Distracted Driving Graver Threat than Guns

I am the Outdoor Powersports Instructor at Maine Region 10 Technical High School in Brunswick.

We all have concerns about what is going on in the world today for ourselves and our students – drugs, over doses, bullying and all the stories of school shootings,the possibility of having teachers carry guns. Not a very pretty picture. In recent weeks, students took to the streets and protested! They marched onto our city streets and our nation’s capital by the tens of thousands to let the world know that they don’t feel safe! Good for them! But think of this — after all those high school students got back to their home towns, what percentage of those same kids got behind the wheel of their car, never buckled up and texted while driving, endangering themselves and everyone around them? The numbers are staggering.

Hey protesters, if you are that concerned about personal safety, buckle up and put that damned phone away! Everyday across our country more people are injured or die because of cell phones, not bullets! I’m pretty sure no one has ever been shot and killed in a Maine school, but how many Maine kids (careless adults too) will destroy their lives and the lives of others because they are addicted to their cell phone and just can’t put them down.

At the end of each school day, I have parking lot duty, and I remind each and every student driving away, to buckle up and put away the phone. Sad to say that about 75 percent of those young adults ignore my plea! I am a responsible gun owner, I buckle up and I turn my flip-phone off while driving, yet I fear for my life everyday. Not from fear of guns but the fear that someone will cross the center line and collide into me and my motorcycle or they will run down my grandchildren as they wait for the buss by the side of the road!

William R. Ross,

Topsham

Anger at Pierce, CMP

I voted for Jeff Pierce to be our representative because he was interested in helping fishermen.

On reviewing the emails that I received over the years from Rep. Pierce, it is clear he is no longer interested in the people he is elected to serve. I am one of the people who Rep. Pierce promised to support the solar bill in 2015 and did, but then he supported the governor’s veto either by vote or by being off the floor when the vote was taken. He did the same with the 2017 solar bill, LD 1444, then supported the governor’s veto. This kind of duplicity is a form of dishonesty!

The basic culprit here is CMP and its current board of directors. CMP implied that we would have a cheaper rate for off-peak usage if we allowed them to add smart meters. They put in the smart meters but never adjusted the billing so that we could take advantage of off-peak rates. Instead all they did was eliminate the jobs of the meter readers. If CMP chose to serve the best interest of its customers, it could offer off-peak service now to save their customers money.

CMP does not want the power that the solar bill could provide but wants to continue buying fossil fuels as it has in the past. By doing so they are adding to the cost, and to the poor air quality in Maine. Thus, there will be more cases of asthma and other respiratory illnesses and hospital emergency room visits.

Rep. Pierce’s contention that low income senior citizens would have had to pay more if the Solar Bill LD 1444 had passed is a fallacy. If he really believed that why did he vote for the bill in the first place!

I am a senior citizen on a very limited fixed income and I choose to have a more honest person care for my interests in Augusta. I will vote for Allison Hepler.

Jean Perkins,

Phippsburg

Fight Against MDOT in Wiscasset Not Over

Wiscasset’s April 17 “no” vote showed that voters feared the town would become mired in an expensive lawsuit against the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT), forcing their taxes up. It was not a vote in favor of MDOT’s Option 2, however. In fact, in June 2017, Wiscasset voters, in a binding referendum, rejected changes MDOT unilaterally made to Option 2 after a non-binding vote in June 2016.

Option 2’s problems haven’t gone away. First, Wiscasset’s code enforcement officer notified MDOT on Nov. 17, 2017, that it must comply with the town’s historic preservation ordinance by submitting an application for a “certificate of appropriateness” before making changes in the historic district. So far, MDOT hasn’t done this.

Second, Option 2 will do little to relieve summer traffic congestion. MDOT says it will improve traffic through-put by only 4 percent for just a few years and reduce wait times by about 15 seconds. A MDOT engineer warned publicly that traffic will still back up at peak times. According to MDOT’s latest cost estimates, Option 2’s price tag has exploded to over $6.8 million, not including the costs of unnecessary demolition of the Haggett building.

Third, an independent engineer offered imaginative solutions and credible challenges to MDOT’s engineering studies, but neither MDOT nor Wiscasset’s town manager has proved willing to consider these in an open forum.

Fourth, Option 2 still puts our small businesses in jeopardy by removing storefront parking.

Wiscasset’s lawsuit raised awareness that traffic management techniques could help MDOT meet the requirements of the 1991 Maine Sensible Transportation Policy Act, which mandates attention to community input, comprehensive plans and ordinances, and alternatives to costly construction. For ex., through smart technologies, a sophisticated system of livetime alerts could help keep traffic moving.

The fight to defend Wiscasset against MDOT’s ill-conceived Option 2 and refusal to abide by town and state law is far from over. Maine citizens are watching to see if MDOT will continue to threaten historic towns and small businesses and ignore the law.

Seaver Leslie,

Wiscasset