April 27, 2013

Letters to the editor: Ex-coach successful by any standard

(Continued from page 1)

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The University of Maine made a mistake by firing hockey coach Tim Whitehead, a reader says.

2013 Press Herald File Photo/Gordon Chibroski

Mike Gagnon

Old Orchard Beach

Timing prevented bombing from exacting greater toll

I have run the Boston Marathon 19 times and later served as a volunteer for the Boston Athletic Association, checking runners at various checkpoints to establish their official times.

On April 13, I went to Boston to meet old friends and other runners with whom to share the big weekend celebration.

That Saturday, the Convention Center on Boylston Street was jammed with runners, some there to pick up their number for Monday's race and to visit the many booths that displayed and sold shoes, books, T-shirts and memorabilia of the marathon.

There were thousands jammed into the hall, many of them wearing or carrying backpacks.

A bomb, easily planted, when detonated in that crowd would have killed or maimed several hundred -- and probably more than a thousand.

Had such an explosion occurred, it would have served to cancel the race and to achieve the devastation of 9/11.

Thankfully, the people who carried out the attack did not carry out their cruel plan two days before, when the human devastation would have been unbelievable.

Thank God we were spared what might have been.

John H. Linscott


PUC chief shouldn't make decision on water contract

Last August, Nestle Waters/Poland Spring and the Fryeburg Water Co. submitted an agreement for approval to the Maine Public Utilities Commission to expand Nestle's groundwater extraction enterprise in Fryeburg.

This unprecedented 25-year contract, with four five-year rollover extensions, allows Nestle exclusive rights to Fryeburg Water's spring water source and for leasing the entire Portland Road pumping station.

The agreement guarantees Nestle will pay the same rate for its bulk water extraction as all other Fryeburg Water Co. customers.

It contains no provision to study the effects of the extraction or to ensure sustainability and exempts Nestle from any damage it causes the aquifer.

This agreement grossly favors Nestle over other Fryeburg Water Co. customers and brings into question whether PUC commissioners are unbiased in making this decision.

Commissioner Mark Vannoy has recused himself because of his prior work on Nestle/Poland Spring's behalf; Chairman Thomas Welch won't.

Welch was chairman of the PUC from 2003 to 2005. He then worked at the Pierce Atwood law firm, where he took on the task of the Nestle/Poland Spring and Fryeburg Water Co. restructuring in 2007 and 2008, specifically advising Nestle how best to maneuver it through the Maine PUC.

In 2011, Welch was reappointed to the PUC and is now deciding this case.

A public hearing on the Nestle/Poland Spring and Fryeburg Water Co. agreement will be held at the PUC office in Hallowell on May 7.

I encourage those in Maine who care about our groundwater to attend and tell Chairman Welch that his work on behalf of Nestle/Poland Spring disqualifies him from being an impartial decision maker for this contract.

For more information, go to https://mpuc-cms.maine.gov/CQM.Public.WebUI/External Home.aspx, docket No. 2012-00487.

Denise Penttila


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