June 22, 2013

Letters to the editor: Though charming, sidewalks a hazard

I recently visited Montpelier, Vt., and couldn't resist comparing it with Portland.

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Portland's sidewalks are certainly picturesque, but not enough to compensate for the risk of being injured in a fall on the "ragged brick," a reader says.

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Since my move to Portland three years ago, I have been charmed by its historic buildings and rich cultural offerings. Montpelier has those as well. Both have excellent restaurants.

Montpelier, however, won in the safe sidewalk category, having level cement sidewalks, unmarred by frost heaves or tree roots.

I was able to walk throughout the city in spite of being still in recovery from a broken leg suffered when I fell on a ragged brick sidewalk here in Portland.

For me, and the many like me who have been injured in falls on uneven bricks, nothing is picturesque enough to compensate. I hope that soon Portland policymakers will put safety and common sense above the superficial and replace ragged brick with safe, level sidewalks.

Leona Trinin

Portland

Push for lawmakers to back humane poultry conditions

It is a rare occurrence when animal rights groups and big agribusinesses can work together to promote a mutually agreed-upon goal.

The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers are working to promote the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments for 2013. This bill will improve the living conditions of millions of our country's egg-laying chickens.

Currently, hens used for industrial egg production live in squalor confinements known as "battery cages." The extremely cramped conditions of these inhumane cages do not even provide enough room for the hens to open their wings, leading to physical deformities and psychosis.

The proposed bill would require more humane treatment of egg-laying hens, including phasing out conventional cages with new, enriched cages that are nearly double the old size; prohibiting cruel forced-molting practices; and requiring veterinarian-approved standards of euthanasia.

There is already overwhelming support for this bill from numerous animal welfare groups that have agreed to work in conjunction with the United Egg Producers to improve the lives of nearly 300 million hens currently confined in battery cages.

But our U.S. senators and representatives from Maine need to hear our voices of concern to seal the fate of this bill.

Please contact Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree and urge them to co-sponsor S. 820/H.R. 1731, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013. Their contact information is available at humanesociety.org.

Heather Bolint

Damariscotta

Maine mining expert missing from Bald Mountain debate

Over the past several months there has been great debate about mining Bald Mountain. I find it curious and appalling that nowhere in all the media have I found the name of John S. Cummings mentioned.

For those who don't know, Mr. Cummings was the one who discovered the Bald Mountain deposits in 1977. On Jan. 7, 1980, the Maine Legislature recognized him for his discovery of the Bald Mountain deposit, which is the only world-class copper and zinc deposit ever found in New England.

A native of Auburn, he is alive and well now and living in Texas. Mr. Cummings is a brilliant geologist who has written several books in his chosen field. One of them describes in detail his innovative geochemical system, which resulted in the discovery of Bald Mountain and several other deposits in Maine.

Mr. Cummings obviously has a world of knowledge about mining not just in Maine, but also in the United States. It is hard to believe that he has not been recognized or consulted during this new interest in mining Bald Mountain.

For instance, one of the big concerns among citizens that constantly comes up is whether to mine using the open-pit method or underground. Mr. Cummings opposes open-pit mining because it would greatly increase the likelihood of serious environmental problems.

I'm sure the citizens of Maine are totally unaware there is a nationally recognized geologist, a native of Maine, who discovered the Bald Mountain deposit.

This expert on the whole area has never been contacted to offer far more information and expertise than anyone else could possibly have. Nor has his name even been mentioned during this rebirth of mining Bald Mountain.

Janis M. Cross

Hallowell 

Don't blame immigrants for our economic troubles

Christopher Reimer's anti-immigrant rant ("Another View: Frank overlooks immigration's cost to average American," May 31) is deeply troubling.

Sadly, his voice is not a lone voice. This country has a history of people blaming immigrants for economic troubles during hard times.

This, however, does not excuse the hateful and unjustified accusations contained in Mr. Reimer's guest editorial.

I am an English teacher who works with the immigrants Mr. Reimer attacks. His sweeping generalizations are far from the truth.

It is easy to denigrate and categorize people you do not know, and, contrary to Mr. Reimer's rhetoric, the immigrants I know are not low-skilled criminals, lawbreakers and trespassers who are destroying the fabric of our culture.

My students have written stories and essays, and I am sending along a publication of these stories that I encourage the Press Herald to post online.

I hope that Mr. Reimer and others who hold a similar position as his might read these stories and realize the error in their thinking.

Sharing stories helps unite and bring people together. It is one way of building community, and community -- people working together to solve problems -- is our best hope for the future.

The legacy of hate that Mr. Reimer perpetuates, though present throughout history, does not help solve economic problems.

Instead, it is positive human capacities such as compassion, tolerance, diligence, innovation and love that have been, and will remain, the path to a better world and an improved economy.

Bo Hewey

Portland

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