A compliment and a complaint.

Thank you for explaining the “reed poles” on the new Veterans Memorial Bridge (“Poles? Magnetic!,” Aug. 20). Daniel Kany does a great job describing the issues concerning this public art.

Personally, I like the installations because of their quirkiness. It’s great to see things in the environment that make you wonder “What the heck is that?” At least it’s not boring. (Like, what the heck are those big signs that say “EXEMPT” and are attached to several of the poles down around Marginal Way?)

But back to the new bridge. My complaint about the bridge isn’t about the art at all — it’s about the lighting, or lack of it. Yes, those light poles that overhang the pedestrian walkway are nice, but where are the ones that should be lighting up the road?

It’s summer, the days are clear, the roadway is clean. Yet driving across the bridge at dusk or later can be confusing, and not just because of remaining cones and barriers. The lane markers are just barely visible — and I have very good eyesight!

What will it be like in the winter? Is there really going to be just a dark roadway? Are the standards for illumination for such a major thoroughfare that weak? I kept thinking lighting would be added. I would trade some reed poles for some light poles pointing at the road!

Rory Sellers

Portland

Get the facts straight on man-made global warming

I thought teachers were supposed to be open-minded on matters of science.

Yet in an Aug. 1 letter “Piece on global warming misleading, irresponsible,” a teacher relates how he admonished a student for repeating the facts cited by M.D. Harmon.

As one who has followed the issue closely, I can vouch for Harmon’s perspective.

I would suggest the students check www.icecap.us.

There they can check the frequently asked questions and myths of manmade global warming.

They can also read the list of actual scientists who contribute to the site and find that most are among the top climate scientists in the country.

Weather Channel founder John Coleman has labeled man-made global warming a hoax.

Patrick Michaels, research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and Roy Spencer, principal research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, are among the skeptics.

The entire list is equally impressive.

Let’s check just one claim from Al Gore in his movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“If you look at the 10 hottest years ever measured, they all occurred in the last 14 years, and the hottest of all was 2005.”

The facts: The 10 hottest years happened thousands of years ago, and 2005 was not one of them.

Gore must have been taking his readings from the last 125 years, when temperatures were “wandering up” following the end of the “little ice age.”

A good thing.

In fact, the latest revised figures from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies show that six of the 10 warmest years were from 1920 to 1950 and only four were since 1990.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have also recognized that there has been no warming since 1998 and slight cooling since 2003.

And, of course, we know that both Time and Newsweek predicted a coming ice age in the early ’70s.

My advice to students: Check the website and search for more facts.

That’s learning.

Dave Irons

Westbrook

Offer of senior discount provokes mixed feelings

It is a nice practice that stores, parks, theaters and most other venues offer a percentage off the basic cost for what they consider “senior citizens.” Every restaurant, store, theater, etc., sets its own age for this discount. It seems to run from as young as 50 up to 65 for the “senior” status.

However, for those people who are nearing this age (whichever age is designated by the particular venue), it can be unpleasant to be asked if one qualifies.

Especially if you do not know the age they are looking for, it does not make your day. Most middle-aged-and-up people I speak with about this agree that they feel insulted if asked if they are older than they are.

Some companies have an obvious sign posted, such as “Our senior discount age is 65. If you qualify for this discount, please tell us.” Perfect!

For companies, restaurants, state parks, theaters, etc., doesn’t it make sense to post such a sign? This takes the extra burden off the clerks, waitstaff, et al., to ask or not ask. And if the 70-year-old does not want this discount, the company makes the extra money and fairly.

Otherwise, all the ticket vendor has to say is “Two for $10 each?” (the regular adult price) and then the person can tell the clerk if they qualify for the lower rate.

Elisa Malik

Portland

Scarborough councilor’s service inspires gratitude

We’d like to commend Karen D’Andrea for her dedicated service to the town of Scarborough.

As a town councilor, she championed initiatives that have contributed to a better quality of life in our town. She was instrumental in passing the smoking ban on the beaches and the organic lawn maintenance on municipal properties, and she made a strong effort to ban fireworks in Scarborough.

Karen committed many hours to her work as councilor, was responsive to citizens’ concerns and worked to hold the council to a higher standard.  

We know we speak for many others in appreciation and gratitude. She’s an environmentalist and a strong advocate. She’ll be hard to replace.  

We hope that others — inspired by Karen’s example — will step forward to run for Town Council.

Susan DeWitt Wilder

Paul W. Austin

Scarborough