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.

click image to enlarge

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.

Sen. Thomas Saviello of Wilton submitted emergency legislation, L.D. 1862 (SP647), "An Act to Limit Eligibility Under Municipal General Assistance Program," which was co-sponsored by Rep. Alan Casavant, the mayor of Biddeford. Simply, this would have prevented those reaching the five-year TANF cap from applying for local General Assistance.

The bill was killed in committee by a 7-0 vote. Sen. Margaret Craven of Lewiston cast one of those votes, going against the wishes of Lewiston's mayor and City Council.

This bill was discussed at a mayors coalition meeting in Augusta.

Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, along with several other mayors, said they were against it and would fight the bill. Shawn Yardley, the Bangor welfare director, was also against it.

So, who is the real culprit here? Gov. Paul LePage, or some local municipal officials?

Mayor Robert E. Macdonald

Lewiston 

Try out iron phosphate to end garden 'slugfest'

Regarding your feature in the Home & Garden section on Aug. 26 ("In gardens this year, it's a slugfest"):

I have been an organic gardener for 40 years and have finally found a 100 percent safe and 100 percent effective solution to slugs: iron phosphate.

Your readers should know that products such as Sluggo and Slug Out are easily available and cheap, and when the pellets are sprinkled around the perimeter of the garden there will be no more slugs. These products are biodegradable and completely safe, even if handled or ingested by children or pets.

The article suggested beer, which is fine if you want the slugs to come and bring their relatives. Salt is a no-no in the garden because it disturbs the balance of the soil and is harmful to worms and beneficial insects. Finally, nobody wants to buy expensive copper screening and go through all that work when these cheap, easy products are much better.

I hope readers will try iron phosphate and see for themselves. I was skeptical, too, but being slug-free is wonderful.

(Also, the slug on the front page is not a Maine slug. It looks like those I saw in Oregon.)

Karen Johnson

Bath

Alleged crime scene used to house 'hard-driving' paper

I was amused by the Maine Sunday Telegram story ("Suspicions loomed over dance instructor's Kennebunk operation," Sept. 2) about the prostitution investigation. My amusement was not for obvious reasons, though.

I used to work at 1 High St. in my first reporting job in the mid-1970s.

Now, that building is the location where Alexis Wright allegedly engaged in prostitution. Then, it was the home of the York County Coast Star, an award-winning newspaper once known for its hard-driving investigative reporting.

The Star's late publisher/editor, Alexander "Sandy" Bacon Brook, and managing editor, George Pulkkinen, would have relished digging into this story and ferreting out the particulars.

It is ironic that such a juicy tale has emerged from their once-venerable workplace.

Faith Woodman

Bath

More evidence of Israel's intentions toward Arafat

Your Aug. 30 edition had an Associated Press story, "Former official denies Israel aided in poison death of Arafat," referring to Yasser Arafat, the longtime leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

According to the story, a Swiss laboratory said it found traces of a deadly substance on Arafat's belongings, prompting a French investigation into his possible murder.

The article also told how, for the last two years of Arafat's life, Israelis had kept him prisoner at his Ramallah headquarters in the West Bank.

During that time Israel's prime minister was Ariel Sharon, a thuggish butcher who wouldn't blink an eye at murdering a prisoner who was in his power. Those who deny that Israel poisoned Arafat should take a look at its homicidal history.

Marjorie Gallace

Camden

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