The article “Risky business tax breaks cost Maine $100 million per year” (Feb. 20) was an excellent insight into our budget disparities in Maine, particularly in regards to the fiscal challenges facing small towns such as Fryeburg.

Since 1997, the Fryeburg Water Co. has sold trillions of gallons of water to Nestle/Poland Spring, and now the Fryeburg Water Co. is more than $1 million in debt.

The article referenced Nestle/Poland Spring receiving $1.9 million in tax breaks in 2009 and the fact that the company and its top executives made almost half a million dollars in campaign contributions.

Now Nestle/Poland Spring and the Fryeburg Water Co. are lobbying to enter into a 25- to 45-year contract that would compromise Maine’s groundwater resources for future generations. But how do such contracts benefit the people of Maine?

That fact is, Nestle/Poland Spring takes advantage of weak and outdated laws governing water rights and tax breaks by pushing and twisting legal limits to the extreme.

The people of Maine should not stand for this. The government of Maine should work for the people, not multinational corporations.

If you agree, please attend the public hearing in Fryeburg regarding the proposed contract on March 7 at 6 p.m. at the Fryeburg Legion Hall on Bradley Street to voice your opinion.

Nisha Swinton

Portland

 

By resigning, pope shows he has little staying power

 

Those who were not raised Catholic should know that followers hold a number of tenets very dear. One is that that when the pope speaks or writes on matters of the church, he is infallible: i.e., his word is the word of the Lord.

Some, like myself, may find this concept hard to believe, but I believe that all true Catholics hold this truth as part of their faith.

I think most would agree that “renounce” is a pretty powerful word, but Pope Benedict’s resignation with two weeks’ notice was pretty abrupt. We all understand the age factor, but it’s been over a half a millennium since a sitting pope has resigned.

Pope Benedict XVI’s predecessor was far sicker for a much longer period of time, and he never bailed out. I, for one, feel saddened and somewhat betrayed.

The belief that the pope is infallible contributes to the idea that he’s more than a man when it comes to religion, and somehow, walking away from the job when times get tough doesn’t appear to be “what Jesus would do.”

It’s been widely written that Benedict is a conservative and traditionalist, but his swan song doesn’t portray those ideals.

Sadly, I guess he puts his hat on in the morning, just like you and I.

Bill Thomas

Sanford

 

Quaker meetings more vital, diverse than story portrayed

 

I appreciated the article about the Friends School of Portland’s plans to build a new, very energy-efficient home (“Quaker school plans move to Cumberland,” Feb. 18).  

But I must take issue with the characterization of Quakers: “Quakers, formally called the Religious Society of Friends, are a Christian order more than 350 years old. Followers believe that God lives in every person, and that people should minister to one another, often without a traditional leader to guide a service.”

Indeed, the Religious Society of Friends has its origins in other Christian faiths, but our religious community today is much more diverse.

I’m on the Ministry and Counsel committee of Portland Friends Meeting, but would identify as a Universalist and not a Christian. People of many beliefs attend our meetings for worship, and find comfort and guidance in the deep silence and occasional spoken message.

Calling us an “order” suggests an arcane faith, rooted in the past.

In fact, the Quaker meetings in the Portland area, like the Friends School of Portland, are lively, vital communities, deeply engaged in today’s world.

Finally, I’d note that our silence is not a proxy for a doctrinaire prayer that is intended but not spoken.  

Students at the Friends school, like attenders at any Quaker Meeting in this area, are not expected to adhere to any particular belief.  

The silence affords us all a space for worship, prayer, meditation, reflection, renewal, comfort or guidance.  

Sitting in silence may also lead to a healthy sense of discomfort, as we reflect, individually, on how our lives speak, perhaps seeking spiritual guidance about the right ordering of our lives.

Arthur Fink

Peaks Island

Scientific evidence points to cooling, not warming

 

I am extremely tired of reading about the dangers inherent in global warming, with almost never an article saying it is a suspect viewpoint. 

The mainstream media has accepted the premise that man is causing global warming, and if we do not soon stop burning fossil fuels, we will cause a world crisis of huge proportions. 

The Al Gore camp makes it sound as if all scientific inquiry is heading in this direction, and the only people opposed are fools and scientific misfits. 

This is most definitely not the case.

I quote Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.”

I challenge the reader who does not agree with me to Google the professor’s name, and read what he has to say about “man-caused global warming.” 

There is all sorts of scientific evidence, put forward by people of high academic standing, which postulates that rather than global warming, we are rapidly approaching a period of global cooling, which will become obvious even to Al Gore within 15 to 20 years. This cooling may develop into a “Little Ice Age,” which could last for hundreds of years. 

For thoughtful readers, I recommend “Climate Change in Prehistory” by William J. Burroughs. And, although you will not read about it in The New York Times or hear about it on CNN, no less an authority than NASA now suggests that solar irradiance patterns point to the imminence of another Little Ice Age.

John A. Nelson

Freeport