Saturday, December 7, 2013
The "Tough going for snowmobilers" piece (Dec. 9) stirred me to write. The article was nicely written, but it as a subject left out an important bit.
Brian Williams of the Windham Drifters Snowmobile Club clips branches on a trail in Windham.
2012 File Photo/Shawn Patrick Ouellette
Nearly five years ago, my young nephew was killed in a grisly accident on a poorly marked curve of a club-run trail in our area.
Since then, signage and other improvements were made to better protect and alert snowmobilers before and at the turn, thus helping avoid such a tragedy there again.
Also since then, proposed statewide legislation to help ensure safer trails and snowmobiling was shot down. It was explained to me that this no-brainer legislation became a no-go because of the Maine Snowmobile Association's, legislators' and snowmobilers' fears of potentially diminished state and other funding and support.
So, in these tough economic times of slashing necessary education, safety, social, etc., programs, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands may still -- at its discretion -- funnel significant funding (according to the Telegram article, upward of $2.6 million last year) to clubs and municipalities, without meaningfully enforceable and enforced trail safety mandates?
Folks, the story doesn't have to end this way.
Commentators' repentance unlikely to stir real change
Long-departed St. Augustine might be grave rolling and the doomsday Mayans smiling at the two stories connected at the top of Page One of the Dec. 2 Maine Sunday Telegram Insight section.
On the right, Severin Beliveau, renowned Democratic fundraiser, decries too much money in politics ("Political fundraising: 'Enough is enough'"). On the left, George Leef, higher education inside expert, demeans too much college ("Why the college degree mania?"). (The Maine Sunday Telegram got the left-right placements reversed from a liberal/conservative standpoint.)
One can only wonder if those worthies are seeking the moral high ground and/or coming clean a few weeks before the ballyhooed 12/21/12 Mayan calendar turning point.
Augustine pleaded for postponed chastity and continence centuries ago, and it seems that Beliveau and Leef have willingly plied their respective trades for years while putting off the day of reconciling their toll with their internal turmoil. Ah, guilt, the gift that keeps on giving, and we're in the giving season.
Fewer dollars in politics and more sense in education might be on Christmas wish lists for many in both professions. The likelihood of either occurring soon rates right up there with a new world order on Dec. 21, bracketed with Rudolph on our rooftops on Dec. 25.
Despair not, Augustine. "Not yet" is still a winning bet.
It works for juries, so let's sequester 'cliff' negotiators
Unlike a juror, members of Congress were not drafted or forced to take the job. They begged, pleaded, cajoled and spent inordinate amounts of money to get the job, and we hired them.
Once hired there are few guidelines as to what is required other than what they decide to impose upon themselves, including their own compensation -- the perfect job!
The jury system drafts you -- offers low pay and no benefits -- and then sequesters you until the job is done. Should anything less be expected of those we put in office?
I'd suggest a large room with doors that can be locked; and inside the room there would be tables, chairs, cots, a bathroom and food three times a day.
(Continued on page 2)