Local volunteer firemen, standing in middle of road, panhandling!
I drove up to Dover last Friday morning to buy diesel fuel for my tractors. As I approached Foxcroft Academy I noticed this long line of orange cones on the center line. Soon traffic was stopped in front of me. Then I noticed that men in firemen's uniforms, holding a firemens boot in their hands, were approaching each driver begging for donations. I noticed on the way back that they had a small sign before the roadblock, advertising the "firemen's boot fund drive". It was an extremely busy Friday morning, just before one of the biggest weekends of the year.
Had to drive down to Dexter a few hours later, to go to the hardware store, and the Dexter Firemen had the same set up, perhaps even worse in some ways. Dexter has one four way intersection with traffic lights. These guys were set up.....in the intersection! They had cones extending from the center of the intesection, in all directions. When cars would stop for the red light, these guys would just walk along the line asking for handouts. Amazing!
This same kind of thing used to be done at the Sedgwick end of the Deer isle Sedgwick Bridge, some years back, as a "volunteer tollbooth, to raise money for project graduation. This is a good thing to do, as are volunteer fire departments necessary, and a good thing also. But is standing in the middle of a major highway, interfering with traffic flow, on an extremely busy day, in the middle of a major intersection too, really the proper way to raise money?
The road by Foxcroft Academy, carries traffic from three major arteries that meet at Monument Square. This is the busiest road in Dover, by a lot! Rt 7 through Dexter, carries major traffic year round, especially at this time of year as everyone is headed to Moosehead!
Somehow it seems to me that for our volunteer firemen to stand in the middle of the street, rattling their tin cans while begging for dollars, is kind of unseemly, not to mention a major inconvenience for those vehicles that are trying to use the public road at the same time.
I have always disliked this practice because it is being done in such a way as to deliberately try to stop cars so the drivers can be hit up for money. Right at Foxcrot Academy are parking lots on both sides of the road. A small booth could have been set up and those wanting to donate could have pulled over and done so. In Dexter the cars had no choice but to stop on the red lights, as it is right beside the police station. Then they became easy prey for the local "hustlers"! The aim clearly seems to be to deliberately interfere with the flow of traffic in order to hassle the drivers for money. I am not sure what the legalities are of all of this but it has always bothered me in any case and I would never ever support any organization that would see the deliberate interference with traffic on public roads as the proper way to fund raise!
I was going to call the State Police and put my two cents worth in, but didn't have the time during the day. I suspected it would go on all weekend as this was a very busy one locally, but to my surprise, it was gone Sunday. Perhaps someone, or maybe several someones filed justifiable complaints before I could do so. It takes a lot of courage, or lack of clear thought, to stand in the middle of the road with loaded pulpwood trucks passing on both sides!
No matter how worthy the cause may be, somehow I don't think that deliberately stopping traffic in order to beg quarters from harrassed drivers, is the best way to cause the masses to support your endeavor!