(Left to right) Rowan Preston-Schreck, Fred Sebelin, Mabel Bureau, Holden Hansen, Takoda Dionne, Sydney Oczkowski and Patrick Saltysiak. PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Conners Emerson students write opinion pieces for class project



BAR HARBOR — Seventh-grade students at Conners Emerson School got a lesson in civics, writing and social engagement during one of their final projects of the year. Under the direction of teacher Maria Simpson and librarian Siobhan Ryan, the students chose a topic to research, arranged interviews to learn more about their topic and then wrote opinion pieces meant to persuade stakeholders, such as Town Council and school board members, state representatives and the community at large, to be in favor of their position. Some students chose to send their completed pieces to the newspaper, recognizing its role in reaching the wider community, while others chose to send theirs directly to the Town Council or other entity.

While the Islander was not able to print all the letters, the following are the ones that we recevied (in alphabetical order by last name):

 

 

 

Satyrn Alley-Nichols
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

It shouldn’t matter

To the Editor:

I was once told by a superior that my body was distracting, disgusting and disturbing. Yes, I am on the more developed side, it may be distracting but I can’t control that. I don’t want to be distracting, nor disturbing, nor disgusting. But I can’t control it. I can’t control how my body grows. I can’t control my gender identity. I can hide it, but I won’t. Conners Emerson needs to stop discriminating against people because of their bodies and gender identity.

You see girls walking around in crop tops and shorts where you can see their butt cheeks, but they don’t get dress coded. But when a transgender boy walks around in a skirt with shorts on under it, he gets dress coded. I’ve seen a cisgender male (born a gender and stays that gender) walk around with a skirt that was the same length as mine, wearing shorts under the skirt and not get dress coded. Is that fair? I believe it is discriminating against me because I’m transgender. The next day I come in shorts, a skirt and tights. I got dress coded because my skirt was too short, my skirt went past my fingertips. The next day, skort and a tank top that didn’t show any cleavage. I got dress-coded because I was showing too much skin. The principal told me I could either put on leggings or call my mother. When other people get dress coded, she doesn’t offer them different clothes. I’m a transgender male and I like to wear feminine clothes. I personally don’t see anything wrong with a transgender boy wearing a skirt. It shouldn’t matter, but for some reason it does. I wore skirts when I identified as a female and never got dress coded. But as soon as I started to identify as a male and wore skirts, I started getting dress coded. GLAD Answers: Maine’s LGBTQ+ rights says, “Schools must respect the gender identity of transgender students, including allowing you to dress and present yourself in a manner consistent with your gender identity.” This means I should be allowed to wear what I want to wear, it doesn’t matter if it’s classified as ‘feminine’ or not. The school’s dress code states “Clothing that is revealing (e.g., tops that reveal the midriff or that are low-cut; excessively short skirts; clothing that exposes underwear or private body parts).” I don’t see how my skirts are revealing seeing that I wear shorts under them.

I’ve asked if I can use the men’s restroom several times. I always get the same response, “You are welcome to use the staff restroom.” I identify as a male. I want to use the male restroom. I am a student, not a staff member. I wish to be treated as a ‘normal’ male student would be. You don’t walk up to a cisgender male and say, “You can’t use the men’s bathroom.” I feel uncomfortable using the female restroom because I’m not a female, but some people would say it makes them uncomfortable, but why? If a cisgender male walked into the boy’s room, you would be fine, right? So why does it make you uncomfortable? Just because I was born a female doesn’t make me any less of a male. I wish to be treated like I was born a boy. I’m not a female, nor a staff member. According to The National Center for Transgender Equality Fact Sheet on U.S. Department of Education Policy Letter on Transgender Students, “The guidance makes clear that students have a right to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. Schools can’t force a transgender student to use facilities that don’t match their gender identity or segregate them into separate facilities.” Nonbinary people should also be able to choose the bathroom they feel most comfortable in. The Washington Post states, “School officials violated state anti-discrimination law when they would not allow a transgender fifth-grader to use the girls’ bathroom, according to a ruling by the highest court in Maine that’s believed to be the first of its kind.” That is regarding the Nichole Maines story. She changed a lot in this state regarding LGBTQ+ laws. Nichole Maines is a transgender woman and an actress. She was bullied in middle school by one of her classmates who was challenging her ability to use the girl’s restroom. Her parents then filed a court case on her behalf, and they won.

Just because I was born a female doesn’t mean I’m any less than a cis male. It’s very clear that the school system needs to work on this topic, redo the dress code and help transgender and nonbinary students be safe, and let them use their preferred restroom.

Satyrn Jade Alley-Nicholls

 

Geoffrey Beane
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

New school building

To the Editor:

I remember once when I was in second grade there was really hard rain one afternoon and into the night. The next morning when we got to school the water had leaked through the roof and onto the iPad charging station in the hallway, damaging the very expensive learning equipment. Most classes didn’t have iPads for the rest of the year. We always have problems with leaks. Water comes through the roof and the windows and gets all over the floor, making the tile floors hazardous. Rain isn’t the only problem. The current two buildings that make up Conners-Emerson are from the ‘60s and sound travels between classes easily. I have attended school in our old buildings for the last seven years, and as a student, I know firsthand the disruptions these things cause. Like when a class next door watches a video and my class gets distracted by the sound and our teachers have to try to get us back on topic, something that takes away from valuable learning time.  It’s time that the town of Bar Harbor invests in a new school building.

As of now, there are four proposed options: (1) completely renovate the interior and exterior, (2) renovate both buildings and add 18,626 square feet of new addition, (3) demolish one building, renovate the second, and build a new building of 45,000 square feet, and (4) demolish both buildings and build a two-story building that is 80,000 square feet. I think options 3 and 4 are the best options for a new building. Some people will argue that option 1 is the best option because it would be cheaper to renovate than to build. According to an article in the Mount Desert Islander, “The town will need to spend between $13 million and $46 million” or between $10 and $32 million according to the school, even more with the rising cost of building materials. If the building is renovated, updates will still have to be made as it gets older. If the building is replaced it won’t have to be updated as often and would save money on repairs in the long run.

According to school board member Marie Yarbrough, “Some issues can’t be fixed because of the layout of the building but with a new building there are things we could change about the design of the buildings to make them better suited for our kids.” Our current school buildings were designed with a lack of soundproofing between classrooms as well as our classrooms are not designed in a way that allows for technological integration. “We lack small-group spaces and collaborative spaces,” Barbara Neilly told the Bangor Daily News. These spaces allow for teachers to both meet individually with other students and staff members. According to Kelly Walsh, CIO of The College of Westchester, “Our learning spaces are long overdue for an overhaul: Many of today’s learning spaces were designed decades ago, reflecting a common layout that has been in use for centuries. Spaces designed in the 20th century . . . are not likely to fit perfectly with students in the 21st century, particularly with the changes and possibilities wrought by today’s technology.”

