Friday, January 17, 2020

Affordable Health Care for All, Cradle to Grave

            I am a “consumer” of health care with a Medicare Advantage plan. I would much rather be a “patient” like I was in the late 1950s when I birthed my 3 babies in a 4-day stay for each at a local hospital. With insurance then from a nonprofit Blue-cross, Blue-shield, we—a working class, one-income family—did not worry about how to pay for health care with birthing or when our son suffered a kidney disease at 4 years old and required treatment for 4 years through several lengthy hospital stays.
            Then profit and advertising entered the system and created the Health Care Industrial Complex. Since then the quality, accessibility, and affordability have become increasingly cruel and unsustainable for the vast majority of consumers. I am a mother, grandmother, and neighbor of working consumers who must decide with health-care needs to seek care or pay for housing or heating because they can't afford the co-pays and deductibles of insurance or have no insurance at all.
            There is a solution to this unsustainable situation in Maine. The Maine Center for Economic Policy conducted “a study of the costs and economic impacts of a health care model that would cover all Maine residents through a state-level public plan, with no fee at point of service.The results of the study show that total yearly healthcare spending could decrease by $1.5 billion under a new public plan, delivering significant benefits to Maine residents, cities, towns, and employers, along with fiscal stability for healthcare providers and hospitals."
            There are 4  bills currently in the legislature to create such a model for Maine. I believe the best of these is LD 1611. Health insurers and other big-money stakeholders of the health-care industrial complex are lobbying our legislators hard and contributing big money to political campaigns. The only voice in the legislature more powerful than these stakeholders is the voice of voters. I will write my Senator and Representative and urge them to support LD 1611.  And I will be voting in the next election for candidates who pledge support for a single-payer universal health care plan.

A version of this post appeared as a Letter to the Editor in The Star Herald 1-15-2020

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Power and Influence of Big Money

Political junkies, news hounds, concerned citizens: a course for you is coming to a location in your own home via ZOOM. ZOOM is a video conferencing platform similar to SKYPE, but better. SAGE (Seniors Achieving Greater Education) is offering “The Power and Influence of Big Money.” Co-instructors Alice Bolstridge and Nancy Roe expect lively discussion in this class about effects of big money on legislative policy and people’s lives. Selected readings from research and Alice’s book in progress will provide discussion prompts. 

Reflections of a Pacifist Private in Maine's Culture Wars

The book title, Through the Eye of a Needle refers to Jesus’ warning: “It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven.” The subtitle, Reflections of a Pacifist Soldier in the Culture Wars, refers to Alice’s experience as a volunteer activist for peace and justice, including but not limited to observations of the Maine legislature in the spring of 2018.

The class will review some of the most exciting and contentious events of this legislature. Partisanship, referred to as tribalism in the book, interferes with solving problems, and in this session legislators fought in court and in the Senate about how to implement the Ranked Choice Voting law passed by voters in referendum. They fought about  the bill to give Bath Iron Works a 6-million-dollar tax subsidy. And they fought fiercely about the bill to adjourn the session on schedule or to continue to work on unresolved issues. We’ll talk about how corporate power influences legislative decisions in these and other important and continuing issues: income inequality, the environment, health care, education, and other concerns that affect our daily lives.

Delivering Petitions for Ranked Choice Voting 

Maine’s ideological conflicts reflect fights going on nationally and in many cases globally. We will discuss how these issues are continuing in the 2020 elections, and we will explore possibilities for solutions to the problems.

We like participants to bring their own interests and experience of the topics into discussions. “The personal is political and vice versa.” I don’t remember who said that.  

The class is limited to 10 participants plus the 2 instructors, so if you want to take this adventure with us, here’s how:  To register for the class from wherever you are in the world, go to  There is a $25.00 SAGE membership fee and a $5:00 course fee which you can pay online.

Nancy will offer tutorials in the use of  ZOOM. It is easy; you don’t even have to open a ZOOM account. You only need access to a computer with a camera and a microphone, an email address, and Nancy’s simple instructions and encouragement. What is Zoom and how does it work?  See

Course Schedule: Tuesdays, February 4, 11, 18, 25; 9:30- 11:30 AM.           

ZOOM tutorial dates on line: Tuesdays, January 21, 28, 2020; 9:30-10:30 and other times as needed.

Instructor bios:
  • Nancy Roe is a founding member of SAGE, a member of the SAGE Board of Directors, a lifelong learner, and a ZOOM enthusiast. For ZOOM or SAGE membership concerns, contact 

Thursday, September 19, 2019


Voices in the North Country
Writers Symposium
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019
1:30-4 p.m., 7-8 p.m.
UMPI Campus Center

Designed for writers, literature lovers, and general enthusiasts, the University of Maine at Presque Isle's writers symposium, Voices in the North Country, is making its return after nearly two decades. The symposium will focus on the theme Writing What You Know, with readings by local students and published writers and a panel discussion and Q&A with Maine writers. The event concludes with a Distinguished Lecture at 7 p.m. by Dr. Ted Van Alst. An UMPI alumnus, Van Alst is the Associate Professor and Director of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University in Oregon and author of the story collection Sacred Smokes. If you're looking to hone your writing craft, meet fellow writers, or just enjoy good writing, be sure to make plans to attend this symposium!

