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Maine News

Friday, May 23, 2008

Maine News for Friday, May 23, 2008

Portland Press Herald
Maine gas sales start to decline
Commuters begin to search in earnest for alternatives to the very costly habit of driving.

Cell merger might affect some Maine customers
Some Unicel subscribers could have to buy new phones once a merger with Verizon is completed.

District 1 Republican race grows heated
Election 2008: The candidates trade accusations on each other's records in ads and a debate.

Despite surplus, state officials pessimistic
Maine lawmakers are cautioned that the longer-term state revenue picture is gloomier than the surplus suggests.

Maine gas sales start to decline
Drivers begin to search in earnest for alternatives to the very costly and convenient habit of driving.

DANIEL W. WALKERContributing to a political campaign

Airlines raise fares, cut flights, face bankruptcy
Merger talks dry up as fuel prices climb to levels one analyst calls 'unsolvable.'

RICHARD ANDERSONDelta-Northwest merger good for Maine
Combining these airlines will produce a stronger carrier with a firm commitment to the state.

Speak out against more money for war in Iraq

Bangor Daily News
Lawmakers cautioned on revenue picture

AUGUSTA, Maine - State finance officials say gains by better-off taxpayers and by energy companies enjoying the effects of high oil prices have buoyed Maine tax collections, at least temporarily.

Maine's parks anticipate busy season

Crews in Maine's state parks are gearing up for what is expected to be a busy summer season as more and more families choose to vacation closer to home due to soaring gas prices.

4-day week for schools rejected

AUGUSTA, Maine - Education Commissioner Susan Gendron said Thursday that several school districts have asked about a waiver to allow a four-day school week to help mitigate the skyrocketing costs of energy, but she has had to say no.

DIF&W to limit antlerless-deer hunting

PRINCETON, Maine - State wildlife officials voted Thursday to slash the number of permits issued to hunters to shoot antlerless deer during the 2008 season, but elected to continue allowing doe hunting on the day reserved for young people.

Farm bill failings

Congress has demonstrated that if a huge giveaway bill is packed with enough earmarks and pork, members will give the farm lobby almost everything it wants.

Editorial: The first-year experience

Successfully completing that first year in college can be a huge challenge.

Ron Harriman: Mapping land use is a regional responsibility
In the early days of exploration, mapmakers would draw to the edge of their knowledge.

Kennebec Journal

Feeling gas pain at the pumps, Mainers are finding ways to cut back on driving
Maine gasoline sales are declining at the fastest rate in more than 15 years as pump prices continue to rise toward $4 a gallon and residents look for ways to cut back, state figures show.

Hannaford seeks to recycle 99 percent of materials
AUGUSTA -- Wall by wall, one classroom after another, the former Cony High School is slowly but irreversibly coming down.

Seat belt checks yield extras
MONMOUTH -- Turns out a campaign to enforce Maine's seat belt laws is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're going to get.

MAINEGENERAL:Hospital'spatients back it up in survey


University costs rise when they should go down
Years ago, a Maine high school graduate who didn't go to college could earn a good living in manufacturing and the state's natural resources economy.

PAUL R. LEPAGE : Congress, not Bush, to blame for our misery
During much of the Clinton administration, Congress was under the control of Republicans, and President Bill Clinton eagerly took credit for the economic prosperity enjoyed by many Americans.

BUDDY DOYLE OF GARDINER : We, and our leaders, should stand for truth
Since Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are still hashing it out and I've written about them already, I was fretting over what I might use as an idea for my column this month.

L. SANDY MAISEL : Will the real John McCain please stand up?
The general election campaign for the presidency has started. The answers to two basic questions will determine what kind of campaign we will see (or perhaps endure, depending on the answers to the questions) between now and November.


Laying off court reporters won't save time or money
In response to your article surrounding the loss of official court reporter positions in Maine, it is important that the public and the Legislature consider the consequences of this action.

Sun Journal

Lawmakers cautioned on state revenue picture
AUGUSTA (AP) - State finance officials say gains by better-off taxpayers and by energy companies enjoying the effects of high oil prices have buoyed Maine tax collections, at least temporarily.

