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Maine News

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Maine News for Thursday, May 15, 2008

Portland Press Herald
Gardening in Maine shows signs of growth
High food prices and concerns about pesticides and global warming fuel a planting revival.

Quick thinking keeps class safe in China
A former Falmouth teacher working at a school in Chengdu helps her students stay unharmed.

Meister a newcomer to politics, party
Election 2008: The pediatrician from Winthrop wants to work to provide health insurance for all Americans.

Auburn lets residents join its heating oil deal
Having more participants gives the city more power to get the lowest price, and "everybody wins."

Federal aid expanded for flooding victims
Six Maine counties that suffered damage two weeks ago are in line for public assistance.

Verso Paper cuts back on IPO shares, price
The coated-paper company operates mills in Jay and Bucksport.

Latest idea to lower gas prices just another political gimmick
Halting contributions to the strategic oil reserve won't do anything meaningful.

Maine needs venture-capital stimulus
A plan to create a 'Fund of Funds' to aid emerging companies with high potential will return.

Time for an ultimatum on oil prices

What rights will we lose next after smoking ban?

Bangor Daily News
Biologists keeping eye on red tide

Marine biologists say 2008 could be a bad year for red tide in coastal Maine waters based on recent shellfish surveys and current weather patterns.

Appeal involving Tobin of Bangor still pending

WASHINGTON - A former Republican consultant who served three months in prison for his role in the Election Day 2002 phone-jamming operation against New Hampshire Democrats said Wednesday he knows of no connection between the White House and the plot.

Disaster relief expanded to more counties

FORT KENT, Maine - Towns and cities throughout the state that were affected by the recent flooding and are struggling to find the money to repair roads, bridges and other infrastructure will receive additional help.

Labor Department offers flood assistance

AUGUSTA, Maine - News of more assistance for those affected by the recent flooding in the state was released Wednesday afternoon.

Kenduskeag: Farmers meeting seeks dairy solution

KENDUSKEAG, Maine - State, local and federal officials sat shoulder to shoulder with dairy farmers Wednesday, trying to solve what some are calling a crisis in farming. In the end, the two-hour forum, called by a local dairy farmer, was as much about frustration at current pricing policies as it was looking ahead toward solutions.

State investments: safe or lucrative?

AUGUSTA, Maine - Legislation putting tighter restrictions on state investments died when lawmakers adjourned last month, but the controversy continues and likely will be before lawmakers next year.

Spring Has Sprung

So far, despite the recent destructive rainstorm, spring has made a fine start, a great relief from the cold and wet conditions that often seem to linger later in the year than hoped for.

Hillary's Heartbreak

If the race to the Democratic presidential nomination has been like the Boston Marathon, Hillary Clinton might rightly claim that Heartbreak Hill was named for her.

Anne Harper : Tax funding health care beneficial in long run
I read that a group has formed to try to rescind the recently passed tax increase that will help fund the state’s Dirigo health program. The same day, I filled out my renewal forms for my own participation in Dirigo.

May 15 Letters to the Editor

Kennebec Journal
Former Cony High School teacher Denise O'Toole was teaching her 28 students at 2:28 p.m. on Monday in a fifth-floor classroom in Chengdu, China, when the building she was in began to sway and the plaster crumbled off the walls.

Vachon new Cony AD; unsure if he will keep coaching
The Augusta Board of Education on Wednesday night approved Paul Vachon as the new athletic director for Cony High School and Hodgkins Middle School. He replaces Dan Bowers, who resigned after seven years on the job to pursue an assistant principal’s position.

1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT Pediatrician from Winthrop vows fight for change, real solutions Gulf War vet says he, too, has confronted inept government
Fourth in a series of profiles of candidates running in the 1st Congressional District primary races.

AUGUSTA -- The Planning Board unanimously approved changes Tuesday to a planned 24-unit, condominium development for residents 55 and older.

