Big wind encroaching
Some of the freedoms we take for granted here in Maine, particularly in rural areas, such as being able to enjoy the night sky full of brilliant stars and listening to the peepers in spring, are being threatened by the encroachment of “big wind” in our backyards.
No one is asking the majority of residents living in the unincorporated townships of Maine how they feel about having the tops of their mountains covered with huge wind turbines and flashing red lights. Very few people really care.
When they complain about the noise, no one cares. When they complain about the flicker effect, they are told to stop whining. They are made to feel that objecting to having wind turbines is wrong.
What about the effects on wildlife near these wind farms? Cows grazing underneath the turbines do not make a good comparison.
Anyone who knows anything about animals that live in the wild would not compare a domesticated cow to a moose or a deer that has to defend itself against predators and is ever watchful while trying to forage for food. Moose go to the tops of mountains in the cold months to keep moose ticks off themselves. This means the difference between life and death. Is enjoying wildlife not a freedom?
Party of confusion
Republicans, both in Congress and in the media, condemn the recently passed health care bill as “socialistic.” During the debate on that bill, Republicans spoke solicitously of Medicare, warning that the bill would cripple or destroy Medicare. Yet Medicare is the largest program of “socialized medicine” that exists in the United States.
The GOP, long ago a party of progressive change, now is the party of disturbing confusion.
I was watching the national news Wednesday, when I saw and heard a message sent to a member of Congress; the caller was upset about the health care bill’s content. His message, summed up in his own four words, was “I hope you die.”
The voice I heard sounded like an adult. I respect his right to his opinion, but he ended up sounding like an adolescent having a temper tantrum. Free speech is a right in our country, but it carries the responsibility to be civil.
I don’t wish death on that person (and the others who are enraged about politics), but I do wish these people would find a more mature way to say how they feel.
Finally! Great bill, no. Promising bill, yes.
Economic: More jobs for primary care treatment. More healthy workers who can remain family earners versus resorting to SSI, SSDI and TANF when seriously ill or dead.
Social: Worker choices for employment without fear of losing employer-paid insurance and job stagnation.
Moral: A society that helps all neighbors.
Global economy: Evening the field with other industrial countries that are outsmarting us with a growing educated and healthy work force.
Education: Promoting children’s physical and mental health to maximize learning for a competent work force and for a responsible citizenship void of our current “dropout” rate from society and schooling.
Ignorance of the bill’s benefits again highlights our society’s laziness in only hearing headlines and negative sound bites from the impassioned corporate lobbyists and their government servants.
SAD 37’s example
Reading with interest about Houlton’s reaction to the “failing school” label, I was struck by the omission of superintendent and school board responsibility from the “hit list” of options to rectify. They had their chance to turn things around back in the late ’90s when the Maine Learning Results and later the No Child Left Behind standards were announced. School systems were given seven or so years to meet the standards. Many ignored the mandate expecting it to go away.
Houlton might visit SAD 37 and see how it managed to transform a rural under-performing system into a highly effective one that earned several Title I Distinguished School awards as well as ranking several of their schools consistently in the top five in annual MEA scores. Phone calls came in from all over Maine asking why.
The SAD 37 model was not luck or magic. Under a strong superintendent and two of the principals, the teachers rewrote the complete K-8 curriculum to address the Learning Results. Money was raised to run nationally ranked teacher training to teach the new curriculum.
Education Commissioner Susan Gendron missed the opportunity to use SAD 37 as a model for other rural systems. She was too busy with consolidation that ignored quality standards. Standards can be raised even in rural Maine given a strong school board and a strong superintendent who will admit to the underachievement problem and can motivate the teaching staff to work hard together. It worked for SAD 37.
As a practicing Catholic, I was ashamed by the article in the March 25 edition of the BDN, which detailed how the Maine Roman Catholic Diocese was withdrawing financial support from the Preble Street Homeless Voices for Justice program.
If Mr. Swann violated the terms of the contract, that issue should be addressed in the proper arena. It is a far greater injustice to punish the countless men, women and children who are serviced by this most worthy program.
I encourage all people of good will — regardless of how they voted on Question 1 last November — to help atone for this outrageous wrongdoing by remitting a donation to the program (P.O. Box 1459, Portland 04104).
The care of the poor, the sick and the homeless is the ultimate priority of Christianity and must never be compromised by politics or preferences.