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Maine News

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Maine News for Thursday, February 14, 2008

Portland Press Herald:
Many communities can't afford any more storms
Maine cities and towns and the state Department of Transportation are paying the price for this snowy winter.

Driver's license residency rule debated
State House 2008: Critics say the proposal is either unfair or too weak, but it still has plenty of support.

Cianchette named top diplomat to Costa Rica
President Bush nominates the prominent Maine Republican to be a U.S. ambassador; Senate confirmation is still needed.
Delegation divided over electronic surveillance

Reps. Michael Michaud and Tom Allen vote in opposition to immunity for phone companies.

Editorial: It's too soon to kill telecom privacy suits
A Senate-approved measure would leave little guidance for companies' future actions.

Editorial: Wider highways should be part of transportation plans
Alternatives are important, but policy can't ingore the importance of roadway expansion.

Laurie Dobson: Major source of revenue goes untaxed

People wouldn't face cutbacks in state aid if a 1 percent securities transfer tax were in place.

Bangor Daily News:

Portland jetport grew fastest in N.E. in '07
PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland International Jetport had the fastest rate of growth last year among airports in New England, jetport officials said.

Outbreaks sign of ugly flu season
This year's flu season is picking up momentum in Maine, with an increase from 12 laboratory-confirmed cases reported during the week ending Feb. 2 to 41 confirmed cases reported last week.

How will rebates help Maine?
AUGUSTA, Maine — An estimated 500,000 Mainers will share about $445 million in economic stimulus payments under the package President Bush signed into law Wednesday, but how much of a stimulus that cash will provide in Maine is a matter of debate.

In crises, synergy is key, says Collins

WASHINGTON — A lack of coordination between National Guard units under state command and regular military units could pose a threat to national response in the case of a domestic crisis, Sen. Susan Collins, R- Maine, said Wednesday.

Laurie Dobson: A race for best ideas, not most money
I hope that many of the thousands of people I met over this last weekend in the Bangor area will have a chance to learn more about our campaign for U.S. Senate. I'm running as an independent for Maine.

Editorial: Border synergy
Maine and New Brunswick have been working in recent years to strengthen their obvious but undervalued historical, economic, transportation, natural resource, recreational and cultural ties. On Tuesday, some of those ties were in focus in Bangor and Augusta, as Gov. John Baldacci hosted New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham.

Editorial: Building a better budget
The president's budget is often viewed as a blueprint for Congress as it crafts a federal spending plan for the coming year. Given the dissatisfaction expressed by Maine's congressional delegation at President Bush's document, released last week, it is a blueprint for what not to build.

LTEs: Hugo, Joe and Exxon; Back off, government; A tax rationale

Morning Sentinel:
Hearing set on license proposal
AUGUSTA -- A plan that would prevent Maine from issuing driver's licenses to non-residents is winning praise from some lawmakers and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, but critics say the proposal either goes too far or not far enough.

Selectmen approve Sappi's plan to seek new emissions license
SKOWHEGAN -- Selectmen this week endorsed Sappi Fine Paper Co.'s application to state environmental officials to change the company's air emissions license.

Column: Parents have right, responsibility to know what drugs given to child
It could be your daughter, maybe your granddaughter. She is just 11 years old, in fourth- or fifth-grade. She walks into your school's health clinic and asks for birth control.

Editorial: 'I'm sorry' simple words not often heard
This week, the new Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, did an increasingly rare thing: He apologized, without caveat or qualification.

LTE: Baldacci is 'ultimate' parent of foster children
Almost 3,000 children adopted by Maine families have contracts for adoption assistance payments (AAP). Additionally, 139 children in pre-adoptive homes receive AAP, with the state retaining legal custody until adoption.

LTE: Primary system unfair to both voters, candidates
I really must protest. Our system of presidential elections is a joke. A campaign of over a year in length is certainly ridiculous, and ridiculously expensive.

State Budget Woes Aren't Diminishing

Maine's budget woes continue to to grow. State lawmakers are becoming increasingly anxious about an upcoming meeting of the State Revenue Forecasting Committee which appears poised to recommend another downward re-projection of tax revenues. This comes as state finances continue to struggle in the midst of national economic downturn. Talk of new taxes and withdrawals from the state's Rainy Day Fund is heard more frequently these days at the State House as legislators try to balance continued demands for services against dwindling state revenues. A.J. Higgins reports.

Barriers to Opiate Addiction Treatment Still Exist

It's been five years since the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of buprenorphine for the treatment of opiate addiction. It proved so popular among patients and physicians that in 2006 Maine Senator Susan Collins was instrumental in getting a 30-patient cap lifted so that specially-trained doctors could treat more patients in their practices, which were clogged with waiting lists. But as states like Maine come to grips with an opiate epidemic fueled by the availability and misuse of prescription drugs, barriers to treatment remain. And as Susan Sharon reports, they often begin with insurance companies.

Sun Journal:
Plants clogged up by disposable wipes
WINTERPORT (AP) - Sewage treatment plants in Maine are reporting growing problems with disposable wipes that people throw down the toilet.

Editorial: A bustling downtown - of eight committees
Last June, it was suggested the Lewiston Planning Board devise an "entertainment district" in downtown, stemming from the board's review of Park Street and its nightlife.

Column: Troop presence necessary in battle against al-Qaida
HAMADAH, Iraq - This small, rural village in the Diyala Province north of Baghdad experienced a revolution a month ago. It had been controlled by al-Qaida and its band of teenage killers who terrorized the place. The mayor of the nearby city of Muqdadiya lived here - until al-Qaida blew up his house and he fled. The village became a ghost town.

