The new Maine law to “preserve” historical documents may accomplish the opposite. I am a book collector. If I pay $300 for a book, I will take care of it. When it leaves me it will go to a dealer or collector who understands its market value. He or she will take care to preserve their investment.

The reason original copies of the Declaration of Independence are rare is not because few were printed. The towns and cities where the original broadsides were sent either threw them away or used the back to add up tax bills. Only individuals who cherished them seem to have passed them down.

Where are the copies that were posted in the then-major port of Freeport? How about Falmouth? Alfred? Have any of the towns and cities incorporated prior to 1776 retained their copies?

Do our lawmakers really think an overworked, underpaid clerk is going to have the knowledge and motivation to care properly for documents the town paid nothing for? Are the towns going to provide the funding to keep these documents in a humidity-controlled or oxygen-free environment? Will they maintain that funding year after year, for decades or even centuries?

Maine has a state government that allowed a suspension bridge to corrode into uselessness through lack of maintenance. What does that say about state government’s long-term ability to care for our history?

The collector who coughed up hundreds of thousands of dollars for a document will spend the extra few thousand, if only to protect his investment. Will the taxpayers?

Chuck Shaw


Animal shelter applauded for helping the homeless


I want to applaud the generosity and thoughtfulness of the Animal Refuge League and Oxford Street Shelter in their efforts to help the homeless folks with veterinary care for their dogs. These folks usually do not have anyone other than their dogs, which they love, but may have a difficult time financing their dogs’ medical needs. It is wonderful to have the shelters step forward and give them this support.

I have personally adopted a few dogs from the Animal Refuge League and have seen the love and dedication the staff has for the animals in their care.

It is hoped that the public will also donate to help this very worthy cause.

Donald Delisle

Government may be right to hold illegal immigrant


The Press Herald of July 14 carried two articles about immigration that I found quite ironic. In one, Dean Franks, who along with his wife was denied an extension of his E-2 status and can no longer run his restaurant in Wells, is quoted as saying “everyone knows it is easy to stay illegally but I don’t want to do that.” The Franks have had to leave the country.

The other article is about Mohammed Shafiz Rahman, who had no such qualms. A Pakistani national, living and working illegally in the Portland area, he was an acquaintance of the Times Square bomber. The article said a judge revoked Rahman’s bail “pending an investigation of possible criminal charges.”

What possible criminal charges might there be, other than aiding and abetting a terrorist, which his attorney states he is completely innocent of?

Well, for starters, Mr. Rahman might have lied on his I-9, a form he is supposed to complete when working in the United States. Misrepresenting facts on this form can lead to imprisonment. Press reports say that he was previously married and divorced. Authorities may be investigating possible visa fraud in this marriage or his current one.

Why lock him up if there is no evidence of terrorist activity on his part? To be on the safe side, why not, if the investigation is not over. Moreover, only about 50 percent of illegal aliens show up for their deportation hearings. The government argues that he is a flight risk.

His attorney disagrees, but it is a fact that Mr. Rahman’s wife did not file a petition to sponsor him for a green card until after the Times Square bomber was caught.

Contrary to the vociferous protestations of a Pakistani diplomatic official, Mr. Rahman’s legal trouble is not “a simple immigration case.”

Michael Guignard
Retired Foreign Service officer
Alexandria, Va.


I just finished reading the article about the Franks, the British couple from Wells who are being required to leave the country. This is so unfair! But the icing on the cake was the fact that the State Department admitted they made their decision on faulty numbers, but would not reconsider it.

Why are these people being told to leave, while we “must” allow unproductive people who are here illegally to have all the “rights” of citizenship? They worked hard and played by the rules, and this is what happens!

What if this were a question of health care and the government bureaucrats made a mistake and denied care? Think about it!

Nancy Dipretoro
South Portland


Sens. Snowe and Collins do right thing on reform


A bright light shone in Maine and D.C. when two of the three Republican votes in favor of passing the financial reform bill came from our own senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

These women continue to be at the forefront of issues important to citizens with an impact on how government shapes our daily lives. They are my heroes of the day, expressing what is in the hearts of Mainers who are tired of advantages, injustice, corruption and corporate greed. The world of politics is a constant compromise, but these senators do not compromise at the price of the citizens.

The bill encompasses a sweeping gamut of new laws and restrictions for credit card and mortgage loaners along with more consumer protections. The legislation will establish oversight of the Vegas-style investment games of hedge funds and derivatives, impose new restrictions on credit rating agencies and give shareholders a say in corporate affairs.

Our senators take no prisoners and I sincerely thank them.

Susan Johnson