Since the two kayakers were lost off Ram Island, I have looked at most of the safety advice available on the Internet.

There are so many items that potential users of that information may tire of reading those long lists of things that probably won’t happen. Yet the following three items that I think are also quite important didn’t appear in my search.

1. Make sure that neither wind, waves, nor tide can take your vessel off the beach. The surest way is to tie it to some reliable shore item. Even on small treeless places like Ram Island, there are bushes.

Once, my untied dinghy, upside down and its bow on grass a foot above the beach, was carried away by an unusually high tide that did not reach the grass.

Fortunately, the dinghy caught on a ledge I could wade to that was only waist-deep.

2. Be aware that, in a lively wind, a light kayak, especially if floating high and nearly dry, may travel too fast for a swimmer to catch it.

3. Be aware that all the water filling the huge area inside Casco Bay’s islands must exit through the small openings between islands.

So it goes at considerable speed, especially during the about three hours midway between high and low tide, sometimes faster than one can swim against it.

We saw proof of that in a powerboat somewhat south of Ram Island, our progress being considerably slowed by the outgoing tidal current there.

Another time, off Little Chebeague, we started to the aid of a swimmer seen being swept parallel to the Long Island shore as fast as another person on the beach could keep abreast of the swimmer.

That person luckily made it ashore before we got there.

Richard B. Innes


Bishop’s view on climate welcome and appropriate


Bishop Richard Malone’s column on the environment (Maine Voices July 24) is most timely — considering the many misgivings about climate change.

The Press Herald is praised for printing it, realizing the topic is most controversial. It is hard to believe that all of the dramatic and often tragic swings in our weather patterns (almost universal) are due solely to cyclical factors.

I wonder how many more studies will be required before we move forward on this vital matter.

Of equal if not more importance is the reminder that the patterns of consumption, lifestyles, and production practices associated with the advanced nations, results in massive exploitation of our finite natural resources.

Recognition is given to the fact that as members of this great nation, we do not feel any great impact from the misuse of Mother Earth.

However, our brothers and sisters in the third world regions do, and their future looks even more bleak.

Is it not time for each of us and our policy decision makers to give more serious consideration to increase our effectiveness as stewards of Creation?

Neil D. Michaud


Ogunquit should give bars benefit of doubt in close call


In throws to a base in baseball, the overriding rule for umpires is to favor the runner. Officials in Ogunquit should try similar restraint.

The recent order for bartenders to wear shirts seemed hasty. Officials now wonder if they misinterpreted statutes.

But perhaps the town’s action grew out of something quite different from protecting food safety.

Recent comments from Ogunquit residents and officials reveal hostility toward gays who visit the town.

Selectman Graham Simonds expressed concern about serving alcohol outdoors, but outdoor drinking is already part of the community. Only the gay establishment Mainestreet has attracted his attention.

Resident Harriet Yaffe has no problem with “a nice outside bar.” Her definition of “nice” remains to be given, but the outside bar at Mainestreet is new construction.

The vacant deck before business hours is indeed “nice.” Apparently its clientele make it somehow not nice.

Code Enforcement Officer Paul Lempicki referred to bottles visible from the street. Since numerous Maine establishments do likewise, it seems doubtful the state prohibits this practice.

In Ogunquit’s municipal code, I can find no bottle guidelines. Is Lempicki creating his own code against one gay bar?

Every complaint about Mainestreet in this controversy is contradicted by current practice throughout Ogunquit.

The tone of recent comments reveals a wish for gays to disappear, so that, according to Yaffe, “children passing by don’t have to be subjected to the type of image” portrayed by gays in a social environment.

Ogunquit should immediately repeal its edict against shirtless bartenders. Then it should apologize as the town manager has suggested.

But after that, the big work should begin — the work of determining how officials can respond to phobia and bigotry without allowing it into policy.

It’s time for people to learn constructive ways to deal with their discomfort. They should start by looking inward.

Ralph Baldwin


Post columnist took odd view of ‘scripted presidency’


Re the Forum page column by The Washington Post’s David Iganatius on July 26, “Time to write off the scripted presidency.”

I read with interest Ignatius’s view of the “scripted presidency” of President Obama. He states that Obama “doesn’t do many unscripted interviews” and that “Obama avoids open ended sessions.”

Curiously, he does not mention the unprecedented session President Obama had when he appeared before a retreat of House Republicans and answered questions for an hour.

It was not scripted, and it was before an audience guaranteed to ask the most difficult questions about the widest range of issues. The session was televised for all to see.

Nor does he mention how many of the audiences before whom President George W. Bush appeared were preselected to restrict persons opposed to his policies, eliminate the toughest questions about his policies and allow him to stay on message.

Surely both of these should have been mentioned in a commentary about “the scripted presidency.”

Sharon Landry



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