Another reason we should construct a new school building is that a new building will be much better for the environment. According to a group of students that researched solar panels for our school, solar panels will help the school save on power costs as well as being better for the environment. A new building would also have more insolation that would keep heat and cold outside or inside the building. Conners-Emerson principal Barbara Neilly told the Bangor Daily News “that local officials would like to improve the energy efficiency of the buildings, which have outdated boilers, poor insulation and have had their windows replaced — sometimes more than once.”

Imagine sending our K-8 students to a school that no longer leaks, has soundproof walls, technology integration and is better for the environment. This is the school we would have if we built a new building. This is the school that will help our students learn.

Geoffrey W. Beane

 

Mabel Bureau
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Mirrors and Windows

To the Editor:

Some people think that the curriculum taught at schools right now is thought out, planned, efficient and it teaches students everything they need to know. However, the curriculum does little to teach about race and LGBTQ+ history. Students should be taught about race and the LGBTQ+ community more to learn not just about history, but also current events, empathy and the lived experiences.

One reason I disagree with the current curriculum is that although we get taught about events like the Holocaust, we aren’t really taught about slavery, or any current events. And almost never any events concerning the LGBTQ+ community. While some students may have heard about some events in LGBTQ+ history, many significant people and events in the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement are often underrepresented in textbooks and in K-12 curricula.

If we teach more about the history, it will give students the opportunity to consider whose experiences are included in the history taught in schools, whose are often left out, and how that may reflect and perpetuate the “in” groups and “out” groups in our society.

A good way to include everyone in teaching, and making teaching easier, would be to try and have more teachers of color and that are part of the LGBTQ+ community. So many students who identify as LGBTQ+ report that they do not feel safe at school because of their sexual orientation or gender expression. These students are at higher risk for missing days of school, dropping out and experiencing serious mental health issues. Yet studies have also found that the presence of supportive and affirming teachers, including those who share students’ LGBTQ+ identities, means LGBTQ+ students are more likely to attend school, have higher self-esteem and achieve better academic outcomes. I also feel it would benefit our schools if we had more teachers of color.

Racial diversity benefits every workforce, and teaching is no exception. Teachers of color tend to provide more culturally relevant teaching and better understand the situations that students of color may face. These factors help develop trusting teacher-student relationships and can serve as cultural ambassadors who help students feel more welcome at school or as role models for the potential of students of color.

Now, some people strongly disagree and bring up the issue that establishing a new curriculum would be a burden and take up too much teaching/planning time for teachers and educators. However, if we have enough teachers of color and/or part of the LGBTQ+ community, it would make it easier to teach about those topics. A good technique is called Mirrors and Windows. A mirror is a story that reflects your own culture and helps you build your identity. A window is a resource that offers you a view into someone else’s experience. It is critical to understand that students cannot truly learn about themselves unless they learn about others as well. It could be a lot easier to teach if we have more educators with that lived experience.

In conclusion, we need more ways to give education about LGBTQ+ and race. It will be beneficial for future generations to have more education, and to be learning about it. It will be able to make students feel safer and included when in school. Teachers and educators should think about how they can change the curriculum to make it better and improve students’ educational experience.

Mabel Bureau

 

Annabel Curry
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Changing the pledge

To the Editor:

Saying the pledge of allegiance is something that we all do nonchalantly. Every day during the announcements we hear the words, “please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.” And every day as we say those words, I realize that those words don’t apply to me. I am not religious so why should I say, “under god?”  The Pledge of Allegiance should change to multiple, different pledges that apply to everyone and their beliefs.

The Pledge of Allegiance was first made in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. The original form read “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In 1923, the pledge was changed to “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The “under god” part did not get added until 1954 when President Eisenhower asked Francis Bellamy’s daughter to change it to the pledge we know today.

The pledge needs to change to make students more comfortable in what they are saying. For example, I never really felt comfortable saying “under god” when that was something I didn’t believe in.

I understand that changing the pledge might be difficult, and the steps could be confusing for what people have said for most of their lives. However, one of the most important parts of school is making students feel comfortable and changing the pledge will do that.

The solution I came up with is the solution where we have different versions of the pledge, that all fit under the time limit. All these different pledges might help fit under everyone’s beliefs, instead of having students say just one pledge. There is still the option that students don’t have to say the pledge at all.

I believe that changing the pledge will make students more comfortable with what they say.

Annabel Curry

 

Takoda Dionne
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Tourist-money balance

To the Editor:

You might believe that we should have more tourists, but the truth of the matter is that the streets, roads and trails are getting far too crowded. Some people might say that we need the money from tourists so we need more of them, but though we do need tourists to make enough money, we don’t need the amount of them as we do at this time. We need to have a balance of tourists and money. We can’t limit the number of people that come on the Island because the Island has a national park but we can limit the amount of inns, motels, hotels and campsites and the amount of people in the inns, motels, hotels and campsites.

The first reason that we should limit the number of inns, motels, hotels and campsites and the amount of people in the inns, motels, hotels and campsites is that there is a lot of traffic and it is hard to find parking. The Chicago Tribune reported that “Earl Brechlin, communications director of Friends of Acadia, says more people are driving in because bus service in the park has been suspended.” This shows that the Island is going to get crowded and is crowded and it gets hard to find parking spots.

The second reason is that we, as locals, should be able to get to places easier and without having to pay to get there. In “Headed to Acadia this summer? Changes are coming—here’s what to know” by News Center Maine, says “something else that’s new this year: People will have to reserve a time and pay a $6 fee to drive up Cadillac Mountain.” That means that locals need to reserve times and they need to pay to drive up Cadillac when we should be able to access the park without reserving time as locals.

The third reason is that there will be a giant number of people coming to the Island so there will be a greater risk that COVID will spread. The Chicago Tribune also wrote, “crowding remains a problem, even though the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced visitor numbers by about 10 percent.” This shows that there are still a lot of people coming here and it could spread faster and more. Though some may say that now that we have a large number of vaccinated people and it will be fine, for the people that are not vaccinated or the vaccine doesn’t work for them, it could be dangerous.

Val Peacock says, “on any given day in the summertime we can go from having about 5,000 year-round residences to having about 40,000 people here.” This can affect all of the reasons that I stated. This could add to the number of cases on MDI. It could also crowd parking lots and cause congestion and it could make it harder for people to get to different areas.

In conclusion, we should limit the amount of tourists that can stay at hotels, inns, motels and at campsites and the amount of hotels, inns, motels and campsites. The Chicago Tribune writes, “its compactness, we found, also makes for crowds that can be overwhelming.” This shows that we have reached our capacity.

Takoda Dionne

 

Taylor Ehrlich
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Destructive domino effect

To the Editor:

Every day, around 14,000 pieces of plastic are thrown into the ocean. Yet we get a vast amount of our food and resources from there as well. Every day, 70 percent of our Earth becomes our local garbage dump. This huge trashcan of ours seems to be a popular spot for millions of people all over the world. It’s unique creators and special habitats make it a great experience for everyone. If we love the ocean so much then why not protect it? I believe that disposing of trash in the ocean is the same as disposing of sea life in the trash.

