After reading “Fish passage is the next step for Presumpscot” (Oct. 24), I wish to clarify some of the information used in this article.

By and large, the message was accurate and we are proud to have been part of this historic decision to build fish passages on dammed rivers.

What did not come across clearly was the incredible effort made by the state and federal agencies to ensure that the abundant sea-run fisheries that once inhabited the Presumpscot now have a chance to return to Westbrook and beyond. Without their considerable expertise, persistence, and genuine caring, this effort would have been lost.

The “wonderful cooperative effort” mentioned in the story was in regards to the way the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maine Attorney General’s Office worked hand in hand with Friends of the Presumpscot River, American Rivers and our attorneys, Ron Kreisman and Sean Mahoney, to make sure we achieved the best result possible for the Presumpscot River and the fish.

Each of these agencies had several people who worked diligently through months of negotiations to ensure that the final design for this fishway would pass fish in a safe, effective, and timely manner and begin the restoration of sea run fish on the Presumpscot.

Friends of the Presumpscot River, American Rivers and our attorneys may have been the catalysts with our work on the relicensing of the five upriver dams, but much of the foundation was also laid by the Coastal Conservation Association, DMR and DEP with the removal of Smelt Hill dam.


Then, the charge was carried through by a team of great agency people who worked alongside the Friends and American Rivers to eliminate the final roadblock to fish passage on the Presumpscot.

Dusti Faucher

President, Friends of the Presumpscot River

South Casco

Gulf institute has done great work in science ed

In his Maine Voices column on Oct. 10 (“Maine can lead in science literacy”), Don Perkins of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute wrote about Maine’s potential to lead in science literacy, and the milestone of 50,000 Maine students participating in the LabVenture! program at the institute’s center in Portland.


Recently retired, I have been an educator for over 40 years with 38 years teaching and guiding fifth and sixth grade students in the South Portland school system. Over those years you can well imagine the multitude of educational hands-on learning experiences my students have had.

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s marine science education program involves authentic hands-on research using a team approach in a technology-rich environment. There has been no other program that even comes close to our LabVenture! experiences. I am confident that I can speak for all my fifth grade professional colleagues when I say this.

Our entire South Portland fifth grade staff piloted and adopted a new marine science unit that was directly inspired by our first LabVenture! visits four years ago. The science-based learning activities that continue after our students participate only happen because of the dedicated professional staff and support from the school’s administration.

The LabVenture! experience for fifth and sixth grade students throughout Maine cannot be found anywhere else in the world. We are very fortunate. I am most grateful to the private sponsors, led by Poland Spring, who have helped this world-class LabVenture! come alive for these 50,000 students, and for future students across the state.

Douglas Caldwell



Fresh veggies great, but not at farmers’ markets

Growing up in Mexico City, I had the opportunity to have everyday fresh vegetables and meats. Just about every neighborhood has once or twice a week a farmers market like is done here now.

So I was very happy to discover farmers’ markets once we started to spend summers back in Maine, until I saw the prices. I wish they would be at least supermarket prices, I would do all my shopping there. The sad part is that the prices make it very unreachable to most people and we all need better diets.

I’m glad to know I am not the only person who feels this way. The good news is, now we have a very small garden in our backyard and have enjoyed fresh vegetables at a very good price. Only the cost of the seeds, no fertilizer or insecticide. All organic. I have to thank the farmers’ outrageous prices for my very fresh and inexpensive vegetables.

Diana Poulin

Old Town


Wind power payoff dependent on subsidies

I am not an energy expert, but I have done enough research on wind power to question the state’s uncritical advocacy of it.

An untold number of private citizens and quasi-public entities have been purchasing small turbines that cost upwards of $16,000 not including finance charges. A 30 percent federal tax write-off plus small state subsidies sometimes reduce the burden to about $10,000.

Not one of the randomly selected six sites I know about has produced more than $80 per year in electricity. In addition, I went to Mt. Abrams High School, located next to Sugarloaf, because it probably has Maine’s prime wind corridor. It, too, is producing far less than what was promised.

A treatment plant turbine in Farmington also is a costly failure. The last I knew, Saco with its larger $77,000 turbine was trying to persuade the supplier to take it back. The plant manager did not return my call. Kittery evidently did succeed in canceling its purchase. So, all nine operative turbines I know about have been dismal failures.

The state is partly responsible for victimizing these purchasers because officials have publicly been extolling the virtues of wind power. I think state officials have at least two obligations.


They should warn people to be wary of purchasing wind turbines and they should enact a law requiring companies that sell turbines to give rebates when their turbines fail to meet promised production goals.

John Kerry, state energy director, claims that the Efficiency Maine Trust, which offers subsidies, did not look into the economics of wind power. On paper, Maine has a public advocate, but I know of no public warnings from his office.

Finally, our state is committed to producing a fixed number of megawatts from land and ocean sites, but it has done so also without knowing whether wind farms are economically viable.

There needs to a public symposium on the financial feasibility of all wind turbines, small, intermediate and large.

Clyde MacDonald



Review of Ford Transit reeked of condescension

Seldom have I read such a snobbish article as Scott Wasser’s review of the Ford Transit utility van (“Ford Transit doesn’t connect with this reviewer,” Oct. 31). Just because journalists live a laptop office lifestyle does not mean that your neighbors and newspaper readers do.

I know almost nothing about the vehicle from your review. I know a lot about the attitude to tool-belt wearers, and it is not very complimentary. You would not like my single-cab, three-across long-bed work truck either.

For a more useful take, have a look at something like Consumer Reports.

It may be time to switch to the Boston Globe for my Sunday reading.

For shame.

Ben Fuller



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