In a recent edition of The Press Herald, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree wrote that with the Brunswick Naval Air Station closed down, she still wants the government (i.e., the taxpayers) to keep open the commissary that was a part of the facility.

It’s bad enough that so many taxpayers can’t tell the difference between what’s nice and what’s essential, but heaven help us if our representatives in Washington cannot tell the difference.

I enjoy the benefits of retired military. Admittedly, since the bulk of my qualifying years were as a reservist, my monthly check is quite modest. Surely more valuable is the military medical plan for my wife and me that is just as juicy as what Congress has voted for itself.

A nearby commissary is neither a necessary nor promised retirement benefit. Pingree cites 10,000 Maine retired veterans, but not how many live in Brunswick. There is a commissary in South Portland and another in Kittery.

Do we need a commissary every 30 miles throughout the state, whether or not there’s an active military base? If the Navy was never in Brunswick, would she be proposing a commissary be built there? Rep. Pingree, don’t let inertia cloud your thinking.

Pingree also cites a savings of up to $4,000 per year for military families. The food business is about the lowest-margin business we patronize and unless the military operates its commissaries at a huge loss, I seriously doubt that figure if one shops wisely at Shaw’s or Hannaford. Most retired military are empty-nesters.


This country is in serious financial trouble because of years of irresponsible spending on credit. Attitudes and practices have to change and all of us must take a share of some sacrifices, including those from the military. We cannot afford thinking like Pingree’s in Washington.

John Parker



The Press Herald is wrong to advocate for closing the Brunswick commissary.

We should all fight to save the Brunswick commissary for active-duty service members who have worked so tirelessly to serve and protect us. This includes the Coast Guard in South Portland, active-duty National Guard in Portland, Lewiston-Auburn and Augusta, military recruiters, those serving at Bath Iron Works, and the families of activated Guard and Reserve members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.


This population is equal to or greater than the population served by the commissary in Bangor. The Brunswick commissary is especially important for junior enlisted members with families to make ends meet in these difficult economic times.

Commissary patrons pay a surcharge on all purchases that funds operational expenses. Therefore, its closing is not necessary to achieve the full monetary benefit of the base closure. Additionally, the commissary footprint is small and the property is physically removed from the air station and is surrounded by Topsham town facilities.

The Press Herald editorial reflects a lack of knowledge of commissary operations and a disregard for important benefits that active-duty service members have earned.

I would like to correct an additional mistake in your editorial. Brunswick Naval Air Station squadrons moved to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., not Pensacola, Fla. Naval Air Station Pensacola is a pilot and naval flight officer training facility.

Lee and Lisa Tabenken



Local radio host’s sexuality not worthy of front page


Let me state that I could not care less what anyone’s sexual preference is. Beyond that, for anyone who knows radio host Lori Voornas, this news comes as no revelation.

However, I am once again disappointed with your paper for less-than-professional reporting by making this front-page news. Are we that lacking in other local and worldly events that we are looking for filler material for your front page? Aren’t there issues with our budget, school funding, total ineptitude in Washington, etc., on which to report ahead of this?

Had she or another local personality announced his or her heterosexuality, would that have made the headlines?

I wish Lori all the best in her upcoming union with her partner, but that should be kept in her close circle of friends, not on the front page of what I thought was a more reputable news source. My mistake.


Matt Rogers



Social Security, Medicare a contract with the people


I am annoyed by the constant label of politicians that Social Security and Medicare are handouts.


Are they not programs foisted on us by the all-wise Congress? Have we not paid what they ask each and every year to pay for these programs? I believe they should be looked at as contracts between us and the government, and that they should be treated as such.

Social Security would be OK financially if government had not kept adding recipients who have either not paid into it or paid very little into it. Why didn’t they actually put the money into the trust funds as promised instead of the general fund, where it is spent before it is gotten?

It is obvious that these spendthrifts cannot handle our money honestly and soundly. Obviously their constant threats to cut entitlements should be aimed at the giveaways where no initial payments were made. If cuts are to be made, then cut welfare, food stamps, AFDC and other such programs that only foster generational dependency.

It is way past time to hold congressional feet to the fire. Their social engineering and promises were lies and fabrications, and now they should pay for their mistakes. It is way past time that these politicians need to be honest and forthright with “we the people.”

George A. Fogg

North Yarmouth



Crashing the tea party with a dose of Kool-Aid


To the gentleman who was waxing about the ill effects of drinking tea:

Just another thought. Go cold turkey on the Kool-Aid you have been drinking for the past three years. I am sure you will feel an immediate benefit.

Frank O’Connor



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