I read the “Investigatory Findings” report describing the grounding of the city fireboat (“Report on Portland fireboat accident leaves questions,” July 6). It is not worth the paper it is printed on.

I am not being critical of its author, Deputy Chief David Pendleton, because I do not know what constraints were placed on him when he was assigned to do the investigation.

The report seems to be one huge whitewash of the incident, a cover-up of epic proportions. I am amazed and disturbed that the then-fire chief, the city manager and possibly all the city councilors would accept this “I see nothing, NOTHING!” report (to quote Sgt. Schultz of “Hogan’s Heroes”).

I suggest that the taxpayers of Portland deserve a much more thorough investigation and a clear explanation. The accident investigation division of the Maine State Police should be assigned the task.

They should be charged with interviewing all 14 people who were on the fireboat, individually. We know how the accident happened; we now need to know why it happened.

Each person should answer as to why they were on the boat (the claim of a “training mission” is ridiculous), what refreshments were aboard, where they were at the time of impact, whether they were injured and what they did and observed after the impact.

As an analogy, what if the two firemen had taken a fire truck and careened through the streets of Portland with 12 civilians on board and eventually ran into something, severely damaging the fire truck? What would their punishment have been? Why the difference?

I grew up on Munjoy Hill, and my father served on the fireboat in the 1950s and ’60s. I remember being on the boat when it was tied up. I know of no civilians, myself included, being on the boat when it was away from the dock.

Harry White


Noise, trash from fireworks not ‘the way life should be’


As a year-round resident of Maine living on Stover’s Point in Harpswell, I have just survived the most invasive, noisy and filthy five days of our lives in Maine.

I love having the celebration of our country’s independence. I love having the town fireworks in celebration of the national holiday. However, Baghdad, though more life-threatening, could not have been noisier or more disturbing than the five days from July 4 through July 8 were here on Stover’s Point.

The filth left behind on our beach by those who have participated in personal fireworks displays is repulsive — trash, animal feces, fireworks paraphernalia and party leftovers, to list the most offensive.

Stover’s Point Beach cannot withstand the effects of that type of abuse. Maine is now sixth in the nation for the dirtiest beaches, and our beach has now joined the ranks. How long will tourists come to Maine if that is our reputation. Time to wake up!!

The legalization of private fireworks in the state of Maine has destroyed the pristine, quiet, clean, private and peaceful life that we in Maine have always treasured and protected. Although the purpose of the “fireworks for all” law is to promote tourism, the long-term effect of the law will be one that will substantially diminish the numbers of visitors to our state.

The target tourist for the state of Maine comes here to enjoy the peace, solitude, natural beauty, outdoor adventures and “the way life should be.” We cannot lose sight of that vision or we, all who live here and all who visit, will lose our very personal and very treasured realization of our lives in Maine, no matter how long or how brief.

In summary — please rescind the legalization of fireworks.

With the utmost sincerity and high hopes for our beloved Stover’s and our incredible state of Maine,

Bertie Smith


WE RESIDENTS OF SACO are enormously grateful to our City Council, our police chief, Brad Paul, and the friends and neighbors who worked with them to prohibit fireworks in our jurisdiction.

The descriptions in the paper of pleasant little backyard fireworks displays bear no resemblance to the barrage of cannon-like noise that hit us night after night after night.

It was impossible to put young children to bed before 11 p.m., our pets were terrified and residents near the beach were constantly watching to see if the dune grass would catch fire.

Add to this the personal injury dangers associated with fireworks, and it’s easy to see why we believe this prohibition has dramatically improved the quality of our lives. Thank you very much to all who took this stand.

Ellen McCauley Gross


Column gives rational view of current energy dilemmas

The commentary by Dr. Daniel Martinez (“Off Campus: Wealthy, developing nations face different energy challenges,” July 8) hit on a very important point that may be lost in our rush to embrace alternate energy solutions to our ever-growing energy demand.

As Dr. Martinez notes, even though we would like to think otherwise, fossil fuels will be the choice for energy generation in the developed world for many decades to come. A transition to alternate energy sources such as wind, hydro and solar ultimately needs to happen. However, the marketplace is telling us that the time is not ripe for a massive move to these sources.

So what are our choices? We need a bridge to the future that will lead to alternate energy. One bridge could have been nuclear power, but the risks in this arena are perceived to be too great. So what is left?

I would propose that indigenous sources of natural gas may be the bridge we need. People may be concerned with hydraulic fracking, but with proper regulation it could provide an indigenous source of energy for the rest of the 21st century. What are the alternatives?

We can continue to import fossil fuels from foreign sources. These governments would be pleased to have us become dependent on them once again and allow us to maintain their dictatorial regimes so we believe our source of energy is safe.

We need to think long and hard about choices we are being asked to make. What are the risks of foreign oil versus exploring for indigenous sources? What are the risks of using pipelines to transport oil versus trains?

Any decision we make has risks. We need to weigh these risks in the light of real data before we can make an informed decision. Dr. Martinez has provided one rational look at this issue.

Ivan G Most, Sc.D., P.E.

Old Orchard Beach


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