I’m a seventh-grade student at Lincoln Middle School and we have been studying the problem of people feeding the ducks. We visited the pond at Evergreen Cemetery and while we were there people were feeding the ducks. When they left, the ducks went to the other half of the pond and started following us. It seems like they are now depending on humans for food.

We read articles and we learned that feeding ducks can cause loss of natural behavior, pollution, diseases and overcrowding. Also, it just makes our ponds look dirty and gross.

Although it’s a fun family activity, it’s still not healthy for the ducks. I think people would stop feeding the ducks if they knew it could hurt the ducks. This is why we need your help to educate the public. Thank you for your time for reading this. If you want more information, you can contact my teacher Holly Backus at [email protected]

Caitlyn King

Portland

Portland’s parking policy not friendly to the public

At what point will the overly aggressive parking ticket practices in Portland be scrutinized? As it currently stands, Portland makes it as difficult as possible to shop or visit the city due to its onerous parking ticket program. One of the absolute worst in Maine, where most cities don’t use meters at all (Saco, Freeport, etc.).

Heaven forbid you want to shop in downtown Portland, yet didn’t bring your roll of quarters with you. Portland thanks you for your patronage of its local merchants by providing you with a $25 surcharge in the form of a ticket.

Yes, I could park in one of the local garages (more money in the city’s pockets), but sometimes it’s nice to be able to park closer than six blocks away from your destination.

Portland employs a team of parking ticket writers that patrol like bloodhounds, anxiously awaiting the chance to give out their tickets. Perhaps if we did away with these excessive employees and made it more reasonable to park in the city, people from out of town would be more likely to spend money here. I know of several friends that flat out refuse to shop in Portland because of the parking issues in this city.

Portland also refuses to modernize its parking meters to accept something other than pocket change to pay for parking time. Of course, to do this would make it more convenient for visitors/residents to park and parking ticket revenue would go down.

It’s sad that Portland continues to employ these petty tactics to fleece its citizens and visitors and I am hopeful that someday we might see wiser heads prevail.

Bill Somes

Portland

City should help people, not find ways to punish

I love the city of Portland, don’t get me wrong. We have the best restaurants in the world. We have a beautiful port city, but does this little area of Congress Square have to be privately owned, leaving one less space that people can enjoy? (“Our View: Congress Square project worth talking about,” Nov. 29).

I have sat there several times and have never seen any policing going on to stop the drinking or the panhandling. I know it’s not a pleasant sight to see someone drunk downtown, but it’s a reality, and taking away yet another space to privatize is not the answer.

This is just what Occupy Maine is showing us, that the rich can’t have it all, even though they are trying their best to do so.

Yes, I enjoy the finer things in life too, but where is the being free in our freedom?

Times are tough, you all would agree, and we are being squeezed and punished for not being able to keep up in these dire straits. You can only park for an hour, on most streets in Portland — this is tough if you want to visit someone.

It’s hard enough to find parking, but then you have to move your car every hour. If you are caring for a sick relative, you cannot stay past an hour.

The blue trash bags, it goes without saying, are a poor attempt to unfairly tax.

And why are they considering stopping the bus to Falmouth? Come on, many people rely on that to get groceries and get to (ahem) Walmart.

Help us out here, don’t punish.

Sue McLaughlin

Portland

Occupy Wall Street protest is simply breaking the law

Shame on the city of Portland and The Press Herald for saying it is free speech to take over a park and break the law. If this is allowed, where does it stop?

I remember years ago the homeless were kicked out of the same park. It was illegal to sleep on the benches overnight.

The carnival in the Oaks was stopped because foot traffic was bad for the trees. We might not agree with all of the rules of law, but we must abide by them.

I don’t like paying a buck every time I ride on the turnpike — all of the misspent dollars going to pad the pockets of the people that run it. Can we all get together and occupy the turnpike?

Protest against Wall Street is one thing but that message is now turned to just the right to occupy. Let’s stop saying bending the law and call it what it is — breaking the law.

Stephen Sweeney

Portland