Suicide Not An Answer

I was saddened to see and read the extra insert on the subject of Student Suicide. So much could have been said of a more positive nature. Life is precious and shouldn’t be taken away in the manner of suicide. Those who use it as a way of ending their lives should remember the pain they leave behind for their friends and family. They may escape hardship, but leave tragedy behind. We must be more aware of how kids are being treated and how we can reach out to make a difference. We are given a gift of life and need to use our lives to make others more cheerful and beneficial to others. We must all be grateful for our time on this earth. There is so much to be thankful for including friends, family, and classmates. Life is precious. We must use our time on earth to make peace among all creatures. We must reach out to those who may be suffering and to brighten their lives. Suicide is not an answer.

E. R. Kamphausen,

Phippsburg

House Healthcare Bill Badly Flawed

When it comes to pre-existing health conditions, we cannot afford to go back in time. Before the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, insurers could charge sick people impossibly high rates. If you had cancer, or diabetes or even a Caesarean section, insurance companies labeled it a preexisting condition and slapped you with an enormous insurance premium. Rates were so high many people I knew had to go without health insurance. They just couldn’t afford it.

Unfortunately, we are once again in this untenable situation. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that the U.S. House of Representatives passed earlier this month gives the upper hand back to the insurance companies. This is especially punishing for people age 50-64 who often have chronic conditions. I hope our Senators recognize that right now in the state of Maine there are 123,155 individuals between the ages of 50 and 64 who live with pre-existing conditions.

The U.S. Senate plans to work on this flawed bill in the coming weeks. I hope they agree that basing health insurance rates on an individual’s pre-existing condition is unacceptable. The AHCA will make health care unaffordable and inaccessible for over a hundred thousand Mainers for this reason alone. In addition, the bill will discriminate against older adults by allowing insurance companies to charge them five times more what others pay for the same coverage just because of their age.

We cannot let this health care legislation pass. Please contact Senators Collins and King and urge them to reject this inhumane bill.

Erica Magnus

Windham

Think Before Spraying

People need to think twice about spraying for insect/bug control. Spraying not only poisons the insect, but birds and our pollinators. The birds do a wonderful job consuming insects and even the Brown tail moth. The Phoebe and Humming birds love mosquitoes and help keep yards bug free. Most importantly, if the bees are poisoned, our crops suffer, prices go up, and we all lose in the end. There are lots of alternatives available to control what many consider “pests.” Personally, I’m allergic to the Brown tail, but I use a soap solution to treat this pest. Please think twice!

Dorothy Burgess,

Brunswick

In Support of LD 1108

I am writing in support of LD 1108 – An Act to Restore Public Health Nursing Services. This bill was sponsored by Senator Everett “Brownie” Carson, and has bipartisan support of co-sponsors from across the state.

Public Health Nursing is a program within Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control. Public Health Nurses are registered nurses who have provided services to individuals and families in a variety of settings including their homes, clinics and schools, and in the community since 1920.

Essential services provided by Public Health Nurses include assistance with public health emergencies, such as infectious disease outbreaks (pandemic influenza or a tuberculosis outbreak), nursing visits to drug-affected babies and their parents, and support for the elderly in chronic disease management.

The state has reduced public health nursing services in the last 6 years, cutting the number of Public Health Nurses from 59 to approximately 20. This bill will ensure sufficient staffing to provide the needed Public Health Nursing services statewide.

On April 13, a public hearing at the Maine Legislature Committee on Health and Human Services, brought out over 50 individuals to testify in support of LD 1108. Those in support included physicians and hospitals representatives, public health advocates, and families that had received Public Health Nursing services. On May 18, the HHS committee voted that the bill “ought to pass” and it will soon be voted on in the Maine House of Representatives and Maine Senate.

During my tenure of over 25 years as a Public Health Nurse supervisor, I witnessed the importance of having an adequate, trained Public Health Nursing workforce that could respond quickly to emerging Public Health emergencies, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, when Public Health Nursing, along with other health care providers, quickly mobilized to keep the citizens of Maine safe.

I encourage all of you to contact your Legislator and ask for their support in voting “yes” for LD 1088 – An Act to Restore Public Health Nursing.

Luanne Crinion,

Brunswick

Democracy and Ranked Choice Voting

Yesterday I had a disturbing conversation with my representative, Jeffrey Pierce. He insists that the United States is not a democracy. Our conversation concerned Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), which he asserts violates the principle of one person/one vote (it does not). He further claimed that Maine’s Supreme Court recently “declared” RCV unconstitutional. This is also not the case. The court offered a non-binding opinion regarding only the state elections portion of RCV.

RCV remains the enacted law of the state of Maine. It was passed with the second largest referendum vote of the people in Maine’s history. It addresses elections at both the state and federal level. It’s a clear expression that Maine voters want an electoral system that honors our choices and helps us build consensus rather than rewarding extremists.

Representative Pierce closed our conversation by insisting that the United States is a republic and not a democracy. Why does he see that as an either/or? We are a republic, and we are a democracy, with a government of, by, and for the people. I can’t imagine a greater irony than my representative, in this representative democracy, insisting that this is not a democracy at all.

Amy Smith

Arrowsic

Vote Yes for New Elementary School

I am a product of the Brunswick Public School system: I attended Longfellow Elementary and Brunswick Junior High School before my family moved away in 1989. Over the next two decades I lived and worked in six cities across the United States. As soon as I became a parent, though, I made the decision to move back to Brunswick because I wanted to give my children the opportunity to grow up in the best community I had ever lived in.

My son is a kindergartner this year at Coffin Elementary. When a new elementary school is built — and one must be — he will have moved on to another school. But even though he will not attend the new elementary school, he will certainly benefit from it, just as the rest of the Brunswick community will.

Coffin School was assessed by architects in 2014 to have zero remaining useful life. There is no question that it must be replaced. When it is replaced, we will have to pay to do so. Voting Yes on June 13 means our property taxes will be increased to pay for it. No home owner wants to pay more in taxes, but we do so with the understanding that when the people of a community invest in a new school, they are also investing in their town and their own futures. A new school attracts new families, with working parents who bring with them needed skills and experience. The tax base expands, the community thrives, and we all benefit. Building a new school is a community’s commitment to its future — one in which current families stay, new families move in, and businesses grow.

I hope we will all endorse the future of this town, to ensure that it will become greater than it already is. Our children and grandchildren should want to grow up here and stay to raise their own families. Those who leave should want to return to raise children here. We can do a lot to secure that kind of a legacy by voting Yes for a New Elementary School on June 13.

Maggie Vaughn Jansson,

Brunswick