Short takes on the week’s news

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Cheers and congrats to Saddleback Maine for its enormously successful PEAK — Promoting Education and Activity for Kids — pass program.

The mountain offered specially discounted PEAK passes — at $49 for the 2009-2010 season — for K-12 students who earned a spot on their school’s honor roll. That’s $250 less than the regular student season pass, which is a huge savings for Maine’s skiing families.

When it announced the promotion, Saddleback had hoped to attract 500 students. In the end, it attracted more than 2,400 students who apparently like to learn as much as they like to ski.

Had the mountain attracted the hoped-for 500 students, it was voluntarily passing on $125,000 in season fees by discounting the passes. When that 500-student threshold passed and careened toward 2,400 students, mountain management continued to honor its offer, sacrificing something over $600,000 in fees for the year.

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The purpose of the PEAK passes was to encourage students to perform well in school, and to promote exercise and outdoor sports, and it worked far better than anticipated.

There’s no telling how many of these students would have made the honor roll anyway, but this kind of encouragement certainly helps as Maine struggles to keep up academically with the rest of the nation and the world.

The ski season in Rangeley ended April 11, but the lessons of the PEAK pass continue on. We encourage other businesses to join Saddleback in encouraging academic excellence and outdoor fun.

Cheers to Lewiston Police Lt. Adam Higgins for his heroics at the Big Apple on Lisbon Street in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

Higgins, on alert in response to reports of three robberies at convenience stores in Auburn and Lewiston all in the previous three hours, reported seeing someone matching the robbery suspect’s description and approached the Big Apple shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday. Peering inside the window, the officer saw a man attacking the clerk with a knife.

As the clerk yelled for help, Higgins walked into the store and approached the armed man, ordering him to drop the knife. After a brief confrontation, the man ran from the store and Higgins chased him down to a nearby field, arresting the man after a short scuffle.

Rodney Morant has since been charged with three counts of robbery.

Big Apple clerk Richard Jackson is unharmed.

Lt. Higgins dutifully continues on the job, protecting and serving the citizens of Lewiston.

Cheers to all Mainers who participated in Earth Day celebrations, most of which featured some kind of physical labor to clean up Maine’s outdoors.

In Bridgton, about 60 people spent the better part of Thursday cleaning up trash in town.

In Auburn, Walton Elementary School educators, children and parents groomed 16 gardens to grow fruits and vegetables for healthy in-school snacks and lunchtime salads.

And, today, ATV clubs in Dixfield, Roxbury and Carthage have organized roadside cleanups along major roads to collect the various and random trash people toss out car windows.

The week has been filled with good efforts to recognize Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, offering a gentle reminder that the corny cliché “Every Day is Earth Day” may not be as corny as it seems.

 editorialboard@sunjournal.com

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