Let’s make a difference today. “If you’re overwhelmed by the size of a problem, break it down into smaller pieces,” says famous artist Chuck Close. A polluted ocean destroys the food chain, which has a big impact on local businesses and economy, which creates very low tourism, which in turn can cause poverty in our very own town. A domino effect of destruction on MDI, but this can change. And there is no better time than the present.

The food chain is a complicated phenomenon of natural events that the human species interferes with on a daily basis. Yes, we are a part of the food chain, but we need to learn to use that responsibility wisely. One animal’s existence may be relying on the ones of others too. It’s a complicated, delicate balance that we need to be more aware of. For example, fish are a big part of most sea birds’ diets. A polluted harbor makes for few fish, less fish makes less birds and less seabirds would mean few falcons, hawks, bobcats and other wonderful predators. Karma has its ways in this process too. If you treat the environment badly, it will always affect you in the end. If we try to bury it under the rug, it will never work in the end, and some of the effects of that are already taking place today.

I think MDI’s greatest reputation is being an Island full of thriving life, which is one of the reasons why we get so many tourists in the Acadia National Park. It’s a beautiful place. As you know, a large portion of Bar Harbor’s income relies on the tourism industry and the beauty of this land. If we give up on preserving the environment, then it’s like giving up on the place we call home. Some people argue that it’s not worth the struggle; that not everyone will listen and there will always be someone who misuses the environment. This is true, not everyone will listen and not everyone will cooperate. But the more people helping and listening the better. We have to expect that not everyone believes in preserving the environment, and that the least we can do is try, taking care of our Island is not an all or nothing process. Let’s just take it step by step doing what we can even if it might not seem like much. In fact, Sustainable MDI has come up with a list of things local businesses and every-day people can do regularly to help, including: using reusable dining ware, packing a reusable water bottle and sustainably sourcing food.

Another job that many Mainers rely on is the fishing industry. Places that are known for lobster, like Beal’s (located in Southwest Harbor) and Side Street Cafe in Bar Harbor, feature these crustaceans as one of their main dishes. However, these places are finding it increasingly difficult to get local lobster because of the warming waters. Lobsters like colder waters and our seas warming makes them migrate to colder climates. Even some personal lobster people, such as Isaac Stinson, are finding it harder. Stinson has been a local commercial lobsterman for 36 years located on Swan’s Island, Maine. He states that “it’s slowly impacting my business,” and lobster folk “are slowly going out of business with all of the requirements and money. The climate is a big factor in me and other lobster folks’ work.”

Don’t you just love being on the ocean; that cool breeze, fresh air and salty splash of the water? Well, so do I, and millions of others. Point being, if you like the ocean, then why not protect it? All those experiences out on the water are something that we can’t throw away for future generations. If you care about something, then keep it safe and out of harm’s way. Once we destroy something, it is not at all easy to rebuild. Let’s start now and preserve Bar Harbor for as long as we can!

Taylor Ehrlich

 

Porter Graham
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Over-crowded MDI

To the Editor:

The traffic on Mount Desert Island is truly getting out of hand!

If you live here as a resident of Bar Harbor or any of the surrounding towns, you know that it is a hassle to get anything done during the summer months. Mount Desert Island is way over capacity and all the roads are far too crowded. It is just as hard for tourists; nobody wants to spend their vacation waiting for traffic and finding a spot to park.

It is terrible for the environment to have this many cars running at once. All the fumes from the cars are very toxic so if we are trying to preserve a national park we need to cut down on traffic.

What to do about the traffic on Mount Desert Island is a hotly debated topic. Some people think that the best way to do it is with a reservation system that makes it so people have to get a reservation online, then wait for their spot in line to access the park. But I think we should take a different road. We have a bus system on Mount Desert Island called the Island Explorer with a small fleet of busses and routes that go to beaches and hiking trails and other places like that. I believe that we should expand this system to solve the problem of too much traffic on Mount Desert Island.

The first step is to just add more busses to the fleet. This will help with traffic because there are a lot more seats in a bus than in a car. The average car has two to seven seats and the average bus has 30-40 seats. If we have more busses, the number of cars on Mount Desert Island will be dropped significantly depending on how many busses we add.

We already have the Island Explorer headquarters in Trenton, but one can go there in the middle of June and there will not be any cars in the parking lot. So I think that we should expand that service and encourage people to stop, go get their park pass, hop on the bus and head into town. People that are just going for a day trip will not even have to bring their cars onto the island.

Have you ever noticed that it takes twice as long to go on the Island Explorer from town to town? That is because one bus goes on a route at a time, which means that to get from place to place, the bus may stop up to 10 times at various beaches and trailheads even though you may just be going into Bar Harbor to do some shopping.

We can fix this by making each route have an express bus and a multi-stop bus. So if you are going hiking, you can hop on the multi-stops bus and it will stop at all the trailheads, hotels, restaurants, downtown areas, stores, beaches and communal parking lots along the way. If you are going from town to the head of the island, you can get on the express bus, which will be a lot more efficient.

All in all, I believe that the traffic on Mount Desert Island should be fixed through the bus system. It will make Mount Desert Island more enjoyable for tourists and residents while the reservation system will make for nothing but confusion and stress.

Porter Graham

 

Martin Hurley
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Out-of-hand tourism

To the Editor:

Tourism in Maine has gone unchecked for a long time and is starting to get out of hand. You know it’s getting out of hand when you cannot find a place to park to get groceries or even enter your house.

I feel that tourists are a big part of Maine’s economy and are necessary for a lot of local businesses and other facilities to stay open and active. There should still be a steady stream of tourists coming into Maine but there should be some restrictions to the way we handle them so that locals can enjoy their town without spending hours looking for parking or waiting in lines. But it’s not that easy. We have to find a way to lower the stream of tourism and find a way to do it so that it doesn’t negatively impact our climate as well as finding a way to stop the tourists that do come from littering and damaging our national parks. We also must reduce their use of single-use plastics and urge them to use busses instead of their cars. We need tourists but we have to change something and find a way to transport, house and feed tourists sustainably at the same time.

In 2018, there were a total of 20.5 million tourists to Maine and about 1.3 million permanent residents. It can be difficult when there are more than 15 times as many tourists as there are locals. But there was a lot of money made that year, about 1.4 billion dollars in expenditures. We might need to start thinking of solutions to this problem. Solutions that keep that flow of money coming in and keeping locals happy. A lot of tourists come from cruise ships so one solution could be we create zones so that we can stagger the number of cruise ships that come into each zone. One zone could be the Bar Harbor area. We could only let one cruise ship into that zone and schedule other cruise ships to comply with this plan. Some places in Maine don’t want cruise ships into their area, such as Northeast Harbor. The problem is cruise ships still go to those places. So a solution to this problem could be to add Northeast Harbor to the Bar Harbor zone, so the cruise ships could anchor and dock at Bar Harbor and, if they want to, drive to take a bus to Northeast Harbor. It would be more difficult to get to Northeast Harbor so they would be discouraged when they want to go there. This overall will help with the overcrowding of tourists and prevent the amount of fuel cruise ships use.

