June 27, 2012

Letters to the Editor, June 27, 2012
Parents must enforce teen drinking laws

Here we go again! ("Falmouth High championship party ends with arrests," June 19.)

click image to enlarge

A clerk checks the ID of a customer buying beer at a store in Nashville, Tenn., in 2006. Parents need to be role models of lawful behavior by refusing to host gatherings where underage drinking is going on, a reader says.

2006 File Photo/The Associated Press

Is it any wonder that we still have such an issue with underage drinking when parents believe that the best way to celebrate student accomplishments is by hosting and/or condoning a party where underage drinking is allowed to take place?

Is it any wonder that many teens do not take the laws about underage drinking seriously when we have parents who are willing to lie to the authorities in an effort to hide their poor judgment about breaking the law and putting teen lives at risk under the guise of "providing a safe place to drink"?

As a health educator, I spend a great deal of time educating students about how the messages portrayed in the media, along with pressure from peers, influence their thoughts and choices about underage drinking. Perhaps I now need to include parental behavior as one of those influences.

It is important for teens to get the message that celebrating success can be done without alcohol, especially when the law forbids it. The law is for all teens, and no one is the exception!

Teens are very impressionable and need adults, especially parents, to be positive role models who abide by the law. Teens don't need parents to be their friends. The sooner both teens and adults realize this, the closer we will be to reducing the number of incidents like these that are still happening way too often.

Parents need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Jeanne Billings

health educator, Mt. Ararat High School



Anti-tick products could be cause of surge in soft-shells


The recent reports of early lobster shedding and the resultant excess of soft-shell lobsters on the market have me worried.

During the spring and fall tick feeding seasons, many of my veterinary clients (in desperation) resort to treating their lawns with acaricides containing heavy-duty insect growth regulators.

What have ticks got to do with lobsters and soft shells? Everything. Most of the lawn care and pet products containing insect growth regulators work by inhibiting the production of chitin, the main biopolymer found in the exoskeletons of insects, arachnids, arthropods and lobsters.

Is there a connection between desperate people trying to rid their yards of ticks, the heavy spring rains and soft-shell lobsters? I hope not.

Amy Peters Wood, DVM



Summers urged to explain reasoning on PACs, politics


Angus King's thoughtful proposal asking Cynthia Dill and Charlie Summers, his principal rivals in the upcoming Senate race, to join him in an effort to forgo the benefit of out-of-state PAC money was rejected by both ("King's offer to shun super PACs dies quickly," June 14).

This is regrettable – big-money PACs are indeed, as Mr. King states, "destroying our politics." Maine Senate candidates would do well to emulate the example set by Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown in Massachusetts to attempt to limit big money's influence, especially given the state's reputation for independent thinking.

Let's examine the other candidates' reactions.

Ms. Dill's response was measured and thoughtful. She thinks King should offer a much more tightly crafted proposal, and she is right: "The devil is in the details," as she says.

But Mr. Summers' response is incredible. He thinks that a proposal to limit big money's corrupting influence on our political system is "tit-for-tat gimmickry"? He thinks such a proposal is "exactly what is wrong with Washington"?

How could a man who has been a top aide to Sen. Olympia Snowe, who has served as the regional director of the Small Business Administration and who served with such distinction in the Maine Legislature possibly make such a statement? Given his experience, he surely has seen the corrosive effects of big money first-hand.

(Continued on page 2)

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