March 12, 2010

MONDAY OPINIONReaders peck away at chicken issues

— I was happy to hear that the Portland ordinance passed and that people will be able to raise chickens in the city (''Portland rescinds its chicken ban -- but it's hens only, no roosters,'' Feb. 19).

click image to enlarge

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer... Chickens forage in a chicken run attached to a coop in the backyard of the Gaven family in South Portland on Friday, February 13, 2009.

With the way the economy is and the price of food, this will assist many families that need help. But wait! We can't help families out without the city tacking on $25 for the privilege?

That wouldn't be American. Maybe they could deduct the $25 from our property tax bills. Or force each family to give up two eggs a week.

Or maybe the city can hire a chicken inspector.

Margo Lodge-Seven Oakes

Peaks Island

While I was delighted to see staff writer Ray Routhier's article on raising chickens (''Bawk this way,'' March 1), I was very disappointed to see the story end with a recommendation that people buy chicken feed with antibiotics in it.

This is totally unnecessary, and it is the very reason why we grow our own chickens, so that we can get away from medicated food.

We have no problems with sick birds because they get fresh water and fresh air every day. They got outside on all but the stormiest winter days.

Their feed is certified organic, and we give them vegetable scraps. We keep their coops clean.

Chickens don't need medicated food any more than humans do, if they are properly cared for.

Bob Howe

and Kathy Coleman

Bridge Farm


If jailing innocent is wrong,

why did it happen long ago?

Columnist Bill Nemitz quotes Capt. Vern Malloch of the South Portland police as saying that even ''10 minutes is too long'' for an innocent person to be jailed (''Selling art that will set people free,'' March 5).

Dennis Dechaine is now in his 21st year of life imprisonment for a crime that the totality of the evidence says he did not commit.

How would the judge who denied Dechaine's request for DNA testing; the detectives who gave false testimony; the prosecutor who misled the jury by claiming there were no other suspects; the former deputy attorney general who ordered the incineration of potential DNA evidence; the journalists who have never bothered to look at the attorney general's files; and the present deputy attorney general who claims that DNA from under a thumbnail which excludes Dechaine is of no significance, while preparing to prosecute a case based on just such evidence, respond if they were all wrongfully locked up for even 10 minutes?

I think we know.

William Bunting


Academy Award speeches uttered words from God

God spoke through Sean Penn's best-actor Academy Award acceptance speech, in the midst of all that money-driven, glitzy garbage (God often gets our attention in strange ways).

And God spoke in another speech to ''all the gay and lesbian kids out there,'' proclaiming through TVs all over the world that no matter who says otherwise, ''God does love you!''

In a Feb. 23 article, ''Milk'' writer Dustin Lance Black offered an impassioned tribute to Harvey Milk, the pioneering gay politician whose slaying was the topic of the movie.

''If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he would want me to say to all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told they are less-than by the churches, by the government, by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderfu1 creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you, and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours,'' Black said.

I have an image in my mind that I can't get rid of: that all truly religious people -- whether or not they belong to a worshiping community -- will mail a letter to the editor using many of the same words and ideas that Black spoke.

Wouldn't it be amazing to see a page full of that? Gays and lesbians, God does love you!

Elliot Burton


Marie Tupper still not treated well by church

The Marie Tupper story has kind of found its way out of the Press Herald recently. How unfortunate. Marie was looking for a meeting with Bishop Richard Malone to discuss steps the diocese could take to protect children, and to explain to the bishop the effects of sexual abuse of children.

He at first refused to meet with her and then changed his mind after public pressure forced his hand. It should never have reached that point. He offered a ''pastoral'' meeting, meaning he would counsel her: It seems that he could use a little counseling himself.

And as a contact person between the bishop and Marie (why would he need one?), Bishop Malone chose Sister Rita Mae Bissonette, a person currently named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit for covering up the abuses of Fr. Raymond Melville.

Could anything be more inappropriate or insensitive? Marie Tupper aside, how does he think other victims/survivors feel? I would guess that they would think thrice before coming to him for his ''pastoral'' care.

I ask Bishop Malone to ''Do the right thing'' in all ways when it comes to clergy sexual abuse. This includes putting a complete list of abusers on the diocesan Web site, complete with pictures and history of assignments, the number of allegations and where they are currently living.

This step would cost nothing and would go a long way towards protecting the currently unsuspecting neighbors.

Harvey Paul

Director, Maine chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests


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