One of the main complaints about tourism is about parking. If you drive into Bar Harbor, you will find zero parking areas for locals during the busy seasons, all of them being used by tourists exploring or going out for dinner. It becomes an hour-long project to park so you can do a 10-minute errand. It is even becoming hazardous because of the amount of traffic, emergency vehicles, like ambulances, cannot get to their patients or firetrucks to their destinations. A solution to this idea would be to make a special pass; you could get this pass by being a citizen of Maine for a minimum of one year and you would pay a one-time fee or monthly/yearly, because of the lost money for the parking meters. This pass would give special parking spots for the people who have this pass while the rest of the parking spots are for tourists. This way we could have happy locals, but the tourists might now be unhappy. A good solution to this would be our Island Explorer bus system, which is a helpful transportation system that is more environmentally friendly. We could expand the Island Explorer bus system, we could have more bus stops in town so if tourists want to get somewhere, the bus is always the first good answer, not their cars. This would also be very helpful for the environment because not as much fossil fuel will be burned and other resources used and extending their vehicle lifespan.

With all the traveling, feeding and housing of tourists, it’s taking a big toll on our environment. The amounts of fossil fuels burned daily are very concerning. For example, a plane uses a gallon of fuel per second, so if somebody is coming from a place 10 hours away then that’s 36,000 gallons of fuel. Cruise ships use 30-50 gallons of fuel for every nautical mile so if somebody is coming from 1,000 miles away then that’s 40,000 gallons of fuel give or take.  A transit bus uses 13,329 gallons of fuel per day. RVs use 100 gallons for a 1,000-mile trip. There are many more gas-guzzling vehicles burning fossil fuels wreaking havoc on our ozone layer. This is one of many problems that we need to focus on. It’s not only the way they get to Maine that’s the problem, it’s also restaurants and hotels (motels and inns.) When tourists stay in hotels or inns, they are supplied with single-use plastics they might never use but get thrown away anyway, and the amount of water they use for washing unnecessary things is absurd. Restaurants are also a big provider of plastic waste. Restaurants, especially in COVID-19, are using a lot of containers and straws and other single-use plastics. A solution for this problem could be to get all the local businesses of MDI to sign a pledge called the Sustainable MDI business pledge created by A Climate To Thrive. This means that when a business signs this pledge, they will use only reusable silverware and other utensils and tools that are one-use and pledging to get rid of one-use items such as plastic straws and only compostable to-go containers, cups, and so much more. This will cut down the amount of plastic and waste from businesses in MDI dramatically. With the amount of tourism on MDI, this pledge is necessary because we cannot keep up with the amount of waste that tourists are producing so we need to take action.

In 2020, the year of COVID-19, it would be expected that there would be a lot fewer tourists and travelers because it was very hazardous and many people were told and warned not to travel. But Acadia National Park alone still got 3.5 million visitors. Acadia National Park is one of Maines’s prized landmarks and is a lot of fun for everybody. Though it would be great if ANP could accommodate everybody when they wanted to hike, but sadly it cannot. Trails and roads are getting overcrowded and overused. A Bar Harbor town council member himself said “the park has hit carrying capacity.” Even Maine officials are aware of this problem. Nobody is having a good time when there are strangers next to them and you can’t get any personal space. This is not only bad for the people using the trails but for the trails themselves. From people straying/pushed off paths crushing wildlife and disturbing what is living or growing there is becoming a huge problem. Also, the more people who come, the more noise pollution, and noise pollution can be a huge problem for wildlife. Litter is also a big issue, some people can throw away and manage their trash, and others are just throwing their trash on the ground and just do not care about what happens to their trash. And with the millions of people that come, the more people that litter.

We indeed need a steady stream of tourists coming into Maine to make money. It is possible to still make that money and lower the amount of tourism in Maine. We need to stagger tourism and change the way we feed, house and transport them so that it’s sustainable and eco-friendly. These are all tasks that can be done, and if we get everybody on the same page we will get it done.

Martin H. Hurley

 

Sydney Oczkowski
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Single-stall solution

To the Editor:

There are issues that have recently sprouted with gendered multiple-stall bathrooms that we need to address, such as gendered multiple-stall bathrooms are exclusive or multiple-stall bathrooms can get fairly uncomfortable at times. My solution is getting single-stall bathrooms. While some may disagree, arguing that we should keep the gendered bathrooms or multiple-stall bathrooms, single-stall bathrooms would affect our Emerson positively and would be an excellent addition. Single-stall bathrooms would also benefit all students. So while the purpose of single-stall bathrooms in the beginning is to help individuals not in the gender binary feel safe and comfortable while using the bathroom. Students will also get the privacy they need and maintaining the bathrooms will be generally easier.

The first reason why single-stall bathrooms would be a good addition to Emerson is anyone out of the gender binary would have a bathroom they could use while feeling comfortable. Picture this: You have to use the restroom so you rush towards them only to find no bathroom for the gender you identify with, and can’t use the other bathrooms because you’re not comfortable with using it. While that might sound like a nightmare, it’s an experience people not in the gender binary go through on a day-to-day basis. Single-stall bathrooms could help students out of the gender binary feel safe while using the bathroom, transgender students, students that are transitioning, or students that aren’t out yet can also feel comfortable using the single-stall bathroom as well. GLSEN, an advocate for LGBTQ+ students’ rights and more, conducted a research project coming to the conclusion that nearly two-thirds of transgender students avoid school bathrooms. Transgender students also risk verbal and physical harassment no matter what gendered bathroom they go into. Also, more than half of transgender students say that they were forced to use the bathroom of their gender at birth.

The second reason is that students will get more privacy with single-stall bathrooms. If you’re a parent, you might have had those moments when you get home and your kid(s) race to the bathrooms because they’ve been holding it in all day. It may be because they feel awkward because there are other students in the bathroom or how there are gaps between the stall walls or kids who menstruate feel uncomfortable. For example, I dread going to the bathroom when I know someone is in there because I don’t want to answer the, “Who are you?” or have to stuff the lock with toilet paper because I don’t want people peering in. Or I don’t want them peeking through the gaps. To the point where I just mindlessly walk near the bathroom if I see anyone in it. Also, for the younger students that menstruate, it doesn’t seem like anything now, but the ripping and noises of the products are a very big deal. It can be really embarrassing and people knowing your menstruating is the end of the world; but with single-stall bathrooms, that could solve all these problems. Kids could feel more comfortable being by themselves and no one would question them, they wouldn’t have to fear someone seeing them. Their bodily noises or menstruation products that make noises wouldn’t matter, no one’s there to judge them. So, while they feel comfortable, it’s also better for students’ health since holding it in can be harmful.

