I read in the Q&A section of the article in the Dec. 4 Press Herald about the sales tax case that the Supreme Court ruled not to hear – i.e., Amazon v. New York – that consumers in Maine would lose because they would have to pay the sales tax, which they are not currently paying (“Court decision opens door for more taxes on online purchases”).

This is not true. Consumers who currently buy online are required to pay a use tax that is equivalent to the sales tax. The Q&A section did not mention the use tax and thus will lead Mainers to believe that paying sales tax on online purchases will be a new tax.

When I spoke with J. Craig Anderson, the Q&A writer, he told me that he left the use tax out because no one pays that tax. This is unfortunate because he had an opportunity to educate consumers regarding the use tax.

Instead, he reinforced the idea that by buying online, one could avoid the sales/use tax.

Once consumers realize that they are required, by law, to pay the use tax for purchases made online, perhaps they will be more willing to support their own communities by shopping locally.

David Draper

Raymond

Abortion is an individual decision, not the public’s

I’ve read M.D. Harmon’s commentary about Planned Parenthood on Nov. 22 (“Planned Parenthood buffer zone a fundamental threat to liberty”). Here is my view.

My wife and I could not conceive. We adopted our daughter Sarah at birth. This was the most magical moment of my life.

I do, however, question Mr. Harmon’s column. A woman has a right to do what she wants with her body. If she decides to have an abortion, that is her decision, not yours.

Planned Parenthood offers other services to women in Maine than abortions. For people to protest and make any woman feel uncomfortable going to them makes me sick. A woman has a right to do whatever she wants to do with her body. If it is an abortion, that is her decision, not the public’s.

A woman should feel comfortable going in for an appointment and not have to see or listen to these protesters. If she is seeking advice on an abortion, it is her right to do so.

Mr. Harmon’s column about a buffer zone being a threat to liberty is absurd. What if I stood in front of McDonald’s protesting the fat content in hamburgers? I am sure Mr. Harmon would find that as unjust as I find the people protesting at Planned Parenthood.

James Joyce

Standish

Civic center seems poised to fumble lacrosse team deal

The management of the Cumberland County Civic Center appears poised to fumble away another tenant, according to recent stories in the Portland Press Herald.

After it was initially reported (“Portland may become home to new pro lacrosse team,” Dec. 3) that an agreement had been reached between the Civic Center and the Maine Moose Trax, we learned this from Neal Pratt, Civic Center trustee chair:

“Certainly, no deal has been reached,” he said. “There would be a long way to go before that would happen, if it would happen.”

Here’s a suggestion, Mr. Pratt: Make it happen!

When I cast my vote in favor of funding the bond issue facilitating the current renovations, I anticipated exciting sports, music and entertainment performances in the building. Your booking of a trade show and a Christian soft rock group, while chasing the ice hockey team up to Lewiston, is underwhelming, to say the least. Please don’t mess this one up as well.

Pete Lyons

Westbrook

Two train engineers, like pairs of pilots, worth cost

Having spent 30 years as a professional airline pilot, I am amazed that trains such as the one that crashed in the Bronx, carrying 100 or more passengers, are allowed to operate with one engineer.

Airliners could easily be flown from Point A to Point B with one pilot. Two pilots are required to share the workload, monitor ever-changing conditions and, yes, watch each other.

In light of the recent train tragedies in the Bronx, Barcelona, Spain, and even Lac-Megantic, Quebec, I wonder if these could have been avoided if there were two crew members operating the trains. I suspect the railroad staffing has been cut to the very bare minimum in an effort to reduce costs.

Assuming that human error played a part in these tragedies, why do we tolerate profitability over safety? I’m sure the victims’ families would agree that there are some things worth paying for.

John Nordby

retired airline pilot

South Portland

North Berwick’s craft fair a ‘shop local’ success

One small Maine town showed what “shop local” was all about. The Neighborly Craft Fair was held in North Berwick on Nov. 30. It was a tremendous success.

The purpose for the fair was to raise money for the food pantry and fuel assistance fund for the town. When this project was first established in 2008, the call for help went out and North Berwick businesses, residents and organizations answered. They are still helping to meet our goal.

The Neighborly Craft Fair Committee would like to thank all who supported this endeavor. The students in the culinary arts program at Noble High School; the men and women of the American Legion; the Masons; School Administrative District 60’s Betty and Sandy, who go above and beyond, and the many caring individuals all came forward to help in so many ways.

We would also like to thank our crafters and shoppers for so willingly making the day possible. Without them, there would be no craft fair.

This event could not take place without your devotion. We thank you all. Your combined efforts will make it a more comfortable winter for many of our residents.

The Neighborly Craft Fair Committee is still accepting donations (P.O. Box 515, North Berwick, ME 03906). During this holiday, please remember your neighbors.

A heartfelt “thank you” and Merry Christmas to all!

Rindy Hilton

on behalf of The Neighborly Craft Fair Committee

North Berwick