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Maine News

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Maine News for Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2007 brought spike in players taking stimulants for ADD
A congressman questions whether their use is an exploitation of a loophole.

Clubs to continue video poker, for now
Three Sanford social clubs can keep their machines this year, but the town council wants to hear from voters in November.

Boating safety education bill debated
Backers say accidents could be prevented; opponents say enforcement of existing laws is the key to improving safety.

Judge sets earlier date for lynx plan
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service must issue a new critical habitat proposal by Feb. 15.

Wind farm developers set sights on summer
TransCanada hopes to have all permits approved in time to start construction in western Maine this year.

EDITORIAL: Wind-power rulings show need for new laws
The approval of one project and denial of another create an uncertain climate.

MySpace rules don't reduce need for parental control
Children still need protection from predators when using social-networking sites.

MAINE VOICES: A hull lot of jobs are going begging
The boat-building industry is a key Maine employer, but it's hard to interest young people in the field.

LTE: How does 'nice' play in politics?

Bucksport to offer discounts on gas
BUCKSPORT - The town has come up with an innovative way to attract and keep customers in town - lure them in with cheaper gas.

Bangor: Cianbro partners with OSHA, Labor Department at slots site
BANGOR - In an effort to prevent accidents at the Hollywood Slots at Bangor construction site on Main Street, Pittsfield-based Cianbro Corp. has entered into an official safety partnership with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Maine Department of Labor.

Lincoln launches heating oil assistance program for needy
LINCOLN - Following their Bangor neighbors' example, Lincoln is starting a free home heating oil assistance program targeting residents who fail to qualify for other programs but are in dire need of help.

Penobscot County weighs in on jail plan
BANGOR - Penobscot County commissioners on Tuesday described the governor's proposal to combine the state and county jail systems under one umbrella as "troubling" and "dishonest" and as a "cash cow" for the state.

Bill proposed to ease weight restrictions
Emergency legislation that aims to give state logging truckers some temporary relief from high diesel prices by increasing the amount of wood they can haul should be ready for Gov. John Baldacci's signature early next week.

Lobstermen begin reporting fishing trips
There are about 850 licensed lobstermen in Maine who have to do something this year they've never done before.

Farmers shocked by consolidation plan
AUGUSTA - Hundreds of farmers on Tuesday eyed the latest farming equipment and technology, networked with one another, and attended meetings and seminars to become more efficient and productive, during the annual Agricultural Trade Show.

Bangor: Navy officer from Maine helping Iraq city rebuild
BANGOR - City government is not foreign to Navy Capt. Bob McLaughlin.

EDITORIAL: Oil Reserve Reservations
President Bush Tuesday asked the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to release more oil onto the market to lower prices. Before looking for international solutions, the president should ensure his policies aren't driving up costs. Immediately, he should ask the Department of Energy to reassess its ongoing purchases of oil for the nation's strategic petroleum reserve. For the future, requiring more renewable energy production and conservation measures would help even more.

LTE: Reign in presidency
All the money and all the hype being put into this presidential campaign is going for no change if the powers of the presidency and vice presidency continue as they have been under George W. Bush. Yet no one seems to be addressing this.

LTE: Collins leads on energy
We are only days into 2008 and Sen. Susan Collins' opponents have already resumed their harsh negative attacks against her. The latest allegations appeared in a letter charging that Collins is, in effect, a stooge for big oil companies at the expense of Maine's small business and families, "Collins votes with big oil" (BDN, Jan. 5).

LTE: Free trade bad for Peru
Sens. Collins and Snowe miscalculated when they voted for the Peru Free Trade Agreement during the holiday season and thought the public wouldn't notice.

New Jackman border station set to proceed
JACKMAN -- The federal government has awarded a $25.9 million construction contract for a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry in Sandy Bay Township, on the Canadian border.

EDITORIAL: Snowmobile fees are tough, but right choice
It's hard to imagine that an abundance of snow would be a problem for the state's snowmobilers. But after years of too-little snow, it turns out this winter's surfeit of snow has conspired with high fuel prices to make one big and expensive headache for the industry.

COLUMN: Instead of a chainsaw, let's use hammer to fix Inland Fisheries
The road to consolidation of natural resource agencies is paved with broken promises.

State says it's bolstered aid to shelters
AUGUSTA -- State finance officials Wednesday reassured homeless shelters across Maine that a promised 15 percent increase in state subsidy is not in jeopardy.

