Short takes on the week’s news


Jeers to whoever is in charge of security at the Rite Aid Pharmacy in Livermore Falls. Or, more fittingly, whoever is not in charge of security there.

The shop has been robbed three times in six years, moving 12,000 prescription drugs, including narcotic pills, to the street.

In 2004, 5,000 pills were stolen. In 2009, another 5,000-plus pills were taken. Another 2,000 were stolen last Sunday.

According to police, the suspects entered the store, grabbed the pills and were gone within minutes each time.

Once, we understand. Twice raises an eyebrow. Three times is inexcusable.

Never mind the loss to the store and the potential of cost being passed on to customers. The real crime here is not securing the narcotics well enough to keep them off the street, where they will be used and abused. Sold and consumed.

It’s not like Livermore Falls is a center of crime. It’s a town of some 1,600 hardworking people who rely on Rite Aid to provide prescriptions, and rely on the store to keep the drugs secure.

Rite Aid does well at the former, and is dismal at the latter.

Raise a glass and cheer the Maine Legislature and Gov. John Baldacci for their collective pro-business reversal making it easier for certain shops to hold wine- and beer-tasting events.

Last year, the Legislature enacted a law making it illegal to hold tastings in any area where there may be the possibility the pouring and tasting could be viewed by young children. Lawmakers believed they were protecting children from the unsightly vision of an adult of legal age tipping back a glass of wine or sipping a beer.

The law did nothing to shield children’s eyes from adults drinking in restaurants, just shops where an adult may buy a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer.

To comply with that law, wine boutiques were pasting sheets of newspaper up on windows in case any child walked past and was exposed to the horror of a tasting.

This year, recognizing the foolishness of such rigid protection in stores while children can and do see more drinking in restaurants — and perhaps at home — the Committee on Legal and Veterans Affairs amended the law allowing tastings to be held in full view.

Shops are now required to post notice of a tasting at least seven days before the event. That, committee members figured, was sufficient warning to protect the children. And the business.

Jeers to the scheme to publish paid comments, on a first-come, first-served basis, in the Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election.

The guide is a publication of the Secretary of State’s Office and will cap the comments — by citizens, PACS or corporations — at three for and three against each referendum. Keeping that balance seems fair, but requiring a $500 payment to publish is just plain weird.

We understand the fee will be used to offset the cost of publication, but it will also unfairly tilt this “citizen” guide toward comments from PACs and corporations that can afford the fee and are motivated by an agenda to get published.

The guide is a good idea because it will contain, in a single place, the content of each referendum and its underlying legislation, an explanation of a “yes” or “no” vote, an analysis of debt service or other cost, and an estimate on the long-term fiscal impact.

Good. Leave it at that.

If comments are deemed so vital to the guide, publish the facts in print and establish an online forum for comments. Letting everyone have their say, without setting a minimum fee to be heard or creating a rush to be heard first, is more democratic and will serve as a better citizen guide to the referendum election.

[email protected]