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Maine News

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Maine News for Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Portland Press Herald

Spare services for elderly, seniors urge lawmakers
Proposed budget cuts could eliminate help for 2,460 senior-citizen clients, according to an AARP estimate.

DEP sheds light on bulb dangers
In groundbreaking research, state employees urge new precautions for compact fluorescents.

Departments looking for savings large and small
Proposed cuts range from delaying veterans' burials to eliminating state jobs.

Big plans for Westbrook site
Stroudwater Place would be built on 61 acres near the Maine Turnpike at a cost of $300 million.

Lawmaker's bill pits police vs. consumers
Would allowing wine drinkers to buy through the mail lead to more underage drinking?

Man's lawsuit says jail withheld medical care


Panel predicts doubling of deficit
The governor is thinking of using a state budget stabilization fund to help cover a $190 million gap.

FairPoint sale clears last hurdle
With New Hampshire approving the sale of Verizon's lines, the deal should close next month.

Editorial: Domestic wiretap law needlessly hung up
The foreign surveillance dispute is more about internal politics than national security.

Editorial: Time to free Mainers from legal wrath at grapes
Why require a trip to sip? Protectionism only restricts choices and drives up prices.

Editorial: Ocean Gateway is Portland's new chance to make a first impression
The ferry and cruise-ship facility offers a glimpse at the developing eastern waterfront.

Column: We all have ordinary heroes in our lives, and are grateful to them
Greely Middle School teachers did a great thing by recognizing student nominees.

Column: Theraputic foster care no easy task
That's why it's unconscionable to cut already-low levels of state financial support.

LTE: Would budget cuts hurt our economy?

LTE: Invest time in questioning how REITs affect state

LTE: Global perspective overrides drawbacks to CFLs

LTE: Procrastinator pushed to his limit by Democrats

Bangor Daily News

Augusta: Hearing set today on bill to boost dental care access
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
AUGUSTA - A bill submitted by an Aroostook County legislator that aims to increase access to dental care in underserved areas of the state is scheduled for a public hearing today.

Midcoast lobstermen to vote on trap tag rules
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
ROCKLAN, Maine - Maine's lobster fishermen are being asked to vote on a new system designed to reduce the number of traps in the water.

DEP revises advice on cleanup for CFLs
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Maine environmental officials have revised their recommendations for cleaning up shattered compact fluorescent lights based on new studies that examined the amount of mercury released when the popular energy-saving bulbs break.

Editorial: Alewives Return
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
At a time when Maine is removing dams and returning rivers to a more natural state, in part to boost local fish populations, it is odd that the state continues to intentionally block native fish from returning to the St. Croix River.

Editorial: Nuclear Future
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Many environmentalists - and some Wiscasset residents - breathed a sigh of relief when Maine Yankee, the state’s only nuclear power plant, closed in 1997. The plant began operating in 1972 and produced 119 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity over its life.

Opinion: Robert Casimiro : Maine license proposal inadequate
Six years. It has been six long years since Sept. 11 and the Maine Legislature is only now taking up a bill to require that someone be a Maine resident to get a driver's license.

Tuesday's Letters to the Editor

Kennebec Journal

Many state agencies to face budget pain

Elders rally at Statehouse
AUGUSTA -- Barbara Jordan of West Gardiner came to the Statehouse Monday to ask lawmakers not to cut home-based services for the elderly.

Augusta Council debates hotel proposal
AUGUSTA -- The developer who wants to put a new hotel just off Western Avenue says the project wouldn't need the zone change he's requesting if the city had not changed zoning nearby to allow the Augusta Crossing shopping center to be built.

School consolidation bills to have hearings
AUGUSTA -- Two bills meant to clarify aspects of Maine's school district consolidation legislation will be up for public hearings before the legislature's Education Committee this afternoon.

Fairfield officials block access to sand pile
FAIRFIELD -- Like many communities budgeting for storm cleanup in Maine this winter, Fairfield is on a strict, low-salt diet.

Litchfield Selectmen to look into fund's red ink
LITCHFIELD -- Selectmen will decide tonight how best to handle a general assistance account that is in the red this year.

Homeowner worried about dam removal plan
WINSLOW -- Scott Hermey is a bit on edge these days and for good reason: He's been told there's a chance his home could slide into the Sebasticook River this summer.

Editorial: LD 1 funding to schools may not be realistic now
LD 1 may have a small name, but its impact has been huge.

Column: In 1948, Truman's support in Maine hinged on party platform
If anyone has a copy of the Maine Democratic Party platform adopted at the state convention in 1948, Waldo Proffitt would like a copy.

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

Morning Sentinel

Channel 11 interlocal agreement possible
MADISON -- Public access station Channel 11 on Monday night advanced closer to an interlocal agreement its board members have long sought.

