September 21, 2013

Letters to the editor: USM could help make Maine younger

In 2011, I wrote (and the Portland Press Herald published) a letter about news of declining enrollment in the University of Maine System and notably, the University of Southern Maine ("USM's offerings unfairly overlooked," Dec. 22, 2011).

click image to enlarge

Students walk to class at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. Emphasizing USM’s ties to Portland could both bolster USM’s enrollment and attract students who’d wind up staying on and boosting the number of young people in the state, a reader says.

2010 File Photo/John Ewing

I offered a solution that would help grow the perception of USM as an integral campus of the university system by changing its name to the University of Maine, Portland.

This, I offered, would elevate the school to equality with other competing (nationwide) university systems at the state level, and further identify it as the campus in what is now known nationally and internationally as a world-class destination: Portland, Maine. Coupling the name change with this great city is a no-brainer.

Last week, the Press Herald ran an article on how the University of Maine System is down in population by more than 3 percent ("In Maine, state university enrollment falls," Sept. 12).

The same day, the paper ran a story about paying more than $300,000 to a newly created assistant position for a former school official ("Price of keeping ex-USM chief employed? $363,028").

M.D. Harmon's Sept. 13 column points out in its title, "To better serve seniors, Maine must attract more young people."

These points are interconnected. Get more young, eager-to-learn students to the Portland campus and they will fall in love with the town and maybe stay on. This must be part of a larger solution, but it is an important step.  

Balancing the student population between campuses is as simple as manipulating which campus offers greater grants.

Let's do this right, one time. It's a win-win-win solution. Let's not waste another year and another $300,000 and write another article about a failing management team who is afraid of change.

George Barber


Abusers barely punished, so abuse of dogs continues

The man accused of dragging his dog and causing her to die of heat exhaustion should be punished severely if he is convicted ("Fairfield man pleads not guilty in dog's death," Sept. 12). 

If he did what he is accused of doing, he would be a low and rotten excuse for a human being, and what he allegedly did should be treated seriously.

One of the main reasons why the abuse, neglect, torture and murder of innocent dogs continues all over this country is that those who commit these horrible acts are ignored or accepted in some parts of the country, and in the rest of our country, they are let off with a fine or a slap on the wrist.

Lawyers and others who see fit to allow this to continue are every bit as guilty as those lowlifes who commit these heinous acts. People who actually get paid to perpetrate the abuse and murder of dogs are in some ways sicker than those whom we usually would call "guilty."

Dogs have no voice except their cries of pain.

I have no doubts that a day will come when the laws and lawmakers of our time will be looked back on as barbaric. At some point, someone will have the guts to take a step toward putting an end to it. 

Until then, the most innocent and trusting creatures among us, those that ask only for our companionship, care and love, will continue to suffer and die.

Karen Tanguay


'Made in America' credit would help fuel recovery

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