As chairperson of the Wentworth Intermediate School Building Committee, I feel compelled to write this letter in response to two recent opinion pieces authored by former Town Councilor Jeffrey Messer.

The School Board formed the 41-member Building Committee last fall and since its formation, the committee has spent thousands of hours working on this project. This committee includes engineers, architects, educators, attorneys, professionals, parents and concerned citizens.

After reading Mr. Messer’s opinion pieces, I was unsure how best to respond. While the two pieces are very similar, they both contain many misstatements, are factually inaccurate and misinterpret much of the information available to the public regarding this project.

In an effort to correct this misinformation and to answer any questions regarding this project, the Building Committee has scheduled a public forum on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Scarborough High School Auditorium. At this forum, the committee will talk about the project and answer any questions posed by the public.

Since receiving unanimous support from both the School Board and the Town Council this summer, the Building Committee has been focused on educating and reaching out to the public about this project.

The committee kicked off the public information campaign with a strong presence at Summerfest and has continued this process with attendance at a variety of town and school functions. At these functions, as well as on our web site, newwentworth.com, and Facebook page, the Building Committee has always been constructive and open.

The public forum will allow the Building Committee to continue this theme and to reach out to the citizens of Scarborough about the urgent need for a new Wentworth Intermediate School.

Paul M. Koziell

Scarborough

Want a metaphor for taxing the rich? Move over

There are many four- and five-bedroom houses in Falmouth Foreside, on Shore Road in Cape Elizabeth and Eastern Promenade in Portland wherein only two or three people reside.

It’s not class warfare, just plain math, that those residents should permit homeless people to utilize the empty bedrooms. They who have much should share by permitting those who have less to enjoy a decent place to live.

Now substitute annual income for housing accommodations, and you can see the fallacy of President Obama’s position on excessive taxation on high-income workers.

John Barritt

Cape Elizabeth

Escort for area firefighters thanks 9/11 parade helpers

On Sept. 11 this year I was one of 160-plus Motor Maids from the United States and Canada who had the privilege of escorting firefighters into New York City on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I want to extend my deepest appreciation to my senator, Olympia Snowe, and Maine state Sen. Lois Snowe-Mello, for providing the Maine state flag and Gov. John Lynch for the New Hampshire state flag that were carried into New York City to honor the victims.

These flags were flown above the state capitols. I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude to Sen. Snow-Mello for her certificate honoring the Maine Motor Maids in their participation in this memorial parade.

All this was made possible by the efforts of John Jenkins of Lewiston, who continues to support those who serve our country and community. I can’t thank you all enough for your commitment to the citizens of Maine and our country.

Nancy Pleiter-Sadowy

Arundel

Tribute to good teachers warms heart of retired one

Thank you to columnist Greg Kesich for his excellent commentary piece in the Sept. 7 Press Herald (“A teacher’s gift is something that lasts a lifetime”). In these days of so-called “quantifiable learning results” (and other similar foolishness), it was refreshing to read something like this!

He told us how important a certain teacher had been to his life, and how he’d experienced for the first time “how exciting it could be to engage in a world of ideas.”

That teacher taught kids (people) far more than testable subject matter. As he put it, “the difference between the right teacher and the wrong teacher is the difference between opening a door to fantastic new worlds and nine months of waterboarding and solitary.”

I’m a retired teacher (of kids, not mere subjects) and I have an additional perspective on this. My life was totally changed by the thrill of being among so many young minds eager to explore, create and learn how to learn, if just given the chance.

I never learned so much, grew so much as a person, and received so much pure joy in return as when I was challenging 5th graders (and myself) to experience the world in new ways. It was hard work for them and for me, but it was joyful, a life-enhancing experience.

I thank all my students for showing me so much about life and learning. I wish I could contact them all, just as Kesich contacted his teacher. I thank them for the pleasure of knowing them and learning along with them!

Eliot Burton

Portland

Stop talking about taxes and simplify the code

Washington hypocrisy is reaching new heights. Members of Congress bloviating about the unfairness of “tax-avoidance schemes” are making an institutional self-indictment.

Every “loophole” and “carve-out” enabling corporations and “rich” individuals to lower their effective tax rates was enacted to promote legitimate private investment in areas of perceived public benefit — home ownership, low-income housing, medical research, resource extraction, agricultural stability, ethanol production, wind and solar power, charitable giving and so on.

Since these incentives never seem to be revisited critically to see if they still serve a valid purpose, they have come to be viewed as perpetual entitlements. The solution should be comprehensive simplification of a taxation system that consumes far too much otherwise productive time in taxpayer compliance and governmental administration.

Moreover, nearly everyone should pay something, however nominal, to avoid complete disassociation from the financial foundation of responsible democratic government.

George C. Betke Jr.

Damariscotta