Sensible truck weights
Sen. Olympia Snowe’s plea to allow overweight trucks on Maine’s Interstate highway is disingenuous. She complains about “forcing” big trucks onto smaller roads where they rumble through villages.
The fact is, we could ban 40- and 50-ton trucks altogether. If these lumbering behemoths shouldn’t be on a two-lane highway, why should they be allowed anywhere? The answer is simple. Set sensible truck weight limits.
And by the way, Senator, those big rigs would be rumbling through villages even if allowed on the Interstate. How else can they make local deliveries?
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Save what’s good in Maine
The current political climate is about increasing the efficiency of state government, something we all can support. However, wholesale reductions in natural resource protection as part of this process won’t make Maine more attractive to workers or businesses.
Maine has a “brand” that sets us apart from states to our south: a heritage of scenic beauty, the traditional feel of our towns, clean lakes, pure drinking water. At the same time, our unemployment rate is already less than the national average. Our per capita income is a respectable 95 percent of the national median and we typically rate near the top in every quality-of-life category. These are the attractions for business if we can just streamline government rather than throwing out environmental protections developed over decades.
In reality, we weren’t doing a very good job at protecting the environment even before the current administration was elected. For example, current regulations encourage residential growth at the periphery of our communities. According to the Brookings Institution, nearly 900,000 acres of rural land were converted to suburban between 1980 and 2000, an area the size of Rhode Island, representing the highest rate in New England.
The LePage administration should look to create incentives for redevelopment within town and city boundaries, modifying existing regulations to reduce sprawl and protect the Maine brand. If Maine is transformed to look like New Jersey while still remaining at the end of the transportation line, our state isn’t going to be a better place to live or to do business.
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As a lifelong resident of Bangor, I am so excited at the prospect of a new arena for the Queen City. I remember well, when I was young, attending events or ball games at the (then) new Bangor Auditorium and thinking how great it was to have a facility like that to go to.
The “Aud” has served us well but it has had its day. We need a new facility. We can no longer sit by and let Southern Maine take over. Bangor can and will again be a destination city for travelers, convention and concert goers and many others.
One thing we have learned from the Folk Festival and the Waterfront Concert Series; people will attend quality events. I encourage all Bangor voters to get to the polls and say arena yes!
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Hermon services expanded
I was born and raised in Hermon, educated in the Hermon school system. I started going to Town Meetings in the 7th grade. I am a Hermon taxpayer, having lived in Hermon over 70 years. I have paid taxes for over 50 years.
I have always been very proud of Hermon, for the services provided for the taxpayers. The town council has to assure that the health, welfare and safety needs are met for all taxpayers.
The population of Hermon has grown from 2,500 to over 5,000 in the past 20 years. Hermon Volunteer Rescue Service has not adjusted its services to meet these needs and the diversity of the population.
The town council did not cut HVRS out of rescue services for taxpayers. We had two competitors with 24/7 ALS support to choose from. We voted for Hermon fire department-based rescue to be supplemented by HVRS to achieve the additional needs.
It is unconscionable to believe that one ambulance service alone can meet the needs of our people. HVRS is a basic life support service. Hermon fire department-based rescue will be an advanced life support service. Patients will be billed for the transport service and the insurance reimbursements will be applied to the expenses of the ambulance and crews needed for the service.