EDITORIAL: We’re all thumbs


This week is another edition of “We’re all thumbs,” in which the editorial staff of Current Publishing picks the winners and losers, heroes and villains from recent news stories:

• Thumbs UP to the Scarborough Police Department’s effort to get opioid addicts the help they need through Operation HOPE, a volunteer-driven drug rehabilitation program that is overseen by the department. The program placed its 100th person last week. The need for such programs is immense as Maine aims to handle the growing crisis. As state politicians continue discussing various strategies to wean people off heroin, fentanyl (an anesthetic) and prescription drugs, the Scarborough Police Department is taking tangible, meaningful action.

• Thumbs DOWN to Gov. LePage and the Maine Department of Transportation for turning over management of the Casco Bay Bridge to an out-of-state firm with zero public input prior to the deal. Folks are right to be wondering what motivated the arrangement since the state is actually losing money on the deal. It used to cost about a million for annual staffing and upkeep of the bridge, but the Florida firm will be paid nearly $4 million a year. It reminds us of how LePage increased highway speed limits a few years ago with nary a public comment. This is top-down governing at its best (actually, at its worst).

• Thumbs UP to the continued celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. While many view the holiday weekend merely as a three-day break from work or school, we’re hoping it reminds Americans that we should judge each other by the content of our character, rather than the color of our skin. Talk of racism seems to be everywhere these days. We wish MLK were still around to offer guidance to our generation, seemingly still failing to judge each other by what really matters.

• Another thumbs DOWN to Gov. LePage for his recent comments in Bridgton regarding young white women getting impregnated by itinerant drug dealers. We urged voters to pick Eliot Cutler in 2014 partly based on LePage’s mouth-control issues. He represents Mainers badly in the national eye, and for that we regret his governorship. He’s a mini-Trump – bombastic, egotistical and unreasonable. Like Trump and others who become known more for the outlandish things they say, we wonder how many tune in just waiting to see what LePage says next. With that in mind, we wonder what he has in store during his town-hall session in Windham this week.

• Thumbs UP to the developer of 1 Westbrook Common in downtown Westbrook for beginning a retrofit of the sprawling office complex next to CVS. The idea is to create Main Street-facing retail stores and offices, similar to pre-urban renewal in that part of the city. The federally funded downtown reorganization scheme totally upended Westbrook in the 1970s and the city has never been the same. We hope the latest overhaul adds to many other efforts making Westbrook more business friendly.

• Speaking of Westbrook Commons, thumbs DOWN to the city of Westbrook for letting the adjacent Blue Note Park deteriorate to the point where no one wants to visit. The space is badly lit, not safe and is a generally uninviting place (though kudos to the Westbrook Downtown Association for its spruce-up last summer). The city foolishly passed up a chance in 2011 for a grant that could have improved the space. Every shopping area needs a green space, and the Blue Note Park really needs a makeover.

• Thumbs UP to the Cape Elizabeth Historical Society’s effort to digitize its vast collection using software that was funded by a local family. The goal is to eventually put the collection online, meaning technology is allowing people with an Internet and Cape Elizabeth connection, living anywhere in the world, to view old photos and documents detailing their ancestors from long ago. Who says the Internet isn’t for people only interested in the old days?

• Thumbs DOWN to the town of Sebago’s nascent effort to withdraw from the Lake Region School District. We agree with the residents’ frustration stemming from a $10 million school renovation project defeated in November, but School Administrative District 61 is a well-established marriage of Sebago, Bridgton, Naples and Casco. We don’t think it should so easily be undone.

• Thumbs UP to a proposal in Windham-Raymond to establish a public preschool. While plenty of private preschools in the area offer a great experience, Regional School Unit 14 is planning a half-day program to target up to 32 developmentally disadvantaged students, getting them ready for kindergarten. We think that sounds like an all-around good deal both for parents and children needing a little extra help.

• Thumbs DOWN to all those Patriot naysayers who don’t believe New England’s team can rise above their injuries to once again achieve Super Bowl glory. All we can say is the Broncos better eat their Wheaties because the Brady bunch, despite injuries, proved with their Chiefs defeat that they won’t be bucked off easily.