I would love to know why many dog owners feel it necessary to bring their pets to stores with them? I have witnessed many pooches at Target, Walmart, Shaw’s and Hannaford over the last year or so and I would really like to know when it became OK to bring pets shopping with you.

I certainly understand service animals, but not a Jack Russell terrier puppy sitting in the cart while the owner shops, and not a bulldog that is being carried into the grocery store while the owner grabs a few things.

I am not a dog hater. There are laws in place for a reason, but many dog owners are ignoring them and ignoring leash laws as well. I have a son with autism who is terrified of dogs, no matter the size.

I live very close to the Greenbelt in South Portland but am unable to walk or ride bikes on the path with my son because the leash law is not being enforced. He gets very nervous and upset when he sees dogs that are not leashed.

Publics parks in my area have become the same way. I’m only asking for a little common courtesy and some respect for those who do not feel comfortable around dogs.

So, when you go shopping, leave your dog at home. They do not belong in the store with you. And please use your leash when out for a walk. My son and I would greatly appreciate it.

Aleta Sellick

South Portland

MMC doctor shouldn’t be so skeptical of PANDAS 

My son developed Pediatric Autoimmune Disorders Associated with Streptococcus, or PANDAS, after an untreated strep infection. I take exception with the opinion of Dr. Stephen Rioux of Maine Medical Center (“A mother’s book explores her son’s medical mystery,” June 1) who remains unconvinced of its existence.

I’m curious to know Dr. Rioux’s views on the 14 studies on the National Institute of Mental Health website supporting the case for PANDAS, including case histories, identification of specific antibodies and their effect on brain tissue, similarity to the other post- streptococcal diseases, Rheumatic Fever and Sydenham’s Chorea, and an animal model.

Dr. Susan Swedo, the senior researcher from the National Institute of Mental Health quoted in the article, believes that the time for controversy about the existence of PANDAS should be long over.

Due to the doubt physicians like Dr. Rioux foster, many parents find it nearly impossible to find treatment. In one of many such stories from our support network, a mother, in desperation when her child developed psychotic behaviors several days into a sore throat and fever, drove to a local children’s hospital. The staff denied treatment, including antibiotics for an obvious strep infection, because “PANDAS do not exist.”

In waiting for a large-scale double blind study, Dr. Rioux sets an unattainable standard, because PANDAS stems from untreated strep, something that would be unethical and unsafe to allow in a medical study.

We were fortunate that our son’s pediatrician was open to a diagnosis of PANDAS and through her we found doctors willing to treat with antibiotics and immune modulating therapies. These doctors stumbled into treating PANDAS when the children of close friends or relatives developed the disorder. Their open minds to strong if not overwhelming scientific evidence allowed them to witness incredible recoveries.

Maybe all the convincing Dr. Rioux would need would be to treat some PANDAS patients.

Alex Pantaz


Was John Richardson done in by GOP primary dirty tricks? 

Ex-President Richard M. Nixon encouraged and gave very good examples to his party in the art of “dirty trickery.” Is this a case, of “Here they go again?” as Republican icon Ronald Reagan said so often?

I believe John Richardson was the strongest Democratic candidate for Maine governor, and therefore also the prime candidate to be taken down by “dirty tricks.”

Even if his Clean Election Act request for public funding hadn’t been denied, his followers were offended by the pointing fingers and appearances of questioning volunteers’ integrity through his redoubled efforts to instruct his volunteers in proper signature-collecting methods.

His campaign would thus have been crippled by the lowering of morale levels, as well as levels of volunteer enthusiasm. Levels of cynicism would also have been increased among his campaign members generated by the accusations against him. Lose-lose for Richardson and the Democrats and win-win for the Republicans.

Could Republicans, hearing about the ethics commission’s warning about a complaint against one of his volunteer fundraisers, have decided to infiltrate the campaign with rogue volunteers or pay off volunteers to continue their rule-breaking behavior, thus leading to the denial of Clean Election funding for his campaign?

The Attorney General’s Office should investigate the possible use of “dirty tricks” to eliminate Richardson from the campaign, thus increasing all Republican candidates’ chances of election to the Maine governorship.

Will many Democrats now have lowered levels of morale, enthusiasm and increased cynicism towards this campaign? Will they skip going to the polls for the governor’s election and increase the chances of electing a Republican governor?

Not me! Democrats — get out there and vote in November for whoever wins this week’s primary. Don’t let Republicans get away with dirty tricks again — don’t let them profit again as they did so many times during Nixon’s reign (oops, presidency).

Dianne Gutscher


Portland is ‘foodie’ town, which makes it attractive 

Too bad letter writer Nancy Goodspeed (May 19, “Mealtime in Portland tasting a bit rich lately”) thinks having Portland identified as a “foodie” town is embarassing, especially when that status adds so much to the local economy in jobs and tourism.

I just spent a week in San Francisco enjoying, among other things, the local cuisine. I can’t imagine anyone in Portland wanting to turn his or her back on similar tourism dollars.

Being able to dine in great restaurants is just one more reason for visitors to come to Maine.

Being a “foodie” has nothing to do with gluttony or food fights or eating contests. Wikipedia says “Foodie is an informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink.”

That means we enjoy a well-prepared, imaginative meal, properly served and using local ingredients (from local producers, when possible) in an attractive setting.

I hope Ms. Goodspeed is wrong in her prognostication that “this too shall pass.” Being able to get a great meal at a great restaurant is part of what makes it attractive for me to drive an hour to Portland to attend a concert or an art museum.

Oops, more of that “Other Maine”?

Nadine Raley



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