Sunday, February 23, 2014

Student of the week - Louden Green

Louden Green a fifth grade student from Jordan-Small Middle School is The Windham Eagle student of the week. Greene is our fifth grade student of the month at JSMS.  “Louden is a focused learner who consistently contributes to classroom conversations and asks questions.  Louden enjoys listening to his iPod, playing outside and riding his bike.  He has one sister, a dog named Johnny Cash and two fish.  He loves science and if he was President of the world, he would demand world peace. 

Keep it Clean - By Kaile Warren

Of all the things to consider when hiring a contractor, one of the least often considered or talked about issue is how well the project will be cleaned on a daily basis. Additionally, how well existing fixtures, furniture, etc. will be taken care of, is seldom locked down prior to construction. The lack of a cleaning expectation, as well as a protection plan, is often times the basis for a breakdown in the relationship between contractor and owner.

When you look at a breakdown of your contractors pricing, you will often times see debris removal as a line-item in the bid. It is seldom that you will see daily clean up, or property protection as a line-item. As an owner, you need to make sure you hold your contractor accountable for protection of existing furniture, fixtures, etc., as well as a complete daily clean up. 

One would think professional contractors would automatically keep their job site clean, safe and picked up. However, this assumption is frequently a mistake. When negotiating your contract, do not be bashful about getting your expectations into your written agreement. It is better to set the expectations upfront, rather to be disappointed or in a conflict on the back end of a project.

A dirty, messy worksite can lead to collateral damage, safety issues and in general, poor quality work. Scratching furniture by setting debris against it, contaminating paint by setting paint cans in or near piles of dirt and or dust on the floor, and stepping on nails left in walkways, are just some of the issues an unkempt worksite will create. 

As a property owner, take the lead when it comes to keeping your worksite clean. Require your contractor to do daily cleanings, and to also have a professional cleaning done at points throughout the work or at its completion. 

Too many times homeowners just suck it up (yes, pun intended) when it comes to a dusty, dirty worksite. Make your expectations known upfront, not after the fact. It’s your property and health. Protect it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Insight - A hand up or a hand out? - by Michelle Libby

Augusta released data on the use of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) welfare cards this past week. The information requested by The Maine Wire, the online news site of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, found that “thousands of transactions where taxpayer-funded welfare benefits were used at bars, liquor stores, smoke shops and other inappropriate venues.”

How many of us have thought about the wasted money that is supposed to be used to help families get by, but instead are used for bad habits and frankly, wants, not needs? 

I am not against helping families and individuals who need a hand. It’s those people who abuse the system and know that they can “make more money” sitting at home on the couch with their hand extended, rather than go to work at a minimum wage job. 

What does this say to those people who work for minimum wage? What are we teaching our children and peers? Is it better to sit around and wait for a hand out? 

There are always exceptions and those people are the ones who need help and are not happy about having to ask for it. It’s the entitled, self-serving, system abusers who are perfectly healthy and refuse to work that get my goat. 

When will the system change so that people can help themselves out of their situation? Augusta should be concerned with creating systems that have people “working” doing volunteer work for their EBT card…work that they are qualified to do or could be trained to do. There are a lot of unfilled positions out there. Perhaps they don’t pay enough to buy that new convertible, but wouldn’t it make those people feel better about themselves if they were able to contribute to the community and not just feed off the government. 

"Maine has, pound-for-pound, the second-largest welfare system in the nation and that system has doubled in size over the past 20 years without any change to the poverty rate…,” said assistant house Republican leader Alex Willette of Mapleton. “The Democrats' insistence on maintaining the status quo is simply not an option.” 

I’m not sure if it is a party issue, but someone in Augusta needs to take a good hard look at what’s going on in our state and pass some legislation that makes sense and gives us a chance to make Maine the great state it can be. 

-          Michelle Libby