March 15, 2010

Veterans, bikes, casino, ads

— Michaud's work for rural vets

The rural nature of Maine has led to the creation of an innovative way to treat veterans.

Rather than maintain a single, central medical facility, the VA has opened clinics around the state. These Community Based Outreach Clinics are located in places like Lincoln, where 1,000 veterans are using the services, Calais, Caribou, Houlton and Rumford, as well as in larger service centers like Bangor and Lewiston-Auburn. The Houlton and Caribou clinics are linked with the town's regional hospital, a connection U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud believes should be replicated in other rural settings.

He also is championing what he calls research and development work for veteran care, which could benefit both veterans and the local economy.

Rep. Michaud is exploring the possibility of working with Husson University to create a site where dentures could be manufactured in Bangor for veterans all across the country.

While veterans are a minority of our population, serving their health needs should be a high priority for the rest of us, and Rep. Michaud understands this.

— Bangor Daily News, Sept. 19

Cyclists welcome

The state got good news on the rankings front this week when the League of American Bicyclists named Maine the sixth most bicycle-friendly state in the nation.

This is one of those lists that we like being at the top of (as opposed to the ''Highest Taxed States List,'' for example).

Maine got the high ranking because our driver's manual lists the rights and responsibilities of cyclists and we have a statewide mountain biking plan.

The good news is, in large part, due to the hard work of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. That's the group of die-hard folks who, when they're not sweating into their spandex (and sometimes when they are) they're pounding the Statehouse halls trying to get laws passed that make life easier for Maine's growing community of cyclists. Last year, for example, they got lawmakers to pass legislation requiring drivers to give cyclists three feet of clearance when passing.

Maine could move higher up on the list by providing more bike lanes, promoting bicycle tourism and even pulling together and mapping a statewide system of bike routes.

— Kennebec Journal, Sept. 20

Casino vision muddy

Olympia Gaming's emergence behind an Oxford County casino addresses one question plaguing this campaign: ''Who else beside Seth Carey is Evergreen Mountain Enterprises?''

The answer is nobody.

Carey's troubles have forced his departure - again - but this time by Olympia, which has bought his company and retained, as their spokesperson, someone whose contempt for Carey is all-too apparent: Pat LaMarche.

Olympia Gaming purchased Carey's business, but whether it has bought into his casino idealism is unknown. In its record of gaming developments, Olympia's casino philosophy has been much different than Carey's.

If Olympia discards Carey's casino vision, it will break two years of promises. All claims made so far - including those in the law printed on the November ballot - must be considered discarded, too.

Which cleans the slate for the entire campaign, because until Tuesday, it was nothing but promises, anyway.

— Lewiston Sun Journal, Sept. 18

Who's misleading whom?

The Fed Up With Taxes coalition recently launched a radio ad with the theme: ''Yes means reject!''

The ad opens with a male speaker expressing his frustration over the tax burden as levied by ''Augusta.'' A female speaker chimes in to echo those sentiments. The pair engages in a conversation that reveals the male speaker's confusion about whether a ''yes'' or ''no'' vote would send the signal that Mainers are fed up with taxes.

The female speaker explains that ''yes means reject,'' to which the male responds, ''Trying to confuse us, huh?''

Huh? Who's trying to confuse whom?

The folks who sponsor the ad are the same people who came up with the wording for the ballot question. Are they confused by their own words?

In this case, implying subterfuge on the part of the taxes' sponsors and supporters stretches beyond disingenuous and enters the realm of blatant dishonesty.

— The Times Record, Sept. 23

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