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Maine News

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Maine News for Thursday, November 29, 2007


Maine's tobacco sales law doubted
A Supreme Court review of the law targeting sales to children will be a key test of Internet commerce.

Report: Step up Maine bridge repairs
The state's spans are safe, engineers say,but up to $60 million more peryear is needed for maintenance.

New Hampshire region's worst at reducing pollution
Maine also receives a failing grade in the New England Climate Coalition's annual study.

12 states sue over EPA rule on toxins
Maine is one of the states that oppose a new rule easing requirements on public disclosure.

EDITORIAL: Can new process yield Mideast peace in 2008?
The obstacles to such a pact are many, but a commitment has been made.

LTE: High-risk pools would allow many to afford care


Lawyer sues malls, cities
Thursday, November 29, 2007
PORTLAND , MAINE - A Rumford attorney who wants to bring a resort casino to Oxford County has sued three of the state’s busiest shopping malls along with Wal-Mart, Irving Oil and Hannaford Bros. in an attempt to force the owners to allow petition gatherers on their properties.

Education bill aims to lift barriers to consolidation

AUGUSTA - Proposed legislation from the Department of Education would eliminate unintended financial barriers to school reorganization and ease the path to consolidation, according to state officials.

Health care firm to use Belfast complex
Thursday, November 29, 2007
BELFAST - Gov. John Baldacci and other dignitaries this morning will announce that AthenaHealth, a publicly traded company from Massachusetts , has decided to expand into the Bank of America complex overlooking Route 1.

GOP leaders question $20 million investment
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Senate Republican leaders face resistance to their demands that state Treasurer David Lemoine provide more information on a controversial investment that has frozen $20 million from the state's cash pool.

Logging truckers consider D.C. visit

With some facing bankruptcy, the state's independent logging truckers are considering rolling on Washington , D.C. , to protest high diesel fuel costs that they say are killing the state's forest products industries, which pump about $11.5 billion a year into Maine 's economy.

Baldaccis to open childhood development summit
Thursday, November 29, 2007
ROCKPORT - Gov. John Baldacci and first lady Karen Baldacci are scheduled to open the two-day 2007 Governor's Economic Summit on Early Childhood at 1 p.m. today at the Samoset Resort.

Most state schools meet fed standards
Thursday, November 29, 2007
AUGUSTA , MAINE - The Department of Education has announced that two-thirds of the state's schools have maintained Adequate Yearly Progress under the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind act.

EDITORIAL: Penobscot Restoration
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The Bush administration has long touted the concept of cooperative conservation. With federal funding and a successful $10 million private fundraising campaign, the Penobscot River Restoration Project is a real example of this idea.

Thursday's Letters to the Editor … Too compromised … Rail’s shortcomings … GOP owed an apology … ‘Far left’ Totenberg


Maine one of 12 states suing over new EPA rules
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Twelve states including Maine sued the Bush administration on Wednesday to force greater disclosure of data on toxic chemicals that companies store, use and release into the environment.

Report says more should be spent on bridge repairs

AUGUSTA (AP) -- A report created in response to the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis calls for a $50 million to $60 million increase in funding per year for bridge repairs and replacements in Maine .

Toll system opened to public
AUGUSTA -- A 20-member committee created by the Maine Turnpike Authority continues to re-evaluate how the Authority collects tolls.

Test results cite school progress
AUGUSTA -- Most local schools made "adequate yearly progress" based on the latest round of student test results, including one high school whose students met state standards in both reading and math for the first time in four years.

Fund details at issue

AUGUSTA -- State Treasurer David Lemoine said Wednesday that the Merrill Lynch broker who recommended a $20 million investment in a fund that was later frozen did not disclose all the necessary details.

New England fares poorly in climate report card for 2007
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire was the worst state in New England for reducing pollution but its regional peers also deserve criticism, according to an annual study released Wednesday by the New England Climate Coalition.

Justices are skeptical of Maine tobacco law
WASHINGTON -- Several Supreme Court justices on Wednesday expressed skepticism over a Maine law aimed at cracking down on Internet tobacco sales to children.

On Maine Politics

“Rising star” in Maine politics?

House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, D-North Haven, is heading to Colorado Thursday to participate in a fellowship program as one of 24 “rising stars of American politics,” as identified by the Aspen Institute.

