Friday, June 15, 2018

Insight: Voice of the familiar by Lorraine Glowczak


"Does my voice sound too twangy?” That’s the question I asked fellow writers last week in a writer’s group I attend monthly. As an author, I am always concerned about my writer’s voice, but this time - it was my actual speaking voice that had me apprehensive.

Two weeks ago, I attended a creative, non-fiction essay workshop in Belfast and someone from that group invited me to publish my work on a community radio station in the Downeast and Midcoast areas. I accepted the invitation but admitted to my new friend that I still speak with a Kansas inflection and may not be able to pull off that “NPR” tone. She assured me that all would be fine. “The way you speak is what will add to the depth of your stories,” she said.

My writing group friends echoed her sentiment. Despite their encouragement, I was still not convinced. To help soothe my concerns, the group recorded me as I read one of my essays. Their feedback? I didn’t sound anything like myself. “You start out in your natural speaking voice but then changed to a softer, less impassioned version of you.” I was instructed to go home and listen to the recording.

I did as they recommended and was surprised to discover that what they believed wasn’t my voice, I believed was and it is exactly how I hear myself. As a result of this discovery, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about individuality; the way we express our unique style and how we play that out within our communities.

 Most of us wish to be liberated individuals, not succumbing to the “sheeple” way of life. However, we also don’t want to disassociate ourselves completely from the family and friends that complete us and are a part of something greater than ourselves.

I think the same is true of language and the way we speak. For example, for me to be a part of something greater, I spoke with an intonation and dialect as others around me. Not only did I speak that way to be a part of a whole, but as I learned during my days of linguistic study - I did that to be understood in an agreed upon language. This is true for everyone, not only for me.

So, in a sense - our voices and our language belong to everyone. It’s not just ours alone and it offers a bit of the familiar. This familiarity provides the springboard into our individuality - our unique voice.

The same can be said of my “NPR” radio voice, or the lack there of. The listeners of that community radio station turn on that program to hear the familiar. That doesn’t mean I should change my speaking voice but I might be careful to speak so I can be understood. I should do my best to refrain from speaking “tin” when I mean “ten” or “buuuuuk” when I mean “book”.

So, if you happen to ever be in a quandary over your individual voice (written, spoken or otherwise), I hope my little predicament and my little discovery helps you in some way.




Editorial Essay by Maddie Hancock


Teens versus pop culture
An argument essay written by seventh grader, Maddie Hancock of the Windham Middle School

For the past several years, teenagers and adults have been facing a problem: The content of three entertainment related subjects - music, movies, and television. These three categories each reference substances such as drugs and alcohol. In music, movies and television, substances are often associated with luxurious lifestyles and wealth which results in the glorifications of substance use.

Each year the number of references in each branch of media increases. In teenage and young adult years the brain is very vulnerable and susceptible to new ideas, but if those new ideas are harmful, that means trouble for the party involved. Often the representation of substance use without consequence leads to real life substances use. After all, exposing someone to a dangerous substance without also exposing them to the consequences is like giving a child a lollipop, but expecting them not to eat it. Nonetheless, many people choose to ignore the effects that references could have on people and choose to believe that substance use is solely the users choice, not at all influenced by any exposure. However, if drugs, alcohol, and opioids were not heavily represented in pop culture and the media, many teens and adults would not turn to those harmful substances.

Music is something that many people turn to influence the emotions, however, music happens to showcase an abundant amount of substance references. Depending on the genre of music, the percentage of references varies. For example, twenty-nine percent of all teens listen to pop music. Usually that would not seem like a problem, until you consider that about fifty percent of all pop music mentions some sort of substance, such as drugs or alcohol.

About twenty percent of teens listen to rap music which has an approximate thirty percent substance reference rate. About sixteen percent of teens listen to country music and country music has about a fifty percent reference rate - the primary substance mentioned is alcohol.

About eighteen percent of teens listen to Broadway music with about a zero percent reference rate. Finally, rock music is listened to by about seventeen percent of all teenagers and has about a thirty percent reference rate. Despite the fact that there are excessive mentions to substances within song lyrics, there are also many musicians who have or are currently using drugs or alcohol.

