Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It was a record setting day yesterday

It has never happened before in recorded weather history. The temperature in Portland rose to 92 degrees at 4:30 yesterday afternoon. It was the first time ever that a 90 degree reading was recorded in Portland before May first. Shortly after that 92 reading the temperature began to plunge as a cold front crossed the region.

This morning, we’re facing 45 degrees as I write this about 6:30 AM and those degrees aren’t expected to get out of the upper 50s or low 60s today.

My little weather station was pretty close to the official reading. It recorded a 93.6. I’m thinking I’m hoping this is not a hint of what’s to come this summer.

Senator Arlan Specter, R/D PA, is switching his party from Republican to Democrat. I’m not too sure it’s a surprise. He, like Maine’s two senators, has supported Democrat positions. The three of them were the only Republicans in either congressional chamber to support President Obama’s spending package. I think the Democrats are now within one vote of having a Republican proof Congress. If the first 100 days were expensive, wait until we see the next hundred.

Another national news story is worthy of comment, even though I’m just a little late on making it. I was hard to believe the colossal boo-boo of that photo shoot of one of the Air Force One planes flying around New York City accompanied by at least one jet fighter. It’s hard to imagine that anyone in the administration would think flying a huge jet liner at relatively low levels over a city that had undergone the Trade Center attacks just a few years ago was a good idea. Especially since it was just to take pictures.

I understand from various news stories I’ve read that local officials at just about all levels were told of the flight, but the people of New York were not. That little photo shoot, which cost the nation’s taxpayers more than $300-thousand in this continually failing economy, created much panic from people in the city who had visions of another 9/11.

The government has admitted it was a mistake and President Obama has called for a full investigation into the event. He says it won’t happen again. But it’s hard to imagine just how those New Yorkers felt when they looked up and saw a huge jet airliner being followed by an Air Force jet flying around the city at low levels.

That photo shoot just continues to create serious questions about the decision making ability of federal officials.

Like bumping along in the potholes on the state’s highways? I hope so. Like all government departments, the road fixing and construction departments are facing serious cuts in their budgets. Many projects will have to continue to be postponed, and filling those potholes will be among them.

We’ve been expecting it for weeks, now the word comes down from the state’s Revenue Forecasting Committee that the state’s revenue shortfall will be in the $570-million dollar range. More than a million of it comes in the current budget which ends in June and the rest is in the budget for the next biennium. Cuts will have to be made (see above paragraph, for example) and Governor Baldacci says he’ll present a revised budget to the Legislature by Friday.

There was a super good news story in this morning’s Press Herald about a retired Portland teacher. Portland High School teacher Dorothy Laroche, now in her 80s, attended a reception for a Portland High graduate who has become the city’s new Superintendent of Schools. It seems that Mrs. LaRoche was a key figure in getting James Morse to return to school after he had dropped out and encouraged him to continue his education.

Morse did go on and ultimately earned his doctorate in education. He will now become Portland’s superintendent this summer. A little notice the site puts on all its stories says I can’t use any of the story here, but it’s a very nice read and I hope you’ll read it yourself either in the Press Herald or on line.

And finally, this morning, it’s the last Wednesday of April. I’ll be enjoying my monthly lunch with a group of fellow retirees this noontime. It’s a monthly ritual we’ve been following now for more than a dozen years. We’re looking forward to a couple of our friends rejoining us next month when they return from Florida.


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