Since 2008, lobstermen have been struggling to receive a decent price for our product. We’ve had many discussions on how to improve our current situation. This industry is poised to take a first step based on the will of the industry.

In addition to the broad support expressed by harvesters, dealers and processors at the Department of Marine Resources’ outreach meetings, every major lobster association in the state has come out in support of the bill to increase the amount spent to promote and market Maine lobster.

The bill includes a sunset provision at five years as a safeguard if we are not satisfied with the results.

Harvesters have the most to gain through generic marketing, as it will eventually spur more competition for our product.

This has been proven in many other industries, such as blueberries, that invest in promoting their product. It will also create more transparency in the industry, which will lead to a better understanding of the needs of all participants.

We only need to increase our gross product value by 1 percent to break even on our investment. Every additional 1 percent gain could represent more than $3,000,000 for coastal communities.

To those who worry that the dealers won’t pass on the profits derived from this, they should remember that the only time that the price trends upward is when demand outstrips supply, forcing more competition for the available product. If this were not a fact, we would receive one price all year long.

If we don’t move forward with this plan, will the money we save by not doing so better this industry? Or should we make a business decision where the worst-case scenario is that we could lose 1 percent of our gross, while standing to gain much more than that in return! I wonder what Warren Buffett or some other top business executives would do?

Ira “Tad” Miller


Matinicus Island

Minimum-wage hike critics should attempt to live on it

I’ve been thinking about the minimum wage in Maine since Democrats in our state Legislature have put together a bill to raise it from its present level of $7.50-an-hour. It would be increased in three 50-cent steps, so that by 2016 it would reach the lofty level of $9 an hour.

The present minimum wage level was established in 2009, and the cumulative rate of inflation since then is 8.2 percent.

Now, if you were lucky enough to find a full-time job, minimum wage would give you a weekly income of $300. So in terms of paying bills, a 40-hour week would give you $24.65 less in buying power than it did three years ago.

As a retired teacher, I’d like to suggest an arithmetic lesson for Gov. LePage, Eliot Cutler and the Maine legislators who are opposed to increasing this figure.

First, go into your favorite store and make a list of the price of enough food to feed a family of three for a week. Then check the pump price at your local gas station and figure the cost of driving to and from work.

Add the cost of the average rental or mortgage payment in your area plus heat and utilities. Then add the clothing, health insurance and dental and medical costs not covered by insurance. Set aside a little money for repair and maintenance on your car.

How far does that $300 weekly paycheck go toward paying the bills? What “discretionary income” does it leave to support the state economy by consumer spending?

Better still, instead of just doing the math, make it a “learning-by-doing” lesson. I would suggest that the best way to come to a decision about raising the minimum wage is to live on it for a week.

Ruth Benedikt


Inspiring air show canceled; president’s golf lesson isn’t

The State of Maine Airshow is one of the many highlights of summer in Maine, but the feature act’s scheduled appearance is canceled this year.

The Navy flight demonstration team Blue Angels will not appear as scheduled at the Great State of Maine Airshow 2013 at the former Naval Air Station Brunswick, scheduled for Sept. 14 and 15, because of cuts to the defense budget.

Recently, President Obama flew to Florida to play golf with Tiger Woods. The cost of fuel alone for his 747 to complete the round trip was more than twice the amount of fuel needed for a 45-minute demonstration flight by the Blue Angels.

About 100,000-plus people watch the Blues or Thunderbirds at an air show and revel in the fact that their tax dollars go to train the finest pilots in the world, who protect this country by putting their lives on the line.

What does the public get for twice the price from a duffer getting a golf lesson from Tiger?

Martin Achilles


Business’ generosity helps event for seriously ill child

I would like to publicly thank Rick and Ray’s Small Engine Shop on Route 22 in Buxton for their kindness and thoughtful compassion recently.

My uncle (Roger Hare) and I have a 10-year-old cousin who lives in Worcester, Mass. Zachary Hare is in Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital and has been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia.

His family was planning a silent auction fundraiser on April 5 to help with the cost of medical care.

Uncle Bud had a kids’ motorized go-cart that he wanted to donate to the silent auction. The problem was that it had been sitting in his garage for years, we could not get it started and it needed some work.

On the afternoon of April 3, we stopped by Rick and Ray’s to see if they could possibly repair it before we left for Worcester the morning of April 5 for the fundraiser. When I explained why it was urgent and what it was for, they said that they would try to have it ready the next day.

They called the afternoon of April 4 and said the go-cart was ready to go. When my wife asked about the repair cost, they said there was no charge.

It is wonderful that there are people in this world who are so giving that they go out of their way to help a complete stranger: a little 10-year-old boy and his family. And do it without expecting any fanfare. Thank you so much, Rick and Ray!

Peter Greene