I read Meredith Goad’s article on the prices and other problems with farmers markets. I want to thank her for tackling the “dirty little secret” of assorted farmers markets in the area (“And another thing, those prices,” Sept 22).

It used to be, back in the day, that you went to the farmers market to buy fresh local produce at reasonable prices. Not any more! We all want local farmers to prosper and make a profit, but it is my contention that things have gotten way out of hand.

Possibly these high prices may fly in and around metropolitan areas where availability may make their products seem somewhat more reasonable (although I doubt it).

But many of my friends feel the same way that I do and have stopped patronizing them. I only go now to buy speciality items I can’t seem to find at Hannaford, like smoked items (sausages, meats) or new and interesting cheeses.

A few weeks back I paid $6 for three tomatoes! I was too embarrassed to put them down and say “no thank you.” Never again.

I think some farmers feel empowered now that the country is riding the tsunami of organic, free-range, back-to-the-land produce. They are in the process now of killing the goose that laid the golden egg. What a shame !

I thank Meredith for having the courage to bring it to the forefront.

Noting the tree-hugging culture of many who live in this state, my wish for her is that the backlash be minimal.

Jim Brown



Anti-wind letter off the mark on reserve power


Letter writer Steve Thurston obviously does not understand the concept of “spinning reserve” (“Wind will not displace other forms of power,” Sept. 19).

When extra load is suddenly added to the grid (say a big paper mill motor comes on line), or if some generating capacity is lost (a unit goes down or a transmission line goes out), you may see the effect as your lights dim and visibly flicker as the frequency is temporarily reduced by the added load or lost generation capacity until the grid can compensate by increasing the generator output of units already on line or bringing some spinning reserve on line.

Hydropower units can be spinning reserve if just enough water is passed through them to keep them turning at synchronous speed (60 cps in the United States) without being connected to the grid. Thermal units (oil, coal, or biomass, but not nukes) can be spinning reserve if just enough fuel is burned to create steam flow (or gas flow for gas turbines) to maintain the turbine spinning at synchronous speed, requiring very little fuel.

When needed in such emergencies, the spinning reserve unit is connected to the grid, and water flow (for hydro) or fuel flow (for thermal) is increased to generate the output needed to meet the demand, requiring much more fuel than the no-load spinning reserve condition.

When wind power is available, the output of wind turbines offsets the fuel that would be required in thermal units to generate the same output (the BTU equivalent of 3 kwh or more of fuel for each kwh of electricity generated).

Thurston’s whole argument about how spinning reserve works is bogus – there is no “spilled milk.” People who don’t understand the basic concepts of power generation and electrical grids should not be trying to argue the technical aspects and pros and cons of the various alternatives.

Gerald G. Dawbin



State is right to keep smoking off beaches


It appears to me that Mr. Gary Moore, as stated in his Sept. 10 Maine Voices column, is simply not a fan of maintaining a healthy and family-friendly environment on our prized state park beaches.

Mr. Moore explains how regulations prohibiting smoking and drinking on state park property have offended his view of “Maine, the way life should be.”

I live 3 miles from the Songo River sandbar he mentions as a favorite annual destination, and unlike the freeloading boaters, I pay frequently to enjoy its space and its laws. Why would anyone care to sit on a pristine lakefront sandbar full of beer guzzlers and smokers?

Thankfully the state sees it my way. Let’s leave that scene to Portland’s Old Port, thank you very much.

Mr. Moore also makes a reference to dogs not being allowed on the beach.

Just so the fact is clear: Dogs are allowed in the day-use section of the state park, just not where people swim, for sanitary reasons.

Allowing open smoking and drinking in any of Maine’s public places certainly does not, in my own opinion, fit the description of “Maine, the way life should be.”

Jason Dillman



Problems with partisans as Election Day gets closer


From highway traffic on coastal I-295 to legislative gridlock in the U.S. Senate, our so-called leaders are getting it all wrong.

Locally, our friends on the left think infrastructure spending is a cure-all for low employment and the right doesn’t understand that cash flows to pay for their statehouse offices come from modest taxation.

Down in Washington, Republicans — including our Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — recently filibustered yet another bill in the Senate.

Particularly striking is that the bill focuses on tax breaks and credit extensions for small businesses. Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly writes: “Olympia Snowe was especially embarrassing this morning. Her argument was that the Senate needs to act quickly to help small businesses — which is why she’s supporting the filibuster to prevent a vote on helping small businesses.”

Faced with historic economic fragility and record unemployment, our elected officials today show themselves to be no more than ghastly partisans, let alone “leaders.”

Padric Gleason




My genuine concern about the upcoming elections is that people are so ticked off about everything in general that good judgment may be thrown out the window in order to make a statement.

Yet, if there has ever been a time when the stability of our world as we know it, and want it, depends on our very best judgment, it is now.

Good government is not created by TV sound bites and rallies, and does not happen because we get so mad that we throw all the bums out.

Good and noble government can be determined at our hands, and will be if we accept the gravity of our decision making and make our choices based on thoughtful research, if we ferret out the often hidden truth of issues, undertake a fair assessment regarding genuine candidate values and achievements and embrace objectivity that rises above party, network biases, media propaganda, slick words or who has the most and biggest campaign signs.

America deserves better than so much that has transpired of late.

Our state and nation deserve strong candidates who are truly equipped to make the enormous decisions that shape an honorable and solid economy, who are capable of determining the urgency of war or peace, and who are intellectually ready to simultaneously secure our economic stability and care for those least able to care for themselves.

We must be very careful in what we ask for in this election cycle, because we might just get it.

Bonnie Titcomb Lewis