EDITORIAL: Fault not with investment, but delay in telling
In early August, staff in the Maine state treasurer's office spoke with a Merrill Lynch broker who is on the list of reputable and reliable brokers vetted by the state's investment advisers. That broker recommended the state invest $20 million in a fund called Mainsail II for a 23-day period. Which it did.

DAN BILLINGS : Racino foes waged strong, winning campaign
In a quiet election year, the citizen initiative to allow the Passamaquoddy Tribe to build a racino in Washington County garnered the most attention. But more interesting than the debate before the vote is what the initiative's defeat says about the future of gaming in Maine .

JIM BRUNELLE : Maine among U.S. leaders in search for alternate energy
Is it my imagination or has the global-warming-is-just-a-liberal-hoax crowd entered a cooling-off period? We just don't seem to hear them scoffing at the idea of climate change as cheerily as in the past.

LTE: Great editorial, but many questions remain
The editorial (Nov. 21) regarding Attorney General Steven Rowe's Dennis Dechaine commission deserves to win a journalistic award for clear thinking and superb writing.


LTE: Great article on our public right to information
Congratulations on the incisive editorial on Jim Moore's Freedom of Access Act suit. We need more of this kind of "looks like a duck..." clarity when it comes to what Sen. J. William Fulbright once called "the arrogance of power.”

LTE: An expert's rebuttal to Charen's commentary
I read in Tuesday's paper the commentary by Mona Charen regarding Ron Paul and his supporters. I feel a need to respond.


Report urges more repairs of bridges in Maine
AUGUSTA (AP) - A report created in response to the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis calls for a sharp increase in the amount of money spent each year for bridge repairs and replacements in Maine .

Democrats rebuff GOP demands for investment probe
AUGUSTA (AP) - Maine 's top Senate and House leaders say state Treasurer David Lemoine already has given details of his agency's $20 million investment in Mainsail II commercial paper, which has been downgraded to junk status.

Bill addresses glitches in district consolidation law
AUGUSTA (AP) - Hoping to remove barriers before school units as they work on final consolidation plans, the Baldacci administration is submitting legislation to address three of their major concerns over the law that was enacted earlier this year.

Maine, other states sue EPA for data on toxic chemicals
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Twelve states including Maine sued the Bush administration on Wednesday to force greater disclosure of data on toxic chemicals that companies store, use and release into the environment.

LTE: Illegal mandate
According to what I read recently, a state law mandating school consolidation was passed this year with the intent of reducing the costs of education.


Maine Bridges Given Clean Bill of Health
Maine 's bridges are safe, but will need more than a billion dollars in funding over the next ten years. That's the conclusion of a study conducted by the state Department of Transportation in response to the bridge collapse in Minnesota this summer that killed 13 people, and injured more than 100. Keith Shortall reports.

Tough Choices Ahead for Budget Negotiators
As Maine lawmakers attempted to close a $10.1 million dollar gap in the state budget, they learned that the state's finances are sliding even more deeply into the red. Due to declining sales tax receipts, cigarette and tobacco tax collections and other revenue losses, economic forecasters are predicting an additional $95.2 million shortfall before the two-year budget cycle closes in 2009. As A.J. Higgins reports, the governor's office and legislative leaders agree there will be some tough choices ahead.

Maine Joins Suit Over Toxic Chemical Information Policy
Twelve states including Maine are suing the Bush administration over new regulations that limit disclosure of data on the toxic chemicals that companies store and use. The suit was sparked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision earlier this year to roll back regulations requiring companies to report their storage or discharge of certain toxins into the environment. Barbara Cariddi reports.


'Ghost town' fears haunt BNAS reuse panel
BRUNSWICK — Some of Gov. John Baldacci's base reuse advisers are concerned that area residents and business owners are still underestimating the...(full story)

Mandated sick leave bill heads to Legislature
AUGUSTA — Maine could become the first state in the country to require companies with 25 employees or more to offer paid sick leave to both full- and...(full story)

EDITORIAL: Insiders out
Since his election to the Bangor City Council in 1978, John Baldacci has been the consummate politician. He works hard, remembers names, inspires loyalty and understands what it takes to win...(full story)


It’s Not Just Gasoline

BANGOR — If you think your electric bill is already too high, Carroll Lee has some bad news: The worst is yet to come.

