It cannot have been an easy decision for the committee in Warren to suggest the town foreclose on the long-defunct R.D. Outfitters Rifle Range on Route 90.

The Courier-Gazette broke the story of the rifle range turned unlicensed solid waste disposal site more than 20 years ago. The town of Warren has been refusing to foreclose on the site despite unpaid taxes since 1999.

Unfortunately, the problem is not simply going to go away. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection stands ready to work with the town to help clean up the property. In addition, the problem of all the materials dumped on that site has now compounded, inspiring area residents in some cases to discard their unwanted waste there as well.

If the town takes responsibility for this mess, it can begin the long process of cleanup and it can prosecute any who dump at the site unlawfully.

It is a bitter pill, but it will not be any easier to swallow in another 10 years’ time.

Regulating flavored tobacco in Rockland

Councilor Nicole Kalloch certainly deserves credit for her work to combat the sale of flavored tobacco products in Rockland. Her heart is in the right place, but the vote does raise questions in the complex issue of where government steps in and where personal responsibility should decide.

Vaping has become a problem, especially among young people. The use of candy flavors seems designed to target underage users specifically.

However, the law dictates that these products should not be sold to minors anyway. Should the local city government dictate whether adults purchase items that have certain flavors? Why are simple tobacco and menthol flavors OK?

With the legalization of cannabis now widespread, it is an interesting contrast in our mindset of liking one substance while banning another.

The other issue raised by this question is one that has been an undercurrent in Rockland politics now for some time and one that we believe contributed to the election of two new councilors this year. Rockland City Council has gotten into the habit of borrowing state and national problems to work on.

In the case of raising the minimum wage, this was a good thing. In other cases, however, the council’s time could be better spent considering truly local issues rather than getting into philosophical national debates.

Passing this ordinance in Rockland would simply push commerce to smoke shops down the road in Thomaston and Waldoboro. Should this ban be a matter of city by city and town by town, or should it be a matter taken up by states or the feds?

Ultimately, we would like to see young people avoiding these products and if this ban is put in place, we will be thankful for any progress that brings in the fight. However, education on the issue may be the best answer here and the length of the Rockland City Council’s reach is worth some thought and discussion.