On Maine Politics
Kennebec Dems to meet Thursday 05/14/08


DAN BILLINGS : Unlikely face leads people's veto of tax increases
A tax revolt is under way and it is being led by an unlikely revolutionary.

JIM BRUNELLE : Campaign protecting part of economy from inflation effects
The longest, costliest, most overly handicapped presidential horserace in history continues apace and we're still fully half-a-year away from the finish line.

Sun Journal

More Maine counties getting disaster aid
AUGUSTA (AP) - Federal disaster assistance has expanded to include a total of six counties following floods two weeks ago that damaged more than 200 homes and displaced as many as 1,000 people, Gov. John Baldacci said Wednesday.

What about a heating oil cooperative?
Like an oil derrick, the Auburn City Council tapped a gusher by proposing to let residents join the city's heating oil contract: the overflowing consumer frustration at being unable to negotiate better fuel prices.

Obama should campaign using his own set of rules
If Barack Obama gets his way, the Oxford English Dictionary will have updated its definition of "distraction" by the end of the campaign: "Diversion of the mind, attention, etc., from any object or course that tends to advance the political interests of Barack Obama."

Qualified candidate
Being a resident of New Gloucester, part of Maine House District 105, I am enthusiastic about introducing an eminently qualified candidate for state representative: David Van Wie. He plans to visit as many voters in the district as possible, canvassing Durham and the Lisbon Falls downtown area.

Auburn Oil Plan Would Equalize Fuel Oil Prices
Should the residents of Auburn be able to piggy-back on the city's bidding power when it comes to buying heating fuel? The city council has initially approved a program that would allow private citizens to benefit from the heating oil price negotiated by city government. Skeptics, however, including the city's mayor and the Maine Oil Dealer's Association, are questioning the plan. Keith McKeen reports.

Former Ski Industry Mogul Announces Wood-To-Energy Venture
Former ski industry and Red Sox investor Les Otten announced last week that he has plans for a wood-to-energy venture that will convert thousands of home heating systems in New England from oil to pellets. The company, known as "Maine Energy Systems", will face some hurdles including getting people to make the 12-thousand dollar investment. Otten says pellets have to be part of the plan to make Maine energy independent. As Susan Sharon reports, there are some concerns about the new hype around pellets and about Otten's role on a state wood-to-energy task force.

Farm Bill Has Downside For Some Maine Farmers
The US Farm Bill is one of the biggest pieces of legislation to go through Congress, and this week it's expected to pass through both Houses. The bill has been criticized for offering billions of dollars in subsidies to farmers whether or not they need the money. Not all farmers in Maine however are happy with the Bill. MPBN's Tom Porter has the story.

Stephen King's Debated Remarks Shine Light On Literacy
A deputy under-secretary for the Department of Defense says Maine author Stephen King cruelly perpetuated an incorrect stereotype when he suggested last month that millitary service is a refuge for the illiterate. The under-secretary's remarks are among the latest repercussions for King who announced that the recent uproar in reaction to his comments was forcing him to postpone a June 7 fundraiser for Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Tom Allen. As A.J. Higgins reports, the controversy has inadvertently served to shine a light on literacy in Maine where one in seven adults is rated at the lowest functional level.

Ellsworth American
OPEGA Still Alive and Kicking After Passage of Emergency Bill
AUGUSTA — The fiscal watchdog agency that Democratic leadership tried to eliminate as part of the supplemental budget is still in business thanks to an emergency bill passed at the end of the legislative session.

Secret Voting on School Budgets
One of the many disturbing aspects of Maine’s school consolidation law is the requirement that school budgets now must be approved not only at annual town meetings or by city or town councils but in referendum ballot votes no more than 10 days after that initial approval. Advocates of the secret ballot vote claim, in the words of Sen. Peter Mills (R-Somerset County), that “it’s one way of forcing citizens at the local level to assume responsibility for education costs.” Mills said that the conservatives of his party believe the public referendum vote will “force school committees to be more fiscally responsible.”