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Thanks to Bangor schools

With the school year winding down, we wanted to offer our thanks and appreciation to the teachers, administrators and staff of the Bangor School Department for the incredible job they did this year. Needless to say, this was not a normal school year, but everyone in Bangor including the nurses, janitors, food service personnel and ed techs made it as positive an experience as possible.

The Bangor School Department should be particularly commended for maintaining five-day-a-week, in-person learning for the entire year other than when there were temporary setbacks or close contacts. This provided meaningful and consistent support for parents and families. Bangor was the only school district in the area and one of the few in Maine to accomplish this.

When there was a close COVID contact in one of our children’s classes, we received a phone call and email from the school nurse and an email from our child’s teacher explaining the situation and laying out plans for the week ahead all within one hour of the case being identified.

The success that Bangor had this year was no accident. It was a result of planning all the way back to last spring on how to safely and effectively reopen schools, which was guided by an unwavering commitment to the academic and social wellness of all students in Bangor. We are proud of and grateful for the experiences our children have had over the past year here in Bangor and offer our thanks.

Ben and Malorie Sprague

Bangor

Hungry kids can’t wait

For the 1 in 5 kids who may face hunger today in Maine, summer is usually the hungriest time of year. This summer, however, may be a different story because new benefits and temporary waivers are helping to reach even more kids with the food they need. For example, they allow parents to pick up meals for the week or allow organizations to drop meals off at a child’s home.

In fact, because of these types of flexibilities, summer meals programs in Maine served over 500,000 more meals to kids in need last year. But these measures are temporary. It’s time for Congress to update and modernize the summer meals programs by permanently implementing policies that have fed so many kids during the COVID crisis — additional summer grocery benefits and allowing meals to come to kids to help overcome transportation barriers — and making them part of future solutions.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have an opportunity to support proven solutions like a nationwide summer EBT program and non-congregate meal options through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process or the American Families Plan proposal. Hungry kids in Maine and across the country can’t wait.

Kristen Dunphey

No Kid Hungry Maine

Portland

Making business more difficult

It is no secret that businesses all across Maine are struggling to compete for projects and grow their workforce. There are help-wanted signs everywhere you look. As a business leader in the construction industry, it is no different.

At N.S. Giles, we have 110 dedicated employees whom we have personally invested in and trained to do a variety of jobs. Some of them are laborers and others work in a more supervisory role. The one thing that remains constant is our need to continue to grow our business and remain competitive in the construction industry.

Unfortunately, there are multiple bills before the Legislature this session that would not only hinder our ability to grow but also create more barriers when it comes to getting work and finding quality employees. This legislation includes project labor agreements, which completely dictate the terms and conditions of employment on these projects. These agreements often require union workers and shut out local businesses from even having an opportunity to work on the project. With more and more attacks on the construction industry, it becomes more difficult for a business such as ours to compete.

Often when project labor agreements are required for these projects, they are more costly than if it was done by a Maine construction company, like ours. It is my hope that, if the Legislature cares about the Maine construction workforce, they will oppose any bills that include project labor agreements.

Janette Giles

Vice president

N.S. Giles Foundations

Bangor