Dearth of flowers
Desperately needing a taste of spring, I attended the Garden Show at the Cross Insurance Center. Along with hundreds of others, my husband and I waited in line outside for 35 minutes in a stiff breeze on Saturday morning. Everyone was wearing spring wear, seemingly trying to will spring into existence. It will happen inside, I told myself. It didn’t.
I was appalled at the dearth of flowers and plants at the show. We found ourselves at a glorified craft fair. There was far more food than flowers, concessions than ideas. I had brought a little notebook to write down and draw designs to apply to future gardens. I got one. Where were all the nurseries and garden centers from our area?
The BDN had really plugged this event, just like it does the American Folk Festival. Its enthusiastic endorsement of the folk festival is totally warranted; the event never disappoints. If I were new to the area and assumed the BDN’s endorsement of the Garden Show to be reliable, however, I would be sorely disillusioned about future area events.
Our common interests
Michael Madore’s April 10 BDN letter (actually, the message was to the Bangor City Council) sounded sarcastic and agitated. I imagine there is a lot of pressure on all those in the Millinocket region who are working to serve the interests of their residents, especially in terms of figuring out how to promote economic development. The big, single engine that drove the economy is gone, unemployment is high and property values continue to drop, and there is seemingly no one solution enthusiastically embraced by everyone in the region, including the wilderness area and national park proposal. The idea of portraying civic leaders in Bangor as representing a city from away is misplaced regional pride, but it is in keeping with the difficulty the Katahdin area has experienced with related issues, including how many schools the towns can reasonably continue to operate.
Our collective economic health will not be served by some municipal leaders sniping at others— we need to mutually consider our common interests and work together to improve things for the actual region which includes East Millinocket, Medway and, yes, Bangor.
Garden show woes
I’m very disappointed with the ticketing process at the Garden Show on Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. There was an hour wait at the ticket window to get in at 10:45 a.m. when doors had opened at 10 a.m. We left and spent our money elsewhere.
The Cross Insurance Center needs to plan better and use more than one ticket entrance. I’m not sure why they still herd everyone through one narrow ticket area for so many events when they have other ticket windows and options.
House Minority Leader Ken Fredette urged cuts in state spending, while spending would increase under the governor’s budget. When asked what needed further cuts, he named the UMaine system and the K-12 public schools (as well as, of course, social services).
I compliment Fredette’s honesty in acknowledging the effects of the proposed elimination of state income taxes. But one sure way not to attract new businesses to Maine is to decimate our public education system. The result of the governor’s austerity plan to cut our way to economic prosperity has left Maine trailing all the other New England states in terms of economic recovery.
Cuts to public education will translate directly into increases in property taxes, the most onerous tax of all for most property owners. Unlike income taxes, property taxes are not based on ability to pay.
The Democrats’ proposed budget, on the other hand, not only is fairer, but will more likely spur economic activity.
No vote for hunt rules
As a lover of the woods, I don’t get to vote on harvesting rules. As a teacher, I didn’t get to vote on Maine’s Common Core. I don’t vote on fishing, snowmobiling, ATV, or even Department of Transportation changes. I trust our biologists.
Bleeding hearts and big dollars trying to sway our voters need to keep their emotions out and let the science and intelligent people make decisions. I hope the state constitution is changed to block public voting on hunting rules.
I am writing this letter in support of Lou Sullivan, fifth-grade teacher at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary in Brunswick, an inspirational and well-rounded educator. The Maine ACLU has criticized him for discussing “intelligent design” with students.
My daughter is lucky to be in Lou’s class, so I see his abilities first hand. She comes home eager to share, teach and practice what she has learned. Our family has received in-depth reporting on Greek mythology, the Civil War and, perhaps most notably, the solar system. We were outside on a frigid, clear night this winter identifying constellations with her star chart. She was thrilled.
Lou has an unparalleled capacity to adapt his lessons to the particular needs of his class, and can manage varying levels of ability through intentional grouping and targeted attention.
I have witnessed Lou’s ability to engage a child’s interests and inquiries through thoughtful discussions. He can allow his students to form their own opinions and conclusions, without unduly influencing their inquisitive minds. I appreciate that Lou provides a safe place for his students to ask questions.
At every parent-teacher conference, and every night during family discussion around the dinner table, I am grateful for Lou’s contribution to my daughter’s education. I could not imagine a more gentle, kind and genuine teacher for our children.
Welcome back Emmet
Welcome back to Emmet Meara. After seeing and reading all about the gloom and doom in the world, how refreshing it is to read his column and have a good laugh.
We have missed him since his departure from the BDN many months ago. His writings couldn’t have returned at a better time during this long snowy and cold winter.
His antics keep us amused and help chase away the blues for these two senior citizens. We thank Emmet and give our best to “blue eyes.”