Letters provide civic involvement lesson

To the editor,

I am an instructor at Southern Maine Community College and teach preparatory writing to non-native and native English speakers. Please find their first effort to be civic minded and write letters to the editor. I think you will find them all interesting and rewarding to read. Your feedback is appreciated. These young adults will be our next leaders so let’s support them in their effort to become involved.

Rosemarie De Angelis, adjunct instructor

To the editor,

Most of us know the benefits of recycling. It is not only good for the environment but also essential to us. However, when I threw away my waste in places like the gym, school, and the mall, I noticed the trash cans had many plastic water bottles and aluminum cans. Why are they considered trash when they can be recycled? Everyone knows that besides the cost of buying a bottle of water or a can of soda, you have to pay at least 5 cents to deposit on plastic or aluminum. You should keep those bottles to get that money back. Why do we care about credit cards with 1 percent, 2 percent reward, and forget that plastic bottles and aluminum cans can have the same value? So make those as your reward, not trash.

If you’re someone who doesn’t care about those values, all you need to do is put recyclable bottles and cans into a container separate from trash. I believe you can easily do that in Maine because every household has a blue bin for recycling. Besides, most public places also have recycling bins, which may not be blue but will have recycling symbols. For example, at Planet Fitness, they have recycling bins, and they are labeled “bottles, cans.”

No one can force you to do it but yourself. Whether you choose to save or protect the environment, it will benefit your life. Let’s make life better from the smallest things.

Nhat Quang Tran

Vietnam

To the editor,

Summer is one of the finest seasons in Maine. Maine is located in the northeast of the U.S. It is known for its rocky coastline and natural areas like Old Orchard Beach, Sebago Lake and York Beach. The beauty of nature and temperate climate are among the most important reasons to attract tourists.

The summer season contains many important events such as sports, art shows and family gatherings. Portland is an important part of Maine. It’s crowded with many tourists because it has a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a large port which receives many ships from all over the world. Economically, summer is characterized by an important economic activity where we note an increase in purchasing power, the demand of people for restaurants and the increase in the number of travelers. Maine contributes to the provision of all medical and security services to ensure the convenience of citizens. Residents wait for the summer because it comes after the harsh winter, so they have freedom of movement, enjoyment of the sun shining and different colors of flowers as if life is resurrected.

Summer is time to sunbathe and relax. There are many options of where to spend the summer, but the best is Maine. Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy it because it is very short. Anyone who did not come to Maine in the summer has to go through this experience.

Mohammed Baqer

Iraq

To the editor,

There are lots of benefits when you are doing exercise. Most people nowadays start to exercise in their daily life. So, why should people need to exercise every day?

People need to exercise at least two times a week because it can keep your body fit and healthy. It helps to maintain or lose weight. It also prevents you from the risk of any disease. Let’s go to benefits of doing exercise. Exercising can make you happy and reduce stress. It can make you look younger and it makes your skin healthier. It also helps you to sleep well. It improves your brain function, protect memory and think faster. It makes the body look more sexy and can help you to feel more confident. It prevents you from becoming obese, or developing high blood pressure and other diseases. It helps you to meet new people and make fun time together from doing exercise.

Exercising plays an important role in your life. We should remember and practice it to make our life better. Why are you waiting to do it? If you want to be more healthy and live longer, you must do exercise right now.

Helen Le

Cambodia

To the editor,

Maine in the fall is like nothing you have experienced before. When you step outside on a crisp fall morning in Maine it’s refreshing. The beauty of the trees all different shades of orange, green, yellow, and red is breathtaking. You may not be able to go in the water but its still warm enough to bring your boat out and look at the foliage. Maine has some of the best fall activities. You can do things from picking your own apples and pumpkins to going to some of the best haunted attractions and corn mazes.

Pineland Farms is a must. They have the largest corn maze and pumpkin patch. When you pick your own apples they will be the best you’ve had, always fresh and crisp.The weather is cold enough to wear a light sweatshirt or jacket or even just some jeans, a sweater and your bean boots. When you visit Maine in the fall, you will not be disappointed. You won’t regret it.

Lizzie Duncanson

United States

To the editor,

Life in Maine has become expensive compared to years ago. Most people have to work two jobs but expenses are still high.

