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St. George news

By Sandra Dickson | Apr 06, 2018
Photo by: Sandra Dickson Demolition was carried out on two buildings on Horse Point Road.

March for Our Lives

This past week, the humble zero caught my attention. News coverage prior to the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., first predicted a turnout of 500,000 that later appeared as 50,000. Later reports estimated there were at least 800,000 marchers calling for sensible gun control who gathered in Washington, and hundreds of thousands of supporters marched in solidarity across the country and around the world in protest against the gun violence that has increasingly plagued the streets and schools of America.

The young speakers at the event, survivors of the murderous Parkland tragedy, showed admirable leadership in demanding that Congress pass meaningful gun legislation or face losing their jobs in the midterm elections. Just as the 1967 Children's Crusade in Birmingham was a turning point in the Civil Rights movement, the determination and focus of today's teens addressing this life-or-death issue may be exactly what the country needs and leaves me feeling proud and inspired.

David Livingstone, famed 19th-century explorer, missionary to Africa and abolitionist, might have been addressing today's U.S. Congress when he said, "Sympathy is no substitute for action."

Funding numbers

In reviewing some funding numbers around town, I noticed a big difference in zeroes -- four, five or six -- between budgets for the library's pre-K program, a Marshall Point Lighthouse storage barn proposal, and the proposed development at 10 Cold Storage Road in Port Clyde.

How budgets are met varies. Schools, libraries and museums rely on a combination of large and small donations, fundraising events, grants and taxpayer funding, while the Cold Storage project would be funded entirely by taxpayers through a 20-year bond, unless some grants are found.

The Basket Raffle organized by parents to help meet their portion of the annual pre-K program budget netted nearly $400, but still not enough to close their funding gap for the year. Another event is in the planning stage. For those who monitored the eggs incubating for the raffle, 13 adorable chicks have gone to their new home.

While town meetings may have lost some spice with the passing of our fondly remembered outspoken resident Ralph Cline, it has been an annual joke at town meetings that voters will debate for 20 minutes over a $100 increase for MPBN, but will pass a $10,000 request for fireworks without a peep. I urge all residents to review the annual report that appears prior to town meeting. Mark your calendars and plan to vote Monday, May 14, and attend the meeting May 15.

St. George Municipal School

I attended the March 21 School Board meeting at which Lt. Patrick Polky of the Knox County Sheriff's Department presented an idea he began working on long before the gun massacre at Parkland. Amidst a national controversy over whether or not to arm teachers, the option Polky presented is aimed more toward preventing problems from developing at the mental health level. Because law enforcement is often aware of problems at home that are likely to contribute to behavioral problems at school, if emotional issues are identified sooner, students have a better opportunity to seek and receive help at school through cooperative efforts with school social workers and teachers.

Part of Polky's proposal that met with some resistance was the introduction of an armed police officer on campus. Although having a plain clothes officer mingling among students and chatting with them over lunch could be a creative way to lessen negative perceptions about police among students who may have been taught to fear, rather than trust, authority, concerns were voiced over finding funds for meaningful coverage and allowing a concealed weapon on campus. Board members expressed their gratitude to Polky for his thoughtful presentation that will likely generate much discussion in coming weeks and months.

DEP update

Soil from an oil spill on Glenmere Road has been removed, and monitoring wells at the site are checked three times a week. Nearby water samples show no impact yet.

Road safety

When temperatures remain above freezing, thus protecting its battery, we should be seeing the town's new solar-powered Speed Feedback Device regularly set up around St. George starting some time in April. These devices have been proven to be traffic-calming and educational measures, reminding drivers that safety on the roads should be their first priority.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Peter Henderson | Apr 06, 2018 17:43

Thank you for this, Sandra! It is wonderful to read about truly LOCAL happenings!

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