Waterville awaits school plan fallout
WATERVILLE -- School Superintendent Eric Haley has formally notified the state of the School Board's decision to stop exploring a merger with School Administrative District 47 and School Union 52.

LTE: Oil companies could help with rising gas prices
Ouch! Hopefully I'm not the only one that was blown away by the (nearly) $0.20 increase in gas prices this week!

Sun Journal

DEP revises cleanup guidelines on compact fluorescent bulbs
AUGUSTA (AP) - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection on Monday issued a study on the health risks of compact fluorescent light bulbs and the best way to clean up the bulbs when they break.

State's red ink getting deeper
AUGUSTA - With an existing budget gap already set at $95 million, a state panel Monday affirmed another $95 million downward revenue adjustment.

Bill would allow wine deliveries
AUGUSTA (AP) - Maine adults would be allowed to have wine shipped to their homes if a bill up for legislative review Monday becomes law.

DHHS sees budget cuts raising costs
AUGUSTA - As state officials rush to cut the budget by more than $200 million by mid-April in order to comply with Maine law, they run the risk of placing further economic burden on taxpayers.

Verizon, FairPoint deal gets key OK
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire regulators on Monday approved the sale of Verizon's landline phone and Internet service in northern New England to North Carolina-based FairPoint Communications, saying they believe FairPoint has shown that the proposed deal is for the public good.

Vermont Yankee clears key hurdle on license extension
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff on Monday gave its blessing to the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant's request to extend its license for 20 years beyond its currently scheduled 2012 expiration date.

Pentagon concludes Navy missile fired at satellite destroyed toxic chemicals
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon said Monday it has a "high degree of confidence" that the missile fired at a dead U.S. spy satellite in space destroyed the satellite's fuel tank as planned.

Spending on health care expected to hit $4 trillion
WASHINGTON (AP) - By 2017, consumers and taxpayers will spend more than $4 trillion on health care, accounting for one of every $5 spent, the federal government projects.

McCain's goal: Convince country Iraq policy is succeeding to win White House
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (AP) - John McCain said Monday that to win the White House he must convince a war-weary country that U.S. policy in Iraq is succeeding. If he can't, "then I lose. I lose," the Republican said.

A Noah's Ark for seeds, in case of calamity
LONGYEARBYEN, Norway - It's been dubbed a Noah's Ark for plant life and built to withstand an earthquake or a nuclear attack.

Bloomberg: Nader should run if he wants
NEW YORK (AP) - A day after Ralph Nader announced he is running for president, potential independent candidate Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared there's no such thing as a spoiler and said time is running out for third-party contenders to get into the race.

Photo of Obama in tribal garb causes stir
WASHINGTON (AP) - A photograph circulating on the Internet of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama dressed in traditional local garments during a visit to Kenya in 2006 is causing a dustup in the presidential campaign over what constitutes a smear.

AP Poll: Obama takes big leads among white men and liberals
WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama has taken clear leads over Hillary Rodham Clinton among white men, middle-income earners and liberals, allowing him to catch his faltering rival in their race for the Democratic presidential nomination, a national poll showed Monday.

While others talk, Justice Thomas keeps on listening
WASHINGTON (AP) - Two years and 144 cases have passed since Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas last spoke up at oral arguments. It is a period of unbroken silence that contrasts with the rest of the court's unceasing inquiries.

Our View: Clarification
A sentence in Rick Batt's op-ed "Putting a straight face on MaineCare payments" (Feb. 24) incorrectly referred to Enron's accounting practices as "technically legal." The correct sentence should have read:

Our View: Serving those who served
By hiking the Appalachian Trail, Jarad Greeley of Jay and Marshall Berry of New Hampshire are extending a hand to help homeless veterans. It's what needs to be done.

LTE: Help the elderly
During the bad storm of Feb. 13-14, many people lost power. The elderly, sick and frail people in an Auburn mobile home park were told they were a priority and power would be restored in another 24 hours. After 15 hours without power, calls were made to Augusta. Various officials told of shelters in Augusta, Sabattus and Yarmouth, but nothing in Lewiston or Auburn at that time.

LTE: I don't understand
I must be stupid, because there are too many things I don't understand. Could somebody please help me understand? A senator or congressman, perhaps?

LTE: Decisions, decisions
It seems to me that Rep. Troy Jackson is way behind the times (Feb. 21). Is his new legislation suggesting that minors cannot make educated, informed decisions for themselves? Is he trying to say that they should not have the "right to choose" what they will drink?

American loyalty
I am taking a break from reading about various things and am wondering…can our elected officials assure the people of Maine that politicians will not impose Sharia law as the law of the state or country? After all, Sharia law is not permitted by the Constitution.

