Students upset
over parking fee

RSU 18's Gartley says 'snow days' could be axed

Students would learn remotely instead

By Jadyn Arnold

Staff Writer

 

     With a new school year, RSU 18 superintendent Carl Gartley is contemplating turning snow days into remote learning despite the challenges that follow.

      Carl Gartley posted a letter Sept. 27 calling for the possible end of “snow days," stating potential plans of how it would work.

   However, one student had something to say about it: “This seems like something that wouldn’t move smoothly,” Messalonskee student Brianna Carmona said. Carmona, like many others, isn't happy about this. 

   

  Another student who agreed and even stated her issues with it was Alyson Marshall who said that her road gets plowed once in the morning and once at night and that she almost always loses power during snowstorms.

   

  Marshall stated that this is unfair if there is online school but she wouldn’t be able to attend because she’s at home

with no power and nothing to do, knowing she is falling behind.   

     

    Carmona agreed that with no power/service many students would miss school, which adds stress to teachers because they would have to get those students caught up. Marshall thinks that snow days are a time that students

 

 

 

"This seems like something that wouldn't move

smoothly."

          Brianna Carmona,

          Messalonskee student




 


 

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RSU 18 is weighing the idea of going remote on days when snowstorms make in-person school impossible. This storm, which struck in December last year, knocked out power for thousands in central Maine.

with no power and nothing to do, knowing she is falling behind.   

      Carmona agreed that with no power/service many students would miss school, which adds stress to teachers because they would have to get those students caught up.

     Marshall thinks that snow days are a time that students get excited because they can have a surprise break and that remote learning would make it hard to motivate students to want to go

online and do work. 

    Colin Hickey, a teacher at Messalonskee High School, also has his concerns about eliminating “snow day

   He, too, argued that some students might be without power and Internet access.

 

   In addition, he said he finds teaching at home difficult because of the amount of distractions in his household.

    He said he’s not worried about making up four days and that “it’s not worth trying this.”

    Gartley stressed the plan is still a work in progress and that if remote days did happen during snowstorms the start of classes would be pushed back to 10 or 10:30 and periods would be shortened to about 40 minutes.

   Gartley stressed the plan is still a work in progress and that if remote 

remote days did happen during snowstorms the start of classes would be pushed back to 10 or 10:30 and periods would be shortened to about 40 minutes.

    Classes would still end at 2:30 p.m. and lunch would be built into the school day, he said.

   The RSU 18 superintendent said the number of power outages in the district would be a big factor in determining whether to hold remote classes.He also emphasized that some “snow days” will still happen.

    In a random survey of 40 students, not a single student expressed support for eliminating “snow days” in favor of remote learning. Still, the possibility remains that this long-time winter tradition could be in danger of melting away. 

Public land available for hunting is becoming harder and harder to come by as landowners post their properties. Hunters are discouraged as a result, causing some of them to no longer pursue the sport. As a result the future of hunting in Maine is more uncertain then ever before.

Hunting in danger from lack of public land

By Alyson Marschall

Staff Writer

 

    In Maine today, property eligible for public hunting is on the decline.  It has become harder for Maine hunters to find a place to hunt that is not private property.  Families that once hunted traditionally have revoked their ways, no longer participating in the sport.  Parcels that are still open for recreational use - including hunting - lack game animals. Repetitive action on those properties has driven the animals to safer grounds and closer to houses.  This is causing hunters to lose their love for the sport, and could potentially terminate the sport.

    Maine hunting has changed drastically over the past 70 years.  Lifelong hunter and former Maine Representative Dick Tracy said, “As time progressed on, the land changed ownership. The first thing the new owners did was post.” 

    Tracy reflected on his childhood, hunting in Rome, Maine when there were only two or three properties posted on the entire rural road.  “All the land was open, there were no posted signs,” he said. “You never had any problems.”

   Now, the only territory that has public access on the road, is his own.  Not having anywhere to do the thing you love gives a defeated effect.  Eventually, hunters lose their love for the sport due to not having a place to go.  “I will never post it,” said Tracy.  “I want future generations to feel the way I felt when I was younger. . .  The only reason I ever would is if hunting is allowed on Sundays.”

   

    While there are many reasons land gets posted in Maine, new laws are a significant source causing the issue.  Whether it is hunting on Sundays, or being allowed to harvest multiple deer per person, some landowners don't agree.  Therefore, the privilege will be taken.

    It may seem that non-hunters are the reason property is getting taken out of public hunting, but often acreage is reclaimed due to other things.  Lexi Kramer, a sophomore and one of few female hunters at Messalonskee High school, recently had her family land posted.  The land was posted after some incidents where “too many people came close to the(her) house,”  said Kramer.

    During deer hunting season, Kramer hunts her family’s own 200 acres, but during goose hunting, they travel north.  Kramer explained, “It can be hard to find a place to hunt, depending on how much (hunter) competition you have, and if someone beats you to the spot.” 

