For 34 years my family and friends, like your family and friends, have enjoyed attending events at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Children and adults carry with them the memories of attending concerts, events, rodeos, sporting events and trade shows.

Now is the time to support the $33 million bond for the Civic Center’s expansion and modernization. The Civic Center gives back to Cumberland County, with $15 million a year put into the economy from attendance and bringing people into the area. Many people who work at the Civic Center either live in our towns, shop in our stores or eat in our restaurants.

Thirty-four years is a long time since the construction of this public building. Although well maintained and seemingly in good shape, the Civic Center needs improvements that will make it more competitive in the market, more accessible for the physically challenged, and more customer-friendly. Shouldn’t we do that while construction costs and interest rates are down?

Voters in South Portland have long recognized the need to maintain, improve and modernize the city’s buildings. Over the years, South Portlanders have voted to support renovation and modernization of police and fire stations, the recreation center and schools, all to provide facilities that meet the needs and expectations of today’s world.

I am asking that you vote yes on Nov. 8. Let’s keep the Civic Center an asset that Cumberland County and South Portland can be proud to own.

Linda Boudreau

South Portland

Appearance of first lady deserved more photos

I enjoyed reading Tom Bell’s article on Oct. 1 about our beautiful first lady, Michelle Obama (“A call for lasting change”). However, I was also very disappointed with the lack of photos, especially for those who were unable to attend her fundraising event the previous evening at Ocean Gateway.

Because she was one of the first passengers to land at our new airport since the unveiling of the $75 million passenger terminal, I feel it would have been nice to see her picture in the Sunday Telegram “Scene & Heard” section.

Sally Howe

Saco

A grandmother pleads for better chemical safety

As a grandmother to two beautiful granddaughters, I am very concerned about toxic chemicals in everyday products that our children, grandchildren and families are exposed to. I try to be careful in my choices when purchasing for my family, but I feel at times that I need to be a chemist to figure out what is safe and what is not.

There are just so many untested chemicals in everyday products that can lead to serious health issues such as cancer, learning disabilities and reproductive disorders.

Under the current federal law, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, virtually none of the 80,000 chemicals on the market today are regulated! Parents and grandparents cannot shop their way out of this problem.

Families need Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to do the right thing by co-sponsoring the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, which would ensure chemicals were safe before they are put in the products we use. Our senators have a rare opportunity to protect American families for generations to come. I hope they seize it.

Sandy Cort

Volunteer, Maine Healthy Children’s Project Learning Disabilities Association of Maine

Westbrook

Military recruiters pose no threat to students

Steven Zimmerman’s letter of Sept. 28 about not allowing military recruiters in high schools was the single most offensive bit of nonsense this proud Navy veteran has read in a long time.

The apparent argument behind his contention is that high school students’ brains aren’t mature enough to make a rational decision about military service.

I might be able to take his argument with a grain of salt if I had reason to believe he thought the same argument applied to teens making high-impact decisions on such things as abortion or sexual activity.

I enlisted in the Navy while in high school. I knew full well what I was getting into. I chose the Navy over college because it was a good and honorable option. I served shortly after Vietnam, and the only mistake I made when enlisting was in my naive assumption that most other people would also see my choice as good and honorable.

It was a time when people who thought like Mr. Zimmerman were the rule rather than the exception, and I was given icy stares when I wore my uniform home.

No matter. Thousands of like-minded young shipmates and I in the “blue water” Navy elected to serve on the front lines in a very tense region, protecting ungrateful people like Mr. Zimmerman so they could keep the right to disrespect and offend us and our families.

Later, while in high school, my daughter explored the military as an option. She decided on her own, that the military was not for her. I had faith in her decision-making skills.

Short of an expletive-laced rant, I cannot express my revulsion with Mr. Zimmerman’s letter more strongly.

Andrew Hall

Lewiston

Death of newspapers is sad to contemplate

My high-tech son keeps telling me that one day there will be no hard copies of newspapers. Regrettably, he’s probably right.

I enjoy MaineToday online, but there is something good about reading a hard copy of The Portand Press Herald at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee in hand. It is a habit that is both enjoyable and good, in my opinion.

I have lived a long time, and perhaps the demise of printed news won’t happen until after I have “shuffled off this mortal coil.” That Shakespeare guy was one smart dude. Thank God I never had to read him online.

There still is nothing like the tactile feel of a book or for that matter a newspaper.

David Bartholomew

Falmouth