There tends to be a lot of grim news these days. People seem to be doing plenty of bad things. But over the past few days I have seen things that make me feel better about human kindness being alive and well.
This past week has seen some of the worst weather in decades in Maine. But a great group of people have been out working hard and risking their lives to get us through. This includes the police and fire departments, Red Cross and other volunteers running emergency shelters, various public works crews, the tree people (from Maine and beyond), electric company crews, and the phone company.
These people are working long hours in difficult conditions, and travel from some impressive distances, to help get us back to normal. They restore my faith in the basic goodness of human beings. Julia C. Clark Orland
I let my golden retriever out at 6:30 a.m. and in two minutes she was at the door with my Bangor Daily News. Nice going. And a collector’s paper [on Jan. 10].
Southwest Harbor has been lucky. Maybe four hours of no power, off and on, while most of the rest of Maine wrestles with the storm of the century. Here in the Harbor, we’ll get our “Storm of the Century” when they start production the end of January.
Kudos to WVOM — what a fantastic job they have done these past days. Barbara Elliott Southwest Harbor
For the past month we have read or heard that the Legislature has an uncommon decision to make during this current session; to decide how to spend, save or otherwise handle an unexpected surplus of around $22 million to $28 million. I had my own opinions. However, in the aftermath of the recent storm I would like to throw the following options on the table:
1. Assist the state utility companies in covering the cost of repairing damage to lines and equipment, including paying for the out-of-state crews who came to help. If we do not the rate-payers, most of whom are taxpayers, will probably end up covering the cost in the form of higher rates or a surcharge on our bills.
2. Establish a fund to provide low-interest loans or even outright grants to low- and middle-income residents for expenses and repairs not covered by insurance.
3. Reimburse counties, cities, towns and possibly private agencies for some, if not all, of the cost of setting up and maintaining emergency shelters during and after the storm.
4. Assist local governments in covering overtime cost for emergency workers.
5. Help the Finance Authority of Maine to provide low-interest loans to small businesses to cover expenses not covered by insurance.
6. Establish a trust fund to provide for similar expenses from future storms.
Except for keeping my utility rates and taxes down, I would not benefit directly from any of these proposals. I was one of the lucky ones who suffered only the inconvenience of a relatively short (four-day) power outage. John P. Hindal Topsham