David Warren, the former managing partner of the Verrill Dana law firm is a neighbor of mine, a friend and, in my opinion, a thoughtful and honest man. Verrill Dana has represented me regarding patent and business issues, and I have found all of my contacts at the firm to be honest, intelligent, ethical people.

Former Verrill Dana partner John Duncan stole money from the firm, admitted his guilt and served two years in prison. Mr. Duncan was given a speedy trial and his punishment was appropriate. But apparently the right to a speedy trial does not apply to David Warren and five other Verrill Dana lawyers, at least according to the Maine Board of Bar Overseers.

Three years after the theft, the Board of Bar Overseers is trying the lawyers for not handling the case according to its standards. That doesn’t seem like a speedy trial to me. In fact, it seems agonizingly slow.

In case the protracted civil action isn’t punishment enough, the Portland Press Herald has chosen to make the accused poster children for anything that might be wrong with the legal profession. A series of above-the-fold front page stories published by the newspaper continues to tarnish the reputations of the individuals and the firm.

Perhaps the Press Herald should consider inquiries into how another major Portland law firm demanded and got a tax incentive of $2.8 million dollars to stay in the city. Or perhaps it should conduct an investigation into why the city decided to waste tax dollars on such a questionable business decision while under the supervision of Portland’s equivalent to managing partners, our city council.

Richard Akers

Portland

Five-star restaurant has major shortcoming

White Barn Inn’s dinners are worth every penny, but can everyone get in to enjoy them?

I enjoyed reading about the White Barn Inn in Taste and Tell in the Dec. 12 Maine Sunday Telegram. Clearly it is a notable restaurant that continues to offer a dining experience to make Maine proud. I have one question about the rating. Wheelchair access: No. How is this acceptable or even legal for a five-star restaurant?

Linda Labas

New Gloucester

A 25 percent dropout rate hardly worth celebrating

A recent report issued by a non-profit group founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell cites statistics indicating that the high school graduation rate is rising, from 72 percent in 2001 to 75 percent in 2008. “The United States is turning a corner in meeting the high school dropout epidemic,” General Powell and his wife, Alma J. Powell, wrote in a letter introducing the report.

On a national level, these statistics essentially tell us that one-fourth of our students drop out of high school. One fourth. Let’s not kid ourselves. No corner has been turned.

If we honestly believe that some kind of corner has, indeed, been turned, then let’s be very clear about our expectations concerning the high school dropout problem in the United States and about what we think students need to know and be able to do as a result of participating in, but not completing, a public school education.

If we buy into the argument that some kind of educational achievement corner has been turned, then let’s join hands and celebrate the fact that the proverbial bar we are setting for our country, for our public education system and for our children is nothing more than a ludicrous cakewalk.

We have to do better than this. Much, much better. Otherwise, we’re giving up on our kids and enabling mediocrity that will eventually eat away at our strengths as a nation of individuals living and participating in diverse communities throughout the United States.

Michael Ehringhaus

Portland

There’s no stopping cable TV rate increases

Time Warner has raised our cable rates once again and it’s gotten outrageous. I called Time Warner and after much discussion with customer service, I learned the company is not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission because it is not considered a utility.

I called the PUC and was told that Time Warner is regulated by the Federal Communication Commission, which has no authority over rates. I called the city attorney’s office in Portland and was told there wasn’t anything they could do as well.

So if Time Warner wishes to keep raising our rates, there’s no one to stop them.

As consumers we are held hostage unless another company comes in and creates competition. I’ve been told that would be very unlikely because of the start-up costs.

The only other alternative is to switch to satellites, which has it drawbacks. While you may not be able to get the channels you want, the rates are much less.

Sandy Binder

Portland

McArthur Library project shows value of partnership

The McArthur Public Library project in Biddeford that you described in your Dec. 3 newspaper provides some great lessons for all of us who live in Maine.

McArthur is the oldest publicly supported library in Maine, having been dedicated in 1902. Local businessman Robert McArthur provided the vision and energy needed to create the library, with seed money given to the library association by the estate of Elizabeth Stevens, a retired employee of the Laconia mills.

The legacy of Robert McArthur has been supported and built upon over the past century by residents of Biddeford and the McArthur trustees. They authorized an addition 15 years ago and planned for the time when that space could be fully built-out.

This fall, the trustees succeeded: 2,500 square feet of staff and patron space has been created, adding wonderful new rooms where people can read, study, use their laptops, get work done and enjoy leisure time. It’s an example of how something started by individuals in the private sector can grow stronger across generations, with real commitment and support from the community.

As the contractor who completed that build-out, TPD Construction is honored to have contributed to this long-standing, public-private partnership that Robert McArthur launched so long ago.

Tom Dumont

President, TPD Construction Co.

Sanford