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June 21, 2013

2007 File Photo/John Ewing

Students Nyareath Reath, front, and Steve Wich take part in an English language class at Portland Adult Education in 2007. The West School, which has housed the program for 27 years, is scheduled to be shut down at the end of this month. City school officials are still working out arrangements to relocate the program.

Letters to the editor: Adult students need single, central school

I hope the Portland Adult Education program can be settled into one central and great place. The city must do everything in its power, and then some, to maintain and support Portland Adult Ed! It is one of the brightest lights in local education.

Unemployed, I decided at 54 years old to return to school and get my degree. There were two glaring obstacles: a learning disability and math.

I enrolled in Southern Maine Community College in 2010. Developmental math classes there cost the same as a credit course -- for no credit. I opted instead to go to Portland Adult Ed. It was the best decision I could have made.

I needed to go way back to the basics of fractions, etc,. first. I also needed algebra and, depending on how I did in that first algebra class, would need a second one to pass the Accuplacer, which would make me eligible for a basic college math class.

After Algebra A, I took the second part and scored a 50. I needed a 67. The head of the math program told me if I took her one-on-one course, she could get me there. (She was amazing and is about to retire -- a major loss for Portland Adult Ed.) I took and passed the second part three weeks early with a whopping 83!

I worked hard, but I could not have done it without Pam Meader, Minh Canfield and Portland Adult Ed. The classes are small and intimate, you get more time and attention out of the instructors and it is far less expensive than a noncredit class at a college. The multicultural experience was so rich, too.

I did well in a college math class, earned my associate degree last year and am now a senior at the University of Southern Maine. My bachelor's degree is within reach at 58 years old!

Lucie Tardif

Portland

Re: "Portland Adult Education loses its home" (June 13):

Portland Adult Education has provided education for adult learners since 1849. It now needs a new home because its present facility is in disrepair and is uninhabitable.

The solution has been posed to split a facility into two locations. This would make effective operation difficult because lack of a central place would eliminate important interaction between students, faculty and administration.

By not supporting the need for a central facility, it implies to all constituencies a lack of respect for a program that has ably served some 2,500 adult learners annually.

I volunteer in classes for learners of English, and I believe in new beginnings.

These students are diligent, eager and appreciative individuals who all have difficult lives and have come to Portland to create new possibilities for themselves.

I am saddened to think that the city of Portland cannot create an effective place of learning for these deserving students whose voices are not being heard. Somebody, somewhere, please find them a home!

Anne Russell

Cumberland

Call for quiet in restaurants clamps down on public fun

Regarding the letter from Phyllis Kamin ("Restaurants must contain volume to retain patrons," June 13), just let me say how right she is.

Loud phone conversations are bad enough, but I've had it with people going out to eat and having a good time. If a restaurant can't keep the noise level down with some well-placed signs admonishing patrons to keep their boisterous conversations and peals of laughter to a civilized level, they should be removed.

Seriously? Since when is loud laughter a cause of complaint?

What would Ms. Kamin have management do -- caution the party to stop having fun, "No laughter for you" style?

Why not ban babies, those notorious noise makers, or toddlers, who have the potential to really cause a scene? Banning large groups of friends from sitting together might work.

How sad. I go out to eat frequently. Sometimes I even invite my loud and boisterous family.

When I hear people laughing, snorting and generally making a little racket, I think, "Good for you! I hope you're all having a blast and making a memory that will cause you to smile."

Sandy Jubinsky

Lyman

Trucker's consideration lingers in mind of cyclist

While on a Sunday morning pedal, after the recent accident during the Trek Across Maine, I was wondering if there could be any positive outcome from such a tragedy.

On Route 25 heading west after just passing Beal's Ice Cream, I was nearly clipped by a driver whose right wheels were riding on the white line marking the shoulder.

About 30 seconds later, I heard the unmistakable sound of a tractor-trailer slowing down behind me just as I passed a 40 mph speed limit sign. As he passed slowly by, leaving more than the required 3 feet, I noticed his right-side blinker on.

My first thought was that he would take a right turn and was slowing down to let me by. But as he pulled away, I could see he had all his emergency flashers on. After he cleared me by 100 feet, the flashers turned off and he sped back up on his way.

Was he sending a message to me, to the drivers or to both? Was it a message for the drivers behind him after he witnessed my close call?

Was it a show of solidarity for truckers and cyclists to share the road? Was it an expression of sympathy to a family who had lost a loved one?

You can make up your own mind.

Arne Schussler

South Portland

GOP views on Medicaid, warming prove puzzling

There are two things I can't understand about the religious right Republicans.

First, why would a kind and loving God have us withhold health care from the poor and less fortunate so that Republicans can have a few more untaxed dollars in their paychecks every week?

The other question is about pollution and global warming. Even if they don't believe in global warming, isn't it really stealing when we poison the air and water of other people?

Curtis L. Fordyce

South Portland





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