Jan. 28 Letters to the Editor

Posted Jan. 27, 2010, at 5:30 p.m.

Lone downtown hotel

I read with great interest the article “Reviving Downtown Bangor,” but was surprised to find that the only downtown hotel was never mentioned. Even the map of “where to go in downtown” didn’t list it.

At West Market Square, Charles Inn is downtown Bangor’s only hotel.

Businesspeople, overnight visitors, famous actors and musicians have stayed at the Inn. Charles Inn is Bangor’s only art gallery hotel and part of the Bangor Art Walk. Recent events included a poetry slam, antiques road show, art shows, receptions, parties and a candy buffet.

The Charles Inn is also vital to the downtown area. Our hotel guests and staff patronize the downtown restaurants, pubs, shops, museums, hair salons and more.

New downtown restaurants and bars have been a great draw for the hotel guests providing variety and great dining during their stay. It is also a challenge, however, at 1:30 a.m. when the bars close and the loud crowds flow out into the square.

While the idea about closing the street at West Market Square might be great for outdoor dining, it would be a hardship for my guests for check-in and luggage drop-off.

I agree, the downtown area is unique, has great shops and fabulous dining. I’m just disappointed the empty, abandoned building next door got mentioned, but the only downtown lodging destination for travelers and visitors was left off.

I invite everyone to come for a tour of our unique property. Come and see what we have to offer downtown.

Connie Boivin

Bangor

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Power discount

Two related stories in the Jan. 25 BDN merit close attention by the state’s economic development hierarchy. Windmills like those on Vinalhaven — as for virtually any power production facility — clearly produce various nuisances in addition to megawatt hours. In the case of windmills, it appears that the primary nuisance, be-sides the visual impact, is their noise. Meanwhile, the geniuses in Augusta are trying to figure out how to grow tax revenue for local governmental units from energy production facilities.

How about taking another look, this one designed to benefit the people of an affected community directly — rather than the local government bureaucracy — and to lure additional industrial investment to our state?

Power costs are a key component of industrial production. People who live near power plants should be rewarded for enduring those plants’ nuisances.

Why not simply decree that residents and businesses within the sound of a windmill, within two or three miles of a coal- or oil-fired power plant, or within the emergency planning zone for a nuclear plant, get power for half-price? I wager that Maine would suddenly find itself with a growing industrial base rather than today’s withering economy.

I’ve been told something along these lines already works very well in France. It might be worth a look.

John Edwards

Surry

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High school’s easy pass

In a Jan. 20 editorial titled “Raising Graduation Rates,” the Bangor Daily News enthusiastically endorsed LD 1658, a bill that would require, by the 2015-16 school year, 90 percent of the students in Maine to graduate from high school.

If such a law is indeed passed, the burden of the law will fall not on the state government, nor on the press, nor even on the elementary and middle schools across the state. No, the burden of it will fall on the high school, the degree-granting institution. The high school will be required to raise graduation rates.

There are several ways to achieve this objective: Teachers could pass more students and fail fewer, regardless of accomplishment or merit; teachers could make their exams easier, so that more students will pass the course and gain credit toward graduation; teachers could make daily requirements less rigorous and more fun — replace the reading of Othello, say, with a viewing of O, or require personal anecdotes, projects, or Internet essays instead of formal and original compositions.

And finally, if only high school teachers would allow lazy and feckless students to copy the homework, coursework and essays of more talented and diligent students, then more students would receive higher grades and earn credit toward graduation, thus satisfying the intent of the law and enhancing the self-esteem of the less-talented and less-diligent student.

If this bill passes, then the graduation rate may in fact increase. But at what cost?

William J. Murphy

English-history teacher

Belfast Area High School

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