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Maine News

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Maine News for Thursday, February, 28, 2008

Portland Press Herald

Board sets timeline for search
Portland School Committee will start discussing its criteria for a new superintendent April 9.

Collins targets
Election 2008: The Maine Republican uses a Web fundraiser to knock the group's support of Allen.

House candidates agree to debates
Charlie Summers should be back from Iraq in May, giving two Republicans time for three face-offs.

State rules casino plan can go on Nov. 4 ballot
The Legislature must either enact the Oxford County proposal exactly as written or send it to voters.

Homes, E-ZPass top toll plaza queries
Residents want to know the impact a new York site will have.

Editorial: School unions a step toward higher taxes
Gov. Baldacci should veto any bill that would undermine school consolidation in this way.

Editorial: Hold the disco ball, stagflation fears premature
However, a repeat of the 1970s is not out of the question by any means.

Commentary: It's not that we need a black or female president, but one who will begin anew
Thus, whoever gets elected must repair the errors of the past and build for the future.

Commentary: New buildings should be energy-efficient
That’s why the law should be changed to make minimum standards mandatory statewide.

LTE: Legislature destroying our economy

LTE: Animals need better protection from abuse

LTE: Clean Election Act gives candidate new opportunity

LTE: VingTech should get warm welcome for coming here

LTE: Allocate resources to those in greatest need of help

Bangor Daily News

Study: Child poverty a concern; teen drug, alcohol use decreases
The 2008 Maine Kids Count Data Book will be released today, with the usual mix of good and bad news to relate.

Casino proposal approved for ballot
AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine election officials ruled Wednesday that a referendum proposal to allow a casino in Oxford County can appear on November's ballot.

House eyes school law changes
Thursday, February 28, 2008
AUGUSTA, Maine — House Democrats and Republicans are set to begin the formal debate today on the proposed amendments to the school consolidation law.

Sheriff rescinds ban on working with MDEA
MACHIAS, MaineWashington County’s top law enforcement official has rescinded his order to his department not to cooperate with Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Lawmaker defends energy drink proposal
The sponsor of a proposal to outlaw the sale of so-called "energy drinks" to minors has been surprised at the vigorous response it has generated.

Editorial: Kids, by the numbers
As lawmakers in Augusta deal with the state's growing budget shortfall, this year's Kids Count data book offers useful, but sobering, information about the value of state and federal programs that support children and families.

Editorial: Stimulus, round two?
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Having failed to finish the job the first time, members of Congress are now talking of a second stimulus package to nudge the country away from recession.

Opinion: Deborah Burger and Maureen Caristi: Guaranteed health care, not just insurance
Anyone who thinks forcing people to buy insurance as "universal health care" ought to talk to Susan Siens of Unity.

Opinion: George Will: McCain grasping for power
Certain kinds of conservatives, distrusting Richard Nixon’s ideological elasticity, rejected him — until 1973. Although it had become clear his administration was a crime wave, they embraced him because the media were his tormentors.

Thursday's Letters to the Editor

Kennebec Journal

STATEHOUSE: Lawmakers prepare for another round of budget reductions
AUGUSTA -- Democrats and Republicans said Wednesday they want to look to more spending cuts to balance the $190 million hole in the state budget, with some Democrats saying they will consider tax increases if necessary.

AUGUSTA Schools could partner with Georgetown
AUGUSTA -- The school superintendent's office here may contract to provide some services to the tiny school system in the coastal community of Georgetown, maybe even sharing the superintendent herself.

Architectural fees make up bulk of increase in Jefferson school budget
JEFFERSON -- A substantial portion of the $146,033 increase in school expenses for 2008-09 is the result of architectural fees for a new school.

Editorial: Don't sacrifice long-term goals to fix budget gap
State lawmakers have a difficult task before them. In the face of an almost $200 million budget shortfall, they must cut spending now but, at the same time, maintain crucial investments in Maine's economy that will help the state and its citizens prosper in the long run.

Column: Nader runs because he can No threat as a spoiler, but good incentive to initiate instant runoff voting Ralph Nader is back, running for president for the umpteenth time with no prospects of mounting a serious competition for votes or even of enlarging the debate over issues of significance.

Morning Sentinel

Collins' camp launches video attacking Allen
WASHINGTON -- Maine Sen. Susan Collins is hoping a provocative video of flag-burning war protesters will turn her Democratic opponent's support from an anti-war advocacy group into cash for her own campaign.

Column: Laws strangle individual insurance market
Maine needs to save the individual insurance market.

