Thursday, December 5, 2013
Woe be unto you if you try to hold to 40 mph (the posted speed limit) while crossing the Casco Bay Bridge. You'll be passed by irate motorists who know that 55 or, better yet, 60 mph is what you do.
Going the posted speed limit on the new Veterans Memorial Bridge in Portland will imperil your life, says a reader who questions why we bother investing in signs if no one is going to heed them.
Don't even think about driving at 35 mph (the posted speed limit) on outer Congress Street. You'll have more cars tailgating you than you could ever imagine possible -- all seeking to maintain the true limit of (at a minimum) 45 mph.
And if you want to be flattened like a soda can under an 18-wheeler's tires, try holding to 35 mph (the posted speed limit) while crossing the new Veterans Memorial Bridge. Fifty-five mph will earn you the "slowpoke" award. Sixty mph will let you run with the big dogs.
My question is: If no one is paying any attention to, and no one is obeying, and no one is enforcing the speed limit laws, why are we spending time, money and energy developing, producing and placing speed limit signs?
Michael Torrusio Jr.
Collins seems hypocritical by attacking Obamacare
Sen. Susan Collins, self-proclaimed moderate, portrays herself as a champion of children with juvenile (Type 1) diabetes.
Each spring she meets with young spokespersons who have this disease, along with their parents. She has joined in the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation fundraising walks and otherwise makes good use of opportunities for publicizing her support for this chronic disease.
The Press Herald always affords her excellent coverage for these events, which make for wonderful public relations opportunities.
I wonder if she has ever thought to follow up with these folks as they become young adults. Does she know what their lives are like as they age out of their parents' health insurance, sometimes before they have finished their schooling; as they desperately try to find entry-level jobs that have health benefits; as they find themselves excluded from insurance policies because of their "pre-existing condition"?
President Obama's Affordable Care Act was the first good news in ages for these young folks, as well as those with other chronic diseases who would die without affordable access to medicines, testing equipment and health care. Being able to remain on parents' policies until age 26, doing away with exclusions for pre-existing conditions and exchanges for affordable coverage can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Imagine my surprise to read that Sen. Collins "used the Republicans' weekly address Saturday to continue her party's attacks on Obamacare" ("Washington Notebook: Collins criticizes Obamacare in GOP radio address," Aug. 5).
Even though the Republicans have never put forth any program to improve accessibility to or affordability of health care, shouldn't we be able to expect more than this rank hypocrisy from our "moderate" senator?
Gun debate should focus on limiting reloading speed
Growing up in Portland, Maine, I saw no need for anyone to have a gun. Not knowing anyone who hunted, I assumed the only reason why you would buy a gun would be to kill someone. It wasn't until I started working construction that I met respectable, hardworking citizens who not only enjoyed hunting, but relied on it as a food source.
Unfortunately, there are many sick people who use guns to kill mass numbers of people, and no matter how many background checks the government preforms, it is still too easy to get a gun. The only way to fix the problem is to stop selling guns with such big clips and rapid fire rates.
A major argument gun enthusiasts use is that it's a right to bear arms. Doesn't anyone realize that law was written when it took three minutes to reload after one shot? If we have the technology to land a machine on Mars, than we must be able to make guns that can only shoot once every three minutes. This way hunters can still use guns and no one can shoot a semi-automatic rifle at innocent citizens.
It is very depressing that we have had so many mass shootings and as a community we haven't made any reform. The only way reform can happen is to compromise on both sides.
As long as semiautomatic guns are available for the public to purchase, there will still be mass shootings. On the other hand, guns can provide affordable food for low-income families and protection for other families.
The only way we can safely have guns be legal is to stop selling semiautomatic guns, and start selling guns that take a minute between each shot.
Logging of Lowell Preserve raises concerns, questions
Virginia Lowell gave Lowell Preserve to Windham in 1999 with the understanding that it be maintained as a multiple-use recreational property. Until recently it offered nine beautifully wooded miles of trails for hiking, biking, hunting, etc.
Over the winter, signs appeared indicating "thinning" would occur to promote hemlock growth (implying future harvesting). Because I enjoy hiking at Lowell I was nervous to see these signs but hopeful the harvesting would be done well.
This spring, I went back to Lowell and found large skidder roads cutting wide swaths through the preserve.
Several areas were clear-cut, including land immediately next to a stream that feeds Highland Lake. Skidder tracks ran through this stream as well.
The damage is significant and the cutting occurred during birds' nesting periods. Much of the natural beauty of Lowell is compromised.
The parks and recreation manager, Brian Ross, says that this is a plan approved by the state. As an ecologist, I have never heard that logging in riparian areas is acceptable management practice.
This is the first of three rounds of planned "thinning." How can this devastation uphold the Lowell family's intentions?
The cost of this logging is known; the potential "profits" are not. Nor do these putative profits account for lost ecosystem services (erosion control, water filtration, etc.) that the Lowell forest has been providing for free.
I don't live in Windham, but if I did I would want to know how much money will be realized from this. How will this money benefit Windham's citizens? Are the Lowell heirs on board with this "use" of the land? Will there be any land left after this logging that can be enjoyably used for recreation?