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Maine News

Friday, January 18, 2008

Maine News for Friday, January 18, 2008

Border checks tighten Jan. 31
A driver's license will no longer be enough for those entering the United States from Canada.

Truckers may back bill to limit idling time
State House: The measure would hold diesel trucks and some gas trucks to five minutes per hour.

Burned by high oil prices, Mainers warm to wood
Wood stoves carry an air-pollution risk, but if properly operated they compare favorably to oil burners, experts say.

EDITORIAL: Medicine gets better with electronic records
A pilot program in Maine could reduce errors and improve patient outcomes.

ANOTHER VIEW: Struggling Maine families could use a break on inspection stickers
An editorial opposing a bill to do less-frequent vehicle checks missed the practical argument.

COLUMN: Abortions down, births up -- what could be wrong with that?
Some people will find those trends depressing, but they're not going with the flow.

LTE: Turn focus to soldiers, not steroids

LTE: Sen. Joseph Biden was our best presidential candidate

Low-rate loan saves family from the cold
OLD TOWN, Maine — Seated in the warmth of their living room, the O'Clair family praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development staff for helping them to keep the heat on this winter.

Shock, awe: Army son returns home
BANGOR, Maine — Joanne Parisien sat quietly at her corner desk Thursday, dutifully designing artwork for an advertising plan. Only when a man walked up and stood behind her chair did her concentration break.

Democrat teacher joins race for Senate

ORONO, Maine — It seems there will be a primary race in the campaign for U.S. Senate after all.

Plum Creek 'loopholes' weaken plan
With nearly 1,000 house lots and an even larger number of resort accommodations, Plum Creek's Moosehead Lake proposal stands as the largest development plan ever submitted to Maine regulators.

Reforming our jails
AUGUSTA, Maine — If the current county and state jail system is left in place, taxpayers will face funding $60 million to $100 million to build new facilities that aren't really needed, according to a state corrections official.

Trucker weight restrictions bill clears key hurdle
The state Legislature's Transportation Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to OK emergency legislation that will give state logging truckers some temporary relief from high diesel prices by increasing the amount of wood they can haul.

EDITORIAL: Economic boost
As news about the U.S. economy gets worse, expect to hear more about a stimulus package. What should such a package include? Economists agree any stimulus measures — usually tax rebates or reductions and increased government spending — must produce quick results and be temporary.

LTE: Penny-wise, pound-foolish
For shame, Gov. John Baldacci, you sound like an old-time Republican, promising no increased taxes while cutting services to our most needy and vulnerable citizens.

Towns search for more funding as heating assistance requests rise
It's been a tough winter. And with the high cost of fuel oil, communities are struggling to find ways to help people heat their homes.

Plum Creek foes decry easements
Supporters of Plum Creek Timber Co.'s proposal to develop 20,000 acres in the Moosehead Lake region tout the company's plan to permanently conserve roughly 430,000 acres.

COLUMN: Tsunami Tuesday will make election picture clearer
If you have not been paying attention to the presidential primaries until now, start before it is too late. We have witnessed a caucus in Iowa, a widely publicized primary in New Hampshire and a Republican primary in Michigan.

LTE: Plum Creek plan promotes conservation
Plum Creek's proposal is a positive step in the right direction toward securing conservation, access and employment opportunities in the Moosehead Lake Region and also the surrounding areas of Jackman, West Forks, Bingham, Abbot, Guilford, Monson and a host of other satellite towns and plantations.

LTE: State workers have given up much over the years
Potshots are again being taken at state employees as a way to balance the state budget.

Officials: Added heat aid falls short
AUGUSTA -- Although Maine will receive an additional $8.8 million from the federal government to support heating assistance for low-income families, some state leaders say it's far short of what's needed.

LTE: Peru Free Trade pact no better than NAFTA
Despite the failures of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe voted to expand it to Peru.

LTE: It's time to clean house in Augusta
It appears our fellow countrymen want some changes to take place in Washington. The elected officials just can't seem to get anything done except spend our money on useless pork-barrel projects.

LTE: Look at federally funded agencies to save money
The state budget is up for discussion again, with more cuts needed. Why not start with federally funded state agencies?

EDITORIAL: Immigration policy that has worked
A debate in Mexico about quashing benefits for illegal immigrants would likely draw worldwide attention, if taking place inside the government halls of Mexico City, not among selectmen in Western Maine.

Bill Would Require Vehicle Inspections Once Every Two Years
Since 1982, Mainers have become accustomed to driving their cars and trucks to the local garages each year with the hope that their vehicles will pass the annual state safety inspection. But improvements in automotive technology and high-mileage brakes and tires are producing safer vehicles and one Maine lawmaker says it's time to extend the inspection cycle to every two years. But as A.J. Higgins reports, the proposal is not without its critics.

New Federal Rule Could Reduce Cruise Ship Visits

It's hard to imagine that a dispute over cruise ship competition in Hawaii could harm the cruise ship business in Maine. But that's exactly what could happen, according to advocates for the fast-growing industry that brought more than 100,000 visitors to Maine last year. Murray Carpenter reports.

Study Suggests College Level Courses for High School Students

Educators in Maine have tried lots of things to boost the state's college enrollment rate. Nonetheless, it continues to lag behind that of other states in the region. Now a new study by the Portland-based Mitchell Institute suggests that there's a relatively simple way to turn that statistic around: signing students up for college level courses before they graduate from high school. Barbara Cariddi reports.

Border lawmakers reject Chertoff's rhetoric on border security
Maine Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Allen says he's heard from Mainers concerned about the cost of passports or about carrying important documents like birth certificates just to cross the border.

County officials offer unified jail plan
AUGUSTA — County officials have proposed a unified jail system that would put all county lockups under a Maine Jail and Community Corrections Authority.

As Maine Goes: Angus King Considered Run Against Sen. Collins
King: I considered it and rejected it out of hand. Our differences aren't so great, so running against her would be an ego thing. I think she's a pretty good senator. Besides, I'm 63 and I'd have to serve in the Senate until I was 80 to have any seniority.

As Maine Goes: House Passes New Defense Budget, Allen/Michaud 'YEA'

WASHINGTON - The House on Wednesday passed a new defense policy bill that includes a pay raise for troops.

As Maine Goes: Deregulation Caused Maine's High Electric Rates?
The cost of generating electricity delivered to households served by Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. increase from 4.5 cents pkw hour to 9 cents between 2000-2007.

As Maine Goes: Abortions at 30-Year Low?
The US abortion rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1974, the first full year after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide, new data show.

As Maine Goes: Should We Call This an Economic Stimulus Plan?
Republican leaders no longer demanding the stimulus package extend 2001/2003 Bush tax cuts set to expire in 2010.


Turn Maine Blue: Open Thread
Kathleen Turner has recorded this
radio spot now playing in Maine (clicking the link launches the ad automatically) for People for the American Way, as a reminder how of fragile a woman's right to make decisions regarding her own body is.

Collins Watch: KJ Letters Again
Elizabeth St.Laurent of Augusta has had
two pro-Collins letters published in the Kennebec Journal in the last month.

PolitickerME: Actress Kathleen Turner Takes Swipe at Susan Collins
People for America Way, ( has launched an independent expenditure, timed to the 35th anniversary of Roe v Wade, that tells listeners Senator Susan Collins doesn't really support the right for woman to be able to have an abortion, because she votes for George Bush's Supreme Court nominees almost all of the time.