    Even in northern Maine, where there are fewer people, the land is still restricted.  Although Kramer’s land is posted, her family does not do much hunting elsewhere.  Most hunts are right in her own backyard.  Without all the human traffic, there is a largely populated deer herd.  This benefits Kramer and her family, but yet crosses off another public piece of land from Maine’s hunters. 

    Reckless behavior is an important fact in the loss of Maine’s public land.  Referring back to what Kramer said, careless behavior results in privileges being denied and not just for the offender. 

  

 

 

 

By Gabe Smith

Staff Writer

 

    Today at Messalonskee High School, some students are upset because they are being charged a $10 fee to get a spot in the parking lot rather than having a first come, first served type of system. To some, this fee is outrageous and unnecessary.

    “I think it’s unreasonable that kids have to pay to get a spot,” Messalonskee senior Zach Vashon said. “If anything, the only people who should have to pay to reserve a spot are the seniors, who can get spots in the senior parking area.” 

    But some students don't have any problem with paying the $10 and getting a spot, according to Messalonskee senior Dylan Milligan.

    “I think it’s okay that we have to pay for parking,” Milligan said. “As far as I know, the money goes towards salting the parking lot and stuff like that, so I’m okay with it. Plus first come first serve is always chaotic, so the parking passes work better in my opinion.” 

   

    Messalonskee assistant principal Scott Hallett confirmed the fact that the money the school makes from selling parking passes goes into a fund that is put into maintenance of the school parking lot. This include salting, painting, cleaning, etc.

  

    Another factor in question is how much is the school making from the parking passes.

  

    According to Hallett, “The school sells roughly 125 to 150 parking passes each year,” which at $10 per pass would add up to $1,250 to $1,500 per year from parking fees. 

  

    Another thing that folks are wondering is whether or not there are repercussions for students who park in the parking lot without a parking pass hanging in their window - penalties such as towing and fines, for example.

   

    Hallett said there's no need for such a concern,

   

  “No, it’s expected that kids get a parking pass and we encourage them to do so," he said, "but there hasn’t ever been a case where a student has been towed or fined for not having one.”

 

  Hallett then said, “Students who are parking without a pass are expected to park at the very back of the lot, so that students who have purchased their pass are able to park in their reserved spots.”

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Messalonskee High School athletes wait for a bus to arrive earlier this month. Athletes have had to endure delays in getting to sporting events because of a shortage of bus drivers.

Bus driver shortage causes athletes to play 'waiting game'

   By Ella Buck

   Staff Writer

   RSU 18 transportation director Lennie Goff is willing to pay an individual $20 per hour to drive a school bus in the district. This wage is higher than many other school districts in the area.

   But it still isn’t enough. 

   Messalonskee, like many other school districts in Maine and nationwide, continues to suffer from a bus driver shortage. 

   Transportation director Gabe Dostie of the Gardiner area school system said his district offers $19 an hour for bus drivers. Dostie said he is short five regular route bus drivers and has two subs who are available sporadically.

   This means, he said,

that approximately 250 students can’t ride on the bus daily because of the lack of bus drivers.

   “We lost a lot of drivers due to the pandemic," Dostie said, "because they didn’t feel safe, as they were older in age and had medical conditions that put them at a high risk.”

 

 

    Because many of the drivers were retirees with social security benefits and pensions, they felt risking their life wasn’t worthwhile, Dostie explained. 

    Goff said that being a bus driver has always been a difficult task due to the part-time nature of the job. 

“Bus driving is an extremely difficult job because drivers get paid for a maximum of 20 hours a week,” he said, “and if providing for a family, it is nearly impossible with such a low salary.”

    Goff said last year ridership increased substantially as all RSU 18 students were required to be in-person daily.

    Goff stated, “This shortage of drivers has been ongoing for years but over the last couple of years it has become much worse.”

     For any student who partakes in after-school activities, it’s grueling to get transportation to and from away games, etc.

      “Our priority will always be to first transport students to and from school upon completion of the regular bus route," Goff said. "Then and only then is a bus available to transport

students to their various extra-curricular activities.”

    

     Messalonskee sophomore soccer player Emily Hammond said her team has had seven away games. For Hammond and other athletes, the result is getting to sporting events later than in previous years. Many away games have had to be pushed back to a later start time to accommodate bus drivers as a result of the bus driver shortage . 

    Hammond recalled one away game when the shortage caused her and her teammates to wait 30 minutes longer to be picked up. She said this impacted the team's warm-up and game readiness. The Eagles ended up losing the game, she said.

    The impact goes beyond the playing field. Hammond said her family's time schedule was affected as well given she arrived home later than usual.

     Goff stated, “We filled our last spot on the roster just this week for regular routes.” However, RSU 18 continues to suffer from a shortage of bus drivers for extra-curricular activities.