The third reason is that single-stall bathrooms would be easier to maintain. When I mean maintain, I do mean cleanliness, but also to maintain where your students are, people slacking off, bullying in the bathroom. For example, “Eleven percent of students who reported being bullied at school in 2011 said the incident occurred in a bathroom or locker room.” While that survey was done a while ago, and 11 percent isn’t that much, it’s still 11 percent, it should be 0 percent. While our school is more friendly and safer than others, there is still a chance of people getting bullied in the bathroom and, “One recent survey found that 43 percent of students fear that they will be harassed in the bathrooms at their schools.” Even though that was in 2011 and statistics can change, but what are the odds of it decreasing a dramatic amount? Besides the bullying issue, the single-stall bathrooms could prevent slackers since seeing two people go into one bathroom would be quite weird. The cleanliness would be easier to maintain since there’s only one stall and it’d be smaller.

Now, an issue to address, that I realized talking to a school member, was what about the space? Now, I do see how our school is very cramped and changing these bathrooms would take up quite a lot of space. However, wouldn’t people not having a bathroom be enough of a reason to build them? Wouldn’t people not feeling comfortable in a stall be enough of a reason to build them? Wouldn’t people having to hold it in’ be enough of a reason to build them? We will have to sacrifice a bit of space from the office (on the top floor) or any rooms around it. This is a big enough issue that the space given for it would be worth it. Removing the gendered bathrooms and replacing them with single-stall bathrooms would be a great idea. If we have single-stall bathrooms and gendered bathrooms, students that only use the single-stall bathrooms might get singled out. They might get called “weird” or “strange” or get bullied because they choose to not use a gendered bathroom. So, getting rid of gendered bathrooms would prevent that, forcing everyone to use them. If removing the gendered multiple-stall bathrooms couldn’t be a possibility, though, getting one single-stall bathroom would bring a tremendous impact.

To sum it all up, I believe that, overall, getting single-stall bathrooms in Conners Emerson, or at least the top floor of Emerson, would be wonderful. Since it would help a great amount of students in specific groups, it would even help students of Emerson overall. Just think about all those students that don’t have a bathroom right now, or who are generally terrified in the bathroom. They have nothing right now, but with this addition of single-stall bathrooms, they would finally have somewhere to use the bathroom and feel comfortable, which is a right everyone should have.

I hope you can take this into consideration and that changes will be made.

Sydney Oczkowski

 

Cruise ship reality check

To the Editor:

Ahh, summer! The weather is nice, school is out and expectations for doing nothing run high. But after a week inside, on the couch, your family decides to take a vacation, a fun, two-week long cruise to Bar Harbor, Maine. Two weeks on the water, just spending time swimming in the on-deck pool, ordering smoothies and all together having fun. What’s better than that?

Reality check. Guess what? While most cruises have very high customer satisfaction rates, the fact is, they’re terrible for the environment, our economy and our local emotional status.

They dump waste and chemicals into the ocean, where some of the most important animals in our area live including lobster, haddock and shellfish. These critters spend their entire lives living, breathing and feeding in such biohazards. I think that by restricting the amount and the type of cruise ships allowed in the Frenchman Bay and Bar Harbor areas, we would decrease the amount of pollutants going into our lobster, making a healthier, safer environment, and be able to make summertime around Bar Harbor enjoyable for locals and visitors.

My first reason is that cruise ships harm our oceans and all of the things in them with excessive burning of fossil fuels and dumping of hazardous chemicals. Pretty extreme, right? Well, actually, Aditi Shrikant of Vox News says that someone on a seven-day cruise produces the same amount of emissions as 18 days on land. In addition, one of the largest cruise ships ever to arrive at Bar Harbor in 2019 was the Zaandam. This massive ship is over 778 feet long, with 615 crew members, 1,432 passengers and was scheduled to visit our town 24 times in that year. This means that if over a thousand people are packed onto one boat, they would be multiplying their total normal emissions by 25,776, on an average seven-day cruise. In the U.S., each person alone creates on average 18 tons of carbon dioxide per year. This means that of all those people who take cruise ships will strongly increase the amount of emissions going into the atmosphere. Not only this, but Town Council member Valorie Peacock said that cruise ships produce huge amounts of carbon and sulfur dioxide, which are a biproduct of burning bunker fuel. By burning fossil fuels, it creates greenhouse gasses, which trap sunlight and unnaturally heat up our earth. Finally, remember how I said that cruise ships dump all those horrible things into the water? Well, Monique Coombs of National Fisherman says, “Threats to the ocean from cruise ships include sewage, gray water, bilge water, ballast water, hazardous materials, solid wastes, and even oil spills.”  This shows that cruise ships use unsustainable methods to fuel not only their ships, but the destruction of our coastal ecosystems.

Which leads us right into the next reason – economics. Without lobster, tourists and real estate, we would have no Mount Desert Island. It would just be Desert Island. So, how do cruises tie into this? Well, by overcrowding docks and piers, it would cause more boat traffic and more boats having to share the spaces. Valorie Peacock of the Town Council says, “The downtown and harbor areas were not designed to have thousands and thousands of cruise ship people.”

If we have no laws and rules restricting cruise ships from docking at certain places, it will make it more difficult for lobster folks to access their boats and traps, decreasing their efficiency. Not only this, but all these cruises are run by non-local, giant corporations taking advantage of our little communities for their own tyrannic uses and abusing the idea of a “small town.” Not only this, but the Maine Office of Tourism Highlights says that in 2018 alone, Mainers made about $6.2 billion from tourism. Cruise ships were contributing to this figure. While you may think that this is supporting our local economy, this actually means that instead of buying and selling locally, we’ll be supporting corporations that are using our beautiful community as another puppet in their large-scale marketing schemes. If we become reliant on their business, then we would just become another corporation funded tourist trap rather than a welcoming, local community.

My third and final reason is the way that cruises affect our local mental health and emotions. This is all from personal findings. I have never experienced anything quite like the sickening feeling of dread every time we drive into Bar Harbor only to see the streets packed with people off that giant ship in the harbor. Many times I have watched my parents try and try again to find somewhere to park, only to be swamped with people on the streets and sidewalks “just stretching their legs” as they exit their ship. From all the people I have observed over the years, everyone seems to be at least a little ticked off with the presence of the boats. Simple things such as getting ice cream or going to the grocery store are immediately much more time consuming and have to be well planned and strategized. More importantly, our local secret spots like the Conners Nubble Trail and Lake Wood are becoming more and more well known till they too will be as overrun and crowded as Sand Beach. I think that, sure, we should all be prepared for the presence of visitors in the summer (after all, it’s a part of daily life), but we deserve some spaces that we can use to escape the hustle and bustle. Plus, all of the permanent changes made on our island we have to live with, while tourists have to deal with them maybe one to two weeks out of a year.