Column: Pakistan election presents new chance for U.S. input
The most important elections this year next to our own took place in Pakistan on Monday. The news is good.

Column: Castro's praises sung; rights abuses ignored
The Left's favorite dictator, Fidel Castro, is "resigning" as Cuba's president of the Council of State. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who was born in Cuba and, at the age of 15, along with his brother, was evacuated from Cuba during Operation Pedro Pan, observed: "Castro has resigned from a position he was never elected to in the first place."


School Consolidation Bill Amendment Draws Fire

A bill aimed at removing barriers for towns grappling with the state's school administration consolidation law has now been amended, and the change, according to opponents, could undermine the intent of the original effort. The amendment would allow communities to create a "superunion of governance" which supporters say would provide more local control for taxpayers. But those communities would also still have the option of remaining in consolidated regional districts governed by regional school boards. A.J. Higgins reports. Windows

Downeast Sherriff Orders Halt To Work With MDEA

The sheriff of Washington county in eastern Maine has issued an unusual order. Sherriff Donnie Smith says he doesn't want any of his staff to work with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. The dispute is not about the drug interdiction work the MDEA does, but instead revolves around a video recording that allegedy shows a MDEA agent drinking, driving and firing off guns. Murray Carpenter reports. Windows

Bill Would Allow Direct Shipments Of Wine In Maine

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to a Maine law that prohibits internet sales of tobacco to minors. The court struck down the state's law, which places restrictions on home tobacco deliveries, ruling that such requirements are trumped by federal interstate shipping law. Today, a bill that would open the door to at-home delivery of wine in Maine was on the table in Augusta. Tom Porter has more. Windows

Portsmouth Herald

S. Berwick bridge tonight's topic

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — The state Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting tonight at 6 at Town Hall to discuss the future replacement of the Great Works Bridge over the Great Works River on Route 236, one quarter-mile north of...

Pay hikes at Marshwood/SAD 35 schools raise eyebrows

ELIOT, Maine — With mounting pressure to reduce costs under school consolidation and the recent failed attempt to cap taxes — the citizens tax referendum — some people are wondering why several of the highest-paid SAD 35...

Development that helps the environment?

PORTSMOUTH — Discussion of new developments often includes information about the negative impacts they would have on the environment. However, at a recent Pease Development Authority workshop, Michael Kane of the Kane Management Group LLC,..., VA

Lawmakers ask agencies for data security update
Susan Collins (R-Maine), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Norm Coleman (R-Minn. ...

The Hill, DC

Dems juggle Iraq, economy

... and plans also to target Republican senators up for reelection, including Susan Collins (Maine), John Sununu (NH), Norm Coleman (Minn. ...

The Associated Press

Iraq Back in Political Ads
Susan Collins of Maine, John Sununu of New Hampshire, Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Brad Woodhouse, head of Americans United ...


Liberal group previews tactics
The group’s “top-tier” targets, he said, are four senators -- Maine’s Susan Collins, New Hampshire John Sununu, Minnesota’s Norm Coleman, and Kentucky’s ...

As Maine Goes

MHPC CEO Proposes Maine Medicaid Budget Saving Options

‘State government has an opportunity, and a duty, to make the changes to Medicaid that need to be made so our most needy and vulnerable neighbors will be protected and receive adequate services and funding,’ Bragdon said.

DNC Asks FEC to Investigate McCain Financing

Well, this should be easy to resolve. Sen. McCain can simply reach across to Howard Dean on the other side, explain the situation, and resolve it in a bipartisan manner.

Councilor Reed: Why Aren't People Paying the Rain Tax?

The city is owed $77,881.24 in unpaid storm water utility fees.

Senate Guru

Monday Evening Round-Up

A $20 million anti-war campaign headlined by John & Elizabeth Edwards,, SEIU,, and the Center for American Progress will target several Republican Senators including Susan Collins, John Sununu, Norm Coleman, and Mitch McConnell.

Turn Maine Blue

Elizabeth and John Edwards to join call to end the occupation

The Huffington Post has this news that Elizabeth and John Edwards have lent their names to a group calling for the end of the occupation of Iraq. The Edwardses joined a conference call on Monday to discuss their efforts with the group, which includes, the Service Employees International Union,, and the Center for American Progress.

In other news

Scruggs, you'll remember, and his family, have also been generous donors to the Collins campaign. Collins was also instrumental in returning the disgraced Trent Lott back to the GOP Senate leadership in 2006.

In which I eat crow

Tom, a friend, and I had a ten to fifteen minute conversation about the state of the race. He is running as a Democrat, which means I can like him, unlike Crazy Laurie Dobson. While Ledue challenges Allen on the issues, he knows that Allen is better than Collins in the Senate. So even if he doesn't succeed, he brings his issues to the forefront while not harming our chances in November. I respect that.