Many of the musicians who use substances credit them for the creativity of their lyrics. Since many people look up to artists, the substances use of the artist may be ignored or looked past. A Living Pianos writer contributed to the discussion, “The downside to drug use is very well documented in the music world. While it might allow certain musicians to be more ‘creative’ it does have its share of negative effects,” (Lenin, David). 

Artists who have openly admitted to substance use include the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Britney Spears, and Snoop Dogg; all who are closely followed and looked up to by their large fanbases. To summarize, drugs and alcohol are heavily appropriated in music because of the seemingly endless references in most genres, along with the fact that many substance-using musicians are still popular, and because of that many teens may see substances as a positive item instead of a dangerous one. While it may seem like there are a plentiful amount of substance references in music, substance references in movies occur at an even higher rate.

Movies are a very prominent part of our society, but they are also a piece of the puzzle when it comes to substance references. They are constantly advertised on billboards, television and sometimes social media platforms. Unsurprisingly, many references to substances are made in movies whether it be for comedic effect or to add suspense to the plot. Since movies are most commonly two to three hours long the consequences to using substances are rarely presented in a realistic way if they are even touched upon.

This can be interpreted by teens and adults to mean that the consequences of using drugs and alcohol are not extreme or that they simply do not exist. Those thoughts can sometimes lead to drug use and possibly addiction. While some may argue that representation of drugs and alcohol do not force others to actively use the drugs, it can be interpreted by some to make use seem okay to participate in usage. A journalist from New York Film Academy wrote,“. . . there has been a surge of drug films and drugs appearing much more often in movies, at a rate that is more than triple of that just twenty years ago. While drug use is on the rise in the U.S., on film, it’s an outright epidemic,” (Robins, Lincoln).

With substances abuse on the rise, many people are speculating that increased references are to blame; taking into consideration that substance references in movies have tripled. As children grow to teenagers and adults the content gets more explicit, which may not always be the best situation for easily influenced people. Movies makers may be able to provide excuses for the lack of consequences shown due to time limitations, but television shows cannot provide the same argument.

Television shows can run for various lengths depending on popularity, which is usually based off the plot, which may not realistically represent drug use. Some of the most popular television shows that have ever aired for a long span of time with a high viewer rate involve some sort of substance use at one time or another. For example, “Cheers” a television show popular in the eighties and nineties, was based off a bar, which brings about the obvious references to alcohol. There were rarely any consequences shown, but the characters were often put in to laughable situations because of alcohol usage.

Another popular show, “Friends” that may teenagers and adult watch, has a recurring plot of Chandler, a main character trying to quit smoking, which some of the negative repercussions are presented.

However, there are also many references to alcohol, which is used to numb pain or forget about pain in this show. Occasionally there are some consequences, but they are either minor or nonexistent. Most crime shows mention some sort of substance to enhance the plot because of the criminal aspect of using drugs or alcohol. Since many people watch television programs as a pastime, they are undoubtedly influenced by the plots, whether it deters them from usage, or if it is the more likely influence that drugs and alcohol do not have serious effects and that little harm will come to any user, possibly leading to actual substance use.

Another thing to take into consideration would be the medication advertisements. These are showcased as miracle workers and solutions to problems, but the side effects are only briefly touched upon. This can have dangerous outcomes. For example, a writer from projectknow.com wrote about drug advertisements on television: “Television advertising of over-the-counter drugs has been suspected of being a contributing factor in drug abuse among youth,” (LeBlanc, Jason). Television is not just light-hearted programming, it is something that contains hidden dangers for many people.

In conclusion, there is a plentiful supply of references to substances in popular culture. This heavy representation exposes people to these substances, most commonly without showing the negative consequences. When people are frequently exposed to negative things without being shown the repercussions, it can encourage them to partake in usage without considering what could go wrong. If these types of substances were either represented less frequently or not at all, many teenager and young adults would be deterred from substance usage. To start a movement for change, consider what you are watching or listening to, evaluate the dangers of the content you are exposing yourself to, and figure out how you can protect yourself and possibly others from turning to substances in times of strife.















Friday, June 8, 2018

Insight: Little life lessons nature can offer by Lorraine Glowczak


I wanted to offer something in this week’s editorial for the 2018 graduates. I thought and I thought and couldn’t come up with an inkling of wisdom that I could offer the students as they begin their new journeys.

