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Maine News

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Maine News for Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Portland Press Herald
FairPoint delays full takeover of Verizon
The company gives up on September and shoots for a November transition.

FairPoint penalized $25,000 for 911 issues
The penalty stems from an interruption in service and a delay in routing those calls.

Dechaine records access denied
The panel that reviewed Dennis Dechaine's conviction was a private group, the state Supreme Court rules.

BILL NEMITZTwo guys with pep to save energy

E-waste recycling at risk
Electronic Industries Alliance is challenging Maine's law charging manufacturers for recycling electronic waste.

Navy's leader tours Bath Iron Works
Secretary Donald Winter takes a look at plant upgrades even as questions arise about the program.

More time given to decide fate of BIW union
The international will keep control of the local union until a final decision is made, likely in August.

VillageSoup affiliate buys six newspapers
The deal with Courier Publications includes a printing operation.

Senator's denial in loan scandal hard to believe
If he didn't seek special treatment, then why did Sen. Kent Conrad call the lender's CEO?

Should legal restrictions on sex offenders be removed?
Whether suits seeking such relief succeed or not, there's another solution to this problem.

GREG KESICHGas prices are spawning a nation of Mrs. Drillocks
What will it take for more people to see bike riding as more than just a way to while away some time?

THOMAS DAHLBORGAiling health system: Feed it or heal it?
If patients and providers don't ask the right questions, they won't get the right answers.

Don't give nuclear power a second chance

Bangor Daily News
State seeks wind farm comments

State regulators are soliciting public comments on new rules that will speed up the approval process for siting large wind farms throughout much of Maine.

Rockland: Midcoast weeklies sold to VillageSoup

ROCKLAND, Maine - Courier Publications and its roster of six weekly newspapers is being sold to VillageSoup, the upstart publisher of an award-winning Web site and weeklies in Knox and Waldo counties.

Union members decry high oil, gasoline costs

BREWER, Maine - Union members lamented the skyrocketing price of gasoline and oil on Tuesday and called for national policy changes and an investment in alternative energy sources to reverse the trend.

Bangor: Penobscot County E-911 system repaired

BANGOR, Maine - Technicians had the Emergency-911 system in Penobscot County back on line at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday after four days of rerouting calls through the Maine State Police barracks in Orono.

Hampden landfill could close months earlier than expected

HAMPDEN, Maine - The Pine Tree Landfill must stop accepting waste by the end of December 2009, but if trash continues to cross through the facility's gates at the current rate, it could close several months earlier.

Dried-up aid cited in glut of projects

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's economic development has been slowed because of an increasing backlog of drinking water projects and needed wastewater treatment upgrades, state officials say.

Presque Isle: Panel to weigh pay hike for city councilors

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - City councilors are moving forward with a proposal to consider increasing the compensation for those who serve on the board in the future.

Presque Isle: City needs $187,000 to cover fuel fund deficit

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - The escalating and unstable cost of fuel has left the Presque Isle City Council wondering how to find $187,000 to cover a projected shortfall in the municipal budget.

Old Town: Red Shield plant still closed due to lack of wood supply

OLD TOWN, Maine - More than 160 employees of Red Shield Environmental LLC remained home Tuesday because of wood supply problems that forced the facility to close June 6.

Old Town: Airport gets grant for upgrades

OLD TOWN, Maine - The Old Town Regional Airport has received a federal grant for more than half a million dollars that will allow it to renovate some areas of its runways while helping with regional economic development efforts.

Red tide closes Down East harvesting areas

Cobscook Bay and parts of the Down East coast have been closed to mussel harvesting due to a large plume of toxic red tide algae that blew in from the Bay of Fundy, the Maine Department of Marine Resources announced Tuesday.

Helping Small Airports

With rising fuel costs prompting airlines to seek much larger government payments to serve airports, Congress needs to rethink the Essential Air Service program, which provides subsidies to support air service to rural areas. Congress should downsize the program and pay larger subsidies to airports in isolated communities that really need the assistance while working with airports that can become self-sustaining so they can leave the program.

Climate Change Delay

A failure can sometimes lead to a greater success later on. A case in point is the failure of the Climate Security Act to survive a threatened Republican filibuster. The issue now will wait until next year, with an opportunity to improve the bill and consider better alternatives.

Ted Koffman: Protecting Maine's quality of place
Thanks to the 2006 Brookings Report, the subject of quality of place and its influence on Maine’s economic prospects and quality of life is a part of the conversation about the state’s future.

Richard de Grasse: Giving an inch for an energy mile
It must be clear by now that Maine's economy will decline in direct proportion to the price of oil and gasoline. Oil at $130 a barrel and rising, the price of home heating oil, gasoline and diesel fuel, now more than $4 a gallon, will just keep going up with no end in sight.

June 17 Letters to the Editor

Kennebec Journal
AUGUSTA -- A chain of dental offices plans to open an office off Western Avenue, potentially helping alleviate what some describe as a shortage of dentists here.

