Maine News Headline Animator

Maine News

Friday, January 25, 2008

Maine News for Friday, January 25, 2008

Families welcome Guard members
Thirteen communications specialists with the Maine Air National Guard have returned home after a nearly five-month deployment in Iraq.

Bus, rail expansion? Study starts
A $1 million project is looking at the merits of public transit to relieve highway traffic north and west of Portland.

N.H.'s PUC staff favors FairPoint deal
The land-line sales agreement is basically the same as those approved in Maine and considered in Vermont.

Proposals on state job cuts reviewed
State House: Lawmakers take a look at their options in the ongoing attempt to close a big budget gap.

EDITORIAL: Basketball franchise proposal has ingredients for success
Minor-league sports teams with a strong brand and good management do well in Portland.

EDITORIAL: Time to start citywide redistricting talks now
The Portland School Committee should redraw the school map to use scarce resources wisely.

COLUMN: Wow, the government wants to send us a check
There are ways this plan would make sense. Sadly, the way it's going down isn't one of them.

MAINE VOICES: Food pantries need help now -- and later
While winter makes people think of those in need more often, the need exists all year.

LTE: Take steps to abolish nuclear weapons

LTE: Keep Dirigo healthy, add Massachusetts mandate

Oregon man subdued with Taser
An Oregon man with a long and violent criminal history, including a conviction for a 1984 murder in Louisiana, remained in custody Thursday after police officers used a Taser gun to subdue him at a local motel.

Firm's new Calais office welcome in a region hungry for fresh jobs
CALAIS - City officials were all smiles Thursday as a Canadian market research firm officially opened its first U.S.-based office on North Street.

Maine Dems reject parental consent bill
Legislative leaders, voting along party lines on Thursday, rejected proposed legislation that would require parental consent for schools to give children 14 and under prescription drugs, including birth control pills.

EDITORIAL: Stimulus and Housing
The plan to stimulate the sagging national economy, crafted by Congress and the president this week, focuses largely on giving checks to middle- and low-income people. The hope is that they will spend the money, and quickly, which in turn will stimulate the economy, which is heavily tied to consumer spending.

EDITORIAL: Offender Registry, Remade
As the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee begins the difficult and emotionally charged task of remaking the state's sex offender registry in the wake of a Maine supreme court ruling and changes to federal law, lawmakers must ensure that the public is protected without excessive punishment or shaming.

Edward F. Snyder: Corrections system needs fundamental changes
The Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, which represents Quaker meetings around the state, understands and appreciates Gov. John Baldacci's need to reduce state government spending in order to meet the constitutional requirement to balance the budget.

Joshua Foster : A fresh look at the plan for schools
While I've been educated in what I'm proud to say is one of the greatest public education states in the country, I now go to college in the nearby state of Massachusetts. Upon my convivial migration for winter break, I unwittingly drove straight into the great chaos that is school consolidation.

LTEs: Wiretapping outrage

$95 MILLION SHORTFALL: Lawmakers brace to pare state budget
AUGUSTA -- State lawmakers on Thursday reviewed state-issued contracts and proposed job cuts in hopes of finding more ways to save money to close a $95 million budget gap.

Southern Maine expected to see real estate stability
Southern Maine home prices will bottom out later this year, demand for Portland office space will remain strong and a large inventory of industrial space will flatten lease rates, experts predicted Thursday at the Maine Real Estate & Development Association's annual forecast conference.

Green groups target toxic toys
AUGUSTA -- Sandra Armington of Hallowell is worried about children who play with rubber duckies.

Somerset County to beef up emergency system
SKOWHEGAN -- Bob Higgins envisions a system of emergency shelters in Somerset County where even pets will have a place to go if the lights go out.

Colby now grants only
WATERVILLE -- Colby College made headlines last fall when it announced a plan to replace loans with grants for students from Maine who receive financial aid from the college.

Winter needs drain assistance funds
The Rev. Mark Tanner says money is being drained from the Ecumenical Ministerial Fund in Skowhegan like water through a sieve, as more and more calls come in for economic assistance.