In closing, I think that cruise ships are a little too much for Bar Harbor. They create too much hassle for fishermen, create too much boat traffic, make our beautiful island a little less enjoyable, and most of all, they harm the valuable and delicate ecosystem of our amazing Atlantic Ocean.

While we do need tourism to support our economy, cruise ships do more harm than good.

Rowan Preston-Schreck

 

Alexander Roos
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Dream of fields

To the Editor:

There has been a regulation sized baseball diamond on the town field for decades. Currently it is used by Conners Emerson School middle school baseball teams at home games and practices. From what I heard, it was used by the high school teams at one point in the past. In recent years, some things have been worked on, like the infield, and a bare minimum amount of fencing for the backstop and some sort of dugout. So, what many of the baseball lovers that either play there or watch there would like to see is improvements. What we would like to have done, in order of importance, is the following: Address the quality of the outfield and the infield, provide covered dugouts, a scoreboard, bleachers, and removable fence for the outfield and lights.

The current condition of the overall field makes it difficult to play defense. The outfield has bumps and divots that make the roll and bounce of the ball unpredictable. The infield also has some bumps making it hard to field the ball. The condition of the field is not only about a better baseball experience but also about the safety of the players. The town should take some time to assess the condition of the field and do some professional grading to make it a safer and a better experience for the middle school students and others that use the field.

Furthermore, spending some money on dugouts, a scoreboard and bleachers would show the players that the community cares.  Right now, the field has basic benches with a fence around them; covered dugouts would not only keep you dry and shaded, they also would keep you safe from pop flies and foul balls.  Additionally, we need a scoreboard. Anyone that has watched most any sports game knows that there is always a scoreboard to keep track of and therefore enjoy the game more. In baseball, there is even more need for a scoreboard because you have the score, inning, balls, strikes, outs and errors, which the players need to see, especially the pitcher. He should be able to look over at the scoreboard and know everything.  The scoreboard could also be used during CES soccer games which are played on that same field.

Finally, having bleachers so parents and other spectators don’t have to stand for two hours to watch a game, a removable fence for the outfield so we can  have a real  homerun (because hitting a homerun is electrifying but you can’t do it if it’s just endless grass out there and the ball rolls forever if you don’t have a fence so there would be a ground rule double), and lights that would allow for night games would all be awesome additions to the field.

If the field was in better shape, it could be used not only by the CES middle school but the high school JV team as well when the schedule on the high school field is tight.  It could also be used for the Junior and Senior League division of AYS.  I have been playing baseball for years and I have been all over Maine and into Vermont.  I have played on fields that are not very nice and I have played on fields that are amazing and look like MLB fields.  I can tell you that not only are those great fields a better place to play but they show that the community cares about the players.

 

Item $Cost
Quality of outfield and infield Still to be determined how much this would cost.
Covered dugouts (2) – $5,000 wood bench in dugouts (2) – $1,000 (2) wooden helmet cubby – $300
Scoreboard (1) – $4,000
Bleachers (2) – $100-$650
Removable fence for outfield (1) – $1,000
Lights for night games Not sure how much but some stand up lights would be awesome.

 

Some, well many, would say this is too expensive to do for a community baseball field, but the town of Bar Harbor is a world-class region for tourists. The people that live here and welcome the tourists and pay taxes should benefit and have nice community facilities. I think that some of this money could be used for fixing the baseball field that I am writing about. This would be a big deal for the baseball players that play at the baseball field and would very much appreciate it if the stuff I’m asking to be done was done to the field.

Alexander Roos

 

Meters are unfair

To the Editor:

Dear Town Council Members:

Many people believe that installing parking meters around MDI was a poor idea that was pushed unnecessarily and should be revamped so that MDI citizens do not have to pay during the summer months. The amount of parking meters should also be lessened around certain areas. While the money they make goes towards road related projects, the roads aren’t worked on that much, they are not very popular with tourists, and they create a disadvantage for people who rely on street parking during the summer. Some people disagree saying it makes it fair for everybody and they make a lot of money. While it might be true that parking meters make a lot of money, visitors still  park in all the parking lots and places without meters, which makes people who just want to get groceries or something have to pay for parking. Tourists also complain about them a lot as they didn’t realize they had to pay for parking seeing this is a small town and not a big city.

One reason MDI citizens shouldn’t have to pay is the quality of the roads. First of all, tourists who have the money to pay for vacation here have the money to pay for parking. Whereas MDI citizens have to work hard to make money from tourists and can’t always spare some for parking. Second of all, the money generated by the parking meters goes to the roads and road related things like sidewalks and some work has been done but parking meters have been here for two and a half years and with the amount of money they make, a lot more could have been done to fix the roads up. The roads definitely do need to be fixed up as there are a lot of potholes and cracks that could potentially damage your car, and parking meters definitely make enough money and are a good to idea to get the money to fix some of the bad spots around Bar Harbor, maybe not all of them because I don’t know how much that costs but some of them for sure. One problem is roads aren’t being worked on at all. Every once in a while, road construction is being conducted but not enough for how long meters have been here.

Another reason that parking meters should be changed is they are not very popular with tourists. Bar Harbor is considered a small little town on the ocean with cool shops and is just kind of an idyllic place where people go to relax. It’s a place where people come to hang out by the water  but when you pull up into town you see the rows and rows of parking meters and it just kind of ruins it. People also don’t really like paying to park mainly because with a city like New York or Chicago when they try to park they expect it but with a small town like Bar Harbor they don’t. Also during the summer when I’m walking around with my friends, (we) hear many hear tourists grumbling about the parking meters. Mostly they just complain because they don’t want to pay, but some people complain because they didn’t grab their wallet because they didn’t know they had to. One of the ways to combat this problem is to lessen the amount around certain places like the grocery store, which has essentials, or something like that. This would probably help as when tourists first come into town they usually just get food and go back, but they would be able to see the parking meters and know they are there and then if they forget it’s their fault.

The last reason MDI residents should not have to pay is that for people who live a few minutes away from town and potentially rely on street parking to get where they need to go, parking meters create a disadvantage during the summer. With the millions of tourists, parking lots and spaces without meters are taken up. This leaves only spots with meters, which you may need to be for a while because you have something you have to do or you could be there for a while everyday as maybe you work there. At $2 an hour, that can add up over the summer. If you live in town, as well, it can sometimes be difficult to park at your own house as lots of drivers jump at the sight of an empty spot and often take it no matter where it is.

All in all, this is why parking meters are unfair and should be reworked so that MDI citizens do not have to pay for on street parking. There’s no perfect solution, but some sort of card with your face that you can scan and you can keep in your wallet or something like that might work. Many people feel that not having to pay to use them is fair.  One, MDI citizens don’t make a majority of the money because there aren’t as many people living here as visitors and two, fixing the roads is the part of the reason they were put in place, but the roads are messed up mainly because of tourism, so they should shoulder the cost.