Until that is, I was writing the article about videographer, Bill Blood who combines his love of videography and science education by travelling to Hawaii to capture and teach about geological formations. While writing it, I was inspired to research what the Hawaiian culture might perceive about the current erupting Kilauea volcano and the lessons some people in Hawaii might take from it. Perhaps in understanding how they learn from nature, I could reach my goal of offering something to the graduates.

In my research, I found a travel blog writer, Avia Venefica, who stated that volcanoes offer a few
lessons that most Hawaiians take seriously. “Volcanoes represent the upward challenge our lives sometimes present and they remind us of the goals we aspire to reach, the journey to get there, and the value of the climb to the top.”

In Maine, we typically align ourselves with monotheistic views, but we often also learn the values and lesson that nature provides us. Many people experience a transcendent connection in Maine’s natural environment, learning something personally and profoundly while participating in a favorite activity, be it hiking, kayaking or snowshoeing.

The following are a few life lessons that the natural beauty of Maine can potentially offer, not only for the 2018 graduates, but for all of us:

In addition to the “upward challenge” analogy Venefica offers, a hike up a Maine mountain can reflect the reality of peaks and valleys. Life is exciting and frustrating. There are always going to be good days and bad days, but it helps to know that everything is temporary. So, during the valley moments – just keep chugging away as the peak moments will be arriving soon. Of course, the opposite is also true. This keeps us humble.

Sitting in a kayak, one can’t help but notice how adaptable the water is – how easily the water divides and wraps itself around the kayak as it moves forward. Water can easily skirt around any object and keep moving onward. It can teach us to persist without struggle.

Personally, I think snow can teach us a major life lesson about individuality. Whether you have snowshoed or cross country skied through a deep and fresh layer of snow, you will notice there is not a trail in front of you. You must create your own way, your own path. In life, it can be scary to blaze new horizons. But much like snowshoeing, you can look back from where you once stood and see how far you’ve come.

It is my hope that all graduates will one day look back and see how far they have travelled since 2018 – learning their own bits of wisdom along the way.

Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

Whether you live in a large or smaller town in Maine, with our far-flung population it can be easy to feel isolated from the decision-making process in Washington and Augusta. However, the truth is that no matter how far away we may feel from the political debate, all our votes matter. 

As the mid-term election on June 12th approaches, in light of the current political climate in our nation and right here in our own state, no matter where we live each vote is critically important.
With this in mind, I am glad to hear about AARP’s “Be the Difference” campaign which encourages all of us older Mainers to get out and vote. The focus of “Be the Difference” is simple: Educating voters, getting out the vote and making sure more Mainers head to the polls on June 12; particularly those of us age fifty and older.

Although political campaigns sometimes overlook the issues that impact older voters, we have traditionally been a major force in Maine elections. Older voters are concerned about issues such as livable communities, financial security, Medicare, Social Security and caregiving, to name just a few. 
These are critical issues, but are they being discussed by the candidates? “Be The Difference” will offer multi-media information to Maine voters as to where candidates stand on these and other issues to help us hold politicians accountable for their positions this November.

Older voters vote in impressive numbers. It is a mistake for any candidate to assume otherwise. Let’s be the difference on June 12th.

Dr. Erica Magnus
AARP Maine Communications Volunteer
Windham



Friday, June 1, 2018

Insight: Persevering through banana peel realities by Lorraine Glowczak


Recently, while working at one of my side jobs, I overheard the term “banana peel reality.” I’m not quite sure what context that term was being used, but the instant I heard it I recalled something I learned over 25 years ago.

I have had many side jobs in my lifetime and one that I recall with fondness is my “jack of all trades” position working at a greenhouse and garden center in Topeka, KS. I remember the experience with fondness because my coworkers and I became family – not because it was an easy job filled with days of plant loving joy while experiencing the calming influence of the natural environment. That was far from the reality of working in a greenhouse.

Instead, the days were filled with back breaking work and all the employees would go home at the end of their shifts smelling like fungicide. On especially busy days, lunch breaks consisted of eating pizza with soiled and chemical laden hands while answering the phone or watering the plants, shrubs and trees under the hot Heartland sun.

I had always dreamed of working in a greenhouse, but it didn’t quite fit my vision of what it entailed – fun and delightful days among profusely blooming flowers. I still loved the job it was just that the realities of that life were a bit different than what I had imagined. This is where I learned about the so-called banana peel reality.

