The omnipresence and indispensability of the internet were proved again last week when heavy ice and snow caused Spectrum customers in Maine and New Hampshire to lose cable and internet service for several hours Feb. 7.

Following the last widespread outage, in October, we wrote about how, unlike electric utilities, internet service providers are not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, even though most enjoy de facto monopolies.

As a result, internet service providers don’t have to say who’s out of service or when service will be restored, keeping people in the dark about an essential service, not only for pushing away boredom on a Friday afternoon but also for commerce, health care – you name it.

Last week’s outages also revealed another problem. Spectrum customers who lost service are entitled to credits on their accounts. But instead of automatically crediting customers, the company makes customers contact them first.

While they don’t share the information on a street-by-street basis like Central Maine Power and EmeraMaine do, internet companies know which customers are affected by outages. They shouldn’t make customers jump through hoops to get what is rightfully theirs.

The demand for more options for internet service, such as municipal internet service providers, is growing. Service like this will only make sure it grows louder.

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Richard Tanguay is owed an apology.

Tanguay, a 69-year-old bus driver with the Biddeford School District, saw his life and reputation rent asunder when he was accused of operating under the influence while transporting a high school field hockey team in November.

State police pulled over Tanguay’s bus Nov. 2 on the Turnpike in Scarborough, alleging that he was driving erratically. He was charged with operating under the influence of drugs, driving to endanger and endangering the welfare of a child.

Through news releases and headlines, Tanguay, after 42 well-regarded years as a bus driver, was introduced to the wider public as a menace.

Except none of it was true. A blood test came back negative for drugs; he had already passed a breath test immediately following the incident.

The Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office filed notice that they were dropping the charges Jan. 10. But despite the very public nature of the accusations, the DA’s Office made no attempt to correct the record. State police, who put Tanguay’s arrest on Facebook, made no public announcement, either.

Tanguay’s attorney and the Biddeford superintendent only heard that the charges were dropped in early February, from a Press Herald reporter.

Tanguay, put on administrative leave following the incident, will return to work immediately, the superintendent said. His reputation should be restored too.

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The death of Bruce S. McEwen should not go unremarked.

McEwen, a neuroscientist who died in January at the age of 81, conducted groundbreaking research into the effect of chronic stress on the brain and body. He showed how chronic stress is toxic, and how it changes the brain, altering behavior and even physical health.

The advancements that started with his research tell us how the stress and trauma of poverty make it harder for kids to build relationships and achieve at school.

They tell us that toxic stress sets up kids for failure, and that they need nutrition, health care and stable housing to fulfill their potential.


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