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Maine News

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Maine News for Thursday, April 17, 2008

Portland Press Herald
Governor signs beverage tax into law to help pay for Dirigo
State House: Critics say increased beer, wine and soda costs will hit hard.

Environmental coalition celebrates new laws
State House: Members of 25 organizations tout the passage of many bills.

House passes driver's license changes
State House: Lawmakers kill a fee increase, and the bill to tighten security now goes to the Senate.

Cianchette makes his case to be ambassador to Costa Rica
The Maine Republican says he has been studying Spanish and the politics of the Latin American nation.

Pingree's funding tops $1 million
Election 2008: She's the top Democratic fundraiser. Dean Scontras leads GOP hopefuls in raising cash.

Ed Suslovic: 'Who is this guy?'
Seen as both visionary and enigmatic, Portland's mayor has shown he's willing to sit on the hot seat.

Navy lays out rules for reuse of old prison at shipyard
Developers are told at a forum that access to the site will remain restricted.

Bush sets target date for emissions cut
He calls for stopping the growth of climate-changing pollution by 2025, but offers no new ways to do it.

Gulf of Maine wind farm more than just hot air
There are lots of reasons to be skeptical of this idea, but plenty of benefits to consider as well.

Report offers no quick fix for Maine's economy
There are promising clusters of activity in Maine, but taking advantage won't be easy.

Bangor Daily News
Baldacci signs off on Dirigo

AUGUSTA, Maine - Democrats including Gov. John Baldacci celebrated passage of a bill to bolster Maine’s static Dirigo Health insurance program Wednesday, but Republicans - some raising the possibility of a people’s veto - blasted the tax increases contained in it.

Minimum wage hike bill sent

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine lawmakers have sent to Gov. John Baldacci a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage from the current $7 per hour to $7.50 over a two-year period.

Tribe looks to sever ties with state after slots veto

The governor's veto of the bill to allow the Penobscot Nation to operate slot machines at its Indian Island high-stakes beano facility and the Legislature's failure to overturn that decision was 'the last nail in the coffin' for tribal officials.

Feds probe state conservation head

AUGUSTA, Maine - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating an allegation that Maine Department of Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan, a licensed pilot, violated a federal hunting law while flying his aircraft last fall near a remote lake in Piscataquis County.

1st District candidates reveal finances in report

PORTLAND, Maine - With the primary election just seven weeks away, money is pouring in at record pace into the coffers of the six Democrats and two Republicans vying for their party's 1st District nomination.

EMMC saves $1M in energy costs

BANGOR, Maine - In the 18 months since Eastern Maine Medical Center installed its cogeneration heat and electricity plant, the hospital's energy costs have dropped by more than $1 million.

St. John River ice on the move

FORT KENT, Maine - River watchers, professionals at the National Weather Service at Caribou and those who live along the St. John River with years of experience watching the water are keeping an eye on the mighty river that has a history of wreaking havoc along its shores in the spring.

Collins greets pope in visit to White House

WASHINGTON - Pope Benedict XVI was greeted Wednesday morning at the White House by President Bush, first lady Laura Bush and thousands of invited guests, including a child holding a 'Welcome Pope Hope' sign.

God, Guns and Obama

After a long, arduous march on the campaign circuit, including visits to small cities such as Bangor, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama stopped in San Francisco earlier this month to raise more money.

Plugging in The County

Building a high-capacity electricity line linking northern and central Maine would seem to be a win for both regions and the state as a whole.

Anne Jordan and Patrick Fleming: Fighting child abuse
Child abuse and neglect are serious and growing problems in Maine. In the past two years, the number of shaken-baby cases at Maine Medical Center alone has tripled.

Kennebec Journal
Baldacci signs bill for funding Dirigo New taxes on beer, wine, soft drinks are hailed by some, criticized by others
AUGUSTA -- Gov. John Baldacci said Wednesday he was proud to sign a new law that will provide a stable source of funding for Dirigo Health, which will now be partly supported by taxes on beer, wine and soda.

Green coalition exults in new laws
AUGUSTA -- A coalition of groups came to the Statehouse on Wednesday to celebrate new laws that they believe will help protect the environment.

Petitioners lose fight with city hall over Cony use
AUGUSTA -- Five petitioners in Augusta lost their claims against the city Wednesday when a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled against them.

GARDINER: Expectations great for link to Rail Trail
GARDINER -- City Manager Jeff Kobrock rides his bicycle to work every day and is looking forward to the completion of a city pathway, its route still to be determined, that will link it to the Kennebec River Rail Trail.

AUGUSTA: Cony sale a done deal
AUGUSTA -- The sale of part of the former Cony High School site to be developed as a Hannaford supermarket is now a done deal.

Augusta school service proposal at issue
AUGUSTA -- City councilors Wednesday night struggled to understand a proposed year-long agreement under which Augusta schools would provide superintendent, business-office and special education services to the Georgetown school system.


Democrats slip in tax increases with night vote
If lawmakers had held public hearings about raising taxes on beer, wine, soda, flavored water and even health insurance transactions in order to help pay for the Dirigo Health insurance program, they would have gotten a mouthful from Maine consumers tired of being taxed too much.

DAN BILLINGS : Local control might be in form, not substance
As a political science major at the University of Southern Maine in the late 1980s, I took a course in intergovernmental relations. I don't remember much from the course, except its focus on block grants, categorical grants and various forms of "New Federalism" aimed at reshaping the financial relations between the federal government and the states.


An examination of Heath's critical thinking skills
A quick analysis and subsequent dismissal of the inane logic of Michael Heath is needed.

Those least able to pay asked for more sacrifice
I cannot imagine a more obvious index of this country's abandonment of society's necessary commitment to the common good, a commitment we learned so painfully in the Great Depression, than Gov. John Baldacci's determination, at the outset of the effort to address a $200 million shortfall, that he would approve no tax increase: there would be no demands on society to secure the common good.

Sun Journal
Baldacci backs Dirigo proposal
AUGUSTA (AP) - Democrats including Gov. John Baldacci celebrated passage of a bill to bolster Maine's static Dirigo Health insurance program Wednesday, but Republicans - some raising the possibility of a people's veto - blasted the tax increases contained in it.

House OKs new license rules
AUGUSTA (AP) - Following a debate that rang with themes of states' rights, individual liberties and security of state credentials, the Maine House approved a bill Wednesday to tighten the rules for getting a Maine driver's license.

Panel appears wary of hurting store owners
AUGUSTA - The state Liquor and Lottery Commission on Wednesday postponed a vote that would have authorized a cut in lottery sales commissions to ticket vendors.

Real ID Remains Contentious Issue Among Lawmakers

With a federal deadline for Real ID Act hanging in the balance, members of the Maine House immersed themselves in a divisive debate over whether the state should tighten up its policies for issuing driver's licenses. Failure to pass LD 2309 in the current legislative session would trigger extra security screenings at airports for Mainers without passports. A majority of lawmakers reluctantly capitulated to what they see as the federal government's heavy-handed threats, but -- as A.J. Higgins reports -- others responded defiantly.

Congressional Candidates Breaking Finance Record
The eight candidates vying for Maine's First District Congressional seat have raised a total of more than 3 and a quarter million dollars so far, according to campaign finance reports filed yesterday with the Federal Elections Commission. That's nearly two and a half times the total spent on the 2006 campaign for the same seat--and the primary in this race is still two months away. Barbara Carridi reports.

Beer tax rebellion in the making?