Friday, May 26, 2017
It is true that for most us, Memorial Day is the unofficial gateway to summer and we look forward to the much needed three days off. We often have big plans for a quick get-away adventure, a picnic with family and friends or anxiously look forward to getting that boat into the water to enjoy the summer months ahead.
But, of course, we all know the real reason behind Memorial Day. So, I want to take this moment to express gratitude to those who are serving, have served and to those who have given their lives so the rest of can enjoy our lives so freely.
For those who know me well, I prefer peace and civility over war. But many sacred texts admit that there is a time for peace and a time for war. Even Lao Tzu, the author of the “Tao Te Ching” who was completely against war and violence, admits in his 31st first verse of the “Tao” that one should use arms “only as a last resort”; thereby admitting that sometimes we must protect ourselves, our love ones and our nation from harm.
Thus, on Memorial Day, let’s remember those whose lives have been taken while serving in all of the United States wars, of which more than 1 million individuals have died serving. We are eternally indebted to all of them, who put their lives on the line to insure our freedom to live, thrive and worship as we please.
There are plenty of activities to honor these soldiers and there is one I have learned about just recently. In December 2000, Congress passed a resolution known as the National Moment of Remembrance. The resolution invites American citizens to consider remembering these individuals on Memorial Day by taking a moment at 3 p.m., “to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a time of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”
So, whatever you find yourself doing on Monday, May 28 – whether it’s riding in your boat on Sebago Lake, having a picnic at Dundee Park or exploring the countryside, think about taking just a moment to be grateful to those who have served.
It will only take a second. One second, that’s it. And then we can resume the fun Memorial Day activities we love so much, doing so with freedom and perhaps, with a feeling of gratitude – and perhaps have the added awareness of not taking the ease and joy of our lives for granted.
This insight is dedicated to the memory of my Father, Lester F Noll who served in World War II and in honor of my brother, Duane B. Noll who served during the Vietnam War.
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 pre-existing 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 that 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.
Dr. Erica Magnus
Friday, May 19, 2017
Booker T. Washington is quoted as saying, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” If this statement is true, then the people who live in the Windham and Raymond communities must be some of the happiest people in the world.
If they aren’t, then they should be.
This is a topic I have discussed before in my weekly insights, but I just can’t seem to reiterate it enough. The people in this small Maine community are the most incredibly giving people I have met, serving others in need beyond measure. I am awed, flabbergasted and astonished on a weekly basis.
Perhaps it is because I’m a relative newbie to Windham and Raymond and have landed in a role of reporter and editor of the Eagle that opens the door for me to witness all the service and giving that happens here on a minute by minute basis.
If you haven’t already, take a moment to read the articles, “PowerServe is at it again and the community is grateful” and “ACDelco chooses Sebago Lake Automotive to provide free vehicle repairs” (both on the front page).
If those two stories don’t move you, then I don’t know what will. If they do move you – they are just the beginning of what happens in this community daily.
What I find to be the most profoundly amazing thing is that this service to others is completed successfully by people without large sums of money, power and influence. It comes from a mysterious and innate pull to make others’ lives just a tad bit easier in some way. And in doing so, there is a karmic force at play – our lives become a tad bit easier as a result.
And from there, it spreads like wildfire – a wildfire of feeling good that comes from giving and receiving.
If you are feeling down or simply can’t get out of the doldrums, I would like to suggest to you to find a purpose in helping others. It doesn’t have to be big and you don’t have to feel important. Find something you are passionate about and serve. I can guarantee that in your attempt to assist others, goodness will come back to you in some way. You will forget your own problems because you will be too busy assisting others with theirs.
Try it. If I’m wrong. Well, fair enough. I apologize. But I suspect I’m right. How can one not be happy when you have a hand in changing the world for the better?
Please consider the message of this letter carefully, considering it is something more personal than you might think, and may have a substantial impact on your everyday life. This letter is written by students from Windham Middle School who care about where our water comes from and making sure that it is safe for our town. To keep our waters clean, there are ways that you can help.
As you may already know, soil is Maine’s top water pollutant. In addition, road care products, such as salt and sand, also have an immense impact on the cleanliness of our drinking water. The road mix gets washed away into our water every year, and the only way to prevent this is to use less salt and sand on our roads. We cannot change the fact that these products are necessary, but we can change the methods we use to clean up the remnants.
While these pollutants have a huge effect on our water quality, they are not the only problem. Simple things like trash, soap and lawn care products have a negative impact as well. We need to start watching out for not only our own waste, but also, each other’s. Picking up trash or planting erosion buffers can make a huge difference protecting our water sources.
Conservation of Windham’s water is also critical. There are a few methods you can use to conserve: Shut off the sink while brushing your teeth, when not rinsing off in the shower turn off the knob, use a dishwasher if you have one instead of hand washing, scrape your dishes clean instead of rinsing, choose energy saving appliances, turn hose off when not directly using it, take a shower instead of a bath, use rain barrels to collect roof water or plant a rain garden.
If we all get on board, we will be able to protect our water for future generations to come. Our WMS (Windham Middle School) team has been collaborating with Portland Water District’s classroom program. We took part in a campus clean-up day and we also were taught by a guest from Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation. Our team designed brochures to educate the public and in May will be placing a rain barrel on campus and painting storm drains. It is our intention that these projects will help to build school and community awareness. The rain barrels will conserve roof water and keep bad pollutants from reaching watersheds throughout Windham. The painted storm drains will bring more attention to the matter and persuade citizens to keep from throwing items down the drains.
We thank you for putting thought to this issue and taking action to support the quality and conservation of Windham’s water!
Monica Agneta, Destiny Potter, and Camille Culpovich
Windham Middle School Triple Team 7
There is a group of people in Maine who frequently go unnoticed and underappreciated. They are the 178,000 unpaid caregivers who provide assistance to family members or friends who can no longer take care of themselves.
As a caregiver myself, I want to thank Senator Collins for working to address caregiving through the reintroduction of the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act. AARP has also endorsed this important legislation and is grateful to Senator Collins for her efforts to work on a bipartisan basis to support family caregivers. Most of us are, have been, or will be a family caregiver. Or we will need help to live independently ourselves, making this is an ageless and nonpartisan issue.
The RAISE Family Caregivers Act would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill would create an advisory body, to bring together relevant federal agencies and others from the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations. The strategy would identify specific actions that government, communities, providers, employers, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers and be updated annually.
By supporting family caregivers, we can help people stay at home where they want to be, helping to delay or prevent more costly nursing home care and unnecessary hospitalizations, and saving taxpayer dollars. AARP appreciates Senator Collins’ bipartisan leadership and is committed to working to pass the RAISE Family Caregivers Act this year.
Sue Hawes, AARP Maine Volunteer