Individuals need to work overtime or get a second job just to meet their basic needs. Moreover, rent and daycare centers are expensive. The taxes that residents pay is hardly enough to cover the state needs. The state is also crowded with wealthy people who are coming from bigger states like New York and Massachusetts. They are buying buildings and renovating them which also contributes to the high rent. Additionally, there is not enough childcare which makes it difficult for parents. If they do find it, they will spend 50 percent of their income paying for it. Do you think a single parent with one income could afford childcare and rent, when a couple can barely? What will happen if a single parent can’t afford either? This matter could be improved if rich residents pay higher taxes. The state can benefit from additional funding by providing more affordable housing and establishing an earlier head start. Preschools programs start at age four. If additional funding is available, these programs could start at age 3.

I implore you to please help resolve this matter by contacting your legislators to assist in making these changes. We need more affordable housing and daycare services as we cannot continue this way.

Rose Omar

South Sudan

To the editor,

The idea that employment programs would help people find jobs and decrease dependency on food pantries makes sense, but food banks would still be necessary. People don’t just visit food pantries because they are not employed. There are many who work yet still need the assistance.

Although the Department of Health and Human Services is one of many government agencies that offers support to those who need it, the help people receive is not enough and the majority prefer to use these alternative options with no restrictions.

My family found it helpful because it has been helping us a lot and we get most of what we need to feed my family for a week. Vegetables, cereals, milk and meat have been the most amazing gift for us because we get plenty and we are grateful for these gracious gifts that Maine provides. Most of my fellow immigrants make use of these facilities because it gives a smile whenever they get help.

There are a few well organized food pantries in Maine like the First Baptist Church and Project Feed both in Portland, the Salvation Army in South Portland and many other around depending on your location.

It has been a great support to everyone in need, because the food is good. I would encourage everyone to make use of these benefits. It’s been a help to many families in Maine, including mine.

Pedro Mamuba

Angola

To the editor,

Many people love fast food. It is cheap, convenient, and mostly delicious. Because so many people love fast food, the industry is a big money maker. Like most businesses, those companies often put profit over human health.

Even though many fast food companies have been adding healthy options to their menus, once salad dressings and other fatty toppings are added, those “healthy” options can be worse for our health than regular menu items. A lot of businesses post their menu nutrition charts or you can ask the business to provide one. For example, a McDonald’s Big Mac has 33 g of total fat, 563 calories, 79 mg of cholesterol, and 1,007 mg sodium. A McDonald’s Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad has 13 g of total fat, 300 calories, 125 mg cholesterol, and 1,180 mg sodium. It was surprising to see that even though the salad has 20 g less fat, it has 18 mg more sodium and 46 mg more cholesterol.

It is easy to assume that eating a salad is healthy for people, but this may not always be the case. Are these businesses marketing the salad as a healthy option, but adding unhealthy toppings to make it taste better to increase sales and capture a wider customer base?

I want to remind people to be aware of what they are actually eating and not assume that everything that sounds healthy is actually healthy. People need to take the time to read nutrition information for the foods they are eating and make smart choices. Your health depends on it.

Athar Majeed

Iraq

To the editor,

Living in big cities may seem challenging. You need flexibility to manage expenses but also patience. First, get two jobs. Having two or more jobs is one of the mechanisms that many have developed to support the high cost of expenses. Moreover, according to Almeida Josephson, in her article about the cost of living in Maine (July 10, 2019) many items such as food, transportation, health care, education and rent are the most common elements that takes all of our money.

Second, use social services. Non profit organizations have been offering help for families incapable to support monthly expenses. For example, general assistance provides help for basic needs such as rent, medication, food and other necessary items.

Finally, live in a roommate situation. This will reduce the high cost of rent. For example, three single men may prefer to live in a small house in the heart of the city because they are unable to pay individually for a house. Also, food pantries are another resource to get food instead of buying in the stores where you have better found food for free.

I advise you to use these ways to reduce the high cost of living in the city and continue to enjoy your life in this great city.

Joao Cadula

Cabinda (Angola )

To the editor,

The United States alone produces around 2,000 pounds of trash. Where does it go? Almost all of it goes into landfills. Putting trash into our home planet just doesn’t seem fair. From water bottles to food containers to kids toys, plastic is filling the world.

Most plastic is not biodegradable which means that it doesn’t break down in the ground like most things do. So the plastic in the landfills will stay there pretty much forever. Recycling is a big way to reduce landfills and also pollution. Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions so much that it’s equal to taking 5 million cars off the road, even recycling paper produces 73 percent less air pollution then made from raw materials.

To stop using plastic we can all stop using plastic straws, we can use reusable bags for shopping, give up gum as it’s made up of synthetic rubber, and reuse containers. Just a little change can go a long way. In addition we need to all recycle and make our home planet a happy, healthy planet.

Nick Daniel

USA