I am writing in support of the efforts by Loon Echo Land Trust to purchase and preserve Hacker’s Hill in Casco.

My interest in the project is twofold. I grew up on Quaker Ridge Road and often went with my family to the hill for the view, as well as for events such as viewing Halley’s comet.

On one memorable occasion, we camped out in sleeping bags on Hacker’s Hill late at night, drank hot chocolate and watched a meteor shower.

My father, Erik Bartlett, Om Devi and Bob Chase were instrumental in the formation of Loon Echo. Both my parents were heavily involved in early years, and I assisted as much as I could with small-scale fundraising through bake sales, concerts, raffles, etc.

I remember how excited everyone was when the Helen Allen property on the ridge was the first to be put under easement, preserving at least that much of the view.

When I heard that Hacker’s Hill was up for sale, my first thought was of Loon Echo. At the time, however, the trust was focused on Pleasant Mountain, and I was deeply saddened at the prospect of the incomparable and iconic view being overrun by a housing development.

As time passed, and no one came forward to buy the land, I felt a little hope. When I heard that Loon Echo had reached an agreement with the Hacker family, I was ecstatic, and even more so upon learning that the project has been awarded a grant by the Land for Maine’s Future.

I will support Loon Echo’s campaign as much as I can and encourage others to do the same. If you haven’t seen the hill, it’s only 45 minutes outside Portland. Take a look — you won’t be disappointed.

Erica L. Bartlett


Another walker troubled by crushed stone on path

I strongly agree with Ron Beyna, who complained about the Back Cove path in a letter published July 20. The crushed stone that was recently placed on the path has made it a very uneven surface.

I have enjoyed the path for more than 30 years. Many weeks, I would walk the path several times. But now, because of this, I have not returned. Not only is it uncomfortable, it presents a safety hazard.

How can we get this corrected for us and for others who want to remain active in our beautiful city?

Mary Grant


Strimling’s decision to run earns early endorsement

It’s great news that Ethan Strimling is running for mayor. He is just the kind of leader Portland needs.

I’m not a lobbyist or a politician or any sort of insider, but I believe what I am seeing in politics is that ordinary citizens are being forgotten by those who we send to represent us. We need to elect people who are intelligent, competent and have good character — people who will try their best to make things better for us.

Strimling looks to me like an intelligent man with real character.

As director of Learningworks, a social service agency helping at-risk kids and low-income families, Strimling tripled Learningworks’ assets, created dozens of new jobs and greatly expanded the number of Portland residents served.

During his time in the state Senate, he continually reached across the aisle to do what was best for Maine. He created and passed legislation giving tax credits for wind power and legislation to protect victims of domestic violence.

Ethan chose the Maine State Pier to announce his candidacy, observing that the pier stands as a reminder of the need for strong leadership in Portland. Just a few years ago, a proposed multi-million dollar renovation and renewal of the pier fell apart because of squabbling at City Hall. Instead of a more vibrant waterfront, Portland is left with an empty and decaying pier.

Strimling has the vision and the proven leadership to turn Portland around and make it the economically thriving city it should rightly be. He has my vote for mayor.

Lenny Shedletsky


Sympathy for smokers draws a stern rebuke

Betsy Beecher’s sympathy for the smokers of 100 State Street, which she shared in a letter published on July 30, is misplaced.

It is my understanding that the July 1 deadline for 100 State Street’s going “smoke free” was well publicized in advance, and residents were offered the opportunity to enroll in smoking cessation programs to help them comply.

Why should non-smoking residents of the building (no doubt the majority) now continue to have to put up with the well-documented health risks of secondhand smoke in their homes, not to mention the offensive smell from their neighbors’ cigarettes?

Beecher, a concerned neighbor, worries about what the displaced smokers will do in the winter. No doubt they will continue to do what they did all last winter — crowd into the bus stop shelter in front of the building and smoke for hours on end, littering it with hundreds of discarded butts and denying actual bus passengers a place to sit and some protection from the icy winds on State Street. This will happen despite a sign posted in the shelter clearly designating it “a smoke-free area.”

Describing a cigarette ban as “downright cruel” is odd logic indeed. And if anyone is “heartless and mean-spirited,” it is people who think they have a right to endanger the health of others by smoking in a congregate-living setting by smoking.

Ellen D. Murphy


People’s veto petitioner pleased with the response

I’ve been helping to collect signatures for the peoples’ veto referendum that seeks to return voter registration to election days as it has been in this state for 38 years.

I’m pleased to say that this task has been relatively easy, as just about everyone I’ve spoken with, regardless of party affiliation, has gladly signed the petition expressing outrage that the Legislature and governor would pass a law that limits voters’ abilities to participate in the election process.

That being said, I urge you to take a minute or two of your time to stop and sign this petition if you see volunteers circulating it around the state.

Together, we can return voter rights to the citizens of Maine.

Bill Keller