Thank you.

Fred Sebelin

 

Not a luxury

To the Editor:

School is a very important part of a kid’s childhood. It’s where they make friends, learn new concepts and have fun. Students experience a lot of their firsts in school, and one of those first experiences is periods. Menstruating is a monthly occurrence when someone with a uterus discharges blood and other material. As a result of this process happening every month, having your period is bound to happen at school. For some girls, this can be scary. Especially if you’re not prepared. You either have to work up the courage to ask someone for a spare pad or have the blood leak. Having free period products in school bathrooms would boost student attendance, make students feel safer and decrease the financial burden on families.

Most women experience their period, and it can be an uncomfortable inconvenience. According to Parents magazine, an online website with helpful tips on how to raise your children, 84 percent of students have missed class or known someone who has missed class because they didn’t have access to period supplies. This is an alarming statistic, and it shows that when students don’t have the right supplies, they have to miss school. This can be really hard on a lot of students because how can you keep up your grades if you miss four to eight days of school a month? Also according to Parents magazine, 61 percent of students have worn a pad for more than four hours, the recommended time, which can cause TSS or infection. This can be very uncomfortable for students and infection would only make them miss even more school. But if our school provided free period products for all students, it would boost student attendance.

Safety in schools is very important as no students should ever feel scared or unsafe. Periods come unexpectedly for most girls between the ages of 10-16. If you get your period at school, then you most likely aren’t prepared for it. Seventy-nine percent of women over the age of 18 said that they started their periods without the proper supplies. Another reason that adding period products to school bathrooms would make students feel safer is because it limits the amount of teasing. At our school, I have personally seen girls get teased about their periods, which isn’t right. If a girl has a leak, then that gives someone another reason to tease them. However, if they had better access to supplies, it would help limit the risk of being teased. If we had period supplies in all bathrooms, then students would feel safer because they wouldn’t have to worry about being at school with no supplies and it would help limit the amount of teasing that girls receive about their periods.

The 2021 poverty rate in the USA is 13.7 percent. With period products being in such high demand because most women have their period every month, companies have been able to drive up the prices of their products. The current price for a box of pads is $7 to $10. This can be very expensive for families. This means that girls don’t always have enough period products at school.  A study done about periods in a large city was featured in Reuters.com. The article states that two-thirds of women couldn’t afford the period supplies that they clearly needed, and half of women had to choose between period products and food. Mothers also stated that being a mother with children makes choosing food or period products very challenging. You have to choose between your needs or your children’s needs. One of the most appalling statistics: one in five women couldn’t afford period care monthly, so instead they used cloth, rags, tissues, toilet paper, paper towels and even diapers. This is a problem that needs to be fixed. Women shouldn’t have to choose between period supplies or food, especially a young girl. By providing free period supplies in school bathrooms, families won’t have to worry as much about how they are going to make sure their child has period supplies. They can focus more on paying for food or clothing.

On the other hand, if our school provided free period supplies then the school would have to pay for the supplies. Many think that this is too expensive for the school but there are actually many organizations that will provide schools with period supplies, or help them acquire them. One of those organizations is Period. You can apply for a grant through Period to help launch a project or if you are in need of money to purchase supplies. By doing this, you are helping lots of girls in our school community who need help. It is also important to educate young women about their periods and how to safely prevent leakage (using pads, tampons, etc.). This is a very important issue, and Anne Sebert Kuhlman agrees. “(Period products are) not a luxury,” the associate professor in the College for Public Health and Social Justice at St. Louis University says. “It’s a need. It affects a woman’s sense of self, her sense of dignity and her ability to participate in life.”

No one can choose not to have their period. It happens every month whether they want it to or not. As a school, we have to support the students in any way that they need, and one of those needs is access to free period supplies. As Anne Sebert Kuhlman stated above, period products aren’t a luxury. Everyone should have access to them no matter their race, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity or household income. Help those girls in need so that we can boost student attendance, make students feel safer and decrease the financial burden on families. Be a part of this important change and improve someone’s life.

Peighton Skeate

 

Charlotte Stanley
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Parking meter money

To the Editor:

The fees collected from parking meters should be spent in areas greater than just roads and infrastructure. Maine law states that fees collected from parking meters must be used to benefit the people paying the fees. Roads and infrastructure are not the only thing visitors use in Bar Harbor. If something happens to them while they are here on vacation, for example, they get in a car accident, they would need the town’s police department and ambulance service. This money could be used for fire protection, police protection and ambulance service. These fees could also go towards a new school building for Conners Emerson, which is very much needed, or to lowering residents’ taxes.

“The town of Bar Harbor only has around 5,500 year-round residents and millions of visitors. The taxes the Town collects from property owners pays for all the services and improvements to Bar Harbor. There are very few ways to get visitors to pay their share of the cost of maintaining the town. So, asking people to pay a couple dollars an hour is a very effective way of helping the town cover some of its needs,” according to Town Council member Gary Friedman. Put in this light, it makes sense. The amount of wear and tear on our roads, sidewalks and infrastructure from the millions of vehicles driving our small-town roads, each year it is great to have the roads and sidewalks fixed up. But what about other needs of visitors? When they get lost and need search and rescue? If they have a heart attack and need an ambulance ride to Bangor? When there is a vehicle accident, and the police are called? Why can’t these things be included along with the roads and infrastructure? The ambulance service, fire, and police departments are also things visitors need if something were to happen to them. It makes more sense for the money to go to ambulance service or fire protection because it is needed more than a nice smooth sidewalk or brighter streetlights.

Another area these fees could go to is lowering residents’ taxes. Taxpayers love to see a reduction in their tax bill. If this money could be evenly distributed to reduce everyone’s tax bill then the citizens of Bar Harbor would be happy because they would rather see a reduction in their taxes then a nice smooth sidewalks or brighter street lamps.

The town has also been discussing the idea of a new school for Conners Emerson, which would probably end up costing around $50 million dollars to build. Conners Emerson was built around 1960 and every year has many leaks, the heating and ventilation system is very old and is causing problems. Every rainstorm we have is expected to cause some sort of leak in the ceiling just because the building is so old now that the ceiling has many imperfections. Overall, the building has met its useful lifetime and needs to be rebuilt. So, it would be very beneficial if the money made from parking meters could also be put towards a new school.

All in all, the fees collected from parking meters should be going to areas of greater needs then just roads and infrastructure. It is important to have nice roads and sidewalks, but is that where the money is needed the most? When buildings could be redone and important services like the police department, fire department, and ambulance service could benefit?

Charlotte Stanley

 

Mountain biking club

To the Editor:

There needs to be mountain biking in Acadia and there should be trails for all different skill levels.

