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Maine News

Monday, March 17, 2008

Maine News for Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Panel rejects some DHHS cuts
Lawmakers disapprove of the severity and long-term costs of the proposed cuts to the social safety net.

Pingree joins push for ending Iraq war
One of six Democratic candidates for the U.S. House, she hopes to set herself apart.

STATE HOUSE NOTES: House begins cost-cutting test with computers

Saco wind turbine off to a slow start
Though power output is below expectations so far, the windmill is attracting plenty of attention.

Earmark competition is one Maine can't win
Opposition to outside-the-budget spending is not just principled, but also practical.

Long lease makes sense for Maine State Pier project
The public benefit of a successful project justifies a 75-year commitment by the state.

Ed Pontius and Carol CaruthersMental health spending cuts senseless
The state's most vulnerable citizens need protection, not more exposure to harm.

ANOTHER VIEW: Development can become a monster devouring a beautiful city
If tax revenue is the only objective, people will just get in the way -- so remove them.

Legislators seek budget solutions

AUGUSTA, Maine - Members of the Legislature's appropriations committee are going far beyond the budget proposals of Gov. John Baldacci to set their own spending priorities.

Gold prices have Mainers looking to sell

BANGOR, Maine - As the price of gold topped $1,002 an ounce on the world market, Mainers looking for a quick infusion of cash are rummaging around in their jewelry cases and safety deposit boxes.

Mainers rally for peace

Shayla Goss and Karen Ellis were still in high school when the Iraq war began five years ago. 'Nobody knew what to think about it then,' Ellis, now 20, of Winterport said Saturday.

MCI ethics class focuses on Iraq war issues

PITTSFIELD, Maine - The radiators in the library at Maine Central Institute didn't even have to click on for the heat to rise on a discussion Friday in Winn Price's class.


Tourism industry crossing fingers
Rising gasoline prices across the country might cool off the vacation plans of many Americans this year.

State's social services chief caught between her heart and frugal place
AUGUSTA -- Brenda Harvey spent much of her career working with people who are disabled, poor or mentally ill.

Project envisions a House without paper
AUGUSTA -- Ten members of the House will have computers on their desks this morning as part of a pilot project to use less paper in the Legislature.


Poisons in plain sight putting our kids at risk
Inhalants can seem like the perfect drug to a kid: free or cheap, often readily available in their refrigerator, garage or bathroom. And they are legal, so how can they be dangerous?


High oil prices fuel house fires
AUGUSTA (AP) - As heating oil prices soar to record levels, fire officials worry that Maine households may be forced to resort to dangerous alternatives in order to keep warm.

A smoke- screen for DirigoChoice
By proposing to balance DirigoChoice, in part, upon a 50-cent per-pack tax increase on tobacco makes us wonder what is being smoked in Augusta.

Democratic Leaders Part Company With Baldacci Budget Approach
Democratic leaders in Augusta say they will find their own solution to the state's $190 million budget shortfall, in an attempt to soften the impact of Gov. John Baldacci's proposed cuts in education and health and human services programs. Although ranking Democrats have agreed not to include any new broad-based taxes to balance the budget, they have left open the option of other revenue raisers that could be perceived as a tax. A.J. Higgins reports.

Chief Justice Announces Reprieve On Trial Suspensions
Civil rights advocates and some lawyers in Maine breathed a sigh of relief today, after Chief Justice Leigh Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court today announced that the state will not suspend criminal trials as a way of meeting budget cuts. Tom Porter reports.

Legislature Approves Loans For Geothermal Heating
As home heating oil prices continue to climb, more Mainers are taking a new look at geothermal heat pumps. These heating systems take advantage of the earth's constant temperature to heat houses. They are not cheap, but a bill that won final legislative approval today would provide low-interest loans to take the sting out of the tab. Murray Carpenter reports.