I am writing to express my disappointment in the failure  of the Legislature to pass L.D. 1665, An Act to Prevent the Spread of H1N1, a bill sponsored by Senate President Libby Mitchell. It is my understanding that three attempts have been made to pass legislation to ensure paid sick days for Maine’s hard-working citizens.

This one, like the others, has failed.

It failed even though most workers in Maine already have this benefit. It failed even though most people who have the benefit do not use it and certainly do not abuse it. It failed even though, contrary to popular belief, it would save businesses money. It failed despite the fact that it would save money in medical costs and expensive emergency room care.

This bill would have provided security for many of our most financially precarious workers. Getting sick is inevitable. Being able to attend to this issue without worry of losing your job, house and paying your bills should be everyone’s right. Not to mention the fact that staying home when ill, something we were all urged to do by the CDC this year, helps stem the spread of infectious illness.

While this bill makes sense to help stop the spread of illness, to save businesses money and to create financial security for workers, the biggest benefit of this bill is that it provides workers with dignity and respect as people in the workplace.

I think that we need to take a serious look at why we believe that 64 percent of the population deserves paid sick time but the remaining 36 percent do not. Likely, this 36 percent are people in service jobs making close to minimum wage. Don’t they have a greater need for this benefit?


Kelly West


Lyme disease threat deserves our attention 

Thank you for Deirdre Fleming’s article, “Lyme disease could soar this year,” on April 4. The number of Lyme disease cases has been increasing every year for a long time, so it should come as no surprise that we are having an explosion of cases now.

Maine is repeating the history of other states that have had ticks long before we did. As a registered nurse who has been facilitating support groups and has worked at the national level on Lyme disease, I and other advocates have been trying to get more attention from the Maine CDC and our physicians in the attempt to teach protection methods for this preventable disease, and to get early diagnosis and treatment.

According the Maine CDC’s legislative report on Lyme disease, only 43 percent of those who were reported for surveillance purposes had the hallmark expanding red rash. We need to let people know that they don’t have to have a rash or see the tick to have Lyme disease as part of the differential diagnosis.


In particular, look for flu-like symptoms when it is not flu season. Missing early Lyme disease leads to persistent Lyme disease where everything becomes much more complicated and controversial.

We will be at the governor’s office for the signing of L.D. 1709, An Act to Enhance Public Awareness of Lyme Disease, introduced by Rep. Edward Legg, D-Kennebunk, on Wednesday.

May is Lyme disease awareness month! Again, thank you for bringing attention to this emerging epidemic.

Constance Dickey, R.N.


An ex-Angel not worthy of Page 1 on Easter Sunday 


However interesting a headline (“Maine in-laws see ex-Angel in a new light,” April 4), Red Sox gossip on the front page of a Sunday paper on Easter is not worthy of top billing.

I pay for worthy news on the front page. Sports gossip belongs on the sports page.

Gilles E. Auger


Cautious approach best on use of North Woods 

We should all advance with caution when considering the future use of Maine’s North Woods.


I appreciated M.D. Harmon’s column on the issue (“Maine’s North Woods the object of many visions,” March 12). This state’s citizens should be aware that one of our greatest resources is being considered for alteration. Mr. Harmon nicely points out some important aspects to be considered in the debate over the future of Maine’s North Woods, and he does so civilly, without blasting opposing points of view.

We have something here in the state of Maine that is unique; a nationwide image as a state rich with natural beauty. That’s natural beauty, as in n-a-t-u-r-e. Our rivers, coastline, lakes, mountains, and wooded areas combine to make Maine what it is.

To think that we must start sacrificing the purity of any of these gifts is concerning, and any actions that will cause any amount of irreversible consequences upon them should be preceded by clear and thoughtful discussion. I understand there are arguments to be made that Mainers need to use these resources differently, particularly the northern Maine woods, to improve Maine’s economy.

Consider that there is only so much use that can be gotten from the woods, and at some point they will be used up. Then what will we have? We and our successors will only be living on this planet for perhaps 90 years.

Maybe we can find ways to experience fulfilling lives without taking away from Maine’s natural beauty. Once our resources are gone, they won’t come back.

Rick Ross



Ideas are the victims when the debate is uncivil 

Thank you for the March 28 column by Charles Lawton (“Incivility in public debate undermines democracy”).

In wartime, soldiers are taught to demonize the enemy, to consider him immoral and less than human — that is, easier to kill.

That this appears to be happening here, now, in our country, is both sad and frightening. It appears it is easier to question the motives of those who disagree with us rather than to examine the possible limitations of our own beliefs and opinions.

How boring and foolish! I am beginning to feel that intelligence and character should be measured to some extent by how we think about and treat those who disagree with us. Frankly, I find I rarely learn anything when my mouth is moving or when I listen to people who agree with me.


Judi Czimbal


Jacobson has the tools to be effective governor 

I recently had the pleasure of accompanying Matt Jacobson on a two-day tour of Aroostook County, and after spending a considerable amount of time with him, I am convinced he has all the tools to be an effective leader and job producer as the next governor of our great state.

When crafting the job description of the next chief executive officer of the state of Maine, I would want a person who has admirably served our country in the armed forces, has successfully run and expanded a Maine business in a highly regulated and unionized industry, recognized what it took to attract jobs to Maine and has in fact actually done so, and who is just a regular person with tons of integrity who cares for his family and fellow citizens.

I would also add a footnote to this job description that “previous political experience is not a plus.”


I have just described Matt Jacobson and I can’t think of a better time for Maine to have someone of Matt’s caliber working for us. Matt Jacobson has the whole package and will be a governor who will produce results for Maine citizens.

Brian N. Hamel

Presque Isle 

Cartoon on guns at Acadia just another cheap shot 

I have tried, but I can’t think of an adjective sufficiently negative to describe my impression of the March 6 editorial cartoon by Steve Meyers depicting a cowboy shooting a squirrel in Acadia National Park.

The cartoon was ridiculous and just one more cheap shot at law-abiding gun owners, which is all too common among editorial commentators.

Tony Chiappone



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