The crosswalk to nowhere

Sep 15, 2016

Is anyone else confused about why Rockport and the Maine Department of Transportation are building a crosswalk across Route 1 from the Market Basket to an empty field?

In a time of good and plenty, it might be argued it is a worthwhile project to increase walkability. However, in recent years when communities have asked for help from the state to improve crumbling infrastructure, the answer has been that there is not enough money and the road is not on the list of priorities.

For example, DOT might have chipped in a bit more of the cost of the repairs to Old County Road in Rockland if it had its priorities straight. When that was being discussed at City Hall the state was begging poverty.

We understand that the state and local governments have limited resources and that's why they need to be very judicious in setting priorities.

In addition, we hope serious consideration has been taken into the safety aspect of such a project. If the idea is to connect the elementary and high school on Route 90 to the village area, is one of the busiest intersections in the Midcoast the best place for our children to be crossing?

Some items that come from smaller town committees might need to be vetted to make sure they are not pet projects rather than needed infrastructure improvements.

We look forward to more public discussion on this project.

Film festival is in town

Despite rumors earlier this year that the Camden International Film Festival was leaving town, it's back for its 12th year with no plans to be anything but the CIFF.

The 2016 fest runs Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 15 through 18, at venues in Camden, Rockport and Rockland. Festival screenings will take place at the Camden and Rockport opera houses; and Rockland’s Strand Theatre and Farnsworth Art Museum. Admission to most screenings is $10 as available, after festival passholders go in; passes can be picked up or purchased at the fest box office at 16 Bay View St. (former Gilbert’s Pub location). Box office hours are noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14; noon to 9 p.m. Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

What many may not be aware of is that parts of the festival are admission-free. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m., the Shorts First programs offer between four and eight short documentaries.

We encourage you to get out and check out these free samplings. They are the kind of films, about all kinds of things, not available in the area any other time of year. See this week's Arts & Entertainment section for the complete schedule.

This week in history

On Sept. 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

In June 1812, America declared war on Great Britain after a series of trade disagreements. In August 1814, British troops invaded Washington, D.C., and burned the White House, Capitol Building and Library of Congress. Their next target was Baltimore.

After one of Key’s friends, Dr. William Beanes, was taken prisoner by the British, Key went to Baltimore, located the ship where Beanes was being held and negotiated his release. However, Key and Beanes weren’t allowed to leave until after the British bombardment of Fort McHenry. Key watched the bombing campaign unfold from aboard a ship located about 8 miles away. After a day, the British were unable to destroy the fort and gave up. Key was relieved to see the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry and quickly penned a few lines in tribute to what he had witnessed.

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