I wish I could write like Mark LaFlamme. I’m referring to his Dec. 9 column on inflatable snowmen and a casino. He made the possibilities for a town sound wonderful, happy and colorful — a sort of ever-bright Land of Oz. Well, casinos don’t do that for a town. I know, because I’ve seen what they do.

They suck the life out of a town and transfer it all to a fake, colorful casino-land full of dazed people who don’t know what time it is. The hardworking town restaurants can’t compete with a casino’s free food, even if it’s sub-par. Shops don’t stay open on Main Street when no one comes inside. Offices have no visitors.

Schools can’t compete with a place so easy, even a nickel can buy you success — sometimes. And churches and temples? They can’t compete with a casino’s promise of easy riches and life everlasting.

Some years ago my hometown in Wisconsin brought in a casino. First, our downtown restaurants closed. Then the bakery, followed by the supermarket. The hardware store hung on longest, because even a casino doesn’t supply shovels. But Main Street? It doesn’t exist any more.

Let’s not be fooled into letting a casino into Lewiston. I’m too old and dignified to use the term that’s appropriate. But I think you know what phrase I’d use if I could: something having to do with sucking the life out of a town. Supply the words if you want. That is what a casino does.

Sarah Andersen Lawrence, Greene

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