “A candlelight vigil held Tuesday night in front of the South Berwick town office drew a crowd estimated at 400 people.”

This vigil was held to honor Camden Hughes, whose mother allegedly took his young life.

Vigils send a powerful message that our world cares about the loss of an innocent child. Unfortunately, one or two nights of gathering, especially if that gathering may include a segment of curiosity seekers, is not powerful enough.

It is my hope that a significant portion of the crowd of 400 remember this young boy in even more active ways — ways that might prevent another tragedy like this from happening.

In honor of Camden, consider being a mentor by volunteering in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, a Scout troop, a church youth group, the Boys and Girls club or the YMCA. Volunteer to read to the children living at a women’s crisis center so the mother can attend self-help meetings. Consider giving a single parent a break by watching a child for a few hours a week, or running an errand for the parent while you do your errands.

As a decades-long volunteer in various child advocacy groups, my life has been blessed by the children in those groups. I am also very grateful to my children’s volunteer leaders in church, Scouts and sports.

The vigils that you attend can continue on through these simple acts of kindness. And by supporting the adult struggling to parent alone, you may just save a life.

Lucy Hardy