July 18, 2013

Letters to the editor: Cottage could be haven for writers

In "Silent Spring," Rachel Carson wrote: "In nature nothing exists alone," an indisputable truth that deflates this comment ("Wildlife refuge weighs future of historic Biddeford cottage," July 10) by a neighbor of Timber Point Cottage at the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Biddeford: "This is a wildlife refuge. To me, that's a place for nature and not for people."

click image to enlarge

Visitors take a tour of the buildings at Timber Point in the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Biddeford. Allowing Timber Point Cottage to be a writers colony would be a tribute to Carson, an inspirational and gifted writer, a reader says.

2013 File Photo/Derek Davis

Carson also wrote about the people factor in communion with nature: "To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be."

Carson was a writer of exquisite sensibility. Why not dedicate the Timber Point Cottage to become a year-round writers colony (ideally Maine writers) because Maine does not have one?

For arts and crafts, Deer Isle, Maine, has the Haystack Mountain School. Rockport and Waterville are home to annual film festivals. For chamber music, Blue Hill boasts Kneisel Hall. The Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Hancock is revered around the world. The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture attracts stellar talent.

What better tribute to the literary impact Carson's writing had upon our culture than for Timber Cottage to provide a refuge for writers, not an endangered species, but an artistic species somewhat overlooked in Maine?

An ideal setting to understand Carson's vision: "In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth."

Albert H. Black



Lawmakers fail to accord recruiters fairness, respect

As former state legislators, we know that most bills are passed in Augusta with wide bipartisan support. The bill to help military recruiters, which recently failed in the Maine House, should have been one of them.

It simply provided that military recruiters should be given the same access to high schools as other recruiters, and that schools can't prohibit them from wearing their uniforms during visits.

House Democrats, like our own Sanford Reps. Anne-Marie Mastraccio and William Noon, voted against the bill because they didn't believe the recruiters. Berwick's Rep. Joshua Plante was also a very vocal opponent.

If our service members approach the Maine Department of Education and say they're being given a hard time and seek a reasonable remedy, they deserve the benefit of the doubt, especially when the proposed bill won't affect schools that are already treating the military with fairness and respect.

Recruiters named Noble and Wells high schools, among others, as being overly restrictive. For example, according to the recruiters, Noble allowed only one recruiter visit per year, and that could be only to check the brochure display rack.

They said that Portland and Yarmouth at times prohibited military recruiters from wearing their uniforms. (The schools have denied this.)

These actions are absolutely shameful. We sincerely hope they are not widespread, but even one school telling one soldier he can't wear his uniform is one school too many.

Equally important, many of our young people need the career opportunities and values that these men and women in uniform are offering. Apparently some of our local legislators don't realize this is a significant opportunity for graduating students.

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