September 9, 2012

Letters to the editor: Teens face employment obstacles

Party telephone lines, the Fuller Brush man, station wagons, transistor radios and typewriters. All relics of the not-too-distant past.

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A teenage employee awaits customers at a sunglass shop on the pier in Old Orchard Beach in July 2004. School districts that start the school year before Labor Day and government programs that fill summer jobs with foreign students present obstacles to young people seeking seasonal work, a reader says.

2004 File Photo/Jill Brady

Well, now it's time to add a few new ones to the list.

Summer vacations for students that used to begin in late June and ended soon after the Labor Day weekend are vanishing, and the summer jobs available for high school students are becoming distant memories.

Not too long ago, students enjoyed their summers relaxing with families and friends and working at summer jobs, learning about themselves, gaining valuable work skills and earning money to pay for clothes and college expenses.

Because many schools in Maine now begin the school year the week before Labor Day, when the tourist season is in full swing, most students are forced to quit their jobs early, leaving their employers in a bind when tourism is at its peak. An unfortunate situation all around.

But, sadly, those working students are often the lucky ones.

For many of our students, there are simply no jobs to be had.

Blame it on the economy?

Perhaps, but in too many cases, the jobs that our students seek are often filled with foreign students, on a government-sponsored work visa. Good for them, but not for us.

Has the time come to re-examine the school calendar? I think so.

And while we're at it, let's rethink our summer foreign student visa program.

Jobs are tough enough to find. Why are we making it harder?

Deb Bernard

Spruce Head

Hydro projects make sense; wind farms won't help at all

I live in Lexington Township. Spain's Iberdrola Renewables and Plum Creek are trying to put up an industrial-sized wind turbine farm here despite a signed petition from the majority of this community who are against it. The flicker of those huge blades as the sun rises, the strobe lights at night, the noise. Our beautiful landscapes ruined forever.

These things have popped up all over Maine, and it is time that we put a stop to them before it's too late.

Mr. T. Boone Pickens recently admitted that he lost $150 million on wind power. He has halted plans for any future wind farms, as they are not efficient.

I think hydroelectric is the way to go. They could be built in the mighty rivers here in Maine like the Kennebec River. Hydroelectric turbines could be put in the middle.

No fish ladders to worry about, as they'd go around the hydroelectric turbines that could be built in line, one after the other in rows. No interference with boating, and most importantly, they'd not ruin the beauty of Maine's scenic views that we all enjoy.

Hydroelectric makes sense, as that water always flows powerfully, but wind is not reliable. Look up hydroelectric versus wind turbines, see for yourself.

Why ruin our beautiful mountains with wind power? Like solar power and the failed Solyndra, which received a government loan guarantee that cost taxpayers $535 million, wind, too, is a flop.

We put a man on the moon in 1969. I know that we could produce low-cost, clean electricity from hydro power in 2012.

Buck Simpson

Lexington Township

Mayors could have averted shift in aid expenditures

The recent article "Welfare cap shifts aid costs to state, local government" (Aug. 26) left out an important fact.

If the fact had been included, it would have shown that Lewiston's General Assistance increase, which paid for aid to former Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients, was due to several local municipalities not supporting a bill that would have countered that.

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