Thursday, December 5, 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.
Those in the room would have a buzzer to signal the guard at the door should anyone become ill, wish to resign from their job or come up with a compromise to the current problem issue.
It may take days or weeks for our employees to accomplish the job that they were hired to do, but they are expected to perform a task -- work.
After listening silently to my proposal, friend Jerry said, "I'd like to add one more thing -- after one week, lock the bathroom door."
Motivation is often needed to accomplish difficult tasks and move ahead, and when you come to that fork in the road, remember what Yogi said: "Take it."
Political dogma often causes our brains to become constipated and no longer able to think and reason with others.
President Obama and Speaker John Boehner need to prepare the room and each draft a dozen employees to do what we hired them to do -- their job.
Richard N. Bedard
Acts of kindness will help keep teacher's legacy alive
We want to thank all the people who made our son Kevin's memorial at Falmouth High School possible: the hundreds of people who attended; the current and former students of Kevin who acted as ushers; Steve Muise, who created that outstanding collage of pictures on DVD, and Staples Inc., which provided free programs and picture boards.
Losing a child is a very painful experience. But knowing that so many people have sent their love and support to our and Kevin's family has helped to alleviate some of our sorrow.
Kevin, in his short life of 40 years, touched so many lives through his teaching, his knack of inspiring others and his work in charity, that it would be fitting if we could all keep his legacy alive.
If each of us could in any way perform a random act of kindness, no matter how big or small, then through us, Kevin's spirit will live on.
Mike and Lee Grover
Hostess employees left with nothing but crumbs
An editorial cartoon you published Nov. 18 shows a striking Hostess worker finding a layoff notice in his cupcake and asking "Hey!! Where's the cream filling?!"
He doesn't have to look far. According to the Wall Street Journal, while Hostess was preparing its bankruptcy filing earlier this year, it awarded its top four executives raises of between 75 and 80 percent.
The Journal also reported that the company's creditors accused it in April of manipulating executive salaries with the aim of getting around bankruptcy compensation rules.
So who's eating the cream? And who's told, "Let them eat cake"?
Ellen D. Murphy
Fine won't keep BP from more destructive practices
I have never traveled to the Gulf Coast, but as an ocean lover here in Maine, I will never forget the pictures and stories from the aftermath of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. BP has admitted to criminal wrongdoing in the spill, pleading guilty to 14 federal crimes and receiving $4.5 billion in fines.
This is a significant amount of money -- the largest criminal fine in our country's history -- but it is a drop in the bucket considering the BP spill was the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. In the months to come, there are still tens of billions of dollars in civil penalties that BP will face.
Nonetheless, no amount of compensation will bring back the 11 lives lost in the spill, or reverse the losses to Gulf Coast wildlife, the tourism and fishing industries and human health.
Nothing in this settlement -- and no legislation since the spill -- will prevent the next offshore spill from occurring. BP is now back in the Gulf, and pro-oil politicians in Congress are taking further steps to expand offshore drilling on the East Coast.
As a student who will be graduating into the world in a few years, I hope I will be able to show my children the same clean beaches I prize today. The seashore ecosystem is too valuable and our coastal industries too crucial to face a spill again. Offshore drilling must be banned, not expanded.