Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Is there a secret there someplace?

Today's (Dec. 29th) storm is a confusing one to this simple writer.  I'm not sure it has been what it was forecast to be.  Yet, as I look out my window, I can see the snow continues and it's forecast to change to freezing rain early this evening.  But, the Accuweather weather map shows a lot of clear spots to our south where most of our weather comes from.  Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

My neighbor has continued to be a great one.  My very long driveway has been plowed.  I feel very badly for my wife, though.  She's due for a hip replacement in January so you know she's hurting.  Yet she'll head out to the two porches and clean the steps this afternoon.  She wants them sort of clean as my Home Care cardiac nurse will be here early tomorrow morning for her regular visit and blood draw.  Shortly after she leaves, my occupational therapist arrives to continue to find ways for me to exist with some ease.

I have a "second cousin" who is a year older than I.  She sure did hit "it" right on the button when she said to me one day, "This growing older business is sure not for sissies."  A lot of the business isn't any fun, either.  However, I'd have to say the alternative probably would be a whole lot worse, even though I'd probably not know it.

Wow!  That turned rather morbid all of a sudden.  Sorry.  Let's change topics.

I found a couple of items in the news to be fascinating.  I haven't read one of them in its entirety because it was in the Portland Press Herald and I stopped paying for it a long time ago.  I did see what I'm suspecting was a shorter version on WCSH6 Newscenter.  It was the story of a Scarborough police officer who actually returned a call to a scammer.  The account of that conversation was totally unexpected and fun to read.

It seems that a resident had filed a complaint about a phone call but had written down the caller's number as it appeared on the resident's caller I.D.  If I recall correctly, it wasn't a local number, but the policeman dialed it anyway.  Surprise!  Surprise.  It was answered.  The lady on the other end was, as I understood the recount, rather polite.  When told her call to the resident was a scam, she acknowledged knowing that.  "It's how I make a living," or words to that effect, she said.

Her call had told the resident that money was owed to Central Maine Power Co. and gave instructions on how to pay . . . in cash .  The policeman asked her to stop making the illegal calls, but he was told by her she didn't work for CMP and wasn't even in Maine. Apparently continuing being polite, she told the Officer it was a scam and she had a quota to fill.  From what I read, the conversation ended as it began, politely.

About all the policeman could say now was to issue a warning for Scarborough residents and others in Maine to ignore any such call as it is the now famous CMP scam.  But, anyone who gets that call should notify local and state authorities immediately.  CMP, the story made clear, has nothing to do with that tactic.

The other item is more recent and I heard (actually, read) about it here.  I think this well may be one of the few decisions made by our state government with which I disagree.  This one was by the Department of Transportation that has awarded a long term, multi-million dollar deal with a Florida company to maintain the Casco Bay Bridge that runs across Portland Harbor from Portland to South Portland. 

If this were going to save a pile of money, I might feel different about it.  But, as the article points out, it's going to save very little or nothing.  It appears that the State is eliminating good Maine jobs to good Maine people so that a Florida bridge management company can make a profit.  The cost of the contract is just about what the cost of the maintenance is anyway. 

MaineDOT says it will work with the employees losing their jobs find a new one and they can also apply for positions with the Florida company. 

The cost will be the same for the routine maintenance it now has and MaineDOT will still be responsible for heavy maintenance and improvements as it now is.  One MaineDOT spokesman said it will now have more resources available for other projects.


Considering the cost of the out of state contract will be the same as the cost now is, where are those "more resources" coming from?  Oh, said the spokesman, we can put those people to work elsewhere.  You know, the people we're going to help find new employment opportunities.

Why not simply leave them where they are now and hire the "more resources" from the great Maine labor force?  And how come this major decision apparently came with no advance notice or discussion outside MaineDOT?

Now I only can reach my conclusions, and, of course, I may have been wrong once or twice, from the news as our news media wants me to know.  But, boy! with what I do have before me I have to wonder if this is a classic left hand/right hand situation where one hand has no idea what the other is doing or saying.  Or, even more scary, what is the big secret still in the room?


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