Scott Wasser’s article (“Americans must really learn how to drive,” July 31) in the Wheels section should be re-run on the front page, on the editorial page, in the Sports section and the Local News section. Then copies should be distributed to every household with teenagers. OK — every household, period.

I don’t read this section normally, but I was drawn to the headline because I had spent some years living abroad and have spent some years driving cross-country twice a year, in all sorts of weather.

I was lucky enough to be raised on the East Coast, with all our glorious seasons, and learned early on about driving in snow and heavy rainstorms from my family.

What I wasn’t prepared for when I moved to Maine 20-plus years ago was the black ice; my husband had to teach me how to recognize it and deal with it. Amen to Mr. Wasser’s observation of our country’s “demolition derby” highways; I see that sort of bad driving and resultant damage way too often between here and Arizona.

So, bravo to you, Scott Wasser, not only for your article, but also for teaching your daughters how to drive, how to really drive.

P.S. When my brother assured my mother (many, many years ago) that he knew how to drive, she took him out in the country, parked the (manual shift) car halfway up a rather steep hill, turned the keys over to him and told him to proceed upwards after re-starting.

Naturally, he ended up backing all the way down the hill!

Cotheal Linnell

New Gloucester

LePage versus the media: Keep the growling down

This letter concerns the Telegram’s editorial on July 31 (“Governor discredited by his own anti-media tirade”). To use a metaphor, it seems like every old mad dog is a cherished pet until it bites its owners in the butt.

Most of the neighborhood thought that dog was a bad idea. A lot of things are getting torn up and folks bit. As it is with most owners of old mad dogs, it is only when their kid or friend’s child gets growled at or bit that they seem to take some notice.

Most of the time they only make excuses and say it is just being protective. This dog is a disaster! Even the store owner down the block is shaking his head.

I hope the newspaper can see that this behavior by the governor is ingrained and consistent. Please see that it is just not about any specific outlet, yours or “the media” in general.

All segments are being growled at and bit and usually it is the most vulnerable that get it worst.

If there is one thing that will prove to be a profound part of the downfall of this and our broader neighborhood is our inability for an acknowledgment of facts and wisdom gained through broad empathy for those across the tracks.

Hopefully this event will give the paper a bit more of just that.

Michael Shaughnessy

Portland

Thank you for your editorial regarding the governor’s anti-media tirade. The governor claims to have been abused as a youngster. I would think he would be more sensitive to other people’s feelings but instead he seems to bully the news media and people in general.

Rebecca Metzler was only doing her job as a reporter by challenging Le-Page for the facts regarding Norman Olsen who resigned as commissioner of Marine Resources.

I honestly think this governor should enroll in an anger management program and learn some good social skills. His actions have been an embarrassment to many of us in Maine and we deserve better.

Susan Kanellakis

Camden

Bill Nemitz’s column on July 31 (“Governor should let new hire do the talking”) may have been justified, in view of Gov. LePage’s comments here in Portland recently.

However, Bill and the governor need to tone down their disdain for each other, or in Gov. LePage’s words “all media but one,” and stick to the issues at hand.

Surely nothing gets a Mainer’s dander up more than a dispute between groundfishing and lobster-trapping!

It does seem as though former Commissioner Norman Olsen could be perceived as to have taken sides on that issue, and his job is to represent all Mainers. Godspeed to our fishing industry.

Peter Keniston

South Portland

Program to get students into the outdoors worth supporting

 

The wealth of Maine is its natural resources, yet we are finding at all levels of education, kindergarten through college, a discouraging lack of connection that students have with nature.

Many students never have ventured into the woods or the ocean, although these may exist within a mile of their home. Some students fear the outdoors. Pre-service teachers remark after an outing that seagulls are “scary.”

Today’s generation of children and future teachers are growing up indoors; their plugged-in lives are largely devoid of exploring the natural world.

How can the next generation care about the land and be stewards of our natural resources if they are not provided with opportunities to learn about the environment and natural resources in schools?

Recently three of us — one elementary teacher, one high school teacher and one pre-service teacher educator — spent a day visiting our senators’ and representatives’ offices telling our stories of the powerful impact of getting students and pre-service teachers outdoors.

Yet, there is a dearth of support to facilitate this happening. Project Learning Tree is one such program that has influenced 245 Maine educators, preschool through college, in 2010 alone and hence has touched thousands of students.

However, even this is at risk. We are thankful that our Maine delegation has been supportive of the bi-partisan bill No Child Left Inside in Congress.

No Child Left Inside will provide our teachers with resources and professional development tools they need to incorporate natural resource education in their classrooms.

We would like to thank our congressional delegation for their support. Our students need the opportunity to learn about our natural resources and come to value Maine’s outdoors — the very essence of what makes Maine, Maine.

Laurie Haines, Bowdoin

Susan Hillman, Biddeford

Elaine Philbrook, China

Unwise to trust Democrats to manage energy policies 

The Telegram recently carried a rather long-winded piece by Rep. Mark Dion (“Maine needs held with power prices,” Aug. 14) related to his work on a legislative committee involved with the energy markets in Maine.

After many paragraphs of saying little of substance, and taking a few jabs at the governor, he (a Democrat) concluded by pointing out that the “Democrats” are “committed” to Maine’s energy future.

The Democrats’ commitment on this subject should scare just about anybody who uses energy in Maine.

The Democrats were in control in Maine for many, many years and I assume they were equally dedicated to improving public school performance, creating jobs, and avoiding reckless spending.

Unfortunately their “commitment” resulted in a decaying educational systems, dismal employment growth, unsustainable government budgets, and of course some of the highest electric rates in the nation.

With Mark and the Democrats now “committed” to working on energy issues, I guess we better plan for a doubling of our electric bills.

I know the Democrats are also “committed” to clean air, so I do hope they at least include some pollution equipment to cut down on the smoke that they are blowing at taxpayers.

Dennis T. Caron

Cumberland Center