Cheers and jeers from around the news:

• Cheers for historic preservation. Three buildings and one city block in Lewiston have been honored for their importance to the city’s heritage — the Dominican Block, the Franco-American Heritage Center, Bates Street Senior Housing and Frye Street adjacent to Bates College.

It’s an odd mix — a finished project, an ongoing project, a new building, a whole district. But that’s history, isn’t it? Open to interpretation, as long as social and cultural significance is unquestioned. That’s true of all these honorees, which is what makes this group so laudable.

History is not static. It’s an ever-changing, vibrant debate. There’s nothing really “historic” about new senior housing building, but its effect on the downtown’s historic district is undeniable. It is a thoughtful choice, as are all the rest, and representative of what local history really means.

It’s not preserving buildings for the sake of preservation. Not every building with history is historic, and not every historic building should be saved from becoming, well, history. Deciding what is, and what isn’t, is a thought-provoking process. These four choices, this year, certainly represent that.

• A delayed jeer for voter turnout. On May 5, 2 percent of Auburn voters and 1.7 percent of Lewiston voters cast ballots on the school budget. On a cast-vote-per-budget basis, this amounted to one voter for every $117,000 of spending. That’s nowhere near enough.


A castigation of voter apathy is certainly in order. But it won’t change anything. Instead, we think school administrators should pay more attention to how budget information is publicized.

Auburn has hired a marketing firm regarding the problems at EL. A budget deserves the same treatment – maybe not the retention of professionals, but an express campaign by the school (and students?) to ensure the budget is out there for all to see.

If every effort is made, then perhaps apathy could be interpreted as satisfaction. Until then, though, it’s just apathy.

• Jeers for legislative blockage. While some see the consolidation of natural resource agencies as heartburn-inducing, the plan should provide relief to taxpayers and those who are regulated by the departments of agriculture, conservation, marine resources and inland fisheries and wildlife.

Yet it’s stalling. Why? It seems, from legislative debate about the consolidation, the arguments and jeers of the lobbyists who work with these agencies are holding sway. They are advocating for the status quo, sounding the defeatist call that it’ll never work. This should be more than proof enough it could.

• Finally, cheers to efforts by lawmakers in the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee to force action on drafting gambling regulation in Maine. The state must have it, regardless of how pending legislation to allow an Oxford County casino shakes out. Ignoring this problem won’t make it go away.

Actually, ignoring the problem only made it come back again and again.

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