Column: Term limits grievously handicap Legislature
The state Legislature is a fascinating institution, made up of 186 people who represent the best (sometimes) and the worst (sometimes) of the people who elected them. The Legislature is a separate branch of the government of Maine, equal to the Executive and Judicial branches.

LTE: 'Rainy day fund' should bridge gap before election
Concerning these horrendous and unconscionable cuts in health, housing and public assistance, is there no way for the governor and Legislature to take "judicial notice" that a national election is about to occur that will roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, reduce the war spending, reinstate reasonable capital gains taxes, and thus reverse the causes of all these shortfalls?

LTE: Skowhegan snow policy seems discrimintory
For those citizens of Skowhegan who were unable to attend the Feb. 12 selectmen's meeting, the road commissioner made a statement that was not reported by the Morning Sentinel and which I feel deserves attention.

LTE: Domestic programs could have used deficit money
Our $7 trillion deficit would have bought us unimaginable benefits regarding domestic programs.

Sun Journal

Oxford County casino vote set
AUGUSTA - Maine voters will again get to decide whether they want a private casino in the Pine Tree State.

Baldacci: No tax on rebate checks
AUGUSTA (AP) - Despite Maine's budget problems, the state won't try to tax the federal rebate checks aimed at stimulating the economy.

2 Maine super delegates ineligible
ELLSWORTH - Two of the eight prominent Democrats appointed by the Democratic National Committee to represent Maine as super delegates at the Democratic National Convention aren't eligible to do so under the DNC's own residency requirements.

Super delegates powerful, but what are they?
In response to Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter winning his party's presidential nomination in 1976, the Democratic National Committee created so-called "super delegates" in 1982 to restore some of the power over the nomination process to party insiders.

Times Record

Maine's economy receives mixed reviews in report...(full story) AUGUSTA — The state got its annual report card Tuesday on fostering a vibrant and sustainable economy and received four failing grades for its business climate.


Maine Voters To Decide New Casino Proposal

Maine voters are likely to be weighing the merits of another gambling initiative this fall. A group proposing to build a casino-resort somewhere in Oxford County has collected enough valid signatures to get the issue on the November ballot, according to Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. Barbara Cariddi reports. Windows

State's Tax On Planes Too High For Critics

Maine's high-flying state tax policy could be in for a little turbulence, as lawmakers consider the repeal of a tax on the sale of certain aircraft, and airplane parts and services. The Legislature's Taxation Committee is being asked to make Maine fall in line with other New England states by removing the tax, which critics say sends an unwelcoming message. AJ Higgins reports. Windows

Maine Considers New Statewide Building Code Standards

With no end in sight to the Maine winter, this is a good time perhaps to discuss home insulation. Lawmakers tomorrow will be hearing a bill that aims to establish state-wide energy efficiency standards for new homes and businesses. Tom Porter has more. Windows

Portsmouth Herald

House passes $18B tax on oil firms

WASHINGTON ‑‑ The House approved $18 billion in new taxes on the largest oil companies Wednesday as Democrats cited record oil prices and rising gasoline costs in a time of economic troubles.

Housing market showdown is looming

WASHINGTON — A key Democratic congressman is planning a push to expand the federal government's role in stabilizing the housing market, setting up a showdown with a White House that has largely looked for private-sector solutions.

Fed pledges to cut rates again

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is ready to lower interest rates again to brace the wobbly economy even as zooming oil prices spread inflation, Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled to Congress on Wednesday.

Maine weaknesses outlined

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A report released by a study panel shows persistent weaknesses in Maine's economy in the areas of income, transportation costs and taxes. The Maine Economic Growth Council's report on Tuesday also issues "red flags" for...

York County Coast Star

York toll plaza options announced

The Maine Turnpike Authority has narrowed the options for a new York toll plaza to four sites. The authority identified four sites, all incrementally north of the current toll plaza at Mile 7 in York. After obtaining public input, the four options...

Score: David 1, Goliath 0

KENNEBUNK — One step closer. That's where 1,500 residents of Kennebunk currently served by CMP find themselves in their battle to change their electric provider.

8 is enough for Kennebunk

KENNEBUNK — Voter turnout may have been low, but those who did turn out must have been in a benevolent mood as all eight referendum questions on the ballot last week passed.

Chase criticizes disposition of parental consent bill

WELLS — Rep. Kathy Chase (R — Wells) took exception to the manner in which a particular piece of legislation was handled in the legislature recently. The legislation was an effort by Sen. Douglas Smith (R — Dover-Foxcroft) to...

Senate candidate calls for Bush's arrest Dobson wants Port to indict Pres. Bush, VP Cheney KENNEBUNKPORT — Calling President George Bush "the worst president in the history of the United States," Independent U.S. Senate candidate Laurie Dobson stood on the steps of town hall here...

