Friday, August 26, 2016

Dear Editor - From Fred Collins

Dear Editor,

Freedom loving Americans. “The handwriting is on the wall!” We are the nuts and bolts of our country. We as a country must choose wisely! The future generations depend on the choice we make today. 

There are some who fail and resolve to hide those failures. Adversities have a tendency to “strengthen” if we use them as learning tools! We American’s must be aware of those that pass their failures to others and make excuses. Those that are prone to such a habit can be a “weak link” in America’s future endeavors. 

Who will be our future leaders? Does the media strive to tell the truth? We the everyday Joe must be aware of the truth. (Have we studied the rank cards of those in office? How else can we judge them?)
When we apply for a job the interviewer examines your past merits! What have you accomplished in the past? What are your goals? Does your past record shine a light on your future? 

Will the decision makers work as a team for the betterment of the whole? We as a team must strive to demand that our future have a firm foundation, just as we build our family unit. (To be strong we need complete unity in government for a healthy America.)

We the living must recall those that made the “supreme sacrifice” to make America and example of freedom and justice.

We must judge by merit. 

The American,
Fred Collins

Insight -- Congratulations to the winners! - By Michelle Libby

Nothing says success than being voted on by your peers and chosen as the top in a certain field. This week we celebrate those who have earned the Eagle Choice Awards in their profession.

“Winners don’t wait for chances, they take them.”

These businesses, most of them well established, not only delivers great service, but their customers and clients like to talk about what a great job they are doing. This is a hallmark of a successful business and thus a winner.

“Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.”

These “winners” didn’t get there without a lot of hard work and strife. Most of the small businesses have fewer than 10 employees and the owners work alongside their employees to get the job done. When asked what they do best, their answers usually are along the line of customer service. 

They make sure that their customers come first and when they leave their shop or restaurant, they only have positive things to say.

“Champions believe in themselves, even when no one else does.”

Getting to the top means hours upon hours of time perfecting a product, a recipe, or a marketing slogan. Even when the bottom line is in the red, they still push on day after day until they see progress.

“Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners.”

Healthy competition is a good thing. It pushes you harder, makes your work better and ultimately the results are seen in the bottom line. Winners set goals and work toward them. They see a finish line in the distance but set their sights on the mountain beyond the piece of tape across the road. 

When athlete Michael Phelps raced in the Olympics, there are pictures of him swimming his race. He was determined and his focus was on the wall at the end and his next gold medal. Having someone push him, like the guy in second place, made him faster and more determined. Competition in business does the same thing. Winners are constantly being pushed by all of the other businesses like theirs. They are looking for the next best idea, a way to gain the competitive edge. 

In the end, we are all doing what we can to contribute to our communities, the state and the economy and we’re doing a pretty darn good job. Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Eagle Choice Awards!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Flip to a Different Eagle Section

AARP Opinion - Anniversary for Social Security - Japhet Els

Social Security’s 81st birthday is a great time to reflect on how successful it has been in providing retirement income to older Americans. At the time of its passage in 1935, almost half of older Americans lived in poverty.  While first simply a retirement program, today, Social Security offers survivors’ benefits, benefits to a retiree’s spouse, and disability benefits. Social Security is the foundation of economic security for millions of Americans and their families.  Here in Maine, one third of Mainers 65 plus who are on Social Security rely on their benefit for 100 percent of their income.  Without Social Security, over 80,000 older Mainers would fall into poverty.

Your parents, your grandparents, and one day you, too, will benefit from Social Security.  

Whether you’re giving comfort and support to an aging parent or you’re in the twilight of your twenties or thirties, Social Security is relevant. If you are working, you are paying into it. If you are on a fixed income, but still hoping to retire and be able to pay all your bills, you can count on Social Security to help. In fact, hundreds of thousands of Mainers, and millions of Americans, count on it each and every day. But we need Congress to update the program for the 21st Century without delay.
The bottom line is that the Social Security Trust Funds will continue to pay out 100 percent of expected benefits to retirees until 2034. After 2034, with no changes to the system, beneficiaries will only receive 75 percent of what they are owed.  While 2034 may seem a long way off, the Social Security trustees report signals a need for steps to be taken now to strengthen the program for the future. 