Subprime Mortgage Mess

AUGUSTA — The state treasurer got caught in the subprime mortgage mess when a $20-million, short-term investment was made in a fund with assets that are frozen, at least for now.

Legislators to Consider Bill Requiring Paid Sick Leave

AUGUSTA — Maine could become the first state in the country to require companies with 25 employees or more to offer paid sick leave to both full- and part-time employees.

State Recommends Closing Four Job Centers

AUGUSTA — The state Department of Labor is recommending closing four of its 21 job centers serving the unemployed in Saco, Houlton, Ellsworth and Belfast to save on rent and overhead because of steadily declining federal funds.

The Health Care Dilemma

The United States and Canada are two of the richest countries in the world. But when it comes to their health care systems, both leave a lot to be desired. The great advantage to the Canadian system, as revealed by the recently completed three-part “Health Care Canada ” series in The Ellsworth American, is its universal access. But the Canadian system also is plagued by long waits for many medical and surgical procedures and by a shortage of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.


Representatives from a variety of Eastern Maine research and educational institutions announced recently that they had secured millions of dollars in funding for installation of Internet2, the next generation on the information superhighway. In fact, if the present Internet can be thought of as a four-lane highway, Internet2 is equal to having 32 lanes — in each direction.


Let’s Talk About Health Care

We should commend The American for its decision to address for several weeks “Health Care in Canada .” The promise that The American series will make no attempt to take a position about the value of the system of either the Canadian or the U.S. is very much appreciated.

“System” Needs More Compassion

As we go through life we face challenge. Everyone has had their share. Adversity arises whether it be running out of gas on the freeway or finding out that a loved one has been diagnosed with some sort of disease.

State Doesn’t Always Know Best

I am able to write this letter thanks to the many social contracts that were kept by the people who came into my life such as my friends and family. Social contracts, the implied and expected behavior that one has in response to another person’s action, are the glue of human behavior. Without them we become another part of the Darwinian cycle of eat or be eaten. Thus it is for the residents of Maine that there exist certain social contracts between them and the government, that they elect and pay to enforce certain social, legal and economic contracts. An example of such a contract would be the education of our children. Most of us in Maine believe that it is a duty to educate our children. Another example of a social contract might be the right to go out in November and shoot a deer. In the state of Maine , residents by and large would agree with the idea that residents of Maine have the right to go get a deer. In a state like New Jersey , this social contract might not exist. And so it is that every state has its own unique set of social contracts.

MedNow Seeks Senator’s Help

We are seeking help from U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe for a situation which is occurring at the MedNow Clinic in Ellsworth. This is a small, privately owned clinic in Ellsworth that provides a great deal of service to the community.


New England-based company chooses Belfast for expansion

BELFAST (Nov 28): The state's political and business elite will be in Belfast for a major announcement Thursday morning about a new business coming to the city. Gov. John Baldacci, Sen. Olympia Snowe, Congressmen Tom Allen and Mike Michaud, City of Belfast Mayor Walter Ash and President & CEO, Maine & Company Matt Jacobson are among the expected guests at the announcement, which will be made at 9 a.m. at the former MBNA Phase 1, at 1 Hatley Drive .


Report: Up bridge repair money

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A report created in response to the Interstate-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis calls for a $50 million to $60 million increase in funding per year for bridge repairs and replacements in Maine .

Shipyard workers yawn at bush

KITTERY, Maine — Despite a recent Bush administration warning that more than 100,000 civilian employees at military bases could lose their jobs, employees at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard said they are not concerned.


Towns forward school merger plans to state

YORK — Facing a Dec. 1 deadline, The York and Wells-Ogunquit school committees have voted to send reorganization plans to the state's Department of Education.


Athena Health to Locate in Belfast

Big job news coming to Belfast ! Hundreds of jobs are on their way to the former MBNA site. The announcement is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM in Belfast .

GOP leaders demand answers over lost money

State Senate Republicans are demanding answers as to how the state lost nearly $20 million with an investment gone bad. They are asking State Treasurer David Lemoine to appear before the Legislative Council as soon as possible. recognized

The State of Maine’s Web site is the second best in the country, according to the Center for Digital Government.

Who slipped a shot of espresso in Carol Weston’s cup of decaf?