Maine firm tapped to scuttle library
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A Maine public relations firm has been tapped to assist a grassroots effort aimed at stopping George W. Bush's presidential library, museum and think tank from being built at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

FairPoint responds to 911 problems
PORTLAND (AP) - FairPoint Communications has put safeguards in place to fix recurring problems with the Cumberland County 911 emergency response system.

Ex-MBNA retreat opening to public
NORTHPORT (AP) - A corporate retreat built by credit card company MBNA in the 1990s in Maine is opening to the public.

Critics pan Plum Creek development
AUGUSTA (AP) - Plum Creek Timber Co. fails to meet the regulatory and legal criteria to move forward with it proposed large-scale development in the Moosehead Lake region, critics of the plan said Thursday.

Former cannery goes to auction
BELFAST (AP) - A former sardine cannery on the Belfast waterfront will be sold to the highest bidder when it goes to auction next month.


Liberal lion, in winter
Depending on political persuasion, the specter of the venerable Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., is engaging or infuriating. If the measure of a man is his friends and enemies, then Teddy Kennedy is giant among giants.

Unthoughtful conservatives making all the noise in GOP
Don't read this column yet.


Changes will happen
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign is telling workers to not talk about policy, but rather talk about how they came to Obama. What is this "Change we can believe in," if not based on policy?

Favors the people's veto
Gov. John Baldacci and the Maine Legislature promised to not raise taxes, but now they have targeted alcohol and soda, just to help keep the Dirigo insurance program going.


State Lawmakers Warned Of Pessimistic Revenue Forecast
Legislative budget writers learned today that nearly halfway through Maine's two-year budget cycle, the state has exceeded tax collection estimates by a little more than $45 million dollars. Although some lawmakers on the panel raised concerns over the appearance of excess revenues in the wake of last month's efforts to cut the budget by nearly $200 million dollars, state financial experts warn the apparent surplus could quickly disappear as consumers respond to the continued pressure of high energy costs. A.J. Higgins reports.

Conservation Groups "Shocked" By LURC Recommendation On Plum Creek Project
The state agency reviewing Plum Creek Timber Company's proposal for a massive development in the Moosehead Lake region has overstepped its bounds in recommending changes to the plan. That's according to two environmental groups opposed to Plum Creek's proposal. Barbara Cariddi reports.

Lung Association: EPA Ozone Standards Fail To Protect The Public
As of next week, the federal goverment, and the state of Maine, will adopt new health standards for ground level ozone. The new standards are more strict, and would prompt a public health warning when ozone concentrations rise above 75 parts per billion, about ten points lower than the old threshhold. But as Keith Shortall reports, one health advocacy organization in Maine believes the standards don't do enough to protect the public from the harmful effects of ozone.

Candidate Profile: Democrat Steve Meister Vies For First District Seat
Steve Meister is a new Democrat. Literally. He joined the party last October, after being an independent. But he's running to succeed Democrat Tom Allen in the First Congressional District, one of six Democrats seeking their party's nomination on June 10th. As Irwin Gratz reports, Meister has focused his campaign on the subject areas he knows best.

A superdelegate wants to know: What do you think about the presidential nominating system?

Times Record
Petition backers to mine June 10 election for signatures
AUGUSTA — Voters going to the polls to vote in the June 10 primary could be asked to sign as many as seven petitions for proposed ballot initiatives. Proposals range from the so-called TABOR 2 tax and spending limit to a ban on gay marriages.

High gas prices out of reach for pumps
AUGUSTA — Mom and pop gas stations across the state are having problems with their old pumps because the non-digital price counters on them don't register gasoline and diesel sales at today's prices.

Ellsworth American


OPEGA Is Worth Its Cost

Maine’s Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) has lived to fight another day, despite the efforts of some state legislators who seem to hate the idea of any nonpartisan government oversight.

An Agenda for Change?
The national Republican Party is running scared, and rightly so. In a clear sign of dissatisfaction with the party headed by unpopular President George W. Bush, Republicans have lost three special elections so far this year. Their most recent debacle came last week in Mississippi when a conservative Democrat won 54 percent of the vote in a House district that a Republican won with 66 percent in 2006.