Maine hasn’t exactly had lots of uplifting news to carry it into 2016.
The state started the new year fresh off the revelation that it was one of seven in the country to have shed population in 2015.
Then, just a few days into the new year, the New Jersey company that runs biomass energy plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro announced it planned to close the facilities down, resulting in 44 job losses and threatening the livelihoods of the loggers who sell wood to the plants. Another major forest products employer in the state, Verso Paper, is expected to soon file for bankruptcy.
So, it was refreshing late last week to see Maine become a national hit for the right reasons — courtesy of the Bangor Police Department.
Bangor police have made waves with their Facebook page over the past couple of years. The page offers the perfect mix of funny and useful — a combination of advice from your local police departments, requests for crime tips and plain old humor. These days, the Bangor police’s Facebook page boasts just shy of 100,000 likes.
The agency took advantage of its reach last week to share common-sense snowstorm tips as the mid-Atlantic region faced an epic blizzard, “Snowzilla.” Of course, this being the Bangor Police Department, the tips weren’t just bits of boring advice delivered straight.
“Pace yourself,” the post, written by Sgt. Tim Cotton, advised those with shoveling responsibilities. “Go out every few hours and move a little at a time. It can hurt your back, arms and legs. You always wonder why we all walk funny. It is not because of the clam chowder.”
As those in the mid-Atlantic made last-minute trips to the grocery store, Cotton warned: “DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy all the bread on the shelves. As a lifelong Mainer, I recommend cereal. No better reason has ever been invented to eat Golden Crisp, Honeycomb or Captain Crunch (don’t get the peanut butter flavored. That stuff sucks).”
The post served the interests of those facing a major snowstorm — but also Maine’s interests indirectly.
“If you get stuck somewhere and have to run the car, make sure you clean out around the tail pipe and do not fall asleep with the car running,” Cotton wrote. “We need you to come back next summer to buy more lobster and lobster traps. Pine cones are free.”
The Bangor Police Department’s advice made it into The New York Times, and nearly 100,000 people on Facebook have liked the post. Facebook users have sent in picture of themselves and family members eating Cap’n Crunch (not the peanut butter kind), and they’ve communicated their appreciation.
The Alexandria, Virginia, sheriff’s office posted a video of local residents clearing off a snow-covered car with, you guessed it, cereal boxes. “Thanks for the tips, but not everyone around here understood what the cereal was for,” the Virginia law enforcement agency wrote.
“This is why we love Maine and Mainers!!” one commenter wrote.
“Do you guys realize you have become an FB/internet sensation?!” a Facebook user from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, asked. “I can’t tell you how many of my friends and relatives have posed about the Cap’n Crunch posts and the Blizzard advice!”
“This friendly warmth must keep multitudes smiling thru every winter!” another wrote.
Actually, yes. And it gives those in the Bangor region and the rest of Maine a reason, however small, to be proud.
Thanks to the Bangor Police Department for being Maine’s goodwill ambassadors at a time when positivity can be hard to come by.