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Maine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Maine News for Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Portland Press Herald
Unpaid CMP electric bills skyrocket
The most vulnerable customers still lack an awareness of energy issues, the Maine PUC says.

Will drop in gas, oil prices continue?
Some analysts are predicting as much, but Maine's energy director says don't bet on it.

Court ruling removes Hoffman from Senate ballot
A single faulty signature can invalidate a whole page of a nominating petition, judges said.

Pickets seek better contract for work at jail

Mental health expert sought
The monitor would access the state's system of providing services for some 12,000 ill adults.

LNG company stops tribe payments
The firm that wants to build a terminal on Passamaquoddy land will wait out permit reviews.

Province, restaurant to study lobsters
The Red Lobster chain will help study sustainability of the fishery.

FairPoint hires Cisco for network
The company is spending $100 million on Internet access in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.

DA's stance on drinking arrests makes sense
Limited financial resources force tough choices for police and prosecutors.

Another View: Fuel comparisons should be among similar devices
Comparing a central heating system with a space-heating stove just confuses the issue.

Candidates' promises under microscope

Minimum-wage increase helps neither workers, bosses

Bangor Daily News
Schools look to cut food costs

AUGUSTA, Maine - Despite federal increases in subsidies for school nutrition programs and expanded state aid for school breakfast programs, many schools across Maine are looking to cut staff and reduce menu options as food prices continue to increase.

$13.6 million loan to buoy Red Shield

OLD TOWN, Maine - An investment company has agreed to loan Red Shield Environmental and RSE Pulp & Chemical $13.6 million to repay the companies' existing debt and fund the restart of the mill, an attorney representing Red Shield said Monday.

Fuel prices altering Maine boaters' ways

The high price of fuel may be changing the way Mainers use their boats and where they use them.

Maine high court ruling takes candidate off ballot

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Maine's supreme court overturned a lower court ruling on Monday and said a single faulty signature can invalidate a whole page of a candidate's nominating petition, effectively removing independent Herbert Hoffman's name from November’s U.S. Senate ballot.

Editorial: A 'background' gap

A recent political survey has disclosed a significant and possibly disturbing gap in public attitudes toward the "values and backgrounds" of the two presumed presidential candidates.

Erik Steele: Thoughts on 'DWT' turn to evolution
To those of you who think text-messaging (e-mailing between cell phones) is the hottest thing since Liberace rhinestoned his piano, I say "Plz! Don’t make me LOL" (laugh out loud).

Ike Morgan: Facing our radiophobia
Skyrocketing oil prices, Middle East tensions, natural disasters, environmental issues and a surging worldwide demand for fossil fuels has put the topic of nuclear power back into America's energy equation.

July 29 Letters to the Editor

Kennebec Journal
GARDINER Taxing matters on tap for council
GARDINER -- Councilors on Wednesday will better understand what would happen if the current city revaluation is postponed a year.

AUGUSTA Event at UMA will honor beloved artist
AUGUSTA -- The Leo Marcus Memorial Mile of Art on Saturday will honor David Smith, a Readfield metal artist who transformed copper wire, tubing and sheet metal into art.

AUGUSTA Vehicle breaks may be related Police see spate of burglaries in Sand Hill neighborhood
AUGUSTA -- A flurry of burglaries from vehicles in the Sand Hill neighborhood over the weekend may be related, Augusta police Sgt. Mike Small said Monday.

Court deals a crushing blow to Hoffman's bid
PORTLAND (AP) -- Maine's supreme court overturned a lower court ruling on Monday and said a single faulty signature can invalidate a whole page of a candidate's nominating petition, and effectively removed independent Herbert Hoffman's name from November's U.S. Senate ballot.

AUGUSTA -- The search is on for a mental-health programs expert who can tell whether the state can provide services to an estimated 12,000 severely mentally ill people despite recent budget cuts.


Congress needs to debate real energy solutions
The nation deserves a proper debate in Congress about the growing energy crisis. That means a discussion of concrete alternatives for conservation and new energy generation. It means deliberation over what the federal government can do to help people who have yet to pay off last winter's heating bill as well as those struggling to pay high prices at the gas pump.

DAVID B. OFFER : Is state government giving us our money's worth?
Maine state government isn't very effective when it comes to fiscal controls and reporting, strategic planning, employee management and maintaining the infrastructure, according to a report by the Pew Center on the States and Governing magazine.


