Down East 2013 ©
The story in your November issue by Monica Wood, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” is yet another example of why I so greatly respect the integrity and vision of Down East. As with many of your magazine’s articles, this feature is honest, timely, thought-provoking, and inspirational. I get excited for the world when I read of innovative programs such as Mr. Swann’s model of housing first. Logan Place is a realistic solution that improves conditions for everyone in the community and also turns out to be humane and cost-effective. It is representative of the practical sense of which Mainers are justly proud and from which other places could learn. May you continue to look at the numerous issues facing Maine and bravely discuss them via similarly well-researched articles.
—Dean Silvers, Santa Cruz, California, and Rockport, Maine
Down East took “one gigantic leap for mankind” with the publishing of Monica Wood’s article in the November 2009 issue. The writing is superb — timely and compassionate — and brings the plight of Portland’s homeless out into the light of day. You don’t often find literature in the pages of a magazine, but that’s what you get with this article.
— Gene Youtz, New Harbor, Maine, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Eye on the Sky
I’m delighted to learn that the Astronomical Society of Northern New England is tracking near-Earth asteroids and contributing to improving their orbits, but it turns out that the Maine connection is more extensive that the article indicates. For example, in October 2008, a small asteroid named 2008 TC3 was discovered about one day before it impacted Earth’s atmosphere over Sudan. The fact that it would impact was first pointed out by Bill Gray of Bowdoinham on a listserv of amateur and professional astronomers with an interest in asteroids. And one of the key scientists at NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office is Dr. Steven Chesley, who developed software for estimating asteroid impact probabilities. Chesley grew up in Charleston, Maine, and played a key role in tracking 2008 TC3. In addition, the world’s expert for using radar observations to estimate the three-dimensional shapes of asteroids is Professor Christopher Magri at the University of Maine at Farmington.
Finally, let me gently correct a mistake that crept into the article. The object that impacted Jupiter was not the size of Earth. Rather, the dark smudge that resulted from the impact grew to roughly the size of Earth.
— Dr. Lance A. M. Benner, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Thank you for bringing Maine’s vehicle inspection scheme to light in your October “Talk of Maine” article. In 1984 I was one of the participants involved in changing the inspection process from six months to one year. As a lifelong resident of Maine, I believe that Mainers should be allowed the right to control the safety of their own vehicle. In 2008 I testified again to exempt new cars for five years from the inspection and two years for all other cars. This failed to pass. In the testimony, AAA and several insurance companies admitted that Maine’s vehicle inspection sticker had no effect on safety.
— Francis Fenton, Mercer, Maine
Where in Maine?
Anyone who has driven Route 172 from Blue Hill south toward Sedgwick will recognize the lovely view in your November issue as being across the blueberry barren to the Salt Pond. What only few may realize is that there are actually three Maine towns shown in this lovely photo. The barren, Carleton Island, and the land directly across from the barren are all in Blue Hill. The tree line to the south (the right side of the photo) is in Sedgwick, and the land on the southwest side of the shot is North Brooklin.
— Peter T. Smith, Brooklin, Maine
In November, we incorrectly referred to the Book of Revelations. It is, in fact, the Book of Revelation.
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