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Maine News

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Maine News for Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A split decision for wind power in Maine
A state panel OKs one plan and rejects another amid calls for changes in the approval process.

Analyst advocates cuts in schools, Medicad
Critics say the proposal is too simplistic and does nothing to mitigate the high cost of health care.

EDITORIAL: Federal ID a good idea executed poorly
The need for more reliable identification is real, indeed, but the states shouldn't pay for it.

EDITORIAL: Candidates should set tone for discussion of gender, race
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama should head off ugly and inaccurate attacks by surrogates.

COLUMN: Portland's economy vital, but caution flags flying
Comparing the city to other 'benchmark' U.S. communities shows strengths and weaknesses.

MAINE VOICES: Paid sick days make sense for Maine businesses
Doing what is right by workers can't be anything but good for the entire state's economic health.

LTE: Stand up to government, oppose REAL ID program
Americans are being asked to turn over another large piece of their privacy by agreeing to a national ID card (REAL ID).

Milo family struggles to keep warm
MILO, Maine - Cuddling a fussy toddler in a darkened kitchen that reeked of the last vapors from an empty propane tank, Renee Baillargeon, 22, was distraught.

Delegation pushes for additional LIHEAP funds
AUGUSTA, Maine — Congress will consider additional emergency funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program when it reconvenes this month, and members of Maine's congressional delegation are optimistic additional aid will be approved.

Center for rural growth approved
ORONO, Maine — Northern Maine soon will have a center to provide local communities and businesses with information they need to make better decisions about the future of the region.

Editorial: REAL ID, real problems
The Department of Homeland Security has pushed back deadlines and eased requirements for REAL ID, but without more clearly addressing how personal information will be protected and how the program will be paid for, the effort to set national standards for driver's licenses and identification cards remains unworkable.

LTE: Consolidate the state
Maine should consider consolidation of state government by redistricting, resulting in the reduction of the number of representatives with a cost savings in benefits. Merge the Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority to save money.

Emergency management offices get federal grants
Emergency-management offices in Franklin and Somerset counties will receive about $217,000 in Homeland Security grants to equip shelters with generators, help with emergency-responder training and educate the public in disaster preparedness.

Speaker says to lower tax burden, spend less
AUGUSTA -- Richard Silkman thinks Maine should strive to be average.

Jail overcrowding forecast: worsening
SKOWHEGAN -- Somerset County Jail on Monday was overflowing with 91 inmates, 36 over capacity, county officials said.

EDITORIAL: Tough fight for boater safety course
Question: What could the state of Maine do to increase boater safety, lower the number of deaths and injuries caused on the water and diminish the cost of boat insurance by at least 10 percent?

COLUMN: Spanish Inquisition made a science of waterboarding; Bush, others try to sanitize method of torture with new name

President Bush won't answer questions about the CIA's use of waterboarding to question terror suspects.

LTE: Collins should be asking hard questions about Iraq

In his column from Jan. 8, David Offer expresses his anger regarding the incredible amounts of money wasted, stolen and simply lost reconstructing Iraq. Tales of such waste began to be reported soon after many of the no-bid contracts were awarded and there were reports of shoddy construction, of truckers driving empty trucks around, bribery and even of pallets of $100 bills vanishing like magic.

LTE: If Clinton elected, Bill will have 3rd term

LTE: Don't vote for Clinton just because she's a woman

Susan Cover: Will Dems support Ron Paul?

Ken Lindell, who's heading up efforts for Ron Paul's presidential campaign in Maine, wants to let Democrats know that Tuesday (Jan. 15) is the last day they can change their party affiliation if they want to participate in the Republican caucuses.

Storms stretching budgets, crews
LEWISTON - This winter is growing wearisome, and Monday's snowfall didn't help.

Baby Jesus statue lifted from church
PORTLAND (AP) - For the second time in a year, a statue of the baby Jesus was stolen from a display in front a Portland Church.

COLUMN: Good luck changing tone of Washington politics
Politicians don't usually get me excited, but Barack Obama does. Maybe it's the contrast between him and the elocutionally-challenged President Bush.

LTE: Health care system is 'Sicko'
I've had the pleasure of seeing Michael Moore's film "Sicko." Knowing Moore's reputation, I was a bit apprehensive about the movie, but I have to admit, I, as well as others, walked away from it shocked and angry at the situation of this nation's health care system.

New boat's launch inspires hope; Local composites companies eye more work for Navy (Picture of Senator Collins)

EAST BOOTHBAY — Mid-coast composites manufacturers hope a groundbreaking new Navy craft — uniquely made combining carbon, Kevlar and a foam core — could set a course for more defense dollars in their industry.

Sheriff criticizes new jail plan

BELFAST — The governor's revised plan for a state takeover of county jails has drawn fire despite changes.


It's Maine. Who's Going to Notice?
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen Jr., whose own office is under investigation by the FBI and three other entities for waste and mismanagement, raised a few eyebrows last week when he showed up in Maine with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and told the state's leading paper she was the "most consistent and effective supporter of our oversight in Iraq."

