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Maine News

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Maine News for Tuesday, March 18, 2008

List of Candidates for Upcoming Elections


Democrats differ on raising state taxes
State House: Despite opposition to social service cuts, the governor holds firm against it.

Races take shape as filing deadline passes
Election 2008: Every legislative district has a Democratic candidate for November's election.

Seattle Times Co. puts Maine newspapers up for sale
The Blethen family makes the 'painful decision' after a decade of ownership.

Bear Stearns bailout necessary, but no fix
Overreaction from the Fed and deficit spending have contributed to this mess.

Use focus on Olympics to pressure China on ill-treatment of Tibet
Unrest over 'cultural genocide' points out Bejing's repressive policies in a tiny neighbor.

Ron BancroftWhy do moderate Mainers keep picking liberal leaders?
Unlike most of the nation, our parties don't have to bend to their extremes, and yet our legislators do.

Jim Batey and Thomas KittredgePlum Creek deal good one for Maine
If the company keeps having to alter and adjust its plan, how long before we lose its benefits?


Governor orders $27M in spending cuts; lawmakers surprised

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. John Baldacci surprised legislative leaders and members of the Legislature's budget panel Monday evening when he ordered $27 million in spending cuts be developed by his administration before April 1.

Compromise would allow alewives up to Grand Falls

AUGUSTA, Maine - A legislative committee has reached a tentative compromise that would allow alewives in the St. Croix River up to the Grand Falls dam this year.

Bangor: Pharmacy tech indicted in drug case

BANGOR, Maine - A pharmacy technician from Fort Kent has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly attempting to import oxycodone into the country.

Bangor: Grand jury indicts man on porn charge

BANGOR, Maine - An Islesford man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly using hidden bathroom cameras, including one in a toilet, to take pictures of his former girlfriend's daughter between 2001 and 2004 when the girl was a juvenile.

Dirigo's Future

The idea of using savings to increase access to health insurance was a cornerstone of the state's Dirigo Health program, so it is unfortunate to see this linkage abandoned. But, for the sake of increasing and improving health insurance coverage, a new way to fund Dirigo appears necessary.

ClickBack on Iraq, teachers

This week's ClickBack questions focus on national and local issues. Should the U.S. withdraw from Iraq? Why are no northern Maine teachers up for Teacher of the Year?


Closing Maine's budget shortfall
Legislators in Augusta face a daunting challenge in closing a nearly $200 million budget shortfall. Like the governor, most seem inalterably committed to resolving this problem without tax increases.

J. Gordon Williamson: Local spending is out of control
There has been a plethora of recent letters, columns and editorials bemoaning the condition of local and state budgets. Expenses are up, revenue is down. Sounds like someone looked at my checkbook.


AUGUSTA Deadline passes for party-affiliated candidates for state Legislature
AUGUSTA -- Former Gardiner Mayor Brian Rines and former state legislator Sharon Benoit, both Democrats, will face each other in a June primary for the right to run in the November election.

AUGUSTA Threat to Maine banks minimized
AUGUSTA -- Experts say Maine's financial institutions will remain relatively unscathed by the subprime lending fallout that has rocked Wall Street for months and resulted over the weekend in the collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns.

Blethen Maine Newspapers put up for sale Declining revenues cited by owner, Seattle Times Co.
The Seattle Times Co., owner of the Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel and other Blethen Maine Newspaper properties, is offering the Maine newspapers for sale. The company made the announcement Monday, citing declining revenues company-wide.

Casco Bay Lines planning to add 50-cent surcharge Officials cite record-level prices for diesel fuel
After months of slowing down its boats to save energy, Casco Bay Lines now is planning to add a 50-cent surcharge on all tickets to cover diesel fuel prices that have spiked to record level.

BY MARK ISHKANIAN AND ED MILLER : Raising tobacco tax makes sense
The growing budget deficit, coupled with a need to find a more secure funding source for the Dirigo Health Initiative and the drive to keep Maine youth from taking up smoking, present the Maine Legislature with a unique opportunity at a time of tough choices. We are talking about increasing the state tobacco tax.


Another rate cut expected
WASHINGTON - All eyes are on the Federal Reserve Tuesday as its policy-making committee tries to spark the sick U.S. economy back to health, slashing short-term interest rates by what Wall Street believes may be a full percentage point.

Boulevard of broken budgets
Maine, you're not alone. The Associated Press examined the budgets of all 50 states and found the same revenue shortfall, sky-is-falling scenario is occurring coast-to-coast.

Partisan pathways
This is in response to a letter from Sen. Bruce Bryant, D-District 14, that was printed Jan. 19.

Blethen Maine Newspapers For Sale

Just days after the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram announced a round of 27 layoffs, the daily newspaper's parent company said today that it's exploring the sale of all three of its newspapers in Maine. Citing challenges in the industry, CEO and Publisher Frank Blethen said his company needs to focus on its newspapers in Washington State, including the Seattle Times. As Susan Sharon reports, industry watchers are optimistic the three Maine dailies can be sold as a package.

Legislature Considers Ethics Law Changes
A year ago the Maine legislature deferred action on a blue ribbon panel's recommendations to impose stricter ethical standards on state lawmakers. At the time, some perceived the move as a lack of resolve at the State House to confront potentially thorny issues involving legislators. But members of the Legislature's Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee are spending much of this week reviewing ways to provide increased disclosure on lawmakers' financial dealings and conduct. A.J. Higgins reports.

Looking at Oil Prices
Local Host Irwin Gratz talks with Charles Colgan, an economic expert and professor at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.