How many small nonprofits like American Legion Post 10 are in trouble in Maine?

Maine started selling lottery tickets in 1974 with the 50-cent Play ME game. Maine State Lottery now has more than 50 instant tickets and more than 30 weekly draw tickets, sold in more than 1,300 businesses in Maine.

While Maine State Lottery and for-profit gaming have grown, many nonprofits like Post 10 are struggling to survive because their bingo and other games of chance have died or are dying. Nonprofits are hard-pressed relying on baked bean suppers to raise the money needed to keep running at today’s operating costs.

So when small nonprofits are gone, what will happen to Boys State and Girls State, or programs marking Memorial Day, Patriots Day and Veterans Day? When small nonprofits are gone, who will help local students with scholarships, or help to educate another generation about why we celebrate Veterans Day? Who will run flag education programs for local students?

When nonprofits like us are gone, who will help run local blood drives, serve at military funerals and place flags on veterans’ graves? Who will provide assistance to veterans and families in need? Who will perform the functions our local nonprofits are involved with year in and year out?

The next time you see a sign saying that your local nonprofit is running an event, please support it. Because if you do not, who will do what Post 10 has done for the past 92 years?

Donald Simoneau

adjutant, American Legion, George Bunten Post 10, Livermore Falls

Fayette

If federal fuel assistance is cut, state should step up

Winter in Maine can be a challenge for anyone. Our roads get icy, the snow seems never-ending and our temperatures plummet to subzero readings, particularly in the north. It is disturbing that as we head into the colder months, many Mainers will face additional challenges staying warm.

AARP’s Public Policy Institute recently issued a report on winter heating costs, and the news is not good.

According to the report, since the mid-1990s, home heating costs have outpaced the ability of many low-income consumers to adequately heat their homes. Of particular concern is that current projections indicate that the cost of heat will increase the most this year for households using fuel oil.

Here in Maine, approximately 3 out of 4 residents use fuel oil to heat their homes. New England in general has the highest heating costs in the nation because oil is the primary heating fuel used. For New England residents age 65 and older, the average winter cost in 2010-11 was $3,058.  Projections indicate that for 2011-12, this will jump almost 10 percent.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, provides funding across America, helping low-income households pay their utility bills. Sadly, the House Appropriations Committee has already proposed a huge cut to LIHEAP funding that will no doubt affect many Mainers in the coming months.

In light of this proposal, it is AARP’s sincere hope that Gov. Paul LePage will consider directing part of the state budget toward helping low-income Mainers as they struggle to stay warm.

John Hennessy

director of advocacy, AARP Maine

Portland

Closing post office would deliver pain in Kingman

The U.S. Postal Service is proposing to close the Kingman Post Office and replace our full-service post office with highway contract route service.

That is to say that all the retail services available right here in town – stamps, packages, money orders – and other services would be handled by the route driver. The driver’s workload would increase significantly and the mail would arrive much later than it does currently.

Plus, package pickup, as well as other retail services that would be handled by the route driver, would entail standing at your mailbox waiting for the driver’s arrival. This is extremely inconvenient in good weather, but imagine having to wait in the freezing winter.

Kingman and Macwahoc have a large number of seniors and disabled folks on whom this change would place an enormous burden. Many of these folks rarely leave their homes and rely on family and friends to assist them. Some would not have the means to get to a post office if Kingman Post Office is closed.

The one-way distance to the nearest post office, which is in Springfield, is 14 miles, and to Mattawamkeag, the next-closest option, 16 miles. Similarly, those who want to continue receiving their mail via post office box would have to travel to one of these.

Both Kingman and Macwahoc would be most directly affected, but so too would neighboring communities that use Route 170.

Historically, Kingman has had a continuously operating full-service post office since Feb. 27, 1871, when Charles S. Shaw was sworn in as the first postmaster. The Postal Service’s long record of service is a source of community identity and pride.

There are too many disadvantages and questions surrounding the Postal Service’s proposal to close the Kingman Post Office. But the bottom line is that the Postal Service wants to replace our full-service post office with something far less convenient and available to the community. I am fully against this proposal to close the Kingman Post Office and I hope others in the community take the time to fight this proposal.

Kathleen M. Davis-Page

Kingman

Republican Party’s jab at EqualityMaine was low

I was saddened to see a recent ad that the Maine Republican Party took out in at least one Washington County newspaper. The ad links same-day voter registration (which they see as bad) with gay people (whom they also must see as bad?).

The ad targets EqualityMaine’s work in favor of Question 1 on last Tuesday’s ballot, and tries to rouse our suspicion about this “special interest group” (i.e., a group of gay Maine citizens). The ad completely ignores the fact that the work to pass Question 1 was being carried out by a coalition of at least two dozen advocacy organizations that represent teachers, women, children and labor unions, and that the ballot initiative had been endorsed by every major newspaper in the state.

The fact that Republicans singled out EqualityMaine  takes the party to a new low in the hate and fear mongering that is fast becoming its trademark. As a gay Maine citizen, a voter and someone who is (in theory) represented by several elected Republicans, I am offended to the core.

It’s one thing when a political action committee adopts a stance of exclusion and reaches for fear as a tactic. It’s quite another when a major political party that is supposed to represent all of us sinks to that level. Republicans who know better (and I have to assume there are at least a few) have some apologizing to do.

Penny Guisinger

Trescott

Nemitz is a staff reduction he would have applauded

I have been a subscriber to The Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram (and Evening Express) since 1973.

I cannot imagine a world without newspapers; it hurts, therefore, that the recent staff reductions have eliminated some substantial people who opted out and accepted a settlement. I respect the fact that the company did whatever it had to do in a manner as humane as the circumstances allowed. I am truly sorry for the people who were affected by this.

Now I will reveal an unfullfilled wish. I had hoped that columnist Bill Nemitz would be among those opting out.

His “unpolitical” columns are not better than mediocre. His politically motivated columns are below any standard of decency and objectivity. The space he would have vacated would have resulted in a better paper.

Henk A. Pols

Cape Elizabeth

As good Yankees, we should respect celebrities’ privacy

I was disappointed to see a list of celebrities and the towns where they stay in Maine on the front page of the Maine Sunday Telegram (“Pining for Maine: A celebrity haven,” Nov. 6). I thought the Yankee ethic was to leave folks alone and let them have their privacy. What’s next, star maps?

Jeffrey Hotchkiss

Yarmouth