I was surprised by the incongruity of two articles in the Dec. 9 Portland Press Herald.

On Page A1, we decry the impact of the recent budget cuts proposed by the LePage administration on our friends, neighbors, acquaintances, members of our faith communities and other citizens we do not know personally. Then on Page A5, we have an article highlighting that recent research indicates that rats have shown the ability to display compassion to one another.

What hit me was the fact that if rats (a rodent we detest) can show compassion, why can’t we as a superior species do the same for those who are in need in our communities and across this state? I’m now questioning whether rats have evolved to a higher plane of consciousness by showing a willingness to forego immediate self-gratification or if humans have devolved into a society that is unwilling to mutually sacrifice to help the less fortunate in our society.

It is becoming apparent to some that the economic stress of the time is changing some of our core values, and not necessarily for the better. For those who believe we are a Christian nation with our core values founded on the teachings of the Gospels, we should all review how we will be judged as to how well we have lived those values.

Take a moment and read Matthew, Chapter 25, verses 31 through 46. I believe that it shows us how we are to support one another during these times of economic stress.

It also challenges our religious leaders to get out of their comfort zones and challenge publicly what is being proposed.

Richard (Dick) Boislard

Saco

The Dec. 18 Sunday Telegram editorial, “Dr. LePage offers wrong cure for DHHS,” as well as Steve Meyers’ cartoon depicting the governor as being “short-sighted,” might have been more helpful and instructive if the paper had pointed out that there could be options for some of the 65,000 folks who will be eliminated from MaineCare.

Of course, the governor might also have offered alternatives when he announced the cutbacks to help lessen the stress on those affected by the cuts.

One that I want to mention is the MaineHealth CarePartners program. This program includes 900 providers in four counties in Maine and eight hospitals. It does require some responsibility on the part of the recipient and a small sliding-scale fee. However, when there is client (patient) cooperation with the program, big-ticket items like uncontrolled, inappropriate, extremely expensive use of the emergency room by MaineCare patients will be markedly reduced, and then we will all benefit.

Mark Aranson, M.D.

Cumberland

Rep. McKane praised for proposing dog-control bill 

The public is indebted to Rep. Jon McKane, R-Newcastle, for his recent bill seeking to control dangerous dogs.

Through no fault of his own, the bill failed to pass the Maine Legislature.

Our society prizes freedom and equality above all other values, and I am sure that considerations of dog ownership and the belief that “all dogs are created equal” took precedence over the lives of vulnerable women and children.

Had pit bulls been attacking car tires or storefront displays, the Legislature would have taken prompt action.

It is important for us to understand that we live in a society where property rights and abstract notions of freedom and equality matter more than the lives of women and children. That is all the more reason why Rep. McKane, a true gentleman, should be commended for his efforts.

Fritz Spencer

Old Town

Still waiting for response to wind project petition 

Last month, residents of Highland, Lexington and Concord went to Augusta with a petition. The majority of the residents in these three communities asked Highland Wind and Iberdrola to abandon their plans to turn their rural communities into a sprawling industrial zone. They also asked Gov. LePage to use his powers to protect the people of these communities. So far, the silence has been deafening.

Highland Wind and Iberdrola have ignored us, and we haven’t had any positive response from the governor, either. If these communities were organized towns, they would already have protective ordinances in place. But the Legislature, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that the tax-paying residents of the unorganized territories and plantations don’t have the same rights as every other citizen of Maine. Apparently, the people of Portland and Augusta are “more equal” than the poor residents of rural areas.

Now we are told that the DEP will likely be taking over the permitting of wind developments in these communities. The same DEP that has refused to hold even a single public hearing on such developments.

In 1775, the world was shocked when the farmers of Lexington and Concord, Mass., stood up to the overwhelming force of the British government, which had told them that they had no rights to determine their own future. The people of Highland, Lexington and Concord, Maine, believe that they have the same rights to determine the future of their communities today. And they will fight for those rights.

David P. Corrigan,

Registered Maine Master Guide

Concord Township

Take advantage of Maine’s short winter scallop season

In recent years, Maine’s scallop fishermen have made tremendous sacrifices in pursuit of a more sustainable fishery. Season length was halved, daily catch was limited and 20 percent of Maine state waters were closed for conservation purposes.

Maine’s scallop fishery is barely perceptible in the global marketplace: Our fishermen harvested roughly 260,000 pounds of scallops last year, compared with 60 million pounds taken in the (northeastern United States) federal fishery. Other countries harvest additional millions of pounds.

But the attributes that limit the Maine state fishery’s volume also create a superior quality product. Federal fishermen harvest thousands of pounds on trips that average over 10 days offshore. Maine fishermen must stay within three miles of shore and are limited to 200 pounds per day. That means Maine scallops can travel from sea to plate in hours, not weeks.

Although “Maine diver scallops” can fetch premium prices, the discerning consumer will question how these scallops can so often be offered outside Maine’s 70-day season. Fresh Maine scallops are only available mid-December through March. Recent Consumer Reports and Boston Globe investigations highlighted the prevalence of seafood fraud, and “fresh Maine diver scallops” are a prime example.

This dishonesty not only defrauds consumers, it also hurts Maine’s scallop fishermen, particularly draggers, who are not given a premium for their superior, but unrecognized, dayboat product.

In 2010, roughly 11 percent of Maine’s 260,000 pounds of scallops were harvested by divers. All were harvested by small dayboat fishermen harvesting no more than 200 pounds each day. Maine scallop fishermen deserve to be recognized for their commitment to sustainability and their superior dayboat product.

How can we do this? By demanding real Maine scallops. They’re only available a few months each year. Fishermen need to make the most of that brief season, and so should consumers.

Togue Brawn

Bath

Real issue is business climate, not LePage 

The Dec. 17 Press Herald (“Sorry, Governor, but I didn’t say any of those things”) and Dec. 18 Sunday Telegram (“Governor’s taxpayer statistics challenged”) both had top of Page One headlines nitpicking Gov. LePage over his comments regarding Forbes Magazine’s ranking of Maine’s business climate and the relative number of taxpayers and welfare recipients.

The governor believes bringing down the cost of state government and energy will improve our business climate. Forbes ranks Maine dead last as a business-friendly state. Isn’t this the real issue you should be reporting on?

Wayne Duffett

Portland