How sad I was to learn that Ray Bradbury, beloved author of “The Martian Chronicles” and “Fahrenheit 451,” had died.

My personal involvement with Bradbury began when I was a book-obsessed preteen. I couldn’t get enough of his evocative style and uncanny insights into the fanciful minds of kids who seemed to be like me but lived way more dangerously, in books like “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and my most favorite Bradbury masterpiece, “Dandelion Wine.”

My passion for his work moved me to get up my courage and write a letter to him when I was in seventh grade. To my utter shock, he sent back a postcard that was written and signed by hand with a note to “keep imagining” — I will always remember that the “y” on the end of his last name finished with an arrow, pointing up.

Thanks, Mr. Bradbury, for sharing your imagination with us.

Deborah Deatrick

South Freeport

King’s independence would be valuable in Washington

Of the many good reasons to elect Angus King to represent Maine in the Senate, the “I” that will follow his name may be the best.

To be sure, his views reflect those of a great majority of Maine citizens, no matter what their party (if any): social responsibility with fair taxation and sensible expenditure, solid systems of public education and environmental policy, respect for private enterprise and the work force that makes it successful.

He supports those views with open mind, collaborative spirit and a sense of humor — not with talking points and political pettiness. Like Sens. Margaret Chase Smith, Edmund Muskie, William Hathaway, William Cohen, George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe, he will seek the means to achieve those ends, even at the “cost” of compromise.

No “R” or “D” is needed to reach what most of us want in government; today, in fact, “I” may be the only way to do so. Both national political parties reward those who adhere to increasingly partisan platforms while punishing those who will not. Senseless and unproductive battles get nothing done but bring special interest funding and national publicity to those who fight them.

The powerful within the parties have no reason to change these practices, so voters must. It may be that the election of a single independent will not eliminate the irresponsible nonsense that persists in Washington, but it will provide one very valuable vote for working government.

Let “D” or “R” Senate leaders, as well as those who line up behind them in Washington, know that the “I” vote of Sen. King is reserved to support the people of Maine.

Peter Vaughn

Brunswick

College degree too costly, whether ‘for-profit’ or not

I read in the June 10 Maine Sunday Telegram that our out-of-touch governor spoke at a graduation at Kaplan University (“LePage exhorts Kaplan grads”), and I hope he will follow those graduates and apply some analysis to their future employment.

He will hopefully do a cost-benefit analysis of the funds we taxpayers loaned those students. He will discover whether those graduates and the nongraduates who also owe money have truly gained from that debt.

Will those who took the public safety courses end up as minimum-wage guards in a for-profit prison, or will they be permitted to be in a unionized job in public safety, earning too little but more than double minimum wage?

More likely, they will find few opportunities for employment that would not have been available to them without the “for-profit degree.” Certainly they wouldn’t have the debt and we taxpayers would lose less on defaults.

But what do I know? I grew up in a country where the wealthy paid a marginal tax rate of 91 percent, where the government built roads and where the president, a five-star general, said: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

I wish that were the country I lived in today, but we will need government that realizes the folly and greed of “for-profit education.”

John Wood

Hollis

The column by George Will in the June 11 Press Herald (“College students pay high cost for low-quality education”) is absolutely spot on!

I am a member of the adjunct faculty at a post-secondary school in the area. I see students every day who are wasting huge amounts of borrowed money on frivolous courses that will prepare them for absolutely nothing in this world.

What these “institutions of higher learning” are doing to some of these unsuspecting students is near criminal. If they are forced to spend exorbitant amounts of money (most of it spent on administration) at these institutions, please, at least, give them a practical education so that they may compete in this world!

Bill Harris

Portland

High time to establish equal pay for same work

It’s time for a change in policy regarding equal pay for doing the same job. Lip service doesn’t cut it.

The Republican rhetoric continues to maintain its stance against women and keeps them in a place that, in later life, results in low Social Security benefits among others, and their contributions to 401(k) plans are often lower due to a smaller paycheck.

I wonder if the female members of Congress who voted against equal pay for doing the same job would do so if they were receiving less pay than their male counterparts.

Let’s move into the 21st century. It’s long overdue.

A.S. Milton

Springvale

More politicians should follow Calder’s example

On June 12, every race saw someone win. Interestingly enough, the overall winner did not win a nomination. The overall winner was Patrick Calder. In graciously conceding his race for the 1st District nomination and pledging to work all summer for Jon Courtney, Patrick showed the greatest attribute of all: humility.

Patrick could have asked for and received a recount of the ballots. A recount could have closed the gap. A recount would have been drawn out and would only have served to polarize an already fractured electorate. Instead, Patrick put others above himself, and he should be commended for that.

Patrick Calder’s upstart political campaign and mature handling of the vote counting should serve notice to all campaigns, regardless of ideological leaning. You can win with grace and dignity even if you do not come out on top at the ballot box.

Patrick, thank you for showing us how to run a great campaign.

Jonathan Crimmins

Brunswick