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Strengthen our economy
To the Editor:
What would be a good way to strengthen the local economy?
The first question that needs to be addressed is "what does our local economy have to offer?" We have many skilled hard working people that need a good paying job. We have many people who know how to build, fix, and maintain homes. We have open land in Oxford (near the Speedway, near Bolster Monument, across from Chandlers, and many buildings throughout Norway and South Paris). We are a pit-stop for those traveling to Sunday River and we entertain many campers throughout the summer.
So how are we to strengthen our economy? Use our resources. How about we stop trying to sell so many brand new homes and focus on improving the ones we have? I know my house could definitely benefit from an energy consult. The money I saved from heating costs could go back into the community. If there was any extra grants or any extra money in our community, paying people to improve our homes would help us all bounce back.
West Paris considered cross training some of their employees- genius.
People are our best resource in Oxford Hills. Think of the possibilities...an employee of West Paris learns CPR because he or she being required to become a fireman. This person could fall in love with health care and then take advantage of our local opportunities.
Such career moves could be to become a Certified Nurses' Assistant and take the class offered at our high school. Then another person who might enjoy working outdoors, that needs a job, can become the new maintenance person for West Paris.
Then that person is required to become a firefighter and learns about smoke and what it does to people's lungs. This second person may want to go into Respiratory Therapy. Or maybe this person doesn't like health care but finds it interesting the way smoke moves through a house and wants to start a career in heating/cooling systems. And these are the possibilities, don't forget the money saved from combining a resource (one person does more than one job).
Does our town really need to close down at dusk? A lot of people in the Hills work second or third shift and are used to eating and shopping at odd times of the day. I know that when I was working second shift and had a night off, if I drove down Main Street then I wouldn't find much open. I'd be hungry enough to dine but there'd be no place to go. However, as a community, we'd need to make some definite changes before asking our businesses to extend their hours, otherwise they might not get enough business for the cost of being open. What about staggering the town office employees? This way the office could be open longer for those who work during the day. Imagine the person that needs to register his or her car at eight at night.. he or she may just continue doing errands... in our community. Then maybe eventually, some of our other entities will extend their hours and hopefully bring in more business from travelers passing through or camping in the area. (One idea that I have to share: If there's a hairdresser in town that wants to start cutting hair in the evenings- do it. If one hair stylist was willing to switch up his or her hours then he or she would get a whole new market of business.)
Adjusting our court system to not waste everyone's time would be a good stress reliever that might lead to happier, more productive citizens. If a person who was caught speeding contests the ticket then he or she usually has to loses a day's pay. That's also a day's pay less spent in our community. There seems to be a lot of paper (paper costs money/trees but e-mails do not) shuffling and people walking back and forth from room to room. Decreasing administrative costs in our court system would give us money to use towards improving the beaten apartments. If you think this is a more of a governmental issue, then I think you are afraid of being an example of great change.
If we all banked our local banks then we would start recycling so much more of our profits. Larger banks are a good idea for those who work out of town but if you work in town then we need your banking business. Your banking costs would be recycled into the local bank's employees' disposable income. Those who are working in Oxford Hills and banking at the large banks are contributing to Pennsylvania or wherever the main headquarters office does its taxes. Yes, some of the profit does come back around but if we help our local banks expand then their profits from outside branches will circle back to us.
I'm not a fan of child labor, but volunteering for school credit could save a kid's future. If we require our high school students to "get their hands dirty" then some of our beaches could be cleaned up or our parks could have flowers in them. Even volunteering in the hospital could be beneficial to our community. A task could be as simple as transporting patients from part of the hospital to another. Improving our scenery could draw in more vacationers and a friendly atmosphere at our hospital could attract more residents to our area. Another benefit would be directly for the volunteers. If we get our teens out into the community then they will start their own networking and hopefully increase their career possibilities.
I tried expanding one of nonprofit entities but I haven't gotten any response. I was thinking that it might be nice to spruce up the entity's website a little and increase products for sale. I know of people that would do the leg work of making T-shirts and taking pictures but I didn't get any kind of response when I e-mailed on their site. I also tried to improve my community's efforts towards a bottle driven scholarship and I was again denied.
In my mind, there are infinite possibilities in our Hills. We need motivated people and we need to use our resources instead of trying to find none existing ones.