Cheers and jeers from around the news:
• Cheers to the staff at the Grand Summit Resort at Sunday River. Last week, the resort hosted the 14th annual “Discover New England” conference, which rotates through the New England states. We were told that when it’s your turn to host this hospitality conference, you’d better make a good impression.
Hence cheers to the staff, most of whom were laid off from the resort just weeks before, only to be recalled for this event. They did a killer job, by all accounts, under those trying circumstances. We even heard that during the lobster bake, attendees gave them a round of applause.
We thought we would as well, for a job well-done representing our state.
• Jeers to John Meharg, the “missing” hiker from Pennsylvania who ditched his backpack in Baxter State Park, sparking brief concern for his safety. At least Meharg gives us reason to write our annual, “Use common sense, for Pete’s sake, while hiking” editorial that never goes out of vogue.
Meharg, according to wardens, tried to hike Mt. Katahdin, got stymied, got hurt, abandoned his backpack, wended back to Millinocket, got stitched up, hailed a cab to Bangor and then rented a car to drive home to Pennsylvania. By the time his pack was located, he was in the Keystone State.
Nobody in Maine knew about his troubles or his departure. Rangers were prepping a full-scale search of Baxter State Park before Meharg was located.
As the weather breaks, more will flock to trails, for good reason. This state is meant to be enjoyed outdoors. This should not, however, prevent taking precautions: a cellular phone, map, GPS, enough provisions, potable water, correct footwear and a hiking plan.
The cost of precaution is a fraction of that of rescue. The safest thing a hiker can do is be prepared.
There, we’ve said it. Again.
• Cheers to Dr. Dora Anne Mills, the governor’s office and the Department of Health and Human Services. We’ve grumbled about swine flu hysteria, like so many, but would be remiss for failing to credit the actions of government health officials in keeping the public informed. Outbreaks don’t occur often, which could make crisis responses complacent. Instead, solid, timely information has been available and officials have been responsive and accessible. The state battled the flu with the best weapon possible: knowledge.
• And finally, cheers to 2009 being the Summer of Love at the Barnyard. No, we’re not talking animal husbandry, we’re talking the Heroes of Woodstock mellowing out the Barnyard All Terrain Park in Livermore, an apropos site of field and mud.
It makes sense now to unite all of Western Maine’s counter-culture shindigs into the one weekend — Aug. 8. Maybe FudaFest and Hempstock can change their calendars around the Barnyard Woodstock to create one epic weekend. You don’t even have to attend.
You can just say you did.

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