If it were not for newspapers, the history of America might have been quite different than what children currently study in school.
Back before radio, television and computers, the printed word was sought and relished by those who wanted to keep abreast of what was happening in the world, the country and their own backyards.
Newspapers printed the current happenings. They also printed uncensored, dueling letters in which both sides of an issue were presented. This back-and-forth free flow of ideas and opinions allowed readers to make educated decisions on the issues of the day.
In the 1770s it was an educated newspaper reading public that steeled the spines of our Founding Fathers when they had second thoughts about declaring independence from Great Britain.
But as time went by, newspapers evolved. They saturated news with sensationalism and untruths designed to keep the readers’ interest, raise their emotions and, most importantly, sell papers.
Times change. Today people get their news from television, radio, the Internet and the old standbys, beauty salons, barber shops and coffee shops. Exercising your brain via the written word seems to be going the way of the dinosaur.
Many of you may remember the cartoon “School House Rock” and the song “How a Bill Becomes a Law.” Without commentary on the dysfunction of Washington and whether that is still the process today, the topic of public idea to implementation is worth revisiting.
As the song goes, some local residents had an idea and they brought it to their elected representative. Their representative turned that idea into a bill, which was sent to a committee to be reviewed, researched, debated and voted up or down back to the full elected body, in that case, Congress.
For the public, there’s a clear link between how an idea gets shared and ultimately gets to a yes or no from all of the elected officials. An idea becomes a bill. A bill goes to a committee made up of a small number of elected officials. The committee votes it back to the full body. And all the while the process is clear and the public knows how to provide its input to their officials.
In my four years so far as mayor, one of the most concerning aspects of trying to work with an elected city council of seven is that there is no process for an elected official, or a citizen, to propose an idea and have it worked through a defined process.
Mechanics Savings Bank is seeking photos that capture the beauty of Auburn, Brunswick, Lewiston or Windham regions for their calendar photo contest. The photos can be from any season. Winners receive $100. The deadline is October 22, 2015 at 5pm. Contest rules and photo entry instructions are available on the bank’s website: www.mechanicssavings.com.
By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
Here comes Suzie Snowflake, dressed in a snow-white gown, tap, tap, tapping at your windowpane to tell you she’s around.
As a kid in the 1950s, she was a welcome visitor. Her appearance signaled sledding, tobogganing and skiing. If you were a hockey player, it meant a bit of shoveling on a pond. Your labor was rewarded by the creation of a defined area in which to play.
Kids built sturdy snow forts—forts that stood up to neighborhood marauding youths. They were such great places to hang out, your parents had to come and drag you home.
Television was in its infant stage. There were no computers or Xboxes. The absence of these things enabled kids in the 1950s to develop not only social skills, but also imagination. Suzie’s arrival signaled freedom from being cooped up in the house all day with little to do.
Things change. Little Suzie Snowflake matured into a bitter, spiteful woman. Gone were her childlike traits. Suzie traded her snow-white gown for curlers and an oversized housecoat, becoming Mother Nature.
To the editor:
With the referendum concerning the “legalization” of marijuana in Lewiston nearing, I thought of the situation in Colorado. In that state, ‘pot’ has become legal, and widely available in smoking form and in ready-made food products.
Although Enterovirus D68 has shown up elsewhere, Colorado recently has experienced a large number of cases in children. We know that children are at great risk of illness when breathing secondhand smoke; there also are numerous reports of children having innocently ingested marijuana-laced treats in Colorado.
I’m not a doctor, but am pondering what I view as a very real possibility that children’s immune systems are being compromised, making them not only more susceptible to respiratory illnesses such as Enterovirus D68, but more likely to incur greater negative effects. Do we even want to take those risks in Lewiston-Auburn? Do we want to go against the research-based advice of the medical and law enforcement people, much less state statutes and federal laws? Just wondering.
Healthcare worker required to comply with certain restrictions
Gov. LePage released the following statement with regard to an Order Pending Hearing issued today by the Aroostook County District Court located in Fort Kent, Maine: “My duty to protect the health of the individual, as well as the health and safety of 1.3 million Mainers, is my highest priority. Despite our best effort to work collaboratively with this individual. she has refused to cooperate with us,” said Governor LePage. “As Governor, I have done everything I can to protect the health and safety of Mainers. The judge has eased restrictions with this ruling and I believe it is unfortunate. However, the State will abide by law,” said Governor LePage.
Mechanics Savings Bank has announced they are building a new multi-million dollar campus in Auburn. The plans include a new 4,140 square foot branch on the corner of Minot Avenue and Elm Street. The groundbreaking was held on October 1, 2014 with plans to open the new branch in early summer 2015. The bank will renovate the existing 10,000 square foot office building, with an anticipated completion date of late 2016.
The new campus layout accommodates ample customer parking and green space.
The interior of the new branch will incorporate updates for an improved customer experience.
Mechanics Savings Bank headquarters have been in Auburn, since it’s founding in 1875. “We believe we are making an investment that will meet customer and community needs for the next century”, said Mechanics Savings Bank President, Rick Vail. “We also hope our initiative can serve as a catalyst to begin improving the gateway into the City of Auburn.”
Here’s your chance to be a film critic! For one weekend only, Fri Sept 26 & Sat Sept 27 at 7:30, Sun Sept 28 at 4pm, the MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival comes to The Public Theatre in Lewiston. During a one week period, 10 short films from around the world will be screened in over 300 cities spanning six continents and each audience member will cast a vote for their favorite of the 10 short film finalists. Votes from each participating cinema will be submitted to festival headquarters and the winner will be announced. Past finalists have included nominees and winners of the Oscar in the short film category, so come and discover the next big filmmaker at The Public Theatre at 31 Maple St in Downtown Lewiston. For tickets visit www.thepublictheatre.org or call 782-3200. To view information on the10 short films, visit: www.manhattanshort.com General admission: $8.
By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
In mid-July of 1977, the State of Massachusetts had been taken over by young, still wet-behind-the-ears Democrats. Their progressive mindset had been shaped and molded by hardcore socialist professors. They were going to teach the world to sing a socialist tune.
Their extensive indoctrination led them to discard reality and to pursue and create a brave new world. They were definitely not the Democratic party of my parents or grandparents. They set about to create the New Republic of Massachusetts.
Soon a once thriving, orderly and civil society changed. Men set aside their traditional attributes of protectors and breadwinners, transforming themselves into the role of male mothers. These new, progressive Democrats marched down a new road—a road where the unproductive were rewarded for their behavior at the expense of the hard-working taxpayers. Their progressive policies destroyed the strong foundation of many families. Neighborhoods became crime-ridden war zones.