April 6, 2013

Letters to the editor: Kneejerk NIMBY stance slows growth

The proposed east-west highway is drawing a lot of concern from residents whose towns or townships may be along the route. This is typical of any improvement proposed in Maine to help the business environment.

click image to enlarge

Rob Borden and Erla St. Pierre, both of Wellington, protest in Dover-Foxcroft last May 31 before a public meeting on the proposed east-west highway. A reader cites northern Maine as an area that has maintained its character after Interstate 95 was built there.

2012 File Photo/Derek Davis

These towns need the state's financial backing to fund essentials within their communities, so by resisting business improvements such as this highway, they are placing the burden further on other taxpayers.

Interstate 95 was extended some years ago to Houlton, and it passes through essentially the same type of rural towns that are against this new highway proposal.

Howland, Medway, Hersey Township and Sherman Mills do not seem in ruins when I go through. I see commercial activity in these areas commingling with the local small businesses, which, of course, employ many local residents.

The small-town cohesiveness is still present, and the opportunity for the next generations to remain in or return to the areas is greatly improved, due to the highway access and subsequent connection to the business arteries within and outside Maine.

The proposal is just a highway, but it is facing opposition as if it were a pipeline carrying nuclear waste.

Every road we drive on in Maine was an improvement over an existing rural trail or a new pathway from point to point.

We have found a way to keep Maine beautiful yet accessible in those areas, so why do those communities have so little faith we could not continue this balance of nature versus business?

"Not in my backyard" has to stop being the first reaction to infrastructure changes or business expansion if we are to move into the future as a fiscally stable state.

Andy Soucy

Biddeford

Cousins' position on ferry helps preserve Chebeague

Regarding your report on the conflict between Chebeague Island and Cousins Island ("Ferry that joins also separates islanders," March 18) over the "influx of traffic, noise, trash and commotion brought to Cousins Island by hundreds of residents bound for Chebeague Island":

According to my colleague David Hill, who managed Chebeague Transportation Co. for a number of years, "It's a fight for survival of the (Chebeague) island." He added that the traffic on Cousins is "no different than any other place where cars pass by houses."

I may be in the minority, or even a minority of one, but I'd suggest that the constraints on people coming to Chebeague are a blessing in disguise.

Cousins Island, with a bridge to the mainland, is largely a suburb of Portland. I rather doubt residents leave their doors unlocked or keys in their cars, as we can still do on Chebeague. And why do many parents hover over their children awaiting the school bus?

On Chebeague, all of this will change for the worse, of course. There are owners of open spaces and woodlots who want to sell, businesses that want more customers and construction workers who would like to build more homes. But, to the extent that Cousins Island impedes the flow of people, cars, trucks and buses that pass by their houses, that change will occur more slowly.

Cousins Island, then, can help preserve the survival of Chebeague Island as we now know it. It is, unfortunately, not very likely that Chebeague will do this on its own.

William Vaughan Jr.

Chebeague Island

Workplace tragedy shows why 'gun-free zones' fail

I read the Feb. 28 article "Business safety concerns vs. gun permit holders." I was particularly intrigued by how Downeast Energy banned firearms from company property after the deranged ex-boyfriend of one of their employees murdered that employee, then shot himself.

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