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Maine News

Monday, May 19, 2008

Maine News for Monday, May 19, 2008

Portland Press Herald
Scontras new to political arena
Election 2008: The Republican newcomer and conservative sees his outsider status as an asset.

JUSTIN ELLISA few more ideas for raising the bar in Old Port

Problems cause gaps in response to 911 calls
Cumberland County officials say FairPoint sometimes is slow to take actions that restore service.

Racial issues addressed by Maine's UCC churches
United Church of Christ members start a dialogue, stirred partly by comments by a former UCC pastor.

Bloated farm bill rotten to the core
Sen. Susan Collins is right to vote against a bill that perpetuates subsidies for rich farmers.

Once essential, the old landline is becoming a relic
As more people rely exclusively on cell phones, our lives are altered in big and little ways.

Regulate backyard beekeepers, but back off blanket bee bans
Neighbors should have their concerns addressed, but bees bring big benefits.

LEIGH DONALDSONPresident Bush should attend Olympic opening in Beijing
China's human rights abuses would get more attention with world leaders present than not.

GLENN CUMMINGS, Special to the Press HeraldBeware pushers of lobbyists' agendas
Columnist Ron Bancroft offers one-sided ratings to malign Democrats' achievements.

Bangor Daily News
Delegation seeks long-term solutions as national debt grows

AUGUSTA, Maine — Each man, woman and child in Maine owes nearly $31,000 as their share of the national debt that is increasing every week by more than the entire state budget for a year.

Community colleges send off graduates

There was a reason Angela Nadeau put off taking a required oral communications class at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor.

Maine Guard tracking brain injury

The Maine Army National Guard has embarked on a program to test its members before and after they're deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in what is thought to be the first state-level initiative to identify brain injuries in troops.

Hermon: Maine truckers put their mettle to the pedal

Even a veteran like Warren Lewis found Saturday’s Maine Professional Truck Driving Championships tough going.

N.H. man gets 41 months in prison in child porn case

BANGOR, Maine - A New Hampshire man was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to more than three years in prison for possession of child pornography.

FEMA staff in Milford, to aid county flood victims

A mobile Disaster Recovery Center from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will visit two Penobscot County towns to help all county victims of the flooding that began late last month.

10% hike in tuition likely at UMS sites

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - Students in the University of Maine System are expected to see, on average, about a 10 percent increase in their tuition rate effective with the July 1 budget.

Compact vehicle draws attention, but concerns linger for many consumers

BANGOR, Maine - The 40 miles per gallon that Stu Tinker gets driving his two-seat Smart car - the fortwo passion - is just a bonus.

Pulp and paper futures

Once the king of Maine's economy, the paper and pulp industry's transformation over the last 30 years has led to a perception that it is dying a slow death in the Pine Tree State. But don't write that obituary just yet.

Editorial: End the ethanol hype

The powerful corn lobby has successfully spread the message that making ethanol from corn will save on fuel costs, reduce American dependence on foreign oil and help save the planet from the effects of climate change.

David Broder: GOP facing uphill battle in election
One way of measuring the current miserable state of the Republican Party is to note that in the past 10 weeks, 55 years of Republican seniority in the House of Representatives were wiped out in three special elections.

May 19 Letters to the Editor

Kennebec Journal
BIW workers ratify contract
AUGUSTA -- The largest union at Bath Iron Works voted to accept a new four-year contract Sunday that includes raises, a continuation of health-care benefits and more money for pensions.

AUGUSTA Linen store staying open Despite bankruptcy, 2 Maine closings, local store is safe
AUGUSTA -- Linens 'N Things will close retail stores in Bangor and Biddeford in the next few months but, for now, the Augusta store at 14 Stephen King Drive is safe.

1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT Scontras sees conservatism as virtue in campaign
Eighth in a series of profiles of candidates running in the 1st District Congressional primary races.

Dealing with race head on

COLBY COLLEGE Officials have concern about drinking event
WATERVILLE -- Colby College administrators have second thoughts about hosting an annual drinking event that continues to end in the hospitalization of multiple students.


Auburn oil plan an idea to help where it hurts
Everyone wants to wave a magic wand and make high energy prices go away. Or at least down.


