Your readers may have read your obituary of Nancy Hill Payne, who died April 6 at the age of 94.

I want to contribute this story to flesh out her fine character:

The Paynes were among customers on my paper route (Route 161) on Pleasant Avenue.

I always liked to toss my tightly rolled and tucked Portland Evening Expresses at each door so they’d announce their arrival with a solid thump.

One afternoon the paper missed the metal panel on the Paynes’ aluminum storm door and went a little high, smack in the middle of the glass, smashing it to bits.

Mrs. Payne appeared, and as I stood there shocked and stammering my apologies, she laughed!

“Oh, these things sometimes happen,” is the gist of what I remember her saying. You’d have thought it was the most delightful event to have occurred to her in a long time. I offered to pay for the glass, but she wouldn’t hear of it.

Thank you, Nancy Payne.

Raymond Foote

Portland

Views diverge on the value of oil company tax breaks

 

If I’ve learned anything during this prolonged economic downturn, it’s the importance of balance. As a result, I’ve made a conscious effort to maintain a better balance between work and family, and I’ve diversified and stabilized my modest retirement portfolio with a balanced mix of stocks and bonds.

The Obama administration would do well to apply a similar approach to America’s energy needs. Unfortunately, the president appears fixated on demonizing petroleum and deifying so-called “sustainable” energy sources. As the numbers attest, this plan is economically irresponsible.

From 2005 through 2009, ExxonMobil earned a healthy $40.5 billion profit, leading the president and his supporters to call for higher taxes on oil companies.

What isn’t widely reported, however, is during that time period Exxon Mobil also paid $59 billion in U.S. taxes. In other words, they gave the government more money than they kept. Sounds like a pretty good deal for American taxpayers, if you ask me.

In 2009 alone, the oil industry paid $35.7 billion in corporate income taxes, representing about 10 percent of this country’s non-defense discretionary spending. On top of that, those same companies paid an average of $27,000 per employee in state and local taxes and royalties; other private-sector employers averaged a comparatively anemic $4,800 per job.

It’s time for President Obama to appreciate that oil and gas continue to be integral pieces of a balanced energy portfolio, and to stop risking their continued domestic production simply to advance a misguided alternative energy agenda.

Andrew Gleason

Portland

 

Selling out one’s country, in plain terms, is treason.

Would it be too far-fetched to suggest that it is treasonous for oil company decision makers who lobby congressmen for tax breaks and subsidies while reaping record profits as their fellow countrymen pay higher taxes and fuel prices?

Is it not subversive for oil to actually originate and draft legislation and speeches for congressmen for more subsidies, loopholes and tax breaks in exchange for campaign finances?

Oil companies, like ExxonMobil and their agents in Congress, attempt to convince us that more for them means more U.S. jobs and yet we discover that no new jobs get created here in America. Other countries and offshore banks reap the benefits of our generosity.

For example, America’s ExxonMobil is taking its subsidy and tax breaks and investing it in Russia’s major oil producer, Rosneft, for drilling operations in the Black Sea and the Arctic.

If the behavior of Big Oil and elected officials is not for the “common good,” it may not be too harsh to describe such as treason, and it should be prosecuted accordingly.

I, for one, am tired of the Big Oil lobby and the other 14,000 D.C. lobbyists and their untoward influence upon our elected officials. I think it’s time for the enforcement of our antitrust laws and the establishment of clean election funding in which we can all invest.

Patrick Eisenhart

Augusta

Republicans demonized for wealth; Democrats spared

 

It just occurred to me. With all the noise the media is making about Mitt Romney’s wealth, I don’t recall such bluster and hand-wringing over the Kennedy fortune. Or, for that matter, John Kerry. Or the fact that John Kerry gave virtually nothing to charity while Romney gave something on the order of $4 million in addition to his entire inheritance from his father.

Oh. Wait. I just remembered. Romney is a Republican. Kerry and the Kennedys are Democrats. Also, Romney worked for his money. Kennedy inherited his. And Kerry married it. Never mind. Sorry, nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.” Mark Twain

John Barritt

Cape Elizabeth

 

Heating innovations are also embraced in Maine

 

That was an interesting Philadelphia Inquirer article in the April 19 Press Herald, describing the use of sewage as a source of heat for heat pumps. However, we’re also doing it here in Maine!

Evergreen Geothermal, a local Falmouth company, used similar technology to engineer and install a system to heat the entire complex of the Freeport Sewer District.

The clean, warm effluent from the treated sewage supplies the heat pumps. Starting last November and running through the heating season, the new geothermal system replaced 7,800 gallons of heating oil, and used only $6,500 worth of electricity: net savings of more than $22,000.

There is no need to resort to a “patented Chinese technology,” or use a device that provides “critical proprietary filters.”

As Maine goes, hopefully so goes the nation!

Marcia Leonard

Falmouth