Headlines from the Nov. 15 Press Herald temporarily renewed my faith in humanity.

The news had been full of sexual predators, would-be presidential candidates stumbling over their own thoughts, the events surrounding the Occupation of Wall Street or the NBA lockout between billionaire owners and millionaire players. Each topic seems to dwell on what is wrong with society as well as a lack of common sense and decency.

Luckily, something arrives that revives common sense and a semblance of balance in our daily lives. That something comes from the article “Judge ices lawsuit by hockey players.”

In a world where countless individuals seek to find excuses for their misgivings or loss, along come three high school student athletes who, despite their loss, were gracious in defeat.

After Monday’s hearing, they said they were glad to have had a voice in the matter, thanked the parents involved and spoke of life lessons learned.

How many adults could and would say, “I’d rather know we tried and failed instead of not trying at all”? Kudos to those young men and a pat on the back to the adults in their lives who gave them the understanding in dealing with what life puts in front of them.

Jerry Thibeault


As a hockey parent, I am dismayed at the Maine Principals’ Association’s lack of support for the three young men who, in their senior year in high school, want to play hockey.

It is not their fault that the program no longer exists for them. There is, in fact, a program that exists in the very same city, the Deering-Portland High co-op team, and the fact that they had to go to court and have a judge make the decision is ludicrous.

It saddens me to see that the MPA did not uphold the third part of its mission, which is stated below:

“To assure a quality education for all students, the Maine Principals’ Association will:

“(1) promote the principalship;

“(2) support principals as educational leaders; and

“(3) promote and administer interscholastic activities in grades 9-12.”

Way to go, MPA.

Sandy Driscoll


UNESCO made right move by admitting Palestine 

The Nov. 1 edition of The Portland Press Herald had an Associated Press report, “UNESCO boldly admits Palestine,” with a photo of U.S. representative David Killion, who displayed dismay at the vote.

Having a fit about it, the U.S. government canceled its dues payments to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, which had dared to displease the United States’ pal, Israel.

Before the vote, Israel’s foreign minister, Avgidor Lieberman, said that if it passed, Israel should cut off ties with the Palestinian Authority. After the vote, Israeli ambassador Nimrod Barkan claimed it had somehow damaged “chances for peace.”

Since it’s been obvious for a long time that peace talks hadn’t gotten anywhere and weren’t going anywhere, his statement is flimflam.

So is U.S. government spokesman Jay Carney’s saying that the vote undermined efforts toward Mideast peace, when what destroys peace is the U.S. marching in lockstep with Israel.

It was a pleasure to read that after the vote many delegates jumped to their feet and applauded, one shouting “Long live Palestine!” in French. To join the joyful day, in English I’d say, “Hip, hip, hooray!”

Marjorie Gallace


State Planning Office offers data critical to expansion

I am requesting that Gov. LePage reconsider closing the State Planning Office.

I am a commercial real estate appraiser, and the few others like me in the state rely heavily upon a lot of the research maintained by this department, including retail sales reports used extensively in trending analysis, detailed census links, and a wide variety of primary research on things like our seasonal lodging/dining facilities, occupancy reports, etc.

Even better, the people there were accessible to talk to by phone, and people there gave me insight and faxed data after lengthy phone conversations.

Appraisers aren’t all that important in and of themselves, but we support the availability of financing to existing or proposed businesses here and rely on good data to do that, like that provided by this agency.

My point would be that this small department supports business financing and growth, crucial to economic expansion, and it is a significant economic expansion tool. This isn’t an agency you want to remove, because it is a solid investment in an economic and new business growth tool.

Anyone who advises economic growth without sound financing as a portion of the economic infrastructure and the tools to get it done isn’t being truthful.

John H. Schwartz


Musicians’ contribution missed on Veterans Day

We went to the Veterans Day parade in Portland. There was a large attendance: the troops, the fire and police, the Christmas wreaths for Arlington, all the Scout troops, the veterans, the city officials.

But NO bands? Do we have bands in our schools? They used to be represented. Here we are, the big city of Portland, and no bands. They are sorely missed.

Thanks to all who participated.

Al and Janet Romano