Driving doesn’t have to be such a burden

An automobile in Maine is pretty much a prerequisite to life here. People can walk from Norway to Paris or Paris to Oxford. After that, things can get tricky, or, at the least, a little more far out.

Which makes the driving experience here even more intriguing.

In recent weeks, various towns have had to deal with a myriad of traffic issues. Whether it’s a speeding problem in South Paris, a road detour in Hebron or parking signs in Otisfield, Western Maine rarely lacks for excitement on automotive matters.

With the new school year now underway, it’s never too late to remind motorists that children and their parents are often in those crosswalks in the early morning and in the afternoon. Maine law dictates that pedestrians have the right-of-way, and vehicles must stop and let them cross. With such heavy pro-pedestrian laws, Maine is ahead of most states.

But those aren’t the chronic driving challenges posed by some motorists.

That would be reserved for the driver who is in a hurry and who, by all means necessary, must pull ahead. They will blow their horn, flick their lights or simply hit the pedal and pass by. Naturally, the look on their face is one of how dare you make me late? Some call it road rage.

And then there are the talkers and texters. For them, a drive-by conversation is a birthright. Never mind the inconvenience and risk they place others. By golly, they have something to say, and a cell phone behind the wheel is the best place to do it.

But even as egregious as a cell phone talker can be behind the wheel, few generate more rancor than the speeding motorist who sees a steep hill as their personal speedway. On Mount Micah Road in South Paris, or on Ryerson Hill Road, also in South Paris, residents have been pleading with town officials about the speedsters in their communities. One resident all but compared it to a combination speed racing  event and a death trap. Pedestrians beware was more or less the motto that evening.

It shouldn’t be that way. It shouldn’t require a police officer sitting in a squad car behind a building for the next speeder to come along. It shouldn’t demand speed bumps, traffic signals and stop signs to get a motorist’s attention.

All it really takes is a little common sense and an adherence to traffic laws.

For example, if the Speed Limit says 50 mph or 55 mph, why the inclination to go 60 mph? If it says 30, why do 35 or 36″ And if says 25 mph, why invite a blaring siren if you’re going 27 mph.

The notion that law enforcement, even if true, will allow for an extra five miles per over the speed limit ignores a salient point. It’s still speeding. It’s beyond the limit. You can get a ticket.

Maybe many small towns do see speeding tickets as a quick revenue maker but that ignores another salient point. If you don’t speed, you won’t get stopped to feed the town coffers.

Whether we’re headed toward a futuristic George Jetson-style roadway, reminiscent of the 1960s cartoon show whose cars sped above street level, or just some very intense ground-level motoring, this much is certain.

Driving isn’t what it used to be.

A young teenage musical role model should not be an anomaly

Everyone knows who the bad ones are. They lead the newscasts and hog the Internet chat rooms with their over the top antics. No need to give them any more publicity than their errant behavior requires. Let’s talk about one of those young musical talents who is living a positive life, who is making a difference among her loyal followers.

Davina Leone, a 20-year-old singer/songwriter, performed at the Oxford County Fair, and did not disappoint her legions of young fans. She lives in Miami with her parents and brother. Her entourage is the epitome of a family.

It wasn’t Leone’s guitar or her keyboardist’s playing that was the buzz at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School this past Friday, Sept. 13. It was her anti-bullying message to 9th and 10th graders, followed that same day several hours later to middle school students at Oxford Hills Middle School.

She told them of her own experiences with bullying, and how it affected her. She also told them about how she overcame being bullied through listening to music afterward.

No doubt, Ms. Leone got the last word there.

Ms. Leone, in addition to her musical capabilities, is fluent in English, French, Italian and Spanish. Her multi-lingual lyrics make her an even greater role model for her peer group.

Her anti-bullying story is a compelling one. Young people today have far more resources and outlets to deal with bullies than their parents and certainly their grandparents had. In those days, which weren’t all that long ago, bullies pretty had a free hand to bully as they pleased.

With a new kind of bullying surfacing, cyberbullying, catching the bully can be a bit more difficult. But it is a fight worth fighting. If you’ve ever met an adult who is a bully, chances are great they were a bully when they were a child.

Thanks to people such as Davina Leone and her music, the bully may one day go the way of the dinosaur.

Advertiser Democrat Editorial Board

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