I applaud the state for acting on the texting-while-driving issue. Unfortunately, we need laws to address common-sense issues.

If people did use their common sense, we would have less legislation and thus less intrusion in our daily lives.

I think the fines should be more stringent than they are written, which was $100 for a first offense. Why not $500? Hit the pocket book harder right out of the gate.

Then perhaps you will not have to deal with repeat offenders.

If that sounds familiar, how many times do we read about driving after suspension and OUI?

At one time, Maine was the hallmark for the best legislation. Where have we gone?

Take a hard stance. Never mind the small fines, speak loud and make it hurt for those who choose to break the law.

Scott Croteau

Steep Falls

Nemitz does paper proud with writing and speaking 

On May 18, I took a group of Kennebunk High School students to the Student Journalism Association of Maine conference, which was held on the campus of the New England School of Communications in Bangor.

One of the advertised highlights of the conference was the morning’s keynote speaker, Bill Nemitz of The Portland Press Herald.

Mr. Nemitz drove more than two hours to arrive on time that morning.

He talked to the group about how to get involved with journalism as a career, then shared a fascinating slide show of one of his trips to Afghanistan, where he was embedded with a Maine National Guard unit.

I found Mr. Nemitz’s presentation both fascinating and inspiring, and without even a hint of self-promotion. He engaged the students effectively; it was clear that he was speaking with his audience, not down to them, as some accomplished adults do to young people.

When his presentation was over Mr. Nemitz thoughtfully fielded questions, interacted with students and teachers, and then quietly walked to his car and drove to his next appointment of the day, which was over four hours away in Boston!

I had previously thought of Mr. Nemitz as a dedicated, dogged reporter and a passionate and provocative columnist.

After learning a little bit more about him and seeing him in action, I can add that he is one more thing: an outstanding representative of The Press Herald and Sunday Telegram.

Your newspapers (and their readership) are extremely fortunate to have him.

Andrew Young

Cumberland

Photo of girls and crab didn’t belong on Page 1

The May 21 issue featured on the front page a large photo of two young schoolgirls, pop-eyed and grimacing at a crab wiggling its tail.

What is the newsworthiness of this? May I suggest such photos and storylines be put in the Local & State section of the newspaper, where they can be nice light reading.

The Press Herald should use its front page as a display space to inform its readers of more important issues.

Linda C. Rioux

Old Orchard Beach

Willard Square market bad idea, or good one?

There was good reason for concern surrounding further commercial development at Willard Square.

There are 10 property lots on Willard Square, which are currently zoned for commercial use. The 10 include Scratch Bakery, Scoops and Bathras Market — leaving the possibility of seven more.

There are three additional businesses known to be working on proposals to open on the Square.

Before they withdrew their proposal, the developers for one of them (Ebo’s Market) said that they expected an average of 250 customers a day.

If you come to Willard Square on a Sunday morning, you will see cars parked all the way down Preble in both directions, down Pillsbury and down Thompson.

Like spokes on a wheel, they go way past the area that is zoned as village/commercial — and this was just with Scratch and Bathras Market open. The existing available parking is already saturated.

What will it be like with up to 10 businesses on the square? Where would 250 customers for just one of those additional businesses have parked?

Looking at safety concerns, picture the numerous delivery trucks competing with cars for parking spots or deciding to double park.

Drivers may resort to dangerous maneuvers to get one of those coveted parking spots. Add in the joggers, families on their bicycles and the parking lot overflow of beach-goers that are so familiar to this neighborhood.

On school days, picture crossing guards trying to cross Small School students safely by stopping greatly increased rush-hour traffic, and you have a mess, an accident waiting to happen.

It is crucial that a parking and traffic study be done to assess what level of commercial development the area can realistically sustain.

Thoughtful planning can prevent problems that can’t be reversed once they are created.

Roberta Zuckerman

South Portland

I agree with your opinion (“Hold on Willard Square market sends risky message,” May 19) that opposition to the plan to build a new store in Willard Square was overly negative to business development, and as a result, to job creation.

There, of course, needs to be a fair balance between business plans and the concerns of the neighborhood. It appears that the owners did just that by presenting a proposal that follows South Portland’s building and zoning codes in every facet knowingly required.

As a native who moved from the state to find good employment after school, I can only say that this story is sadly familiar.

As a parent of a child, it’s also frustrating. I’d like to believe that my son would have an opportunity to work in the great state of Maine if he chose to.

Maybe, but good jobs there are too hard to come by. Stories like this one suggest that he, like me, won’t have that option.

These business developers were not proposing to open a gun shop, or a gas station, or a casino.

They were proposing to open a grocery store that would, dare I say, sell “delicious” food. How many jobs will not be created now?

Scott Hight

Chicago, Ill.

One GOP hopeful holds firm on issues: Ron Paul

I read, with great interest M.D. Harmon’s recent column decrying the fact that the Republican Party needs to field a 2012 candidate who will treat us like adults.

By that, I think he means someone who will strip away the facade of “feel good” politics and phony alliances with the power players which have led us to the complete mess this country is in today.

Mr. Harmon goes on, “But lots of people want to be told comfortable lies rather than harsh truths.” And further, “Who will elect someone who says things people don’t want to hear?”

You are correct, Mr. Harmon. We have to tell people the truth — and not treat Americans as children, but responsible adults.

Mr. Harmon said we need a candidate “with a record of accomplishment and good ideas for fixing our current problems.”

We have one, Mr. Harmon. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

If we are mature enough to accept him.

Bruce Bohrmann

Yarmouth