We need our elected leaders and candidates for office to act.  Where do the presidential candidates stand on Social Security?  It is time for both candidates to lead on Social Security, and give us real answers about how they’ll keep it strong for us and for future generations.  While we can find information about their current plans at, we deserve to know much more about how their plan will affect our families, what it will cost, and how they will effectively implement it.  

Here are a few reasons why we should be demanding action from every candidate running for federal office this election season on the issue of Social Security:
Social Security is the only steady retirement income for a majority of older Mainers. The national conversation during this election continues to underplay this important issue with little or no mention by either party or by the media.

This is why AARP launched our Take A Stand campaign: To bring attention and focus to Social Security and to the overall financial security of older Americans around the country.  AARP has even pulled policy ideas together from both sides of the aisle to represent multiple perspectives. Up for consideration are 12 different proposals that could strengthen the program long-term.  

Too many Mainers depend on Social Security to get by and we cannot continue to ignore the fact that the program needs to be updated for the 21st Century.  Please join me in Taking a Stand at  Strengthening Social Security now and for the future has never been more important.

Japhet Els
AARP Maine Outreach Director

Dear Editor - From Rep. Mike McClellan

Dear Editor,
My church pastor discussed the upcoming visit of Franklin Graham to Maine this August 23rd in Augusta for the Decision America Tour ( I was blessed then that he asked the congregation to pray for a Maine Senator in attendance and myself. We were both asked to offer advice to the people attending and we both quickly (at the same moment) said Vote! One day later I realize more importantly, it is also important to participate fully! Processing the idea of participating reminded me of a story.

When I was running for re-election in 2012 I knocked on a door not too many miles from my home. The person answered, looked at me and said that I had a terrible environmental record and asked why she would vote for me. She then slammed the door in my face! Fast forward not too much into the future of that year and another person called me. Told me there was a major issue with Milfoil in our communities and in Maine, we had to talk. We got together, I listened and realized the Milfoil issue was much worse than I knew. This initial discussion set about a year of working together to craft proposed legislation, pull in key people and organizations, go through the legislative process and then adjust when the Legislative Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee had issues with our plan. 

Ultimately, we passed key legislation (together) as my constituent had the knowledge of the issue and used my legislative abilities. I sometimes use this story when I speak as one person put me in a box and decided I was on the wrong side while the second person focused on a passionate issue and used her legislator to gain a win for her cause.
I think we too often do pick sides, assume instead of asking and we chose to not participate fully. This election cycle is very important. It is clear many of the politics have lined up as Democrat or Republican, CNN or Fox News. My challenge to all of us is to not let parties or media guide your voting. Think about what is important to you and your family. There is a lot of information available, but you may have to work to get it. I know for some people the presidential race is a turn off, however Maine also has six referendum items that could have major impacts on our culture and society. I believe, while the instinct might be to walk away this year, in fact this is a year where you should confront the fork in the road we have before us and be heard!

God bless you! Keep this election process in your prayers. I can tell you I would not be writing to you today if it were not important.

Rep. Mike McClellan
Maine House 66
Parts Raymond, Casco and Poland
Joshua 24:15

Dear Editor - From Sandra Crowell

Dear Editor,

We have a wonderful opportunity this November to elect Jessica Fay as our State Representative in parts of Raymond, Casco and Poland. I have known Jess for a decade or so, she has always impressed me with her open minded attitude. She listens to differing sides of an issue without judgment and is always looking for middle ground.

She is dedicated and willing to serve. She will follow in her mother's footsteps, a public advocate and small town Mayor who spent most of her life trying to improve her community for everyone. Jess learned that commitment to public service and a strong work ethic are keys to making positive change. As a business owner, she is sensitive to issues that affect Maine's workers and employers. I believe she will thoughtfully consider each issue, and not just follow the leaders that be, or vote down party lines.

I am excited for the election this coming November 8. I believe we will make a clear declaration of important American values. Please join me by voting for Jess Fay who will be a strong advocate for us, and the issues facing our beautiful state.

Thank you for your consideration,
Sandra Crowell
Raymond, ME