With respect to “The Challenge of Our Age” Special Report series, I can clearly remember growing up in the ’70s in Camden and listening to residents talking about ways to discourage “outsiders” as they would make too many changes to the state.

Too many young people leaving the state every year may be one result of an unwillingness to welcome outside companies and younger people with new ideas.

Challenge your political leaders to create community college extensions that feed rural educated kids into vocational degrees and four-year college degrees. Help young people in high school visualize how they can become lifelong citizens through decent employment opportunities after vocational training or college graduation.

Also, consider the immigration issue and how young minorities can learn about Maine through outreach campaigns as a state they would like to work and raise their families. The minorities are intelligent and very hard working and would benefit Maine in many ways by their presence over the decades.

Sharon Thomas

Tucson, Ariz.

Death of family’s pet dog still felt nine years later

North Cairn’s article on the death of her dog (“Each dawn a step nearer to healing,” Aug. 18) brought tears to my eyes, recalling the awful sadness experienced over nine years ago when our sweet, goofy yellow Lab, Lola, died. The grief of losing a dog cuts so deeply into the heart because they are with us nearly all the time, depend on us, trust and love us. I still cry when I think of her.

Cairn’s trek into quiet and solitude sounds like a good first step as she mourns and remembers her beloved companion.

Barbara Doughty

Portland

Art reviewer shares blame for expecting explanations

Daniel Kany’s “Paintings from the melting pot by the great David Driskell” (Maine Sunday Telegram, Audience, Aug. 18) begins by asking rhetorically: “How much conscious control does an artist have over the content of his work?” Kany suggests: “Artists, especially blossoming professionals, inevitably overstate their control of their work’s content,” and goes on to blame the public who “… must share the blame for this because we pressure artists to speak with authority about their work.”

After reading Mr. Kany’s intellectually and academically lofty review of the content in David Driskell’s current exhibit at Greenhut Galleries, I cannot help thinking that art critics like Daniel Kany are as much to blame as the public for expecting artists “to speak with authority about their work.” 

Ironically, Kany writes with such omniscient authority, as if he can read Driskell’s mind, about the alleged creative inspiration behind his paintings that, if I were David Driskell, I, as the artist, would feel compelled to speak out with authority about the content of my own art as I am the artist who painted it, not Daniel Kany. 

While Kany avows, “We don’t after all, look at paintings to be lectured, but to flex our visual intelligence and aesthetic sensibilities,” his review paradoxically does just that: it lectures me about what I should see and understand without affording me the aesthetic and intellectual freedom to appreciate Mr Driskell’s art, which I assuredly do, with subjectivity.

Also, instead of pedagogically averring that Georges Rouault had a distinctive influence on the work of David Driskell, why not recommend that a visit to PMA and the MoMA Paley collection could suggest some interesting parallels between the two painters’ visions.  Leave it to the eyes of the beholder.

Albert H. Black

Kennebunk 

Benefits of smart meters pale next to one’s health

I am responding to the Maine Sunday Telegram of Aug. 18 editorial by Rick Morgan, “Learning to love your smart meter.”

I was one of those people at the Maine Public Utilities Commission hearing on Aug. 7, testifying on health effects of smart meters.

If these “much-maligned devices,” as Mr. Morgan stated, make you sick with headaches and fatigue or worse (one woman testified she thought she was dying), doing your laundry at 2 a.m. to save 10 cents on electricity costs isn’t very important.

No one was malicious, nor did anyone speak untruths. We were testifying under oath. We all had serous health concerns and it was an opportunity to let the PUC know the effects of smart meters, as that was the focus of the hearing. We were not making “noise” as Mr. Morgan stated.

Meter readers have lost their jobs. CMP is charging extra not to have a device on my home that I don’t want, don’t need and makes me sick. It’s called extortion. Many of my family, neighbors and friends have been ill from smart meters. I will not learn to love my smart meter.

Ray Giroux

Portland

‘Believing’ article flawed because of the test group

While reacting to the “Believing makes it true” (Aug. 18) article. I had a thought. What if instead of Jesus, each student was asked to write his or her mother’s name on a piece of paper before being asked to stamp on them. Or, what if Allah was the word, or Moses?

I can somewhat see the point if all in the group were of the same persuasion. The exercise was once done in a Catholic college. It was to stir up feelings and then discussion. But in the setting cited, a random and varied group, it lacked respect and sensitivity, two characteristics a college professor should have.

Does anyone living in this conflicted age think that “letters on a page” have no power, and that care should be taken in choosing them?

Jane Merchant

Kennbunkport

No feeding state’s bears unless you want to kill one

I’m happy to be a member of the newly formed group Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting. Our goal is not to ban bear hunting. Rather, it is to end the inhumane and unsporting practices of bear hounding, trapping, and baiting.

Maybe baiting doesn’t seem so bad. But I wonder how many people know that Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife warns the public not to feed bears — but allows exceptions for people who want to hunt and kill them. What kind of sense does that make?

Whether you are baiting for viewing or hunting, it sets up the potential for bear-human conflict. Plus, a steady source of extra food can contribute to bear overpopulation and the problem of nuisance bears seeking food in people-populated areas.

I also wonder where the “sport” is in shooting a bear while it is eating from a pile of human food, such as old doughnuts, spoiled meat and leftover pizza.

I hope Mainers will talk about this issue and give serious consideration to our hunting practices. And I’d hate to think the restaurants and coffee shops I patronize are contributing leftovers to bait piles.

It’s time to end bear baiting.

Constance McCabe

Harpswell

The world is a safer place because U.S. has the bomb

It has been 68 years since the mushroom cloud formed over the city of Hiroshima. The world is not running away from this devastating weapon because it the most ideal weapon man can make. It is small and it can cause massive damage.

That’s why seven nations have this weapon. If the U.S. does not have nuclear weapons, the world will rush to make more of them and, in time, nuclear wars will spread.

No matter how much we talk of peace, it is not going change some nations’ minds; they are going to nuke us as soon as they can.

Gregory Morrow

Windham