I’m writing to ask all of the hosts and hostesses in the area to take up a practice that my family has adopted over the past few years. We have always had a Christmas party, and over the years we received many lovely hostess gifts and bottles of wine. In 2008, when the economy started going downhill, we decided to ask our friends that if they if they were intending to bring something, to bring non-perishable food items instead of hostess gifts. Our friends embraced this idea wholeheartedly! In 2008, we collected 30 pounds of food, in 2009 it was 65 pounds and last year it was 75 pounds. All of it was donated to local food banks. It is easy and a great way to get into the real holiday spirit.

Patt Bothel

Cape Elizabeth


On Small Business Saturday, a community of volunteers held the 4th annual Neighborly Craft Fair in North Berwick. It was Christmas celebrated at its best! The proceeds of the fair are donated to the North Berwick New Covenant Baptist Church Food Pantry and the town’s Fuel Assistance Fund.

The need for food and fuel in our community and others still continues. We thank all who volunteered, donated services and goods, and contributed financially. There are so many we can’t list them all. The Neighborly Craft Fair Committee (PO Box 515, North Berwick, ME 03906) is still accepting donations. During this holiday, please remember your neighbors.

Thank you and Merry Christmas to all!

Katie Jacques

The Neighborly Craft Committee

North Berwick


Welcome to the giving season! No, I am not referencing the endless ads on TV, in your mailbox, in your paper (no offense, Press Herald!) and in your email inbox.

I am referencing the season of giving of oneself to another human being here on Earth, same as you, looking to live out the gift of life.

I love the phrase “Pay it forward,” mainstreamed by a movie of the same name starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. It is such a simple initiative: receive grace and pass it along to someone in need. The trick is to start the “give” so someone can receive, and the dominoes are set in motion for as long as the recipients choose to “Pay it forward.”

Our homeless shelters and food pantries definitely come to mind during this season, and I encourage all to do what they can within their means to help them serve the needy of Maine.

Our radar should also be tuned in to the subtle struggles burdening the people very near to us, our co-workers, neighbors, family and people we may pass each day. Keep a sharp focus these holidays and reach out with your time, assistance, caring and offerings to those needing a boost up so they too may one day “Pay it forward”!

Andy Soucy



Legislative office valuable, even if not in district


I would like to thank the numerous people who have called, emailed and stopped by to express their support for my new office on Main Street in Saco. The downtown merchants have been warm, welcoming and very happy to see a vacant storefront come to life.

That is why I am very pleased with the Maine ethics commission decision to dismiss the complaint filed by one of my state Senate opponents.

The board found that my office was not in violation of any law or ethics rule. Although I sought, and received, written advice from the ethics staff prior to opening my office, the commission’s action reaffirmed my position and removed any negative cloud cast by my opponent.

The upcoming legislative session is filled with important issues such as jobs, health care and growing the economy.

As a current state representative, I plan to focus my time on working on these issues and running a positive senatorial campaign this spring. My new office is just one more tool to make myself more accessible to people. I look forward to meeting any constituent to hear their concerns about state government.

Rep. Linda Valentino



Same-sex marriage foes won’t get out of the way


I would like to share an opposing point of view on same-sex marriage from that of Rev. John B. McCall (Oct. 25). God created two separate and distinct sexes for a specific purpose. In Genesis 2:24, we see the example in Adam and Eve (not Adam and Steve) of what God had in mind for marriage when we read, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

This “one flesh” union is established as the pattern God wanted for marriage. Jesus Christ taught this as the norm that God expects all marriages to follow.

In the Bible, homosexual conduct is viewed as a sin (something contrary to The Will of God). In Leviticus 18:22, we find, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination (extremely displeasing to God).”

Christians and just-plain-folks who believe in the sanctity of marriage, defined as one man and one woman being joined together, will never “get out of the way” of those who believe otherwise.

As I had one native Mainer once tell me when I asked him why he was opposed to same-sex marriages, “It just ain’t natural.”

Rev. Frederick H. Giese, M. Th.

Lisbon Falls


Film looks at Mideast crisis from a different perspective


The people of Portland were recently given the unusual opportunity to see a beautiful feature film, “Salt of This Sea,” which explores the Middle East conflict in very human terms. I was among those who filled Space Gallery to watch this story of an Arab-American woman from New York who traveled to the Middle East to experience life in her ancestral homeland, from which her father had fled in 1948.

Thanks to the work of Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights in creating its first Palestinian Film Festival, including documentaries about Jenin and Gaza, as well as “Salt of This Sea.” One could see in this sensitive movie how the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestine directly impacts the lives of all who live there.

Leo Barrington