Two years ago, my first spring as an usher at Merrill Auditorium, I overheard experienced volunteer ushers talking about how inspired they were after ushering at the Portland Adult Education graduation.

Although I didn’t forget, I signed up for two other graduations last year. This year, I caught the brass ring!

Few things in life could be as inspiring and humbling as seeing those adults receive their high school diplomas or GED certificates.

Among those celebrated June 13 were speakers who have overcome huge barriers and worked diligently to meet their goals. Their standing ovations were so well-deserved. I’m sure their stories were representative of many others on stage.

With the June 30 closing-down of its “temporary” home of the last 26 years, Portland Adult Education deserves a new location that will support its programs, participants and administrators.

The need is great. Enrollment in academic programs alone increased 10 percent with nearly 200 students graduating this year; nearly 200 received Workforce Development Certificates last year.

The Portland Public Schools news release states, “We are committed to securing a safe, healthy environment for PAE classes and offices in time for the fall semester.”

I’ve seen enough creativity in this city in my three years here that I know Portland will find a satisfactory solution that will support Portland Adult Education in continuing to provide vital educational programs as it has done since 1849.

“Portland, Maine: Yes, Adult Education is good here!”

Sarah C. Mills

Portland

Expansion of MaineCare needs further explanation

A recent editorial suggests that “how we treat the most vulnerable members of our society says a lot about the kind of society we are” (“Our View: Maine kids’ health shows value of MaineCare,” June 26).

There is some truth in this observation, but the matter is also more complicated.

For welfare activists and their media voices, any perceived need is an excuse for a new or expanded government program. Rarely is much consideration given to costs, efficiency, alternatives or to the trade-offs involved in the use of limited resources.

Take Medicaid. Whatever its benefits, the program has the worst characteristics of the third-party payment system.

It greatly exacerbates the demand for care, destroys any incentive for consumers to seek value or for providers to create it, and its open-ended claims structure is a blueprint for the growing financial burden the program has become for states and the federal government.

Yet the Press Herald and others insist that Maine’s program should be expanded. So here’s the deal:

Explain how the current MaineCare program, which is already struggling, will be paid for.

Then, even allowing for the highly exaggerated claim of short-term savings from new federal dollars, explain how the state would pay for its share of the long-term cost of an expanded program.

Finally, with higher health care costs, explain where any fiscal slack would come from for future crises or for new initiatives, including social programs, which would be widely beneficial.

Then let’s talk more about Maine-Care expansion.

Safety nets are important. So is making them affordable and sustainable.

Martin Jones

Freeport

Armed terrorists run free in our society, news shows

Three stories popped up on my computer within three minutes one night recently as I trolled for news after checking out the “regular” sources:

A man who claims to be on a Second Amendment mission to educate others about gun rights caused panic last Saturday in Vancouver, Wash., at a family fun center while walking nearby carrying a semiautomatic rifle.

A business went on lockdown, parents grabbed their children and ran inside and still he refused to leave while “educating” others by carrying his rifle on private property. Again, it’s a family fun center, meaning that kids are all over the vicinity.

Last Friday, a protester with an AR-15 showed up for a Gabby Giffords event in New Hampshire, then took a nap outside the event with his gun.

An armed customer at a chicken restaurant in Oakland, Calif., on July 1 may have become frightened and mistakenly shot and killed two employees.

We do have a problem, and the essence of it is that we do not have the guts to accurately define it and solve it. So, the terrorists run free in our society, free to sell guns without background checks, free to carry without training, licensing, insuring, etc.

George Waldman

Bath

Writing by Aho defender displays flaws in thinking

I was reading the Voice of the People section on the Fourth of July, and was intrigued by a letter titled “DEP chief Aho promotes reasoned stance on issues,” written by a man named Michael Severance, the president of an organization called Save Our Shores-Maine.

I was intrigued primarily because the organization sounded like an environmental group, and yet the letter was written in defense of a Department of Environmental Protection commissioner dedicated to eviscerating environmental regulations in order to benefit her former corporate clients.

So in the interest of self-enrichment, I went to the Save Our Shores website and was greeted with this gem from President Severance — a lovely amalgam of ignorance, invective, tortured analogies, forced alliteration (think Spiro Agnew) and sixth-grade writing skills — to wit:

“Even though during the past year, the global warming alarmist (sic) have been discredited by historical data, some of the anti-private property pests are still using the followers of global warming for their own agenda. Others are like moths flying from one flame to the next; flying from one trendy thing to the next trendy thing. Now the mantra of those moths eroding private property rights is ‘we must be prepared for extreme weather.’ They, like moths, choose not to learn from each defeating experience.”

As the old saying goes, “with friends like these …”

Jeffery Logan

Portland