It has been on my mind to write to you to let you know how much I have enjoyed the changes you have made to the comics section in the Maine Sunday Telegram, and Dahlov Ipcar’s critical letter on those changes has actually prompted me to sit down and write (“Comics fan not laughing at Sunday section changes,” Sept. 1).

I must say, “Thank you!” for bringing back “The Wizard of Id” and “Shoe,” two of my all-time favorite strips.

I also enjoy all of the other strips Ms. Ipcar dislikes — “Frank and Ernest,” “Hi and Lois” and “The Lockhorns.”

“Close to Home” is also hilarious, but one does have to have a certain sense of humor to “get it.”

I care not one whit how you fit everything in as long as everything is there, so the fact that some strips are smaller than others does not bother me in the least.

Complaints?

None really, except that I would love to see you bring back “Mother Goose and Grimm” and I could easily live without “Non Sequitur,” “Adam at Home” and “Red and Rover.” They aren’t funny and are just plain dumb.

On the whole, though, your increased interest in the comics section has made your price increases and de-contenting of the last few years a little more palatable!

John Griffith

Norway

I must respond to Dahlov Ipcar’s letter published Sept. 1.

I, too, have been reading the comics section all my life, and habitually read it over breakfast every morning. I have been doing so for probably the last 50 years.

Unlike Ms. Ipcar, I commend you for expanding the Sunday comics.

You are now publishing several of the strips I have enjoyed in other newspapers published where I have lived, including several I always enjoyed and have missed: e.g., “Shoe” (one of my favorites), “Wizard of Id,” “Hi and Lois,” “Hagar the Horrible,” “Sally Forth” and “Frank and Ernest.”

I hope you will not eliminate any of these new strips.

If anything has to go for space reasons, I nominate “Mark Trail,” an entirely predictable and boring strip.

Warner W. Price

Harpswell

I couldn’t disagree more with Dahlov Ipcar’s comments in Sunday’s paper.

The comics are important to me, too. (They’re one of the reasons I subscribe to the newspaper!)

I love that “Shoe” (an old favorite) is included, and I like the addition of others.  

The only one I’d take out is “Get Fuzzy,” which I’d also take out of the daily comics. After trying to connect with it (when you first included it), I’ve just stopped trying and don’t look at it at all anymore.

So I think you’re doing a great job with that.  

Ms. Ipcar maybe just doesn’t like change.

Kathy Kolb

Yarmouth

Story scapegoats opioids in impaired-driving accidents

The wire service article “Drugs, driving: Prescription for danger” (Sept. 1) has the potential to mislead. 

Its implication is that people taking opioids for pain are dangerous while driving. While it does say other medications can be a problem (and leaves it at that), it cites a case where a driver “supposedly” ran a red light hitting a school bus and was killed. 

He had both a sedative (which would likely be the culprit to cause impairment) and an opioid on board. (I also say “supposedly” because the wife is suing as she claims it was the school bus that ran the red light. It does seem that what actually happened is unclear.) 

The article also cites a couple of studies. On the Pain Treatment Topics website, Dr. Stewart Levitt found some problems with this research. On the other hand, the article doesn’t cite the studies that show people can drive safely with opioids after acclimation or tolerance. (I’m not saying they were better-done studies.) 

The article actually does quote a physician who states that people are less safe driving with pain. I worry, though, that legislators and others see just the implications of the article and not the truth of the matter. 

A fair article would have looked at all the research out there. 

It would have discussed the other medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) on which drivers can be truly impaired. Many of those are person-specific, as are opioids; some people will be so sleepy they can’t stay awake, while others have no problem with them. 

Look also at other diseases, especially those that cause cognitive impairment. Look at the biggest problem of all: sleep deprivation.

We just don’t need another news story to make things more difficult for people with pain.

Janice Reynolds, R.N., B.C., O.C.N., C.H.P.N.

Brunswick

Littell, Welch well equipped to act fairly in Nestle case

People who read the story “For regulators and Nestle Waters, conflict by the gallon” (Sept. 1) should not be overly concerned. 

They should be confident that Public Utilities Commissioners Tom Welch and David Littell are very much able to fairly decide the Fryeburg Water-Nestle case or to recuse themselves, if necessary, to avoid a significant taint of conflict of interest.

I served a dozen years as a Maine PUC commissioner (1991-2003), 10 of those years with Chairman Welch. 

He and I shared adjacent offices and seats on the bench, and car-pooled together to countless regional meetings to advance Maine’s interests. 

In addition, over those 12 years (and since), I came to know hundreds of commissioners from other U.S. states and around the world.   

No one is better qualified to chair the Maine PUC and to balance private rights and the public interest. 

He is “wicked smart,” well trained (Stanford and Harvard Law School) and appropriately experienced (adjunct law professor, corporate attorney, electricity transmission system operator executive and public official — deputy attorney general in Pennsylvania). 

Welch understands and thoroughly respects the ethics of the legal profession. In deciding thousands of cases, I never saw him do or say anything that would cause me to question his integrity.

David Littell is an able commissioner, well regarded in the regulatory and environmental communities. Any apparent conflict seems based solely on his employment more than 10 years ago at Pierce Atwood (though not on the matter currently before the Maine PUC).

And I second former PUC Chairman Peter Bradford’s suggestion that “Maine legislators should consider legal changes to allow for the appointment of alternate commissioners when a sitting one recuses himself.” 

As Bradford said, these occurrences are rare (I can recall only a very few over my 12 years on the PUC). But they are awkward for no one more than the commissioner concerned.

One doesn’t have to look far for an example for an alternate commissioner or for qualified temporary commissioners (I can think of a dozen within driving distance of Augusta). 

Finding itself in a similar bind a few years ago, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission called back a retired commissioner to provide the vote necessary to decide a case.

Perhaps the more interesting part of the story is reporter Colin Woodard’s description of the matter currently before the commission: Under what terms and for how long should Nestle be permitted to draw water from the Fryeburg resource? (I have not read the filings in the case and offer no opinion on how it should be resolved.)

William Nugent

Yarmouth

Americans must join forces to protect right to privacy

Regarding the commentary on privacy (“Giving away our privacy,” Sept. 1):

I would respond that the Supreme Court has ruled that privacy is ours — not the government’s, not the media’s, not the Internet’s.

We, as a people, should be willing to have this out. We can, if you go to the website www.copyrightortrademarkyourprivacy.com.

We must stand together. 

David Ginchereau

Sanford