So, “there would be thousands of jobs in Maine right now if workers had the right skills”?

And the solution is “the optional fifth year of high school”? I can’t wait to go back to high school for my optional fifth year and the new chance at employment that should result.

Of course, at age 61, I will need to adjust a little in order to fit in with the other students. “21,000 job postings” and “24,000 Mainers collecting unemployment”? I’ll probably have a lot of company on campus.

But wait, what about “public and private employers providing training opportunities for current members of the work force to update their skills”? Gee, I wonder how many of the “21,000 job postings” offer that? I bet we can all guess.

The mentality that allows anyone to suggest that it is the unemployed worker’s lack of “the right skills” that is the problem in Maine or anywhere else in our once-great nation is the very same mentality that has determined that poverty and homelessness are the result of poor decisions, lack of planning and generally a failure to take advantage of the many opportunities that must surely exist somewhere.

After all, there would be no unemployment if those people who are unemployed would just get a job, no poverty if the poor would just work harder and save more money, no homelessness if the homeless would just get a job, work harder, save more money and rent or buy a home! Simple enough, isn’t it?

Oh, never mind all that. Let’s focus on the next wave of the thousands yet to be unemployed: the high school graduates ever hopeful, and, thanks to an enlightened Legislature, now able to begin full-time work while still in school at wages reminiscent of our economic competitors, China or India.

William Hobbs

Falmouth

Thanks to Gov. LePage and those who chose to work with him, the jobs are in Maine.

The buyer of the Millinocket mill will be hiring upwards of 500 people. Also, these will be working people from the state of Maine. Who said the governor does not support labor? Gov. LePage has always supported the working men and women in Maine.

Afilliated Computer Services in Lewiston is adding 200 jobs. Molnlycke Health Care in Brunswick is adding 100 jobs. Idexx Labs in Westbrook will be adding 500 jobs.

How about we all get behind the governor and help him get more jobs in Maine?

Forget about the politics and think about the men and women in Maine who still need a job. People need jobs so they can support themselves and their families. They do not need more state-run or federal-run programs.

Being on unemployment for life is not the answer.

Donald Kelley

Wiscasset

Unlike the murals that once graced the walls of the Department of Labor, the “Open for Business” sign has been reinstated to its place of honor in Maine’s “front window,” the southern entrance to the Maine Turnpike, paid for by the construction industry’s “Friends of LePage.”

Presumably this advertisement to the world indicating our state’s assets are for sale will entice scores of additional businesses to relocate to Maine bringing with them thousands of new jobs and prosperity for all of us.

The rationale for removing the murals was that they were unfriendly to business, another ploy to attract more jobs and much needed revenue.

In the real world, the end result of all this chicanery will be to fill the pockets of management with more tax-free dollars, while a few taxable dollars may possibly trickle down to the pockets of blue- and white-collar workers.

As in the fairy tales we read as children, we are assured by Gov. Le-Page that because of his indefensible decisions, we will all live happily ever after.

Phyllis Kamin

Cumberland

Gun control plans doomed by ease of illegal purchase

In response to Karen D’Andrea’s recent letter that “Easy access to guns (is) a public safety issue”: She started by saying, “Let’s be clear and factual.”

It is my opinion that this was the only portion of the letter that was! She uses the term “extremist” in a very derogatory manner, states no facts and only expresses her opinion.

I am a law-abiding citizen who owns and enjoys firearms; they are tools only. Being a law-abiding citizen it is more difficult for me to obtain a firearm legally than illegally here in Maine. By posing stricter regulations on legal firearm ownership, we will only increase the profitability of illegal sales; therefore increasing the Maine crime rate and the number of criminals dealing in the illegal gun trade here in Maine.

Curiosity and a lack of education causes accidents, suicide is an emotional problem, and crime is a social problem. All three were prominent problems long before the invention of firearms.

I liken the extremist approach to “gun control” to someone trying to extinguish a fire with a bucket of gasoline. And I did mean to use the term extremist in a derogatory manner.

I am a Maine citizen tired of apathetic citizens placing the blame of a social problem on inanimate objects!

James Semple

Baldwin

Maine should protect trees from pine beetle outbreak

I recently returned from a vacation in Colorado. Most of the time was spent in the Central Rockies. What I saw was incredible beauty on the verge of total destruction.

Complete hillsides where mighty pines once stood, all gone. On other hills 50 percent of the pines were brown and dead. The other fifty percent just waiting for the same fate. The cause of this devastation is the pine beetle.

I know that Maine is aware of this threat. However, now that I have seen what this insect can do and could possibly do to our natural asset, I am alarmed beyond words.

In order to protect Maine’s greatest natural asset no amount of research, law enforcement and, yes, money would be too much to protect us from, if not eradicate, this plague.

Otherwise, Maine will pay the same price as Colorado is paying today with all the accompanying impact on our economy, tourism and way of life.

Please sound the alarm about this very real threat and raise the level of consciousness and action to combat the pine beetle.

Peter G. Guptill

Naples