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Friday, Oct. 7, 2011: Bracelets, wind power and gambling

Restorative circle

If Medomak Valley High School administrators had known about restorative practices and restorative discipline, they would have responded in a very different way recently when some students refused to remove their “I [Heart] Boobies” bracelets.

Restorative practices and discipline focus on building a respectful school climate and culture that fosters student connectedness to teachers and peers in which students are held accountable for misbehavior in a more positive, less punitive way.

Instead of suspending the students, Medomak Valley administrators would have sat together with the students in a restorative circle in which all voices would have been heard and everyone would have worked together to resolve the problem in a mutually satisfactory way. Discipline that removes students from academic settings, such as suspension, or that damages student-adult relationships is generally ineffective in resolving problems in a lasting, meaningful way.

For more information on the growing movement in Maine to implement restorative practices in schools and communities, contact the Restorative Justice Project in Belfast, www.rjpmidcoast.org, 338-2742.

Barb Blazej


LePage right on education

The BDN’s Friday and Saturday editorials on Gov. LePage and his education policies say that the governor realizes that education “is a long-term investment that will pay off not next year but perhaps next decade.”

If that means the changes made in the past decade are going to pay off in a few years, the BDN is sadly mistaken. Having observed education reform efforts here in Maine for over 40 years, it is clear that the few changes made recently are not the sort of fundamental change that is needed.

Even if we were not being pulled along by new technology faster than we can determine how best to make use of it, we would still be way behind the curve.

Gov. LePage chose the right words in his message to the University of Maine System, when he told them to “think bigger and bolder.” Now he should promote that idea to the rest of the university system.

Chris Holmes


How Maine should go

“As Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

In 1973, Maine was first in the nation to adopt Election Day registration. Not all states followed, but those that did saw well-documented increases in voter turnout.

But does everyone agree this is a good thing? Most Mainers I know think it is. We are a very civic-minded state. And we’re always hopeful that students and new residents will decide to stay and contribute to our communities. So why did the Legislature vote to take away same-day registration?

This year, conservative legislatures across the country passed legislation making it harder to vote. Minorities, young people, low-income voters and those with disabilities are most affected by these new laws. Is this the way Maine should go?

On Nov. 8, Mainers have an opportunity to again lead the nation. By voting yes on Question 1, we can preserve same-day registration and honor Maine’s tradition of civic participation.

Bethany Reynolds


Frankfort’s unjust ordinance

In November, residents of Frankfort will vote to accept or reject a new ordinance on wind power development. A draft of that ordinance has been posted at the town hall.

Its intent is clear: enact overly restrictive rules that will prevent Mount Waldo landowners from moving forward with a wind project they want located on their property. It does not “foster the orderly development of wind energy in Frankfort,” as its authors claim.

Mount Waldo has been classified as the best site in Waldo County for the location of four to six utility-scale wind turbines by an independent consultant. What makes this site a better choice over others is a road and power line to the top, the site’s existing industrial uses (three cell towers), it’s not a backdrop to someone’s lake frontage and is pretty much nonforested. The distance to the nearest residence is a half-mile, twice that of other facilities in operation.

We hope when residents turn out to vote in November, they vote to promote a project that generates revenue for residents, creates much needed construction jobs and produces nonpolluting energy that will limit our dependence on foreign fossil fuel and coal and their association to mercury and other pollutants.

As a Mount Waldo landowner, I urge residents to vote no on this unjust ordinance.

Bernard Madden


Gambling not responsible

What does it mean to gamble responsibly? I suggest that there is no way to do so, because taking a chance by gambling is the direct opposite of being responsible with one’s money.

People complain about the “hard economy.” If they are really hard-pressed for money, how can they possibly have enough money to gamble — hoping for, but generally failing, to get money that way?

I encourage everyone to vote no on the casino and related measures on the ballot in November. Let’s stop this mad rush into misuse of money. There are more than enough places to gamble in Maine now.

Mary Pearson


Innocent political meeting

The residents of Bangor will vote Nov. 8 to fill three seats on the city council. Since my husband and I did not know five of the six challengers, we decided to hold a meet and greet. Unbeknownst to us, we broke an unwritten rule — we did not include the incumbents.

I was stunned when the BDN questioned the legality of our not inviting the incumbents and implying the possibility of “election fraud.” I was quizzed about sponsorship as well as my affiliation with any group. It was even suggested that Husson University might want to reconsider renting the space to me. The BDN gave me a phone number suggesting I contact the HU marketing director.

I find it appalling that I, as a private citizen, was made to feel like a criminal. And if that wasn’t enough, reading statements by the incumbents in the BDN calling me “disrespectful” and “discourteous” is unbelievable. We never realized that hosting this informal gathering would be described as not passing an incumbents’ ”smell test.” The fallout continued when one challenger, a former councilor, chose solidarity with the incumbents and refused to participate. The intimidation did not work.

If you did not attend the meet and greet, you missed the energy and excitement of the five new challengers running for city council. Call them, get to know them and do it now because there needs to be a shake-up on Nov. 8.

Pauline Civiello


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