Ellsworth American

Defibtech Donates Defibrillators to Maine Schools Jay Bradshaw, director of Maine Emergency Medical Services (left), U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dr. Glenn Laub, CEO of Connecticut-based Defibtech, pose in Carmel with some of the automated external defibrillators the company has donated to several schools around Maine. Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School and the Cranberry Island School are among the schools that were selected to receive the life-saving devices.

Tax Deadlines Are Approaching ELLSWORTH — April 1 is the deadline for several tax exemptions, including the veterans exemption and Homestead exemption and the business equipment tax exemption among others.

Trenton, MDOT Iron Out Acadia Gateway Welcome Center Issues

TRENTON — At a private meeting closed to the public, town officials, Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) managers and elected representatives came together last week to iron out several issues regarding the proposed Acadia Gateway Welcome Center.

Collins Says Time Is Now For Health Care Reform ELLSWORTH — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wants her Senate colleagues to devote their undivided attention to the political and economic complexities of reforming America’s health care delivery system.

Sen. Collins Lands Grant For MCMH ImageELLSWORTH — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) Wednesday announced a $143,000 federal grant to help with construction of a new emergency department at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital.

Lobster Landings Drop Downeast ELLSWORTH — It appears that 2007 was a tough year for Hancock County’s lobster fishermen.

Snowe, Senate Panel, Hear Lobstermen’s Concerns BREWER — Lobstermen on Tuesday expressed frustration with controversial new federal regulations that will force most Maine lobstermen to replace the rope connecting their traps, called groundlines, with new sinking rope.

Brooklin’s Knutson Named a Super Delegate to Democratic Convention
Despite Obama winning 60 percent support among Maine Democrats participating in the Feb. 10 statewide caucus to Clinton’s 40 ...

Maine Today

Collins scrutinizes Army contractors
Susan Collins told Army officials on Tuesday that the US government did not have sufficient control or oversight of private security contractors. ...

As Maine Goes

Baldacci: Let's Talk. Then We'll Raise Taxes

‘I know many people are asking about higher taxes. I believe we must first have a comprehensive discussion about spending and our priorities as a State. We must be cautious about adding to the burden that Maine people and businesses must carry.’

Scontras Stands Out at Portland Constitutional Forum

Whether you agree with Dean or not this was the best PR he could have scored for the event.

Summers 1st GOP Candidate to File Petitions for 1st CD Run

The campaign's grassroots efforts and its network of volunteers is a testament to the organization in place.’

Maine News

Nine Page Maine News Interview With U.S. Maine Senate Candidate Tom Ledue

Tom Ledue: I am the best candidate because of the quality and strength of both who I am and of my message, its scope, reach, and ideas. The plans and ideas that I present are fresh and strong, aimed at changing the political status quo, built upon principles that will help us reclaim our greatness as state and as a nation:

Politicker Maine

Superdelegate Stevens backing Obama On Wednesday, Maine Democratic Vice Chair Marianne Stevens, a Superdelegate, is announcing her support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Opening statements: Lawrence and Pingree Congressional candidates Mark Lawrence and Chellie Pingree give opening statements at Tuesday night's debate. The debate, hosted by the Maine Campaign to Impeach, focused on Constitutional issues and impeachment.

Oxford County Casino project takes another step, CasinosNO! prepares for fight

The Oxford County Casino citizen’s initiative will move forward, the Secretary of State’s office determined today.

Scontras takes stage in liberal forum

Dean Scontras, a Republican candidate for the First Congressional District, took the stage Tuesday with four Democrats vying for the CD1 seat. It was a forum put on by two leftist groups, and a crowd of mostly liberals.

Summers files signatures

The Summers for Congress campaign announced that it has filed its candidacy petitions with the Secretary of State's office.

Strimling files petitions to appear on June ballot

Ethan Strimling, a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 1st District announced that he will file the number of signatures needed to appear on the June Primary ballot with the Secretary of State's Office this morning.

Scontras proposes Republican debates

In an open letter to the campaign of First Congressional District candidate Charlie Summers, fellow GOP hopeful Dean Scontras’ campaign manager Michael Pajak has proposed a series of public debates prior to the Republican primary.

Turn Maine Blue

Senate votes to debate Feingold's withdrawal bill

In a surprise move, 46 GOP senators joined 26 of their Democratic colleagues and voted to send a bill sponsored by Russ Feingold (D-WI) to the floor for "debate." (I wrote about this bill that would cut funding for the occupation and mandate a time of troop withdrawal here.)