The Silver Bullet

I remember taking a trip to New York City with my parents in 1982 to see the various sites including the U.S.S. Intrepid and World Trade Center. I was young, the city was big – and wild – and I loved it.

But, along with a few Big Apple souvenirs, what I took home from that trip was a really bad habit: Littering.

I can remember it clear as day. My father and I are driving somewhere about a week after returning home from the trip and I heave a soda bottle out my window. My father was in shock but I didn’t think anything of it, for I had seen litter and litterers galore in the big city. Needless to say, my dad turned the car around as soon as he could and made me pick up my litter. A good lesson, learned early, for his easily influenced son.

I’m afraid to say, however, that there are a lot of litterers out there who don’t care about the beauty of the Lakes Region. This week, as we find in a page 1 story, Windham has closed the two recycling containers, called “silver bullets,” because of trash constantly being thrown in and near the bins. Sad.

Sure, we can now drive elsewhere to dump our recyclables, or leave it on the curbside, but the point remains that we’ve lost our privileges because, as Public Works Director Doug Fortier puts it, of a few bad apples spoiling it for the bunch.

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In taking the photograph of the removed bins for the newspaper, it was clear that the town had good cause to take away our privileges. What a dump, literally. Broken child seats, mesh tangerine boxes, “peanut” packing material, detergent bottles, black plastic bags full of who knows what. Nasty stuff left by inconsiderate people.

And it’s not just a Windham problem. In Raymond, the two cardboard recycling containers at District 2 Fire Station overfill with cardboard each week. While the cardboard is a legitimate item, garbage is not. And weekly, this waste finds its way to the Dumpster areas, costing Public Works many man-hours (and tax dollars) to remove.

Let’s try to keep our towns looking good. My dad would be proud.

Flooding over

Mother Nature can be a bear, and this week in Standish she was a grizzly.

Last weekend’s heavy rains quickly melted a thick snow pack feeding into the Sticky River and ripped a gaping hole in Route 114 as it crosses the river near Sebago Lake.

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What force, what fury!

The road closure was a hassle for commuters who had to find alternate routes, but the flooding is a healthy reminder that our day-to-day lives can sometimes be at the whim of forces beyond our control.

The washout could have had worse consequences than a few extra miles in the car, however. Authorities did a good job of stopping traffic before the road washed out. Should the authorities have closed the bridge earlier? Maybe.

It was a close call with one car passing over within minutes of collapse. But when a firefighter on site heard the ground beneath him crunching and rolling, he was wise to stop traffic. And we’re fortunate that it was closed, because a 15-foot-deep trench would have been an awful trap for unsuspecting drivers traveling that high-speed stretch.

It is just another good reason not to drive too fast because you never know what’s ahead.

John Balentine, editor


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