Regulators Take Up Wind Power Projects

Members of the Land Use Regulation Commission delivered a mixed result to two proposed wind power projects in western Maine today. Commissioners unanimously voted to direct their staff to approve a zoning change for the larger of the plans. Transcanada's Kibby Mountain project calls for 44 turbines. But separately they also directed their staff to reject a more controversial proposal from Maine Mountain Power to erect 18 wind turbines on Black Nubble Mountain near the Appalachian Trail. As Susan Sharon reports, environmentalists were quick to criticize LURC's action as a "missed opportunity."

Parental Consent Required For Teens To Buy Rifles

A state lawmaker from Brunswick is backing a bill that would require children between the ages of 16 and 18 to obtain parental concent before they could purchase a rifle or shotgun. Rep. Stan Gerzofsky's bill would make Maine's law on weapons sales by private parties conform with federal law. It also includes language that would allow police to collect more information on suicides from other state agencies. A.J. Higgins reports.

Legislation Seeks To Bring More Physicians to Rural Areas
Maine faces a continuing challenge in efforts to attract enough primary care physicians to rural areas of the state. Maine Congressman Tom Allen is sponsoring legislation that he says will help the cause, and has the support of the Maine Primary Care Association. As Keith McKeen reports, Allen's bill would boost loan and scholarship assistance for doctors willing to practice in more remote communities of Maine.

Maine Voters Face Caucus Confusion

If you're considering switching your political party affiliation to participate in Maine's presidential caucuses, you'll need to do it soon. Democrats who want to join in the Republican caucuses have until Thursday to switch, and Republicans have until January 25th to join the Democrats. As Barbara Cariddi reports, whatever your party affiliation, you might be wondering when, where and how you'll actually get a chance to vote for a presidential nominee in Maine this year. You're not alone.

Coleman party unity ranking dropped to lowest ever last year

Looked at another way, the Minnesota senator opposed his party 36 percent of the time, putting him fifth among GOP senators, behind party moderates Olympia Snowe (Maine), Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania), Susan Collins (Maine) and Gordon Smith (Oregon).

As Maine Goes: It's Back! Baldacci's Primary Residency Valuation Freeze
L.D. 276 WORK SESSION: RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Require the Legislature To Freeze the Valuation of Maine Primary Residence Land (Sponsor: Sen. PERRY of Penobscot) (GOVERNOR'S BILL)

As Maine Goes: Libby Mitchell: Free School Breakfast for H.S. Seniors
Editor's Note: Doesn't this idea just scream 'We Democrats have our spending priorities straight'?

Turn Maine Blue: Is it the War/Terrorism, Stupid?

This opinion piece in today's New York Times by Matthew Continetti postulates that despite recent reports to the contrary, the occupation of Iraq an the fear of terrorism, when combined, is still the number one issue amongst voters:

Turn Maine Blue: Is Milk from Cows Fed GM Corn "Organic?"

It shouldn't come as a surprise that I peruse the op/ed pages of some of the papers in Maine, and so doing I come across pieces that are not politically related. I've been thinking about this piece from this morning's Bangor Daily News all day because it just hasn't sat well with me:

Senate Guru: Maine
Stuart W. Bowen Jr. is the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. His office is under investigation by "the FBI and three other entities for waste and mismanagement." So, of course, he's gallivanting around Maine with Susan Collins, whose record on Iraq oversight is absolutely atrocious and well beyond shameful.

Collins Watch: We noticed
You'll remember that a couple weeks back we expressed confusion about Sen. Collins' curious, questionable alliance with State Department official Stuart Bowen. Today, the Washington Post--in a piece aptly-titled "It's Maine. Who's Going to Notice?"--unpacks some of that confusion, and answers a few of our questions:

News of Maine: New YouTube Video From Senator Collins - Susan Collins christens high-tech vessel In Boothbay

WCSH report:Hodgdon Yachts launched a prototype of a new, high-tech speed boat for the Navy Seals Friday.

A View From My Balcony: The Neighborhood Bully is Homeland Security's Best Friend

Wow, just seems to always go from bad to worse under this New World Order American Fascist regime. Might as well say it as it is…

Politicker ME: Allen wins Gold Mouse
Democratic Congressman Tom Allen has received the coveted "Gold Mouse" award from the Congressional Management Foundation.

Frary to Michaud: 'Puzzling assertions' in impeachment letter

John Frary, Rep. Mike Michaud's Republican challenger in the Second Congressional District race, is calling for the congressman to explain his support for Vice President Dick Cheney's impeachment.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, today released the following statement on the Department of Homeland Security's release of regulations related to the REAL ID program:

Brave New Films: Susan Collins Enabled Blackwater And Other War Profitee
Yes, that's "moderate" Susan Collins, who lies about self-imposed term limits, wholeheartedly supports Samuel Alito, walks arm in arm with President Bush and, as this video shows, thinks that Blackwater's stealing your taxpayer money so they can kill people and cover it up deserves to be ignored.

Predicto: Real ID is postponed for 5 years
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration hit the brakes Friday on a controversial law requiring Americans to carry tamper-proof driver's licenses, delaying its final implementation by five years, until 2017.