Short takes on the week’s news


Cheers to the continued efforts in Maine to increase organ donation rates.

In 2003, Maine was first in the nation to sign into law a guarantee that the donation wishes of the deceased are honored, and last week Rep. Brian Langley, R-Ellsworth, hosted a press conference urging Mainers to become donors.

According to Langley, 90 percent of Americans support organ donation, but only 30 percent know what to do to become organ donors. One of easiest ways is to ensure the Department of Motor Vehicles affixes a donor sticker to your license every time you renew, a visible way for emergency workers to recognize a donor’s wishes in cases of traumatic accidents.

A woman who spoke at Tuesday’s press conference noted that 18 people die every day in Maine for lack of an organ donation. That death rate actually applies to the entire country, but her point is well taken. People across this country are in desperate need of organ transplants, a need often filled by the dead.

The living must become more proactive about assigning donor status while they can, so once dead, someone else can live.

Cheers to Museum L-A for organizing a downtown duathlon for June 27 in Lewiston. This event joins other popular athletic competitions in the Twin Cities, including the Greater L-A Triple Crown 5K Series and the annual Great Falls Criterium in downtown Auburn.

The duathlon will be open to 500 people to compete in a 3-mile run, a 14-mile bike course followed by another 3-mile run between and around Lewiston’s mill buildings, or what Museum L-A is calling the city’s “historic millscapes.” It’s a terrific opportunity to shine a spotlight on Lewiston; a visual way to enjoy and experience the downtown.

At some distant date, the duathlon could become a triathlon, incorporating the Androscoggin River in either a canoe/kayak or swim event. Jeers to the lagging environmental efforts to re-classify the river as a Class B waterway. If New York can upgrade the Hudson River alongside Manhattan well enough to host multiple swim events there, including several triathlons, surely Maine can get the Androscoggin in swim condition.

Cheers to the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council for its effort to lure Google to Maine. The council has launched an effort to convince the search engine giant to build its experimental super high-speed computer network here.

We’ll be competing against other cities that are much bigger than Lewiston-Auburn, so we’ll have to make a splash.

In Duluth, Minn., the mayor literally splashed into freezing Lake Superior for a swim last week. The mayor of Sarasota, Fla., jumped into a tank full of sharks — another wacky splash. If Topeka, Kan., wins, the mayor has pledged to change the name of the city to Google, Kan. Is that next to Oz?

The application to Google is being managed by the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, which cuts a pretty wide path through western Maine, including the Oxford Hills. AVCOG isn’t planning any stunts, but will rely on videotaped pleas from the heart to carry its bid to bring super high-speed to our communities, relying on the sincerity of senior citizens, students and others, perhaps even a cat or two.

Good idea, but a stunt wouldn’t hurt. We suggest AVCOG and the Growth Council look to Buckfield, where Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz of Mentos and Diet Coke geyser fame could probably put together a stunt to draw winning notice.

Their Eepybird videos are, after all, proven winners.

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