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Maine News

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Maine News for Thursday, July 10, 2008

Portland Press Herald
Region's governors predict heating crisis
They call on federal authorities to fully fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

School merger plan hits snag
Freeport's school board balks at a plan to merge with Pownal and Durham, citing the tight deadline.

City sets cruise control
Portland merchants use free refreshments and special offers to lure passengers.

Transit proposals get mixed reviews
A draft of ideas to curb traffic congestion in Portland meets with a measure of skepticism.

High ozone levels prompt call for tougher limits
An air-quality alert is issued after the state exceeds the standard for healthy air again.

State funding boosts efforts to preserve land
New grants from Land for Maine's Future will help to protect 36,000 acres.

Political realities shape climate change challenge
Dramatic reductions in fossil-fuel use seem unlikely, and planning should reflect that.

There's plenty of data to suggest replacing York toll plaza a waste

Moosehead's 'natural character' ignored
Regulators listen to hired planners and pay little heed to citizen critics of Plum Creek's sprawling project.

Call for discussions of race example of fixation on topic

Bangor Daily News
Governors urge expansion of home heating aid

BOSTON - Governors from across New England, warning that some families may have to choose between food or warmth this winter, called for a sharp boost in federal home heating aid.

New timeline to privatization raises concerns

BANGOR, Maine - The privatization of the Elizabeth Levinson Center for children with multiple handicaps has been put off until the beginning of next year due to a lack of qualified bids for the contract.

$18M awarded for conservation

Roughly 50 projects have been awarded $18 million in funding from the Land for Maine's Future program to conserve forests, farms and working waterfronts throughout the state.

Catholic diocese closes case of suspended priest’s suicide

PORTLAND, Maine - Allegations of sexual abuse against a Maine priest who committed suicide late last month will not be pursued further by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

Renowned forensics expert reviewing McLain homicide

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine - He's interested, but internationally renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden doesn't know yet whether he will examine the body of homicide victim Joyce McLain, he said Wednesday.

Poll ranks employment as Mainers' No. 1 concern

Jobs and employment top the list of concerns for Mainers in 2008, but gasoline prices, energy-related issues and the cost of living also rank high.

DOT presses case for truck weight exemption

Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Cole testified Wednesday before a House committee in Washington about the need for an exemption on federal truck weight limits, a provision that would help keep heavy trucks off Maine’s secondary roads.

State approves Kibby wind farm project

State regulators gave final approval Wednesday to a $270 million wind farm and transmission line proposed for the mountains of rural Franklin County.

The Road Not Taken

There's a pleasing symmetry to the synopsis of a documentary film that will be shown at the Maine International Film Festival, July 11-20, in Waterville. "A Road Not Taken" chronicles the fate of a clunky piece of hardware that once sat atop the West Wing of the White House.

Red Tide Caution

With this year’s red tide outbreak predicted to be worse than 2005’s historic levels, shellfish consumers should be reassured that the state’s testing system keeps tainted mussels and clams off the market.

Ken Fredette: History shows fate of senate race
The "dog days" of summer are here, and polls abound with projections about the November U.S. Senate race between Tom Allen and Susan Collins.

W. Tom Sawyer: Beverage tax shows career politicians are out of touch
Senate Democratic leader Libby Mitchell’s June 27 column, "Benefit of beverage tax? Health coverage," defending a $70 million tax increase to fund Dirigo Health demonstrates how out-of-touch career politicians truly are.

July 10 Letters to the Editor

Kennebec Journal
On Maine Politics
Sidney/Oakland Dems to meet

Cony High School schedule approved
AUGUSTA -- The Board of Education approved a controversial new class schedule for Cony High School, despite parents' concerns there are too many unanswered questions about how their sons and daughters will fit in all the classes they need.

Conservation education remains constant challenge
VASSALBORO -- How more than 3,000 acres of land were conserved in central Maine really isn't a mystery.

Board approves $17M for conservation projects
A 550-acre chunk of Windham's rural character and a 76-acre swath of forest along the Saco River in Hollis are both closer to being forever protected this week, after the latest round of state conservation grants.

Bringing cruise ship passengers downtown
A team of yellow-shirted greeters was ready with promotional booklets and friendly advice as passengers disembarked from the Explorer of the Seas on Wednesday, the opening day of the city's cruise ship season.

Winslow resident links property sinking, drawdown of lake
WINSLOW -- Dallaire Street resident Donald "Scott" Hermey is convinced his property is beginning to sink.

State energy effort good, but needs feds' help
For many -- if not most -- Mainers, the only subject these days is the cost of energy.

JIM BRUNELLE : Political consultant, author helped Maine GOP stay afloat
Being a political consultant, according to Alex Ray, a longtime Republican operative who once spent time honing his craft in Maine, is a thankless job.

DAN BILLINGS : Democrats don't want some votes to be cast
During the controversy after the 2000 presidential election, Democrats cried "count every vote." Unsuc-cessful with that strategy, the Maine Democratic Party is now trying to limit the choices Maine voters see on their ballots.

LINDA CADES : Gun ownership grave subject needing serious thought
I read with something approaching disbelief J.P. Devine's column, "Love of Guns is Here to Stay" concerning the recent Supreme Court decision about the Second Amendment (Kennebec Journal, July 6).


Gardiner revaluation has 'significant inaccuracy'
Is Gardiner planning to secede from Maine and rejoin Massachusetts?

