Thumbs up to all those who got outside to participate in the Snowman Extravaganza at Sanford’s Gowen Park last Saturday. The event was hosted by the Sanford Parent Leadership Training Institute, which teaches parents and others the leadership skills they need to advocate for children. The Snowman Extravaganza was a way to introduce the group and its mission to the community, according to Kristen Wiegand, the site coordinator for the Parent Leadership Training Institute. The group helped put its first 14 parent leaders through a 20-week training program, where they learned a variety of skills. The training was funded through Sanford’s grant from the Nellie Mae Foundation, and PLTI is looking for more people, parents or those who don’t have children but are interested, to take part in classes that begin in the fall.

Thumbs down to the lack of action regarding radon testing required for rental units in Maine. The deadline ”“ March 1 ”“ was put in place by the state Legislature, which passed a law requiring landlords of residential rental properties to test their buildings for the deadly fumes. Radon is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas, which forms by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon enters homes, where it can become trapped and build up in the home, through cracks and other holes in the foundation. There is no safe level of radon exposure, and it’s of particular concern in Maine, because the state has higher than average amounts of the poisonous gas, said Robert Stilwell, a radon specialist with the Department of Health and Human Services. Last week, that state’s radon division reported it has been inundated with calls from landlords who have waited to conduct testing. Many of the approximately 100 radon testers registered with the DHHS have been swamped with requests, Stilwell said. This law was passed in 2009, and in June of last year, the deadline was pushed to March 1, giving landlords plenty of time to complete the testing. For those landlords who have not yet scheduled a test, they should do so immediately, and can find out more by contacting the DHHS toll-free at 1-800-232-0842, or 287-5676 or 287-4770.

Thumbs up to the traffic light changes at Five Points in Biddeford. A new traffic light was installed at the Five Points intersection recently, replacing a yield sign at a point where motorists heading west on Route 111 meet. Those driving from Route 1 and Route 111 are required to give motorists from West Street the right of way. This is an extremely busy intersection, with people pulling out from multiple business’ entrances as well as the major routes that intersect at that point. Unfortunately, not all drivers yield properly, nor do they heed the signs and traffic lights, particularly when there is a lot of traffic and during commuting hours. Biddeford Deputy Police Chief JoAnne Fisk said Maine Department of Transportation traffic engineers determined the change was needed due to the amount of accidents at the intersection from motorists who did not yield to West Street traffic. In addition to the light, now there are signs reading “No Turn on Red,” and hopefully the changes will mean fewer accidents and lead to more responsible driving at the busy intersection.