AUGUSTA Grant may spark Mill Park pavilion
AUGUSTA -- The city has received a $60,000 grant to help construct a planned open-air pavilion to house the weekly farmers' market and other events at Mill Park.

Rail site could come back as tourist center
HALLOWELL -- Developer Kevin Mattson wants to turn the old Central Maine Railroad freight shed at Central and Winthrop streets into a passenger railroad station and tourist information center.

State to laud 5-town school consolidation
HALLOWELL -- State education officials are marking voter passage of a new school system merging under Maine's 2007 school district consolidation law with a celebration.

Group trashes state's e-waste program
Maine's first-of-its-kind program for recycling old TVs and computer monitors has been copied by other states and praised by environmentalists for keeping lead, mercury and other toxics out of landfills and incinerators.

On Maine Politics
Former parks director seeks Silsby’s seat


Council should tread lightly on untidy lawns
In the city of Golden Valley, Minn., a municipal publication from 2005 informs residents that, "The Golden Valley City Council updated the lawn maintenance section of the City Code ... First, the City will no longer send certified letters to residents who violate the lawn ordinance. Second, residents can now cultivate native plants in residential lawns...The new ordinance still bans noxious weeds and requires turf lawns to be maintained at eight-inches or less; however, the City will now use regular U.S. Mail to notify those in violation of the ordinance.

LAUREN BALLBACK OF BRUNSWICK GRADUATED FROM HIGH S : Graduate from last year has thoughts for adults, new grads
No one invited me to write an op-ed response to the graduation piece, "Our Opinion: Graduates: It's your life to live, don't blow it," printed in the paper on June 9, but this what I would I would say if asked to do so.

GEORGE SMITH : Nothing's free if the government can devise way to make you pay
That's the rallying cry of Maine's saltwater anglers, who resist the notion that the sea's bounties are not theirs to plunder free of charge.

GLENN SCHERER : Millions of analog TVs will become paperweights on 2/17
Used to be that consumer products had something called "planned obsolescence" built into them; they were designed to wear out and be thrown away (partly explaining our nation's overflowing landfills). Now, it seems, President Bush and Congress are helping speed the solid waste crisis: "legislated obsolescence," or "enforced consumption."

Sun Journal
Maine cyclist gets scare from mama bear, cubs
BANGOR (AP) - A man riding a bicycle with his two dogs has received a reminder that the 680-acre Bangor City Forest is home to wildlife.

Maine 911 system fails
BANGOR (AP) - A third 911 emergency phone system malfunction has left public safety officials, technicians and FairPoint Communications frustrated and puzzled.

IRS gives states filing extension
WASHINGTON (AP) - The IRS is giving storm and flood victims in Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin more time to make quarterly estimated tax payments that were due Monday.

Court denies Dechaine case records appeal
PORTLAND (AP) - A divided Maine supreme court Tuesday denied an appeal by an author who maintains the innocence of convicted child murderer Dennis Dechaine and sought access to records of an advisory group that reviewed his case.

In an editorial published Saturday, the Maine Turnpike Authority was cited as closing I-295 for construction. The decision was made by the Maine Department of Transportation. It was an editorial writer's error.

Today's newsroom is not for the chicken-hearted
And then somebody brought a chicken into the newsroom.

Dennis Dechaine To Have Murder Conviction Reviewed
Four years after Maine Attorney General Steve Rowe commissioned an independent panel to review the the murder conviction of Dennis Dechaine, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court has affirmed that the panel was not subject to Maine's Freedom of Access law. The investigation had been requested by Rowe "in order to ensure public confidence" in the state's law enforcement agencies." But the group's inner workings have never been made public. And as Susan Sharon reports, some see the court's ruling as a setback for the Freedom of Access law.

Village Soup To Branch Out
The Rockland based company that operates the interactive news and community website Village Soup announced today that it is buying six Maine newspapers for an undisclosed amount. The sale, which includes the holdings of Courier Publications, includes the Courier Gazette in Rockland, the Camden Herald and the Bar Harbor Times. The sale will mean the layoff of more than two dozen Courier employees, but as Keith Shortall reports, the new owners believe the sale will re-energize the local weekly newspaper market in Coastal Maine.

Union Members Attack John McCain's Support For Big Oil
The Eastern Maine chapter of the American Federation of Labor has joined the organization's national campaign attacking presidential hopeful John McCain. The union leaders held a press conference in Brewer Tuesday morning, where they accused McCain of aligning himself with President Bush in protecting the profits of big oil companies at the expense of working families. McCain's campaign says the AFL-CIO is more concerned with politics than it is working families. Anne Ravana has more.

Gas Stations Losing Money In Spite Of Soaring Prices
If Maine's gas station owners have a message for consumers, it would probably be "don't shoot the messenger". High prices at the pump do not mean gas retailers are raking in huge profits. Quite the opposite, says one expert. Tom Porter has the story.