In the banana peel reality, it’s not that we slip and fall while reaching or living our dreams (although we often do) – it’s the fact that while we are living our dreams, the reality of it can slip us up sometimes, causing us to question our choices – even our goals. But this is where we must persevere during the unpleasant aspects and the uncertainties that come with the territory. (Of course, the opposite can also be true. You may discover that living your dream isn’t really your dream, after all. That’s another Insight topic.)

The banana peel reality happens almost everywhere – which leads me to a few articles for this week’s publication. I have witnessed in the past year the making of the farmers’ market that came into being this past Saturday. If you were able to visit last weekend, you would never had known all the hard work that occurred to make that successful day happen. But the dream of creating a successful farmers’ market by a few dedicated individuals made it through all those banana peel moments to the successful reality it became. The same can be said of the Summerfest that will occur on June 23rd.

So, if you find yourself having a banana peel reality kind of day, I encourage you to hang in there – at least for a while. You never know what success may be on the other side if you persevere.



Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

I attended the forum for the candidates for District of Attorney for Cumberland Country last week.
After listening to them I was most impressed with Windham resident Frayla Tarpinian.

Currently, she is an Assistant District Attorney in Kennebec County and Head of the Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse Unit. One priority of hers is to advocate aggressively on behalf of victims of violence, exploitation, and abuse; which is what she is currently doing in Kennebec County.

The candidates were asked about restorative justice, which according to dictionary.com is “a theory and method in criminal justice in which it is arranged that the victim and the community receive restitution from the offender.” This is another one of her priorities. She believes this model should be used in juvenile and adult prosecutions, where appropriate.

Her other priorities include emphasizing treatment and diversion through access to drug court and bringing a veterans’ court to Cumberland County.

In Windham, Frayla has been a member of both the Windham Comprehensive Plan Review Team and the Board of Appeals.

Please read more about her at www.frayla.com and I hope you will support Frayla Tarpinian in the Democratic Primary on June 12, 2018.

Jennie Butler
Windham


Friday, May 25, 2018

Insight: Ways to remember and honor on Memorial Day by Lorraine Glowczak


It's upon us again – Memorial Day Weekend and the gateway to summer. Most of us greet this three-day-weekend by dusting off the camping gear, pulling out the grill, and hopping into our boats to set out for fun in the sun - creating new summertime memories in the process.

And speaking of memories, let us not forget the real purpose of Memorial Day that makes this three-day-weekend possible. This coming Monday, I hope we all remember to create a time and a moment in our happy-go-lucky weekend activities to reflect and honor those who have lost their lives in service to our country. In fact, if you have children present with you, it may be a great time to begin a conversation about the purpose of Memorial Day, so they never forget the real reason for the day.  

There are a few subjects you can discuss with not only the children in your lives, but with the adults in your circle of friends and family. One option is to look back at the history of Memorial Day and how it came to be.

In my research, I found some interesting information from the history.com website. It may make for interesting discussion around the picnic table or camp fire and provide that moment of honor and remembrance.

Did you know that one of the first known public tributes to those who died serving their country occurred in 431 B.C.? It is stated that the Athenian General, Pericles, delivered a funeral address praising those killed in the Peloponnesian War. It is also stated that his speech on that day has been compared to the influential manner of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Did you know that women’s groups and the freed slaves of the south are the ones who sparked the idea of “Decoration Day” – a day set aside annually to honor those who lives were taken during the Civil War? Technically, the praise is given to General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic. However, as the history website stated, “In April 1886, the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia resolved to commemorate the fallen once a year—a decision that seems to have influenced John Logan to follow suit, according to his own wife.” The first Decoration Day, of which Memorial Day came into being, was established on May 30, 1868.

It wasn’t until the Act of 1968 finally went into effect, moving Memorial Day from its traditional observance on May 30, to be observed on the last Monday of the month. This move, even fifty years later, has created great unease for many. Veterans groups are concerned, and rightfully so, that Americans associate the holiday with the first long weekend of the summer and not its intended purpose to honor the nation’s war dead. It wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day became an official federal holiday to honor all veterans who gave their lives.

I have said it before and I will say it again. I prefer peace and civility over war. I think it is safe to say that we all do. But many sacred texts admit that there is a time for peace and a time for war. Even Lao Tzu, the author of the “Tao Te Ching” who was completely against war and violence, admits in his 31st verse of the “Tao” that one should use arms “only as a last resort”; thereby admitting that sometimes we must protect ourselves, our love ones and our nation from harm.