The reliably docile Senate Republican Leader took a whack at State Treasurer Dave Lemoine for squandering 20 million tax dollars by investing in Mainsail II, a poorly rated subprime mortgage company. Now that the reality has sunk in, that investing in a company that makes money off people with a history of unpaid bills was about as good an idea as communism (it looked good on paper), Sen. Weston seized an opportunity to hold a bureaucrat accountable.


Harman, ACLU Exchange Barbs Over Terrorism Commission

The legislation, which the House passed Oct. 23 by a vote of 404-6, would create a 10-member commission to study how domestic terrorism takes root and offer suggestions on its prevention to the president and Congress.

A related Senate bill (S 1959) by Maine Republican Susan Collins has seen no action.


Say thanks to caregivers

We should also thank those who are currently in Congress who champion the cause of homecare and hospice, especially Sens. Susan Collins and Russ Feingold. The nation is much better now for the victories they fought and won on behalf of the most vulnerable Americans.


GOP Presidential Candidates Defend 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has also questioned the law, telling Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael ...


Congressman Tom Allen, of Maine, outlines energy plan

Allen, a Maine Democrat, stood outside a Portland gas station on Monday to outline his plan to bring consumers relief from the high price of oil. Allen is running against Susan Collins in next year's senate race.

Hartmann on HR 1959

Obviously, Dems didn't bother to read it, trusting that co-sponsors (good old Jane Harman/Bernie Thompson) would never hopper such a totalitarian-flavored bill. It's likely to do the same in the Senate, though maybe Dems there won't be able to muster the troops against Blue Dog types even though it's co-sponsored by Repugs Susan Collins/Norm Coleman.

Matt Schaeffer Column: Edwards Will Win Dem Nomination Because of the "Unsaid"

Lemoine on $20 Million Loss of Your Tax Dollars

" Maine would have better odds of buying a megaball ticket and winning than of buying this and losing," Lemoine said.

Karl Rove is trying to rewrite the last seven years of American history

Why is he doing this? Oh that’s right. To make himself feel better and to give the impression that America’s Taliban (Bush Regime & the GOP) is not accountable or responsible for ANYTHING that has happened for the past seven years. See? It’s the white noise of propaganda at it’s finest!

In Iraq Now and Forever?

Check out this guest blog post in our Pingree Campaign Journal blog by writer Nick von Hoffman of Maine (writer for The Nation, former WaPo journalist, and former commentator on CBS's 60 Minutes, among other jobs).

ME could recoup $20M investment loss - Mainebiz

"The state will get back most of the $20 million it lost in a risky subprime investment, says State Treasurer David Lemoine."

Businessweek - Maine report warns against Verizon sale

"A report to Maine utility regulators recommends against the proposed sale of Verizon Communications' landline business in northern New England to FairPoint Communications Inc.


"I believe oil prices are going up because the demand for oil outstrips the supply for oil. Oil is going up because developing countries รข€¦ use a lot of oil.
Oil is going up because we use too much oil, and the capacity to replace reserves is dwindling. That's why the price of oil is going up." - President George W. Bush

Better Watch Those Radical Thoughts, Folks

If you thought the Patriot Act was bad, just consider how much worse it could get with the “Patriot Act Lite,” which would give the government the right to crack down on thought. … The Senate version was written by Joe Lieberman and Jane Harmon and is being pushed by Susan Collins.

Civil Libertarians Warn of ‘Patriot Act Lite’

The Senate version is being drafted by Susan Collins of Maine , the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is chaired by the hawkish Connecticut independent, Sen. Joe Lieberman. ...

Thought Crime Bill S.1959

There's a new bill that's been sponsored in the Senate by Susan Collins (R-ME) If you're not aware of should be. It's called The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act of 2007.

Senate Blues

Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon , could pay for their party affiliation. While both are personally popular at home, their states trend Democratic, especially in presidential years.

GOP Presidential Candidates Defend ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has also questioned the law, telling Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen that she "recently met with a retired admiral in Maine who urged me to ...

Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007

Introduced:, Aug 2, 2007. Sponsor:, Sen. Susan Collins [R-ME]. Status:, Introduced. Go to Bill Status Page. You are viewing the following version of this bill:. Introduced in Senate: This is the original text of the bill as it was ...

2 Halliburton Sells Nuclear Technology to Iran

The amendment, sponsored by Senator Susan Collins R-Maine, would penalize companies that continue to skirt US law by setting up offshore subsidiaries as a way to legally conduct and avoid US sanctions under the International Emergency ...