I am a property owner at Higgins Beach. My husband and I enjoy the area very much, especially being able to walk our dogs off-leash during the summer hours before 9 a.m.

Now I have heard that the Town Council is looking into changing the ordinance (“Scarborough moving to keep dogs leashed on beaches,” Aug. 9). I don’t understand how they can change the ordinance when they don’t even enforce the present one.

In fact, we have walked our dogs on-leash after 5 p.m. and have seen a few people with their dogs off-leash, and the animal control officer is nowhere to be found, let alone the police.

After speaking to these dog owners, the majority of whom are not from the Scarborough area, we have found that most are not aware of the leash law. Only two signs are on Higgins Beach to inform people of the ordinance.

With proper education and enforcement of the present ordinance, there would be no need to make a stricter ordinance. Education can begin by posting signs at all of the entrances onto the beach so people can see them and having the landlords include informational brochures for the summer renter in each cottage.

And enforcement can start by issuing fines to the people who disobey the law. The town seems to have no problem with ticketing the surfers — let’s do the same to the dog owners who seem to think that the law does not apply to them!

Cheryl LaRou


Whatever breakup’s cause, divorce still hits kids hard

Thank you for Kelley Bouchard’s Aug. 13 article on divorce rates in Maine (“Maine has hit a rough patch on divorce rate“). 

From children’s point of view, it doesn’t matter if the divorce is due to unemployment, lack of college education or changing religious or social values. All they know is that the security they had with two parents in the home is tossed into the air as their parents break up. 

The Kids First Center in Portland was created in 1997 to give those kids a safe place to try to understand and cope with the changes in their families, and to give parents information on how to make the family’s changes easier on kids. 

Many divorcing adults don’t fully grasp the fact that even after a divorce, when there are children involved, they remain in a partnership and will have to work together. They can do it well or they can do it poorly, and the kids will bear the consequences either way. 

Long-term studies of children of divorce show that when parents can put aside their conflicts and put their kids first, children can grow up to be as healthy and successful as children of intact families. Kids First gives parents and children tools they need to create a healthy post-divorce environment for kids. 

Elizabeth F. Stout, Esq.

chair, Kids First Center board of directors


Three months’ severance a slight to MMC employee

I live in Vermont but have family in Portland, so I visit often and keep up with Maine news.

Maine Med just offered retirement packages to 400 employees, with 12 weeks’ severance allowances. One of my family members is one of those employees, and 12 weeks’ severance is pretty much a slap in the face.

After almost 40 years of dedicated service and loyalty on her part, that’s the best they could come up with? An employee who gives an institution that many years of blood, sweat and tears (literally!) should get at least one week’s severance pay for each year of service.

I know Maine Med President Rich Petersen gets more than $1 million a year. I also know hospitals seem to have to pay high salaries to keep people, but Maine Med didn’t have to look very far for a president. He was already in their backyard as vice president, so he didn’t have to be wooed too hard.

Adding insult to injury, though my family member will be able to carry her insurance with her short term, she will have to buy supplemental insurance when Medicare kicks in because Maine Med won’t let her continue with their insurance after age 65.

There was a plan in place that would let you carry their insurance if you turned 55 by the year 2004. She missed that plan by one year! And she already had 24 years of service at that time. So, Rich Petersen, and all you other Rich Petersens, will you also be buying your own supplemental insurance when the time comes?

Your recent actions show how much you really don’t value your dedicated employees. Nurses hold the lives of your patients (also known as income) in their hands (literally), and 12 weeks’ severance is the best you can do? Shame on you.

Jeanne Macbeth

Derby Line, Vt.

Income tax on state visitors overlooks their contributions

Letter-writer Robert Smart of Millinocket makes the argument that people who come to their homes in Maine in the summer should “pay their fair share,” perhaps by taxing their income on a prorated basis (“With all the rich summer folks, why is state so poor?” Aug. 10).

While, as he says, they use our roads and bridges, they also pay our gasoline tax. And while they do not use our schools, they do pay property tax, which largely goes to education.

A person’s income is, in fact, of little value in calculating what that person costs others in terms of the services they obtained from the state. Rather than basing what the state collects from taxpayers on their income, I suggest we base it on what they collect from the state.

Of course, given our penchant for redistribution, some will ask how this approach would provide for those who need more than they have, given that others have more than they need.

And opening that seemingly benign Pandora’s box puts us right back in the situation we currently find ourselves in, trying to extract as much money from anyone able to pay, regardless of what they cost the rest of us.

William Vaughan Jr.

Chebeague Island

Parking ticket’s sting eased by anonymous benefactor

Last Monday, I was trying to catch the 12:15 ferry to Peaks Island. I spent 40 minutes looking for space in a parking garage or lot, but they were all full.

I finally parked on the street, knowing that I would get a parking ticket, which I did. On top of the ticket was a hand-written note saying, “I noted that you got a ticket, so, here you go, this one is on me!” It was signed: “Sumone #Gishwhes 2013.”

Whoever you are, I would like to thank you for making an already beautiful day even more beautiful.

Margaret Bearor

South Portland

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