The vision thing

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When Gov. John Baldacci walked into Central Maine Community College last week to meet with teachers, there was something different.

He was wearing glasses.

“It was time,” said his spokeswoman, Crystal Canney.

He got the new glasses in March after an “over 50” physical, said Baldacci, 51. “They said, How many hands am I holding up?’ I said, What hands?'”

All these years he’s been squinting to see.

“Now they said it’ll begin to help my golf game. I’ll be able to see the golf ball,” he said.

He threw out a corny joke his audience seemed to appreciate: “I want you to know now that the governor really does have vision.”

How does he think he looks in his gold, rimless glasses?

“Older and wiser.”

– Bonnie Washuk
Bloodless coup

State Rep. Lillian O’Brien, a Lewiston Democrat, took control of the House of Representatives in a surprise coup during Thursday’s session.

The surprise, however, was not on Speaker of the House John Richardson, D-Brunswick, who normally runs things.

It was on O’Brien.

Richardson appointed O’Brien speaker pro tempore of the House, handing over the gavel so she could lead part of the day’s business.

It’s not uncommon for the speaker to give retiring members a chance to run the show. O’Brien is serving her fourth and last term in the House.

She had no advance warning of the transfer of power.

“I know that if I had asked her, she would have said no,” Richardson said.

O’Brien’s brief tenure as speaker was marked with aplomb and authority and punctuated with humor.

– David Farmer

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