Letters to the editor, Courier-Gazette
Summer jobs anyone?
Party telephone lines, the Fuller Brushman, station wagons, transistor radios and typewriters. All relics of the not-too-distant past. Well now it’s time to add a few new ones to the list. Summer vacations for students that used to begin in late June and ended soon after the Labor Day weekend are vanishing, and the summer jobs available for high school students are becoming distant memories.
Not too long ago, students enjoyed their summers relaxing with families and friends, and working at summer jobs, learning about themselves, gaining valuable work skills and earning money to pay for clothes and college expenses. Because many schools in Maine now begin the school year the week before Labor Day, when the tourist season is in full swing, most students are forced to quit their jobs early, leaving their employers in a bind when tourism is at its peak. An unfortunate situation all around.
But, sadly, those working students are often the lucky ones. For many of our students, there are simply no jobs to be had. Blame it on the economy? Perhaps, but in too many cases, the jobs that our students seek are often filled with foreign students, on a government-sponsored work visa. Good for them, but not for us. Has the time come to re-examine the school calendar? I think so. And while we’re at it, let’s re-think our summer foreign student visa program. Jobs are tough enough to find. Why are we making it harder?
To our wonderful community,
Today my sons, Noah and Patrick Keene, started kindergarten on time with their classmates. As I look back over the last eight weeks, I realize this is due in large part to the generosity of family, friends and strangers. I have been able to focus solely on the physical and mental recovery of my two little men. The amount of kindness, love and support we have been shown since June has had a profound effect on me. The strength of the human spirit is often accentuated during times of crisis, but the circumstances do not lessen the ultimate impact. I wish I was able to sit down with every well-wisher, to explain to them how very much every thought, prayer, card or smile has meant to us. My family has been through a terrible ordeal, and we do not take for granted the willingness of our community to come together and help us through.
Noah continues on his long road to recovery with physical therapy three times a week. We found an amazing certified hand therapist and we travel to Brunswick for those appointments. He makes progress and he has setbacks. He laughs and he cries. He is pushed to his 5-year-old limit, without the ability to see into the future…he is not able to grasp that his hard work and pain now means a better outcome for regaining sensation and movement later. How much later is yet to be determined. And through it all, he carries himself with such enthusiasm and grace, a sparkle about him that the accident did not dull. He is an example to me every day of what it means to be a fighter; and there are days I wish I had as much tenacity as he does.
I can never fully express our level of gratitude. The opportunities afforded to us are astounding, unexpected and much appreciated. So many people have gone out of their way to assist at different points along the way. We are so blessed to have each and every one of you in our lives.
With warmest thanks,
Cassidy Keene and family
Support for King
Angus King's candidacy for the U.S. Senate provides the people of Maine with an incredible opportunity to send someone to Washington who can engage in the real work of our time. As an independent he can, without the tether of partisanship, focus on consensus building toward meaningful solutions.
I appreciate King's ability to maintain his integrity in the face of our current polarized two-party system. While I may not agree with all of his decisions, what is most important to me is that I can trust his analysis of the issues, his ability to speak about them with a depth of understanding, and ultimately live with his decisions.
While I am hardly naive enough to think that he can break down the walls by himself, I do believe that his stature, experience and credibility provides the entire country with a model for moving beyond partisanship.
I hope that the voters of Maine join the effort to send inspired leadership to the U.S. Senate by voting for Angus King.
Pamela J. Maus
Thinking and writing
Every day there are more articles about the decline of the American educational system, including the problems with teacher unions, the high cost of college tuition, school dropout rates and the effects of poverty. A major problem with the American educational system is that the students are not taught critical thinking and writing skills. This is reflected in their inability to think clearly and to write a critical essay.
What I have found over the last eight years of teaching is that roughly 95 percent of my students did not know how to write a history essay or a term paper. I had a chance to ask Professor Stephen Walt (at the last Mid Coast Forum) about the writing skills of his students: graduate and undergrad students at the Harvard Kennedy school. He said the majority have no idea how to write a critical essay on a given history or foreign affairs topic. He spends the first week teaching them how to write using "A Rulebook for Arguments" by Anthony Weston as a textbook.
Students should learn basic analytical skills of argument, statistical modeling and laboratory procedure. Professor Stanley Fish in an article in the Yale Alumni Magazine, “Education: the deflationary view” (7/2008), argued that these skills are central to politics, ethics, civics and economics. An essay, therefore, should “render a verdict”: is the argument logical and is the case proven.
The problems in our education system go deeper than science, technology and math. We need to teach students that writing is an intellectual activity that proceeds from thinking.
C. Patrick Mundy
Photo of Union School Band
As a member of the last class to graduate from Union High School, I was able to recognize many of my classmates in your photo on the editorial page of your Aug. 30 edition. However, Union High School closed its doors in 1968 when Union joined Friendship, Waldoboro, Warren, and Washington to form MSAD 40’s Medomak Valley High School where the first class graduated in 1969.
Donald L. Grinnell
Union High Class of ‘68
If Paul Ryan’s remarks at the Republican Convention are indicators of his party’s interest in veracity, we won’t be holding the GOP up to our children as a model of good citizenship.
Ryan blamed last year’s downgrade of our country’s credit rating on President Obama. However, Standard & Poor clearly stated that the downgrade reflected its discomfort with political brinkmanship in Congress preventing a budget solution. President Obama and Speaker Boehner reached a broad agreement to address the issue — it was Ryan and the Tea Party that scuttled that compromise.
Ryan blamed President Obama for not pursuing the Simpson Bowles Commission’s bipartisan plan to address the deficit. In fact, Ryan was on the commission and voted against the plan. Something missing here?
Ryan blamed President Obama for closure of a GM plant in his hometown. That decision, however, was made by the Bush administration before Obama took office. Ryan did not know this?
Ryan said that President Obama would remove $716 billion from Medicare funding. What he didn’t say — but knew full well — was that the $716 billion would come from payments to insurers and that his own budget plan proposed the same thing. Curious?
Ryan made other gross misstatements in his speech, including praise of Gov. Romney’s tenure in Massachusetts without mentioning that he both raised taxes and secured adoption of legislation that was the model for Obamacare.
Shouldn’t we expect more of candidates for national office and representatives of a national party?
Here is an update about Sage, our lost blind Brittany/Springer Spaniel mix dog, missing since late May.
After a reported sighting at the Union Fair on Friday evening, Aug. 24, the tracking dogs came back on Monday afternoon, Aug. 27 and confirmed that it was Sage's scent. The scent trail led to the banks of the St. George River, just up from Ayer Park in Union, and ended without finding Sage, and with sad news.
Sage was tracked to Ayer Park on Route 235 in Union. Then, the scent led to the banks of the St. George River, just a few hundred yards up the river from Ayer Park toward Round Pond in Union. Sadly, the tracking dogs indicated that here the scent was of her dead body. We would appreciate your readers’ help in her recovery. Please keep your eyes open while anywhere on Seven Tree Pond, Round Pond and the St. George River between the ponds (her body could be anywhere because the currents and wind are variable).
After this three-month-plus long journey by Sage, it is hard for us to accept/believe that she was OK Friday night and gone by Monday morning. However, this is the best information we have. While very sad and hard to bear, this information does help lead us to a path of resolution.
However, to be honest, if her body is not found, there will always a glimmer of hope that she may still appear. If by some miracle, the tracking dogs are wrong and she made it out of the river, eyes on the surrounding areas are also helpful. Please call immediately with any information.
Gail and Fred Ribeck
Sage hotline: 207-390-0078