Augusta put on great Independence Day
Thank you, Augusta, for a more than great 4th of July.

Sun Journal
Demand on rise for heating assistance
The state's looking at a winter with more demand and less money.

Maine parish marks bicentennial Saturday
NEWCASTLE (AP) - Maine's oldest Roman Catholic parish will hold its bicentennial celebration this weekend.

State trumps ordinance in public interest
AUGUSTA (AP) - Augusta's city manager says residents have complained about increased truck traffic to and from Pike Industries' large pit and asphalt plant, but the state is brushing aside local ordinances to advance the Interstate 295 reconstruction.

Maine diocese offers new details on priest suicide
PORTLAND (AP) - Maine's Roman Catholic diocese said Wednesday it received word six months ago about a sexual abuse claim against a priest who committed suicide last month after being notified that he was temporarily suspended.

A balanced approach to squatters
In turn-of-the-century Auburn, differentiating between transients and vagrants was easy: spend one night in the barn, you're a transient. But three nights in the barn? Sorry pal, you're a vagrant.

England sows the seeds of its own destruction
So this is how it ends: not with a bang, but a whimper.

Blame the Democrats
This is in response to Mark Tardif's letter, printed July 3.

Gasoline realities
The whole world operates on oil, and will for years to come.

'Banned completely'
I could not believe my eyes when I read a letter to the editor by Elise Giasson, printed July 1. There was one sentence I hope everyone read twice, as I had to, to be sure that I had read it right..

Activists Prepare for Affordable Healthcare Campaign
A coalition of healthcare activists brought the so-called "Health Care for America Now" campaign to the State House today. It was an effort to make affordable healthcare for all a major issue in this year's congressional elections. The campaign is encouraging lawmakers to come up with some new options for consumers. They include private coverage, government-administered health insurance or some different approach for guaranteeing access to health care for all Americans. A.J. Higgins reports.

State Task Force Calls for Massive Winterization Effort
Citing the need for a dramatic change in energy consumption patterns, a state task force is calling for a massive effort to winterize all of Maine's single-family homes in ten years. As Barbara Cariddi reports, the so-called "Pre-Emergency Energy Task Force" is also recommending that each community in Maine create "warming shelters" for emergencies, rebuild the state's passenger rail infrastructure and speed the development of alternative sources of energy. State energy director John Kerry heads the task force.

New England governors attend energy summit

Maine GOP: MoveOn should protest Obama

Another short lived career for Ms. Dobson

Times Record
Tapping our inner power

Ellsworth American
“Huge” CMP Power Line Could Spur Economy and Controversy
AUGUSTA — The $1.4-billion transmission line project officially announced last week by Central Maine Power Co. could give the state’s economy a significant boost, creating jobs and encouraging consumer spending at a time when both are in short supply.

Veteran Senator Questions Use of Clean Election Funds
AUGUSTA — Long-time legislator Sen. Joe Brannigan of Portland, who spent more than $20,000 in public funds in his run for Senate two years ago, is running a privately funded campaign this year because he thinks the Clean Election system caused him and his opponent to overspend in 2006.

DirigoChoice: A Costly Failure
For some time, there have been those in state politics who take great delight in the notion that Maine can lead the country in attempting to find solutions to particular issues. From the time he was inaugurated as Governor, John Baldacci identified his Dirigo Health program — and the DirigoChoice insurance program in particular — as a cornerstone of his administration. Unfortunately, the Governor and his supporters ignored the reality that national issues — and the ever-increasing cost of health care is one such issue — demand national solutions. DirigoChoice has been an expensive and eminently unsuccessful boondoggle since it was created five years ago.

Wishful Thinking?
Congress went back into session this week after the Fourth of July recess, and members of Maine’s delegation were unanimous in their calls for more cooperation and less partisanship in the weeks ahead.

Be Wary of Politicians’ Recommendations
Regarding the June 19 article reporting on Angus King’s recent energy speech (“Catastrophe” Awaits Maine: Angus King), I believe that readers should be wary of politicians’, including ex-politicians’, recommendations concerning how to solve Maine’s energy problems. These are the same folks that, in the past 30-plus years, have implemented laws and regulations that have driven up the cost and price of electricity in Maine nearly 75 percent relative to U.S. averages (by itself adding nearly $1 billion per year to electric costs) while having the effect of increasing Maine’s use of oil and natural gas to the highest per capita in the United States.

Following the Peterborough Principle
A Green Revolution has hit the USA. Green is popular and chic; it’s politically correct, and it’s good business. Reducing, reusing and recycling are imperative to keeping our planet healthy, as well as ourselves, our homes and our towns. I am astounded by the amount of trash my family and I generate every week. We do what we can to limit waste: we bring our own bags to the grocery store, we buy in bulk, we compost kitchen waste, we recycle. Still, the trash piles up in the garage, and off to the transfer station we go. When I learned that the Blue Hill/Surry Transfer Station would no longer accept glass for recycling my intellectual reaction was one of surprise. Soon after, when I threw a glass jar in the trash for the first time, my reaction was more visceral. “What the @#$! am I doing!”

Oil Prices Must Be Dealt With Now

Time for New Representation

Come On, Governor and State Politicians: Take Action

Power and Money Concerns Trump People

Village Soup
Midcoast destinations lure cruise ships