I appreciated Meghan Gaven’s Maine Voices column regarding smartphones and audience etiquette (“Misused, smartphones a tool for teaching kids to tune out live performances,” Sept. 16).

However, I must insist that this is not only a problem with kids. The commentary could be totally rewritten, addressing the behavior of self-centered, ill-mannered adults.

I have had more than one evening ruined at Merrill Auditorium and One Longfellow Square (particularly) by smartphone owners who insist on checking their mail, copying playlists as the music is happening (for three hours!) and even videoing most of the performance by occasionally leaning over me for a good shot.

The intense, bright blue screens of smartphones are distracting and uncomfortable to the eyes in the dark.

Having asked the management at One Longfellow Square to make an announcement about this and being ignored after an assurance that they would remind offenders, I have ceased going there until the “anything goes” policy changes. (Needless to say, asking offenders to stop yields nothing.)

Like Ms. Gaven, “I am not a Luddite who hates smartphones.” However, until live venues adopt zero-tolerance policies for these and similar devices, I am pretty happy with the audio opportunities in my living room. It’s a shame; there is great live music out there.

Susan A. Bloomfield

West Kennebunk

‘The crew’ gets high praise for Goodall Park grooming

The Sanford Mainers baseball team wants to express their utmost gratitude to Marcel Blouin, Brian Desrochers and the rest of the crew for their expertise in maintaining the field at Goodall Park.

They manage year after year to bring Goodall Park into pristine condition and keep it that way for the whole summer. The Sanford Mainers players are extremely proud of their field, as I am sure the Sanford High School and Babe Ruth teams are, too.

Every team that plays at Goodall Park is envious of the facility, and we have been told by our baseball players and players from each of the other teams of the New England Collegiate Baseball League that it is by far the best field in the league.

The parks crew maintains Goodall Park along with keeping all the other fields and parks around town looking beautiful.

The Sanford Mainers’ general manager, assistant general manager, board of directors, coaches, players and business manager want “the crew” to know they are very much appreciated for the exceptional work they do each and every year.

Goodall Park is a gem in the city of Sanford, and we can all be proud of this field and grandstand thanks to the work of the Sanford Parks and Recreation Department.

Bravo, gentlemen!

Sara Gauthier

chairman, board of directors, Sanford Mainers Baseball Team


Immigration reform holds no threat to black workers

Again, Jonette Christian’s premises (“Maine Voices: Immigration reform locks black workers out of the American dream,” Sept. 18) are that the Creator/Big Bang ordained the earth’s bounty for the fittest, not for all, and that we have no responsibility for the 10 million to 12 million Mexicans, displaced from family farms by the greedy dictates of NAFTA, who had no choice if they would survive and feed their families but to cross into this country.

Ms. Christian’s heartless substitute for a Christian welcome and justice is to send these 12 million back to starvation in Mexico.

Now Ms. Christian adds a convenient concern for supposedly displaced black workers, supported largely by bad history and post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this) arguments.

And studies show loss of job opportunities for blacks — and whites — since 1970 to be very largely a consequence of mechanization, more productive labor and globalization of manufacturing, not Hispanic immigrants, a great many of whom gravitated to agricultural stoop labor that blacks and whites avoid.

It is occasion for celebration, not blame, that Congress, primarily in the service of corporate greed and militarism, appears capable, after long delay, of rising to the wish of most Americans to welcome these long-suffering strangers into our midst as fellow citizens.

Their need and conduct here over many years have proven them deserving of both.

Ursula L. Slavick


Media ignored shooting at conservative group’s offices

Here is a remarkable example of the press ignoring a major story involving guns, terrorism and gay marriage.

Three days after a deranged man murdered 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, a District of Columbia federal judge sentenced Floyd L. Corkins II to 25 years in prison under the 2002 Anti-Terrorism Act for an action with the intent to “intimidate or coerce a significant portion of the civilian population.”

The reason his name or crime doesn’t ring a bell is because the press looked the other way: The event did not follow a politically correct story line. 

Thirteen months ago, during the media-manufactured controversy over Chick-fil-A’s opposition to gay marriage, Corkins walked into the Family Research Council’s D.C. headquarters with the specific intention of killing as many people as possible. 

In addition to a gun, he carried 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, which, he told the FBI, he intended to smear into the faces of Family Research Council employees as a political statement.

A security guard thwarted his plan, but not before Corkins shot him during a struggle. The guard managed to subdue the would-be assassin until police arrived. 

Last week, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen stated that the guard’s heroism prevented Corkins “from carrying out a mass shooting.” Machen hailed the sentence as a “steep price to be paid for turning to violence to terrorize your political enemies.”

The Family Research Council is a conservative Christian organization that believes “marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” according to President Tony Perkins, who also said the organization has been “forever changed” by the incident but will “continue to pray” for Corkins.

The Chick-fil-A “controversy” generated large headlines. Too bad the press didn’t see fit to cover this disturbing event that followed.

Richard Hull