Rockland City Councilor Ed Glaser is to be commended for putting forth a proposed ordinance to ban plastic bags and create fees for paper bags.

However, we would encourage the City Council to add one extra step to the process before passing this ban: Talk to selectmen in Thomaston and get them on board. In the same breath, we urge Thomaston selectmen to agree to a similar ban.

A regional approach is needed to create positive change for the Midcoast.

The evidence is clear that overuse of plastic has dire consequences for the environment. Plastic bags can be found along any roadway. They are buried in landfills and piled at dumps. Perhaps worst of all, they end up in our oceans, where they have created a continent of garbage and broken down into tiny fragments that are consumed by countless sea creatures.

Limits are needed, and single-use plastic bags are obsolete at this point. It is a simple matter for residents to bring reusable bags for their groceries.

That said, there are economic realities for those doing business in Rockland. Two of our largest local grocery stores are in Rockland, being Hannaford and Shaws. Walmart is just over the line in Thomaston.

If Rockland enacts the ban without support and cooperation from Thomaston, it could put city businesses at an economic disadvantage as they attempt to compete with the big box across the town line.

This issue will go to a formal public hearing and a final vote is expected to be held March 12. If it is approved then, the law would go into effect April 12.

The law would require stores to charge 5 cents for every carryout paper bag used by customers. That fee would increase to 10 cents a year later, and then 15 cents in two years. The stores will keep the money from the sale of paper bags.

Customers would not be prohibited from bringing any type of bag they want into the store to carry home their groceries or merchandise.

Brunswick, Topsham, Kennebunk, Freeport, Falmouth, York, Portland and South Portland have enacted bans or fees on plastic bags. Belfast enacted its ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam Jan. 1.

In general we would also support a greater sense of cooperation and increased communication between the neighboring communities in Knox County.

We're all in this together.

Support those struggling with addiction

It came as good news this week that the Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition plans to open a house for men struggling with addiction.

The plan is to open "The Friends House" in September on Brewster Street in Rockland. The eight-bedroom structure will offer the men help to transition as they recover from addiction.

Opioid addiction has ravaged our community for more than a decade, and treatment options remain in short supply, as do resources for those affected.

"Drug overdose deaths remain high in Maine, which had a record 376 in 2016 and 185 through the first six months of 2017," the Portland Press Herald reports.

This new facility will be dedicated to helping men get their lives on track, and they will provide community service as part of the program, according to a statement from Dr. Ira Mandel, executive director of Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition. Helping in the neighborhood with yard work, painting and snow shoveling, as well as establishing a community garden, could provide the community connections desperately needed by those struggling with addiction.

We look forward to seeing this seed bear fruit in a healthier community.

We end on a light note. Alert reader Muriel Pinkham of Hyler Street in Thomaston called to let us know she spotted a flock of robins on her lawn on Groundhog Day. Perhaps spring will come early.