In recent weeks, letters have been pouring in regarding candidates for office. While we would have liked to run each and every letter in print we received, space did not allow. All letters to the editor appear online at knox.villagesoup.com.
During this long, hard last stretch of the 2012 election campaigns, we have heard a lot of speculation about what will happen at the polls Nov. 6.
Often, the cable news network talking heads will start by saying something like, "If this group turns out to vote, it will go this way," or "If that group shows up in force Election Day, it may swing this way."
We hope everyone who is eligible will turn out Election Day. Don't expect someone else to vote your conscience. It is your duty as a citizen to participate to make democracy work.
Remember too that it was not so long ago that many in this nation could not vote or were strongly discouraged from doing so based on their gender or the color of their skin. The right to vote unhindered was hard-won. It came after struggle and sacrifice on the part of heroic civil rights leaders.
So don't take your rights and freedoms for granted. Turn out and cast your vote. You'll be proud that you did.
Aside from elections, the talk of the town this week has been Hurricane Sandy. Some expressed relief the Midcoast was simply inconvenienced by power outages and a few closed roads while others seem disappointed that more destruction did not take place. We think residents should be counting their lucky stars the storm did not have the impacts here in Maine that we are seeing in other states like New York, New Jersey and West Virginia.
Mainers have long been known for their coping skills during long snowy winters, ice storms, mud season and the occasional hurricane-type weather but can the same be said for those who rely on public transportation, reliable power and communications? We don't think so. Imagine trying to get somewhere in Maine without a vehicle or traversing washed-out roads or bridges. Think about what it's like when there isn't a cell phone or Internet available. What if power was out for more than a week? News coverage of preparations for the storm showed a number of Maine store shelves empty of water, batteries and canned goods. Generators were once again in short supply as well. And Maine was on the outskirts of the storm, with most in the Midcoast having lost power for less than 48 hours.
But storms like these should serve as a reminder — as we head into the colder months when power outages are sometimes more common — that it never hurts to be prepared for the worst. An emergency kit is a simple way to be prepared — collect flashlights and spare batteries, a case of water, extra blankets and a battery-operated radio to have in case of bad weather during any season. When a storm is predicted, consider refilling any regular medications, make sure you have cash (ATMs and card readers need power!), charge up cell phones or have a back-up phone with a cord that plugs into a wall as many cordless phones also need power. Fill cars with gas if a big storm is predicted and have a back-up plan if a family member becomes stranded away from home.
Storm preparations themselves sometimes take a turn for the worse — generators running too close to living quarters, spewing carbon monoxide; unattended candles tipping over and starting fires; or spoiled food consumed, making people sick. We know it's not possible to prepare for every single scenario but we think a little bit of forethought goes a long way.