Slow down Quebec hydro project
Avangrid and its affiliate Central Maine Power Co. are undergoing a summary investigation that was set in motion by the Maine Public Utilities Commission after last October’s wind storm here in Maine. They are also being scrutinized in a separate action by an independent auditor over billing and metering issues after it was revealed that 97,000 of CMP customers saw their bills double, triple and more over their last year’s usage.
Now Avangrid is pursuing a $950 million contract to construct wires and poles across 145 miles of Maine’s pristine mountains, rivers and streams to connect Quebec to Massachusetts. They’ve even proposed rerouting the Appalachian Trail in three separate locations. The trail opened in 1937 and runs along pristine terrain from Georgia to Mount Katahdin.
Such hubris. Avangrid and its subsidiaries cannot even keep the lights on during strong winds. Why would anyone trust them with a massive project like the New England Clean Energy Connect? The project itself needs much closer scrutiny. How does it serve Mainers who will be forced to foot the bill by a “regulated monopoly” that treats its ratepayers like they were cash machines? How much of our natural resources will be destroyed to boost stock prices? Does it discourage and suppress renewable alternative industries? What’s the rush?
A qualified athletic director
The University of Maine is involved in hiring a new athletic director. The selection committee will have a consultant to assist in this process at a considerable expense. The university has hired four new athletic directors in the last 12 years. The last director left the university with a multitude of troublesome problems on the table.
Jim Settele was selected in March by President Susan Hunter as interim athletic director. She wouldn’t have selected Settele if she didn’t think him capable of the assignment. During his tenure, he has had many people, both inside and outside the university, expressing much enthusiasm and excitement for what he is doing. He is a true administrator with considerable experience. He has not been an athletic director before but is interested in athletics and knows what the situation has been at the university. He has been an administrator at the university for several years.
I would ask Hunter to discontinue the search committee and simply hire Settele as the new athletic director. Hunter may be hesitant to do this since a new president will be coming on board in July. But the university needs her knowledge of the athletic department’s immediate needs to make the decision.
We don’t need to spend the time and money to find someone outside of the university to fill this important position. There are serious problems that need immediate attention. Settele is more than capable of righting the ship and will be around to see it through to the end.
Many thanks to the person at Bangor’s public works who shifted into high gear when I presented my case that “my auto is expensive, human life is expensive and accidents will happen as long the white lines in our roadways are not repainted especially in the downtown area.”
The matter is that I complained, “Why do you use a paint that last only nine months with the rugged winters we have.” His reply was that the paint I wanted to use was very expensive and may not be suitable for our climate. Hence came forth my “expensive reply.”
What then is the solution: That the white and yellow road lines be repainted later on (perhaps in September) on our roadways so that they last throughout the winter and spring. Expensive? Yes. But so are accidents and health care.
Scapegoating mental illness
Our mental health care system is broken, but fixing it is not the whole answer to the problem of gun violence in our country. A century ago, we hid our mentally ill in attics and cellars. Now we only bring them out when we need a scapegoat.
Fishy ferry fare increase
Could the increase of Islesboro’s ferry ticket prices be Gov. Paul LePage’s “bridgegate”? Don’t be too quick to scoff at such a notion. We all know New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and LePage are cut from the same cloth.
Remember how Islesboro was so influential in the fight to preserve its neighboring Sears Island, putting the kibosh to the governor’s plan for big development in the Penobscot Bay. When the projected budget shortfall for the ferry service landed on the Maine Department of Transportation’s desk, I can just imagine him saying, “Let’s put it to those rich/smug islanders.” Too petty for this governor? I think not.
A few facts. This ticket proposal was never mentioned in any of the Transportation Department’s public hearings. What was mentioned was the fact that the increase would be implemented in March. Instead, it was thrust upon us inconveniently on the last day of the legislative session in late April. Perhaps so that we wouldn’t have a voice in Augusta?
After tough talk from our attorneys about the Transportation Department’s improper rulemaking procedures, Jim Billings, counsel for the Transportation Department, called North Haven to report there would be a delay in the fare increase. It got posted on their website and this island was ecstatic over this development. But wait, a new letter was sent by Billings to us whining islanders that the fare increase would take place on schedule.
All very shady to me. I smell fish. How about an SOS to Attorney General Janet Mills?
A talented sculptor
The recent article on Andre the seal was very informative but failed to mention the sculptor, Jane Wasey. She was known for her animal sculptures in wood and stone. After years working in Manhattan she came to Lincolnville, creating the Andre statue to oversee Rockport Harbor. Some of her works are in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum in New York and the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, among others. Let’s celebrate her work.