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Vanishing customs and traditions
In response to a recent article I read about young people leaving northern Maine and losing their way of life: The changes in northern Maine are not the only changes in Maine. There are also changes on the coast of Maine. The little coastal town is no longer the unique quiet little place. The traditions are disappearing — the bucolic lifestyle or “The way life should be” is no longer, and gentrification has reared its ugly head.
As people fear, economic development and selling the area as a tourist destination have diluted the culture here along the coast, and support for future generations and traditions is losing ground. There is no quiet community anymore, affecting the lifelong residents and fishermen, and many others. Finding a balance between coming here and not overdoing it is a fine line.
The small fishing town is disappearing in the rearview mirror. I know this as I was born in Maine, in a small fishing town. It is losing its customs and traditions, and we have all allowed this to happen, from those who have lived here to those from away moving in. We are all to blame for the vanishing customs and traditions that made Maine what it was over so many years.
Working together for Maine children
Ensuring that children grow up safe and healthy is among the highest responsibilities of our state and society. When children are put at risk, the state’s child welfare system plays an essential role in stepping in to safeguard their wellbeing. This can happen in a number of ways – supporting families with services to help give them tools to be healthy and stable, temporarily removing children from the home and working toward a safe reunification, or sometimes, making that removal permanent and finding a safe and healthy home with another family member or adoptive family. This system is most effective when the many individuals devoted to keeping children safe work collaboratively toward this shared goal, among them the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine’s Child Welfare Ombudsman, and the Legislature.
A productive and open relationship between the Department and these stakeholders benefits the Maine children and families we serve, as well as our community as a whole. As we move forward with comprehensive and independent reviews to learn all we can from recent tragic child deaths, we remain committed to maintaining these relationships and contributing to a public conversation that supports critical yet constructive analyses that inform potential practice improvements to keep kids safe. As we do so, we express our ongoing support and appreciation for the contributions of all those on the front lines dedicated to the wellbeing of Maine children.
Maine Department of Health and Human Services
Can’t idle with climate action
Maine is facing some big political questions concerning climate change. Do we authorize the Central Maine Power corridor? Do we allow offshore wind projects? There are pros and cons to these issues. One issue, however, has only one correct answer. To help save the planet, we must use our current energy sources as efficiently as possible.
All too often, cars and trucks are left idling in front of post offices and stores while their drivers just “run in for a minute.” While this practice may be excused on bitterly hot days or cold days or if there are pets left in the vehicle, often there is no clear reason why the empty vehicle should be kept running.
According to the Argonne National Laboratory, “Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and emits more CO2 than engine restarting.” This means that beginning 11 seconds after you leave your vehicle running, you are wasting fuel and needlessly emitting CO2 and other pollutants in the air.
The individual effect of your vehicle may be negligible, but when thousands of vehicles in Maine are doing this routinely, the impact adds up. One good first step would be for state agencies and Maine corporations to mandate that all of their vehicles be shut off when unattended. When you think of the world we want to leave to our grandchildren, restarting a vehicle is the least that we can do.