Mountain biking is different from all other sports, except maybe skiing or snowboarding. Cruising down the mountain with the wind in your face or following your buddies down single track jumping over fallen down trees. This would benefit our community. Kids would have a place to hang out and have endless fun; families would have another space to have fun and, you know, do family stuff, and one more thing is it’s a great sport, you have to earn your descent, which is not bad at all – it’s actually fun.

One reason we need mountain biking is because it would be a fun sport for kids to try. I propose that we have a mountain biking club where we could take trips to the bike park and practice on the breakneck road. Kids that join the club could get their families into this great sport. I go to a bike park called Highland Mountain Bike Park. You put your bike on the lift and ride up, its loads of fun lap after lap, following different people and different lines. My family and I go there on all different trails for all different people. This club would be a big step up for schools all around the world.

Another reason biking is such a great sport is there is no judgement or bad attitude in mountain biking, there’s just ‘stoke’ and fun people. My sister looks up to a girl that works at the bike park on trail building. And one day my friend’s parents introduced us to her and my sister rode with her for an hour. My sister was so excited, and her confidence was boosted. This happens all the time. You might meet someone new waiting in line for the lift or just eating food. You could be sitting with a professional that rides for Red Bull and they’ll start a conversion and you’ll become best buds. That’s the best part about mountain biking, the community, where you might be stopping for gas and end up eating dinner with a random person because of a question about your bumper that has a bike park logo on it.

In conclusion, I think that a club would be a fun and great sport that would interest new mountain bikers. If we would take a trip to a highland mountain bike park each month. The funding we could get. And next year I will be in eighth grade and could help out the head of the club, probably a teacher. My friends and I would support this club and push others to learn this great sport.

Bodie Tapley

 

Max Webster
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Hoops improvement

To the Editor:

Dear Mr. Veilleux,

The outdoor basketball court at the Bar Harbor Town ball field gets a lot of use, especially this past year with COVID. Not only should we make improvements to the current court, we should consider adding a second court. I am writing to you because the current court is long overdue for upgrades. What I would like to see for that area is a general cleanup, new surface paint, new lights that automatically come on at dusk, new 10-foot hoops, and fences behind the hoops. COVID has taught us that having a good outdoor space is essential to our community and people like to play outside if they have the choice.

To begin with, a general cleanup of the existing court would make it nicer. Getting rid of cigarette butts and putting up no-smoking signs is important. Additionally, new paint to replace the faded lines would make it more fun to play there. Furthermore, new hoops, possibly adjustable if a rugged model can be found, would make the court more user friendly for all ages. Solar operated lights that automatically turn on when it gets dark and nets behind the hoops to stop the ball from getting away would be convenient. I estimated possible costs, which are shown in the table below.

I would also like to see a second outdoor basketball court possibly bordering the parking lot by the tennis court. Oftentimes you go to play on the outside court and a younger or older group is already there. Depending on the age difference and the intensity level of the game, you might be able to join in, or you might want a different court to play on with your own age group. Again, I did a quick estimate of what this would cost and think it would be in the $35,000 range. If you had a second court to go to then it would be better for our community.

Some people might say that it’s just a recreational basketball court and it doesn’t need to be any nicer. However, I would tell them that we’ve improved the little league fields, the tennis courts and the skate park, so why can’t we give the same attention to the basketball courts? People visit here from all over the world. We should show them what we care about in our community.

The basketball court is where I go when it is warm enough to put on a sweatshirt to shoot hoops.

Sometimes I go with a couple of friends and sometimes I just play with whoever is there already. The YMCA is a great place to play basketball, but it requires a membership and limits you to the hours they’re open. Please do whatever you can to improve and add to the town basketball courts so everyone will be able to play.

10-foot hoop $2,250 each
New lights $3,000 per light pole -solar
Fence $1,000 each side
General clean up $500
New surface paint $500
Total Approximately $15,000

 

Sincerely,

Max Webster

 

Busses are a win-win

To the Editor:

I am concerned about tourists being able to bring their own cars onto the island. I think it is a horrible idea. Others may say they need their cars so that they can bring all the stuff they got during their trip. I agree that they need to bring their stuff home because that is how the economy works, but I think that we are way over capacity with never-ending congestion, lack of space and ignorance from the tourists. I strongly believe we need more busses; it would be a win-win for everyone.

The first reason we should bring more busses into town is because people are parking everywhere, and we are running out of space to put parking lots. This can easily be solved by adding more busses. Another problem is parking with an electric car. If we are going to make another parking lot then we should make it an all-electric car parking lot, because College of the Atlantic is not going to let tourists park on their campus while they go and shop. According to Stephanie Clement, conservation director of Friends of Acadia, “The next step in the bus upgrade is electric, but there needs to be more time so that we do not have bus after bus that is offline to charge.”

The second reason we should put more busses in town is because there is too much traffic on the roads. This is causing a lot of noise, and pollution (fossil fuels). Slow drivers and people not knowing where they are going can cause traffic jams that can hold up everyone, even locals who know where they are going.

Lastly, drivers stop where they are not supposed to stop, either taking pictures, or just to say “oooh” and “aaah.” Some even park in front of people’s houses and on people’s properties without asking.

I looked into the cost of diesel and propane for 1,000 gallons of fuel. Propane is $3,000 or $3 a gallon. Diesel is $2,390, but while diesel is cheaper, propane is better for the environment.

To conclude I think that we should get more busses. It is better for the environment and for the town’s well-being.

Aiden Wisniewski

 

Sawyer Worcester
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIOBHAN RYAN

Put in the time

To the Editor:

Some people think cuts should not happen in middle school [sports], but others think it should stay the same when people get cut. Everybody thinks it’s because they were not good enough and that they can’t make it. Well, let me tell you the real story.

My first reason is, after basketball tryouts at Mount Desert Island High School, Coach Justin Norwood and his staff talk to each player individually and show them what they saw and what they can do to get better. In girls’ high school basketball, less kids try out, so for the last five years, Bunkey Dow says there has been no cuts. But that’s not the case. In boys’ high school basketball, they cut seven to eight people every year, but this is where my first point comes in. Coach Norwood meets with every player so they know what they can do to make the team the next year if they didn’t make it that year. Coach Norwood meets with every player after tryouts and gives them advice as to what they need to get better at.

Another reason is that parents get to be in the loop. Parents get a call about their players in tryouts. If they make the team, Coach Norwood talks to the parent about commitment to the team. Even if you don’t make the team, you know why. So parents can get their questions answered before writing on Facebook.

My last reason is when you get cut, you can be devastated and might even give up the sport, but think about it like this. Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team and he said, “When I got cut from the varsity team as a sophomore in high school, I learned something. I knew I never wanted to feel that bad again. I never wanted to have that taste in my mouth, that hole in my stomach. So I set a goal of becoming a starter on the varsity.” And he is now the greatest basketball player to ever live.

To conclude, if you get cut from your sports team, don’t give up listening to your coaches and people around you, and chase your dreams. If you get cut, it’s not because you are not very good, it’s because there is more time you need to be putting in.

Sawyer Worcester

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