LTE: Complex interests
If Sen. John McCain is the Republican nominee, people would do well to recall former President Eisenhower's warning about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, because no one represents those interests more than Sen. McCain.

LTE: Voice of the middle?
Years ago, I'd chuckle to hear people say that the Democrats are for the poor and the Republicans are for the rich. It was a simplistic way of describing the two parties.

Times Record:

School merger changes OK'd
AUGUSTA — The Senate on Tuesday evening approved major changes to the school consolidation law, allowing local school committees to retain control over their schools in a union form of governance. The amendment passed in an 18-17 vote after a majority of Democrats decided to go against the administration.

Portsmouth Herald:

Clinton pays rent; money goes to Obama
PORTSMOUTHRochester physician Terry Bennett said he believes the only reason Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign paid for renting a building he owns in Portsmouth is because he became the "squeaky wheel."

Maine Coast Now:

Will Obama tide raise all Dems?
Interest in politics may be at one of the highest levels in generations.

Big Brother Federalism
Maine, like all states, is under the thumb of federalism, a plethora of government forms that use a variety of political, legal and organizational techniques to share government authority. And a growing percentage of federalism over subordinate local jurisdiction creates a money marble cake each vying for a piece of the frosting.

Gardiner's waterfront receives federal boost of $147,000

GARDINER — The city of Gardiner has recently received federal funding that will go a long way toward completing the city's waterfront restoration project.

Lincoln County News:
Obama Wins Lincoln County Delegates

Democrats all over the state caucused Sunday, Feb. 10 and after the final count, Presidential candidate Barak Obama was the clear winner beating out Sen. Hilary Clinton almost two-to-one. In Lincoln County, Obama grabbed 65 delegates and Clinton 31.

Single Stream Recyclers Claim to Cut Waste
Single stream recycling could well become the most convenient way to handle waste for homeowners and at the same time save communities a lot of money for tipping fees if it takes hold in the Midcoast.

Jail Consolidation Update
On Feb. 11 the Criminal Justice Committee held its third work session on the state/county jail consolidation effort. This work session was the Committee's first foray in the financing element of the proposed plan.

Governor Counters Referendum Mandate, Proposes Stalling School Budgets
Gov. John Baldacci's administration is proposing flat-funding local schools next year as a way to help balance the state budget as the revenue forecast gets gloomier  a move some will see as a broken promise.

Elderly Service Cuts Present Quandary To Legislators
The elderly and their caregivers packed a hearing room in Augusta last week to tell the Appropriations Committee that without state money to pay for help with basic needs like cooking a meal or getting a shower many would no longer be able to stay at home and out of institutional care.

Burgeoning Budget Woes Plague Augusta
With sales and income tax revenues dropping and the federal government threatening to cut Medicaid reimbursement, the state could be looking at an additional $99 million budget shortage on top of the $95 million already recognized, prompting the governor to say he will consider tax and fee increases as a last resort.

Letter to the Editor -- Taxpayers Bilked?

Letter to the Editor -- Health Care To Improve With Bipartisanship

Ellsworth American:

Consolidation Law Amended to Allow For Local Control
AUGUSTA — The Senate Tuesday evening approved major changes to the school consolidation law.

Maine's Woes Worsen
AUGUSTA — With sales and income tax revenues dropping and the federal government threatening to cut Medicaid reimbursement, the state could be looking at an additional $99 million budget shortage on top of the $95 million hole already recognized, prompting the Governor to say he will consider tax and fee increases as a last resort.

Baldacci Proposes Flat-funding in 2009 For Maine Schools
AUGUSTA — Gov. John Baldacci's administration is proposing flat-funding local schools next year as a way to help balance the state budget as the revenue forecast gets gloomier — a move some will see as a broken promise.

Editorial: A Lot of Government
Governor John Baldacci and the Maine Legislature are anxiously awaiting the next state revenue report of the state's Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission, due at the end of the month. Expectations are that the current $95 million budget shortfall may double, and the Governor and legislative leaders already are beginning to seek additional ways to reduce state spending.

Editorial: Behind Closed Doors
It has been no secret that selectmen in Trenton are unhappy with Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials for the way they have approached locating an Explorer bus terminal and new visitor center for Acadia National Park on Route 3. The town is upset that state officials have pointed out they are not required to submit plans for local planning or zoning review.

LTE: Too Little, Too Late from Allen (By: Laurie Dobson)

It doesn't make any sense to me that Tom Allen is coming in now with a "too little, too-late" excuse for the poly line issue. It's pretty lame to say he'll try to fix it after it's been made into law.

Fosters Daily Democrat:
Ledue enters Democratic race for U.S. Senate seat
SPRINGVALE — Senate candidate Thomas Ledue says the difference between him and Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Tom Allen is one of managerial leadership versus visionary leadership.


Maine Owl: Collins attack transmitted on public radio
National Public Radio and its Maine affiliate have a long and on occasion deserved reputation for excellent, fact-based reporting with a human touch. They certainly have the ability to cover a story in depth and with scrupulous fairness. That is, until pro-war messages Republican officials wish to transmit without excessive scrutiny are involved.

Turn Maine Blue: How not to write a news story
There was a time when journalists actually did some research when writing a story, but those days seem long gone - perhaps they never were. Today, what stands in place for reporting is asking each side of an issue what they have to say, and then calling it a day.

Collins Watch: All Quiet
Gerald critiques an NPR story about the Collins camp's recent Allen smear.

WhiteHouse51: Tom Allen speaks about Iraq