So, whether you are for war or for peace – the fact is that we all know someone who has given their life for our freedom to choose the life we have now. As a result, no matter what fun weekend adventure you find yourself participating, please take a moment and remember those who gave their lives – both those you have known as well as for those you’ve never met.

This insight is dedicated to the memory of my Father, Lester F. Noll, who served in World War II in England. Thank you.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Insight: The dusty key by Lorraine Glowczak


In a recent dream, I was in a brightly lit white room helping others find a missing object. This room had a loft. Following my instincts that the object we were looking for was in that loft, I climbed up and found a small white box. When I opened it, I was surprised to find a silver key inside, covered in dust.

It’s been almost three weeks since I’ve had that “key dream” and I have been thinking about it non-stop. It’s not that I’m big fan of dream interpretation but I do wonder if there may be some sort of message here for me. Is it a key to the future? Is it a key into an unknown adventure? Or, is it a key to unlock some past mystery?

The “key dream” came up again with two articles published in this week’s Windham Eagle and I could not help myself but to apply some sort of meaning behind the dream of this dusty key to those two articles.

Although one article (Jordan-Small Middle School on the front page) may appear as a key to the future and the other (Raymond-Casco Historical Society by Elizabeth Richards on page 9) seems to represent the key to the past - I think it’s possible that the key analogy here is to keep the door unlocked between the future and the past.

It’s not a new concept that students are a vital resource and part of a successful, enlightened society. Without them and their contributions, life as we know it would cease to be. They are our future engineers, soldiers, dancers, musicians, teachers and historians.

However, they will only be as successful as the past from which they learn. This leads me to the second article on the Raymond-Casco Historical Society. In it, you will discover the fact that many historical societies have decreasing memberships. Is it possible that in our efforts to move forward quickly into greatness, we have cast the key of the past aside, thinking it offers little to the future? After all, historians do not perform heart transplants.

But history and historians offer their own valuable resource and greatness. Why? Because we all need a foundation to leap off from and into a successful future. We need the past to understand our own lives, the lives of others and how the world works. I think it would be difficult to imagine in innovative and creative ways, without having the past as our foundation, giving us the ability to update and add to that base.

I think the key to the future must be used in conjunction with the key of the past in order to have the best human experience possible. If anything, we can put the dusty key to use and open the door to many more possibilities – by using the past as the foundation to spring forward into a wonderful future.

Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

Raymond residents are fortunate to have Kate Leveille running in the June 12th election for RSU 14 School Board. Kate has a passion for Maine as a lifelong resident and a passion for this community, having grown up nearby.

Kate is an admired professional and has had an impact on this state through her work to help Mainer’s succeed. She has the experience and the knowledge that we need to help propel the voice of our students. She has a broad educational vision and is dedicate to helping all students succeed.

Kate will bring her vision, expertise, and dedication to our schools and she wants every child, at every age, to have the chance to reach their highest potential. We are lucky to have such an outstanding candidate for election to the RSU 14 School Board. I encourage Raymond residents to get out and vote on June 12th for Kate.

Heather Marden
Early Childhood Educator and Advocate


Friday, May 11, 2018

Insight: Pecan pies and burnt marshmallows by Lorraine Glowczak


What do the smells of a freshly mown lawn and bonfire smoke have to do with Mother’s Day? Nothing directly, but those two smells I experienced this past weekend transported me back to moments in my past that evoked long forgotten but pleasant memories of my mother.



The smell of cut grass produced the recollection of drinking ice cold lemonade together and talking about nothing important after sharing the task of mowing our big yard with a push mower.

Although we didn’t have a lot of bonfires when I was a child, the few times we did, my mom and I would always have roasted marshmallows. We liked ours crispy and burnt.

As Mother Day approaches, many will celebrate and honor their Moms in a variety of fun and meaningful ways. But as life is – it’s messy and filled with imperfections that usually do not meet our preferred agenda on the way life should go. For me, as well as many others out there, our mothers have passed on.

For those of us in that circumstance we need not feel despair. I have chosen ways to celebrate, remember and honor her in my own little way.

