Monday, April 15, 2013: East-west highway, UMaine hockey and lack of show choir coverage

Posted April 14, 2013, at 1:19 p.m.

Malaby’s position unfortunate

As a resident of Lamoine and thus of the House district represented by Richard Malaby, R-Hancock, I was greatly troubled by his position as reported in the BDN on April 8, regarding LD 203, a bill that would require sea kayakers to wear personal flotation devices.

Malaby apparently addresses the bill essentially from a philosophical perspective. He did not comment on the merits of the legislation, such as whether the law, if enacted, might have a consequence of saving lives or would place an unacceptable hardship on persons who would actually have to put the PFD on and not just sit on it.

No, what seems most important to Malaby is serving ideology to the neglect of, and at the likely expense of, public safety. The residents of Lamoine, Hancock, Sullivan, Sorrento, Winter Harbor and Gouldsboro deserve a representative more interested in serving people than political ideology.

John Holt

Lamoine

Lack of coverage disappointing

Hundreds of students from all over the state came to Ellsworth on April 5 and 6 to take part in the Maine State Vocal Jazz Festival, a competition of middle school and high school show choirs. I eagerly awaited the delivery of my BDN, so I could read about it.

Disappointingly, there was absolutely no mention of it at all. On the front page was a huge picture of a basketball player who is leaving the University of Maine team.

When show choirs first started competing, it was done in one day. Now there have been so many new ones starting up that middle schools and high schools each have a day of their own. It requires many long hours of practice both for their songs and choreography, and these kids work extremely hard to put on entertaining shows.

Not only do the kids work hard, but the directors, choreographers and all the behind-the-scenes people who create the sets and do the costuming are truly dedicated to these talented kids.

Whether it was a conscious decision not to cover this major state competition or simply an oversight, surely our kids and everyone who works so hard to put on tremendous shows deserved better.

Perhaps some of the sensationalist stories of high-speed car chases and cocaine busts could have been replaced with a more positive one about our hardworking, talented kids. I know many family members who would have appreciated it.

Wanda Moran

Southwest Harbor

East-west bills

In response to concerns about an east-west corridor, five bills are headed before the transportation committee in April:

• LD 1209, An Act To Prohibit the Use of Public Resources for a Privately Owned East-West Highway;

• LD 1269, An Act To Require an Independent Analysis of the Impact of and a Review Process for an East-West Highway Prior to Development;

• LD 870, Resolve, Regarding a Study by the Department of Transportation of the Most Efficient Options for Improving East-West Transit and Transportation;

• LD 985, Resolve, to Repeal the Requirement that the Department of Transportation Facilitate a Feasibility Study of an East-West Highway and Provide for Public Access of Certain Documents; and

• LD 362, An Act To Prohibit Use of Public Funds for a Private Transportation Study.

Maine’s current public-private partnership law, omitting transparency and public oversight, sets the stage for the development of an east-west highway/industrial corridor to be a real possibility. Private highways are not allowed and should remain so.

Such a corridor would impact Maine’s communities, environment, recreational and local access, property and quality of life. Supporting these bills, especially LD 1209 and 1269, could go a long way toward stopping the project and building in safeguards against corporate control of Maine’s transportation infrastructure and landscape.

Send written testimony to Darlene Simoneau, 100 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333 or email darlene.simoneau@legislature.maine.gov. The hard-copy formats, both individual and petition, are most effective. Complete bill text, status and scheduling are at www.mainelegislature.org, along with related testimony on LD 721.

Jane Crosen

Penobscot

Winning and money sports

Isn’t it sad the bottom line of sports at the University of Maine has become winning and money — or maybe it should be money and winning.

I just finished reading the article in the BDN about UMaine firing the men’s hockey coach, Tim Whitehead. He is praised as being a good coach and a good mentor, but that’s not enough. I was brought up to believe and am presently trying to teach my children that there is more to sports than winning. But I guess not at UM.

I went to an ice hockey game a couple of years ago with our local Cub Scouts and had a tour of the facilities. We went by a room, reserved for donors, I presumed, with alcohol and liquor bottles lining the glass wall. How sad this has also become an accepted culture at UM. All for the sake of money.

So, UM pays off another coach. That in itself is a waste of money, regardless of which pocket it comes out of. Perhaps if the ticket prices were affordable to the average working person their revenues would be higher, and fan support would not be sagging. Just a thought.

Getting a new coach for a “new direction” doesn’t automatically mean increased winning and money. Or was that money and winning?

Lynne Estes

Hermon

Protection of rights?

No matter who readers are, or what they believe, their right to voice opinions may have just been dealt an almost-lethal blow on April 2. I was in Waterville District Court then because a party that I have been in a dispute with since last April does not take kindly to me standing across the street, in accordance with the Waterville Police Department.

I can understand their feelings. I would not want my establishment picketed. I stood in front of Judge Charles Dow and read off the Supreme Court’s 8-1 decision upholding the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to peacefully protest.

In a decision I would think could only be given in a Stalinist state, Dow granted my opponents a two-year “protection from harassment.” Now, a peaceful protest, designed to “harass” or make a statement, is deemed not protected under the First Amendment.

Now, any group’s voice in Maine may possibly be swept aside because another group may feel harassed. So they can kiss their rights goodbye.

Timothy White

Wells

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/04/14/opinion/monday-april-15-2013-east-west-highway-umaine-hockey-and-lack-of-show-choir-coverage/ printed on September 2, 2014