Letters to the Editor for Dec. 6

Larry Schneider writes:

At the beginning of World War II, the American government collected all Americans of Japanese descent on the West Coast and put them in prisons — internment camps. These Americans had done nothing wrong, they simply had committed the offense of having Japanese ancestry. The sons of these prisoners were allowed to fight for ‘their’ country in the European theater-they were Americans after all! They fought with distinction much like the Tuskegee Airmen who had committed the offense of having been born with a swarthy complexion. Viewed as a matter of history, most of the Japanese-Americans had come to America of their own volition, most [African] Americans had been forced here.

Those of you who have watched the original Star Trek series will remember George Takei as Mister Sulu. He has written a play about the internment of his family. Those of you who have seen “Snow Falling on Cedars” will remember the portrayal of the interment. Clearly the treatment of many Americans in the past has not been reflective of our purported values: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free … Our treatment of many immigrant groups, Italian, Jews, Irish, leaves much to be desired.

It is amazing to me that there was so little sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of refugees trekking through Europe until the picture of the little boy showed up on the internet. The myriad of news reports seemed not to register before the picture of the little boy appeared.

Whomever attacked the citizens of Paris clearly are sick people; sick like the killer of children in a Connecticut grammar school or the murderer of those in a Colorado movie theater. It should be noted that whomever they were, they chose to attack people enjoying the freedom afforded by the French democracy. I personally am allergic to cheese, but I defend to the death your right to eat it. Their offense was [that] they got along. Whatever your position on the second amendment, clearly we have more to fear from the random disaffected of our own. Just as we should not unfairly condemn those who wear black clothing or those living at their parents house, we should not condemn the masses in Europe. Nor should we condemn those of the various religions presently in our country.

Some of those “huddled” masses trekking through Europe are Orthodox Christians, Jews, Shia, Sufi [and] Sunni. At present, the world of Islam is at war within itself, much like Christians of earlier centuries. We must look at each individual individually!

Willow Bates writes:

Whether you’ve seen yellow water flowing from the fountains or have heard that drinking it will give you cancer, it is common knowledge that the quality of Orono drinking water is not optimal. The information being passed around is generally oversimplified, but we cannot take public knowledge for granted. Until recently, the Orono Veazie Water District was virtually silent about test results that indicated high levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) compounds known to cause various health issues including an increased risk of cancer in humans.

THMs are byproducts of water chlorination, a common sanitization treatment for drinking water. High levels of decomposed plant matter, dissolved organic carbons, react with chlorine to form THMs over time. The wells from which the district draws its water are adjacent to the Stillwater River, so it has been theorized that river water seeping into the wells accounts for the high dissolved organic carbon levels. Regardless of their origin, a change in source, treatment or management will be necessary to increase our water quality.

The existing board of trustees is dedicated to addressing flaws in the water system that are leading to unsafe drinking water for the town. So why should we care if the problem is currently being addressed? Since the board of trustees represents the citizens of Orono and Veazie, they rely on interest and input from the community to make changes.

Educate yourself on the water problem. Contact the district with questions or concerns. Attend a public water district meeting to learn more about the decision making process and voice your opinion. With a little involvement our community can give the Orono-Veazie Water Board of Trustees confidence in their decisions and take ownership of the water we use every day.

 

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