Our readers write …

11 years ago

More for less?

To the editor:
    Are any non-government employers in Caribou paying wages and benefits to their employees that compare to the school department employees? How many non-government employees have the ability to retire in their 50s with quality health insurance? Many tax-paying citizens are unable to pay for health insurance while working yet they must pay taxes for teachers to retire at young ages with health benefits. Something is wrong with this picture.

    Last week’s Aroostook Republican article stated that the teacher’s union was upset about teachers having to work several more days per year without additional pay. Many Caribou citizens feel fortunate to receive two weeks’ paid vacation per year. My impression is that teachers receive two months of paid vacation per year and they want additional pay for being asked to work a few more days? Something is wrong with this picture.
    As for the School Board wanting to freeze stipends for extracurricular activities or coaching positions for three years, Mr. Atcheson points out that teachers are concerned about their students and put in extra time for their kids. If that is true, then these teachers surely are willing to forgo a pay increase for three years for these extra activities. If not, they don’t have to sign up for the extra work.
    Caribou’s economy is suffering greatly. Its citizens can no longer afford to pay the kind of taxes to support the school system as they have for decades and it will be getting worse. The demographics are that there are fewer and fewer working age (20-65) people in all of Maine, including Caribou, and they are the group that pays most of the taxes. I think the teachers need to look around Caribou and realize how good they have had it, realize how times have changed and be appreciative of what they still have while it lasts.
    Something that has always puzzled me is that the school costs seem to keep going up while the number of students keeps going down. It is time for teachers to think about doing more for less rather than less for more.

Phil Cyr


Is there more Boy Scout history?

To the editor:
    I saw a recent article in the Republican regarding the history of Boy Scouts in Caribou and wanted to respond with a question.
    Family lore has it that my dad, Arthur Gilman Sullivan, was the first Eagle Scout in Caribou. I have his Eagle Scout pin. Born in 1916, he graduated from Caribou High School at 16, went to Andover for a year and graduated from Harvard in ‘36. I assume he would have been 14 to 16 in 1928 to 1930. (The Troop in the article wouldn’t have existed then? Was there another troop? Is the information on the founding date correct?)
    Uncle Jack (John W. Sullivan) won the Soap Box Derby there and was a runnerup in Akron, Ohio sometime around there as well. My grandfather was Patrick J. Sullivan who ran the Aroostook County Federation of Farmer’s fertilizer factory for 50 years or so.

Gilman Sullivan
Mount Pleasant, S.C.


Medicare Open Enrollment deadline near

To the editor:
    Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period is under way until December 7. Not to worry — Medicare is not linked to new health insurance marketplace.
    Every year at this time Medicare usually takes center stage with its Open Enrollment Period. It’s an extremely important time of year for millions of people aged 65 and older wanting to enroll in Medicare or review coverage plans for 2014.
    The Oct. 15 start of this year’s Open Enrollment Period was very different. It was caught up in the confusion caused by several other national events — the government shutdown and the newly launched health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. It’s understandable that Medicare beneficiaries were left feeling lost in the shuffle and unsettled.
    The good news?
    The shutdown is over and Medicare’s Open Enrollment is well under way. The new health insurance marketplace will not change anything for people enrolling or already enrolled in Medicare. Coverage options and benefits will not be affected. If you have Medicare, you are covered.
    Choosing the most beneficial health care coverage plan for the years ahead can be a daunting task. It requires a thoughtful process and often times a good helping hand. The best news is that there are many resources and exceptionally qualified and trustworthy people available in Maine to help answers any questions.
• Visit www.medicare.gov to learn more about the different options.
• Talk to friends or relatives who are already enrolled in Medicare. Ask for their advice and what they have learned in the process.
• Call or make an appointment to talk with experts at your local Area Agency on Aging.
    Please don’t forget. Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period ends Dec. 7, 2013.

Becky Dube,
VP senior products
Martin’s Point Health Care