CLOSED a photo essay


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CLOSED a photo essay

  1. 1. CLOSED a photo essay by Mark Roman & Lisa Savage Summer 2010
  2. 2. CLOSED What wasn't getting funded whileU .S. taxeswent to support militaryactionsaround theglobe? Schoolsin small communitiesall over M aine. M any served K -1 children. Often theschool'sreading test scoreswerehigher than thedistrict or stateaverage. I n all casesparentsand children wept and fought to keep their neighborhood school, onlyclosed for lack of moneyto operateit. $20 0 ,0 00 per year in thecase of Cornville, M aine. About 5 minutesof thewar in Afghanistan. Studentsveryoften report liking small classesbetter. T heir familiesfeel thesamewayabout thelittle communityschoolsfor theprimarygrades. Closings nearlyalwaysresult in along busridefor small kids. School closingscreateopposition from citizensof thesurrounding area, and theyrepresent an opportunityto point out whereall themoneyisgoing.T hemissing dollarsfrom school budgetsarecrumbscompared with theoutlayfor war and destruction.
  3. 3. When theyfound out weweredocumenting closed schoolsin M aine, local peopletold usabout other recentlyclosed abandoned places. H ere& previouspage, aformer shoefactoryin Pittsfield. T he “Personnel”sign on thedoor makesmefeel sad.
  4. 4. Cornvillewaswherewestarted. I t’sthelocal school where a lot of littlekids that weloveused to go.
  5. 5. T heywereveryproud of their school and thefact that their mom went there, too.
  6. 6. A friend told usabout thisschool closing near hishouse. T hebrightlycolored playground looked new. T heparentsbuilt it and then thekids werebused away, leaving it behind.
  8. 8. The town of Monson is a destination for through hikers on the Appalachian Trail. The town turned its closed school into a community center. The bell will remain, a silent witness to the building's history. Rural elementary schools often function as community centers where book fairs, scout meetings & voting occur. The towns are just as cash strapped as the school districts are. So a town getting back a building to take care of puts additional strain on the town budget and local taxes, which school budgets depend on more and more as state and federal subsidies shrink. “I think it's a shame to put kindergarteners on a bus for 45 minutes each way.” Isaac Crabtree, who lives across the street from the former Monson Elementary.
  9. 9. Goodbyelittleschools. You will bemissed.
  10. 10. T heEmpireGrill wasa landmark in Skowhegan. I t wasstyled byfilmmakersasa location for theH BO movie “EmpireFalls”with Paul N ewman, a hard luck storyset in central M ainebased on thePuliitzer Prizewinning novel byRichard Russo. T hevintageboothsand theneon sign weresold bytheownerswhen theywent out of business. Closed businesses, arein a dif f rent categorythan schoolsbecauseit’soften assumed that theownersdid something e wrong, or at least unskillful, to makethebusinessfail. Closed businessesmean thekind of pain that comesfrom onedayhaving a job and thenext daybeing out of work, worrying about how to paytherent.
  11. 11. When aschool closesit’snot thesameasa businessfailing. I t wasnt meant to bea profit ’ center, but instead a placewheresocietyinvestsin itself. When that fails, it createsan uneasyfeeling that something iswrong at adeeper level. Of coursesomepeoplelosetheir jobswhen schoolsclose, too. School children dont losetheir “job”but theybecomecommuterswho get bused to a more ’ distant town wheretheyattend a bigger school.
  12. 12. This closed store was infamous because the bankrupt owners and their vendor had a dispute that led to a lot of food sitting inside while the closed store filled with rats.
  13. 13. June 13, 2010 Waterville Morning Sentinel by Amy Calder, Staff Writer OLD STORE OVERRUN BY RATS: Candy-eating rodents entrenched At former China Village General Store CHINA -- It's going to take at least a month to rid the former China Village General Store of dozens of rats living in and around the Main Street building, according to officials. The rats are feeding off candy bars, boxes of cereal and other food left inside the store, which closed in February 2009, Code Enforcement Officer Scott Pierz said. The town took action after neighbors and people visiting the nearby post office on Main Street saw rats around the building and called the town office to complain, Town Manager Dan L'Heureux said. "They were rightfully concerned about the health, welfare and safety of the area," L'Heureux said. Pierz said no one realized there were rats in the building before the complaints. When the store closed last year, paper was taped to the windows and recently, the glue of the tape dried up and the paper came off...
  14. 14. Another closed neighborhood storein rural Pittsfield. I t still had apayphoneoutside, asdid theclosed storein China. I wondered how far peoplehad to go to buymilk or bread.
  15. 15. This awesome toy store just closed after years of good times in the affluent college town of Brunswick. The owner told us it was never the same after a nearby navy base closed. They had just repositioned themselves in the market when the recession hit. In the U.S. we are taught to equate military bases with prosperity.
  16. 16. It's not just Maine. Google “school closing vote” and this is the first page of hits: “Board delays school closing vote,” New Pittsburgh Courier, 7/30/10 “Hundreds protest school closings vote in New York City,”, 1/27/10 “School closing was neither fair, nor transparent,” Fairfax County, VA, 7/20/10 “Court Rejects Union Bid To Block School Closings,”, 2/23/10 “Memorial School closing vote unanimous,” Reminder Online, Western Mass., 4/5/10
  17. 17. CLOSED a photo essay D edicated to thepeopleof: Fairfield Burnham Pittsfield Skowhegan Cornville Starks Palmyra Embden M onson China & Waterville, For moreinformation on how M aineis M aine using local resolutionsto spark conversationsin communities, visit
  18. 18. Join us in action!$$home/ Lisa Savage CODEPINK Maine Local Coordinator 207-643-2356 207-399-7623 (cell) Mark Roman Bring Our War $$ Home campaign 207-643-2356 207-399-7624