This November, the residents of Cumberland County will be asked to approve an estimated $28 million bond issue to renovate, spruce up and change the tired old look of the civic center.

The most prominent beneficiary of these improvements will be the Portland Pirates hockey team, which is the primary tenant of the civic center, hosting 40 games during the regular hockey season.

Renovating the locker rooms, concession areas and restrooms, which are only one flush away from the old two-holers some of us grew up with, is included in the proposed bond. VIP seating will be added to increase income for the Pirates organization and for the county during other events.

Convincing voters who live and pay property taxes west of Portland to vote for this bond will be a challenge.

Perhaps the Pirates management should start by trying to convince those fans who regularly attend the games of the need for the bond, thus taking advantage of what should be built-in advocates.

As a result, the best testimony for the bond could come from the 4,000 Pirates fans who on average attend the civic center games. However, right now their motivation may be lacking due to current team practices.

To improve it, the Pirates management needs to show an improved interest and appreciation of the team’s fans. The coach and team are doing their part by providing exciting games, as are the staff and volunteers.

However, other parts of the hockey experience lack creativity and motivation.

The pre-game and intermission activities lack imagination and haven’t changed in years, and the message sent by the Pirates management to the fans seems to be one of indifference.

Renovating, sprucing up and changing the tired old look can be applied to two separate needs — and one may depend on the other.

State Sen. Bill Diamond


Most teachers work hard and don’t deserve scorn

Why is there such animosity toward teachers? Believe it or not, the teachers you had as children are not still teaching; they have long since retired and there is a new breed of educator in the classroom.

Teaching today is not a hobby or a part-time gig for a well-to-do housewife. The profession has changed and evolved along with everything else.

Opponents of the profession have the same tired argument: Teachers only have to work 180 days a year. Anyone who is close to the profession knows that this is simply not true, and if you asked most teachers they would opt for a full-year schedule.

This would help working families, support struggling children and increase the educational opportunities for all children.

However, I suspect these same individuals who ridicule teachers for their current schedule would oppose the increased spending that would be required for schools to be open year-round.

If you know teachers who are in it for the schedule, only work six hours a day and take the summers off, then they are not good teachers.

They are, in fact, slackers and are not respected among their colleagues, and they should be pushed out of the profession. Do you really think that teachers are OK with slacker colleagues? Good teachers need to work twice as hard to make up for poor teaching.

Are we living in a country that is so selfish that we don’t value quality public education? This constant belittling and stereotyping is not productive.

We all agree that our public schools need to improve; let’s work together toward that goal rather than pointing fingers and placing blame.

Isn’t that what we teach our children to do?

Jennifer Kelly


Gov. LePage is just doing what he was elected to do

I have picked up my pen many times recently with intentions of responding to the many attacks by letter writers and columnists in this paper on Gov. LePage and his efforts to bring fiscal sustainability back to this state.

Lo and behold, on March 25 I read M.D. Harmon’s column (“Venturing a guess at what Gov. LePage is thinking”) and realized that he has saved me the time and effort.

First a disclaimer: I did not vote for Paul LePage for governor, and rare are the times when M.D. Harmon and I agree on anything.

This time, however, Mr. Harmon hit the nail squarely on the head. It is about time we have a leader in this state who cares less about what the media think or about his popularity in the polls, and more about making the hard choices and decisions that are long overdue to bring this state up from the bottom of the economic barrel and away from the brink of financial insolvency.

The economic downturn has made it painfully clear that the old way of doing business by our state government must change, and quickly. Otherwise all the arguments about “right to work,” pensions and who gets what piece of the pie will be meaningless, because the state will be functionally bankrupt.

How refreshing it is to have a political leader who is ready and willing to make the responsibilities of his position a priority instead of pandering to special-interest groups and worrying about popularity polls.

Jason Beever


It was interesting to read all the negative comments concerning Gov. LePage’s decision to remove the mural from the Labor Department offices.

I’m curious — did the same people complain when President Obama insulted the English when he gave back the bust of Churchill that had been presented to our nation?

Did they complain when kids were sent home from school for the offense of wearing American flag shirts? When the Ten Commandments were removed from state and federal offices all over the country, did they show the same disdain?

My kids go to a local elementary school. I have seen numerous pictures of our current president in the classrooms.

Never did I see a picture of former President Bush during his time in office. I guess I should have complained, but who would have listened?

The Republicans won the election and gained control of the State House and the governorship. With that comes privileges.

Get over it.

David Elowitch



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