August 19, 2013

Letters to the editor: Enforce dog ordinance – don't alter it

I am a property owner at Higgins Beach. My husband and I enjoy the area very much, especially being able to walk our dogs off-leash during the summer hours before 9 a.m.

click image to enlarge

An adult plover stands close by a nesting plover chick. The killing of a chick by an unleashed dog on Scarborough’s Pine Point Beach has prompted the town to propose leashing all beachgoing dogs during plover nesting season.

Photo by Amanda Reed/Maine Audubon

Now I have heard that the Town Council is looking into changing the ordinance ("Scarborough moving to keep dogs leashed on beaches," Aug. 9). I don't understand how they can change the ordinance when they don't even enforce the present one.

In fact, we have walked our dogs on-leash after 5 p.m. and have seen a few people with their dogs off-leash, and the animal control officer is nowhere to be found, let alone the police.

After speaking to these dog owners, the majority of whom are not from the Scarborough area, we have found that most are not aware of the leash law. Only two signs are on Higgins Beach to inform people of the ordinance.

With proper education and enforcement of the present ordinance, there would be no need to make a stricter ordinance. Education can begin by posting signs at all of the entrances onto the beach so people can see them and having the landlords include informational brochures for the summer renter in each cottage.

And enforcement can start by issuing fines to the people who disobey the law. The town seems to have no problem with ticketing the surfers -- let's do the same to the dog owners who seem to think that the law does not apply to them!

Cheryl LaRou


Whatever breakup's cause, divorce still hits kids hard

Thank you for Kelley Bouchard's Aug. 13 article on divorce rates in Maine ("Maine has hit a rough patch on divorce rate"). 

From children's point of view, it doesn't matter if the divorce is due to unemployment, lack of college education or changing religious or social values. All they know is that the security they had with two parents in the home is tossed into the air as their parents break up. 

The Kids First Center in Portland was created in 1997 to give those kids a safe place to try to understand and cope with the changes in their families, and to give parents information on how to make the family's changes easier on kids. 

Many divorcing adults don't fully grasp the fact that even after a divorce, when there are children involved, they remain in a partnership and will have to work together. They can do it well or they can do it poorly, and the kids will bear the consequences either way. 

Long-term studies of children of divorce show that when parents can put aside their conflicts and put their kids first, children can grow up to be as healthy and successful as children of intact families. Kids First gives parents and children tools they need to create a healthy post-divorce environment for kids. 

Elizabeth F. Stout, Esq.

chair, Kids First Center board of directors


Three months' severance a slight to MMC employee

I live in Vermont but have family in Portland, so I visit often and keep up with Maine news.

Maine Med just offered retirement packages to 400 employees, with 12 weeks' severance allowances. One of my family members is one of those employees, and 12 weeks' severance is pretty much a slap in the face.

After almost 40 years of dedicated service and loyalty on her part, that's the best they could come up with? An employee who gives an institution that many years of blood, sweat and tears (literally!) should get at least one week's severance pay for each year of service.

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