Finding the center, Lincolnville town office, Scaring up support
Finding the center
The final plan to reconfigure Maine's congressional districts, as a result of population shifts in recent years, shows that the state's representatives in Augusta are capable of setting partisan agendas aside.
After weeks of posturing and political maneuvering, the Maine Legislature has agreed to leave things fairly close to where they have been, moving a relative few citizens from one district to the other, and allowing Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-North Haven, to remain in the First District.
Maine's independent voters, no matter what their affiliation, do not need to be penned into party strongholds. Now that the lines have been drawn and settled, let's hope the political movers and shakers maintain a civil conversation about the issues that affect us all.
There is much work to be done as we move onto a winter that promises to challenge Maine and the rest of the country. Cold weather and poverty don't ask for party affiliation before they do their damage. It's time to leave aside fighting with our neighbors over where to put the fences, to cross the philosophical boundaries and to find creative ways to solve some very real problems.
Stitch by stitch
Lincolnville selectmen have heeded the advice of their municipal building committee and citizens, setting a goal Monday evening for the future of a cramped and outdated town office. In line with the town's comprehensive plan, Lincolnville will get cost estimates to renovate and expand its small town office.
The process by which they decided, at a vote of 4-1, was methodical, and took almost four years — a period that included a deep recession, taxpayer skepticism, and regular debate; yet, in the end, the process worked and now the town, with nearly $430,000 in its back pocket to get the project off the ground, is moving forward. The vote comes at a time when a deep and global economic contraction has pushed many municipal improvements to the back burner, and budgets regularly nipped.
But Lincolnville is in an enviable position, with its savings earmarked for the project, as well as the prospect of low interest rates to borrow another $100,000, if needed. Additionally, the selectmen are ready to market town-acquired properties to possibly raise even more cash.
There is nothing extravagant about this project. But, we agree with Selectman Rosey Gerry, who so succinctly said, "I don't want any mistakes." An expansion of the town office should be regarded as a long-term investment for a town that takes pride in its community, while its design and construction should be fully accessible, and durable. The town wants to re-energize its once-lively Center, and by kickstarting with a public initiative it sends the message that it is serious in that goal. The selectmen support of that is important, as the gateways of the Center get defined and improved.
To begin a town office project now signals that the town believes in its strength, and creates some solid engineering and construction jobs at a time when much of that work has evaporated. A town office expansion may seem small potatoes, but it couldn't have come at a better time, as it helps incorporate positive stitches in the local and regional economy.
Scaring up support
While the idea of creating scenes that use scarecrows to describe an organization's work is a whimsical one, the missions of the eight nonprofits taking part in Plants Unlimited's Scarecrow Competition are very serious.
Those organizations range from a skate park in South Thomaston to a library in Liberty, and include groups that provide shelter for humans and seek shelter for pets. Whether one wants to help raise awareness about breast cancer or provide funds to help care for the elderly, Plants Unlimited in Rockport has devised a way to make a contribution while enjoying the beauty, bounty and creativity of the harvest season.
The competition will end Saturday, Oct. 1, and we hope many residents and visitors will take time to participate in the voting.