Warm and grateful
Recently, as I lay awake one snowy night in my soft, warm bed, listening to the howling wind, I heard a snowplow in the distance, scraping the freshly fallen snow from the road.
A feeling of appreciation rose quickly within me. Appreciation for the hardworking road crews who plow and treat our neighborhood roads, interstates and parking lots. Day or night, weekday, weekend or holiday, these workers provide us with safe passage to and from our homes, and I would like to commend them for their work.
Public, not plugging
Will Maine Public Broadcasting Network do anything for money? I just heard a plug on MPBN radio for the Maine State Lottery, urging people to gamble away their money. Don’t bet on MPBN running a story about how the lottery preys on poor Mainers who have little chance of winning but an excellent chance of losing money.
More to the point, MPBN should not sell its credibility just to snag dollars from underwriters. It’s one thing to say so-and-so sponsors a program; it’s another to promote the underwriter on the air. It’s a commercial, and no matter how short the advertisement, it doesn’t belong on MPBN airwaves.
Let’s put the “public” back in public radio.
‘I will,’ not ‘I want’
In a Jan. 6 Kennebec Journal article on the inauguration of Gov. Paul LePage, House Minority Leader Emily Cain, D-Orono, was quoted as saying, “I want to know who’s going to be leading the departments, I want to know what the policy details are going to be and I want to know them as soon as possible.”
That’s a lot of “I wants.” Perhaps Ms. Cain should have said how she is going to assist Gov. LePage with improving Maine through the legislative process. Rather than “I want,” “I will” would have been more appropriate.
Come on, legislators, it’s time to put the election behind you and step up to the “work-together plate” for the betterment of all the people, not just your special interests.
Fuel savings to faculty
I was delighted to read in the BDN that the University of Southern Maine will save $300,000 this year, and one assumes as much in each ensuing year, by switching from oil to natural gas on the Portland campus. The question now is: How will these savings be appropriated?
As is the case throughout the USM system, USM has lost dozens of faculty positions in the past several years due to budget cuts and a lack of funding, several of which might be filled with this money.
The public should demand that these dollars be used for this purpose and not applied to other recurring costs, as such opportunities to begin the daunting task of returning staffing to even the most basic levels should not be missed — especially with our Legislature’s and our past two governors’ recent records of ignoring the university system’s basic needs.
One safe church
In southern Maine, it is not difficult for people who are gay and lesbian to find a safe church. This is not the case in the far north. Every Christian church in Aroostook County believes itself to be friendly and yet, alarmingly, that is not the experience of many people who do not even come to the door.
Worse, some try it and obliquely or in so many words, are invited not to come again.
And yet, we worship a God who took people’s breath away (and wound up crucified) because He chose a vulnerable, loving presence among us as the way to reveal truth. We worship a God who breathes new life into those who have suffered and those who have been excluded.
Jesus did not just risk, bleed and die for us; Jesus rose from the dead to prove nothing is impossible with the power-filled love of God.
At United Parish Church in Fort Fairfield, we know we are not the only safe church in Aroostook County, but we want to speak up and let everyone know that we are one safe church.
Most of us are heterosexual, but all of us are friends or family of people who are gay or lesbian. Christ reminds us that we are loved — not regardless, but with the deepest regard possible. Experiencing God’s call to grow together takes a lot of work, persistence and a sense of humor so there is a place for everyone! Our differences are God’s blessing.
Rev. Dr. Diane Langworthy,
pastor, United Parish Church
Proud of Maine
I attended the inauguration ceremony of Gov. Paul LePage. The audience was enthusiastic and the good energy was contagious. Certainly, Paul LePage’s life story is a great example of how hard work and tenacity can lead to success. Through his extraordinary challenges and efforts, he has earned the respect of even his political adversaries. Hopefully, his hard work and tenacity will meet with success in dealing with some of the extraordinary challenges facing Maine.
Gov. LePage spoke to many of the challenges and his succinct comments were met with constant interruptions of applause. Yet, equally exciting and comforting, was the fact that past Govs. Baldacci, King, McKernan and Brennan were present to show a sign of support for Gov. LePage. To describe the event in two words: “Maine pride.”
New year at 30,000 feet
The Maine Troop Greeters hosted one of the liveliest New Year’s Eve parties in town. The festivities took place Bangor International Airport, where they welcomed the Hawaii National Guard back from the war. It was heartwarming to exchange “alohas” with the smiling soldiers on their Bangor stopover before celebrating the new year at 30,000 feet.
Over to you, President Obama, who was vacationing in the Islands. We hope he had the honor of shaking their hands as we did in Maine.