McCain shows he's not above negative campaign
As we have seen recently, Sen. John McCain, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, self-described maverick and captain of the "Straight Talk Express," has made claims that terrorist organization Hamas has "endorsed" Sen. Barack Obama for president. He has done this in interviews with conservative bloggers. He is also purporting that it is he whom the terrorists fear most.

Stop buying gas from 'big' oil to see prices come down
I am tired of the high gas prices as we all are. The oil companies like it.

Maine budget stays below mandated spending limit
The May 12 Maine Compass column by J. Scott Moody, "Lawmakers reneged on vow to cut spending," included numbers and statements that are not supported by the facts.

Sun Journal

Union OKs pact at BIW
AUGUSTA (AP) - Members of Bath Iron Works' largest union overwhelmingly approved a four-year contract that gives workers annual 3.5 percent to 4 percent pay hikes while increasing pension contributions and holding the line on health care contributions.

1st Congressional District at a glance
Demographic profile of Maine's 1st Congressional District, according to most recent Census data:

Firm agrees to stop automatic fees
AUGUSTA (AP) - A Portland-based property management company has agreed to stop automatically charging early termination fees when tenants leave an apartment before a lease is up.

Maine Guard begins initiative on brain injury
PORTLAND (AP) - The Maine Army National Guard has embarked on a program to test its members before and after they're deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in what is thought to be the first state-level initiative to identify brain injuries in troops.

Tom Allen's open seat produces crowded field
SCARBOROUGH (AP) - Democratic Rep. Tom Allen's underdog effort to unseat Republican Sen. Susan Collins has set off a two-party free-for-all for southern Maine's open congressional seat.

Deal nears for former home of Portland Public Market
PORTLAND (AP) - The building that housed the Portland Public Market until it closed two years ago could soon have a new owner under an agreement between the building's owner and a local development firm.

York residents oppose plan to move toll plaza
YORK (AP) - Townspeople in York are giving a thumbs down to a proposal to relocate an aging Maine Turnpike toll plaza to another part of town.

The swan song of the superdelegates
For months, Washingtonian mating rituals have occurred behind closed doors between the presidential campaigns of Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama and powerful Democratic superdelegates.

Bad policies have left Bush little leverage in Lebanon
The timing couldn't be worse. President Bush's last trip to the Middle East comes at a time when his Mideast policy is in tatters.


Real ID Opponents Launch Petition Drive
A coalition of groups opposed to the federal Real ID law got together in downtown Portland today to launch a petition-gathering campaign. Their aim is to repeal a state law that bolsters Maine's drivers license requirements and brings the state closer to compliance with the Federal Real ID Act of 2005. The act, say proponents, is designed to stop identity theft and improve national security by establishing new national standards for state-issued driver licenses and other ID cards. Tom Porter has details.

Senator Collins Crticial of Unchecked Speculation in Oil Futures
While Maine Senator Susan Collins voted against the massive farm bill yesterday, she whole-heartedly came out in support of one of its key provisions, to do away with the so-called "Enron Loophole". Collins, a Republican, says she believes that one major contributor to the rising cost of gasoline is unchecked speculation in the oil futures markets, which have been exempt from the kind of regulation that applies to trading of other commodities. Barbara Cariddi reports.

Small Maine Airports Facing Costly Future
Three of Maine's four small airports that rely on federally subsidized essential air service contracts with Colgan Air face costly decisions in the months ahead as they weigh whether they will accommodate the company's new 34-passenger aircraft. Colgan, a subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines Corp., has been serving airports in Augusta, Trenton and Rockland with a 19-passenger plane for years. As A.J. Higgins reports, while some small airport managers wonder whether they can afford to say "yes" to the larger aircraft, others argue that they can hardly afford to say "no."

Gay Rights Opponents Say California Ruling Bolsters Effort
Civil rights activists in Maine are hailing a California Supreme Court ruling overturning a voter-approved ban on gay marriage in that state. They say the decision sets a precedent that could eventually lead to broader acceptance of same-sex unions. But gay marriage opponents say the decision will give a boost to their pending petition drive to reaffirm Maine's ban on gay marriage and to repeal a wide range of gay rights laws here. Barbara Cariddi reports.