Cleaning out the inbox

Cheers to Maine’s Legislature for pulling it together and “acting like grown-ups” as Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, put it after they voted nearly unanimously on a reasonable congressional redistricting plan.

The new districts meet the goals of the law in providing a near-even, by population, distribution of voters between the state’s two U.S. congressional districts.

After much deliberation, partisan wrangling and stalemate, state lawmakers in the end did what they are supposed to do and represented the best interests of their constituents by keeping counties, towns and cities with like interests and geographical alignment together.

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Cheers to the Lewiston City Council, the city’s Historical Review Commission and members of local religious organizations. All are stepping to the plate to finally do something about the dilapidated gazebo in Kennedy Park. The gazebo, a long-standing eyesore, was the site of speeches by President-to-be John F. Kennedy and later, President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In its current condition, the gazebo is a disgrace to the park and the city. On Tuesday, councilors agreed the city could match up to $75,000 to restore the 1800s-era gazebo to its former glory and to current building codes. Let’s hope the momentum continues.

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Jeers to a proposed law that would require all paddlers, anywhere on Maine waters, to wear life jackets. We fully support the idea that children should always have life jackets on while on the water. But we believe the proposal, prompted after several people not wearing personal flotation devices died in kayaking mishaps on the Atlantic ocean, goes too far.

Hypothermia is the expected culprit here, and there’s a degree of common sense you can’t regulate. This proposal would punish the experienced paddler, floating on still waters in the sweltering heat of July or August.

A competent adult paddling in, say, 18 inches of calm water would be punished for the recklessness of somebody who doesn’t have the common sense to don a PFD while paddling in the frigid waters of the Atlantic.

Short on wardens, the state is already challenged in enforcing its other fish and game laws. The current law that requires that a life jacket be available for each adult passenger aboard a watercraft is sufficient.

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Cheers to the city of Auburn and the city’s management for pursuing a revitalization of the South Main Street neighborhood in New Auburn. The city last week unveiled its Art Wall, featuring wonderful photos and paintings of Maine scenes by Maine artists.

It replaces a former mural that was lovely and done by local schoolchildren but had fallen into disrepair and was fast becoming another eyesore. The wall, with new sidewalks and lighting and even a parking area for those who might like to come and view the wall or enjoy the nearby parks and Riverwalk, greatly enhances the quality of life for visitors and residents.

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Cheers to the good news that Bath Iron Works has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Navy to build two of three new Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that will be added to the U.S. fleet. We would have preferred the shipyard to win contracts for all three, but, as the old song goes, “two out of three ain’t bad.” And the award is as U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in announcing it, “a real tribute to the workers (of the shipyard.)”

It will also keep them, including a good number from Lewiston and Auburn, working for years to come. In this economy, cheers to that.

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Cheers to the “Sesame Street” math and science push. Forbes magazine reports that the venerable PBS characters, who helped teach a generation of underprivileged kids how to read and cope with a range of social issues from divorce to diversity, are back with a new mission.

The show, with its kid-friendly muppets, is tackling the sorry state of the United States’ ranking in the world when it comes to math and science. A new study shows 15-year-olds in the U.S. rank 23rd in the world in science and 30th in math. We are behind countries such as Finland, the Slovak Republic and Estonia.

More than 30 years of studies show that preschoolers who watched “Sesame Street” performed better in high school than their peers who did not in the subject areas that the show focused on. Researchers call it the “Sesame effect.”

We’re optimistic the show can repeat its performance when it comes to math and science, and look forward to the boost Big Bird, Elmo, Grover and the others will give our students as we work to catch up in an ever-expanding global marketplace.

sthistle@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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Comments

Steve  Dosh's picture

Cleaning out the inbox

. .. .Maine st., u s a . .Hooray ! Sunday night 20:28 hst •
Cheers and kudos to the leditorial [ sic. ] staff for your many thoughtful insights . Us hawai'ians are known to say , " Right on , " yet , for those old enough to remember , " Right on , " was usually followed by the rejoinder . " Uh , left off, dude ."
Bates College is in turmoil over a electing and selecting a new President . The one who just left didn't complete her full term , history being a guide . Send Mark over there to get the - r e a l - scoop :) ref : http://www.bates.edu/presidents-of-bates.xml
. ....just one man's opinion ,/s, Dr. Dosh , Bates '78 http://abacus.bates.edu/people/orgs/intclub/

 's picture

Another editor that doesn't

Another editor that doesn't know the area. The Art Wall is on MAIN Street, South Main Street being about a quarter mile away. Shouldn't the SJ hire people who actually live in the area?

SCOTT THISTLE's picture
staff

You are right Dan -- it is Main Street

Hey Dan,
You're right about the fact it is Main Street and not South Main. That was my mistake.I thought about it twice and meant to go back and check it again, but didn't. So apologies for any who were offended that we got South Main confused with Main. Mill Street is the street after the bridge over the Little Androscoggin River. And just for your information, as you criticize the newspaper for not having editors who live in the city -- I do live in Auburn on Shepley Street, do you know where that is? I do drive, walk, run and ride my bike on the city streets regularly in both Lewiston and Auburn. Of the the seven people that work in the newsroom during the day in what would be called editors five of us live in Auburn and one lives in Lewiston. Another lives in our Oxford Hills coverage area. I could give you a break down of the entire staff but most of our newsroom people are live locally in the Sun Journal's coverage area. Only a handful do not.
Hope that helps you correct your mispreceptions about the Sun Journal and its staffers. The South Main Street error is all my fault, brain cramp, dumb mistake, I'll own it and apologize for getting it wrong.
Cheers,
Scott Thistle
Regional Editor

 's picture

Middle Street? South Main is

Middle Street? South Main is right after the bridge, intersected shortly by Mill Street, but there's not Middle Street.

SCOTT THISTLE's picture
staff

Duh. I'm looking stupider and stupider

I meant Mill Street sorry... and yes South Main goes up over the hill as you come over the bridge Mill swings to the left where Rolly's is...

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Dan for once

I have to agree with you. South Main actually begins at the bridge seperating Auburn from New Auburn.

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