Remember Maine soldiers

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As most of us celebrate a sunny forecast, a day off and the beginning of summer Monday, Gov. John Baldacci asked Mainers to also reflect on the soldiers Maine has lost, including those most recently in Iraq.

“In answering the call to duty, the Maine National Guard knows all too well the pain of mourning a fallen soldier,” Baldacci said. “Just this month, we laid to rest two members of the Army Guard who were killed in Iraq.”

The two killed by a roadside bomb were Sgt. Dale James Kelly Jr., 48, of Richmond, and Sgt. David Michael Veverka, 25, a University of Maine student from Jamestown, Pa.

In the past three years, 27 soldiers, airmen and Marines with ties to Maine have died.

In town and city squares across the state there are “honor rolls” listing the names of men and women who died while serving their country. Though a grateful nation can never repay those who paid the ultimate price, “We can continue to honor the commitment they made to serving our country,” Baldacci said.

Quoting Gen. George Patton, Baldacci said rather than mourning those who have died, “We should thank God that such men lived.”

– Bonnie Washuk
On the ROADeo again

Dave Webster’s on the road again, this time to Florida.

For the third year running, Webster has taken top honors in the Maine State Bus and Van ROADeo. The annual contest sponsored by the Maine Transit Association and the Maine Department of Transportation pits bus drivers from around the state in several tests of skill. After passing a written test, drivers must swerve around cones, back into tiny spaces and stop precisely.

Webster, who drives a bus for Western Maine Transportation Service in Lewiston and Auburn, claimed the Maine crown in 2005, only to come up short at the national contest in St. Louis, Mo.

He’ll try again June 3 and 4 in Orlando, Fla.

He credits L-A roads with giving him an edge.

“I have been driving a bus for 15 years in Lewiston and Auburn, and that is the best training I could have for this competition,” Webster said. “I maneuver my bus up and down narrow roads, in and out of tight driveways, around summer construction and winter snowbanks.”

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– Scott Taylor

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