Letters to the Editor
Readers respond to our article about getting into college, our mystery photograph, and other articles.
The article in your November issue about the Bates College admission process was interesting. However, one factor was never mentioned and that is money. In selecting a large early admission group, Bates is pretty much guaranteeing that these students will not be seeking financial aid. Therefore, Bates is covering their bottom line. I am not knocking Bates or any other college or university for this because they are a business and, of course, need to pay their building maintenance costs, salaries, health insurance, etc. However, just as they may select a student because the music department needs a violinist or the basketball coach needs a new guard, at least the money issue should have been mentioned. For parents looking at a college, money is an enormous consideration.
I identified with your account of the anxiety of admissions to college. Coming from a small New York State high school in the 1950s, I was electrified by admission to Harvard and Brown in an era when only preppies seem to go to such places. As one who teaches at universities (Wesleyan, and now Buffalo), I feel for young people as they face this process.
Williamsville, New York
Editor's Note: While Bates' application process is need-blind, those students who apply for early admission agree to attend the college regardless of whatever financial aid package is offered to them.
I was quite surprised that David Mallett was not even mentioned in your October article "A Maine Playlist." No, he's not among the young rising stars - he's been around a lot longer than they have. Let's not totally ignore this successful and extremely talented singer-songwriter who lives right here in Maine and is still performing locally, nationally, and internationally, as well as producing new material. His latest work is "The Fable True," stories from Thoreau's The Maine Woods narrated and set to music by him. It's an environmentally timely creation that deserves some serious attention. More information can be found at or www.davidmallett.com.
Where in Maine?
I always enjoy your monthly mystery photo and try to identify the locations. The "Where in Maine?" photo in your November issue really tugged at my heart as I recognized the slopes at Squaw Mountain Resort in Greenville. My son, who is visually impaired, has spent countless short vacation trips skiing there with my husband. It had become quite a tradition with them and one they looked forward to each year as a special dad-son time. We were so disappointed when the last couple of years the lodge was not open for accommodations. We look forward to a time when they can resume their yearly trip and enjoy relaxing by the fire, playing cribbage, and petting the lodge's cat. The year-round beauty of this area is one that should be shared with and enjoyed by all.
Thanks for the beautiful photograph of Squaw in your November issue. It's nice to enjoy the many memories that it stirred. However, your readers should know that the mountain's upper area hasn't been open to skiing for at least four years. I have heard of people scheduling vacations not knowing the upper area is closed only to get there and find 750 vertical feet of lift-serviced intermediate skiing.
"Ski the View" is the slogan of Big Squaw Mountain Ski Resort, now geographically known as "Big Moose Mountain." When I was growing up in Greenville, Squaw Mountain provided me with swimming and skiing lessons in the early years and employed me for much of my high-school years. I hope out of sake for the solidarity and respect that Big Moose Mountain deserves that a more moderate and balanced plan for development of the mountain is what happens, as the vast plans for construction hover in a shadow over the resort. I would hope that Big Squaw would continue to provide both families and children of the area the affordable experiences many of us had. I would also hope that all citizens of Greenville speak their minds and use their voice to influence what they feel should become of the resort, protecting their natural and economic status.
Carrabassett Valley, Maine
The late Sel Hannah was spot on - the scenery from Big Squaw Mountain Resort on Big Moose Mountain is unsurpassed in my skiing experiences in North America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. The autumn vista from the chairlift evokes happy memories of working on the Squaw Mountain ski patrol during high school and college in the 1970s. Winter sunrise services, mountaintop weddings, nighttime torchlight parades, clearing debris, marking hazards on
trails, and, of course, rescuing injured skiers kept us out of mischief - most of the time. Local legends of on-snow demolition derbies, warming hut havoc, swimming pool pandemonium, and sauna shenanigans also contain elements of truth.
Your November article about a couple who built an environmentally sensitive house in Camden declares that this house has become "the poster child for green building." As the article points out, the home has many green aspects, which in and of itself is commendable. These green aspects are certainly steps in the right
direction. However, the couple's complex includes a 3,300-square-foot main house, a three-bedroom guest house (size not specified), and detached workshop. This is not being green: it is excessive consumerism. The amount of energy and raw materials consumed in the construction and operation of this homestead is three or four times that consumed by a typical size, non-green family home.
I was interested to read the piece on Camden's green house to see what the trends in green construction are. I was disappointed to see that some of the materials used were touted as "green" when they too have issues, and some traditional materials were carelessly panned. For example, PEX tubing was cited as superior to copper for plumbing, copper being vaguely linked to mines leaching arsenic into water supplies. At the same time, stainless steel was used for interior fencing. If copper (one of the most highly recycled materials anywhere in the world) has mining issues, where do people think chrome, nickel, and iron (the constituents of stainless steel) come from? I'm thinking mines. At the same time, PEX is produced from oil or natural gas, both non-renewable sources with their own environmental issues. I'm all for the "green" concept, but a lot more thought is needed in specifying alternate materials to make sure that they don't also have issues. One has to look at the entire production path of materials to get an accurate picture. A little more science and less emotion are in order.
Grand Haven, Michigan