CARLA DICKSTEIN LIVES IN WISCASSET AND : Maine faces tide of foreclosures: Rate of subprime mortgage loans in default highest in New England; federal action needed
Last June, the Maine Legislature unanimously passed legislation to protect Mainers from predatory mortgage lending practices that have contributed to a record number of foreclosures.

LTE: Inspections of vehicles every 2 years a bad idea

LTE: Lobby Congress to stop horse slaughter

AUGUSTA TISSUE: New uses urged for old paper mill
AUGUSTA -- City officials are not ready to seize the former Augusta Tissue paper mill, but about a dozen neighbors Thursday shared their hopes for the nearly mile-long site with city officials Thursday.

LTE: Look at the facts regarding Citizens Energy
I would like to take this opportunity to address Mona Charen's Jan. 8 commentary concerning Joseph Kennedy II and his low-cost energy programs.

Legislature Asked to Crack Down on Metal Thieves
Skyrocketing prices for certain metals is fueling a bonanza in Maine for many recyclers. But it's also creating an alarming influx of stolen metal on the resale market. State lawmakers are now being asked to consider emergency legislation to help discourage metal thieves by imposing new requirements for scrap metal dealers. A.J. Higgins reports.

Maine Real Estate Officials Undaunted By National Trend
A national real estate trade group issued bleak news this morning, saying the nation's home sales saw their biggest decline in 25 years. But in Maine, the annual meeting of a real estate and development association was more upbeat. As Murray Carpenter reports, members say the real estate market is faring better in Maine than elsewhere in the country.

Harsh Prison Sentence Draws Mixed Reaction
A prison sentence meted out to an Aroostook County man this week by a federal judge in Bangor is likely among the harshest ever in Maine. It's life in prison for 56-year-old Michael Pelletier, sentenced for over a dozen felony convictions including drug trafficking, money laundering and social security fraud. But U.S. District Judge John Woodcock had no sentencing leeway, even though the defendent was confined to a wheelchair. Keith McKeen reports.

EDITORIAL: Tax holiday would give us quickest relief
"If," said Rudyard Kipling," you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs... If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same... If you can wait and not be tired by waiting..."

LTE: Money or their life?
I cannot imagine why the governor wants to privatize the Elizabeth Levinson Center in Bangor. He is taking Maine's most vulnerable population, the children with the severe to profound range of mental retardation, and handing them off to the private sector.

Study: Cut Maine taxes
PORTLAND, Maine — A study released Thursday by a conservative Portland think tank estimates that Maine loses $36.4 million in tax revenues annually from Maine residents who shop in nearby New Hampshire.

Local shipyard maintenance crew to have work in San Diego
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe, Susan Collins (R-ME), Judd Gregg and John Sununu (R-NH) announced today that the Navy will establish a detachment of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS) in Southern California

MPBN: Time for Tom Allen to change strategy
MPBN's Maine Things Considered aired a report last night that was pretty blunt about the direction of the Tom Allen for Senate Campaign so far. Here's how it started:

Collins Watch: Creeping Fascism?

I am disgusted by Sen. Olympia Snowe's stated position on the inclusion of immunity for telecoms in the FISA bill and justifications for it.

Senate Guru: Thursday Quick Hits

Maine: The New York Times eviscerates Susan Collins:

News of Maine: Tom Allen, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Telecommunications Immunity

Tom Allen, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Telecommunications Immunity

Turn Maine Blue: The Stimulus Package - Another Perspective
As the PPH and other sources are reporting, talk about the possibility of a recessoin has turned into how to hold one off. To that end, Bush and Congressional leaders (and Maine's delegation) have formulated a plan to provide a shot in the arm for the economy, a stimulus.

White Noise Insanity: Dennis Kucinich has dropped out of the presidential race
That's okay. I'm still caucusing for him in February and will cast my 2nd vote as 'uncommitted'. So the

Offthegridgirl: New FEMA blueprint seeks to clarify emergency response roles
Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Mary Landrieu, D-La., praised the new framework, but emphasized that it is only the beginning of reforming the nation's disaster response capability. "We still have a lot of work left . . .