Clifton planning board members went right from trying to defend their actions on the Pisgah wind turbines in court on Wednesday morning to having a “new” Pisgah application on the table for them to review Wednesday evening. To his credit, Chairman Eric Johns led them to vote to wait until the judge’s decision comes down before starting to deal with Paul Fuller’s
latest application for a wind energy facility on his property.
There was no media at court or at the meeting to keep the Clifton citizens informed. As a matter of fact, I was the only attendee at the board meeting besides Fuller. While the Clifton residents and landowners are kept in the dark about what’s going on, town officials are inviting more legal bills and more court orders. The town attorney needs to tell the boards to place a moratorium on new wind energy facility applications until the land use ordinance can be fixed and until the planning board can get some training in procedures and record keeping.
This has cost the town tens of thousands of dollars, and it’s likely to have more legal bills in the future. Clifton residents need to go to meetings, call their selectboard members. They need to find out what is going on. We need to put a stop to the town funding Pisgah’s fight to get five turbines that only make money for the developer, increase all ratepayers’ electric bills and create a nuisance for residents of Rebel Hill and Springy Pond.
Invest in education
How much is Maine’s future worth? A recent study indicates we should invest $260 million more in our education budget.
Though it’s a considerable sum, this funding will not only improve Maine’s education system but will better prepare our students for success in the classroom and in the workplace.
The study, commissioned by the Legislature, points to early childhood education as a key area of our education system that we need to improve. Research continues to show that quality early learning programs have important benefits for children. Starting kids off with a strong foundation can lead to higher graduation rates, better rates of employment and higher lifetime earnings.
The contributions we make to high-quality early childhood education programs will also start to pay off immediately. Investments in quality early learning generate an immediate return to Maine’s economy through the sale of local goods and services: Every $1 invested returns a total of $1.78 to the local economy, according to a report by the business leaders group America’s Edge.
This rate of return is higher than that of farming, logging, fishing and hunting, transportation, construction, and wholesale and retail trade. These other economic sectors are vital for our communities, but analysis shows that the economic benefits of high-quality early learning can have a significant impact on the economy as well.
Even though our political and fiscal climate makes additional spending unattractive, investing in high-quality early learning will benefit our communities and our businesses both today and in the future.
Back on feet
In recent days, we’ve seen reporting on Maine’s anti-poverty programs increase and are likely to continue to see more coverage as we head into an election year. This year, the Legislature made it a priority to pass a “Ticket-to-Work” law that would ensure struggling people, who need temporary help, have the opportunity to get the skills, education and training they need to secure a good job. It’s the right route to reform for the state’s anti-poverty programs.
For example, Dee Clarke of Portland is a single mother with three children and serious health issues. For years, her health was a barrier to holding down a good job. Like so many struggling families, Clarke needed to turn to the state for help. Clarke was fortunate to get connected with the right vocational training and tools to help her obtain a job, while also getting temporary help that helped her overcome obstacles to finding and maintaining employment. For the past 14 years, she has held down a job.
Clarke’s story is an important one to help us understand how we can fix our anti-poverty programs to ensure that struggling families have a pathway out of poverty. The “Ticket-to-Work” law ensures that those who need temporary help get the opportunity Clarke had to get the training and education she needed to get a good job.
The “Ticket to Work” reform law stands in stark contrast with the “welfare reform” touted by Gov. Paul LePage and his Republican allies. Studies have shown that those reforms have led to more struggling families to rely on food banks; one in three has had utilities turned off; and one in five has been evicted from their homes.
It’s a failure when more families are homeless because of the policies governing our state’s anti-poverty programs. Our goal must be to get more struggling families back on their feet again.
House Speaker Rep. Mark Eves
This is in reference to the Nov. 3 BDN article about a man in Topsham whose dog was caught in a coyote trap. Recently my son and I were partridge hunting in Rockwood. Our companion, an English setter, stepped into a trap for coyotes. We scrambled to release his paw, and our companion was unhurt. This sort of trap only holds its prey and does not break an animal’s leg.
A local warden, that we alerted, told us this time of year the area is like a minefield of traps. I believe it should be a law to visibly mark these traps in this area. I have nothing against trapping but would like to see the traps marked somehow.
Robert M. Tapley