For more information about this event, which is free and open to the public, please contact UMPI's Marketing and Communications Office at 207-768-9452 or email

Schedule of Events

1:30 p.m. Welcoming Remarks: Deborah Hodgkins, UMPI Professor of English. Melissa Lizotte, UMPI English Alum, Planning Committee Chair.

2:45-3:45 p.m. Panel Discussion, “Writing What You Know:” Alice Bolstridge, Anthony Scott, Jenny Radsma, Ted Van Alst, Kathryn Olmstead—Moderator

7-8 p.m. Distinguished Lecture, Dr. Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.

1:35-2:30 p.m. Readings: Alice Bolstridge, Pat Karpen, Anthony Scott, Manish Pandey, Jenny Radsma, Ted Van Alst

2:30-2:45 p.m. Break, Book sales

Symposium Presenter Biographies

Alice Bolstridge is an UMPI alum and retired English teacher. Born and raised in Portage, she has published more than one hundred poems, stories, and essays in magazines and anthologies. She won the 2013 Kenneth Patchen award for Experimental Fiction for her book Oppression for the Heaven of It published by JEF Books. Her chapbook of poems, “Chance & Choice,” was published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press.

Pat Karpen graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. a long time ago. She is grateful to UMPI and her professors for showing her how to take decades of jottings on scraps of paper, cocktail napkins, and the margins of newspapers and begin to try and write.

Anthony Scott teaches literature, creative writing and composition at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, and he taught at the University of Maine at Presque Isle for a number of years. He has an MFA from Wilkes University. In addition to his chapbook, The Year Things Came Apart, his work has been published in Echoes Magazine, Upcountry Literary Journal, the Star Herald, MSSM Literary Magazine, and The Write Life. He finds the rivers and rocks, the dark spruce and white snow, all ideal settings for creating and plans to spend the rest of his life writing and teaching in northern Maine.

Manish Pandey is a sophomore at UMPI majoring in business administration. He is from Nepal and has only recently started writing fiction. His chosen story for the Voices symposium, “Threshold,” was written for his creative  writing course and revised for UMPI’s student literary journal Upcountry.

Jenny Radsma is a native of Alberta, Canada, who teaches nursing at the University of Maine at Fort Kent and writes on weekends. She is one of five women who met at a writer’s workshop and decided to continue meeting as a group dedicated to chronicling the lives of their mothers. The result was the anthology Compassionate Journey: Honoring Our Mothers’ Stories, published in 2018 by Maine Authors Publishing. Her work has appeared in The Sun, Echoes, and Goose River Anthology.

Dr. Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr. is Associate Professor and Director of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University. He is coeditor and Creative Editor for Transmotion (an open-access journal of postmodern indigenous studies). His novel in stories about growing up in Chicago, Sacred Smokes, was published in 2018 by the University of New Mexico Press, which also published his edited volume The Faster Redder Road: The Best UnAmerican Stories of Stephen Graham Jones. His academic work appears in collections such as Seeing Red, Visualities, and The Routledge Companion to Native American Literature. His fiction, essays, and photography have been published widely.

Sunday, June 16, 2019


33 Cedar St. Presque Isle, Maine
$88,000 or best offer

Contact 207-768-5827.

Garage, Enclosed Breezeway, Deck, Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room, Library/Den/Office, 
3 Bedrooms includes finished attic, 2 bathrooms, full basement. 


back with raised garden, deck

garden shed

living room

library,den, or office


dining room

master bedroom

master bath

2nd bedroom

2nd bath

finished attic/3rd bedroom

Sunday, May 19, 2019

House for Sale

33 Cedar Street, Presque Isle, Maine

1,296 Square Feet: 

  • 3 bedrooms includes a finished attic
  • 2 bathrooms
  • kitchen
  • dining room
  • living room
  • den or office. 

Blown hot air heat plus heat pump.

Appliances included: 
  • refrigerator
  • electric stove
  • dish washer
  • washer/dryer
  • heat pump water heater.

Call for appointment: (207) 768-5827

Saturday, May 18, 2019


Life begins before conception. Sperm and ovum are each alive, and they go back in an unbroken line to some primeval ooze that created the first live cell. Each is a potential person. Nature is profligate with the deaths of individual sperms and ova. When a fetus becomes a person depends on how one defines "person." As far as I know when a potential becomes a human person has no scientific date and entirely depends on religious or political interpretation. The pertinent question is not when does life begin nor when does a fetus become a person but who has control over women's bodies. Imagine attempting to make a law controlling men's bodies and what they do with sperm they produce as the biblical prohibition against spilling seed upon the ground suggests. Or restricting the use of condoms or viagra. Or forced sterilization as has been practiced on women. Clearly, the unborn embryo or fetus is a part of the woman's body until it is born and takes its first breath. Gloria Steinem asks, “Should Women’s bodies be nationalized?” She argues that the political attempt to control women’s bodies and reproduction is historically patriarchal, racist, and sexist, and that the attempt is out of step with the majority opinion of the people.