From humble beginnings eight decades ago, the nonprofit Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor has grown into a worldwide research enterprise devoted to discovering the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human disease. The laboratory today has a $200 million budget and is one of Maine’s largest employers, providing more than 1,200 jobs in the state.

Often, states hoping to attract science and technology jobs inquire whether Jackson would consider expanding beyond Maine. One such inquiry came from Collier County, Fla., in 2009. Both the county and state governments were willing to consider investing in a proposed “biomedical village” development.

A Jackson facility co-located with academic, pre-clinical and clinical institutions would enhance the laboratory’s ability to bring genetic research discoveries to medical practice. In the ensuing two years Jackson pursued possibilities in several Florida locations and discussed options with potential partners.

However, as the economy declined, the state was ultimately unable to muster the required investment. So the Laboratory withdrew its request for start-up funding this May.

Our exploration of the opportunities in Florida caused some anxiety here in Maine. Public officials, news media and private citizens asked what a Jackson Laboratory expansion in Florida would mean for Maine’s economy. Throughout the process we repeatedly stated that our Maine campus would continue to grow in step with our long-term strategic plan.

In the last five years we’ve completed several new buildings and made major additions and renovations to existing space. We’ve acquired sophisticated new equipment and recruited a number of brilliant new researchers to our campus. By the end of this year, we’ll have added 240 new jobs in a 20-month period.

We’ll continue to explore strategic opportunities to meet our mission, but Bar Harbor will remain our headquarters and our primary research and mouse-production facility. We’re Mainers; we plan to grow here and provide even more great jobs for Maine people.

Charles E. Hewett, Ph.D.,

Executive vice president, The Jackson Laboratory

Bar Harbor, Maine

Unmanned space exploration valuable

Your editorial in the June 12 Telegram regarding the future of space travel was right on. The moon landing in 1969 was important and worthwhile. It gave this country a real sense of accomplishment and pride.

Since that time the unmanned vehicles sent out to explore and study, like the Hubble Space Telescope, have brought wonderful information and ideas about the origins of the universe.

The manned missions have been of little value, however. The Space Lab has not been worth the money we have spent on it. In the media we keep hearing about the shuttle going into “outer space.”

Well, they do not go into outer space. They very much are limited to inner space. Outer space is beyond the solar system, thousands of light years away. Repetitive orbits around Earth are of little value.

Actually, Hubble has yielded far more than all the space shuttle missions put together. And the later telescope missions will do far more to explain our beginnings. So I hope our NASA people will work on what will yield the most for the least treasure.

The envelope required to sustain humans in orbit or traveling farther takes enormous amounts of money to support and they are nowhere near worth it. I hope our leaders from Maine and elsewhere will support real science using real vehicles unmanned and destined to reveal what lies beyond and where we began.

Science and our people will benefit enormously from the knowledge and practical technologies that will emerge from the earthbound devices and unmanned space vehicles.

Dick Brooks


Rural Maine high schools have much to offer Chinese

I first read about what the writer for the Chinese paper, Global Times, said about the quality of education Chinese students could expect from attending high school in Millinocket. I sent an e-mail to my son who is a professor at a Chinese university near Hong Kong, suggesting that it would be “interesting reading” for him. He knows of the writer, and sent this response which will tickle your funny bone.

I feel sorry for the writer who has no appreciation for what the people down in Millinocket are offering to some Chinese students. Not only will they receive an excellent education, but also, they will get an introduction to very good people, life in a beautiful area of Maine, and the local people will be introduced to some very fine Chinese people.

American isolation went by the wayside years ago. Now that so much commerce goes on between these two countries, it is imperative that people from dissimilar areas, and political philosophies get to know and understand each other on a first hand basis.

The “Millinocket Experiment” can only have positive outcomes. It will be one small step to close the gap between two opposing political philosophies, a needed effort now that there is an abundance of activities going on among the world’s people. More efforts like it are needed.

Dana Allison

Castle Hill

Seaweed harvest can be done sustainably

I read with interest your June 12 article regarding the rockweed harvest on the coast of Maine (“Rockweed harvest concerns will likely surface Down East”).

Rockweed has been harvested on our shores for well over 200 years (cows were once set out to graze in the rockweed beds). Although there are documented instances of abuse of the resource, you will not find evidence of that in the state of Maine.

Seventeen years ago, those of us interested in the seaweed resources banded together to assure that the marine algae and their various habitats were properly managed. Some of us were harvesters, some processors, some world-class researchers, and some regulators. Many of these men and women have a relationship to their harvest areas spanning over 30 years. In the late fall of 1994, the Maine Seaweed Council adopted this mission statement:

“We strive to protect and promote the sustainable use of macroalgae harvested from and grown in the coastal waters of the State of Maine; to develop and maintain a united voice to address regulatory, legislative and public concerns affecting the seaweed industry; and to promote a spirit of cooperation among the membership.”

This spirit of cooperation allowed the council to lead the way in developing appropriate harvest and management practices. This began years before the state, using many of the council’s recommendations, developed formal regulations to protect the seaweeds and sea vegetables.

I urge all interested parties to visit to learn more about the Maine seaweed and sea vegetable industry and its dedication to the health of this valuable and sustainable resource.

Andy Bertocci

Founding president, Maine Seaweed Council


Kennebec Tavern did not deserve bad review 

I simply cannot understand how Nancy Heiser could give Kennebec Tavern such a low rating in her May 22 review. My husband and I have been dining there for years. The service has always been terrific and the meals outstanding.

Hopefully, the readers will not take this review seriously. Kennebec Tavern deserves at least a four star rating.

Susan White