Friday, May 19, 2017

Letters to the editor

Dear Editor,

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

Dear Editor,

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
Portland, Maine

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