Shadow government, movers and shakers, unsung volunteers:  These fine people go by many names. Yet, they still step forward when the need arises.

  When my family moved back to the Rangeley area in 1956 this area was quite a bit different than it is now. The character of the place was indeed old hometown by nature. I can trace my relatives back quite a ways in this area. Folks such as Grandpa working for the railroad. Then he went to plowing the roads with a heavy old wooden plow. He jokingly told me how one year he actually lost the road. The storms kept coming and going and soon the road he was plowing was almost into a fella’s field. Those were the years of real snowstorms.  But these folks had another quality about them. When they saw a need they stepped forward to try and change things to be better for their grandchildren.
  I can still remember what the town was like in the 60’s. It was such a peaceful little town. As a teenager, a bunch of us would meet at the Copper Kettle for fun and games. There were times we would go skating on Haley Pond. There was quite a peaceful nature throughout downtown Rangeley. But there were things that needed to be changed. It was necessary for the health of the children that things moved forward. The task to accomplish these changes fell upon that shadow government. There were many volunteers stepping forward to improve the infrastructure of our little town. The commissions and committees were made up of many locals that only wanted things to be better for the health and safety of the youngsters. Unfortunately, money also began to speak and the desire for profit elbowed its way into many of these decisions.  The peaceful old time native soon disappeared from these commissions and committees. Decisions were now made trying to balance money versus old spirit. Money has won that battle, and the youngsters are now suffering that loss.
   Oh, I know this is not just a Rangeley problem, but it is sad that a young family is being forced to decide leave or stay. Many times, Rangeley loses that decision. Good quality young workers are disappearing too fast. There are so many things that need to be balanced to bring back the “wanting to stay” in our little town. Just the cost of apartments and being able to eat are two major factors. Is there a fix to this problem or is it too late and we are now on a slippery slope?
  Things need changing again. That old time volunteer needs to resurface and begin helping our youngsters. Decisions need to be made with their welfare in mind more now than ever. Help wanted signs will continue to show until these kindhearted folks step forward. Money needs to step back just a bit and keep the needs of the next generation in sight. That is, unless you folks want to be like all the other tourist town throughout New England.      Ken White COB

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