March 2, 2013

Letters to the editor: Tar sands oil poses serious risks

(Continued from page 1)

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People march to the Maine State Pier in Portland in January during a rally protesting tar sands oil.

2013 File Photo/Gregory Rec

Ask yourself, what would Amazon have done in this situation?

In January, I placed an order with Longfellow Books for 27 copies of "Children of the Dust Bowl." For some of my students, this would be the first time they had ever completed a book.

This saga of the "Okie" migration to California, their struggles to start a new life despite poverty and discrimination, and their determination to build a school for the migrant children is inspirational for adult learners, many of them immigrants.

Then fate intervened.

By the end of January, only half the order had arrived at the bookstore on Monument Square. As the days went by, my frustration grew: Was it the fault of the shipper? The publisher? The bookstore staff who didn't stay on top of the order?

In the end, it didn't matter who was to blame; my lesson plans were slowly disintegrating in the face of this interminable delay.

Then I was told the other 15 would arrive on Feb. 8 -- the day the megastorm started. I consoled myself that I could retrieve them, assuming FedEx had conquered snowdrifts, on Sunday or Monday and still salvage the semester's assignments.

Saturday evening, I learned of pipes bursting and extensive water damage at Longfellow Books. "Closed indefinitely" read the website. Crap.

Sunday morning, the phone rang. It was co-owner Chris Bowe. "Where's Waterville Street? We're bringing you the books you ordered."

So to the Portland firefighters who salvaged so many books and to the Longfellow staff for its dedication to customers in the face of disaster, thank you!

Let the beautiful friendship Portland has enjoyed over the last decade with our locally owned bookstore continue. It's our turn to return the favor.

Elizabeth Miller


Licensing would hold contractors accountable

In the paper on Feb. 4, I read a letter to the editor concerning contractors in Maine ("State must hold contractors accountable") and the state's current lack of ability, or lack of desire, to hold them accountable for their apparently not-so-uncommon incompetent and/or unfair trade acts of practice to the detriment of the general public.

When individuals throughout our nation are seeking to live the so-called "American Dream," where others do not live up to their God-given and state-approved duty to provide for others, taking accountability becomes part of that duty.

Gov. LePage was heard discussing in his State of the State speech the notion of working with people accordingly, where he did not condone individuals doing things for their own best interest "for personal financial gain."

Here is where licensing becomes the practical formality for contractors in the state of Maine, where those individuals providing services for others are held accountable and need to take responsibility for mischievous acts of at least unkindness to other human beings.

Greg Stacy


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