Water guns should not be allowed at parades
I am an 83-year-old disabled World War II veteran. I represented our local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans in Augusta's 4th of July parade and then parked at City Center and to watch the rest of the parade.

Court's ruling on arms a liberal interpretation
I believe that the Supreme Court made the right judgment in the case over the right to bear arms.

Fletcher's dam issue criticism somewhat ironic
In his July 23 letter, Kenneth Fletcher doesn't provide sufficient background to permit a fair evaluation of his views criticizing the Kennebec Journal for supporting dam removal on the Sebasticook River.

Wide range of gas prices implies gas gouging
Summer in Maine is a wonderful time to explore the natural beauty of our state. And it also gives us the opportunity to see a ridiculously wide range in gas prices. For instance on July 19, gas was $3.99 per gallon at two stations in Dexter. In Newport, two stations near the interstate exits were $3.84 and $3.86. And returning to Augusta, gas prices varied from $4.04 to $4.08 per gallon. Tell me again that there isn't gas gouging going on, that competitors aren't colluding to keep gas prices artificially high. How long will both our state and federal governments continue to protect oil companies and dealers?

Sun Journal
Maine regulation of geothermal energy questioned
PORTLAND (AP) - There are an estimated 500 geothermal energy systems in Maine homes and businesses, but only about a half dozen are registered as required under federal and state law. And some engineers and experts warn that a lack of proper regulation is a disaster waiting to happen.

New Web site does criminal checks for free
So you think your new suitor, sitter, boss or neighbor really rocks?

Vt. looks to ease reliance on nuclear power
COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) -Calling it a "once in a generation opportunity," the incoming head of Green Mountain Power Corp. said Monday the utility wants to boost its portfolio of renewable energy sources and decrease its reliance on the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Maine high court rules against Hoffman
PORTLAND - Maine's supreme court overturned a lower court ruling Monday that said the state acted reasonably in keeping an independent on November's U.S. Senate ballot. As a result, Independent Herbert Hoffman's name will not appear on the ballot in the running with Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democrat Rep. Tom Allen.

Good food for families, for Maine
The 100-mile diet is not a theory. It's a decision.

Both party candidates' Iraq positions are flawed
I can understand why John McCain is PO'd.

Obama's rhetoric dazzles, but includes false notes
The Germans were ecstatic when Barack Obama landed in Berlin. They called him the "American Idol," a political superstar they expected to walk on the River Spree. He didn't walk on water, but he didn't disappoint. He promised to remake the world where everybody would love everybody.

Congress protects OPEC
Jonathan V. Last's column, published July 20, demands a response.

Taxes must go down
The wisdom of Maine's elite opinion makers is questionable when discussing gasoline prices. On this issue, the intuitive answer is the correct one: Maine's gas tax should go down, not up.

Inapt comparison
It's not made clear what "untruths about oil" Jamie Py refers to in an Associated Press article, July 24, "Study: Pellets burn dirtier than oil." However, that the Maine Oil Dealers' Association used a comparison between a central oil heating system and a space-heating pellet stove as the basis for combustion cleanliness comparison makes it evident that clarification was not their intent. The headline misses the inapt comparison. If space heaters were to be compared, the emissions comparisons between kerosene space heaters and pellet stoves would have been relevant.

Electronic Medical Demonstration Project Delayed
Members of the Dirigo Health board of directors learned today that Maine will have wait a year to take part in a federally funded demonstration project aimed at encouraging doctors to convert to electronic medical records systems. The state was approved for inclusion in the $29 million incentive grant last April. As A.J. Higgins reports, Maine doctors hope to learn from the handful of other states chosen to launch the project.

Hoffman De-certified by High Court
The state's highest court ruled today that the name of independent U.S. Senate candidate Herbert Hoffman will not appear on the November ballot. The ruling is a victory for the Maine Democratic Party, which has contended that Hoffman did not follow Maine law when circulating his nominating petitions earlier this year. Democratic party lawyers appealed an earlier Superior Court ruling in favor of Hoffman to the Maine Supreme Court. The goal, party leaders say, was to clarify what it means when a circulator takes a sworn oath when gathering signatures for a political candidate. Hoffmann argued that the party was worried that he'd siphon votes away from the Democratic nominee, Congressman Tom Allen. A.J. Higgins reports.

Dems succeed – Hoffman off the ballot

Bush fatigue? More like Bush exhaustion

Potatoes and politics: A look at the candidates and issues in Northern Maine