October 18, 2012

Waterville families encouraged to unplug Sunday

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- City officials are encouraging families with children to unplug all electronic devices Sunday and take a hike at Quarry Road Recreation area or other green spaces.

City councilors on Tuesday voted 6-0 to declare Sunday a day to unplug all unnecessary devices and engage with people around them.

The resolution councilors approved was sponsored by Council Chairman Fred Stubbert, D-Ward 1.

The resolution said electronic devices too often isolate people, especially the young, and that technology overuse reduces time for activities that help improve physical, mental and emotional health.

Steve Aucoin, director of the North End office of the Waterville Area Boys and Girls Club, said youths in his program came up with the resolution idea and asked Stubbert if he would sponsor and present it to the council.

The youths are going to make flyers about A Day to Unplug and post them in schools and other places to promote the idea, Aucoin said.

Stubbert also announced that Aucoin is leaving the youth organization and that Aucoin was given a special Alfond Center jacket at a recent lunch at the center.

Mayor Karen Heck praised Aucoin, a former city councilor who represented Ward 7.

In other matters, Heck urged people to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6.

She said state government is passing along more costs to municipal governments at an increasing expense to local property taxpayers.

Among the examples she cited was how the state formerly had 14 liquor inspectors who monitored bars and nightclubs to make sure they complied with liquor laws. While the state still collects license fees from bars, it no longer has inspectors, she said.

She also said streets in the city designated as state roads only get fixed when the city agrees to share the cost of fixing them.

Another example, she said, was that the state government limits Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, known as TANF, to five years even though 80 percent of the Maine people who are on the assistance program leave it within five years.

The people who remain often are caring for a disabled family member or are disabled themselves, she said. Those who are cut off end up going to general assistance for help, a municipal service, she said.


Amy Calder -- 861-9247


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