Boater safety requirement urges
AUGUSTA -- Bowdoinham Harbormaster John McMullen sees careless boaters as they pass his home on Cathance River and when they pass him on the water.


Snowmobile fees are tough,
but right choice

It's hard to imagine that an abundance of snow would be a problem for the state's snowmobilers. But after years of too-little snow, it turns out this winter's surfeit of snow has conspired with high fuel prices to make one big and expensive headache for the industry.

GEORGE SMITH : Instead of a chainsaw, let's use
hammer to fix Inland Fisheries

The road to consolidation of natural resource agencies is paved with broken promises.

LTE: Get some backbone and implement ID program
The license ID program is again in the news. I cannot for the life of me understand why there would be a reason to be against this type of identification.

Regulators Hit New Roadblock in Androscoggin Cleanup Issue
Just days before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection is expected to rule on a long and contentious battle over water discharge permits to clean up pollution in the Androscoggin River, Verso Paper and Florida Power and Light are asking to reopen the public record. The two companies say the board has not been given scientific information that could be favorable to them. And as Susan Sharon reports, the move is setting up a showdown that could be headed for the courts.

Boating Safety Bills Draw Crowd to Public Hearing
More than a hundred people turned out Tuesday for public hearings on boater safety bills under consideration by the legislature's Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. The bills were prompted by an accident on Long Lake in Naples last summer when two people were killed at night after their unlighted 14-foot boat was sliced in half by a high-powered watercraft more than twice its size. But as A.J. Higgins reports, opponents argue that legislation can never address the real problem posed by operators who simply refuse to follow rules.

Casino Campaign Meets Deadline for Petitions
A Rumford lawyer who wants to build a casino-resort somewhere in Oxford County says he's collected enough signatures to get the issue on the November ballot. Seth Carey of Evergreen Mountain Enterprises, says backers of the venture delivered 76,000 signatures yesterday to the Secretary of State's office, just in time to meet the agency's deadline. Barbara Cariddi reports.

Policy forum tackles spending
AUGUSTA — If the state is ever going to lower its tax burden to the middle of pack nationally, it needs to reduce spending by $700 million. The only place to find that kind of money is in education and Medicaid, a former state official opined on Monday.

Price drop
AUBURN - With more Mainers going hungry - straining hundreds of soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless shelters across the state - the Good Shepherd Food-Bank plans to distribute tons more food.

EDITORIAL: Judging a windmill by its cover
There is a better way to review wind power than checking which way the wind is blowing.

Congressional candidate meets with business, community leaders
SANFORD (Jan 16, 2008): Democratic Congressional Candidate Adam Cote met with Sanford residents on Thursday to discuss his plans for improving the economic conditions in his hometown, as well as the rest of the state of Maine. Cote explained his innovative ideas for bringing good, well-paying jobs to the state, and heard ideas from area community and business leaders.

Maine Senators Reject Party Line
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are among the Top 5 in the Senate when it comes to breaking ranks with fellow Republicans.

As Maine Goes: Rural Job Killers Want Carbon Imprint of Plum Creek Plan
Editor's Note: Are these enviros demanding carbon footprint studies new hotels around Portland Harbor?

As Maine Goes: Fed Panel Urges 40-Cent Hike in Gas Taxes
WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission is urging the government to raise federal gasoline taxes by as much as 40 cents per gallon over five years to ease traffic congestion, repair the nation's decaying bridges/roads.

Turn Maine Blue: How to entice health care professionals to work in rural areas?
Communities are interwoven, like fabric, and so require certain things to remain viable, or in the case of ones that watched their populations dwindle, to encourage newcomers to move there.

Turn Maine Blue: Baghdad Embassy: The Fire Safety System Doesn't Work
Beuarocracies of all kinds - be they corporate, governmental, or even the local PTA - develop a "culture" that permeates everything, and often proves difficult to change. And perhaps this may explain why Joe Lieberman, as the new chair of the the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, hasn't thought it necessary to investigate this:

News of Maine: Washington Post - It's Maine. Who's Going to Notice?

Politicker ME: Lansley on REAL ID: 'We will stand by our refusal'

The Citizen of Laconia:
Two who know what it means to represent
Of special note last week was the successful effort led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to delay implementation of onerous border-crossing requirements.

Maine US Senate Candidate Urges Five-Year Moratorium on Home Foreclosures
Independent US Senate candidate Laurie Dobson of Maine proposes an immediate five-year moratorium on all home foreclosures, which she blames on the "reckless and irresponsible financial practices" of predatory mortgage lenders and greedy Wall Street finan