Traffic lights per gallon
As gasoline fast approaches the $4 a gallon price again, we hear the predictable chorus of suggestions about how to combat this dilemma. We hear once more about car pooling, planning several stops on one outing, checking our tire pressure, and keeping our vehicles tuned up, etc.
May I add another suggestion, regarding traffic lights? In many situations and places, they are absolutely necessary. However, they often seem more of a nuisance. How many times have you sat stopped at a red traffic light, with no vehicles in sight, and waited 10-20 seconds or more for the green light? I’ve often wondered how much gas is unnecessarily wasted while waiting for a light to change.
Some areas have synchronized traffic lights, such as Broadway in Bangor, where traffic can flow well. Then there are places that stop vehicles seemingly as soon as they get moving. You know where they are.
Some traffic lights have sensors that monitor traffic and keep a sensible flow without prolonged stops.
It seems that if a licensed driver is allowed to drive a several ton vehicle on our roads at up to 65 mph, that driver should be trusted enough to decide if it’s safe to proceed at an intersection after stopping at a red light.
Some may say “it’s just a drop in the bucket.” Maybe, but no bucket ever gets full without the first drop.
• • •
It’s the business climate
Maine is the dead last place to do business in America. The business landscape is as bleak, dry and barren as craters of the moon park.
There is a poll conducted by the Democrats working for Pan Atlantic SMS Group in Portland that focuses on the thunder and lightning surrounding Gov. LePage. The thunder and lightning the governor’s “kiss my butt’ to the NAACP when he refused to tour prisons to make life better for black inmates; the thunder and lightning when the governor removed a mural from the labor office — a mural that is a union recruiting poster, in my opinion.
The headline seeking Pan Atlantic SMS Group asked no poll questions addressing the business climate in Maine. The pollsters know that over four decades of decline in Maine business cannot be fixed in 100 days. But thunder and lightning make the front page.
Wake up Mainiacs, the poll results on the front page are meaningless. Instead, ask the business people you know: “Is business getting better?
• • •
Combating pill abuse
The way life once was? As the BDN’s editorial of May 6 eloquently suggested, opiate abuse – most notably of the painkiller OxyContin — jeopardizes Maine’s claim to “the way life should be.” Over the past 15 years, communities all over the state have been overcome by rampant opiate abuse, causing addiction rates here to be eight times the national average, and related crime rates to soar. I have sponsored LD 1501, “An Act To Reduce Opioid Overprescription, Overuse and Abuse” to address this epidemic.
Opiates are defined as “controlled substances,” but opiate use is now out-of-control. LD 1501 would require best practices for prescribing these drugs.
Under my law, health care providers must: obtain and record a thorough history of patients’ pain and medication use; prescribe according to an explicit, written treatment plan; have the patient sign a “Written Agreement for Treatment” recording the patient’s agreement to use just one doctor and pharmacy, provide urine samples when needed, share the agreement with any Emergency Room treaters; perform a “status review” after six months of use; avoid prescribing opiates for non-cancer chronic pain management; and arrange consultation with pain management specialists where appropriate.
These simple changes will reduce doctor-shopping, street-level trading and misuse of controlled substances, while helping medical professionals reduce the deadly social, public health, and individual consequences of OxyContin and opiate abuse. Please support this bill.
Rep. Jon Hinck
• • •
Fun at the BMV
I knew I was in for a long haul when I entered the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles and drew ticket number 74. Number 48 was at the window, there were two employees on duty and the place was packed. Two hours later I emerged with my license plates, registration and the following tips for my fellow Mainers, should they find themselves similarly incarcerated at the BMV:
Bring enough food for at least two meals and share any extra with your neighbors. Next time I plan on bringing tofu for everybody.
Return all those phone calls to friends and family who keep you on the phone for hours. Talk loudly for the enjoyment of others in the waiting area. Also call your health care provider to discuss that annoying personal problem that has plagued you.
Continue your exercise routine. Don’t forget your yoga mat and workout clothes!
Bring a baby. A happy baby delights everyone. An irritable and screaming baby clears the room and allows you to jump ahead in line.
Bring a blood pressure cuff and offer to share it. Ask for volunteers to participate in CPR and basic first aid techniques.
Pack musical instruments. Bagpipes are not appropriate, but a lively Sousa march on a trombone may pick up everyone’s pace. Invite others to try instruments they’ve always wanted to learn.
Heckle drivers having their pictures taken. License photos are fun and heckling will make them memorable as well.
Keep a sense of humor. Remember, your government is working hard to keep you entertained.
• • •
I wish to congratulate the Houlton Star Bright Children’s Theatre for May 7’s stage adaptation of my book “An Allagash Haunting” in Millinocket. Throughout the play, the exquisite music and script were played eloquently by the cast members who took this tale from the North Woods to a new height and brought the audience to the heart of the story.
In what can only be described as professional and heart-warming, the performers captured the spirit of family, friendships and legends of our forest legacy. I wish to offer my most sincere thank you to all and I look forward to working with the theatre again.
• • •
Naming the arena
As one of the tens of thousands of rural Maine citizens who shop and visit in Bangor, I would like to make a suggestion about naming the new arena.
It should be called the Stephen and Tabitha King Arena.
It would honor the most famous and most generous residents in Bangor history.
It would instantly brand the venue with an internationally recognizable name.
It would provide a focus for a King Museum and Visitors Center that could become a major tourist draw.
And every Halloween for a thousand years it could host one heck of a party.