But first, I would like to mention that everyone’s story is slightly different, so there are circumstances out there where grieving is necessary and healthy. If that is the case for you - go ahead and grieve. I hope next year’s Mother’s Day will be better for you.

I have chosen the following ways to start a new Mother’s Day tradition:

Make a pecan pie.
My mom had a sweet tooth and I inherited it. I have always loved pecan pie and instead of making a birthday cake for me, she would make my favorite dessert, inserting birthday candles in the pie.

Stay off Facebook and other social media.
When my mom passed, social media had just exploded as a form of sharing our “amazingly perfect” lives with all our “friends.” I suspect she’d think this mode of communication as pure silliness and would encourage me to reach out to others in person or by phone.

I will call my four brothers who live in other states.
Above all I do to remember her, this is the one thing that would “tickle her silly,” as she used to say. Having us remain loving siblings was her dying request.

Isn’t it amazing that the mind can recall fond memories of loved ones, especially during holidays and celebrations? And whether those recollections come through smells or small acts - it is almost as if they are here with us, if only momentarily.



Congratulations Gene “Eugene” Gumaer who recently graduated from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot



Gene “Eugene” Gumaer, a 2016 graduate from Windham High School has graduated from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina on April 6. Gumaer has plans to continue with combat training on Parris Island before heading to school in Missouri to be trained as a deiseal mechanic. 
Gumaer is proud to be a Marine and to serve his country.
Windham is proud of him!



Friday, May 4, 2018

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Now that the library renovations and improvements have been completed, I believe it is time to give some special credit to Jen Alvino, the Library Director. 

I served as a Windham Library Trustee during the planning stages for the renovations and became aware of Jen's efforts to effect change in the layout and efficiency of the library. 

The cost of the work has been stated as $405,000. What has not been reported is that Jen worked for over a year on soliciting grants and donations from outside organizations and succeeded in collecting $74,500 from them. This meant that the improvements to the facility included new shelving and furniture. These items had not been included in the original budget. 

While I believe all of the library staff deserves a great round of applause for their work during the transition, I would like to give special "thanks" to our Library Director.

Bruce Raeburn


Insight: Walk a remarkable mile by Lorraine Glowczak

In almost every Windham Eagle issue, there are amazing people in the community whose stories we share that blow the lid off the term, “remarkable". I often write about my admiration for these individuals as well as their accomplishments – much of which entails the good they do for the communities of Raymond and Windham.
 
One group of individuals that often make our paper, but have never been mentioned in this weekly editorial, are the members of the Windham Town Council and the Raymond Board of Selectmen. 

Before you allow exasperation to arise and envision throwing stones at certain town officials or roll your eyes in disgust, I’d like to offer alternative perspectives, refocusing our individual passions (and sometimes our anger) for the good. 
 
I’m aware that my 400-word editorial will not offer any quick fixes to what lacks in all political systems, but my intention is to highlight the encouraging aspects of those individuals who do their best, in the ways they deem best, to create thriving and livable towns – whether we agree with them or not.

As a person who attends both town meetings, I witness the multi-layered aspects of what these elected positions entail. Often, they are handed challenging assignments, difficult fiscal matters, complicated policies and challenging projects; they must initiate solutions to countless issues and problems. They do this while raising a family, holding down a job, as well as tending to other personal and professional demands.

I know it is easy to second-guess councilors’ or selectmen's decisions, because we are all passionate about the things we care about and believe important. Often, we only weigh our own interests and perspective without taking into account the many other issues, opinions and concerns that must be considered. Somehow, they must find a way to balance it all.

Democracy contains a wide range of ideas, experiences, skills and opinions; and debating issues is an important part of the process in progressive civic engagement. But when these differing opinions and conversations escalate to the point that a council member or a selectman is bullied or publicly or privately attacked with insults, then democracy at its best begins to crumble. But just as important, bullying is unacceptable and childish behavior that offers few opportunities for problem solving.

Every person who sits on the council or board, even those we disagree with or whom we may even dislike, should be respected for accepting the burden that comes with their job of making our communities a great place to live. Before we throw stones, I would encourage us to remember that these individuals are people just like you and me. 

As the proverb suggests, perhaps we can take a mile-long walk in their shoes and a deep breath. In doing so, maybe positive solutions can occur, friends can be made and something remarkable can happen. If anything, it would make a great story to share.